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  #16  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:36 PM
yer-ol-pal's Avatar
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Location: Ashland Kentucky
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I have a 1990 420SEL that I purchased in September of this past year.

I have tried to live with the original audio system for the sake of keeping original, but I think I have lived with it as long as I can.

The most annoying thing is the fader in the dash which snaps crackles and pops, and sometimes cuts the rears out totally.

So, I suppose if I do this running new speaker wires is in my future.

This car has the six speaker system.

I fear getting the door panels off and not getting them reseated properly.

I feel this speakers will need to be replaced though, since they will be handling more wattage.

Any suggestions for replacements in this area will be appreciated.

As for the speakers in the dash and rear deck, I have two pair of MEMPHIS speakers that were installed in my '89SDL, that I assume will work in this car.

Please let me know if I am mistaken.

BTW, MEMPHIS speakers are amazing if you have never heard them, I had not until I bought the previous car that already had them in it.

I will probably go with an ALPINE head unit, as I am familiar with them and think they have great sound.

Lastly I have an old school Pioneer sub-woofer with an amp strapped to it that I plan on using in the trunk.

Any suggestions for parts or procedures would be greatly appreciated.

I am an audio/video tech, so I understand the audio part of what needs to be done, but I really do not have much aptitude when it comes to doing things to cars, so your input is greatly appreciated!
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87 300SDL 278,000mi - RIP
82 300SD 260,000mi - RIP
84 300D 178,000mi
- SOLD
90 420SEL 178,000 - Daily Driver

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Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:43 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2010, 10:35 AM
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Location: Teaneck, NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W126Ken_W.Pa View Post
First thing to do is to upgrade the head unit and speakers.
I disagree with the speakers comment. Its very difficult to find speakers that will fit properly in these cars and be well matched to the car. I would only suggest replacing them if: 1) There is a problem with them (buzzing, etc). 2) If the car does not have a sound system. and/or 3) You want to rewire the car and replace everything.

Otherwise, just replacing the head unit will yield a dramatic improvement in sound quality.

For early W126s (1981-1985), yes, replace the speakers... there are several nice 4x6 plate speakers that fit without major modification, and fit under the factory grills.

Later W126s (1986-), don't replace anything unless necessary. From the factory, these speakers are of reasonable quality and make good use of the enclosure they're in. For example, replacing the large round speakers on the rear deck is quite difficult due to their diameter. Aftermarket replacements are often very deep and hard to mount and seal properly. The amount of power needed to drive them, and air requirements around them, is very different. If you have a bad speaker, contact the dealer or Becker for a replacement... they're not as expensive as you'd think.

W126s with sound system (and W124s I think, not sure): You can identify these cars by the existence of factory door speakers. These cars have two amplifiers behind the back seat, one for left, one for right. The fader switch on the dash distributes the sound front/rear. So, the factory head unit only have a left and right pre-amp out. You can connect a modern stereo's preamp output to this connection with excellent results. You can make an adapter, or buy from from Becker Auto Sound. You've noticed a significant improvement in quality of sound by just replacing the head unit!

W124s from 1994-1995 (and some other cars like R129s, etc): These cars are equipped with the Becker Active Bass system. You might notice the front door speakers don't do much... thats because they are actually only bass speakers. There is an amp in the trunk which handles the distribution to all the speakers. This is a speaker-level amp, and a new stereo can be installed by connecting the speaker level outputs directly to the original connections. Don't use a pre-amp output here.

Special note about 1991-1993 cars: Its been mentioned here many times before, but these cars have a two-piece head unit. The second part in the the trunk where the tuner and pre-amp/speaker outputs are. If you install a new head unit, you need to run lines from the back of the car to the front. Becker used to sell kits for this purpose, not sure if they still do. Note that these cars can have the two-amp setup as described above.

Many amps and speakers are available at Becker Auto Sound for all these cars, and many are not very expensive.

Remember: These are all future classic cars: The more modification you do to them, the more you effect their value. Personally, I wouldn't buy a car that had its factory sound system modified.

Jaime
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yer-ol-pal View Post
The most annoying thing is the fader in the dash which snaps crackles and pops, and sometimes cuts the rears out totally.
Remove the fader control, carefully take it apart, and clean it with contact cleaner. There is probably 20 years of crap in there! Worst case, buy a new one... you'll save yourself hours of work. This makes a big different in sound quality.

If you replace the head unit, connect the pre-out output to the three-pin connector removed from the original radio (left, right, ground). DON'T replace any speakers until you try this setup first!

