R172 Illuminated Windrestrictor - Hints & Tips - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 09-06-2013
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R172 Illuminated Windrestrictor - Hints & Tips

R172 Illuminated Windrestrictor Hints & Tips - Part I

Yesterday morning I installed my new Illuminated Windrestrictor with custom etched graphic I designed for my 2014 R172. While there are some great members of the forum that are comfortable with creating and installing all sorts of mods on their SLK, this is my first one of any substance requiring popping off things, fishing around, and being worried about screwing something up affecting my warranty or breaking a clip or some other component causing me to make my way to a local MBZ Parts department for something that has to "come from Germany". I thought others like me (and I'm sure there are some of you lurking out there) may benefit from my experience.

Overall Impression
Overall quality of the Windrestrictor is simply superior. I highly recommend it opposed to the optional OEM AIRGUIDE Windstops which look great, but IMO don't do much to help with cockpit buffeting. Others may be happy with cheap alternatives from eBay and other sources, but I really believe you get what you pay for. The thick acrylic edges of the Windrestrictor are curved and finely honed, and all metal surfaces are finished in a quality manner unlike what is possible with garage or home-made devices. Little details have been thought-through for the specific vehicle, e.g. the base plate has a stylistic curve that allows the Windrestrictor to work with or without optional R172 Parktronic. The acrylic is also permanently tilted forward ever-so-slightly which helps reduce glare during the day and at night.

Installation Time
Installation time for a non-illuminated Windrestrictor would likely be 30 minutes or so for the uninitiated -- really a very simple job without much to go wrong. Adding illumination, IF you want to hide most of the wiring, will bring sweat to your brow -- at least it did me figuring things out -- and took about 2 hours start to finish.

Tools
Windrestrictor provides the acrylic, brackets, and screws you'll need. A putty knife or better yet, a plastic prying device like is used in auto body shops, 1/8" allen wrench, wire strippers, electrical tape, an old wire coat hanger, and a T30 Torx Screwdriver are the minimal things you'll need. You may also need a file or some other device to help enlarging openings for the wires in the composite material on your SLK -- more on that later.

Instructions
Installation instructions and photos/diagrams were good and are specific to the R172 and the "Illuminated Version" I purchased. Beware the website isn't clear they don't provide instructions to electrically connect the panel directly to your SLK like some other models in their line, but Stephen (Sales) let me know that during the ordering process. While at least one forum member had his mechanic do the direct electrical connection, Windrestrictor recommends purchasing the 12V Cigarette Lighter adapter for the R172, which I ordered to run power from the center console 12V to the optional LED dimmer module, and then to the Windrestrictor.

The challenge becomes when the very detailed Windrestrictor installation is basically done and the instructions on the last page sort of fizzle out: "Our suggested, simple wiring method is to run the wire from the windscreen into the panel and then along the top ridge of panel and have it exit behind the driver's seat so that it's not seen..." The details how to do that are the trick for someone that has never taken a MBZ apart before. A helpful starting point I used, if you want to DIY, is to locate the current SmartTop DIY here on SLKWorld that has a lot of pictures how to deal with the carpet area behind the seats. Hopefully some of my notes/comments that follow will help another person one day. I didn't take pictures as I was doing this, but hopefully my words will make sense after you first read the Windrestrictor documentation, and then look at your R172.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2 (due to 10K forum limit)...


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#2 Old 09-06-2013
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Part 2

