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BMW E36, MB W140
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, just to inform everyone, the ML's MCS Navigation radio plugs directly into the W140. No wiring harnesses, nothing. I was surprised getting it to work was so simple. I just plugged it into the existing harnesses and the unit turned on with the ignition key. The screen even dims with the headlight switch. I can tell that the speed signal is already there, because when I unplug the Nav antenna and drive around, it shows my movement on the screen.

However, getting it to physically fit is a bit more of a challenge. The W140 (1996-on) has two single DINs, the upper one for climate and the lower one for radio. I relocated the climate control to the lower DIN (the MCS couldn't go into the lower position because the motorized fold-down screen hits the shifter). For the upper section I unscrewed the single DIN plastic cage, and slide the MCS in. There was alot of plastic crap behind the upper DIN that I had to remove with a Dremel tool. I pushed all the wiring out of the way. But then I figured out a problem -- the MCS is slightly too deep, and it hits the wall in the back.

By any chance does anyone know what is behind that wall? I suspect that its where the cabin ventilation air flows...

Cheers

ps. pic below shows what mods were done so far...
 

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230E/230TE/S320/260E/320d
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87 Posts
Nice one

Hey I just bought a S320 1997-R and I didnt manage toget it with Sat Nav, How much did the unit cost you to get from the ML?Do you think it will be less hassle buying a Retro fit Sat Nav system from car stereo outlet?

Let me know if it all works!!

P.s Wonder how the GPS system works without an Arial???or does the head unit come with it cos you said that the movement of your car is registered???

Sounds good mate

Yohan
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Yohan,

I prefer using the a Mercedes Nav unit because it looks more elegant, and...


Hi Yohan,

I prefer using the a Mercedes Nav unit because it looks more elegant, and matches the interior perfectly. I found that the alpine and pioneer nav units don't match at all, and degrade the styling of the interior. Plus the Mercedes Nav unit are better integrated into the car. You can plug in the hands-free phone kit, and your phone book is accessible right on the Nav screen. If you choose the COMAND unit (from CLK) over the MCS unit (from ML), you might be able add the steering wheel controls.

The MCS is easiest to deal with, its plug and play. Just buy the under-dash antenna from Mercedes, or buy the on-the-dash antenna from Alpine (~45$ US on Ebay). And you're all set. I'd recommend getting a Cordless Dremel tool from Home Depot ($38usd) to cut the dash.

You need to get

(a) ML's MCS radio (b) Navigation drive. The Navigation drive mounts into the MCS radio. You can get either the CD drive, or if you have more $, you can get the DVD drive. The CD version uses 11 CDs to cover US and Canada. The DVD version uses a single DVD to cover US/Canada.

MCS radios go for about $500-600. The Nav Drive goes for about $600-700 for CD, or over $1000 for DVD.

Add the antenna ($90 retail for Alpine), and you're looking at around $1200-1300 US dollars. This is way cheaper than buying Nav as a factory option, and I believe is cheaper than buying an aftermarket Alpine or Pioneer unit.

For the discs, they are abundant on ebay, and you can copy them, whatever.

To answer your last question, if you unplug the Antenna, the unit sees your movement using the speed signal, and sees your turns using its internal Gyro. But if you move around too much with no antenna, after awhile. When you plug the antenna back in, it corrects itself.

Cheers
 

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230E/230TE/S320/260E/320d
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87 Posts
You do know your stuff!!

Hi RainMaker, thanx for the info, I need to source a CLK or ML head unit and navi unit plus the giro unit for the GPS to work. I know I can get a the UK spec DVD. I will be in touch for fitting instructions if I managed to get all the bits.

