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Thread: Z8 radio repair

  1. #1
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    Z8 radio repair

    I had not experienced the intermittent or dead radio syndrome on my first two Z8s but the third one came with a dead radio so I had to deal with it. Head unit was completely dead; no power whatsoever. Checked the fuse on the fuse panel: no problem. Pulled the head unit and checked to see if the wiring harness had power: it did. Checked the fuse on the head unit itself: no problem. Then I removed the fuse and reinserted it, removed the wiring harness and reinserted it, and reinstalled the head unit in the dash. Like magic, everything fired up and worked perfectly. Had to be a corroded or loose connection which was fixed during the removal and reinsertion process. No way to know if this is the same problem others have run into but before you give up or buy a new one, you might want to give this a try. Snaps, pops, intermittent functions, scrambled brains, and dead units could all be related to this problem. By the way, the head unit is removed by prying open the little doors on each side of the head unit's face plate and inserting a 2.5mm allen wrench to loosen the security screws. Then just pull her out. Wiring harness has a lever lock on it which you just lift up and then the plug will pull out of the head unit. Remember to close the lever lock after you reinsert the plug. Fuse is on the back of the head unit. Antenna connection just pries off. Hope this helps!

  2. #2
    Great tip indeed, I've been holding my breath on this one too, so far so good!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Move/duplicate thread to "problems and solutions" ?

  4. #4
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Did not work for me . Goes in next week so I can have some tunes for Monterey.

  5. #5
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Got my new radio. Seems to have a few new features that I don't recall on my original, specifically RDS and speed sensitive volume. Of course I could have set them once and forgot about them. Anyway it works so I will have some tunes for the trip.

  6. #6
    Great news, does it appear to be the same unit?
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  7. #7
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Yes, It looks the same as before.

  8. #8
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    It was fun while it lasted. 3 hours into the trip and POP! and the radio cuts out. A minute later POP! back on. And so it repeats. If I get it on and turn it off and wait awhile it seems to stay on longer, 20-30 minutes. It sounded so good too. Maybe tomorrow when it cools it will work. I am thinking it is getting warm and causing an open circuit internally. Interesting thing is that the screen flickers as it comes on, but it never seems to lose external power completely as it does not ask for the code. I've already called my dealer, just waiting for a call back.

  9. #9
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    Incidentally, how much did you pay for the radio? Was it as easy as just replacing the radio itself or did they replace other things like CD, navi, etc...?

    Thanks a lot

    Ake

  10. #10
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Replacement is very easy. Takes 10 minutes being careful. The radio is about $900 with a $550 core charge. Now I had to fight to get my core charge back as my extended warranty would pay the core charge.

  11. #11
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    Thanks a lot Orca! Incidentally, could you explain to me what you mean by "core charge"? Also, is it as easy as ordering the radio at my local BMW dealer for $900 and then popping it in myself or do I need special tools/knowledge? Would ebay or somebody else here have a used radio?

    Best

    Ake

  12. #12

    Dead radio

    Just like many others, my Z8 is now the victim of the dead radio syndrome. I didn't get the snap, crackle and popping that others report. Just a dead screen and a small red light flashing in the corner of the unit. Fuses are all good.

    The problem occured immediately after having the car serviced to replace the throttle position sensors.

    Has anyone successfully corrected the radio situation without replacing the head unit? I've tried the GM disconnect/reconnect approach and that did not work.

    Alternatively, can someone recommend a simple plug-and-play aftermarket head unit? I don't want anything fancy, just the ability to play CDs from the changer and listen to the radio. I never use the NAV.

