How to Replace a Harmon Kardon Amplifier in a Mini Cooper

By Simon Foden

New Mini Coopers feature the Harman Kardon DSP Class D amplifiers.
i yellow mini cooper headlight image by MAXFX from

Harman Kardon is a manufacturer of premium quality audio equipment -- chiefly car and home audio systems and amplifiers. The company is the preferred supplier for a range of luxury cars, including Subaru, Mercedes and BMW, owner of the Mini Brand. New models of the Mini Copper and the Mini Clubman come with Harman Kardon audio systems as standard. Harman Kardon engineers regularly consult with BMW designers in order to optimize the audio output of the systems that are installed in the car. To upgrade or repair your Harman Kardon amplifier, you need to remove and replace it.

Turn off the ignition and remove the key. It's essential for your safety that you don't attempt to remove the amplifier with the engine running. The standard Harman Kardon amplifier fitted in new Minis has a power rating of 480 watts, a potentially fatal amount of electricity if not treated with respect.

Remove the plastic passenger side, rear trim panel. This panel is located behind the rear seats, next to the trunk. The amplifier is located behind this panel. In order to remove the amplifier you need unrestricted access to the amplifier wiring. Use a crosshead screwdriver to remove the screws holding the panel in place against the trunk door. Keep the screws in a safe place and set the plastic panel to one side.

Unscrew the plastic molding on the rear panel Use a crosshead screwdriver. Put one hand through the gap left by removing the trim panel, behind the plastic panel and push. Pull with the other hand. Be careful as you pull the plastic interior away. It is a molded plastic and will bend slightly before it comes off. Removing both plastic panels allows full access to the amplifier and the wiring assembly.

Unplug the power, ground and remote wires that connect the Harman Kardon amplifier to the car's power supply. Always disconnect the power wires first. These are the red and yellow wires that are bundled together. Then disconnect the black ground wire. The remote wire runs between the ground and power wires. Leave the wires connected to car power supply. Tape them the inside of the quarter panel to keep them out of the way.

Unscrew the bracket that holds the amplifier in place. The bracket is fitted to the inside of the quarter panel. Unscrew the tab-mount screws holding the amplifier in place in the bracket. The Harman Kardon amplifier that comes as standard in new Minis weighs 1.3 kilograms.

Measure the bracket. If you are replacing your Harman Kardon amplifier with an identical model, there is no need to alter the bracket. If you are installing a new amplifier, check that it will fit inside the existing bracket. If not, unscrew the existing bracket and fit a new one that is large enough for the replacement amp.

Load the new amplifier on the bracket. Reconnect the remote, ground and power wires.