Cheers mate

Yohan
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
be careful about which CLK unit you get

Hi Yohan,

I have recently acquired a CLK nav unit for experimentation. I believe it has gyro built into the unit. However, you have to careful that you get the older CLK nav unit which doesn't use CAN-bus signals. They physically look the same, but if you get the CAN-bus version, it has no recognition of the ignition-key and headlight-switch position, since it expects these signals from the CAN bus rather than the conventional wires. Therefore it will exhibit the following quirks:

1) will not turn on automaticlly with ignition key
2) will turn off automatically after 30 mins (because it thinks you are running off battery
3) will not dim with headlight switch

If you get the wrong unit, I have heard that some place will modify it to the non-CANBUS version but I have no idea who does that. Also, I've heard that the Megacomm adapter might work to emulate the required CANBUS signals, but I can't understand the Megacomm website, its all in German (www.megacomm.de). They also make the RGB input for the CLK unit so you can plug in TV, VCR, PS2 etc...

As for installation, the CLK unit is *almost* plug and play. It doesn't use the C-plug anymore like that the factory radio uses (and the ML MCS unit uses), but instead uses a C1 and C2 plug which you have to add. I bought these from the dealer, moved the speed signal into the C1 plug, and everything works great.

I'll post pics for everyone on how each unit, the ML Nav, and the CLK nav, looks in the w140.

Cheers

Derek




---
1997 S320
18" AMG Monoblock
Blinker mirrors retrofit
Blue IR glass tint
S600 Avant grille
6000k Philips Ultinon Xenons
Lowered 2cm by trimming springs
Burlwood steering wheel, shift knob
DVD Navigation

1996 M3 Convertible
17" M3-LTW wheels with 10mm H&R wide-trak spacers
Bilstein PSS9 Coilover suspension
Racing Dynamics cat-back exhaust
In-pro Euro glass headlights
E46 Xenon projectors retrofitted
Angel-eyes retrofitted
Power/heated seat retrofitted
Park Distance Control retrofitted from 740i
1997-on Front kidney update
Crystal-Clear corner lights
Rear LED panel taillights modification
Integrated V1 radar detection
Indiglo orange/titanium face gauges with Chrome rings
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
pics so far - MCS in bay

Hi, it was pretty easy to move the buttons... as you will see in the following pics, I moved the climate control to the lower position (below the radio). The wires did *not* need to be extended. I simply cut some grooves thru the plastic cage to allow the wires to reach the lower DIN directly.

Only the 3 switches above the climate control -- the trunk release, hazard light, and rear-headrest switch needed to be extended, and these are only a couple wires per switch anyways. I moved these switches to the position next to the armrest/storage bin. I am going to upgrade my hazard switch to the "triangle" shaped one from the newer mercedes.

In the pic, you will see that the Alpine GPS antenna is simply jammed up to the front windshield, temporarily.

Cheers
 

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S320W
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Re: pics so far - MCS in bay

Hi, it was pretty easy to move the buttons... as you will see in the following pics, I moved the climate control to the lower position (below the radio). The wires did *not* need to be extended. I simply cut some grooves thru the plastic cage to allow the wires to reach the lower DIN directly.

Only the 3 switches above the climate control -- the trunk release, hazard light, and rear-headrest switch needed to be extended, and these are only a couple wires per switch anyways. I moved these switches to the position next to the armrest/storage bin. I am going to upgrade my hazard switch to the "triangle" shaped one from the newer mercedes.

In the pic, you will see that the Alpine GPS antenna is simply jammed up to the front windshield, temporarily.

Cheers
Looks freakin sweet!
[}:)]
 

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86 560SEL
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WWWWOOOOOWWWWW, looks great! Can you also integrate a digital phone to it? Er..BTW, any ...

WWWWOOOOOWWWWW, looks great! Can you also integrate a digital phone to it? Er..BTW, any chance to do mine???
[:D]
 

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Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bloody hell Rainmaker, thats looks wicked!!!I will call around and try and get a unit out of an old CLK, Shame your not situated in the UK as I would have paid you to sort my W140 with a Sat Nav unit :(

Will be in touch

Thanx

Yohan
 

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86 560SEL
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I looked again and noticed that your climate control is different than mine. Mine is stil...

