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      06-13-2020, 11:16 PM   #1
LJohnson32
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Ceramic Controls Retrofit

So I decided to embark down the path of retrofitting in the ceramic controls to my car.

There seems to be threads all over the place with bits and pieces of information so I thought I would have a go at compiling my process start to finish in the aim of helping others looking to do the same.

While there is nothing 'wrong' with the standard, silver-finish plastic controls - the ceramic controls do feel very nice in hand while having a nice aesthetic to them as well.

For many people, buying the necessary components for the swap is cost-prohibitive and just not worth it, and that's fine, but with a little digging I was able to score some really good prices on the donor controls and decided to go for it.

For the front climate control unit I paid $120 plus shipping. I got crafty and went searching for F12/F13/F06 part outs and was fortunate to find a 2013 650i for this set of controls.

For the rear climate control unit I paid $175 plus shipping. This one I found on eBay across the pond in the UK, and should be here sometime in the middle-end of the month.

I sourced a ceramic NBT Evo knob locally from a friend who originally bought one for his F10 M5, but decided to sell since he had to source the rest of the controls and figured it might take some time. I paid $325 which I felt was fair since market price tends to be $300-$325 before shipping costs.

I will continue to update this main post as I go through the process of adding the rest of the controls just to have everything in one spot and keep it readable.

Front Climate Control Swap Process:

As for the removal of the unit, it is really straightforward and takes about 5 minutes of prework to get to the 4 torx T10 screws holding the unit in. As long as you take your time to be careful not to snap any clips, anyone can do this. I've included a link to the TIS for this process here. When you are removing the bottom two torx T10 screws, I was mindful to keep the cupholder lid closed in order to avoid them falling and going into the center console, I recommend you do the same Once you can pull the unit out, there are two plugs on the backside that need to be disconnected via integrated levers on the plugs themselves.



The next challenge stemmed more from my personal preference (OCD) and could be skipped if these things don't bother you. Given that the donor car was a pre-LCI car and mine is LCI, the faceplate of the unit has sort of a semi-gloss texture to it whereas my existing unit has a high gloss finish to it (pictured below).



I wanted to retain my high gloss faceplate as well as one other minute difference of the 'SYNC' button on my LCI car is labeled 'ALL' on pre-LCI cars, so I wanted to keep my SYNC button as well. Both of these things meant that I would need to separate the radio buttons and climate control buttons/knobs from the ceramic donor unit into my existing high-gloss faceplate. These are secured to the faceplate by a bunch of little torx T6 screws.

Luckily, the climate control buttons between the knobs that house the 'ALL' and 'SYNC' buttons is its own separate button box, so those swapped over easily.



Once I had both of the units disassembled, it was as easy as reassembling the desired ceramic knobs with my existing climate control buttons and faceplate. Everything fit together as it should.

Then it was a matter of putting the new unit in the car and once I did, everything worked as intended Need an iDrive knob and M Performance Carbon Fiber DCT trim to complete the look up front!


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Last edited by LJohnson32; 06-15-2020 at 08:11 AM..
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      06-14-2020, 04:20 AM   #2
MelbourneFinn
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2021 BMW M550i  [9.00]
The small things matter 😃 and the lengths we go...

Great work!
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      06-14-2020, 08:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MelbourneFinn View Post
The small things matter 😃 and the lengths we go...

Great work!
Of course they do and thanks!
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      01-12-2024, 11:55 AM   #4
Staszek
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Thanks for sharing this I know its an old thread but I was wondering if it was possible to switch the faceplates. The donor ceramic controls I got for my car were the correct LCI version but my faceplate was in much better shape so I wanted to just swap that part. Looks like its easy since I am not changing any buttons.
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      03-23-2024, 11:52 AM   #5
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Ok so Iím working on this now. I have all the right buttons on mine so all I really need to do is swap the faceplates. The top radio row was easy, just unscrew the T6 and it comes right out.

Having problems with the bottom. I unscrewed the t6 at the top and then tried to unlatch those clips at the bottom (broke one) but it wonít release, what am I missing?
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      04-01-2024, 03:16 PM   #6
LJohnson32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Staszek View Post
Ok so Iím working on this now. I have all the right buttons on mine so all I really need to do is swap the faceplates. The top radio row was easy, just unscrew the T6 and it comes right out.

Having problems with the bottom. I unscrewed the t6 at the top and then tried to unlatch those clips at the bottom (broke one) but it wonít release, what am I missing?
Replied to your PM just now ó double check youíve removed all the screws, Iím pretty sure there were some somewhat hidden ones that were still screwed in even when I thought I had them all
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      04-02-2024, 09:25 AM   #7
Staszek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJohnson32 View Post
Replied to your PM just now ó double check youíve removed all the screws, Iím pretty sure there were some somewhat hidden ones that were still screwed in even when I thought I had them all
Found them thanks! I thought the screws in the middle of the HVAC panel were holding the buttons to the controls itself (which they are) but didn't realize they went all the way through to the panel cover as well.

Removed them and the panel came right off, glad I didn't try to force.
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