BMW E46 display/mute install for a V1

A few weeks ago I installed the wiring for my concealed display for my Valentine 1 radar detector. I positioned it near the drivers side A pillar, not because I thought it was the best spot but because it was the best spot for it while still being able to easily reach the mute button. Due to my frequent city driving and the amount of automatic door openers around my area, it was a necessity to be able to mute it easily.  After a few weeks of this, I found it less then ideal but didn’t think I had another option.

Well while looking for some information about the upgrade need/process for the V1 I found a forum where they talked about a mute switch. This is different from the remote audio adapter that is sold by Valentine Research. I didn’t need access to volume control (or want the relatively large size of it), just the mute feature, so this was perfect.

For those of you who are competent with soldering, this is the schematic provided at the link above.

V1 Remote mute switch schematic
V1 Remote mute switch schematic

To make this you will need the following:

You can use the ground in the RJ11 plug.

anyway, on with the install!!!!

Before I begin, I am not responsible for any damage you may cause to your vehicle, your tools, or yourself. This shows how I did mine, but yours may be different. Take proper precautions when working on your car.

Since I already had the wiring for the concealed display I am going to skip the pictures on how to wire from the sunroof control area through the A pillar. I don’t have pictures.  Before you begin this part, decide if you will be putting the phone jack splitter in your roof area or behind the dash.  The jist of that process is as follows:

  1. Remove reading lights
  2. Remove sunroof motor cover panel
  3. Remove screw in that area
  4. Remove drivers side visor
  5. Remove drivers side visor retainer
  6. Remove drivers side grab handle
  7. Remove trim covering bolts on A pillar
  8. Remove 3 torx screws holding in A pillar
  9. Remove A pillar trim (be careful of the airbag if you have one)

So now that we are all caught up on how to get wiring to the area, lets begin.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 inline Phone line splitter if you are wiring the mute swith and a concealed display.  It should have a female jack on one side and two female jacks on the other
  • double sided foam tape
  • zip ties
  • a philips screw driver
  • a t20 torx bit screw driver (same bit is used for the a pillar trim)
  • double sided foam tape
  • trim removal tools

First remove the A pillar trim, to do this remove the screw cover that runs 3/4 of the length of the trim facing the window.  I used a small pick.  Sorry I did not take a picture of that, but it is fairly straight forward.

Next remove the trim piece that is to the left of the drivers side, they are held in by friction.  There is one stud on the far left and on on the right side.  Just work the trim piece in and out until it comes free.  Then remove the HVAC vent by unscrewing the two screws and pulling.

Remove the lower steering column cover.  There are two circular pieces on the underside.  In those circular pieces you will see a little pin.  Use something to push them in and then you can remove the larger circular piece.  Once those are out, you just press in on the sides until you can disconnect if from the top cover.

Now remove the cluster buy unscrewing the two t20 torx screws and pulling it out.

You now have access to everything you will need.

Cluter removed from dash
Cluster removed from dash

You should now have access to all the places needed.

Since I had the wiring run for the display by the A pillar I decided to just put the inline splitter in my dash.  I guess you could put it in your sunroof area too, but then you would need to run two wires.  The benefit of the roof is it is easier to gain access to.  The benefit of the dash is you only need to have one wire running down your A pillar.

Inline phone line splitter placed in dash area
Inline phone line splitter placed in dash area

Now test the display and the mute switch to make sure both function.  To test the switch hold it down and see if the V1 switches modes from A to L or to half L.  I found that the shink tubing can compress the switch sometimes causing it to not work.  If that happens, re-apply the shink tube and do not shrink as much on the top of the switch.

Next, run one wire to the cluster area and the mute switch down to the steering column.  You may find it easier to put the wire up from the steering column.

The wire to the dash can either be left on the bottom if you want to place your display there, or you can run it though the separate trim piece like I did if you want it on top.

Place the wire between the two pieces
Place the wire between the two pieces

To remove this piece you press down on the tab.  The tab is the black piece the wire runs past in the above picture on the way into the dash.  You could just hang the wire out the top but then it will not be as clean because the wire can be seen exiting from the cluster.

Now make sure you have the correct amount of extra phone cord exiting from the cluster and put it back in the dash.  Then replace the two screws.

Display mounted outside the top of the cluster
Display mounted outside the top of the cluster

Now take the wire for the mute switch and place it on the stalk with the double sided foam tape.  Put tape along the wire at parts that curve on the stalk.  Then put tape on the top cover of the steering column where the wire is run.

Remote mute switch mounted on turn signal stalk
Remote mute switch mounted on turn signal stalk

Test the switch and the display again.  If they work, all you have to do is replace the trim.  If something is not working check all the connections again and make sure they are tight.  Also, the resistor in the switch may have broken from the solder.  If this is the case, you have to remove it and resolder the wire.

Zip tie excess cord close to the splitter.  Then you can push the splitter into the dash and attach it with some double sided tape of possibly a zip tie.

The splitter can rest here, it may be wise to secure it with tape or a zip tie so it doesn't rattle
The splitter can rest here, it may be wise to secure it with tape or a zip tie so it doesn't rattle

Now you can just put back the steering column lower cover.  Take pin you pushed through before out of it so that you can reinsert it when the piece is put back.

Then replace the HVAC vent and screw it back in.

Next, push the dash trim piece back on.

Finally, replace the a pillar trim.  Screw in the 3 T20 torx screws and replace the cover.

You can now mute your V1 by pushing the switch on the back of the stalk.

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