    Thanks,
    Tyler
    '01 Titanium

  13. #13
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I have had three Z8's and all three of them have had the radio problem. My current car had a new factory head unit put in about three months ago. The problem, which is well known by the factory, is that the soldering on the board inside the radio wasn't done properly originally and tiny cracks develope which results in either intermittant radio problems " the connection comes and goes" or a complete failure of the unit " the crack is too big." Replacement head units are supposed to address this problem and not result in future problems. I was able to get BMW to give me their cost on the head unit which they then paid half for, so the unit cost me about $425 plus $100 installition at a factory authorized dealer. Not bad for a part that has a list price of about $1,500.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
    2014 Range Rover sport Autobiography
    2013 Ford Raptor
    2011 Porsche 911 turbo S coupe

  14. #14
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    If you get another head unit, it is an easy do-it-yourself job as the head unit comes out easily. One technical note is to place some masking tape along the bottom of the opening along the edge of painted console trim to avoid scratching it in the R&R process. Take about 30 minutes to install it. I believe they recommend disconnecting your battery too before you take the head unit out so as to avoid your car thinking your stealing your own head unit. You then just have to reprogram the lock code, which will be a new code that comes with your new head unit as I also believe the codes are unit specific.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  15. #15
    top down in seattle bvhbmw's Avatar
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    My factory unit died and I put in a new Alpine CD with iPod connection. WOW!!! I had no idea the speakers in our cars were actually good until this. There's no need to replace the speakers or amp, just the lousy BMW head unit. I don't understand how BMW could build such good cars and allow such cruddy audio head units to be used.

    By the way, my new Alpine cost $250. Not top of the line by any means.
    2002 Silver/Black
    #61319
    No mods (except for new Alpine stereo)
    Seattle, WA

  16. #16
    Austin, TX
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    dead radio

    ok...looks like i now join the ranks of the "dead" radio. i experienced the loud pop followed by nothing but a blinking red light. i have contacted bmw customer service to see if i can get a little help and they have told me to have the dealer look at it. bmw of austin have said that they can't help with the replacement cost so i'm hoping to lean on bmw customer service a bit. (i've replaced both fuses to no avail).

  17. #17
    Austin, TX
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    had a good experience with bmw of austin...they acknowledged the problem with the "early" radios and have offered to cover $1,000 of the replacement cost. just thought i would throw that out to others if they have the same problem...

  18. #18
    Austin, TX
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    just a note - bmw of austin was very good in this regard. the radio was replaced free, labor included. hope we all will have a similar experience if you encounter this...

  19. #19
    Canadian eh... zeta's Avatar
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    Mine is dead with the blinking red light after a long dead battery (my bad). I don't want to damage it as I take the "head unit" out. Can anyone explain how to do this after you flip the tabs?
    Thanks, Robin

  20. #20
    Z8Mania
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    I don't *know* on this, but I speculate the radio just needs to be reset- you might need to bring it to a dealer. This is an anti theft deterrent- if you pull the radio out of the car and then try to install it elsewhere the radios scramble themselves until you put in the proper code. I remember reading on either the Z8 or M5 or both that it would be a bad idea to lose the battery completely because then youd need a dealer to get everything restarted.

  21. #21
    Canadian eh... zeta's Avatar
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    I thought that might be the reason and took it to the dealer, but they said that if that was the case the screen wouldn't be blank. It should be asking for a code. Then I read this thread and learned that this is a common situation with our cars. I may need to replace the head unit, but I would like to try the remove and replace approach before incurring that expense.

    Thanks, Robin

  22. #22
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    my blinking red light turned out to be the blinking red light of death. try replacing the fuse in the head unit as well as in the fuse box. if that doesn't work, you might try to get the dealer to read this thread and perhaps they might draw the conclusion of helping you out. you never know...(i've replace 2 batteries myself over the years and never had a problem with the radio needing to be reset with a code).

  23. #23
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    After flipping the tabs open insert a small(not sure what size, but very small) allen wrench in each side and loosen. The head unit will slide right out. I have never had to use a code when either removing or replacing the head unit.

  24. #24
    Z8Mania
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    Ahhh- perhaps the dealer will do this under good will? Its been known to happen.

