BMW E31, E32 AND E38
CD CHANGER REPAIR

Here's a fix that I first did on my E32, on my first E38 and now on my E31! This is for the standard 6-CD changer that is fitted to the 8-Series E31, the 7 series E32's and E38's....the cartridges look like this:



The fault message is that you have 'NO DISK' even when the cartridge is full of CD's. If you watch the cartridge as you stick it in the changer sometimes one of the trays will not be selected....OR.....they all get selected but when you go to play the CD there is a long wait and you get 'DISK ERROR' or 'NO DISK'.

This can happen at random intervals, sometimes one CD works, next time more or none at all.

The problem is down to the ball-bearings that are fitted to the cartridge, these are used so that only one tray can be selected at a time. There should be FIVE ball-bearings, if you have the full complement you are usually OK, if you have NO ball-bearings you are usually OK. The problem is when you are one ball short of a full set. When this happens the remaining ball-bearings trundle around and block the trays movement, sometimes during play, sometimes when the cartridge is first inserted.

When I did this on my E32 I carefully measured the remaining ball-bearings and got replacements by smashing ball races until I got ones the same size! However, if you just take the ball-bearings out it seems to work just as well so today we are going to oik then out.

OK, hoik the cartridge out of the changer and remove the three screws:



Remove the top panel and this is where the spring-clip lives that holds the bearings in place and exerts a controlled pressure on them:



Lift the copper strip, the ball-bearings live in here:



Even from this picture I can tell that I'm a couple of ball-bearings short, the last bearing should be visible. At this point it is possible to pour the bearings out, unfortunately mine were well stuck with old grease.

So, lift the first platter up and out and then remove the hinge pin:



Rotate and then slide each of the platters out (I should have removed the CD's really ):



If the plastic fulcrum pops out this is how it goes back together:



The side-view of the remains of the cartridge shows the remaining three ball-bearings in-between the platters:



Oik the remaining bearings out and refit the platters. Fit the hinge-pin back in place. I refitted the copper strip just in case I needed to find new bearings but there really is no need for it and then refit the lid:



...And that's it, after putting the cartridge back in I got the full C.S.N&Y, Free, Vangelis, Floyd, Chase and Tori Amos.....as much as I like The Division Bell there are only a number of times you can listen to it!

P.S. I have no idea where the ball-bearings go! Both my E32 and my E38 have had bearings missing....but no gap where they could have escaped....it is one of life's mysteries............

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