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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm looking to add Bluetooth phone support to my beast. I have done a bunch of reading on the subject, and it looks like I have three main options. Either go with something aftermarket that goes through the CD changer (ie. MediaBridge), rewire with aftermarket head unit, or OE retrofit. I have decided that I want to go the OE retrofit route, but I have a few questions mostly revolving around the actual BT control module.

First, on the ULF modules how important are the hardware revisions past V4 (the antenna update) if I'm using a flip dumbphone or an older smartphone?

I have found a seller on eBay that claims he can update the ULF modules to the latest version allowing him to sell full kits for quite cheap with the "latest" ULF module. I am wary of him saying that he can update these modules, and I would like to get the opinion of some of the members here. Is this possible or is this guy full of s*%t?

I have seen a few sparse posts that gave me the impression it is possible to run BT in the E39 with a newer iBus TCU module from an E86/E83/E53/Mini/ect. There is a price advantage going this route, but does anyone know what is required to make an iBus TCU play nice with an E39?

Lastly, is the wiring. My beast is wired for the old school car phone and even has the old control module hiding above the nav unit. I have been given the impression that if the car is prewired, you don't need to run any extra cables to make the jump to BT except maybe the antenna. However, the control module connector that is currently there is the old serial connector, which is different from the one needed for the ULF/TCU unit. Is there an adaptor you can get to go from the old style to the new style or do I need to make my own, or run a new harness?
 

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If your beast has a production date >= 09 -2002 then it should be just plug & play.
If production date < 09-2002 then it is plug and bye, bye fusee (if you are lucky). The power supply is completely different. You need to rewire the pins. Do not start cutting in the existing loom, you can peal the pins out and rewire them into the correct position. If you have the 26 pin connector, you create an adapter between this connector and the 54 pin plug as shown below.



For wiring

e39 phone

Post #13

You need at least generation 3 to get voice recognition (no SMS).
Most of the phones will pair with this unit, except for iPhone and the newest Samsung (I have heard). then you need the 13nd generation.
You will also be able to read SMS with the 13nd generation, but a bit dangerous while driving.

The newer version is completely different wired and has different hardware. You cannot use this unit without major modifications.

I have the 3rd generation ULF built in and it is perfect with clear sound and voice recognition.
 

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What year is your car? I have 03 and for me it was plug in and play. I bought the kit from dealer then and had them install it. Works perfectly ever since.
 

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The ULF is P&P for MY'01 as well. Based on the kit the OP posted it is not impossible to re-flash the processors but I would be wary. You will also need the SES jumper.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is an '01 with a 9-2000 build date according to bmwfans.

I already have the SES jumper installed. Sounds like I'm just gonna need to make a 54pin to 26pin adapter like Marcel RSD posted, and get a BT module.

Thanks for the insight AGM5. The eBay guy seems like a well established seller, but I'm gonna steer clear. I've done some more reading on some other BMW forums about using the TCU module, and it is documented well enough outside M5board for me to trust it. The trick is just making sure you get the right TCU unit. There are a lot more options than with the ULF modules, and most of the TCU units on eBay are for MOST-bus cars. Those won't work in our cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It might be a bit slow because I'm super busy all the time, but I will keep everyone updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just out of curiosity, does anyone sell a premade 26 to 54 pin adapter? You know, for if I want to be extra lazy about the wiring.
 

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Just out of curiosity, does anyone sell a premade 26 to 54 pin adapter? You know, for if I want to be extra lazy about the wiring.
There is at least one source of which I know. They are highly reputable, but I don't know, but you may have heard of them....
 

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Check out bimmernav.com. That's where I got my BT kit. They're pretty responsive to questions.
 

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I put a bluetooth TCU in my 01 (12/00 build date) 740i and used this adapter cable: 84120308375 - Bluetooth Retrofit Cable - ES#200873 as well as a new bluetooth antenna cable and antenna. That was all that was needed and I got the TCU for about $150 on Ebay and it works great with my Galaxy Note 2. I also bought the upgraded mic on Ebay for $30. You will need to do one of two things in the center console depending on whether or not you want to keep the phone snap-in or not. I'm assuming you already have one in there and if so, either keep it connected or make sure the two jumpered pins in the connector stay jumpered. If you don't already have a snap-in, you'll need to jumper the pins on the 18-pin connector. Let me know if you need to know which pins to jumper. Other than that, pairing mode is enabled within the first 30 seconds of turning the car on and the PIN code is located on the label on the TCU.

