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BMW E36 318i install

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  • BMW E36 318i install

    After lurking in here for a while gaining lots of ideas for my own install I thought it was now time to share the results with you.

    AMD64 3GHz
    MSI K8MM3 motherboard
    512GB Ram
    40GB Hard Drive
    7" touchscreen

    First off here is my car, a 1998 318i

    My original dash

    I wanted as small a case as possible but couldn't find one small or slim enough. I ended up installing the PC in an A4 box file. I mounted this on a wooden stand and fitted it into the recess in the boot where the first aid box used to live. I'm really pleased with the result as it is out of the way and doesn't interfere with the load space in the boot. I'll remove the case and post some pics of the inside later.

    My screen purchased from Ebay. I don't know the make but I'm really pleased with it. It came with a headrest mounting and this turned out to be a perfect tight fit in the dash. Great news as I didn't have to do any cutting or fabbing a mount etc. The screen is a really tight fit but I can take it out in seconds if I need to.

    As the PC is running the dreaded Windows it was a necessity to fit a reset switch in the console. I also fitted a power switch in the 12v feed to the M2-atx so that I can choose to have the CarPC switched off if I want to.

    I ran all the cables up under the centre console and terminated them behind the screen. I've fitted a 4 port USB hub for the touchscreen, bluetooth and wireless keyboard adaptors.

    You'll notice that I have fitted my sunglasses case with velcro to the side of the centre console. We get that much sun in the North of Scotland that I just couldn't do without my sunglasses being handy

    I fitted another USB hub with velcro under the armrest. Ideal for my flash drive when transferring music onto the PC

    I hid my GPS receiver in the access panel for the rear brake light on the rear parcel shelf.

    I've been running the system for about three weeks with no problems. The only thing is that I now want to move the screen to the top as Enforcer has done. This will involve a lot of modding and relocating the head unit so it will have to wait a while.

  • #2
    Nice to see another UK E36 here.

    I like the idea of using the underside of the armrest for something, hadn't thought about that.

    Not digging the sunglass thing though. I have mine (two as I wear prescription glasses as well) in the door pocket.

    If you need any advice on putting a screen up top and moving the Ac, just let me know or have a look at my site or the tutorials at


    • #3
      Hi Enforcer

      After running the install for about three weeks I would definitely prefer the screen up top, especially when using satnav. I need to figure out the best place to put the head unit first. I doesn't fit in the glove box and I use the glove box anyway. I saw a post from someone who had relocated it to the boot and run cables to the front for the faceplate. Major job!!

      I'm going to give it a lot of thought and planning before attempting it.

      I agree that the sunglasses look a bit naff there but they are really handy.


      • #4
        Good luck with the HU relocation, I did stick mine in the Glove, I had to cut the back of the box for it to fit.

        I intend extending the facia to where the switch panel is in front of the gear stick.