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2000 W210 E55 AMG, Silver/Black - Stock
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Discussion Starter #1
Just FYI I got a cassette audio adapter into my head unit in about ten minutes. Easy job. I routed the plug internal to the factory head unit and out to come out by the passenger's left knee. Sound quality is excellent. Totally clean install.

If anyone is interested I will follow up. Entire job took about 20 minutes and a $13 cassette adapter.
 

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2000 W210 E55 AMG, Silver/Black - Stock
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Here's the steps with a few details:

1. Slide out the factory head unit.

2. Pop the top cover of the E55 radio. no screws to undo. If you are careful you can do this without disconnecting the radio. If you do unplug it, make sure you have the radio code!

3. A typical cassette adapter has a thin cable coming out of it with a 3.5mm plug from one end. The reason these don't work on this radio is that the cassette loading door must be closed and the cable prevents this so the idea is to run the cable completely inside the radio and out through the dash (looks clean too).

*4. The factory radio "loads" the cassette so you must be prepared for the insertion. Thread the 3.5mm plug into the cassette opening first and route it away from the cassette mechanism as soon as it gets inside the unit. Pull most of the cable through. Plan the insertion and note any cable "pinch points" with the adapter housing as it loads. As the clearances are tight, I had to help a little with a gentle push to get it through.

*5. Reconnect the radio to power, enter the code (if you did this in Step 2) and carefully guiding the cassette adapter and its cable, load it in. If successful, the adapter and cable are now within the unit.

6. Facing the front of the radio, the back left corner of the radio housing easily separates just a bit to get the cable down to an existing empty slot. This is where the cable will come out of the radio case. I ran mine to the right and around the back of the cassette mechanism and then out the back left corner. Leave a little slack by the cassette opening (away from the mechanism though) in the case the cassette is inadvertently ejected. Put the top cover back on.

7. Disconnect the radio again and clear some room in front of its bay in the console. Stick your left hand in and with the right feel for an opening in the console sides near the knees of the passenger or driver. Fish the 3.5mm jack in and out of the pass through you choose. Your cable is now out of the dash. Pull most of the cable through.

8. Carefully reconnect and reinstall the radio and enjoy your aux in. And go back and read how to control that tape player you never used.

9. Very cool: The tape controls have their own audio settings. This is great as the cassette adapter needs a little tuning. I've even used the "NR", noise reduction filter with some good results.

*Afterthoughts: Maybe Steps 4 and 5 are not necessary. Maybe, once the adapter is loaded, you can THEN route the 3.5mm into the unit. Maybe there was not space. I can not recall. Check ahead of time.
 

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2001 E55 AMG
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3,294 Posts
Nice write up, but yo can buy little transmitters that plug into your aux cd player or ipod and then just tune a station to receive it.Although I can't vouch for them as I've never tried one. Here are some examples,however people I know have bought them for around £10 ipod transmitter for car - Google Product Search
 

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2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 4matic
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44 Posts
Nice write up, but yo can buy little transmitters that plug into your aux cd player or ipod and then just tune a station to receive it.Although I can't vouch for them as I've never tried one. Here are some examples,however people I know have bought them for around £10 ipod transmitter for car - Google Product Search
They do but they sound horrible IMO. I tried 4 different ones and they all sounded bad compared to my direct connect iPod in my last double din nav/gps radio that had a direct connect. I travel a lot so it was always annoying to have to change the radio stations as the signals got strong or weak.

I am doing the same thin that Schweinhund is for now by using a cassette adapter only I'm going right out of the front and just forced the door closed for now. It's not as good as a direct connection, but it's much better than the FM modulators. So I am glad we do have that cassette deck actually. It saves me from having to go buy some $150 adapter to the external CD player in the truck (another good option for us, but lots more work and the sound would be similar to the cassette adapter).

Thanks for the write up Schwein. I may end up trying what you did and routing my cable through the back too just to clean up the look a bit.
 

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2001 E55 AMG
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3,294 Posts
Like I said I've never tried one of those transmitters.....Thanks for letting me know they're no good.
 

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2002 C240
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2 Posts
My girlfriend and myself have tried the transmitters and they are terrible. They are especially terrible if you travel between different cities constantly. I'm just fortunate that I have an AUX input on my new car.

Thank you for the explanation. I'll post how it went as soon as I work on her car.
 

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2000 W210 E55 AMG, Silver/Black - Stock
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611 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. Glad to be able to contribute something. The job was surprisingly easy and the audio controls for the tape function were really great.

In my experience the FM modulators do not work well in urban centers and in LA it's no good.

What I've been doing is getting online radio stations over my iPhone (iHeart, KUSC, KPCC, Jack, etc). The sound quality especially AM is drastically improved.

Also, it is a really good hands free system. Tucking the phone in the upper cubbyhole with the back end out, I can talk like a speaker phone and the caller comes out of the radio system. Very good fidelity. Because these cars are so quiet, I can turn the volume down so that caller does not get their feedback. So now I am giving up on a BT setup and or aftermarket HU since I get all that stuff with my iPhone front end.

The last thing I am going to do do is seek out a car dock that charges the phone and gets the audio out while holding the phone in a nicely workable position. I'll report back in on that.
 
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