Radar Detector Rear Headrest Mount & Remote Display
Radar Detector Rear Headrest Mount & Remote Display *Illustrated!*
Radar Detector Mounted in the Rear Center Headrest & Remote Display
I. BMW Headrest Taxidermy
I have a an E91, but the center headrest seems to be the same as any other E90 center headrest.
BMW has been making some parts pretty much the same since the Neue Klasse (1962- ) (and they have been failing the same way since 1962) so this might or might not be applicable to any other model.
My wife took most of the photos of the taxidermy process. If photos came out okay, it's to her credit, not mine.
I first purchased an extra center rear headrest on eBay to modify, since the headrest needs to be "gutted" to fit the radar detector inside.
It will never be usable as a headrest again.
I wanted to be able to use the center seating position if needed, and to easily return the car to its original configuration when I sell it.
The headrest was $30 shipped which I thought was good b/c my interior is Terra, rather that the more typical black or beige. (You don't want to know how much BMW asks for a new one in leather!) It took several months before one appeared on eBay in the correct color.
Removing the headrest in the first place was a challenge since there is a hidden pin holding it in place. The pin is below one of the snap-on round trim pieces. I pulled out with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
The Evil Hidden Pin is pictured in the first photo.
To remove the leather headrest cover, I began by prying open the fold at the bottom forward edge of the cover. There are a couple of plastic pieces sewn to the leather that slip into the plastic frame of the headrest. I used nylon trim tools, and eventually worked the leather cover free.
The actual headrest mount, which is thick chromed steel tubing, is in exactly the right (or wrong) place for interfering with a radar detector antenna. I ground the ears off the metal headrest mount using a bench grinder. I made space for the radar detector inside the headrest by cutting the core plastic of the frame with a Dremel.
There are other ways of doing this this. I have seen other DIYs around on various BMW boards. I found a DIY with the detector mounted below the chromed tubing of the headrest mount, but that looked awfully tight. Another method I saw was to remove the V1 from its outer black housing (there are just 4 Torx screws holding it together), which will make the detector smaller and will provide additional clearance. Since Valentine strongly discourages doing this, and because I seem to need to send my V1s back for service or upgrades every couple of years, I didn’t use this method.
Others have cut the foam core of the headrest around the radar detector, but I didn't do this, either. I reinstalled the leather cover, and filled the gaps with polyester fiberfill -- the kind used to stuff toys and pillows. Again, this was courtesy of my wife.
I did not post an “after” picture, because it looks like the “before” picture.
II. Remote Display in Ashtray Compartment
I don’t smoke, so my ashtray just stores loose change and paper clips. It seemed the best place to locate the remote display and switches. I started converting a sunglass compartment option for this, but decided I wanted to keep the power outlet.
I cut holes in the bottom of the plastic ashtray assembly with a Dremel to run the wires. The “floor” of the countermeasure control panel was made from plastic stock, and painted with BMW Black interior paint. The micro switches are to kill the electronic countermeasures when needed. I first tried other switches — unfortunately, there isn’t enough space under the console to clear much larger switches.
Running the cable from the back seat to the front of the console was a challenge, too.
I didn’t expect the procedure to be quite as invasive as it was. BMWs are put together surprisingly well. (I didn’t think I had ordered the bombproof carpeting, but it looks like that’s what they assembled the car with.)
The remote audio adapter is mounted inside the center console under the arm rest. The sound is muffled, but I have the volume turned up all the way, so I can hear it.
Prior to this setup, I had mounted the detector on the passenger sun visor. With the unit moved down a few feet and back a few feet, the V1’s radar sensitivity seems the same. Of course I have lost the V1 laser capability, but I’ve found that almost completely useless anyway.
I hope someone finds this helpful.
E91 wagon 22K miles "Classic" BMW inline six, six-speed manual transmission, Alpine, Terra, Xenons, ZSP, ZCW, ZPP, PDC, CA, alarm, M shifter and M brake handle, Euro rear fog light switch, Euro aspheric mirrors, rear power outlets, Euro split armrest, Garmin nüvi custom cupholder mount, Lidatek, V-1 rear headrest mount and built-in remote display, Cocomats (back to the 1970s!)