BMW E36 Blog

Anti-Theft Wheel Locks For Your BMW

27th January 2008

Anti-Theft Wheel Locks For Your BMW


Let’s admit it! Thieves are just not going to back off any time soon and it’s almost like they’re getting smarter and smarter every day. They’ve been steeling cars and car alarms became a must now for almost any car. They have been steeling sound systems and expensive subwoofers/amplifiers and head units. Now, it’s your car wheels. When you’re driving a car with expensive wheels, many thieves will seriously consider paying you a visit. It’s getting very common to hear about stolen wheels on cars (specially expensive ones). This is a real problem although the solution can be very simple and very cheap. It’s called "wheel locks". The idea behind this is to change one bolt on each wheel of your car with one of the bolts provided by this kit. These bolts can’t be loosened without a special key (provided with the kit). This way, when a thief pays you a visit and tries to unscrew your wheel bolts, the secure bolt will tell him "SURPRISE . . . YOUR TOOL DOESN’T WORK ON ME YOU MORON". I think this a very good tool to use in case you have expensive wheels that you want to protect against theft.

Anti-Theft Wheel Locks For Your BMW


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posted in Technical Info, Tips & Tricks | 2 Comments

9th January 2008

Upgrade Your Car Audio System Easily


I used to have a BMW E30 with a sound system before I got my BMW E36 318is car. The sound system had a Sony Xplod head unit, Kenwood Speakers, Kenwood subwoofer and Boschmann Amplifier. I really miss that sound system sometimes. It had a magnificent sound with a deep bass that I used to really enjoy. Since I had my new E36, I don’t enjoy my music like I used to simply because I don’t have high quality sound system. I wrote previously about installing Pioneer speakers inside my car without cutting through metal. This gave my audio system a push, but I still don’t like the sound that much. The only logical choice for me was to install a new amplifier and subwoofers to gain the quality I used to have, but since I love my new car and I don’t want to cut through metal, I decided not to get those big subwoofers. I also hate to fill my trunk with a sound box too, so I throw both solutions out of the window. Yesterday, I was looking for some audio upgrades and I’ve found this Audiobahn Enclosures (Subwoofer + Amplifier). Take a look:

These cuties have:
1. Small Space: So, I don’t have to cut through metal anymore and I don’t need to put it in my trunk either. I will just put it on the rear seat which I don’t use that often.
2. Integrated 120Watts Amplifier: Cool!
3. Nice looking box: OK, I hate the chrome a little bit, but what can I say, life is not perfect!
4. The kit costs $157

Take a look at the kit:


It has:
Subwoofer, 120W Amplifier, Bass Control Knob, RCA Inputs. Everything you need to install them!

I think this choice is awesome! You upgrade your audio system with bass and without the headache. I hope you like it, I think it’s brilliant.


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posted in Audio, Tips & Tricks | 1 Comment

27th January 2007

Installing stock speakers inside your BMW E36 without making any damages!

Hi Friends,


As I promised you, I’m writing today about how I upgraded my BMW E36 sound system without doing any damages to my car. I was not happy with the standard sound in my car as I kept recalling the sound system that I used to have in my previous BMW E30. It was a sound system with (Kenwood speakers, Subwoofers, Boschmann amplifier and a Sony Xplod headset with a CD changer). So, I wanted to do a similar change to my new car, but I didn’t want to make any damages to the car as I had to cut through the metal to place the speakers and the subwoofers in my old car. I found a new way which I think it’s away better than the old one and I’m going to explain it with photos next . So enjoy and I hope you’ll find this article very interesting.


Disclaimer: Use this procedure at your own risk and don’t blame me of any trouble 😉


With that said, we can start now. . .


The first thing that I had to do with is to remove the covers that BMW used to hide the rear speakers. By using a screwdriver, you can easily do that but you have to be careful in order not to break them. After you remove that cover, you’ll be able to see the rear speakers. See screenshot below:



and this one:


Now, after your see this, you can use the screwdriver again to remove the 2 screws that hold each of the rear speakers. After you remove the screws, you can easily remove the rear speakers, but you should do that from the trunk side, not from the room side. Don’t forget to unplug the speakers first, see screenshot below:



Now that you’ve removed the speaker, it’s time to put the new speakers. See screenshots below:



Now, you have to remove the speakers cover, like screenshots above. This will give you the ability to stick the rounded area of the speaker which holds the small speakers (Tweeters) in the whole of the original speakers.