Jaime
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2010, 11:24 AM
yer-ol-pal's Avatar
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Would you mind telling me how to remove it?
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87 300SDL 278,000mi - RIP
82 300SD 260,000mi - RIP
84 300D 178,000mi
- SOLD
90 420SEL 178,000 - Daily Driver

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  #20  
Old 02-06-2010, 02:20 PM
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1991 300E need help wiring replacement radio

Ken - I read your threads and hope you can help me.

I have a 1991 300E with an aftermarket Clarion DXZ275MP with the wire harness included for 4 speakers, power antenna, memory etc.

My 300E has 6 speakers - dash, doors, rear shelf along with the working fader wheel in the console all stock.

They cut and spliced into one of the speaker plugs and tapped into the power wires.

All of the plugs and wires are still here to re-solder and connect back even the plug that was cut.

I would like to rewire the Clarion directly into the 6 speakers: 4 on the front and two on the rear.

I cannot figure out which speaker wires are directly associated with each speaker and which is the ground wire.

There is a very, very thin black wire. Is that the ground?

If I decide to use a tap, which wires are for each of the 6 speakers?
Also can you make a harness for this so it can return to original when desired and how much would that be?

All of the Clarion information is on the INTERNET for their wire harness.
Thank you very much.
JRR

Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #21  
Old 02-09-2010, 06:19 PM
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Smile W126 STEREO

hi ken. Can you send me a stereo wiring diagram for a 1989 mercedes 560sel. I really need it I am installing a kenwood stereo and I cant find any diagrams on the web. Thanks!!!!!!
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  #22  
Old 02-20-2010, 10:05 AM
Ramblin's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W126Ken_W.Pa View Post
Hi all fellow MBZ car audio enthusiasts.
Nothing makes me more mad and pi$$es me off more than when some car audio "pro" shop, who does not have the proper diagrams, books, or even the technical knowledge necessary to install a stereo system in our kind of unique W124 and W126 body cars, puts in an aftermarket system, and basically totally screws up the rest of the systems in the car, especially the anti-theft system (not to mention other issues).

Many car audio shops literally just "hack up" the wiring harness and , well, basically almost ruin the wiring by trying to install an upgraded car audio system.

I have had cars come in, one 1991 300E in particular, that the install shop actually ran a wire to the trunk and kept the old Becker head unit partially wired up (yes, in the trunk!) JUST TO KEEP THE ALARM FROM GOING OFF!!!!
Need I say, this shop was just horrible! I'm sure they were just fine doing an old Nova or Caddy lol.

I am a recording engineer by trade, and in the past AND present I have owned and worked on several 123's, 124's and 126's, and have done my own installs on audio as well as custom work for others.

I am here to offer my assistance to anyone who is in need , or has any questions about doing an installation by replacing your factory Becker with a newer head unit, upgrading speakers and amps.

Weather you decide to just replace your existing head unit, or decide to replace the whole system, Please shoot me an email.

I personally make some custom wiring harnesses that simply just plug into your factory harness.

No wire cutting, "tapping in" to wires, or splicing PERIOD!
And if you just have any questions, feel free to ask.
I will try my best to answer your questions. {I DO NOT charge for consultation on proper speaker sizes, recommended receivers and outboard gear, and I DO NOT sell new gear, so no worries about someone pushing you into something you may not need!} My main concern is that your Mercedes can be outfitted with a great system, without any permanent modifications, and can be returned to 100% stock if you choose to sell it so future owners are not plagued with wiring gremlins that an under-qualified stereo install shop may have caused.

The benefit of a proper install is, when you sell your car, it can be returned to 100% stock, and your original factory car harness will be UN-CUT and will simply just plug right back into your original factory Becker stereo.

I only do Mercedes W123, W124, and W126 cars.
Feel free to email me with any questions, wiring diagrams, etc to make your install go as smooth as possible.
I also have diagrams available for euro headlight conversions as well.
I am a W124 and W126 owner, and I am more than happy to help with that difficult stereo installation, or just to help by answering your questions.
Thanks !
As the owner of a car audio facility in the 70's-Mid 90's I will tell you that at one time car audio was a vocation not taken lightly by those involved in it.

I did a lot of high end cars (Lots of 123's,124's, other German cars, Ferrari's, Lambos and other exotics.

We also did work with Bose at the beginning of their OEM car audio business.

I decided to get out when the chain stores started to offer installation for free and how can you compete with free.

I did high end stuff but the everyday stuff created the most income for my shop.

Most people did not realize the difference between free and installations that were properly done.

My rule when hiring installers was to ask them to explain to me Ohm's Law and if they couldn't I wouldn't hire them.

The other issue was that at one point in time we were replacing 75% of radios in cars.

As time went on and the OEM manufacturers caught on to the missed opportunities the amount of people we changed radios for decreased to an all time low of 3% and hence the whole industry went away.

Now you have small uncommitted shops that hire the cheapest workers they can and hence you have work done by idiots.

Usually in any large city you can find shops that do very good work but you must ask around and if so travel for that work.

Unfortunately there is no standard for car audio as for mechanics (ASE) and you are at your own risk when it comes to work done in this field.

I was sad to see this occur in the industry but I am glad to report I had a ball in that industry when it was in its heyday.

I applaud anyone committed to doing things right!!!!!
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Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:48 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #23  
Old 03-03-2010, 07:55 PM
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OK so I tried putting a new Alpine in my brothers '89 420SEL. Previous to trying this I knew nothing about gen 2 w126 stereos.

Well I figured out it has amp's lol.
I quickly figured out the line input's to the amps.
Left/right with a shared ground.
I hooked up the line out's on the Alpine to this connector and go no bass.
I made several adjustments on the Alpine to get more bass and nothing. Hooked it all back up to the Becker and it works as it should.

Where did the bass go?
It's a really nice Alpine and he would like to use it.
I have the same HU in my w124, so I know how to use it, and made every adjustment possible to get more volume and bass out of it...
no luck.
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Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:49 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2010, 04:38 AM
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Ok my home email is macdrone@hotmail.com. how do you install head unit and have it not set off the alarm?
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  #25  
Old 03-26-2010, 10:20 AM
jollygreen1964
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Crystal Lake IL
Posts: 5
I hope this is the right place for this new member,

I bought my wifes 92 400E new, but without the CD player,
Later I acquired a new Benz correct Cd player and adapters to hook it up,

I had an issue with the radio going on by itself and running the battery down,

I had the rear amp and head unit repaired by the radioman in San Diego, works good,
So I tried to figure out how to hook up the CD unit,
I have the right side of the trunk pulled apart but don't see any place to hook it up,

Some help please.

Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2010, 01:35 PM
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Posts: 1
Hi, Trying to repair a Sony quick install someone else did to my 1995 124 wagon.
I have only 2 rear door speakers working, no amp or front speakers connected.
You have some wiring color codes?
Charles

Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #27  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:13 AM
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I just bought a 1992 300D 2.5 and I am planning on replacing the stock head unit with a Kenwood KIVBT900 and having xm radio installed as well.

What should I tell the installer to look out for?

Will the system have to be completely rewired and speakers replaced?

At the moment the cars speakers sound fine to me I just don't like listening to over the air radio.
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1987 300D Turbo (mine) 210,000 miles (with XM radio) 1985 300D (Dads) 122,000 miles 1987 190D Turbo (Brothers)139,000 miles With Eurolights

Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:54 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #28  
Old 08-01-2010, 02:49 PM
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Just my $0.02:

I tried rewiring my pioneer HU to work with the active bass system, so that all 6 speakers would work along with the amp in back to balance it out.

It did not work, even with the detailed wiring schematics.

The best advice I can give is to run new wire to the rear deck speakers and the dash speakers.

You'll bypass the fader in the process, 20+ year old wiring, odd impedances, and won't have to rip out all of the old stuff in the process.

Just tap into the power, ACC, and find a good ground and that is all the modification you'll have to do.

All of the posters in here asking for help, you need to realize these are generally stupidly complex systems (at least 86+) and you'll greatly benefit from taking an extra hour to run your own wires and solder all the connections.
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Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #29  
Old 08-01-2010, 10:09 PM
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Location: Newberry, Fl
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Thanks for the reply. So this setup will basically render the base door speakers and amp inoperable??

If this is the case, would it be possible to add regular speakers to replace the door base speakers? TIA!
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1987 300D Turbo (mine) 210,000 miles (with XM radio) 1985 300D (Dads) 122,000 miles 1987 190D Turbo (Brothers)139,000 miles With Eurolights

Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:56 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #30  
Old 08-03-2010, 09:15 PM
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The problem I ran into was that there was unexpected resistance from the amplifier.

To be honest I'm not sure what sort of impedance the system is wired for, but I can assure you (at least with my setup) that my HU was very close to overheating after about a minute,
The speakers cut out at high volume--symptoms of unbalanced resistance.

You are correct - if you run new wires to all the speakers (including doors) you'll have this imbalance.

If you add the two door speakers and just splice them in (which is what it sounds like in your question) you'll basically force the head unit to put out double the power in one channel and normal in the other which is not good for it.

Keeping it just to the 2 front and 2 rear is by FAR simpler, and it is what most head units are wired for.

Bypassing the fader is a huge plus too--they get old and is another potential failure point (think old wiring) in the system.

IIRC the stock amp in the trunk is only 50 watts anyways, which is a typical output of many modern HUs.
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Last edited by whunter; 06-25-2011 at 11:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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