R172 Illuminated Windrestrictor Hints & Tips - Part 2
HINTS & TIPS
  • Follow the Windrestrictor directions. They work.
  • Pay lots of attention to locating the wires that come out of the acrylic panel and need to go through the hole on the speaker grille... I found they MUST go down on the side of that hole closest to the driver's door -- between the Windrestrictor bracket and the composite material that makes up the deck area surrounding the roll bars. The problem I had was that space is not large enough to fit even one of the two wires with the thicker connection they each have. I had to file away some of that space (I ate away the composite material, as the bracket is too hard to do with tools I had) to fit the wires down into that area. You'll see what I mean when you try it yourself.
  • Before you put the screws in and tighten down the acrylic panel, you need to decide how you want to route the wires to ultimately connect up with your 12V connection in the center console. The instructions suggest routing them across the back and then down behind the driver's seat... The problem with this, as I found, is one has to remove the back carpet which takes a lot of steps -- many I performed, then decided it was not worth the effort.
    I decided I could live with a few inches of the wires being exposed behind the driver's seat where no one will ever see them. What follows are the steps I did to route the acrylic panel wires directly down behind the center back pocket, routing the 12V cigarette wire out of the center console, and connect them to the optional dimmer I located near the floor area behind the drivers seat in the small area towards the left where you probably have your owner's manuals stored:
  • Fish the wires for the acrylic panel (before it is screwed into place) through the hole in the grille, to the right of that bracket as described above, then fish them forward and out towards the cabin through the opening where the speaker generally is.
  • Remove the pocket on the back carpeted area between the seats (top ends pull left/right and out, then bottom 4 clips allow you to lift the pocket up and off). Set it aside.
  • Straighten the coat hanger and fish it up through one of the two holes where the pocket was clipped into the carpet on the driver's side. Get that hanger up into the grille/speaker area. Now, carefully tape the ends of the two wires from the acrylic panel to the hanger and pull it down so the wires are now hidden behind the carpet and coming out of the hole where one of the pocket clips will be.
  • Go ahead and complete installation of the Windrestrictor per their instructions. It will be easier with 2 people. You're going to have to really work to get the wires down through those holes. Clip the speaker grille back in place and install the Windrestrictor with the screws per instructions. Once the plate is on, you can't pull too hard or you'll potentially break the connection in the wires. Be patient and keep working the wires to minimize what is between the acrylic base, the grille that is not yet back in place, and the bowels of your SLK. If you do it right, AND the wires are correctly located, the acrylic panel will be centered as you start to tighten both screws. If you fail, it will start to look like the acrylic is off-center -- STOP and redo the wiring, and you'll eventually get it done. Test to make sure your panel is working with a 9V battery before continuing -- just hold the Red wire on the +, and Black on the -, and your panel should light up.
  • Remove the plastic U-shaped cover behind the center console that covers the hinge mechanism. Pry it using the same tool you used earlier to remove the grill on both sides so the clips are loose. Now, it's a bit tougher, but using that pry tool on the back side next to the carpet, you need to pop the cover up and off. There is a long clip that goes straight down behind the hinge mechanism -- that's the one you need to come loose. Set the cover aside.
  • Place the 12V Cigarette Adapter in your center console (don't plug in until you're done). Fish the cord through the CENTER and UNDER the metal U-shaped hinge you'll see. It comes out in the area where you just removed that U-shaped cover. Avoiding the hinge mechanism, position the cord to come down behind the drivers seat. Position the U-shaped cover back on top and clip it into place which will also do a great job holding your power cable in place.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3...
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#3 Old 09-06-2013
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Part 3

R172 Illuminated Windrestrictor Hints & Tips - Part 3
HINTS & TIPS (Continued)
  • We need to finish what to do with the exposed black and red wires coming from the acrylic panel. You could buy some black tubing of many sorts, but I simply used black electrical tape to wrap around the area of those wires from where they come out of the pocket clip hole, down for about a foot. You won't really see most of this, but might as well make it tidy since you're at it.
  • Put the rear pocket back on. Clip the four bottom clips down and in first, then work to pull out the top left and right sides until it clips back into place. The pocket will hide part of your wire -- just let it come out of the bottom of the pocket and down to the floor behind the driver's seat. Simple.
  • If you have a dimmer, place it vertically near the floor on the left side of the lower pocket where your owners manuals are likely stored behind the driver's seat. Before you secure the dimmer, go ahead and cut the 12V and wires from the panel and connect them to the dimmer per instructions. I secured my dimmer into the carpet with a very short screw that only grabs the carpet -- not going too deep to cause any issues.
  • Plug the cigarette adapter into 12V. Turn on your SLK, and test things out per Windrestrictor instructions. You should be done. Voila! A completed installation!
Pictures
Yes, I know you want some. Here are mine. I like simplicity, but have a thing for the Mouse, and seeing if I get a little grin when people realize what it is. For me it's clever, but still classy like my ride is. The icon is positioned at the right height so it's centered in my rearview mirror all the time. It's all in the detail.
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#4 Old 09-06-2013
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Great job. Will move this to the r172 diy section and sticky it.


