Over the last few weeks I started gathering all the parts needed to do a Complete hea unit swap on both my ML350 and my SL550. Both cars had the Mobridge iPod/Bluetooth integrations, but I felt that I needed something a bit more modern in these cars.
This weekend I finally had a chance to do the ML. Since I had already prepped the wiring and the installation kit hardware, the only thing I needed to do is remove the old radio, remove the Mobridge and associated wiring and install the new radio in. The entire job took just under 2 hours, and that's because I had to drop the glove compartment so I could get to my MoBridge, and wire the microphone behind it, and up the window pillar. Also installed the USB connector into the hole that was there for the AUX connector.
I used the Connects 2 installation kit, which is supposed to be made specifically for the ML, and to an extent, it's pretty plug & play, but it's not perfect. The fascia fits, except not as perfect as the original, the cage that came with it work fine, even tough it feels a bit flimsy, once the radio is in it, it's solid enough.
The kit also contains wiring harness and a CAN Bus adapter. One end of the wiring harness plugs into the original Fakra connector that was previously connected to the Comand, the other end it's supposed to plug into the radio, but it's a standard ISO connector, and the Kenwood uses a 22 pin connector. I could have just cut off the ISO connectors and connected the wires to the plug that came with the radio, but I bought a ISO to Kenwood wiring adapter.
So the only wiring I had to do manually were the wires going to the CAN Bus, Illumination/Dimmer, Parking Brake, Reverse and Antenna Control. The original Comand AM/FM antenna needed an adapter for the Kenwood, which was included in the Connects 2 kit.
Initially I was going to install the GPS antenna under the center speaker cover on top of the dashboard, but I was having a real tough time getting it out, so I simply slapped the antenna on top of the radio, since it's magnetic, and put the radio in the dash. Locked it down with the slips and put back the climate control panel, and it's done.
My ML did not have the Harman-Kardon amp, so there was no need for the MOST adapter. The Kenwood drives all the speakers just fine. The only drawback is that the steering wheel phone pick-up and hang-up buttons don't work. The volume up and down works fine, but not the phone.
Obviously the CAN Bus connection is fine since the Volume controls work, but for some reason the phone buttons don't. I'll have to figure out why. Meanwhile I have a modern radio with all the features I wanted, and a bunch I don't need.
Now I need to teach the wife how to use it.
P.S. If anyone is interested I have the Mobridge ABT2010 unit for sale (will be posted in the classifieds section)