M-Class (W163) 1998-2005: ML 230, ML 320, ML 350, ML 400 CDI, ML 430, ML 500, ML 270 CDI

Simple 2004 ML 500 COMAND Replacement

Old 01-04-2015, 04:38 PM
MBWorld Fanatic!
Thread Starter
jbondox's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 2,430
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
beater with a heater
Simple 2004 ML 500 COMAND Replacement

This article is taken from the audio section and has images in it located there and don't know if they will transfer over to this one

Original located here with the images:

My Xmas gift to the forum. Anyways I was helping out the local car audio shop this week as they are booked solid and wanted to take care of a customer on a tight budget with his ML500 that was D2B optical.

I thought I would share the simple way to replace the factory with an aftermarket under 45 minutes. Now if this was my system, I would of added a 5 channel amplifier but that is me and this is this, and on a budget.

First, the clients vehicle had no audio, and was built without steering wheel controls. His main goal was Pandora, iPod, DVD, Bluetooth and a radio... of course it working also. Further inspection it was discovered that a loose, as in extra, optical cable was behind the COMAND and that someone spliced into the wiring for power/ground

Here is a series of pictures, first the basic system, second the amplifier which is located on the firewall left of the steering wheel up in the dash, 3rd the wiring harness for speakers from the amplifier, and 4th the radio in the dash.

This is not the all conclusive way to do it, but a way to do it easily on a budget. again I would of recommended a 5 channel amplifier for all 4 door speakers and the sub which is under the drivers seat... so don't say why didn't you do this or that... as it was all budget related.

Parts: Kenwood DDX-371 radio, Metra 40-VW10 antenna adapter and an iSimple ISS35 3.5mm headphone jack panel mount input.

1.) Grab a beer

2.) Pull the radio out with MB keys that are located at the slots in the bottom corner of the factory COMAND. Disconnect all plugs from the back and toss radio in the garbage or the attic.

3.) Grab another beer

4.) Undo 2 philip screws that hold the plastic underdash on and twist off the plastic retaining nuts that hold it to the firewall. lower dash panel and look at the OBDII connector and slide the retaining clip to the left and remove OBDII plug, toss panel to the side until time to put back on.

5.) Grab another beer

6.) look up under the dash and to the left of the steering column, the black box with fins is the amp and is held in by a single 10MM bolt, undo the bolt, unplug amp and toss amp in the garbage or attic.

7.) Throw all empty beers away, have a smoke, and grab another beer. swear a couple of times and throw a box around just in case the family is home so they leave you alone... while you do this.

8.) tricky part, unclip the harness off the firewall and rerun it to the center console area. It is long enough so you won't have to add wires. I make all the speaker connections while on the floor to the Kenwood speaker harness and route back up later. Also i cut the wires 2" from the plug incase he wanted to go back to factory for some reason which would be stupid as the old COMAND is a boat anchor. The wires are self explanatory and by looking at the picture I gave it is not to hard to figure out what is what. i soldered the connectors and covered with 3M Super 33+ tape.

9.) Have 2 beers as you are almost done!

10.) The radio harness that plugged into the COMAND, run that down to the drivers floor board also, there is lots of room back there and it is long enough.

The harness will need to be hooked up, fat red is constant power, Brown is ground, skinny red is antenna turn on, Pink is ignition, white is illumination... make connections ( I also ground the e-brake wire of the Kwood so it plays video all the time, do it now so when you put it back you don't wonder why you can't get in the setup screen)

11.) by now al the connections are made, have a shot with that beer, you deserve it!

12.) inside the cavity that held the COMAND is 2 plastic tabs that protrude out, cut em off... they will be in your way.

13.) it's time to make the bladder gladder, go to the bathroom. But be aware you broke the seal! each step will require a beer and a bathroom break.

14.) in the glovebox, the white light cover pops off nice and simple. notch out a little corner of the glovebox itself where the light was, if you are soldering wires, just use your solder iron, it melts plastic cleanly and efficiently... just remember it melts plastic efficiently so try not to screw anything up. This notch will provide an entry into the glove box for the USB cable.

