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      03-04-2014, 03:24 PM   #1
AlexMSFT's Avatar

Drives: 2009 BMW M6 - Carbon Black
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Seattle

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Post CIC Retrofit for BMW E63s - (Long and Pic Heavy)

CIC/Combox Retrofit for BMW E63s

I just completed a CIC and Combox retrofit on my 2009 M6 Coupť and thought I'd write up my experience since there doesn't seem to be much content for E63s. Itís a bit long winded, but I decided to make it as clear and step-by-step as possible to help resolve any questions that might arise.
In short, I ordered a CIC/Combox retrofit kit from Mike Benvoís and installed the retrofits myself. Iíve included information about some of the issues that I ran into and questions that I had when I was doing the retrofit.
Overall it was a great learning experience and I was very happy with Mikeís support and service. In retrospect, I would have a professional (such as Mike himself) do the retrofit for me given the amount of things I had to remove from my car and put back.

Note that some pictures were borrowed from other posts, for the sake of completeness. Sources have been included in the Resources section.

For a short list of things I discovered that weren't mentioned elsewhere or are obscure, scroll down to the Notes section at the bottom.

Also, there's a PDF copy attached to this post and available here.

Pros & Cons
  • Mike is very patient and available and doesnít give up
  • Mike did an excellent job coding my car and got it running perfectly (and followed up afterwards to make sure everything is working well)
  • CIC is much faster than CCC
  • CIC looks much better looking than CCC (higher resolution, cleaner interface)
  • CIC has an improved typing interface
  • CIC has a built-in hard drive that stores navigation data (replacing the navigation DVD) and can store your music
  • Combox allows Bluetooth media streaming (you can still use an iPod, USB stick, etc. if you like)
  • Combox provides access to neat features like BMW Online (Google StreetView, Weather, etc.), Internet and Office (contacts, etc.). (Note that you need data tethering for BMW Online and Internet functionality)

  • Mike can sometimes be a bit slow to respond via e-mail when heís busy (but just text or call him!)
  • You have to take out the center console of your car
  • You have to splice into your hazard and door lock switch cable for CIC control illumination
  • You have to take out your rear seats
  • Itís very difficult to see properly in the back of an E63 without proper lighting (and uncomfortable)

I bought a CIC/Combox retrofit kit from Mike Benvo's and decided to do the install myself. It certainly wasn't a trouble free install, but wasn't super difficult either. If you're thinking about doing it, I would recommend taking it to a professional if you're scared of breaking pieces, ruining wires, etc. While I didn't break or ruin anything, I can't say I wasn't worried about doing so most of the time. It can be really difficult to remove some pieces and sometimes requires a lot of force too or applying pressure to just the right place. I'll talk about those parts as I get to them.
In case you donít know what CIC and Combox are, CIC is BMWís updated iDrive navigation system as seen on all E series cars from 2010+ prior to F series cars (F series have a slightly better CIC-HIGH system). CIC is significantly faster than CCC, both in terms of starting navigation and general performance of the menus. It also looks significantly better aesthetically and visually (higher resolution screen). Combox is a separate component that can be added to cars with CIC (canít add Combox to CCC) that adds Bluetooth audio streaming and call capability as well as BMWís ConnectedDrive suite (Office, Internet, BMW Online/Live, etc. Note that you need data tethering for BMW Online and Internet functionality).

Installation Walkthrough
Buying Experience
I'll start with ordering the retrofit kit. As I mentioned above, I ordered the CIC and Combox retrofit kit via Mike Benvo's I started by emailing Mike and inquiring about the cost and what was necessary to get it into my specific car. Mike was a bit slow when responding to emails (but as you'll see later, was immediately responding to texts and phone calls), but he eventually got back to me with the details and I went ahead and paid for the kit and 2 day shipping since I wanted to get it done over the weekend. He quickly shipped the kit via FedEx and I received the package by noon on Friday. All the items were included (including the illumination wire needed to illuminate the CIC controls on LCI E6Xs) and were super well packaged and protected. Nothing was damaged and everything looked like it was new with no scratches or anything. So I prepared to get to work right away.

