How to Install a Stereo in a 1994 BMW 325i

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BMW first launched the 3-series lineup in the European market in 1974. After a successful run there, BMW shipped the 320i to the U.S. in 1977. In 1992, BMW released the third generation of the 3-series, dubbed the E36 generation, which lasted through 1998. The 1994 325i came standard with an AM-FM cassette player with 10 speakers throughout the cabin. Also available was the “business” radio package, which was just an AM-FM radio, no cassette. When replacing either, you must unlock its anti-theft feature upon installation.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 BMW radio removal tools (U-shaped rods)
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Allen wrench set
  • Security code card

Standard Radio Removal

  • Guide the straight ends of the two radio removal tools into the four locator holes on both sides of the radio’s face.

  • Pry the sidebar trim pieces – the 1/4-inch-wide plastic pieces on both sides of the radio’s face, if equipped – with a small flathead screwdriver. This exposes the locator holes for the radio removal tools.

  • Press and hold the radio removal tools inward about an inch. Press the curved ends of the radio removal tools away from each other to press the internal radio locking tabs inward. Pull the radio removal tools toward the rear of the BMW to slide the radio from its dashboard chassis.

  • Pull the radio out just far enough to access the wiring on its rear. Pull downward on the locking tab on the bottom of the wiring harness to unlock it, then unplug the wiring harness. Unplug the antenna wire.

  • Remove the radio.

Standard Radio Installation

  • Plug the wiring harness into the receptacle on the rear of the radio. Press upward on the locking tab on the bottom of the wiring harness until it clicks into place to lock the harness.

  • Plug the antenna wire into its receptacle on the rear of the radio.

  • Slide the radio into its chassis in the dashboard and push the radio inward until its locking tabs snap into place.

Business Radio Removal

  • Pry the face plate from the radio using a small flathead screwdriver, exposing the two radio-retaining screws.

  • Remove the two radio-retaining screws with an Allen wrench.

  • Follow Steps 4 and 5 under "Standard Radio Removal" to remove the radio.

Business Radio Installation

  • Connect the radio’s wiring by following Steps 1 and 2 under “Standard Radio Installation.”

  • Slide the radio into the dashboard, aligning its screw holes with those in the radio’s dashboard chassis. Tighten the two radio-retaining screws with an Allen wrench.

  • Line the cutouts in the faceplate with the radio’s buttons and press the faceplate onto the radio until it snaps into place.

Unlocking Anti-Theft System

  • Turn the ignition to the “Run” or “Acc” position and turn the radio on.

  • Observe as the radio displays “Code” on its screen.

  • Enter the five-digit code on the card that came with the replacement radio, using the radio preset numbers. If the radio did not come with the card or you misplaced it, see a BMW dealership to obtain the code.

  • Watch as the radio begins operating as normal.

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