HOWTO: Comand in a w202 (long and lots of pics)

Shude

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HOWTO: Comand in a w202 (long and lots of pics) - Facelift W202

A lot of you will have read Flyer's recent instructions for how to fit Comand in a pre-facelift w208 CLK. Fitting Comand in a w202 c-class is slightly more difficult because it was never an option for the w202.

Although I have described this as a "HOWTO" it should only really be followed as an example, it is not guaranteed that the comand unit you may buy will work exactly as mine does, and also your car's wiring may not be coloured or labelled or behave as mine does. I have posted this in the "Electronics" section because it relates to the fitting of a stereo headunit, but in real terms it could be more of an interior mod because of the extensive dashboard and trim work that is required.

The installation involves:

1. Taking the dashboard apart.
2. Finding a suitable location for the GPS antenna, and securing it there.
3. Making the dashboard reinforcement the correct size to physically support the double-din height unit.
4. Making the dashboard facia panels wrap around the outside of the unit.

These steps will require a certain amount of creativity, and a reasonable amount of confidence, after all you are about to take apart a lot of the inside of your car and take a saw to it! :)

The comand unit I have is from an M-class, so it requires non of the CANBUS data to operate normally, it will plug straight into the normal ISO headunit plugs and won't need anything else (AFAIK).

Here are the items you will need to buy in order to complete this (assumes you already have the comand unit)

From the stealership:
Antenna extension cable : A203 540 70 06 : £20
Antenna : A203 820 09 75 : £35
Dash panel piece : A202 680 26 39 : £40 (check with your stealership for the option code)
Headunit reinforcement : A202 689 00 16 : £13

w202comand01.jpg


From anywhere:
Those generic headunit fixing brackets, as found in Halfords for about £2. Looks a bit like "Meccano" :)
Some "trim fixing tape" which is a roll of double-sided self-adhesive foam strip, about £3.
You will also want to get hold of a navigation DX disc, and the price can vary for these.

It is assumed you have a basic set of tools, I can't be bothered to list everything here :)
 
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Step 1 : Taking the dashboard apart

The first item to come out is the armrest storage bin between the two front seats. In the floor of the box is a couple of big screws, take them out (you can drop them in that little bucket normally found in the front of the armrest where you have installed the cup holder. You DID get the cupholder didn't you? ;) ).

w202comand02.jpg

Then take out the frame from around the gearshift selector, this pops up easily (as you will have found when you fitted the chrome one. You DID fit the chrome one didn't you? ;) ).

w202comand03.jpg


Once that's taken off, gently pull up on the panel around the shift selector, it's only held on with a couple of clips. When it comes away from the console, be sure to unplug it from the underside, if your car is facelift then you're only talking about a couple of plugs.

w202comand04.jpg


The last bit to come out of this section is the front pocket, which literally just lifts out of it's holder.

w202comand05.jpg


That will reveal the two screws holding the centre console and the ashtray in, they're at the sides and you'll need to use a short screwdriver to take them out, be careful not to drop them under the carpet, although in 5 minutes you will be taking that carpet out so...

w202comand06.jpg
 
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Once the screws are out, pull the armrest unit away, put it somewhere safe and shout "urgh!" at all the crumbs and dust and frenchfries, buttons, sweets, peanuts, coins and all the other stuff that you and maybe the previous owner have dropped and has now been revealed. Best have the vacuum handy :)

w202comand07.jpg


Next take the ashtray and cubbyhole/cd holder out. It is just a pair of screws to release these now the armrest has gone

w202comand08.jpg



as you pull it away you'll find it's attached to a wiring loom, unplug this (very stiff on my car, funny shaped connector).

w202comand09.jpg


The ashtray is clipped to the item above it and it comes apart the opposite way to maybe what you expect. Pull one away from the other and push the clips with a screwdriver or fingernail. Put the ashtray and upper unit somewhere safe. So now you're looking at some more dust, an airbag sensor and a pile of wires.

w202comand10.jpg


Remove your headunit, I can't be too specific about this because they are often different. Mine basically fell out when I pushed it from behind :) . Once it's out, put the headunit somewhere safe (like ebay! ;) ).

w202comand11.jpg
 
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On the left and right of the top of the headunit frame there are screws, take them out to release the facia panel. If you have climate control you should release the unit using a pair of oem keys, it fits like a headunit in most respects. Once you've taken the climate unit out, or if you have the aircon controls (like me) then just pull the facia panel away and then pull down (away from the vents) it will click a couple of times and come free. It has a LOT of wires going into it, pull the buttons back-panel cover away and release each plug from it's socket, there will most likely be a long L-shaped one for the middle and some colored ones for the ASR/ESP switch and the towing/sensors button. If you have heated seats unplug them too. Put the facia panel somewhere safe :) .