Beforehand I'd used TIS to find the pages for removing and reinstalling the parts that I would have to remove including the CCC itself (and as a result the center console trim, vents and trim), the CCC display and the TCU/MULF (located behind the back seats and inaccessible unless you remove the back seats including headrests, seat bottom, backrests and optionally seatbelts). Having done this and read them (and some internet resources) in advance I had a fairly good idea of what needed to be done, but I kept the right pages handy on a tablet and this proved invaluable.
Iíd also gone ahead and bought a set of plastic trim removal tools (typically inexpensive) which turned out to be useful, specifically the more narrow ones. Additionally, youíll need a Torx screwdriver (T20 bit I believe, not sure), Phillips screwdrivers (various sizes), a socket wrench (for the backseats, TCU/MULF, various sizes), a small Allen wrench for the CCC display and a flathead if youíre not using a trim removal tool.
Finally, Iíd recommend getting something to protect the shifter and trim around the shifter when you pull out the center trim and CCC. I used a few layers painterís plastic to protect it and it did a fairly good job. Take care not to use something that might have static electricity (a towel would be an example of something NOT to use).
I would strongly suggest disconnecting the car battery. You can do this by opening the trunk, removing the floor trim and lifting the cover with the tools. Then unscrew the negative lead using a socket wrench and carefully pull it out and tuck it away from the batteryís negative point so thereís no risk of them touching. At this point your doors will no longer close if you have soft close doors, and your trunk will no longer open by pushing the roundel. If you close the trunk and canít open it, donít freak out Remove the key from your keyfob, push the roundel in and thereís a slot for the key. Twist it (itís kind of difficult) then the trunk should open. Just donít leave your keys in the trunk!

CIC Retrofit
Removing CIC
I began by removing the hazard and door lock switch as per TIS. First you fit a narrow trim removal tool under the switch on the bottom, then you lever it outwards. The bottom end will pop out and youíll need to stick the trim removal tool under the side and pull it outwards. The whole switch piece should pop out fairly easily. Now remove the cable from the switch by pulling the connector straight out (can require a bit of force). Put the switch piece away somewhere safe.
Once youíve removed the hazard and door lock switch youíll need to remove the screw (Fig. 1, Item 1) that is hidden below where the switch was. Some people have claimed their card didnít have them, but mine definitely did, so be careful to look for it and remove it. Itís located directly beneath the switch, securing the vent section and you can put a screwdriver in vertically and unscrew it. Be careful NOT to drop the screw in when taking it out and put it away.

Fig. 1 - Hazard and Door Lock Switch Screw

Now the vent section is free and can be pulled out. To do this, just pull with your hands on the top of the vent trim and itíll pop out. If that isnít working you can stick a trim removal tool under the trim around the top near the display. This section is fairly easy to remove and doesnít require a lot of force. Once youíve removed it, place it somewhere safe and clean.
Next, unscrew the main center console trim covering the CCC. There are two screws (Fig. 2, Item 1) located on opposite sides, right above the center trim (where the vent trim was). Put the screws away.

Fig. 2 - Center Console Trim Screws

Then, to remove the center console trim, there are tabs on both sides that need to be unhooked before you pull the entire thing out. Get a trim removal tool under both sides of the trim (right around the middle, next to the secondary DVD slot for navigation) and pull it outwards a bit on both sides. Then repeat this all the way down the left and right sides and it should unhook.
Before pulling it out, youíll need to lean it outwards a bit to remove the cables for the AC controls. Lean the top section outward enough that you can get your hands in there and you should see three cables. On the left side, thereís a black one (Fig. 3, Item 1) which youíll need to push in on the tabs on either side (top and bottom) and pull straight out. Then, for the middle one (Fig. 3, Item 2), push in the small tab next to the grey piece which is holding the grey piece in place. While pushing the tab in, move the grey piece over the tab (to the left) and the connector will start to pop out. Let go of the tab and continue moving the grey piece and the whole connector will pop out all the way. Repeat this on the blue connector (Fig. 3, Item 3) and there should be no more cables connected to the trim piece. Once youíve removed the cables, pull the center trim out all the way (try to pull it straight out. If you feel resistance, make sure the bottom tabs havenít popped back into place, otherwise they may snap off. Theyíre located on the bottom side of the trim piece). Put the trim way somewhere safe and clean.

Fig. 3 - AC Controls Connections

Finally, youíll remove the CIC by unscrewing all four screws and pulling it outwards. This can be a bit difficult to do since thereís not much to pull on, try moving it side to side a bit and it should start coming out enough for you to be able to pull on something. Pull it straight out, but not all the way, since thereís a lot of cables attached to the back and some are very short (the cable with the big connector on the bottom left was so short on mine I could barely get my hand to it to remove it). Remove each of the cables, starting with the big black connector (Fig. 4, Item 1) with all the wires (this one was the shortest one for me, removing it made it much easier to remove the rest). To remove it, use a narrow trim removal tool or flat head screwdriver (or your fingers, but itíll hurt!) and get under the black tab on the top. Pry it towards the front of the car and it should unhinge. Now just rotate the black piece towards the front of the car and the whole connector should pop out. Now that youíve removed that, you should have a bit more leeway to pull the CCC out a bit more and make your life easier. Then, remove the small connector with the brown and white cables (Fig. 4, Item 2). Just pull up on this and itíll pop out. Then remove the black one with slightly bigger connector (Fig. 4, Item 3) by pushing it towards the front of the car. You might need to get under the metal piece and pry it out, but be careful not to damage it! Then, repeat this with the blue connector (Fig. 4, Item 4). Finally, remove the metal cased connector (Fig. 4, Item 5) by pulling it straight out (you might need to pry under it).

