R56/R55 - Double Din Install Tips - How To Guide

44617 Views 39 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  tybardy
A few people have asked me how I did this and was it easy. Its very much a DIY job, with plenty of decent videos out there for removing the speedo etc to get this fitted. I didnt record a video as the one below is perfect for completing this install, and I have added a few extra tips to deal with the wiring. Excluding the head unit, other items only came to around £80.

What could it look like?

CLUBBY by James Baker, on Flickr

CLUBBY by James Baker, on Flickr

What do you need?
  • Double Din Head Unit - I went for the Pioneer SPH-DA130DAB

  • Double Din Fascia - Plenty out there such as the connects 2. They list as not fitting manual air con cars however it fitted mine fine. These are around £60

  • Aerial adaptor to connect the stock aerial to your new head unit for FM/AM signal - I used the CT27AA17 Fakra to Din Antenna "Aerial Adaptor For Audi Fiat Seat Skoda Peugeot VW" which was only £3.95 on ebay

  • ISO Wiring Harness Adapter Loom to allow you to connect your new headunit to the car - I used the "Connects2 CT20BM03 Wiring Harness Adaptor ISO Loom For BMW" which was only £6.90 on ebay

  • 12v inline fuse + holder + cable + ring terminal connector large enough to attach to car battery - This is to run a permanent 12v feed from your battery to the red powe rline on the ISO wiring harness, will probably cost you £10 at most

How to do it?

Highleve steps are as follows:
  • Remove speedo and heater controls/window controls
  • Fit the heater/window controls to the new fascia
  • Bolt headunit to new fascia
  • Use aerial connector to join between the after market headunit and stock aerial connection: Head unit > Aerial convertor connector > stock aerial connector
  • Use ISO wiring harness to connect the harness supplied with the head unit to the stock ISO connection therefore it should go: Head unit > Head unit wiring harness > ISO Wiring Harness > Car harness
  • Create a permanent live by taking a power cable cable of taking 12V, connecting it to the battery with a ring terminal connector and then have the inline fuse with a few inches of the battery. Then to get the power cable into the car, remove the car battery and there is a rubber bung, covered by a plastic cover that runs straight through the fire wall behind the glove box. Remove the plastic cover to reveal the rubber bung. Feed your 12v cable through this, I used a wire coat hanger to help and look up from the passenger footwell behind the glove box to see you cable coming through. This feed can then be fed to the back of the head unit and connector to the red cable on the ISO wiring harness. This permeant 12v supply allows the head unit to maintain its setting when the car is off. The Mini automatically cuts the 12v feed to the stock head unit but the stock head unit is designed to work with this, aftermarket ones aren’t hence the need for the new 12v feed.
  • If you aren’t going to run an aftermarket amp etc then reverse the removal instructions to refit everything in place
  • Note the fascia kit comes with a blanking plate for the speedo as you lose the screen/stock stereo controls in the speedo as they are removed when removing the stock headunit and wouldn’t function without it. In my opinion these blanking plates are ugly and I will suggest an alternative solution below. Here is an example of the blanking plates:

Alternative to blanking plates

Final result could look like this:

Custom dials by James Baker, on Flickr

Other Questions

Will this work for a Mini with HK/Hifi audio? - My car had the barebones system, no steering wheel controls etc so I didnt have to worry about anything. You can buy wiring etc to ensure your steering wheel controls work and also HK. Newministuff would be the best place to ask about what ISO block is needed for both these as I dont have the knowledge to recommend anything

Is it reversible? - Yes everything you do during this install is fully reversible and could be put back to stock if required

What do you lose by doing this? You lose the small screen in the speedo, not 100% sure but I have heard Mini cannot flash the car with software updates without this screen. Not sure how true this is but with these car reaching 11 years old most wont ever go into a dealership again so this wont be an issue.
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why did you need to run a separate permanent live wire? - usually on Pioneer headunits, their harness allows for switching permanent to switched and vice versa? Very nice clean install though!! :) - love the custom dials.. Speedhut used to make great dials (had them in my MR2 many moons ago) - and even made my own custom EL dials for my Z3 - but for the results you got, then it's a no brainer to get a decent company to produce them for you (saves a lot of hassle)..
Its a Mini/BMW thing. The stock head unit is designed to cope with a drop of power as the Mini cuts power to the headunit after a few minutes of turning off the ignition. Apparently something inherited from some BMW's. Most other cars dont do this so no need for a perm live however not the case with the 2nd gen. If I didnt do this it would lose the time etc everytime the power cut. Sort advice from a couple of audio specialists and this is what they recommended,
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just used the built option to switch the leads round (red to yellow and yellow to red).. and didn't have any issues with presets etc.. but like you say the mini appears to be different..
Yeah this was the first thing I tried and it didnt work, hence me seeking advice from a couple of professionals.
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Did you have any problems when trying to get the chimes to work ?? I've got an 07 plate One and the youtube video seemed to imply that you need a seperate module so that you can get the chimes to work. Cheers
I didnt do anything extra RE chimes, I dont remember testing it but I dont rely on chimes to tell me things are left on so wasn't bothered. From memory chimes are only around if you leave the key in the car or leave your lights on, wasnt fussed losing those.
Yeah i'm not bothered either because i think they are annoying but was worried about losing the indicator sound as i thought that ran off of the same system that the chimes ran off of. Do your's still work ??? Cheers
I dont own the car anymore but I dont remember them not working.
I had manual aircon on mine, no climate. I had no issues at all with the blowers etc
Resurrecting this thread, can you remember tweedbean if this R56 had the standard mini amp set up, you say it was the bare system, not the HK one, is that the ‘boost’ system

I’ve just got myself a cheap double/single din facia off Amazon so at some point I’m probably going to be looking at putting in a replacement headunit but I think I’ve got an amp in the boot, there’s certainly a DAB unit on one side of the boot, however I’m wondering if the amp will still work once the standard built in stereo is removed and replaced with the aftermarket one as I don’t really want to be cutting wires etc to bypass the amp if it doesn’t work
Sorry I cant advise on this. I didnt need to consider any internal amps as I went for aftermarket amps with new wiring running to the new speakers in the doors etc so do not want to give you incorrect advice
hey, sorry for necroposting but how did you mount the acrylic disk to the speedo? did you mount to the bezel around it, drill holes or something else?
Hi no problem I stuck it to the back of the bezel with some hot glue from memory and had no issues with it
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