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W205 C43/450/400/300 Pre MY18 Carplay/Android Retro Fit Attempt

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W205 C43/450/400/300 Pre MY18 Carplay/Android Retro Fit Attempt

 
Old 11-16-2017, 01:42 PM
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W205 C43/450/400/300 Pre MY18 Carplay/Android Retro Fit Attempt

Hello All

As the title states, I am going to attempt to retrofit carplay into my 2017 c43 sedan. I absolutely HATE the User interface of the current unit in the car. it lags, connection is slow, activation times are ridiculous for navi and phone modules, and I now that i have driven a 2018 with carplay, I can also say the signal quality whether it be from the head unit or amp is much much worse in the 2017 MY headunits and down. How ever mercedes index the songs from the phone is the worst coding i have seen on a car system. it should never have been released.

This upgrade should fix all connectivity issues, increase headunit operation speed (reduce or eliminate lag), increase sound quality (subjective i am sure), add carplay or andorid auto, and make the audio 20 experience how it should have been from the factory in the pre 2018s. overall the 2018 audio 20 experience was very pleasing to me. its the only thing (besides the slightly better build quality), that i really wish i kept the c300 loaner i had for a few more days. I think once i do this conversion and fix all the rattles (only a few left on the speaker grills), i will be completely happy with the c43.


I have sourced the OEM part numbers that I believe I need from 2018 models that ship with carplay from the factory. The parts i am unsure of are some of the wiring harness for the rear camera and the card readers, as well as rear camera compatibility. We may be able to use our stock wiring and just replace components.

If i get this working in my car, I can not guarantee this to work in yours as your may be fitted with different parts.

I ran my 2017 c43 part numbers in EPC vs the loaner, 2018 c300, and vs a few that i looked up online, 2018 c43 w/ audio 20 and 2018 c43 with command.


So far I dont see any issues that will hinder this operation other than the coding of the new head unit to the car.

I was going to do a ILS retrofit guide as well, but I will say the money, time, and extra components needed just do not make it worth it to me at this time. I have the static LED currently and the look and function differences IMO just dont add up. i am not upset at all with my current headlights, but I did like the look of the ILS slightly better. Either way I will not be pursuing this retrofit currently. I will only pursue the carplay upgrade.


Stay tuned for pictures, part numbers and results. This may run a few months until successful completion as the holiday season approaches, my time is very limited.

Wish me luck
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:56 PM
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:20 PM
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As stated the other day I had a 2018 c300 4 matic loaner which had apple car play. besides no rattles (which are almost all fixed in mine now), the ONLY other thing i really envied was the better radio and apple carplay. So i figured if it can be done in the 2018 c class it can be done in my 2017.

so the other day I did a ton of EPC part searching from both my 2017 c43, the 2018 c300, and i also added in a 2018 c43 with burmeister command and a 2018 c43 with burmeister audio 20 and a 2018 audio 20 w/ out burmeister. These extra 3 cars helped to verify part numbers and to see if there are differences between the c43 and c300 as well as any difference between burmeister/no burmeister, and command/ no command.

I started off by comparing the MSRP list from my 17 c43 to the 18 c300. below are all the SA codes related to the radio. We can see a majority of the codes are the same except for 3 important codes. 14U, smartphone int pack (we knew this would be different), 154 (VERY IMPORTANT), and 16U (apple carplay code). Every thing else was the same.
The most important of these codes is code 154, which states in description of a conversion of headunit from a Melco unit to Panasonic unit as well as optimized hardware.
I am not sure if the optimized hardware means hardware internal to head unit or if it means the upgrade of the card reader and amplifier. Either way we will cover all bases.





The next thing I did is I got into Mercedes EPC with my year subscription it used to be free and now they charge for it.
Here I did an extensive part list comparison between the 17/18 c43s with all radio options and compared to the c300 with carplay. I went through every harness and hardware page and compared all important part numbers pertaining to the radio.
You can read through every single part comparison if you would like. But I will summarize it. These pages refer to the page that the part was on in EPC. It was section 54 sub section 554 i believe or something like that.
In the end I found that almost all harness were the same! Which is very very good.

