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I have read "horror stories" on the forums about what problems you can have replacing the head unit on a BOSE system in your SLK. I decided to just go for it, and it turns out in my case it was as simple as any other car install.
First of all, I can only speak on a MB system that doesn't use the steering controls, (which mine doesn't).
Before I started, I called BOSE, and they explained how their amp is set up as the crossover and the balance control for the system. They then gave me a number for Becker Auto Sound, which distributes the head units for MB. In my case Becker was able to tell me that the fiber optics are only there for the CD changer, and I could just leave it disconnected when I put in the new head unit.
I put in a Jensen VX7012, which is a single din with a swing out 7" screen for NAV and other functions.
No matter what you put in, the BOSE amp only requires a left and right pre-amp output from the new stereo. The amp then directs the bass to the rear speakers, the mid ranges to the front speakers and tweeters, and the balance is controlled from the head unit.
After wiring the plug and antenna adaptor, you are pretty much done.
The sound is incredibly better than the original Alpine head unit, without making any changes to amplfiers or speakers, so it is a worth while venture.
 

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The "horror" stories you read applies to the pre-facelift R171 COMAND Head Unit with HarmanKardon sound system. Where optical fiber is used to send the digital audio signals from Head Unit to the AudioGateWay (located at passenger side slanted footwell floor panel) and from there travel via copper wire to the different speakers.
 

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I was told by the MB dealer, that if I disconnected the fiber optics that it would send a "fault" code to the network because it thinks the fiber optics stopped working. What was even worse, is they said they don't even offer an upgrade to the older units, and basically implied I was on my own.
You may be right about the forums discussing other models, but I am pretty sure I have seen concerns and issues on the R170 also, either here or on other MB forums.
 

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I created an account just for the purposes of telling you thank you for this post. I have a '94 SL320 as a fixer-upper and was looking at this exact model head unit on amazon and though I'd google it on a whim and your post came up. Now I know it'll work perfectly. :)

so, thanks!!!!!
 

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Premium Member 2005 SLK55 AMG
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I created an account just for the purposes of telling you thank you for this post. I have a '94 SL320 as a fixer-upper and was looking at this exact model head unit on amazon and though I'd google it on a whim and your post came up. Now I know it'll work perfectly. :)

so, thanks!!!!!
Hi Charles, and welcome to SLKWorld.com from the UK Midlands - Thanks for joining us! :)

First please update your location and vehicle (year?: 1996-2016, model?: 32, 200, 230, 250, 280, 300, 320, 350, 55) in your profile if you haven’t already done so, as it helps the members answer your questions which usually are based on that information.
Follow this to update: ‘User CP’ at the top of page, then ‘edit your details’ on the left side, ‘additional information’ near the bottom, edit your ‘location’ and ‘vehicle’ (and then click ‘SAVE CHANGES’ button at the bottom of the page). Info in your garage does not update your profile.


Also, your 1st thread should be your introduction so we can welcome you properly so post an introduction in the ‘New members introduce yourself here’ section, if you haven’t already:
Once you've done that, we'll post a few more tips to help you when using the forum.

Thanks
Dave
 

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I was told by the MB dealer, that if I disconnected the fiber optics that it would send a "fault" code to the network because it thinks the fiber optics stopped working. What was even worse, is they said they don't even offer an upgrade to the older units, and basically implied I was on my own.
Find another dealer as this is complete BS. The reality is most dealers really don't want to work on old cars. I replaced the Hu Recently on mine and it took me longer to write the post and post the pics than it did to replace the head unit. Here are the details: http://www.slkworld.com/general-modifications-r170/326281-2003-radio-install.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I created an account just for the purposes of telling you thank you for this post. I have a '94 SL320 as a fixer-upper and was looking at this exact model head unit on amazon and though I'd google it on a whim and your post came up. Now I know it'll work perfectly. :)

so, thanks!!!!!

Thank you Charles, I have found on forums, (I also belong to the Harley Screamin' Eagle forum), that opinions and advice vary, and can go from the very helpful to the ridiculous. Having said that, if you filter through the feed back, you can almost always get an answer to your issue.
After all the issues you find about working on the Bose sound system in these cars, if is odd that I gotten little response to this one.
Since I don't have a local dealer, and have limited finances, I am forced to do as much as I can myself. The final item will be tires, and I will be ready to start taking some trips this Spring/summer.
Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 

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Thank you jbkufahl and etyu for this information.
Having the first year "facelift" model with the Bose system,
I'm feeling much better about the idea of upgrading my head unit now!
 

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Thanks this is very helpful.

Are the parts from crutchfield easily found on their page? Would you happen to have part numbers or a link?


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You can enter your car info on their page and the parts will appear. You can also call them. It's totally old school. They answer the phone, know what they are talking about, and can give great suggestions. Also their prices are always competitive. No bait and switch.
 

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My two cents on the aftermarket radio install:
I just completed my install and everything works great!
What I did different than all the other write ups is this:

I took the left rear, the left front and the MB left side and soldered it all together.
Then did the same for the right side.
Like this, when I would be listening to CDs that separated front and rear sound, I could still hear all the music.
All this dawned on me while listening to my Van Halen Diver Down cassette tape and noticing there were muted times during the songs. Originally, I thought it was an old tape with blank spots. Then realized the recording bounces between left, right, front and rear sides for a 1980s stereo effect.
Now I gotta go buy my Diver Down on CD!

Lastly, upon reading all the issues people had with ground loop noise, I used the original aftermarket harness in the LONG radio post, the VW01B. This allowed me to NOT use the RCA cables, thereby not having noise issues. Also, for some reason, my aftermarket dash did not have an orange wire for dimming, so I didnt bother to connect it from the VW01B harness.

PS-I installed a Sony CDX-RA700
It's old school but I had bought it years ago on clearance for $50 at Walmart and it had been sitting on my shelf since then.
 
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