Mechanics

DEAD RADIO

1998 BMW Z3 • 6 cylinder 2WD Manual • 100,000 miles

I have a BMW Z3 Roadster 1998 (2.8L). The radio seems dead, although after replacing a dead battery it did ask for an access code. Since asking for the code on a number of keystarts it appears to be completely dead again. Is the Dr. Hagarty in the house?
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RSM
April 19, 2011.




Did you actually enter the code or just ignore it? If it was dead before you disconnected the battery first check the fuses. There will be two, one for the switched 12 volts to turn it on and one for the station presets memory when it's turned off.

Unfortunately these silly access codes benefit the dealer, not the car owner.

Caradiodoc
Apr 19, 2011.
Hello, I think I was perhaps unclear. After replacing the battery the radio has come on asking for the code intermittently. We had not gotten around to getting the serial number off the radio and then calling the dealership. The problem seems to be that the radio does not come on for long periods of time, then suddenly does (asking for the access code). I could check the fuses but since the radio has come on after replacing the battery, I am wondering if there is something else going on. Thanks!

Tiny
RSM
Apr 19, 2011.
I was wondering when I can expect a follow up response.

Tiny
RSM
Apr 24, 2011.
When you say "then suddenly does (asking for the access code), it sounds like you're saying it still never plays, it's just asking for the code at times and not at others.

Just so I understand, was the radio working properly before you replaced the battery? In your original post, it sounds like the radio was acting up, then after that, it started asking for the code after you replaced the battery. That would imply the problem is not related to disconnecting the battery. Two things come to mind. Some vehicles have a known history of fuses working loose and causing an intermittent connection. I'm not aware of that on your car, but it's something to consider. That, to the radio, would be the same as disconnecting the battery, then when the fuse made contact again, the radio would ask for the code. Second, all electronic equipment tends to develop intermittent solder connections. The pins in the electrical connectors is a common place for that to occur. That too would be just like disconnecting the battery.

A good place to start is by contacting the selling dealer to see if they recorded the radio code. To my knowledge, only Volkswagen dealers have no way of knowing the code. If the owner doesn't know it, that radio will never play again and must be replaced. GM makes it real easy to call in and get the code but of course they charge for that. It's just one of their many ways to continually bleed money from their owners. I don't know the procedure with BMWs but if it's like many of their other business practices, you can plan on needing to visit the dealer. If you have a friend who is a mechanic at the dealership, he might be able to get the code or know the phone number to call.

I don't want to throw a clinker in the works, but from the way you described it, I suspect there is a problem in the radio itself. I only repair original equipment radios but manufacturers have stopped allowing me to buy their parts and service manuals because I save people too much money. That means I can pretty much only work on Chrysler stuff now. We aren't even allowed to know the paint codes for BMWs. If they keep that secret, you can be sure they don't want me fixing your radio.

I would like to hear back that I'm wrong and a code is all that's needed, but the dealer would be the place to start.

Caradiodoc
Apr 24, 2011.
Any luck on this one yet? BTW the Dr. Is in the house

Dr. Hagerty
Jun 23, 2011.
Hello there! Thanks for checking in. The resolution was to buy a reconditioned unit on E-Bay and throw the other one away. This is actually a relatively inexpensive fix as it accepts all wiring for the CD changer, etc. Which would not be the case with an aftermarket. Hope all is well with you (and the cats).
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Tiny
RSM
Jun 24, 2011.
Aftermarket stuff has much more to offer, and there is a package that will allow the use of specific aftermarket equipment and that can interface with the changer in the trunk and the wiring harness in the car without cutting into the radio wiring harness. Cats are seeing the vet today and (most) all is well, thanks for the concern mate!

Dr. Hagerty
Jun 24, 2011.
Welcome Back Cat : -)

2CarPros Ken
Jun 24, 2011.
Back in the saddle again.

Dr. Hagerty
Jun 28, 2011.
Hey Dr. H. The replacement Alpine I purchased from "GermanAudioTech" on EBay failed after 85 days. Their helpful feedback was that it must be water damage. Now keep in mind that the car is garaged and not driven in the rain. Their swell warranty was 30 days, which they were happy to inform me of; did not offer anything more. You had mentioned that there are direct fit aftermarkets. I do not want to redo the wiring harness for the CD changer, etc. Can you recommend a model # for the 1998 Z3? Thanks. Dr. M.

Tiny
RSM
Jul 20, 2011.

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