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01-23-2006, 08:55 PM
I have a 2003 E55. NAV was not available when I ordered this car and I use NAV a lot. I'm tired of having my Garmin unit perched on the dash and am looking to install an aftermarket high end (Alphine, Pioneer, etc) NAV unit. I'm looking for referral to an EXPERIENCED custom installer. I live in NE Ohio but would be willing to travel reasonable distance to have the work done. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

05-14-2006, 05:53 PM
You may not be interested since it is perhaps not the most state -of-the-art unit, but it WILL be the best looking install - an '04 up M-B unit. I put an '04 unit in my wifes '03 E320 that I bought at a discount because it couldn't be retrofitted :-). Install on the head unit is plug and play, with some physical contortions required. The optical ring buss needs to be replugged under the left rear door sill to insert the trunk unit into the loop - fairly obvious. DON'T ASK ME WHY, but the problem was in the trunk. The Aluminum bracket to receive the DVD NAV module in the Left Rear Quarterpanel did not have a track (groove) down each side to guide 4 bosses on the NAV Module. My late production '03 E 55 bracket had them, so I swapped. It's about a $40 - $60 bracket - get it at the wrecking yard with the NAV Parts (also get the white plastic adapter to receive the optical cable plug and fit it to the NAV Module. Don't leave the DVD Disc behind or the side panel with the access door!
The M-B head unit will be about the only clean install option. It and all the audio equipment (yes speakers) are optical and / or digital - speaking to each other in serial code. Forget aftermarket unless your true name is Gates. You'll think the M-B prices were cheap before they get finished with you. In all fairness, I have not researched what is available for some time, but I would doubt anything because - only the E Class used the Optical MOST BUS which was also unique to M-B. Even if someone knew the codes and the protocall of the interface and cared, the market would only be for E Class and mostly for '03 retrofits for owners that have probably given up by now. No volume - no product!
The dealer has to reprogram the Buss to recognize the new stuff, so he is in the loop anyway. Installing the new hardware is probably 3 or 4 hours max, with breaks. The big question is $ new parts or take-outs. M-B warranty works off VIN # which won't allow the NAV to exist, so warranty can be a problem. If the dealer puts it in, it may be different. If the parts are new over the counter, they have a(? 1 year??) warranty - which is better than take out parts.
I did my install myself, with parts from EBay. Scary deal, with the optical buss it is almost impossible to verify functionality except in a complete vehicle installation, double or nothing. E-mail me direct if you have questions. There is a fellow from Europe that comes over periodically that does installs of MB stuff that he sources - but he mostly traffics in Video / TV enabled units that are not quite legal over here. I'd talk to my "friendly" dealer first, if you can find him. Good luck!

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