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DIY: Replace Phone Cradle with Insert Tray (E92)

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DIY: Replace Phone Cradle with Insert Tray (E92)

Postby Sanchez » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:09 pm

Having become pretty tired of the phone cradle under the armrest in my E92 I decided that I wanted to get rid of it.

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It wasn’t 2008 any more and I certainly don’t own an old Nokia. I had seen that BMW do a cubby hole insert to replace it like the one shown below

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I’d looked a few times to see if anyone had done a guide for this in the past but only came across stuff for the E90, which is different. I thought I’d write up my method so that others can use it if they want to get rid of theirs too. I’d imagine with these instructions you can do this in under half an hour quite easily (It took me about 2 hours to do this after removing various bit of incorrect trim etc :thumbdown).

Things you’ll need:

Insert tray. Part Number: 51167118064 (£12.41)
Non marring trim tools
Jeweler’s type flat head screwdriver

Start by opening the armrest and working with the trim tool start at the left corner of the holder. Start with the corner closest to you if sitting in the driver’s seat. This part requires a little brute force and ignorance. Wedge the trim tool down the side and lever the phone holder upwards to remove it. You’ll want a narrow tipped trim tool for this as you want maximum force in a concentrated area. It should pop out relatively easily. If you’re having no success try another area of the holder but the retaining tabs are all located towards the front of the holder so the far end should be easiest.

Once the holder is free from the armrest you’ll want to pull through most of the wire that is tucked into the tunnel where the handbrake is.

Now remove the handbrake gaiter by pulling from the top of the gaiter. Mine came away very easily. Push the gaiter all the way to the end of the handbrake and you should be presented with a very tight space in which the two cables from the phone holder are connected. One on a white cable holder and the antenna was free hanging on mine.


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The first cable can be disconnected by pushing down the tab just before the release clip on the side and then moving the clip all the way towards you to disconnect it. This is shown in the picture above but the clip is almost all the way to full release. The connector should then come out and the cable can be removed.

The second cable is the antenna. This will be tucked in there somewhere also and look like the picture below.

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To remove this I suggest that you start from the back and push the clip through on either side with the small flat head screwdriver, The reverse of the connector is shown below.

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I attempted it from the front by prying the clip upwards and broke the purple clip. I had to pull the rest out with pliers. Disconnect the antenna and fully remove the phone holder.

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Replace the handbrake gaiter and slip in the new insert. Job done.

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All you existing phone stuff will work (except the holder, obviously), as far as I know the cradle just charges the phone and connects it to the external antenna. The great thing about this is that the process is reversible and it can be put back if needs be. I’ve seen some guides where they dismantle the holder and leave the electronics inside which seems far from ideal.

Hope this helps some out there, I’ve seen the question of how it’s removed asked a few times and at least we now have the answer.
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Re: DIY: Replace Phone Cradle with Insert Tray (E92)

Postby Darren » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:57 am

Superb write up mate!

PM me your address and I'll send you a free sticker for your effort.
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Re: DIY: Replace Phone Cradle with Insert Tray (E92)

Postby Rich_D » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:24 am

On older cars (E46, E39, etc) you still needed the pairing button to be able to add a new phone, but on E9X's it's done via the headunit, so the cradle & button can be removed with no detrimental effects.

Mine's not even got a snap-in adapter, just the eject box ready for one, with a blank panel to cover the electrical connections.
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