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[My E90 Project] 9500ci - Part 1 - Dash Component Fabrication

SAMIAM2010-08-18 15:51:02 +0000 #1
I ordered a new 335xi earlier this year, and immediately started preparing for expected modifications. I purchased the Passport 9500ci in advance, and started by sitting at the dealer in a demo reflecting on the best place to install the display and controller. I also studied photos online with this piece removed and made the best guess as to where the components would fit. I felt the best location was beneath the row of buttons above the sunglass case, display in the center, and controller near the driver.

I ordered the dash piece for where I intended to "professionally" install it, so I could get a head start on crafting the end product. I didn't have a lot of faith that any installers I knew of could do this well. The dash piece, in my case, BMW part 51459120979, was about $25.


First, I started by using the display lens as a template to pencil the holes that would be cut. I decided that the best look would be to use the "default" lens, and the surface mount lens they provide isn't particularly refined.

The two units are the same size or close enough.



I used masking tape to form the shape of the holes as closely as possible.


Important to mask everything off, accidents happen.


Careful work with the Dremel. First brute stabbing, followed by increasing care and precision. Note that I elected not to cut through the plastic reinforcing molding in the left hole. I decided I could use this to help support the controller.



The holes start to take shape. It's a long and careful process.


The Dremel grinding/sanding attachment I used taunted me a little since it was almost exactly the size of the hole, and I did accidentally carve too deep. I did later obsess over it and start over with a fresh new piece!


Preserving the support plastic was delicate work. It is strong, but you also need o cut into it deep enough to allow the controller to sit nicely.


Pretty close to done here. At this point it was a shift to hand sanding and careful Xacto work. The little arc is cut for the power button on the top/side of the controller. Escort, please fix this in the future and send me a replacement. It will be worth doing this all over.


Cutting and sanding work completed here.




Here I have fabricated a backstop to which the devices will be fastened, after mocking up the devices and measuring. For the display, it was important to have clearance for the button assembly above it. The mounts are nothing more than scrap metal bent into shape. This is from an Apple Xserve drive sled "blank" and had convenient stamping that added stiffness. The center mount is affixed with double-sided thin adhesive foam. The controller backing is wedged into a small slot I cut into the raised plastic piece, winds in front of the preserved plastic support, and extends to the far end.



The units are secured with their own peel-and-stick adhesive. At convenient points I drilled smal holes so that I could use small zip ties to provide strain relief for the cables, and they would not push or pull on the units themselves.



The completed product.






Attachment 412372: www.bimmerpost.com/f...=412372&d=1280348667


I routed the cables up the opposite side of where the button assembly cable runs. I bought a roll of velcro to generously wrap the two cables to provide stiffness that would keep them in place and insure there would not be a future vibration problem of the cables against plastic.



The cables were of different lengths, but going to the same destination, so I looped one of them and affixed them with velcro for the installer.






All in all, it came out pretty well.

TotalPower2010-08-18 15:59:50 +0000 #2

J/k, that's beautiful work. I wish i had the patience to do work like that.
NiVeDh2010-08-18 16:05:23 +0000 #3
Wow, looks great!
ATL E922010-08-18 16:43:47 +0000 #4
wow, that truly is amazing! I wish I had the patience to do that, it definitely is worth it for that final product
2kaccordocoupe2010-08-18 17:22:23 +0000 #5
excellent work - I can't wait to see it all mounted up in the car
Kruz2010-08-18 16:51:47 +0000 #6
Wow. All that careful planning, prep, and care and you installed the wrong radar detector. V1!!!
dakman2010-08-18 18:00:17 +0000 #7
Wow, looks better than factory. I'm drooling.
onefastman2010-08-18 18:13:23 +0000 #8
Wow, you just saved your self $500-800 by the time its all said and done.



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