crappy radio signal

the reception on my radio/cd player is pathetic, /mw/fm. i can drive along and i can lose it in minutes etc, it no use what so ever
I cant find a arial sticking up, 94 525 touring, and i dont think its built
into the glass.
Im due on a 3k trip in a few days so the radio would be great for traffic jams through Europe cheers
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I think you'll find it is In the saloon, the rear window heating element doubles up as an aerial as well. FM in my '94 525i saloon, is fine. I can't remenber ever trying it, but from reports AM does not appear work very well on these cars. I suggest you check the control box or whatever it's called, that's connected to the w/s heater. On the saloon it's fitted behind the interior rear quarter panel on the l/h side. I imagine it's in the same area on the touring. HTH Mike.
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I have the same gripe in the U.S. with my '92 525i which has an rear glass antennae. I bought my car new while in Europe and had it there 2+ years before coming to the states. I must say the radio was flawless in Germany, France, Austria, Denmark & Holland. Hopefully you'll experience the same. Happy travels.
Nate
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wrote:

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I did the same trip last Sept and Oct..its still not great...but this time, when i drive to next Wed night, i want to listen to the footy match on the radio, of England drawing or losing against Adora haha
It must be a weak signal, as the scan can go around non stop trying to find a signal. bah.

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Of course it would be as the radio station frequencies are 10Khz apart in Euroland and 9K apart in USA so the AM/FM stations do not line up exactly - US cars have different radios - look the same
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk wrote:

That would make sense and I figured it was something along the lines you describe since it's the european radio. I'm completely ignorant of radio freq stuff other than being able to tune the radio to a correct station (most times).
Thanks for the info, Nate
PS - Are out 'tags' related - LOL!!
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Have a look on eBay there always seems to be loads of 740i stuff going ----
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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The rear screen aerial should work Ok when the heating element is not used. there is what is commonly termed a "choke" that filters out the Power line supply from the AC radio signal.
There should be, somewhere near the rear screen, a box that has the radio aerial lead plugged into it and the heater supply. When the heater is on the filter is active and you should still get a radio signal.
On the ROVER 800 range (I know they are nothing to do with BMW - but BMW did own Rover at one time if only to get the run of model numbers 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800) the box is under the rear screen/parcel shelf on sedan/saloon models and in the roof near the hinges on the fastback/hatch. the connections either work loose or corrode and the box can lose the earth/ground connection. Rarely the box can give up and go US (unserviceable) in which case its a new one or scrap yard replacement.
I should imagine that the BMW system is similar to the other 99% of car makers unless they use a different set of physics laws.
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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thanks, i will take a look tomorrow in the daynight...i know about the thingy, like which stops the noise when wipers etc are on...its as if its so weak, it cant lock on to one, just goes around and around. mw and fm
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Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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Could be the aerial lead has been disturbed somewhere in it's path between the rear and the radio or as others have said, the heated rear screen is on and/or broken.
My 740 doesn't pick up many stations but it's something like if you scan once it scans at low sensitivity but if you do it again it does it at a higher sensitivity.
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the
its
the
the
cant
or
ok thanks, too late to have a good luck, guess i can live with it at the mo.

i can leave it for 10 min....goes over and over, but then sods law it picks up the classic music channel!
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Jules wrote:

Not exactly.

It has nothing to do with laws of physics. But - that does sound impressive - sort of like you know what you're talking about (questionable at best.)

Most modern cars do not have ignition suppressors fitted to the radio any more - they're inside it, a simple capacitor across the input.
The box in the rear - which Sir Hugh mistakenly identified as a choke - is actually an amplifier. It does isolate the voltage in the heating grid from the RF input on the radio, and it also amplifies the signal from the antennas to the radio. NOTE - I said "antennas" - as in plural. The AM antenna consists of several of the heating element lines in the heating grid. The FM antenna - may be two separate lines, or may even be located in one of the side rear windows on a Touring.
The most common problems with the amplifiers are wires that aren't completely tight. Make sure any coaxial wiring going to/from it is tight (the kind that screws on..)
There were also recurrent problems (and SIB's on the problem) with the antenna angle connector where it connects to the rear of the radio. It could develop an open - which causes FM reception to degrade and AM reception to be almost worthless. Fixing this requires removal of the radio and redoing the connector - not a trivial job if you're clueless in how to do it.

Wiggling things whilst the radio is on any playing may turn up problem spots. Visual inspection isn't all that useful with low voltage/current signals.

I supposed so - but it's never stopped Hugh from volunteering (NTTAWWT.)

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Having a dig are we................?
Keeping things simple makes it easy as not many are prepared to dig deeper like you, Dave and me and maybe a few others.
In the early days of rear screen heater elements - including the foil stick on type as an accessory - had a "choke" arrangement but obviously modern technology has over-run the simple route and put it into sealed plastic/metal boxes that have to be 100% destroyed to get a look at what's inside.
I you are as old as me and live in the UK then a program on TV in the 1960s called "Tomorrow's World" might spring to mind and this was demonstrated along with the current automatic headlamp switching and wiper control (fitted to new BMWs) Bottles of stuff called OKO to put in your tyres to stop them deflating following a puncture (I still have some) now used extensively in the construction industry in the tyres of those gigantic earth movers (down time costs $$$$$) Fuel injection for Motor cycles etc are all common place now and the reason I mention "Choke" is because it is the simplest thing.
Yes it is an amplifier and a splitter and connector etc but we were only talking about a radio signal. the 7 series E38 has the antenna for FM vertically from top to bottom of rear screen about 5" apart and for the AM it appears to be either the top 3 of the heater or a separate strip at the very top of the glass. Phone aerial sits in the centre top.....
One of the earliest tricks was to get a length of Co-ax and strip the outer off leaving only the centre wire bare. This was stuck to the screen using freezer tape (Sticky and clear) across the top and down one side. Where the covering and shielding started again the shield wire was screwed to the chassis and the other end plugged into the radio.
this lash up worked pretty well and I know a few folk with camper vans still have this setup in use.
Just Idle chat to bore you all......
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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Poor radio reception can result if the rear window (that's where the antenna is embedded) is tinted with a metallic film. Tends to effect the AM more severely than the FM.
R / John

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You don't say if this is a fault that has just occurred and it was once ok, or if you've just got the car etc.
If it doesn't have an obvious *aerial* - (the other one is a font ;-) ) then it will use one in the rear screen. Might be a special wire for the purpose or use the heater element. Either way it will have an wide band pre-amp sited close which is an active device requiring 12 volts. That is the most likely thing to fail. Check for power to it first, then if that is ok really the only other thing is substitution.
If there's no power to it has the head unit been replaced and the feed to it not connected?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

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