  25. #25
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lupin's Avatar
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    dead radio

    it is my turn with a dead radio
    I had problems with the battery and when they installed a new one the radio was dead!!
    - the trunk wasn't opening with the button, now it is working
    - the glovebox wasn't opening, but I managed to open it thanks to the tips in the glove box thread.
    we will see....
    ps I have the temptation to put a new modern radio......but something tells me don't do it!!
    Luigi
    2001 Z8 Black-Red

  26. #26
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lupin's Avatar
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    Like Greasemonkey said it was the fuse in the back of the radio, removed the fuse and reinserted it, and we had music again
    thx Greasemonkey
    Luigi
    2001 Z8 Black-Red

  27. #27
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    Radio issues and luck with BMW's Good Will policy

    I have now completed all of the upgrades to my new toy, and Kevin Magenis's old toy.
    Performance package, PS2's, ALL of the possible Dinan work and the Quaife diff. as well as changed the gearing. I had the car a few weeks ago with everything done but the diff. and the gearing. Not sure who made the comments to me in the past that the upgrades to the z8 were not as impressive as they are for my dinan s2 m5 but I disagree. The car was simply insanely fast and that again was without the gearing change I just did and got back yesterday. The bad news is that I have to break in the new gears so I can't really crank it for a bit to even really feel the additional torque from the change in the gears. Hopefully, I can put some soft miles on it quickly so that I can really test this toy. I have been told that I should take it easy for the next 1k miles and then I can let it rip. Does anyone have any thoughts on exactly how long you really need to break in new gears?

    I have a few other questions.

    - Unfortunately, it appears that I have the radio problems that I have read about on this site. Kevin swears that he did not have the problem at all for the 8 years he owned it. I did have a new battery put in as well and appears from what I have read that that may have caused the problem. But, from what I have also read the problem really appears to be poor soldering of the board inside the radio. Is that correct?
    - Secondly. Have many of you been lucky in having BMW NA provide you a new head unit under their "good will" policy. If so, any special tips on making that happen and or who to write to ie: perhaps Bill Stuart? and what address would that be?
    Third - re: the performance package - It appears that BMW arguably did not shore up the front of the car frame etc... and that is why they came up with this fix.
    Did anyone get BMW to pay for the performance package under their "good will" policy? Just curious. If I am going to write the letter for the radio I thought I would give it a shot for the expense of the performance package as well, assuming it worked for any of you.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Craig.

  28. #28
    Z8 Madness
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    Congrats on finishing all the upgrades and sorry to hear about the Radio. I've seen (and have benefited) from BMW's "good will" policy -- headlight repair comes to mind and even the head Radio unit. But I do not think anyone has been able to have the Performance Package covered by BMW. I could be wrong, of course.
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  29. #29
    Ditto that, but definitely talk to Bill Stuart at BMW, he has been really helpful to many owners.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  30. #30
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    Bill Stuart

    And how do I reach Bill Stuart?
    Do you have an address? a number? an e-mail address?
    Thanks in advance.
    Craig.

  31. #31
    201-263-8210
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    300 Chestnut Ridge Rd
    Woodcliff Lake NJ 07677-7731
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  32. #32
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    Free stereo under good will policy

    I wrote to my local dealer and cc'd Bill Stuart re: the stereo problem and they offered to provide me a new head unit for free
    I actually spoke to Bill as well.
    Thanks everyone for your advice.
    Loving the new toy with all of the mod's complete.
    Craig.

  33. #33
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    Free Stereo and Good Will

    Just got the new stereo installed for free under the good will policy and then just read about the fogged headlight issue which I noticed on my car as well.
    Wrote another letter to Bill Stuart and BMW has offered to cover 1/2 of the costs of the headlights.
    I thought that was very nice and reasonable considering they have no legal obligation
    (being an attorney myself) to have taken care of either.
    Craig.

  34. #34
    BMW's support of our owner group has been nothing short of amazing, they certainly understand how to create and inspire brand loyalty.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  35. #35
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Had mine replaced before the NW trip. Some discount, but not gratis : (

  36. #36
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    goodwill

    I'll take whatever I can get for free!