E39 Park Distance Control (PDC) Wiring
Prepared by VietSB
NOTE: Perform these steps at your own risk. All P/N's listed are a "best guess", so please double-check with your local dealer. These mods and repairs were performed on my US-spec 1997 540iA (11/96 prod date, M62 engine) but there is no guarantee they will work on other E39's. These instructions are provided for entertainment purposes only!
BACKGROUND: My other car is an E30 and the passenger cabin is practically an airport control tower compared to my E39. Not wanting to remove the rear headrests or install a backup "beep-beep" horn, and fearing an encounter with a child on a Big Wheel while reversing, I installed the rear PDC kit. In 2001, BMW introduced the front PDC option, but the E39 isn't enough of a boat that I need it up there.
Please note that the supplied manual mentions the kit is intended for installation by the BMW dealership network and knowledge of the vehicle electrical system is required. The manual is therefore geared as such and even has the interesting feature of being written primarily in German, with English and 7 other languages added as an after-thought. Even with the English provisions, there's an included BMWNA addendum which tries to cover some changes for US-spec cars and kits.
Since there were semi-drastic differences between the wiring descriptions in the manual, addendum, and kit/car wiring, I can only document this based on my particular wiring scenario. Be sure to inspect prior to installation, as your kit and car wiring might require more or less modification.
The instructions below only cover the somewhat cryptic wiring of this install and not the physical aspects such as bumper removal, etc. They are meant to be used in conjunction with the supplied manual.
- P/N 66-20-9-408-274 PDC kit for chromeline trim sedans (~$420 from PacificBMW)
- P/N 66-20-9-405-093 PDC kit for shadowline trim sedans (~$420 from PacificBMW)
- P/N 66-20-9-410-888 PDC kit for chromeline trim sport wagons (~$420 from PacificBMW)
- P/N 66-20-9-410-963 PDC kit for shadowline trim sport wagons (~$420 from PacificBMW)
- Misc electrical wiring parts (extra wire, crimp connectors, shrink tubing)
- Touch-up paint or other anti-corrosion metal treatment
- 5A standard-size blade fuse
- Tools to remove the rear bumper, back seats, and rear deck
- Drill, 40mm hole-saw bit
- File or rasp
- 3/8" wrench, 10mm, 13mm socket
- Door panel puller
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Wire cutter/stripper
- Needle nose pliers
- Crimping pliers
- Wiring plug pin removal tool
- Heat gun or equivalent
- Work light
1. Be absolutely sure the battery is disconnected. Use the 13mm socket to remove the negative lead from the battery.
2. The supplied manual barely covers the following steps, but by researching articles on resources such as www.bmwtips.com, you can usually figure out the general procedures for these pre-wiring tasks:
- Remove the trunk trim
- Remove the rear bumper and bumper strip
- Drill a 40mm hole (de-burr and use standard anti-corrosive measures)
- Remove the rear seats (if necessary) and rear deck to mount the PDC warning speaker
- Attach the PDC control unit in the battery compartment using the supplied bracket (I only used one of the two supplied brackets)
3. This is a view of "unloader relay K3" for reference. I probed the line that is to be tapped and it's a switched 12V going into terminal R (but not labeled) on that relay.
4. Remove the (3) 10mm nuts holding the fuse block in place and snip the wire harness zip tie to remove it for better access to the underside of the fuses holders.
5. Cut the violet/white wire ("terminal R") at the position indicated by the top red arrow. Use wire tools to crimp on the appropriate connector pin and housing as outlined in the addendum Page 3, Steps 2 & 3. The red arrows in the pic below show the connectors after they are attached and snapped together. This allows branch C1 (see blue arrow) to tap into the violet/white wire coming from the unloader relay K3 for power. Remove the black fuse block containing fuse 61. Carefully insert the uninsulated C2 fuse-holder connection into the input side of fuse 61 (see yellow arrow). The input is the side facing the center of the car when the fuse block is remounted. Insertion of the fuse-holder was a bit difficult and requires some mild force using the needle-nose pliers or screwdriver. Please note that I moved 2 of the relays over in the pic, but the relative positions are the same.
6. The addendum states that harness B is incorrectly described and pictured in the manual and needs to be modified. My harness appeared to already be modified, so I skipped that step completely.
7. Route branch B2 (grey/black wire) thru the factory looms and carefully insert it into the output side of fuse 61 (see red arrow).
8. Remount the fuse block and position 61 should now have the internals to handle the 5A fuse. Replace the snipped zip-tie which holds the harness in place.
9. Final picture of the PDC control unit mounted and wired up.
10. Connect the branch B4 (brown/black wire) ring connector to the ground point displayed below under the passenger-side tail light and continue to feed the rest of branch B3 thru the factory looms towards the driver-side of the car.
Please note: I've been informed (thx Mike and Sheldon!) that I tapped into the X400 connector instead of the X322 as stated in the manual. It's easier to get to the X400 since the other is behind the amplifier. I also noticed a dealer-installed PDC kit tying into the same wrong connector, so the steps below were needed because I was tapping into the wrong connector. Here's a pic of the correct connector. I'll be re-wiring my system and will re-document when complete.
11. Because I was attempting to connect branch B3 (white/grey/yellow wire) into the wrong connector, it was about 6 inches too short to follow the factory loom, so I cut and extended it using crimps, spare wire, and shrink wrap. The result is displayed in the bottom pic.
12. This is wiring harness X400 on the driver-side of the car. It's described as black in the manual, but corrected in the addendum as white. Mine was white as were a few other E39's I've seen.
13. I went color for color and removed the indicated male pin, which took a little bit of time (be sure you are familiar with how to do this). FYI - I went ahead and tested the voltage to this line and found enough evidence it was a reverse signal wire before blindly proceeding.
14. By adding a housing onto the newly removed male pin, it snaps into to a female connector off branch B3 (see red arrow) and the uninsulated male pin on branch B3 (see blue arrow) fills the vacated position on harness X400 to complete the wiring.
15. Reassemble connector X400, place a 5A fuse in rear fuse-block position 61 (notate this on fuse description sticker), reconnect the battery, and test the PDC system. Hopefully you hear beeps!
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