I looked again and noticed that your climate control is different than mine. Mine is still using the dial to control the temp. So, I guess it is harder to move them. OH well, even it would not look so Mercedes, I am going with Alpine D900 and navigation.
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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179 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
next step - integrated phone and reverse camera

Hi fellows, too bad i'm too far away from the UK or Indiana state to do any installs (I live in both Los Angeles Califoria and Vancouver British Columbia). But I will document it closely so that the project goes more smoothly for you guys. My next step will be to retrofit navigation into my 1997 Range Rover 4.6 HSE (which has no mods so far).

Yes the MB Nav unit supports the integrated phone. Someone demonstrated the system to me, and its quite neat. When you plug your phone into the cradle inside the armrest, your entire phonebook appears on the nav screen. When an incoming call comes in, the music dims out, and the nav unit asks you if you'd like to take the call. The voice recognition module controls both the nav functions and the telephone functions. This level of integration is what sold me on the Mercedes nav system. The aftermarket units won't integrate the phone.

My next project will be adding the TV tuner, and the Reverse Camera, (since I am terrible at parking).

As per your climate control, dtkw, I think it might still be electronic (ie. not mechanical). If there are wires behind it, then it can be moved. I have a feeling it is electronic, but you can verify easily by taking the wood out. I'll post a pic showing the secret latch on the wood panel, and my custom tool, if you're interested.

Cheers
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
actually, dtkw, comand will fit yours

Actually dtkw, see this pic, he has the same climate control as yours, and he kept it on the top and fit the navigation unit underneath. I prefered to have the nav unit higher up (for visibility purposes) which was why i moved the climate.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
photo of catch

Hey dtkw you sure responded quickly. I thought I was the only one up this late!

To take the wood panel out, pull the radio and any screws out first (see W140Gills post about the screws, i didn't have any on my car). Then pull the trim around the shifter out (I used a credit card as to not scratch the wood, just pry one corner out at a time, little bit at a time)

Below the wood shifter, there is a plastic hook under the wood (see pic). It needs to be pulled forward with a MB tool. I just used bent coat hangar to do it. I'll take some pics when I get my wood back (its at the autobody shop being clear-coated).

Cheers
 

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VW Passat TDI 115
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You mean retrofitting a mercedes navigation system on your Range?

that's really sharp...


You mean retrofitting a mercedes navigation system on your Range?

that's really sharp! Was the clk-navigator the most appropiate or you just chose it for any reason?


Thanks a lot.
 

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BMW E36, MB W140
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Range Rover

Yes, I am going to install the CLK unit in the Range Rover, now that I have an understanding on how the wiring works.

The Range Rover is not as common as MBs in the US/Canada, so I could not find a used Landrover Navigation unit *anywhere*!!! I've been looking for months.

The reason that I chose the MB unit (CLK or ML) for the Range Rover is that it is a standard Double-DIN size, so it can physically fit into anycar that has a Double-DIN bay. Also, it is a self-contained unit (built in Gyros), which only requires two external signals - speed and reverse signal (plus the antenna).

Cheers
 

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hahaha, I stay up late all right, after all, we are two hour ahead of you too. I agree wi...

hahaha, I stay up late all right, after all, we are two hour ahead of you too. I agree with you, the higher the screen is the better. So you don't have to look down to see it. I would put the climate control on the bottom like you too if I was going to do it. But I don't think there is enough skillful people here to work on the W140 wiring with confident. And I am not taking the chances with them. So, I guess I pass the Mercedes look and go with Alpine. The only thing looks different is the headunit unless the screen is up anyway.
 

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Climate control swap

I was thinking, couldn't you just scrap all the old style climate pieces and install the LCD one-piece unit in place of it? Anyone know if it will wire right up? I think that would not only look better, it would make it easier to cut the wood since you'd only have to make one big cut instead of 3 small ones.
And with the DVD-Nav unit, will it actually play DVDs? If not, I can always wire up the XBox :D
 
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