I agree. The guy sent me the instructions for installation. They assume
that all the wiring is already there from the factory and that therefore
is a plug and play procedure. Ironically, when I bought the '01 ML320
and drove away from the dealership, the first thing I missed was the
trip computer which I had it in my '98 trade in. MB told me then that
there was no way to retrofit the trip computer.
The wiring is there in all W163's so it truly is plug-and-play. The seller
(Steve Cousins, IIRC) seems to be very reputable, although some may find his
"FS" posts on the NG to be borderline spam. Otherwise, the only issue with
a retrofit installation is that you will have to cut out a window for the
display yourself. Apparently, MBZ does not sell that piece of trim as an
individual component; you'd have to buy the entire overhead console trim to
get it. I'm not sure where he obtained these parts, but I do know that many
of the suppliers to the Alabama factory have been known to sell their
components outside of the MBZ dealer network.
Thanks, Rodney, for the info. Regarding the wiring, I am still curious
about the miles/gal readings since I presume that there has to be a
"fuel consumption sensor" already installed. Is it?
You seem to know the ML well enough to give me your expert opinion. I
really appreciate it. I am not sure though that I have the guts to cut
out the window for the display. I read the instructions and they give
me the chills... I would be willing to pay somebody for labor because
the cost of the part sure is cheap.
Rodney T. Grill wrote:
The ECM and AAM already have all of the fuel consumption information
"floating around" in their circuitry. MBZ vehicles use multiple CAN
(controller area network) buses to pass data among the various electronic
and electrical components. Basically, all the TC is doing is tapping into
one of the CAN's and doing some quick (i.e. $5 calculator) math with info
obtained directly from the AAM and ECM.
Of course they might have saved a few pennies in the cost of wiring by not
installing the TC harness on vehicles without the option, but the reality is
the wiring for everything in the overhead console is already going through a
CAN to the AAM (yes, even the dome lights in the ML are computer
controlled). The very small savings in wire would be more than offset by
the cost associated with having to deal with two different harnesses during
manufacture. In fact, almost every option in the ML is pre-wired whether
it's factory installed or not. For example, the wiring for the heated
seats, power 3rd-row windows, NAV and cell phone is already there.
As for the installation and cutout, I'd check with an independent shop to
help there. Either that, or a friend with some basic mechanical skills.
The cutout for the display is probably the most critical part, and it might
be possible to take the plastic fascia out and have it cut by a company that
handles plastic fabrication, such as a sign company.
Thanks, again, for your explanation of the circuitry involved. Your
suggestions are very much appreciated. If and when I decide to bite the
bullet and buy/install the kit, I'll keep you posted.
Rodney T. Grill wrote:
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