After that, you’ll have to use the drill to make two small wholes (or four) from the trunk side for each speaker to hold it using screws. This was a little bit hard for me because there’s no much space in the trunk to do it, but after some hard tries/fails, I successfully did it.


The next step is to connect the wires of the original plug of each speaker to the new one. After you do this, it should look something like the screenshots below:



So, now we have the speakers placed in the trunk and without cutting anything in the car steel. After that, you should put the rear covers back in the same way your removed them (from the car room side) and everything will be done.


In the next few days, I will be writing about connecting the new CD headset. I’m putting these photos for the headset after it’s installed for you to see.



So what do you think? I’ve tried the new sound and it’s so cool. Of course, there’s more to do to get a very good sound, but the budget is out now, so I will have to wait before proceeding with this.


Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual


I’m done for today, see you soon guys.


Wait for more on … BMW E36 Blog.


best regards,

Tony Sticks.

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posted in Audio, Do It Yourself, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks | 19 Comments

15th January 2007

Installing amplifier inside your BMW E36

Hello friends,


Today, I was digging for some information about how to install a nice sound system in E36 cars and I found a very good article here . In this article, a step by step tutorial on how to do is provided. It also describes some of the options like the best tools to use, where to place the amplifier in your trunk. So, are you ready ? No not yet, first the disclaimer


Disclaimer: Use it at your own risk pal!!


OK now I’m ready so here we go 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . .


When my father ordered his ’98 E38 740i, he opted for the $2200 “premium package.” When the car arrived and I was able to test out the system, it was very disappointing. My Oldsmobile had more bass!!! Well, that’s his car and he can do whatever he wants to it. When it was time to order my ’99 E36 M3, I knew not to opt for the Harmon/Kardon option. The $900 I saved would go towards my aftermarket system.

After much research, listening to people’s setups (thanks Ben), and going to an a/d/s/ sponsored audio tech session in Maryland, I decided on the following setup:

a/d/s/ 335is.2 front separates. I consider these speakers top of the line. Only the PX series is higher but at a significant price premium. Also, the PX series only comes in a 6″ diameter so it wouldn’t fit the kick panel locations without some modifications. Also, keep in mind these are the newly released revision 2 series.

a/d/s/ P840.2 8-channel amplifier. a/d/s/ is well-known for the clear and accurate response.

JL Audio stealthboxes in the rear. These fit the ’93-’96 E36 sedan and the ’93-’99 E36 coupe. I wanted to keep the trunk as stock looking as possible and I didn’t want to lose a lot of space to a sub-woofer enclosure. The stealthboxes are 8″ subs. They won’t pack the punch of a 10″ or 12″, but I think I’ll be happy with the 8 inchers..

This writeup will follow the flow of how I did it in real life. If you’re using the stock wires, the project can be partitioned into two sub-projects: 1) replacing the front woofers and tweeters and 2) mounting and installing the amp and running wires (optional).

Replacing the Front Woofers

Remove the driver’s side kick panel. First, you need to remove the hood latch�a philips screw driver will do. There is also a plastic anchor of sorts. A slotted screw driver will do here. Next, slide the lip of the kick panel from under the strip that says M3 in my case (I know, real technical words). Now slide the kick panel forward.

Undo the four bolts holding the factory speaker. I had to solder a new spade connector onto the negative lead because the factory one was too small. Place the gasket seal on the back of the speaker to ensure an airtight seal. Screw the speaker back into place. The green cardboard type insulation material had to be cut in order for the new speaker to fit. Heck, I forgot to put it back in on the passenger side. Hahaha.

Removal of the passenger side is pretty much the same.

To remove the tweeters, you have to pull the door panel off. To do this, use a butter knife to remove the two plastic covers behind the door pull. Also, remove the little black plastic cover that says, “Airbag.” There are torx screws behind there. For the drivers, side, use a screw driver to push the door latch to fool the system into thinking the door is closed. Cut a butter knife at the lower edge of the door and twist. The whole door panel should pop off. Once one body clip comes off, they all seem to pop off! Be careful with the driver’s door panel because there’s still a connection to the mirror controls.