Fig. 4 - CCC Connections (Back)

Next, you need to remove the CCC display (the new CIC one is higher quality and has different connections. The old CCC one is not compatible with CIC). To do this, use a small allen wrench and unscrew the two screws along the inside top of the display (where the hood is). Thereís one on the left and one on the right. Once you remove these, use a flat and narrow trim removal tool to get under the hood a bit and push it down. (You might be able to do that by hand). Donít pull the display out all the way yet. First pull out the metal covered connector (Fig.5, Item 1). Then, push the small tab on the black connector (Fig. 5, Item 2) (near the grey retainer piece), pull the retainer towards the top of the display, let go of the tab and continue rotating the retainer towards the top until the connector pops out. Finally, remove the cables from the white tabs that hold them in place (just lift each tab a bit and pull the cable out).

Fig. 5 - CCC Display Connections (Back)

Take a break Youíre done removing CCC from your car and now itís time to put CIC in. Itís a bit more work to do this, so I would definitely recommend taking a break at this point. Trying to do this while tired will most likely end badly and end up creating more work.

Installing CIC
Once Iíd taken a break, I came back to start installing CIC. First thing you should do is install the cable and port for the glovebox USB. The glovebox USB is necessary and different from your center console USB port. Itís used to import music and deliver updates to CIC. At first I didnít have the proper part that the USB port is supposed to fit into and then fits into the glovebox, so once I got that I removed the existing flashlight cover (located at the top left of the glovebox). Then I removed the back of the glovebox in order to see better (thereís a tab along the top of the back piece, push it down and pull it towards you. You should see lots of colored fuses behind it.). This is the hard part. My cable has an angled connector on the USB port side (only one side of the cable fits the USB port) and so I had to mess around with it a lot so that it would go in all the way and still be able to send the cable through the dash via the hole in the left of the USB port area. I ended up routing the cable through first and catching it on the CIC side, then folding the cable back on itself on the USB port side such that the cable was bent towards the front of the car and into the hole so that the connector would pass through without getting stuck. It was very difficult to do and Iím still not sure if itíll snap off at some point, so if you have the patience, get an extension cable online and use that to work around the angled connector. On the CIC side, connect the white USB connector to the white receptacle on the CIC (Fig.6, Item 1).

Fig. 6 - CIC Connections (Back)

Next, you can do one of two things. You can either connect the illumination wire or if youíre unsure if you need it, plug everything into CIC first, connect the battery and turn your headlights on to see if the CIC controls illuminate. If your car is an LCI model (regardless of M or not, post 2007 I believe), then youíll need to do this, so spare yourself the pain of putting everything in only to take it back out like I did.
To install the illumination wire, youíll need the wire itself (I think 18 gauge), a wiretap with the correct gauge for the hazard switch wire (important!) and a special pin thatís used to plug into the big black connector on the CIC side. On the hazard and door lock switch side, find the wire going to pin 2 (thereís numbers on the connector and the wire will be red and white/grey). Slide the wiretap onto the pin 2 wire (the second one from the right in Fig. 7), and lock it. If itís the right gauge, it should cut into the plastic on the wire and make a connection with the copper, but if youíre not sure you can use a volt meter to test it (touch the red probe to the metal part of the wiretap or the CIC side of the illumination wire, touch the black probe to a grounded element on the car, i.e. a metal piece thatís connected to the chassis of the car, thereís some right inside the CCC cavity and turn the car and headlights on. You should see about 12V on the voltmeter). Make sure the wire doesnít move around in the wiretap since it might lose connection every time the wire moves (I used some electrical tape to make extra sure it didnít move).

Fig. 7 Hazard/Door Lock Switch Connector

Now, on the CIC side, youíll need to insert the pin thatís connected to the illumination wire to the right spot on the big black connector. If you look carefully on the connector (the side without the wires) you should see numbers. Find pin slot 14 (thereís a number for 13, the next is 14), it should be empty (blank) (Fig. 8, Item 1). Thatís where you need to insert the pin. To do this, youíll need to remove the blue color retainer (Fig. 8, Item 2), by pressing down on the tab (thereís a little blue tab on it towards the wired side that youíll need to press down towards the flat side). Once you press down on that, use your thumb to pull on the blue piece (pull it to the side of the connector, the same side that youíre pressing down on the tab on). Itíll slide right out. Be careful not to dislodge the other pins by pulling the cables at this point. Next, insert the pin into the correct slot (pin slot 14) with the slightly thicker side facing away from the other wires and the open side facing towards the other wires. It should slide all the way down. Once it does, put the blue retainer back in place by sliding it in and the wires should be locked in. Take a look at the flat-side of the connector to confirm you can see the pin and it looks like the other pins.

