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97 M3 audio issue

Discussion in 'E36 M3 (1995-1999)' started by jsdaly, Feb 27, 2008.

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    This last week the FM band on the radio started having a background howl on all stations and then today quit playing altogether for a while this morning. The AM and weather bands work fine. Later in the after noon the FM worked fine but by the evening it was howling again.
    Any ideas on what it is? I sure don't want to get a new radio if I can avoid it.

    97 M3 Sedan 98K fun filled miles My wife liked it so much we got her a 2006 330XI for her 50th birthday http://stage.bmwcca.org/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif
    Thumbs up I am hoping she gets me a new M3 or possibly the 135 for my birthday too.
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    Bill Howard

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    There's also a forum specifically for audio and electronics. Our hope is that if the issue is specific to an M car, it'd be here. If the audio system pertains to a wider range of BMWs, you might want to discuss there and get more feedback there. Especially as site traffic picks up. But it is absolutely your choice.
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    The E36 uses a diversity antenna set-up with two antennas, one in each of the C-pillars.

    I believe that the amp for the antennas is located in the left C-pillar (not 100% positive) and it may be going bad or have a bad connection.

    You may have some luck looking up "BMW E36 diversity antenna" or some such on Google, etc.

    If you have a Bentley manual it may also be of help locating the connections.


    bmwmfan guest

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    Actually the antenna is incorporated into the rear window defogger...same diff.

    The amp is located in the truck on the left side, or as the bentley manual says "Radio amplifer in luggage compartment behind left panel"

    I believe the antenna is also amplified. If the amp dies or if the connections get corroded those can cause problems with reception.
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    Had the same issue on a 5 series

    Sorry to say but you will probably have to replace the unit the 5 series I had it was the tuner in the unit that went bad the cd player still worked but the am fm was toast

    PatrickE36 guest

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    I just bought a 97 M3 and when I got it only a few FM channels worked... the rest were all static. I finally gave up and ended up just buying an alpine head unit. After doing so all channels came in clear and the speakers sounded 10X better. I'm not very knowledgeable on the system but it might be possible that your head unit is going bad.

    starkhundin guest

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    Loose wire? You said AM works fine? No hiccup's in AM? Have you tried Jiggling the wires? If it effects it then you know where to start. Loose wire, or knicked as it could be shorting to ground. If not then it would be your whole radio, as these radio's have internal electronic tuning circuits which could be fixed, but then you gotta know what your doing for sure. And at that point your either on a super budget, or like tinkering with electronics. I would'nt waste my time on it, and just buy another unit, or consider it as an FM delete mod.

    herpse30 guest

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    '97 M3 FM Radio Repair

    The FM receivers go on the stock BMW (Alpine) radio heads. This is often the cause of FM loss while retaining AM, cassette, weather functionality. See the following link for instructions where to purchase a replacement FM receiver part for the head, and how to install it. They charge $20 for the info. The part is about $20, and takes some soldering.
    Good luck,
    Mike L.

    '97 M3
    '62 356B T6 Notchback Porsche hardtop

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