The tweeter is held in place with a lockring. Twist it off and pop out the factory one. You’ll need to use a dremel and remove the plastic obstruction. Be careful not to go through the grill. Once that’s off, you can use silicone sealant to hold the new tweeters in place. Don�t forget to get your molex 2-conductor connector. I ended up using the cheesy radio shack versions�not as elegant.

Mounting and Installing the Amplifier

I spent many hours just looking for possible areas to mount the amp. Here were the possibilities:

Suspend it from the rear deck shelf.
Mount it to the back of one of the fold-down rear seats
Or come up with something clever.
I’m a masochist and opted for the third option. The idea of shooting holes into my sheet metal didn’t sit well with me. Mounting the amp to the back seat was plausible, but not only are the seats curvy, where will you run all the ugly wires?

First, you need to remove the left rear brake light cover housing by turning the retaining screw counterclockwise and pulling up and out.
Next, you need to remove the left rear speaker. To remove the grill, push your thumbs against the front edge. Once you bend the grill sufficiently, you can push upwards. Next, remove the two screws holding the speakers in place. There should be (at least on mine) a metal clip holding the whole unit in place. Push this tab and the speaker will drop out.
Now you can work the molded carpet on the side of the trunk outwards.
You will now see the factory amp. It’s held in place by three 10mm bolts.

I looked around and removed the black plastic trim left to the spare tire by removing the plastic nuts. I found what I though to be a perfect location. There were already holes in the sheet metal for me to secure a bracket to. I pestered my uncle for some 3/4″ plywood stock–we are talking about a 15 pound metal object subjected to the extreme cornering forces of my M3–and fabricated a sturdy bracket.

I used 2″ 1/4″ bolts with washers to secure the bracket in place. If you look, you’ll see the area with the holes is lower than the rest points. I used a piece of scrap 3/4″ plywood to make a shim. It works perfectly.

I cut the factory amp connectors off. I ended up following Bob Hazelwood’s advice and ordered two (you’ll probably need three�so I’m short a connector) 14-conductor mini-fit molex connectors from Definitely order the crimp tool while you’re at it. It makes life so much easier and the crimps look real nice.

I wired up the crossovers into the factory wiring. Some people run new wires. Well, I looked at the gauge of the wires running to the front woofers. I think they are at least 16ga�.good enough. Here’s the end result:

After running wires and soldering everything (oh, solder all crimp connections just in case!), roll back the carpet, place the brake light cover back, and install the amp bracket and amp. I had to cut 1/2″ off the bottom of the molded carpet (a new one costs $45) so the bracket would fit easily. I was planning on lifting it and squishing the bracket underneath, but after all the wires were in place, there was really no room.

Running Wires

I decided to run a 4-conductor wire for my radar detector, 8-conductor wire for the bass control, and a patch cable for the new head unit. Time to run wires.

First, remove the rear seat. This is accomplished by hovering over the seat as if you’re about to sit on it. Grab right underneath the lip of the leather and pull up.

Next, remove the side bolster next to the fold-down seat. The latch is on the top of the bolster. I guess you could simply grab and yank. I wedged my fingers at the bottom between the bolster and the side panel and ran my fingers upwards. Once there, I was able to get leverage to pop the clip off. The remaining anchor point is on the bottom where the seat hinges. Simply push in with your finger and the side bolster will come off.

Next, remove the side panel. The body clips are located at the top. I put my hand at the rear and pulled. Pop�came right off. See the picture for the anchor points.

You’ll need to remove or at least loosen the center piece between the seats in order to run the wires. A picture is worth a thousand words:

Pop the hazard light out using a butter knife covered with a cloth. It’s easiest to pop out at the left side. There will be a screw there holding down the front of the center piece.

Once that’s removed, the center piece will be loose. You can run wires now or if you’re like me, you can actually remove everything. The armrest bracket is fastened to the chassis using three 13mm bolts. You’ll need a swivel/universal socket to remove the front two. A box wrench will remove the rear bolt.

Put everything back. You feel better now, right? There it is�a complete audio overhaul. More pictures to come when the stealthboxes arrive. Sorry for the graphics intensive page.


Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual


Wait for more from … BMW E36 Blog


best regards,

Tony Sticks.

Want to receive exciting tips & information about BMW E36 cars? Enter your Email:-



posted in Audio, Do It Yourself, Technical Info | 11 Comments