w202comand12.jpg


If you have the aircon dials you need to take a screw out of the top, either side.

w202comand13.jpg


The aircon control unit is attached to some wires by a huge plug, press the back of it, fold the grey lever around and the plug will slide out, leaving you with possibly the stupidest looking part of your car. Put this somewhere safe.

w202comand14.jpg


By now somewhere safe should be starting to look full! I used the boot of my car for this and it was getting tight by this point! :)
There are two upper screws either side for the inner reinforcement, take them out

w202comand15.jpg


then take the two lower screws out. The vents are held in by clips inside, you can just see them at the top of the inside of them, try to press them with something to release the vents, or if you can't find them, just pull real hard :) . Put the unit somewhere safe.

w202comand16.jpg


Now pull the frame forwards and it should lift right out of the dashboard, on the back of it is a stupid piece of plastic that looks like honeycomb, no idea what it's there for but you will find that it catches on the way out, make sure that it comes out in one piece and that the clips holding it to the frame are still there. You now have a vacant dashboard, wasn't tricky was it? :D

w202comand17.jpg
 
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Step 2 : GPS Antenna

In order for you to use comand's navigation functions, it needs to talk to a GPS antenna. You have a few options here, inluding some that involve drilling holes in the roof of the car. I decided against the roof-drilling exercises and wanted something discreet. The w203 hidden antenna is perfect for this job, and is installed nicely in the underside of one of the rear speaker covers, try to glue it on the side of the cover that is not over a speaker!
You need to get to the cable trays under the carpet at the front and rear on the passenger side. This isn't difficult but you need to clear some space in a "safe place" again! :D
First you need to take out all your floormats and give them to someone to vacuum. Then remove the front passenger sill cover, just pull up on one end a LOT and it will come away from the sill.

w202comand18.jpg


Then pull the flexible seal away from the doorframe, it goes back on again just as easily. Next pop the little cover off the plastic lower-a-pillar cover, and take out the screw from deep within it. It needs to be unclamped from the metalwork, just pull it away and it will pop out of the clamps.

w202comand19.jpg


Next you need to remove the plastic vented cover from the underside of the dash on the other side of the footwell. Just turn the screw 90 degrees clockwise and the whole thing will fall out, it's not really a screw, it's a little pin/clamp thing.

w202comand20.jpg


Once that's out, the whole passenger footwell carpet can come out. Put that in a safe place (possibly get the same person to vacuum it;) ) .

w202comand21.jpg
 
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Next you need to remove the second silliest looking piece of plastic in the car: rear passenger ventilation trumpet. It's quite flexible so just pull it out and you now have access to the front cable trays (and apparently more dropped items, including this time a french coin :) ) If you dig any deeper you may discover Roman ruins and dinosaur fossils :) .

w202comand22.jpg


You need to expose the cable tray all the way to the rear parcel shelf, so remove the panel at the bottom of the b-pillar. You will probably need to scoot the seat forwards and backwards while popping the clamps off, once off, the panel pulls away and you can put that with the other pile of things in a safe place.

w202comand23.jpg


The rear passenger sill is the same story as the front, pull it until it comes off. The cable tray lids just unclip, so unclip from the front to the back and lay the extension cable with enough room at the front so the grey plastic plug can be comfortably plugged into the headunit while it is out of the dashboard. The other end of the extension cable needs to be up at the shelf, I couldn't work out how to remove the seat back (not folding) so I followed the fat power cable up the side of the rear seat and pulled the cable out at the shelf end from inside the boot, then threaded it into the speaker cavity.

w202comand24.jpg


I plugged it in there and clipped the speaker cover back in, sorted! Now put all the carpets etc back! :D
 
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Step 3 : Reinforcement

w202comand25.jpg


Now the whole point of taking the dashboard apart was to make it accept a double-din headunit. The first item to address is the frame. The frame is fairly rigid ABS you will need to use something like a hacksaw to cut it up. You need to cut it in line with the sides at the bottom, so instead of having a shelf at the bottom, it has an opening. You need to cut the other frame the opposite way so the lower opening has no ceiling. The two pieces that you have left should be combined to make a new frame that has a double-din opening.

w202comand26.jpg


To make this happen, use the two pieces of meccano-like bracket, drill a couple of holes in the frame either side and then screw them together. I found that I needed to continually cut and file bits off the frame to make it fit in the opening. Once completed it should be as sturdy as the originals were and should snugly fit the comand unit.

w202comand27.jpg


You will need to remove the clips on the sides of the comand unit, you won't be needing them and if you leave them on you stand almost zero chance of getting comand out again, even with the oem unlocking slides!
I think last time Steve (MBenzNL) managed to keep the lower dashboard lugs in place, but I couldn't figure out how, so they had to be cut off.

w202comand28.jpg


The frame fits in the dash now. It isn't as secure as I would like, it won't fall out, but isn't oem-rigid - I think some cable-ties to the metal structure behind the dashboard should sort this.
 
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Step 4 : Facia

This bit is a major buttock-clencher, unless you are comfortable with taking a saw to quite expensive interior parts!
You need to repeat the steps you took with the frame earlier, saw up one, saw up the other so the overall frame will fit around a double-din headunit. First cut up the upper piece.

w202comand29.jpg


You can now start to reassemble the dashboard of your car, the facia you just cut up will go back in again fine.

w202comand30.jpg


Test fit comand, go on! All you need to do is plug in the ISO plugs, aerial plug, GPS antenna plug and CD changer plug if you have one.

w202comand31.jpg


Now you should put the rest of your interior back in, the bits that required you to take it all apart in the first place are no longer present so you can take it apart independently now.

w202comand32.jpg


The lower facia piece is slightly more difficult, because it is narrower than the upper piece, by about 8-10mm. you need to cut about 4mm off either side and sand/file the remaining mm off to fit.

w202comand33.jpg
 
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It is held in place by screwing it into the underside of the reinforcement frame. The threads were supposed to have a panel inbetween (either the cubbyhole or the cd-holder) so you may not want to screw them all the way in, in case you go through the bottom of your comand unit! :eek:
If your comand unit doesn't sit straight, or sits too loose or low in the frame, then this is where the trim repair tape comes in, I used a piece either side on the bottom of comand to lift it a couple of mm to make the fit really snug and oem looking, the gap is the same as that between all the other buttons and dials on the dashboard.
I still need to work out how to hide the lower clips and fastenings, they are exposed if you look underneath the lower facia trim, this requires you to contort your body quite a bit, and only you will know it's uncovered, so it's up to you if you want to fix this. I have a plan involving the old remains of the two dash facia panels and a hacksaw :D . The lower trim piece still isn't secured properly in my car, I am going to glue something to the rear side of the upper piece for the trim to rest against, so it won't tilt back into the dash like it does now. The old pieces of dash panel will work for this too :D

I haven't explained the wiring yet, and this is basically because there is none AFAIK. Last time, we bothered to tap the speed pulse and wire it into the C2 connector above the ISO sockets, but I have tested the features of comand and it doesn't seem to need that extra wire, navigation works very well and updates with the movement of the car, I should test this in a tunnel sometime to see if it really works, but I would have thought updates from just GPS would be jumpy, it is smooth and reliable so maybe it works off just the ISO plugs! :)

Here is a couple of final pics to show you how it looks after all that work:

w202comand34.jpg


w202comand35.jpg
 
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Flyer

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Outstanding, Sir! Mine was a piece of p*ss compared to yours! Great write-up mate!

I prefer where you've routed the GPS antenna to, but I couldn't be bothered :p and fortunately still get 7-8 satellites with it under the dash.

Re; speed pulse. I did exactly the same (or, didn't ;) ), and get the same results, but I don't have the auto-volume thingy - is yours working now?

Cheers
Andrew
 
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Originally posted by Flyer
Re; speed pulse. I did exactly the same (or, didn't ;) ), and get the same results, but I don't have the auto-volume thingy - is yours working now?
Nope, maybe that's what it's for ;)

Looks like I will get to use those connectors and pins I bought after all! :)
 

sym

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Thanks for sharing the experience & knowledge . . . . . great guide !!

Looks the business too. :D
 

Steve_Perry

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Excellent post Nick!! :D Truely enlightening :)

Heh and stealers claim retro-fitting COMAND is impossible :p Someone should show them this and similar threads. ;)

S.
 

RichardM

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Excellent post Nick and very neat job. Now I can see why I went the portable Sat Nav route!
 
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Originally posted by RichardM
Excellent post Nick and very neat job. Now I can see why I went the portable Sat Nav route!
It's a LOT easier with your car though! Plug and play :)
 

RichardM

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I'm not sure it is. When I ordered mine command wasn't an option, its only become available with the launch of the W211 estate. In the US lots of people paid for command when they ordered their car, with the agreement it will be retro fitted when available. MB USA have now said this is not possible because they had to change the design and have had to offer replacement cars to all these people. There are loads of posts about it on the US forums. People are just starting to get their replacement cars now with the new DVD command.

But then they said it couldn't be retro fitted in yours... ;)
 
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Paul Grainger

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Well done - an excellent report.
Speed pulse, lights on/off, and vehicle direction are all data bits transmitted over the CANBUS, if your car is recent with CANBUS there is no need to bother with these connections.......

Paul G
 

MBenzNL

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Looking good Nick...next uo: steering wheel & IC upgrade...go CANBUS.

greetingz,
 

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