So I OFFERED to install a stereo in my fiancee's Mini Cooper S...
I need to vent... this was the most difficult install I've ever had to do.
She had bought an Alpine CDA-9885 a short while back and was waiting for Sirius equipment to get back in stock before she got it installed...
In the mean time I bought and installed a new stereo in my 240sx... I even helped another 240sx owner install a new stereo in his car, that had had the wires all hacked up by the previous owner. Both were relatively painless installs and feeling good about the work I offered to install the stereo in the mini cooper instead of having the shop do it...
I wanted to get a factory service manual so I knew how to take apart the interior... no where could I find one anywhere on the internet... having done dozens of installs before IMO the most difficult part is determining the right way to take things apart so that you don't break anything, and it all fits properly when you put it back together. This is particularly important with European cars where they love to make things difficult for no good reason.
No where could I find a FSM, so I had to rely on crappy instructions written by other enthusiasts...
I found out that min, rather than using a single din sized slot they used an "executive din" which is about 1/4" larger than a regular din, not only that but the faceplate is what holds the whole stereo in place, meaning that we'll need a special install kit to mount the thing. It was ordered from crutchfield along with the "master sheets" to hopefully provide better instructions on how to take apart the dash.
This is where the problems top being "typical" of an install and start getting plain stupid... after driving 30 miles to the nearest shop that actually carries a harness I notice that the rather large connector is missing quite a few pins. Checking what's there and what is not I realize that it's missing an accessory wire as well as an illumination wire.
Checking a pinout of the mini stereo I found (thank god someone scanned that page of the FSM) I realized that the mini stereo DOES actually include this pins, the harness just didn't have them. Come to find out the harness is used on BMWs as well which don't have accessory or illumination connections, the harness manufacturer simply failed to realize that the mini DID actually use them... We eventually went out and bought a 2nd harness so that I could pull the pins out of the 2nd one to make one complete harness...
the mastersheets were useless for taking apart the dashboard, at one point it instructed me to simply "remove" the mirror adjustment switch, with a picture of the switch having already been removed and no inclination as to how to remove it. Well the switch held down by 6 clips and the cover will separate from the base if you pry up on it. it took about a half hour to figure out how to remove the thing. All in all to just get the head unit out you have to release the drive side kneeboard, the glovebox and the entire center console from the speedo all the way back to the rear cupholder. even after removing all the screws it requires some gentle prying to get things to come apart.
Building the harness was easy once I re-pinned it, the Apline head unit with the bulbus harness, the large metal antenna adapter, the iPod adapter cable the pre-amp subwoofer wires and the AI net connector for the Sirius adapter left the space behind the headunit a total mess. It took quite a large amount of effort to fit everything in there. I ended up mounting the Alpine Sirius adapter and the Sirius tuner under the driver's kneeboard
Thank god I decided to run subwoofer pre-amps NOW instead of down the road. I had to run a sirius antenna wire back to the hatch anyway.
Removing the trim along the door is usually a simple task but this was the biggest problem at all. I couldn't find any instructions anywhere online save one guy who said "just pull on it"
as it turns out I had to remove the fuse box assembly, the door gasket, the back seat, all of the interior trim below the back window, and the driver's seatbealt before I could even start "just pulling" on the trim piece. I never even got it all the way off since apparently you're supposed to remove the driver's seat as well and I wasn't about to do that. What I did was good enough to get the wires run under the trim and into the hatch area behind an access panel.
... if I ever meet the person who designed how the mini's interior fits together... I own them a punch in the face.
... if anyone ever needs to install a stereo in a Mini and is crazy enough to actually attempt it instead of just paying someone else... let me know and I can provide some tips...
... every time I work on a European car I'm reminded why I drive Japanese..