Fig. 8 - CCC/CIC Main Connector

Next, plug in the blue (Fig. 6, Item 2) and small black (Fig. 6, Item 3) connectors to the blue and black receptacles on the CIC. Tuck the other wires except the big black connector away (so the very small black connector with the brown and white wires, as well as the metal connector with the light blue). You might consider taping the heads of the extra connectors up with electrical tape just in case.
Now, route the cable with the purple connectors (Fig. 6, Item 4) that belong to the CIC display from the display cavity down into the CIC cavity. Only one of the connectors connects to the purple receptacle on the CIC, make sure you route that side down. Connect it to CIC and leave the majority of the length of the cable on the display side. Youíll connect it to the display later.
Then, reconnect the big black connector (Fig. 6, Item 5) to the CIC. Again this will be tricky, as youíll need to rotate the connector (it goes in upside down on the CIC relative to how it was connected to CCC) and move the CIC close enough so that the connector reaches and you can still fit your hand. Line the connector up with the black rotating retainer facing down (towards the bottom of the CIC) and make sure the retainer is as far horizontal as possible. Once you slide the connector into place, youíll feel that thereís no more room to push it in. At this point, rotate the black retainer downwards and all the way snug with CIC. Itíll lock in there and the connector shouldnít move anymore at this point.
Finally on the CIC side of things, line up the CIC with cavity. There are two diamond shape pieces of plastic on the sides that should line directly up with the rails in the cavity. Slide it all the way back so that the protruding metal with the screw holes is flush against the plastic of the dashboard. It may not slide all the way, in which case youíll need to push it up a bit at the end and it should then fall into place. At this point you can screw the CIC back in and refit all of the trim, but Iíd recommend waiting until youíve coded it and verified everything is working fine before doing that. Most likely youíll need to fix something you missed, etc.

And finally on the CIC display side of things, connect the purple connector that you routed from CIC to the purple receptacle on the CIC display. Now, take the black connector with the grey retainer and find the tab on the side (pictured below) that allows you to remove the outer layer. Push the tab (Fig. 9, Item 1) in with a screwdriver and pull the actual connector out of the outer layer.

Fig. 9 - CCC Display Connector Tab

Fig. 10 - Actual display connector slipping out of outer layer

Once you do you should end up with a connector that looks like this (Fig 11):

Fig. 11 - Actual display connector and pins to push in

Fig. 12 - Wires pulled out of actual CCC display connector

Push down with a screwdriver on each of the little pins and pull them out by the wire. Once youíve removed them all youíll need to plug them into the new connector like so (Fig. 13 & 14) (red wire to pin 1, brown wire to pin 3, black to pin 5, yellow to pin 6):

Fig. 13 - New pin layout on new CIC display connector

Fig. 14 - New pin layout on new CIC display connector - Different angle

Once youíve connected all the pins to the new connecter, plug the connector into the display next to the purple connector. Optionally you can try to fit the cables into the organizing hooks on the display. Finally, place the display back into the cavity by setting the bottom down inside first, the rotating the top of the display towards the front of the car. It should go in all the way and look like it did prior to removing the CCC display. Screw the display back in.

Take another break here I thought removing the TCU/MULF and installing the Combox would be relatively painless and quick. I was wrong.

Combox Retrofit
Removing TCU/MULF
To remove the TCU/MULF, youíll need to remove your back seat bottoms, back seat rests, back headrests and optionally seatbelts. To do that, first remove the armrest piece that covers the ski hole. You can do that by pulling on the little tab halfway up the center of the back seats. Then, grab the rear seat bottoms from underneath the front and pull up. You should hear a sound as it unhooks. Do the same on the other side. The rear seats should now be loose and can be removed from the car.
Next, remove your back headrests. This can be VERY difficult. Do NOT try to pull them off by holding on to the headrests themselves. Reach under and youíll feel a stiffer piece on the underside which you should use to pull them off. In my case, one of them came out without to much effort. The other one refused to come out and I ended up carefully fitting a metal bar between the headrest and the seat and levering it up and off with a lot of force.
Then, unscrew the two nuts that hold the backrests in place. Theyíre located at the bottom of the backrests, where the seat bottoms were, towards the middle of each backrests. These can really only be opened with a socket wrench. Donít try using other types of wrenches, theyíll just wear the nut down and make life difficult.
Once youíve removed the two nuts the seats are free to be pulled out, however the seat belts still hold them in. At this point you can choose to either remove the seat belts or just fold the seats downwards (carefully, donít break the tabs where the nuts bolt onto) and keep them there. Youíll have to reach over more if you do it this way, since I wouldnít recommend sitting on the back rests, but it seemed like less effort than removing the seat belts (plus I didnít want to somehow screw up the seat belts and find out the hard way).
Now that youíve removed or folded down the rear seats, you should see one or two metal boxes that look similar to the Combox, depending on what your car was equipped with. When facing the back of the car, the one on the left is the MULF. The one on the right is the TCU. The MULF has a blue connector along the top, the TCU has a white connector. Take note of these as youíll need to know which is which when you install the Combox.

