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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it impossible to replace the F56 base head unit with an aftermarket head unit? After weeks of searching I have found zero people that have done it, and no mounting kits for sale anywhere. I even found one guy who installed an aftermarket head unit in the tiny top glove box on the passenger side, just so he didn't have to remove the factory base head unit.

I have a few theories as to why this is never attempted.
1. Maybe the space inside the light ring is too small for any aftermarket unit.
2. Maybe the stereo does something super important, and the car cannot function without it.
3. Maybe it looks so incredibly amazing that no one is willing to remove it.

I have seen many people install $3000+ aftermarket stereo systems into their f56 mini, but they all keep the factory head unit. What magical thing does this factory head unit do that no one can live without it?

I do not own an f56 mini yet, i am about to buy one. I want to build a really killer sound system in it. I am going to spend at least $2500 on the sound system. I really don't want the factory head unit.

Thanks in advance for any help or info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, i think that is the official answer.

However, I could install an aftermarket head unit in the glove box, like that one guy did, so clearly I don't NEED any wires from the factory. I can run my own power ground wires, remote leads, signal outputs, everything.

SO...

What about the most extreme possible solution. I remove the factory head unit, solder on 15 feet of extra wire to every single wire attached to the head unit. Put the factory head unit in the boot where no one will ever see it, but it is still wired to the car. Then, use the hole in the dash, run all new wire to power an aftermarket head unit. Machine by hand my own custom mounting bracket. Then mold, by hand some custom plastic trim pieces out of black plastic, and mount the stereo. That seems like it might just be possible.

Am I willing to do that much work? Actually yes, but man that is going to be a lot of work.
 

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Is it impossible to replace the F56 base head unit with an aftermarket head unit? After weeks of searching I have found zero people that have done it, and no mounting kits for sale anywhere. I even found one guy who installed an aftermarket head unit in the tiny top glove box on the passenger side, just so he didn't have to remove the factory base head unit.

I have a few theories as to why this is never attempted.
1. Maybe the space inside the light ring is too small for any aftermarket unit.
2. Maybe the stereo does something super important, and the car cannot function without it.
3. Maybe it looks so incredibly amazing that no one is willing to remove it.

I have seen many people install $3000+ aftermarket stereo systems into their f56 mini, but they all keep the factory head unit. What magical thing does this factory head unit do that no one can live without it?

I do not own an f56 mini yet, i am about to buy one. I want to build a really killer sound system in it. I am going to spend at least $2500 on the sound system. I really don't want the factory head unit.

Thanks in advance for any help or info.
I'm pretty sure the HK ungraded would sound pretty good, seven speaker system I believe and it's not going to cost 2.5k ( or it might with Minis prices with their extras!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can I ask a different question then? Can the f56 work fine with the factory head unit removed. Is there any car related functionality in the head unit other than sound?

I ask because, if you spec the expensive nav option, the driver can actually modify dynamic damper settings and steering wheel tightness for sport mode on the nav screen. Therefore, if you remove that nav unit, you can no longer adjust some sport mode settings. Is this also true of the base head unit, do you make car adjustments through the head unit menus?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"2 in the family",

The Harmon Kardon system is $750, which is a pretty good price. Also almost everyone says it sounds pretty great. I am actually just insane, and want this $1000 pioneer head unit that i love, at least 50 watts at every speaker, and over 1200 watts on a couple subs in the boot.
 

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Can I ask a different question then? Can the f56 work fine with the factory head unit removed. Is there any car related functionality in the head unit other than sound?

I ask because, if you spec the expensive nav option, the driver can actually modify dynamic damper settings and steering wheel tightness for sport mode on the nav screen. Therefore, if you remove that nav unit, you can no longer adjust some sport mode settings. Is this also true of the base head unit, do you make car adjustments through the head unit menus?
I don't know that you can do that... The head unit, even on the base radio is needed to change car settings like the locks, lighting, light ring, SPORT/GREEN mode settings, user profiles, TPMS readings, oil level (<--this is actually a big one, since there is no dipstick), scheduled service... and those are just the stock items, as you mentioned before, if you have dynamic dampers you would adjust them through the head unit as well, HUD settings, trip computer, onboard info..
 

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"2 in the family",

The Harmon Kardon system is $750, which is a pretty good price. Also almost everyone says it sounds pretty great. I am actually just insane, and want this $1000 pioneer head unit that i love, at least 50 watts at every speaker, and over 1200 watts on a couple subs in the boot.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the want, but maybe you don't need it?
Why not add the money to more on a good home system that a car can never match, or just a decent source and a pair of cans with a headphone amp that would blow your mind when it comes to hi fi audio.

I stayed on my little motorbike when all my mates bought another and bought some great hi fi, I still have it (30 years later) and to buy it today would cost thousands (I paid hundreds). At the time my friends thought I was mad, maybe as you say 'insane'. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
siriuszero,

Thank you so much. That is exactly what i needed to know. The base head unit is required to do many car related functions, therefore, removing it is a horrible idea. I thought this may be the reason. I even stated that as my second hypothesis,

"2. Maybe the stereo does something super important, and the car cannot function without it."
The answer is YES.

again, thank you. this explains everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2 in the family,

You are correct. No one actually needs something like this. It is a bit crazy.

So, now that I know the factory head unit MUST remain in the car for critical car functions, I must decide to either install an aftermarket head unit somewhere else, or use a cleansweep type device to convert the speaker level signal to line level for external amps, thought that option is not as good sound quality, its probably good enough, especially in a car.

Thank you everyone, especially siriuszero, you solved the mystery for me.
 

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I would pose a question to you. Why not the factory head unit? If you are going high end, IMHO your better off with the factory head unit and getting a digital signal from the most loop. Thats going to be a cleaner signal than almost anything you will find aftermarket. This said, grabbing this signal isn't cheap, expect to pay around $700 for the part you need.

To answer your question specifically, the head units are typically part of the MOST loop, and typically removal of them not only creates a break in the loop but also the head units have cross communication to several other ECU's in the car like heads up, Kombi, FEM-BODY etc. it is also heavily integrated into the telematics system.

Here is a link talking about this from a BMW E-90 that applies to the F-56 in almost every way. the one note being that Mobridge doesn't list this car or the F-30 that I have as a compatible vehicle. I have now confirmed this is working on F-30 and thus should also be compatible with the F-56. This doesn't answer all the questions but gets you pointed the right direction.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=884978



Is it impossible to replace the F56 base head unit with an aftermarket head unit? After weeks of searching I have found zero people that have done it, and no mounting kits for sale anywhere. I even found one guy who installed an aftermarket head unit in the tiny top glove box on the passenger side, just so he didn't have to remove the factory base head unit.

I have a few theories as to why this is never attempted.
1. Maybe the space inside the light ring is too small for any aftermarket unit.
2. Maybe the stereo does something super important, and the car cannot function without it.
3. Maybe it looks so incredibly amazing that no one is willing to remove it.

I have seen many people install $3000+ aftermarket stereo systems into their f56 mini, but they all keep the factory head unit. What magical thing does this factory head unit do that no one can live without it?

I do not own an f56 mini yet, i am about to buy one. I want to build a really killer sound system in it. I am going to spend at least $2500 on the sound system. I really don't want the factory head unit.

Thanks in advance for any help or info.
 
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