2 harness were not the same. The first that was not the same was the rear view camera harness. The 17s and younger will have 2055405543 where as all 18s and newer will have 2055404859. Luckily this newer harness is only $40 dollars.
The bad thing though is if you replace harness my guess is you must also replace backup camera to newer version as well. the newer 18+ backup camera part number is 2229054509 and the old 17- part number is 2229059607. Both cameras are around the $400 point. This may be a scrap yard find.

Some wishful thinking, I think Mercedes may have just upgraded the camera to a better quality. I am hoping the older harness and older camera will still be compatible with the newer headunit. This is hardware bump number 1.

As I went down the list everything else was the exact same which gives me hope that the older camera and harness will still work with newer headunit.

The other hardware problem number 2 is a pretty easy fix. It is the harness and card reader. The old 17- card reader harness is part number 2055401924, and the newer 18+ card reader harness is part number 2055401724 which costs a whopping $10. id replace this regardless since its so cheap and its an easy run through the console.


The only other unknown in the harness is on page 27 with harness 520. On the 17 c43 i have harness 520 and its described as a harness to telematics services module. on the 18 c43s they dont have this harness. they do still have harness 80 which is the main telematics harness and the 17 c43 also still has this where as the c300 has neither. I am guessing it may have something to do with the amg readout for command becuase on teh 2018s only the command have this harness 520. So for audio 20 it may be unnecessary and in the 17s they had bigger plans that wernt carried out.
and on the 18 c300 it also didnt have this harness. I am not sure exactly what it does but the 18 c43 does not have this so I think we may be able to just omit it. I wont know for sure until I get into the car.

All other harness except those 3 are the same. And so far 1 of the 3 is an easy replace with the other 2 being hopeful to work with no further action.








And finally I got to the important hardware section.

I started by comparing the command to audio 20 so disregard that section. But look futher down and you will see the amazing numbers youll need. head unit for apple car play is 2059004533 which costs a cool $1055. the LCD screen is the same. The newer card reader is 2538206100 and costs $70.

Control knob and switch unit are the same. So that leaves the amplifier and sirius digital tuner. The 18+ do have a different amplifer and sirius tuner with newer part numbers. BUT, the harness that connect them are the same. My guess is that the amp and tuner may just be a better signal or better quality. But the good news is most likely these units would not need an upgrade since the harness are exactly the same.

In case you are interested, the new amp part number is 2229006514 and costs approx $550. the new sirius tuner is 2229009914 and i could not find it for sale. If I did have to replace these for any reason I would be more inclined to buy an audison BIT amp and really make the stereo shine.













So to summarize my findings. To retro fit carplay with OEM new parts its going to run roughly $1100 if its just a headunit and card reader swap or up to -$2000 at most if we need to swap back up cam and amplifer plus coding/shop time.
The head unit is a NEED. ~$1000 new.
The card reader most likely is a NEED. ~$70 new
The harness for card reader is most likely a NEED. ~$10 new.
The rear view camera harness is a maybe. ~$40 new.
The rear view camera is a maybe. ~$400 new.
The amplifier is a doubtful. ~$500 new.
The sirius tuner is doubtful. ~unknown new.
Coding is a NEED ~ TBD Price.

Part numbers below again for reference.






You also may have noticed the windshield and multi view camera part numbers at bottom. I was looking into an ILS true OEM retorfit and the cost detered me for now. The staic LED i have still look very similar and still look sick IMO so I will leave for now. Hint: the camera alone runs $1400. you also need to run the new harness up there.



My thoughts are, you could find these parts second hand much much cheaper and I bet the whole process could be done for under $700 which in my opinion for all of above said positives gives the glc and c class owners the car play we have wanted for years and a much better system then the NTG 5.2 crap we have now.