Fig. 15 - TCU (Telematics Control Unit)

Fig. 16 - MULF

Remove the light blue connector (Fig. 17) from the MULF by pushing in the tab that locks in the white retainer (next to the white retainer on the top). Rotate it downwards and the connector should pop out. Next, remove the MOST cable (the one with the green wire and black wire, Fig. 17) by pulling it out upwards. Be careful, donít bend the MOST cables too much otherwise theyíll break and itíll be a pain to replace them. Then, remove the white (Bluetooth antenna) and black (USB Hub) connectors (Fig. 18) from the bottom of the MULF by pulling them down. Finally, remove the four screws that hold the MULF in place and set the MULF aside (you canít use the MULF at the same time as the Combox).

Fig. 17 - MULF and MOST Connectors

Fig. 18 - MULF Bluetooth and USB Connections

At this point, you might have a USB Hub (Fig. 19) underneath your MULF which was connected to the wire with the black connector. Remove the frame that the hub is mounted on and unscrew the USB hub. Further down you will decide what to do with the hub.

Fig. 19 - USB Hub originally connected to MULF

Next, terminate the MOST connector that was connected to the MULF, by using a MOST terminator (Fig. 20). To do this, remove the protective piece, then slide in the MOST connector into the terminator. Tuck this cable away carefully so it doesnít break.

Fig. 20 - MOST terminator

MOST terminator with protector removed

MOST terminator applied to MOST connector from MULF

The next step is to remove the TCU. First, remove the white connector (Fig. 21) by pushing in the tab at the top (near the white retainer) and rotating the retainer downwards. The connector will pop out. Then, remove the MOST connector (Fig. 21) by pulling it upwards carefully (donít break it by bending it too much, replacing it would be painful). Next, pull out all four connectors from the bottom of the TCU. If youíre not installing a Combox Telematics (i.e. you ARE installing Combox Media), then you wonít need these cables anymore, so tuck them away. Otherwise keep them handy. Finally, unscrew the four screws that hold the TCU in place and put it away, you canít use it at the same time as the Combox.

Fig. 21 - TCU Connections

Installing Combox
Now youíll start installing the Combox. The first step is connecting the big blue and white connectors that were connected to the TCU and MULF to a Y adapter and plugging that into the Combox (Fig. 22, Item 1). If you ordered from Mike Benvoís, then heís supplied this, otherwise you'll need to make one. One of the two male connector on the Y adapter has four wires that are right next to each other and a fifth that is on the far side of the connector. That one connects to the blue MULF connector. Just rotate the white retaining clip up and lock it, THEN line it up and push it in. Make sure to push it straight to avoid bending pins. Do the same with the other male connector and the white TCU connecter. If you didnít order from Mike, youíll need to look at the pin numbers on the blue MULF and white TCU connectors and match them up according to Tables 1-3 (Rows in red are for Combox Telematics only). Note that depending on where you read and where you get the Y adapter, the pinning might be slightly different. (In fact, Mikeís Y adapter uses a ground pin from the TCU instead of the MULF, so thereís no pin 36 coming from the MULF to the Combox. Instead thereís a fifth pin from the TCU). If youíre installing Combox Telematics there are extra pins that need to be connected from the TCU connector to the male side of the Y adapter and subsequently to the Combox side of the Y adapter.

