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Thread: Radio Code

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Oceanview De USA
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    BMW Z3

    Radio Code

    2021 Edit: If you are reading this in 2021, thanks for using the search function

    If you need a radio code for your BMW E36 3 series or Z3, I recommend calling your local friendly dealership, tell them you unplugged your battery on the way to go buy a brand new BMW (har har har) and that you need that sweet sweet radio code in order to listen to your jams so that you can be in the right mindset in order to buy that M8 competition.

    Once you get your radio code, please remove the radio and grab a sharpie marker and write that code down on the top of the metal case, so that anyone in the future can find that code easily. I also recommend pulling the radio out and looking there first.

    -BimmerBreaker



    I just took my Z3 out of storage today,battery was removed 2 mos ago and replaced today. Now my radio indicates it needs a code to operate. any ideas
    Last edited by BimmerBreaker; 03-13-2021 at 02:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    SW Florida
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    12,606
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    99-01 M Cpe & Rdts, X5M
    Yes, enter the code and the radio will work.

    The radio code should be on a business card with the owner's manual.

    Don't have it? Trip to the dealer, at their mercy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    USA
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    368-90-82
    If you pull the radio out and get the make and serial number for me I'll get it for you.
    Current:
    2001 TiAg M Coupe
    2014 Alpine 328xi
    2015 Alpine 228xi M sport
    Past:
    2010 Alpine 135i M sport
    2009 JB 328i Sedan
    2007 JB Z4 3.0i Roadster
    1999 Imola M Coupe
    1991 Helrot 325is
    1989 Helrot 325i

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    New Zealand
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    BMW Z3. + 2006 Coupe 33
    That's OK If you have the original book, cant you get the code from BMW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Bethesda Maryland
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    99 M Roadster/07 M Coupe
    Normally pulling the radio to get the serial number is unnecessary. Most late model BMW radios will display the serial number if you hit the "M" button a holding it down for a few seconds. This has to be done within a few seconds of turning on the radio...

    I made a quick trip to the dealer and retrieved several possible codes depending on the manufacturer of the radio...

    Tim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Bethesda Maryland
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    99 M Roadster/07 M Coupe
    While we're on the subject of radios; I did some digging and found some features that are not in the radio book that came with the car...
    I think the information below will help you get past the "Area USA" display. To scroll through the various displays press the + button on the left upper portion of the radio.

    The following is from my 2002 3.0i Z3. Other Z3's I've had display slightly different information as you scroll through the functions.

    Radio Security Code and Programming/Service Mode

    The "
    Radio Code" is an antitheft device. If someone steals the radio the code must be entered to activate the radio. Likewise, if the car's battery goes dead or is disconnected for safety reasons during service the radio will prompt you to enter the code when power is re-applied.

    The
    radio will display:

    CODE - - - - -

    Enter the 5-digit
    Radio Code using the radios preset buttons. This number also appears on your Radio Code card assuming you have one.

    After entering the fifth digit press the > button and the
    radio will activate. Any presets you had before the power loss will return. Apparently a capacitor in the radio holds that information.

    To retrieve your radio's serial number without removing it from the dash. Enter the radio's programming/service mode. To do this, turn on the
    radio then, hold down the M button on the left lower portion of the radio's faceplate for about 10 seconds. The display will change to the radio's serial number. To scroll through the various displays press the + button on the left upper portion of the radio. To get out of programming/service mode turn the radio off by pressing the volume control.

    The following information is not in the
    radio owner's manual.

    When in programming/service mode you can scroll through a variety of displays. The only display of any real importance is the GAL. There is no information about GAL in the owner's manual. Please read below.

    The following displays are available:

    SN 19941629 – appears on the
    Radio Code card
    GI 45
    GAL 4
    HI 321403
    > SIM 111100D
    > SIP 141401
    Station Signal Strength is Displayed
    DSP 0 V 00
    AREA USA
    VIEW 3
    AF MAN
    ###########
    (blank display – see explanation below)


    Explanations of
    Radio Display Symbols
    SN is the serial number of the
    radio itself needed to get the Radio Code if you lose the card. Contact a BMW dealer, tell them the radio serial number and show your registration. They will get your code from their computer

    GI – no idea

    GAL (adjustable 1,2,3,4,5,6 using
    radio preset buttons). This sets the speed sensitive volume control. The higher the number the loader the radio volume automatically becomes as you hit 40mph. It compensates for wind noise due to the top being down. When you slow to below 40mph it returns to your original (idle) setting. I have used it as high as 5 in summer and turned it down to 4 in winter when the top is up. Set to best meet your needs.

    HI – no idea. When in this mode pressing the > arrow the display changes to
    SIM – no idea - push > again and it changes to
    SIP – no idea

    Station signal strength is displayed – you can change the station and the display will show you the signal strength of that station.

    DSP probably means Dolby Surround Processing, or Digital Signal Processor, DSP does not apply to this model
    radio in a Z3.

