Date registered: Jan 2008
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Installing Dension 500 for iPod in 2005 SL350
I could not find any discussion on this subject, so I thought I might pass-on my experiences: I found I needed tork screwdrivers; a small ratchet driver with tork bits; and a couple of wiring loom splitters (the type where you can crimp an extra wire onto an existing run).
Please be aware you will need to remove both side-wall panels, the rear wall panel and the CD-Changer lid before you can access the CD-Changer: This is not a job for everyone!
First, remove the front flaps on the rear storage compartments and undo the single screws that attach the side-wall panels. Then remove the brushed-chrome door-pillar caps (remembering where the long and short screws locate) and pull away the draft excluder. Release the side-panel foot from its clip and wrestle the side panel outwards, forward and down at the same time! Repeat on the opposite side. This gives access to a screw (top) and short bolt (bottom) which need to be removed from each side of the rear panel. There is a press-stud in the centre of the rear panel which pulls away. Along the bottom of the rear panel, is a row of square holes which are engaged by plastic angle-tabs. The theory is you push the back-panel rearwards to disengage but I found all except one were broken off by a previous mechanic.
The next part was tricky and should ideally involve 2 people. The lid of the CD_Changer compartment needs to be removed in two halves (top and bottom) by undoing the six screws on its underside. However, if you do not have someone to hold the two halves together, they will spring apart leaving you to wonder where everything goes! Open it very slowly like a clam-shell hinged at the rear and pay special attention to component locations and how the hinge-springs are retained (arms upward in grooves). Also pay attention to the location of wiring and yellow vacuum pipe at the rear.
To remove the CD-Changer receptacle, two vertical screws are removed at the front, and two horizontal hanger-screws loosened, but not removed, through holes in the back wall - that is where the tork-ratchet was required because conventional screwdrivers are too long. The rear of the centre armrest can be lifted a couple of inches and blocked-up to allow the CD receptacle to be lifted out and the connections (optical and 12v) disconnected underneath.
With the CD-Changer receptacle on the bench, you can choose locations for your Dension 500; your iPod-holder; USB-female holder; and "aux-switcher" - which the Dension instructions forget to tell you must be installed! Keep in mind you will need access to the rear screw-hangers with your ratchet driver during re-installation.
Connections are straightforward, as per the instructions, with the Dension 12volt red supply splicing into the red/yellow wire of the CD-Changer, and the Dension black earth splicing into the brown wire of the CD-Changer. Ignore the blue wire. Make sure the splices are several inches back so they do not interfere with entry to the receptacle box.
The hardest part of re-installation is re-constructing the CD-Changer lid. The hinge-spring "prongs" need to point vertically upward to locate into tiny grooves in the upper lid. If you do not have assistance, use strips of tape to help keep the components in situ whilst you squeeze the top and bottom halves together. Lastly, pay special attention to correctly locating the "foot" of each side-panel into its metal clip under the door sill.
The Dension software allows the User a choice of modes, primarily using either (1) the COMAND screen/controls ("iPod GW"); or (2) the iPod click-wheel ("iPod UI"). Personally, I found the Dension 500 text setup very temperamental but got there in the end. However, I was disappointed the COMAND music navigation would not allow me to follow the usual tree of Artist, then Album, then Track. It seems to be only Artist OR Album OR Track. Am I right? Therefore I have reverted to the iPpod UI which regrettably means taking my eyes and hands off the road. Even so, The quality is excellent and I no longer have the aggro of trying to find a vacant frequency on the Griffin iTrip (which also involves eyes and hands).
Has anyone succeeded in installing the Dension 500 in an SL without separating the CD-Changer lid?