Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
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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 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 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.
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.
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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Present: '14 SLK250 (R172), '13 Lexus RX450h
[SIZE=1]Past: '06 Lexus RX400h; '09 BMW 335i (E93), '02 SC430, '99 RX300, '95 SC300, '91 Acura Legend ...and a few before that