15.) grab a beer

16.) now comes the aux headphone jack if you want it, otherwise skip this step. If you are a tool person like me you can grab a unibit and drill the whole I think it is a little shy of 3/8" or you can make the hole with the solder iron. push the female plug in the hole and route the male end to to where the Kwood is going to go. Now since you broke the bladder seal, go to the bathroom again and tel the family if they are home that you dropped something behind the radio and it is going to take hours to find and retrieve it... get another beer n your way back

17.) push the metal cage of the kenwood all the way in the cavity that held the COMAND. If properly seated it will clip in with no bending or prodding and will not need any additional securing as the clips on the Kwood cage are perfectly setup for this vehicle.

18.) the harness that you made on the drivers floor, run it to where the COMAND was and secure the harness in place .

19.) Grab a beer

20.) Grab the Bluetooth mic, it is going in the A pillar which is simple and efficient. the A pillar pops off by a slight tug. Put the mic about 4" down as the visor will hit it otherwise, run the wires down the channel with the factory wires, the side of the dash has a panel that pops off that can help you get it to the bottom of the dash. test that the visor doesn't hit it and put back together and secure the mic wire at the bottom of the dash and run the wire over to behind the radio. Please secure with zip ties of tape the mic wire as you route it to the center console area

21.) you gotta go to the bathroom so bad but you not going back in and you could care less, so you go behind it or next to let loose, wave to the neighbors as you water the plants. on the way back in grab a beer as you can't stop til it is in now.

22.) Undo the USB cable and route to the glove box where you notched out the corner of it by the light while letting the Kwood sit on the seat, as you do not want to scratch the wood grain. plug in the mic in the mic input, plug 3.5mm aux into the AV2 input, then the antenna adapter. I like it clean so i will make sure they are zipped or taped together. Now the payday, the Kenwood harness needs to be pulled through the cage and plugged into the Kwood, there is enough wire to do it while balancing it close to the cavity.... DO not scratch the wood grain because your drunk and blame me!

Once all plugged in, set the Kwood into the cage but do not slide all the way back yet! Turn key on and ensure that the Kwood turns on and set the panel color to red during setup phase. Select the radio and ensure FM and AM both work. Next throw a DVD in. test the headphone input, test USB/iPod and ensure all 4 speakers fade/balance properly.

If it all tests out push it in till it clicks into place and then grab the trim ring and clip it on.

23.) You think you are done,but actually you need another beer and then you need to go to the glove box and pull the USB cable excess through the light and place the cable in the notch you cut out and put the light back in. Put the under dash back on and NOW you are done.

24.) You will need another beer, and you earned this beer and a pat on your shoulder as it is time to sit in the vehicle and jam to your favorite tunes... Grab a few beers for the listening experience... Just do not start the vehicle in a closed garage!! you pass out drunk and kill yourself it is on you! but now you can jam.

Notes: Any extra beer please refrigerate. If you are to use a 5 channel amp you can mount it where the factory was and run power and ground to it. i personally like the Alpine 5 Channel PDX for its size and quality you will need to hook up and route RCA's and an amp turn on to it, don't forget the sub wires.

Well it sums it up, have at it


Last edited by jbondox; 01-04-2015 at 04:47 PM.
jbondox is offline  
Old 01-06-2015, 09:26 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1990 190E 2.6, ... 1998 ML320, 2005 ML500SE
25.) Visit local AA and sign up for their program.

Mike's ML is offline  
Old 01-14-2015, 04:08 AM
MBWorld Fanatic!
Thread Starter
jbondox's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 2,430
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
beater with a heater
jbondox is offline  
Old 01-14-2015, 04:09 AM
MBWorld Fanatic!
Thread Starter
jbondox's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Cleveland Ohio
Posts: 2,430
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
beater with a heater
I have a version for the folks in Colorado also, but it takes days due to motivation issues
jbondox is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:
You have already rated this thread Rating: Thread Rating: 0 votes,  average.

Quick Reply: Simple 2004 ML 500 COMAND Replacement

Contact Us - About Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: