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Discussion Starter #1
About to purchase a C230 and one glaring problem has reared it's ugly head, namely the stereo head unit choices available. The Bose didn't impress me enough to pay what the dealer's asking, and the base unit is marginal at best. All that and no CD... My question is multiple choice. I have always replaced factory stereos with Blaupunkt units and would like to do so now (I'll go with something else if it meets my needs, brand loyalty has it's limits). I would like a head that can decode MP3s off of a CD-R in addition to playing regular CDs(I never use CD-RWs so I don't need that capability). Satellite radio would be a nice addition/poor substitution to/for MP3 capability. I'd like to trunk mount a CD changer with at least 6 disks capacity, preferably 10-12. And I'd like to retain the function of the steering wheel buttons (I know I'm asking for a lot). With this in mind can I:<br>
A. Replace the head unit, install a compatible changer and retain the function of the steering wheel buttons<br>
B. Add MP3/XM capability to the factory head w/o external plugs/wires running around the dash/console<br>
C. Buy a different model head unit from the maker of the standard head that adds at least some capabilities and retains steering wheel button functions<br>
D. Buy an RSX
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Regarding A., it is very unlikely that you will retain use of the steering wheel buttons if the head unit is not from MB. Some people have reported that it can be done, but don't give details. You need some way to hook up the head unit to the CANBUS.<br> <br> In the case of B., mp3 and satellite radio can be installed using an FM modulator in the antenna wire. The Bose, however, has an AUX input jack in the glovebox.<br> <br> With C. there are a couple of options now and possibly more later this year. You could get the Audio 10 cd head unit. It is a single cd player and cd-changer controller. It has AM, FM, SW and LW radio bands. The AM band won't work correctly. The AM band in Europe is somewhat different and the station spacing is 9khz instead of 10. Another choice is the Audio 30 APS. It is much more expensive and includes GPS navigation. The Audio 10 and Audio 30 APS can be purchased on German e-bay or from a European dealer. MB is parters with Sirius satellite radio. There are rumors of a Siruis capable headunit later this year. There are rumors that there will be a new head unit in the 2003's or that there will be optional head units for the 03's.<br> <br> D. would not be my choice, but might be right for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have that standard unit and I hate to say this but its not as good as the Delco unit in most GMs. I would have paid extra for the Bose if they had had one on the lot. I searched high and low and I didn't have much luck finding a system compatible with the steering wheel buttons. I considered the FM modulated changer but opted for the dealer installed MB changer a four times the price!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A couple of follow-ups if you don't mind:<br>
<br>
A. Know of any good aftermarket steering wheels so the buttons aren't there taunting me everyday?<br>
B. The FM modulator seems straight forward enough; any recommendations on specific units and/or mounting examples?<br>
C. The Audio 10 seems to run <$200 US and the Audio 30 comes in around $800. Was the pricing I saw typical? Are these direct swaps with the stock unit, i.e. can I get an Audio 10 and simply plug it in and add the factory changer?<br>
<br>
And assuming case C, how difficult is it to trunk mount rather than glovebox mount the changer?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't know of any steering wheels without buttons, but you'll need the buttons on the left side of the wheel to select the multi=function display pages, and the maybe the ones on the right to select menu options.<br> <br> People seem to be happy with several FM modulators including Sony, Alpine and Pioneer.<br> <br> The prices are typical of e-bay. The Becker Audio 10 sell for approximately 489 Euros at German dealers. The Becker BE6021 Audio 10 has and optional aux-in BE6020. I am not sure whether it is fiber optic or not, but I think it is not. If it is not, it would be easy to run a wire from the trunk to the head unit. The head unit is a direct plug in, no changes in wiring are needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Question..

How about installing a FM CD Changer ?<br> I also have a C230 Kompressor and I'm looking for a CD Changer. Does anyone know how this works? Can I do it myself? Any suggestions/instructions would be greatly appreciated.<br> Thanks!<br>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alpine CHA-634 is a mp3 cd changer. Of course it can be installed in the trunk. An Alpine (FM modulator/Ai-net controller/XM radio controller) can be used to control that FM modulator. It has a LCD display control and a remote control. <br> Aux input can be connected to the FM modulator. <br> Professional installation needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Question..

The best model that they had at circuit city was around 250 + 65 for installation. 1/3 the dealer price but you loose the steering wheel control and some quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Why waste time and money on changing the head unit? I've seen this 02 C230 with a Kenwood and it looks crappy. It doesn't fit into the console and you can see through the console. It looks cheap and tarnishes the brand of MB. And you can't even control the unit with the steering wheel buttons. Just stick with the stock head unit and get a set of new speakers, tweeters, and subs instead.<br>
 

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Discussion Starter #10
'Why waste time and money...' Um, well, I actually kind of enjoy listening to my choice of music while I drive. And because I haven't owned a cassete tape since 1996. And because my last car had a ten disk changer while the current one, which cost me signifigantly more, is only available with an outrageously overpriced six disk. And I don't enjoy '[Insert local radio host's names here] Wacky Drivetime Radio Show'. Because NPR isn't always interesting. Because I can put 7 hours of MP3s on a disk. Because they don't play the uneditted version of 'One Mic' on the radio. Need I go on?<br>
'...tarnishes the brand of MB...' What tarnishes MB is them putting that piece of crap in the dash, and making it so difficult to swap. My friend bought a Tiburon - a freakin' Hyundai - and got an eight speaker Infiniti system with a sub in the trunk, standard. I believe I read that Alpine makes the standard head for the C230. Why couldn't MB have used Alpine's AI-Net protocol and allowed you to swap the unit with a better one? Why couldn't the standard head have been a CD? I know that their experiance selling cars at this price point is minimal, but simple market research would have told them that this would not sit well with a lot of the young consumers they were intentionally trying to attract with this car. I don't care about the brand of MB, I want value for my money. If they don't understand that, maybe they should talk to some of their coworkers from Chrysler about what happens when you forget that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I agree 100%. What car doesn't come standard with at least an in-dash single cd player? Be careful with aftermarket equipment - even installed by MB. Everything seems to be difficult with MB because of the fiberoptics. Don't give up the steering wheel controls. When they work, they're awsome.
 

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I just found a way to replace the factory head unit with an aftermarket Alpine unit and keep the basic steering wheel controls. It's an adapter Alpine makes. For the C230 Kompressor (coupe) the part number is KCE-863B and I can only find them here: http://caraudiosecurity.com/catalog/index.php+cPath+48_208_253
They are about $127, but if it works, it would be well worth it!
 
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