Make sure if you buy radio second hand to get the radio code!!!

I will probably buy it new because this is still much cheaper than buying a new car and plus I like my all black wooden trim even on doors. I dont like how they made doors alum in new cars.

I am not sure when I will be attempting this so if you want to go ahead please report back here! But once I do this I will report back. I am confident this is all you need to get an audio 20 w/ burmeister to be apple play compatible!!

Enjoy!










Last edited by Star4life; 11-17-2017 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:17 PM
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Out of curiosity, how did you get the hook out?
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gunnysack View Post
Out of curiosity, how did you get the hook out?

I have trim removal tools. but on the front face of the hook, under closer inspection you'll notice a flush tab that needs to come out. its like those trim pieces that you push the center piece in to lock it. so essentially the push to lock pieces pushes in flush with the part right above the hook. You need 2 small flat head screw drivers to get it started and then a trim removal tool or the back of a hammer would work too probably to pull it straight out.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:00 PM
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OMG I see it now. Thanks a ton!
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Star4life View Post
...I am not sure when I will be attempting this so if you want to go ahead please report back here! But once I do this I will report back. I am confident this is all you need to get an audio 20 w/ burmeister to be apple play compatible!!

Enjoy!
May not be the case here, but don't you suspect an ECU update may also be needed if you replace the head unit? That's not an easy thing to do without proper knowledge of the right settings/etc.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ASH_C43 View Post
May not be the case here, but don't you suspect an ECU update may also be needed if you replace the head unit? That's not an easy thing to do without proper knowledge of the right settings/etc.

as stated above, yes coding will be necessary.

you will need to code headunit to car, and also code the SA codes to enable carplay. there are many guys online that would do this for little to no charge but you would need a c4 star diag system and do a screen share.

My preferred method is to buy all this from the dealer and have them do it. as I know they can easily program a new headunit to ones car. the only challenge will be to get them to activate the carplay codes on our model year as its not an official retro fit. May have to go to indy or do yourself to do it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:57 AM
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I'd be interested in this if Car Play was an option with the bigger screen. This screen looks terrible inside with the huge bezel around it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by threefirs View Post
I'd be interested in this if Car Play was an option with the bigger screen. This screen looks terrible inside with the huge bezel around it.
you may be able to retro fit COMMAND NTG 5.1 and on that system people have loaded carplay onto it. that radio is int he cla gla and a few others.

there is actually a retrofit mercedes part number for that but I am unsure if the hardware can be installed in our cars easy. I was trying to stick to oem harness and hardware for our cars such to eliminate variables.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:25 PM
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I like the updates posted on this thread a lot. There are OBD tools now available to "activate" carplay for 2018+ C-Class head units, so I think once the HU is coded and functioning, enabling carplay should not be that difficult. Any word from MB themselves on if an official retrofit would be available?
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
I like the updates posted on this thread a lot. There are OBD tools now available to "activate" carplay for 2018+ C-Class head units, so I think once the HU is coded and functioning, enabling carplay should not be that difficult. Any word from MB themselves on if an official retrofit would be available?
link to said tools?


there is no official retrofit available at this time. My guess is that there will not be one considering you need to replace head unit and possibly more hardware.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Star4life View Post
link to said tools?


there is no official retrofit available at this time. My guess is that there will not be one considering you need to replace head unit and possibly more hardware.

http://www.unichip-tec.com/pd.jsp?id=51#_pp=108_509
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Star4life View Post
as stated above, yes coding will be necessary.

you will need to code headunit to car, and also code the SA codes to enable carplay. there are many guys online that would do this for little to no charge but you would need a c4 star diag system and do a screen share.

My preferred method is to buy all this from the dealer and have them do it. as I know they can easily program a new headunit to ones car. the only challenge will be to get them to activate the carplay codes on our model year as its not an official retro fit. May have to go to indy or do yourself to do it.
Sometimes, the dealers really do come in handy!
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post

interesting, at $350 id rather just buy a c4 mux and do it myself rather than some program doing it lol. then i have the sds for later use.but this would be good for most.
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Old 11-23-2017, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
Need to be at least MY 09/2017? Mine was 2 months older, too bad!
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:22 PM
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I'm guessing 09/17 was the first month they produced 2018 models?
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
I'm guessing 09/17 was the first month they produced 2018 models?
We bought a 2018 GLC 300 in August. MB newbie so how can I check production date? Also wondering if someone can advise on how to check to see if our GLC is compatible with CarPlay. Dealer says no, but I can't fathom how it's not...
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:02 PM
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You can probably tell by the transition of the different screens. If you click the radio, and then click the vehicle button (the physical buttons below the cd player) do you see a transition animation or does it just show you the vehicle setting? That is one way to tell if you have the new headunit which supports carplay, or the older one.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:20 PM
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Wow, impressive research and write up, thank you Star4life! I have a C400 with Burmeister audio 20 in the shop now. My head unit may be shot, wonder if I can make a play for a CarPlay unit...!
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
You can probably tell by the transition of the different screens. If you click the radio, and then click the vehicle button (the physical buttons below the cd player) do you see a transition animation or does it just show you the vehicle setting? That is one way to tell if you have the new headunit which supports carplay, or the older one.
It does a horizontal blind animation from top to bottom and then shows the vehicle. Does that mean the new one which supports CarPlay? Or the old unit that doesn’t?
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cstraface View Post
It does a horizontal blind animation from top to bottom and then shows the vehicle. Does that mean the new one which supports CarPlay? Or the old unit that doesn’t?
That most likely means you have the new headunit which supports carplay. You can try to activate it via the OBD method mentioned above. On older headunits, switching views has no animation whatsoever, just black screen and then the new view.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
That most likely means you have the new headunit which supports carplay. You can try to activate it via the OBD method mentioned above. On older headunits, switching views has no animation whatsoever, just black screen and then the new view.
Has anyone successful used this OBDII method? Is there any other way to check production dates or head unit code? I'd hate to spend $350 and not have the right head unit...

Also, is there any way I can have the dealer do this? It looks like it's not an official retrofit, so I'm guessing the answer is no. I just find it interesting that you can buy a $350 dongle and do it, but the dealer can't.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cstraface View Post
Has anyone successful used this OBDII method? Is there any other way to check production dates or head unit code? I'd hate to spend $350 and not have the right head unit...

Also, is there any way I can have the dealer do this? It looks like it's not an official retrofit, so I'm guessing the answer is no. I just find it interesting that you can buy a $350 dongle and do it, but the dealer can't.
Technically, the dealer can do it. It's just a matter if they "will" or are allowed to do it. The headunit already contains all the required software for carplay, it's just not coded (activated). The dongle does the same thing as the dealer would where they would basically add the "CarPlay" coding option which would then activate the carplay menu. I've never used the dongle but I have read that it has been successful in other models (CLA, etc..). Also, I'm not sure if there's a way for you to confirm 100% if the head unit supports it without asking the dealer. Maybe you can get in touch with the OBDII people and see if they accept refunds in case it does not work, etc...
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by alyshehata View Post
Technically, the dealer can do it. It's just a matter if they "will" or are allowed to do it. The headunit already contains all the required software for carplay, it's just not coded (activated). The dongle does the same thing as the dealer would where they would basically add the "CarPlay" coding option which would then activate the carplay menu. I've never used the dongle but I have read that it has been successful in other models (CLA, etc..). Also, I'm not sure if there's a way for you to confirm 100% if the head unit supports it without asking the dealer. Maybe you can get in touch with the OBDII people and see if they accept refunds in case it does not work, etc...
They do say send us your VIN and we will tell you if the dongle works for you. I'm about to do that for my 2018 c43.

One thing I'm not sure of, are you supposed to plug the dongle in all the time, or is it a one time install?
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