I believe the entire console has to come out. I did this for my 02 320 during the VES install so here I go from memory. You can do this with the -ve battery end disconnected (make sure to have the radio code in hand) or you can take your chances with the battery connected and be careful not to short anything, as you'll understand in step 5) below.
Now you can ignore all this and go to Paul's site where he explains everything in details with pics. He is at: http://home.earthlink.net/~phdwebsite/
1) Take out the shifter casing (the black OEM one) - you can use the MB tool to avoid scratching the wood trim or do like me and most do: press on any two opposing sides on the black trim and as they start to buckle, pull up. There are 4 clips that hold the plastic piece in place. Don't be afraid to pull the thing out. The tool, which I have, BTW, just makes things easier. I realized I never needed it!!!!!
2) Once the console is out, you'll see screws to take out. Locate them - don't recall how many, type or size. If they are torx type, get the correct wrench.
3) Look in the deeper pocket of the center storage compartment. There are two plastic clips towards the rear. Take them out (if you break them, no problem, they're cheap and I believe I have a couple of xtras if you need them)
4) Pull the console trim out - if there is resistence, check to see if there are any other screws to take out. I don't think there are any others, and I believe the storage compartment cover will come along for the ride.
5) Now at there rear wall of the bare console are two phillips screw. Take them out and now you can pull out the entire center console along with the skeleton of the storage compartment. You may have to disconnect the blower motor to pull things out. One of the connectors is a pain in the neck to get out. You can keep it connected but be careful not to short anything there - I did short the blower motor and fried a whole bunch of console lights!!! Luckily for me, my SA repaired the short at no cost to me.
Now you can iPod as much as you want.
BTW, (and I know I'll get flamed for this by the sound experts here!!!) out of curiosity becasue I plan to iPod my ML also, why not go with a FM tuner or FM modulator? The sound is not as crisp, but it seems to be a lot easier to integrate the iPod that way.
Here also is a link where I displayed my audio system ignorance to the world. You may find it very useful, if not already: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/foru...22238&posts=12