This will tell what TCU's do what: Consolidated Bluetooth ULF and TCU Parts Lists…

This can help you do the install: E39 TCU Bluetooth Installation
 

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There is at least one source of which I know. They are highly reputable, but I don't know, but you may have heard of them....
Your local BMW dealer.

P/N: 84120308375 - 25 pin D-sub (D-b) to 54 pin ULF Adapter Harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Wow, that is some great info blackknight530i. It really consolidates a lot of what I have been reading. My armrest is currently empty, no phone snap-in or tray, so I will need to know which two pins to jump on the 18-pin connector. This is the first that I am hearing of having to jump pins on that connector. Do you know why you have to jump them?

Your local BMW dealer.

P/N: 84120308375 - 25 pin D-sub (D-b) to 54 pin ULF Adapter Harness.
How on earth did you find that part number? Bmwfans says it doesn't even exist.
 

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Wow, that is some great info blackknight530i. It really consolidates a lot of what I have been reading. My armrest is currently empty, no phone snap-in or tray, so I will need to know which two pins to jump on the 18-pin connector. This is the first that I am hearing of having to jump pins on that connector. Do you know why you have to jump them?



How on earth did you find that part number? Bmwfans says it doesn't even exist.
The part number for the adapter cable is on the bimmerboard page that I linked. It is also the same one I linked to at ECS.

Pins 11 and 14 on the 18-pin connector in the console need to be connected together. You can either use a jumper wire or just cut the wires and connect them together. Other than that, you just need the SES jumper unless you have a SES module already.
 

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Wow, that is some great info blackknight530i. It really consolidates a lot of what I have been reading. My armrest is currently empty, no phone snap-in or tray, so I will need to know which two pins to jump on the 18-pin connector. This is the first that I am hearing of having to jump pins on that connector. Do you know why you have to jump them?



How on earth did you find that part number? Bmwfans says it doesn't even exist.
I read the installation instructions before mine was installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I know a few of you wanted me to update this when I got it going. I now have a ULF module installed, because it is what came up for sale. It seems to function how it should, after I got the antenna and pin 11 to 14 jumper installed. Big thanks to AGM5 for helping me troubleshoot and get it going this far. However, my phone does seem to have issues staying connected, and I haven't figured out how to successfully answer a call yet.
 

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So I know a few of you wanted me to update this when I got it going. I now have a ULF module installed, because it is what came up for sale. It seems to function how it should, after I got the antenna and pin 11 to 14 jumper installed. Big thanks to AGM5 for helping me troubleshoot and get it going this far. However, my phone does seem to have issues staying connected, and I haven't figured out how to successfully answer a call yet.
It is always a little tricky pairing up, but I recently did my iphone5 and got it to pair. Once it does, it always pairs up with the car. Only takes 5-10 seconds. Red light over the phone button will light up, then go out.

Once paired, all you need to do is hit the little button under the 3 lights. I should automatically answer the call. Since my phone also has Bluetooth outside the car, I think there was a popup screen in which I had to select the BMW ULF so it would pipe over the car speakers. There is a loudness adjustment in the car for the phone independent of the radio volume, somewhere in the radio menu???? May need to check that.

Maybe AGM5 can help with where you have the antenna placed on call dropping?

What phone are you using? Maybe someone with your phone can give more detailed directions/troubleshooting hints. I have the pairing instructions at home, but it doesn't sound like that is your issue.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Pairing isn't the issue. It has paired and connects flawlessly every time I've started the car, and even will reconnect most of the time if it disconnects. On mine it seems the yellow light above the phone button is on whenever the phone is connected.

I have tried pressing the phone button, but I'm not really sure what happens when I do that, other than the call doesn't go through the car. I've been on the road every time I've tried so far, so I haven't been able to pay the closest attention. I'm gonna try and take the time to sit down and play with it in the next few days.

The antenna should be fine. I placed it in the factory location under the rear parcel shelf. I honestly think the issue is probably more in the phone than anything. It is a Casio G'zOne Ravine2 and they are known to have issues with bluetooth from the get go. If I get really ambitious I might switch back to my old Motorola for a day or two and see if it makes a difference.

I know there is a manual out there for the voice commands and possibly the bluetooth operation. I'm gonna try and hunt that down as well.
 

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