    AREA is adjusted using the preset button 1. Area refers to the country where the
    radio is to be used. Pressing preset button 1 scrolls through the following options; USA, CANADA, OC+RDS (no idea), JAPAN, NO AREA, EUROPE. Note, the tuning increments change based on the country. In the USA, all FM frequencies end in odd numbers i.e.: 101.5 and 98.7. I other countries FM and AM increments are different.

    VIEW (adjustable 1,2,3,4 using the preset buttons) 3 is brightest other than that I have no idea.

    AF Auto (something)? Well, I know it doesn't stand for Auto Focus.

    ########### Blank display used to test the LEDs. By pressing
    radio presets 1, 2, 3, 4 the display scrolls through a set of patterns so that any bad LEDs are easy to

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
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    My Cars
    BMW Z3. + 2006 Coupe 33
    Quote Originally Posted by HEMIkiller View Post
    Normally pulling the radio to get the serial number is unnecessary. Most late model BMW radios will display the serial number if you hit the "M" button a holding it down for a few seconds. This has to be done within a few seconds of turning on the radio..

    Tim
    I just tried mine and it didn't show code, 2002 Z3

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Bethesda Maryland
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    99 M Roadster/07 M Coupe
    you have to push the button within a few seconds of turning on your radio and hold it for 10 seconds...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    New Zealand
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEMIkiller View Post
    you have to push the button within a few seconds of turning on your radio and hold it for 10 seconds...
    OK, I was too impatient, I have 2 letters and 6 numbers so obviously just use the numbers, that is a very useful tip, Thanks Killer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Daytona Beach, FL
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    2.5I Z3
    look in owners manual and don't waste your time at the dealer, i went there for 2 weeks straight and they couldn't figure the damn thing out

  11. #11
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    The serial number will not unlock the radio. You must contact a BMW dealer to get the unlock code...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Daytona Beach, FL
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    2.5I Z3
    hes right but take a good look in your book, there might possibly be a little paper that looks like a business card, saying something about the type of stereo you have and a serial number (for your stereo) should be on that, with me at least they couldn't crack the code and driving around for a few weeks made me desperate so i started searching for anything in my car that may have unlocked the code and found it

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Oceanview De USA
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    BMW Z3

    Breas2

    hemikiller has the right answer,I punched the M button on radio for 10 sec, got the ser no. called the Dealership with the serial no and had the correct code in about 1 min. I put it in the radio and had it going instantly. Thanks very much hemikiller. Breas2

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    New Zealand
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    I hope there are no radio thieves reading this

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Deadwood, SD
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    1997 BMW Z3

    Smile Radio Code

    I had the same radio code problem after changing batteries. Called my dealer with the radio serial number (found on bottom of radio after removing it). Within 30 seconds he gave me the number, and all is well! Thanks to your tips, I was led to a quick resolution.

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
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    2002 Z3M, 1964 S600
    Would you be able to help me out and get me the unlock code for my radio. I own a 1998 Z3 with the Alpine cassette deck and the cd changer in the trunk. My radio serial # is V1186455. Thanks in advance

  17. #17
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    02 M Coupe, 95 M3, 20 X2
    Quote Originally Posted by zcarcanuck View Post
    would you be able to help me out and get me the unlock code for my radio. I own a 1998 z3 with the alpine cassette deck and the cd changer in the trunk. My radio serial # is v1186455. Thanks in advance
    22111

  18. #18
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    2002 Z3M, 1964 S600
    Awesome. Thanks for the help it works like a charm

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
    Posts
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    My Cars
    '97 Z3
    I have the same problem. I winter down in FLA and over the summer the battery went dead. I used to have my card with the code on it in in a specific drawer, but it has somehow vanished. Anyway... I did the trick with the 'M' button and serial # is V0329761 ("o" or zero, not sure...)

    It's a '97 Z3 6 cylinder and it's a factory radio.

    If it helps to verify my authenticity, IIRC, the code was a combination of all 5's and 1's.

    Thanks for your help!

    -REBjr

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    55112

    turn it up....

  21. #21
    Join Date
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    '97 Z3
    Heh. Oh yeah, forgot there was a 2 in there.

    Thanks, you're a lifesaver.

    Well, perhaps not, but you've been a tremendous help!
    Here, Let me buy you an internet beer!

    Cheers,

    REBjr

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    fallston,maryland,usa
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    2000 m roadster
    I have a 2000 m roadster and mine was either 0001 or 0002 I did it a couple years ago and dont remember off the top of my head.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    in.
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    525i bmw
    what is the amount of time you have to wait after entering the wrong code? mine hates when i enter wroung code

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Northern Virginia
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    99 Z3 2.8 Roady 05 Z71
    Thanks HEMIkiller, great info.

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    Batavia, IL
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    00 M Coupe, 08 335xi
    Quote Originally Posted by jellin1 View Post
    what is the amount of time you have to wait after entering the wrong code? mine hates when i enter wroung code
    1 hour with the iginition on or drving.

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