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SL-Class (R230) 2003 -- 2012: Discussion on the SL500, SL550, SL600

stereo replacement


Old 07-14-2018, 05:50 AM
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sl600 2004
stereo replacement

simple question is upgrading stereo on 2004 sl600 - stereo seems to be going bad - big job to replace? Should I just have it repaired? Basically, trying to understand if replacing stero is an easy swap or if it is somehow connected to the computer and therefore swapping stereo now gives other items trouble. If so, what are options. Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:44 AM
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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2002 C240 FORMER: 2007 CLK550 Cabriolet, 2001 ML320, 1984 300TD
It can be done, but there are some complexities. First of all, the system uses fiber optics to send audio signals from the head unit to the CD changer and amp mounted in the trunk. This means that there is no "speaker wiring" in the dash. You will need to run your own speaker wire from the dash to the trunk, disconnect the Bose amp, and then tie into the an analog speaker wiring there. It's not a big deal, jsut a little extra work to run the wiring. Of course if you want to go beyond your new head unit's puny built-in amp and install a separate amp, it's the same - run pre-amp wiring from the dash to trunk, install your amp there, and tie into the high-level speaker wiring at the harness for the (now removed) Bose amp.

Another small challenge is that the wiring harness for the radio does not have circuits for switched 12v+ or illumination. The factory radio gets these signals from the CAN bus. Your options there are to either tie into the cigarette lighter and ashtray for those circuits, or, get a CAN bus interface. There are CAN interfaces available that will allow you to use your steering wheel control buttons for the aftermarket radio. Many of those also supply the switched 12v+ and illumination circuits. just make sure you get the proper type - your car uses the pre-facelift CAN signals with D2B fiber. The other type is the My2005+ facelift CAN with MOST fiber.(which would not work in your car).

This won't affect any other functions of the car. I would mention TeleAid, but since yours is a MY2004, it is defunct anyhow as it's on the old analog cellular network, so no worries there. Also, even with that CAN interface, I am not aware of any way to get the radio display on the instrument cluster as you'd have with your factory unit. However, there are some aftermarket "drop in" head units from China that claim to be plug and play. I have not heard great things about these, so I would not recommend them. If you do go looking, make sure you are shopping for a pre-facelift D2B version.

One other thing are the speakers. Most people do not like the sound of the 2ohm Bose speakers once the Bose amp has been removed. Apparently, Bose uses fairly inexpensive speakers, but them has special digital processing in the amp to make then sound decent. Also, make sure your radio or amp is capable of driving 2ohm speakers.
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