Table 1 - TCU & MULF to Combox wiring

Table 2 - TCU only to Combox wiring

Table 3 - MULF only to Combox wiring

Next step is to connect the MOST connector that used to connect to the TCU and connect it to the Combox (Fig 22, Item 2). Just slip it in to the receptacle on the top of the Combox (be careful not to break it).
At this point you need to decide if youíre using the USB hub or not (as mentioned earlier). When connecting these to the Combox you have two options: connect them via the USB hub (youíll need to figure a way to fasten the USB hub down) or connect them directly to the Combox (youíll need to shave off one notch on the white connector to do that, you can do this with a razor/exactknife).
If youíre connecting them directly to the Combox, remove the wires with the blue and white connectors. Then disconnect the small black connector from the USB hub and remove the hub.
If youíre connecting them via the USB hub, keep the blue and white connectors plugged in as well as the black connector.
Now, youíll need to route the USB wires and Bluetooth antenna wire (the smaller white connector) (and if youíre using the USB hub, the small black connector with the brown and red wires as well as the hub itself) from the left side of the car, to the right side. To do this, you have to unwrap the sticky tape that keeps the wires bundled together as well as undoing the wide cable tie on the right side of the car that holds the wires down (youíll need to undo the cable tie to avoid bending the green MOST cable too much and risk breaking it). Youíll need to pass it under the thin leather that covers the area beneath the ski hole. Alternatively you can buy an extension cable for the USB wires (technically HSD cables I believe).
Now that you have your USB cable(s) on the right side of the car, youíll need to plug them into the bottom of the Combox. If youíre using the USB hub, just connect the black connector to the black receptacle on the Combox and leave the blue empty. If youíre connecting the cables directly to the Combox, plug the blue connector into the blue receptacle on the Combox (Fig. 22, Item 3), then look at the black connector from the USB hub and compare it with the white connector. Thereís an extra notch on the white connector, remove it with a razor/exactknife and then it should plug into the black receptacle on the Combox (depending on how smooth a job you do, itíll go in smoothly or will require extra force (Fig 22, Item 4).
Finally, connect the small white Bluetooth antenna connector to the white receptacle on the far left of the bottom of the Combox (Fig. 22, Item 5). The notches arenít quite correct on this connector, so you can either shave a notch into the connector itself in the right place, or you can push very hard and itíll just go in (and itíll work just fine).

Before you close everything back up, do the coding and make sure everything is working. It could save you a lot of trouble.

Fig. 22 - Combox installed

For the coding, since I had bought the retrofit kit from Mike, he personally did the coding for me via a remote session. Basically, I bought the USB/OBDII interface cable as part of the retrofit package and Mike sent me links to a virtual machine that I downloaded (download was super-fast). He included a copy of VMWare Player that you can install and load the virtual machine into. Additionally, you install TeamViewer so that he can remote in and use the virtual machine.
Scheduling was super easy. I was ready on Saturday morning to do the coding so I asked him the night before if he was available and he was. Saturday morning I readied up my laptop and parked my car in a place with good wireless reception (required for the remoting) and he connected in and started the coding.
My car turned out to be a bit strange in that it had a specific option for CCC that most cars with CCC donít have and was preventing the normal CIC coding from working, but Mike quickly figured it out (less than 10 mins.) and had the CIC going and started on the Combox. By this point I think it had been less than an hour.
So he started the Combox coding and we hit a snag that we couldnít figure out. He was incredibly patient and persistent about trying to figure it out and tried a ton of different things for the next 2 hours or so but the Combox just wasnít working (Bluetooth and all the ConnectedDrive settings would keep saying loading). I was ready to give up an hour before Then I mentioned that I hadnít put the center console trim back in yet or reconnected the cables for the AC controls (like the idiot that I am, I had left that off thinking it wouldnít have anything to do with the coding, since I still hadnít routed the illumination wire and glovebox USB at that point). Turns out that was the thing that was preventing the coding for the Combox from working. Needless to say I felt stupid having wasted several hours of his time. He was very friendly and polite about it and quickly finished the rest of the work as well as throwing in some coding extras. By the time he finished everything seemed to be working.
I noticed later that the iPod/Smartphone cradle was showing up in iDrive but wasnít working so I messed around a bit and tried to figure out if I had done anything wrong. I couldnít find anything so we scheduled the following Saturday (I was busy during the week) and he spent another 2 hours working on figuring that out and we figured out that it should be working except that the cradle I had doesnít work with CIC, because BMW never bothered to make a CIC version of the iPod cradle, but a CIC version of the iPhone cradle should work. Refer to this page to see the different versions (notice how thereís no iPod Touch adapter that has Control for Combox = Yes, which is required for a CIC/Combox Smartphone cradle): ¬* BMW E90N M3 Snap-in adapter for Apple devices

Wrap Up
To wrap up, I put the seat backs back in place, screw them back in, put back the headrests and put the seat bottoms back in. Then I screwed in CIC and put in the new center console trim and the ventilation trim. It took me a while to figure out the correct part number for the Carbon Fiber center console trim for CIC equipped cars, so for everyone else that will want it, it is: 51457903919.
Itís worth noting that the pictures at are a bit misleading because they seem to imply that the CIC one is the one with the oddments tray (because it only has one DVD slot), but in reality that is for MASK equipped cars (51458046532, which is the wrong part). The part that comes in pre-2007 CCC equipped cars is 51458041742 and 2007-2008 CCC equipped cars is 51458046531. Again, CIC equipped cars need this part: 51457903919. Pay close attention to this as theyíre not interchangeable. ( ¬* BMW E63 M6 Trim panel dashboard II)
If you do want to use the old CCC trim with your new CIC, youíll have an ugly second DVD slot that shows the CIC metal through it. Youíll also need to saw off a long plastic piece that protrudes from the back of the trim on the left side, next to the volume control knob.

