Installing Voice Recognition and Lighted M5 Shifter in an E39

-Voice Recognition for E39-
The best question about this mod is the same as so many others: Why? Well, it's kinda cool talking to your car. This is most helpful if you have the navigation system, or the CPT 8000 phone. With the voice recognition, you can store memos, recall phone numbers, ask questions of the navigation, and other things I'm sure I've forgotten.
The mountings and bracket assembly are pretty intuitive, so I won't go into them, here. I checked my progress with instructions from
This is a good picture of the blue plug that we're looking for. As far as I know, if your E39 was produced after Jan, 2000, you will have this plug. It's hidden and taped up behind the grey panel, so you have to search for it.

Rip the harness out of its tape, or carefully cut the plastic tie wraps, and it'll have plenty of length to reach it's intended home.

Remount the CD player in it's original location. I won't lie, I struggled, here, but I finally got it.
After the beep from holding down the buttton above, if you say "Navigation," the dash will confirm and bring up the navigation system on your radio.

When you hold down the speaker button on the stereo, this is how the dash tells you it's ready to listen.
-Lighted shifter from E39 M5-

This is just one of those mods that you do if you notice little things. I never even knew the shifter was lit in an M5 until I saw some pictures of one. I was immediately hooked. Louie at Pacific BMW was called yet again and he worked his tail off to find me one in burlwood that would match my interior. Unless you like the aluminum look, make sure you specify burlwood.

I did not take pictures of the actual install, but I did tap a wire that led to the power on the ashtray light. I had to cut off the connection that it comes with and strip the insulation. Getting to the power is pretty easy, to, but I will post procedural steps later.

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A dark shot of the navigation and lighted shifter

Close up of shifter. Only one problem: It's red and the dash is a bit more orange in comparison. No problem! See solution in my shifter LED section. (coming soon)