Empeg mp3-player in 2000 Mercedes E-class

 

I installed both an Empeg mp3-player and a Comand system (oem Mercedes navigation unit) at the same time. 

Although it would have been easier to keep the original radio/cd and install the empeg in the 2nd din slot underneath it - which is actually a little storage tray (see first pic), I badly wanted the Comand.  So I decided to replace the factory radio and the storage tray beneath it with the Comand and installed the empeg at the very bottom, instead of the ashtray.  I wanted to be able to return the car in stock condition, so I removed the ashtray (as opposed to cutting it up) and made a mounting frame out of aluminum, using the existing mounting holes.
BTW, this page describes the installation of the empeg, not the Comand.  The Comand requires modifications to the factory wiring loom, needs added wiring, a modification in the diagnostics connector and the installation of a roof mounted GPS antenna. For more info on this, give me a shout.

For those who don't want to read this entire page, here's the before and after.  The 2 photo's are not aligned very well (use the red triangular button as a guide)

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Out comes the headunit and the plastic frame inside the center console and in goes a double din size frame (forgot to take a pic of the double din size frame though) with the Comand navigation unit.  I could have just as easily used an aftermarket unit but I prefer the oem unit.  It has an aux input (and TV and Tel input) so there was no problem in hooking up the empeg.  Besides, there's also a Bose system in the car and I didn't want to fiddle with all kinds of adapters.  Since the empeg is hooked up to the Comand, I can control its volume (actually the volume of the aux input) with the steering wheel controls .
The silver box with the yellow connector is the airbag sensor.  The empeg will be mounted just above it, just barely clearing it.

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I made a frame out of aluminum to mount the empeg.  The red line in the 3rd pic (19.jpg) shows the front panel of the ashtray which I duplicated.  It's one piece which I made as a replacement for the factory ashtray. The front panel of the ashtray was curved, so I bent an aluminum plate to match that curve. You can see it best in the pic with the spraycan (4.jpg). In that pic, it isn't finished yet though. I made a mounting lip on the other side too. I then simply screwed it into the dash, using the existing mounting holes of the ashtray. As you can see, it's very professionally bent into shape using a spray can and my workbench .
The ashtray only has 2 mounting holes at the bottom.  The top has no mounting holes.  To secure the aluminum frame at the top, I screwed it to the frame of the Comand, using existing mounting holes.  

The last pic (6.pic) isn't very clear. The frame is mounted upside down on the workbench with the clamps. At the top (which in reality is the bottom if you know what I mean), you can see the other mounting lip I made. There's no holes for the screws yet.
You can see where I cut out the hole for the empeg. Rather then cutting it out to the correct size, I made a small hole and bent the aluminum 'lips' inwards as reinforcement. The aluminum is very soft and bends very easy.  I should have taken a thicker panel, but it's all I had and it holds up just fine. 
BTW, the reason the frame looks twice as big in that pic is because, uhm, well it is 2 frames. The lower part in the pic is just an earlier attempt (gone wrong) that I used as a spacer for the clamps. It's a bit confusing.

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This is the sled of the empeg mounted in the frame, as you can see, the sled just barely clears the airbag sensor underneath it ...

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Here's the result, mounted in the car, using the 4 factory mounting holes.  Not very pretty yet, but wait until it's done!
The 2nd picture shows what's missing on the empeg BTW .... Mercedes boot logo .
 

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Update: It now has a Mercedes boot logo too

And finally, coverd with leather.  I think it looks rather good. 

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The perfect theft protection: in Park the empeg cannot be removed from the car ... and the shift lever cannot be moved without the key .

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Empeg cooling fan installation

Comand GPS installation

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