  • Plastic trim removal tool
  • Painterís plastic sheeting
  • Small Allen wrench
  • Torx (T20?)
  • Socket wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver

Resources & Credits
  • Part number for center console trim for CIC equipped vehicles is 51457903919 ( ¬* BMW E63 M6 Trim panel dashboard II)
  • There is no iPod Touch cradle thatís compatible with CIC/Combox. There are new CIC/Combox capable cradles for iPhones.
  • USB hub is not required, you can plug the USB wires directly into Combox
  • Illumination wire is required for LCI vehicles, make sure thereís a connection with a properly sized wiretap
  • E63s have an empty pin 14 on the big black CCC/CIC connector where the illumination wire is supposed to tap into. Instead they need a pin.
  • Plug in the ventilation piece when coding! Not doing so can result in Combox coding failure.
  • Glovebox USB is very hard to get in properly, need to fold the cable on itself straight into compartment.
  • If you want to reuse your old trim, saw off the protruding plastic pin near the volume control knob on the back of the trim piece
  • Be careful with MOST cables as they can break (screwing up your whole carís network) and are difficult to replace
Attached Images
File Type: pdf CIC-Combox Retrofit for E63s.pdf (2.37 MB, 2707 views)
2009 BMW M6 - Carbon Black Metallic - Fully loaded - SMG

Thinking about a new M4 or M5/6 for first European Delivery...
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      03-04-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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Feel free to ask if you have any questions, or give input, feedback, corrections. They would be much appreciated!

P.S. I'm cross-posting this on the other forums that proved useful during my retrofit in order to contribute back.

Here it is, installed in my car:
2009 BMW M6 - Carbon Black Metallic - Fully loaded - SMG

Thinking about a new M4 or M5/6 for first European Delivery...

Last edited by AlexMSFT; 03-04-2014 at 03:32 PM..
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      03-04-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
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great informative writeup!
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      03-05-2014, 02:45 PM   #4
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Drives: 2009 BMW M6 - Carbon Black
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Originally Posted by zoltans4 View Post
great informative writeup!
Thanks zoltans4!
2009 BMW M6 - Carbon Black Metallic - Fully loaded - SMG

Thinking about a new M4 or M5/6 for first European Delivery...
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      03-05-2014, 11:26 PM   #5
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      03-11-2014, 12:55 AM   #6

Drives: 2014 M6 GC
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Great write up

Thanks for the credit
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      12-07-2014, 07:51 AM   #7
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Drives: 2015 650iX GS
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Nice and Thorough

Thanks so much for putting together a DIY with photos that gets to great details. I followed the work of others and posted a bit on the "what it really takes..." thread you linked us to.

My retrofit has been in for a year.

To do: source the console or recover mine to make the new iDrive controller look more OEM.

I also just had my CIC panel button lights go out...have to troubleshoot that, saw only 5v at pin 14 from my tapped wire...should be 12, but I soldered a splice at the hazard harness. I may have a cold solder joint? I will eliminate that and use another trunk splice up there like you did - and reconfirm 12v, fingers crossed. I think pre-LCI cars like mine also need the pin 14 process, but perhaps it is whether or not you have to plug the hazard harness back in that switch when testing to be sure it worked out?

Some of us wanted the cradle functionality so we rigged a "pseudo-cradle" using BMW parts. We basically flush mounted the necessary "switchable usb/aux" jack, the sole usb jack, and, for video, the box with 3 RCA jacks into the floor of the storage area. We did this to avoid using up the precious little space under the armrest for the snap-in OEM cradle. You have to buy an Apple harness that has a bunch of plugs on one side and the 30-pin connector on the other. Connect a 30-pin to Lightning adapter like I did for newer models, which may not support full function like those up to the iPhone 4s. Your linked threads give more details.

What if your CCC car also came with the optional HD Radio (IBOC tuner) and you want to retain HD Radio? If your kit does not include parts and instructions, then read on for what I did.

First off - orient yourself to where all of the hardware is located. You will find the external IBOC tuner module mounted in the trunk near your Sirius Tuner and your logic 7 amp. Find all of these boxes mounted in BMW brackets that are secured to the car - all of this in the back left behind the trunk trim panel.

Problem - the CIC cannot/will not accept coding to recognize your perfectly-good external IBOC tuner. Interestingly, the CIC WILL accept coding to recognize an external Sirius tuner. There is a line of code in the CIC.trc file that is coded for either Sirius internally or from an external box - but in German, of course.