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#5 Old 09-06-2013
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Good job, looks really nice. I did a little more advanced wiring on mine , where it comes on dim with the headlights and full when breaking..


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#6 Old 09-06-2013
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Good job, looks really nice. I did a little more advanced wiring on mine , where it comes on dim with the headlights and full when breaking..
Yes, you techie-types that are electronically proficient can do such things and hold your own if you create problems when it comes to warranty discussions with MBZ should it become necessary. Some of us have to take more basic approaches when there are no instructions, and we don't want to really take any chances with our $60K+ cash investment that is less than a month old.


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#7 Old 09-06-2013
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Ok, I'll show you how, when your car is 2 or 3 months old then..deal


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#8 Old 09-08-2013
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That's about the best write up I've seen so far. Thank you very
much. It was a pleasure working with you. It turned out amazing!

Here's a diagram that may help explain how the wind flow works.

Thanks so much!
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#9 Old 09-14-2013
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Looks like I may have to eat my words. Having put the windows down a few times I really prefer it, but the buffeting is unpleasant!

Does the installation involve any new holes / mods to the car?

Can someone publish the installation instructions here please?
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#10 Old 09-14-2013
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No new holes or mods, but you may have to file a bit of material off the rear deck composite material if you go with the illuminated version as you'll see in my add on tips above. There would be zero modifications needed with the R172 non-illuminated (with or without etching) version. It was a great fit. Hiding the wires for the illumination is the trick. If you look at your R172 grille between the rear seats, you'll see it has two englongated holes that seem to have no purpose unless you put the bottom posts of the standard MBZ mesh into place between the roll bars. Basically, Windrestrictor provides a custom bracket that fits under that area that ties into two Torx screws you undo underneath the grille to hold their bracket in place. Two screws they provide then clamp the Windrestirctor down over the top of the grille through the two enlongated holes MBZ provides in the grille and into the new screw holes in the Windrestrictor bracket. Ingenious. Original instructions are property of Windrestrictor so I'm not comfortable scanning and posting. I honestly don't know why they don't put them up on their own website -- I would have ordered earlier and avoided a question to Stephen before ordering that way. I suggest if you want a copy before ordering, to contact Stephen at [email protected] with your request.


Rorywquin ...I should add... While I'm very positive on how much the Windrestrictor reduces cockpit buffeting, even with the windows down, buffeting still happens from the sides, IMHO just to a lesser degree. Nothing would eliminate the side buffeting entirely except raising the windows or MBZ redesigning the aerodynamics some way or other.

Hope that helps.


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#11 Old 09-14-2013
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Bert, I bought mine from "formymercedes.com" and they had and still have the instructions posted on their wep site . So, I'm guessing its ok to post the link...
http://www.formymercedes.com/morepic...A-5172-mp4.jpg


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#12 Old 09-14-2013
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Bert, I bought mine from "formymercedes.com" and they had and still have the instructions posted on their wep site . So, I'm guessing its ok to post the link...
http://www.formymercedes.com/morepic...A-5172-mp4.jpg
Super. Looks pretty similar if not the same as what I received from Windrestrictor direct.


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Super. Looks pretty similar if not the same as what I received from Windrestrictor direct.
Bert, It is the SAME. If you click on the link and look at the logo in the upper right hand corner, it is a crown with the initials K.P.I., that would be King Pin Industries!

