VDO MS 5000 Installation

by Andrew Papanikolas

This installation was performed on a 1997 540i/6 with DSP audio and no cell phone. These instructions may not apply to other configurations. The installation does require the disassembly of several parts of the interior and truck of the car. If you are not comfortable tearing out the interior I suggest you find a competent local installer. I will not be held responsible for any damage to your vehicle that results from the use of these instructions.

In other words... If you break it... IT'S NOT MY FAULT!!!

These instructions apply to the installation of the VDO MS 5000 navigation system in a BMW E39 5 series. After several hours of work I was able to get the system installed and integrated with the factory audi wiring. All of the navigation instructions are played through the stereo speakers as they would be with the factory system.

In case you are interested I purchased the system from The GPS Store.

I'll start at the front of the car and work my way back.


The display was mounted to the dash using a Pro-Fit cellular telephone mount. The mount makes use of one of the factory dash screws and places the screen in an optimal location. To mount the bracket follow the instructions included with the kit. From there you can mount the VDO quick release bracket to the Pro-Fit.

The remote was mounted to the center console with the double sided tape provided. If left in the cradle the remote communicates via hard-wire rather than IR, so the remote doesn't need to be pointed at the screen. In addition if left in the cradle the remote doesn't require batteries and the buttons are illuminated.

The wiring for the display required the removal of the glove compartment (remove two nuts at underside rear of compartment, remove tether and shock), the compartment trim (three screws, if I remember correctly), and the kick panel. Run the cable under the dash and through the crack between the upper and lower dash (you'll need to loosen the screws under the wood trim). In order to get the pieces to fit together again I had to force the upper and lower dash apart about 1/8" and then tighten the screws to hold the gap open. At that point I could get the wood trim back on without having to drill a hole for the wiring. I may purchase a new piece of trim and drill a hole for the wire, as well as mount the display directly to the trim.

The wiring for the remote was easy. Remove the carpeted trim from the side of the center console and tuck the cable up under the console and dash. Join this cable up with the display cable and run them together to the back of the car.

Cable Routing
The display and control cables must be run to the driver's side rear of the trunk. I chose the route of the passenger side door sills, under the back seat, and through the trunk wall with the audio and lighting harness. To do this you'll need to remove the door sill trim for both doors, the lower B pillar trim, the back seat bottom, and:

    a) The back seat back (if no fold downs) -or-
    b) Fold down the seat, and loosen the non-folding part of the seat back on the driver's side.

I have the fold down seats so the wire routing was fairly easy. If you have a solid back seat then you'll have to figure out how to get the wire into the trunk. Keep in mind that there isn't a lot of extra length in the display cable so make the run as simple as possible. Once you have the trim removed the cable path should be pretty obvious.

Remove the CD Changer, the amplifier, the right side trim panel, the CD changer cover, the subwoofer cover, and the subs. The exercise is left to the reader...

Locate the wiring harness for the cell phone (white rectangular connector in line with the DB25 connector). The wiring color changes depending on the side of the white connector, so I'll provide all of the info below. "DB 25 side" refers to the wires from the DB 25 to the white connector, "Car Side" refers to the wires from the white connector into the car harness. You will also need to locate the wiring to the tail lights.

If you want to get creative you can purchase a male DB25 connector and attach to the cell interface. I didn't have one, nor did I have an easy way to get one, so I spliced in using bullet connectors. I'll most likely clean that up in the near future and do it with a DB25.

Wiring Color Chart
Function VDO Color Car Side Color DB 25 Side Color DB 25 PIN
Switched +12V Violet Violet w/ White Stripe Violet 5
Constant +12V Red Red w/ Yellow Stripe Red (2 wires) 4, 17
Ground Brown Brown w/ Black Stripe Brown 16
Vehicle Speed Signal Black w/ White Stripe Black w/ White Stripe Brown w/ White Stripe
Audio Mute Signal White w/ Brown Stripe White w/ Brown Stripe Black 10
Cell Phone "Present" N/C (con to SW +12V) White w/ Green Stripe White
Audio + Blue w/ Yellow Stripe Brown w/ White Swirl Yellow w/ Black Rings 25
Audio - Blue w/ Green Stripe Black w/ White Swirl Green 19
Parking Lights Gray Gray w/ Green Stripe N/A N/A
Reverse White w/ Yellow Stripe White w/ Yellow Stripe N/A N/A

You'll need switched and unswitched +12V as well as ground.

Speed, Reverse, and Lights
The navigation computer needs to know when the car is in reverse, when the headlights are on, and a vehicle speed signal. I wired into the backup lights (White/Yellow  wire at tail lights), and the parking lights (Gray/Green wire at tail lights). The lighting signal is not to dim the display, but to tell the system to switch to the night time color scheme. Follow the instructions and do NOT connect this lead to the dash dimmer. The speed signal is provided to the DSP and the cell phone. You can tap into it at the white connector (See Table).

GPS Antenna
I mounted the GPS antenna under the rear deck behind the brake light. Rather than remove the deck I reached through the woofer holes and secured the antenna with the included double sided tape. I then ran the wire through the metal deck and into the trunk. It's important that the antenna not be blocked by metal, so the rear deck is an ideal location. I don't have metallic tint, but that may pose a problem if I ever switch.

This was a pain to figure out. Apparently with DSP the cell phone audio is played though all of the stereo speakers, not just the driver's door. I couldn't find the wiring that went directly to the second voice coil. After some investigation I found that there is a "cell phone present" signal that is fed to the DSP when the phone is installed. To mimic this signal I applied switched +12V to the White/Green:White wire on the white connector. Then I connected the + and - audio output of the VDO to the white connector. The final step is to connect the muting signal to the
wire on the white connector.


Originally I mounted the computer to the underside of the rear deck between the woofer box and the trunk light. This worked, but cutoff too much light from the trunk light (plus it didn't look that good). I took a trip to the parts department and ordered the following 3 parts to mount the computer in the factory location (the factory computer is DIN sized as well).
65 50 8 361 458 Bracket (from CD bracket to NAV bracket) $5.48
65 90 6 909 251 NAV Bracket $21.80
51 47 8 190 763 Trunk Trim $187.92

I wasn't sure if this was going to work, but it was worth a try. (Keep in mind that these are for a 1997 540 w/ DSP)

Figuring out how the brackets fit was a bit of a problem. Explaining it is even harder, but here goes...

The NAV bracket mounts to one of the M4 bolts protruding from the underside of the CD Changer cover latch. The bottom left of the bracket attaches to the top left of the DSP bracket. The ??? bracket attaches to the right side of the CD changer bracket and the lower right of the NAV bracket. The nav computer just slides in and locks in place. The new trim piece replaced the factory piece with no trouble.

I have only had a couple of problems with the system/installation:
Other than that the system has been bullet proof and I'm very satisfied with the results.