Solution - be sure to buy a CIC with HD Radio built in (US spec models...some of which also have the Sat tuner built in) and run a FAKRA extension cable from the antenna splitter. Run a "what" from the "what"? Let me explain.

You will need to add some steps to the retrofit. These steps are to do BEFORE you remove your CCC from the car for good.

Our 6's have no shark fin. Instead they mount antenna boxes on the underside of the composite rear decklid. You will need to find the signal splitter.

To find the splitter you must pull down a piece from your left rear sail panel headliner. The piece is just overhead from the left rear passenger's head and it is secured by clips to the metal rear window surround. Pull down and forward gently and you will see how it wants to come out. Now, you just uncovered the splitter, a small rectangular box. The splitter will have cables coming in from those boxes and also a cable that sends the signal up to your CCC - ends up through MOST I guess as you will find no antenna cable jack behind your CCC. No worries, with your CCC radio on and volume enough to hear it, unplug each FAKRA jack at the splitter box, one at a time, and reconnect. When you lose your radio signal and just hear hissing through the speakers, you just found the FAKRA lead that was providing the signal to your CCC. Turn off the radio and leave that lead disconnected.

In its place, plug in an extension cable. You will need to source this cable from BMW parts or fabricate one. I fabricated mine. Be sure you make it long enough. I think mine was at least 10' if not 15'... To do this, I went online and bought all my FAKRA parts and raw sheathed cable wiring from Pasternack. The extension cable needs a black jack to connect at the CIC.

Yes, the FAKRA system uses colored ports and jacks having alignment tabs that correlate to the different colors. You have seen blue, black, etc. You are shaving tabs as you describe when trying to get one color to snap into another... One of the jacks (cream maybe?) has no alignment tabs at all, so this would be a universal jack I guess.

Anyway, I found it easier to make up my own cable than to try and figure out the RealOEM diagrams. Plus, Pasternack gave me great customer service with fast shipping - and now I get their free calendar in the mail each year!

Route your extension cable down from the splitter to the center rear seat area where your Combox and other cables reside. From there, run it up to the dash alongside all the Combox cables that you are routing there. Your extension cable plugs into that black port on the left corner of the CIC back panel you show in your photos.

Now, this was not my reality, so I did not have to solve, but... I am wondering if you can adapt these steps to obtain HD Radio through your CIC in a car that did not come with it as an option with the CCC, etc. from factory. Maybe you can - the CIC needs an antenna signal going in that black jack on the back, doesn't it? Find your existing antenna module and route the extension cable from there up to the CIC? Maybe someone who had to do this will chime in.

Thanks again for your great work in this DIY.

2015 650iX Gran Sport xDrive M Sport Edition, B&O
Sold - 2007 650i 6MT, sport, nav, HUD, night vision, CIC/Combox retrofit.

Last edited by djcwardog; 12-07-2014 at 10:14 AM.. Reason: Details
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      07-05-2015, 11:05 AM   #8

Drives: 2004 BMW 645ci
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: London

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Great write-up...

Whats the thoughts of being to do this in a 2004 car? Anybody got any ideas?

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      09-10-2015, 11:02 PM   #9

Drives: 2009 Carbon Black M6
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Houston, Tx

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Garage List
2001 BMW 325  [0.00]
2010 BMW X5 35d  [0.00]
2009 BMW M6  [0.00]
I'm trying the Combox retrofit and I can't figure out why my vendor doesn't see the Combox. I know it has something to do with my install possibly the wiring. Can anyone one give any recommendations? I have went over my wiring diagrams and they seem correct. Any suggestions is appreciated.
Wiring diagram

Pin 1 to combox pin 25 color white
Pin 17 to combox pin 1 Red - Blue
Pin 19 to combox pin 12 Brown - White
Pin 11 to Combox pin 21 Shielded
Pin 31 to Combox Pin 18 White grey
Pin 33 to Combox pin 15 yellow
Pin 36 to Combox pin 14 brown
Pin 37 to Combox pin 21 White Yellow
Pin 38 to Combox Pin 20 White blue
Pin 50 to Combox pin 17 Grey and blue
MULF per installation doc from BMW
Shield pin 22
Ws/GN Pin 10
WS/RT pin 24
VI pin 23
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      10-15-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
V8 Driver

Drives: 2015 650iX GS
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Munfordville, KY

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Maybe you solved this already, but...

Once you do the hardware install you must code the MEDIA module (inside of your combox) with your E90.ssd file so that NCS will see it as a module choice when coding. Try a default code first, then manipulate code as needed from there...

2015 650iX Gran Sport xDrive M Sport Edition, B&O
Sold - 2007 650i 6MT, sport, nav, HUD, night vision, CIC/Combox retrofit.
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