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#14 Old 09-14-2013
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Bert, It is the SAME. If you click on the link and look at the logo in the upper right hand corner, it is a crown with the initials K.P.I., that would be King Pin Industries!
Thanks! Was too lazy to get out of my reclining chair after dinner with a rather stout margarita in one hand and my iPad in the other to physically get up and verify the document revision in my office filing cabinet was the same, so I copped-out with the "I think it's the same" reply to try and head off anyone that may question my judgement. ...ah, Saturday nights catching up watching Fifth Gear on my DVR, and a whole different set of priorities. Have a great weekend!


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#15 Old 10-04-2013
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Good job, looks really nice. I did a little more advanced wiring on mine , where it comes on dim with the headlights and full when breaking..
Hi Mod Man,

Just received my illuminated WindRestrictor. Love it! Look gorgeous when view from behind when lit. It comes with a dimmer box. I would love to do what you've done, "where it comes on dim with headlights and full when braking ..". Would you enlighten me
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#16 Old 10-05-2013
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Hi Mod Man,

Just received my illuminated WindRestrictor. Love it! Look gorgeous when view from behind when lit. It comes with a dimmer box. I would love to do what you've done, "where it comes on dim with headlights and full when braking ..". Would you enlighten me
Along with the great instructions from Bert here, which does a neat clean factory looking results, if you desire a Frankenstein alternative, then ....

https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r172-cla...tml#post892513


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#17 Old 07-27-2014
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Mod Man and Bert,
Thanks for your posts about mods. I have a question. It appeared that Mod Man indicated in one of his posts that you can hook into power in the door sill area, and I was wondering if for the WindRestrictor that I could hook into power there instead of in the trunk -- and would it be easier? I've not done mods before and am a little hesitant. I appreciate any advice.


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#18 Old 07-28-2014
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Mod Man and Bert,
Thanks for your posts about mods. I have a question. It appeared that Mod Man indicated in one of his posts that you can hook into power in the door sill area, and I was wondering if for the WindRestrictor that I could hook into power there instead of in the trunk -- and would it be easier? I've not done mods before and am a little hesitant. I appreciate any advice.
I ended-up installing my illuminated WindRestrictor in perhaps a not-as-fancy-way as others have where theirs come on or brighten when brakes are applied. My electrical is fished down behind the rear panel and plugs into the 12V cigarette adapter in the center console... The WindRestrictor is always illuminated that way but can be controlled with it's independent on/off/dimmer remote (which I almost never use). Installing it this way was a much simpler job and less invasive for someone like me that is paranoid to do anything to my ride that diddles with the electrical and/or computer systems, and could get me into problems I don't what to have.
...as a side note, I found early-on that I prefer to keep my WindRestrictor illumination relatively dim so the glow does not interfere with my ability to see through it via my rear-view mirror, and the red does not begin to light up the cabin more than my std MBZ already does so beautifully on a dark night if you turn the WindRestrictor up. Some of that would be dependent upon what sort of artwork you do (or don't) select, but with the relative brightness I like, my setup has worked out fine for me. At night, the art is visible to people behind me, but just enough IMO to stay classy vs being so in-your-face that higher intensity would be. It's nice to have options with the dimmer.
I'll let Mod Man or others respond about where the best physical connection points are beyond the cigarette adapter. I seem to remember some other threads containing that discussion if you do some searches -- just don't remember the detail as it wasn't where I was headed. Good luck!


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Thanks BertL for the instructions -- certainly WAY better than what came in the kit. I installed the WindRestrictor this weekend. I had to do a quick reconfiguration because it was shipped to me installed backwards in the bracket. As you suggested, there is no help in the shipped instructions on how to snake the wires to the center console, but following your instructions made it simple to figure out how to use a hanger to get the wires out behind the pocket. I also installed the dimmer and put it in the pocket behind the driver's seat. Finally, before I screwed down the WindRestrictor, I put some felt pads on the bottom of the bracket to (hopefully) protect the area beneath it. Tried it out today and it worked great!



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#20 Old 08-03-2014
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Craig, glad to hear things worked out. Enjoy that ride, and when you're driving at night with that illuminated WindRestrictor, I hope you have the same joyful grin that I always do!


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