Adding an aftermarket stereo head unit to a Sprinter

Aftermarket stereo cable wiring harness construction

We gave in. Even after changing out the front speakers and adding a subwoofer, the Audio 15 stereo that comes as stock in newer Sprinters was just not up to the job.

We chose to replace it with an aftermarket unit from Sony that has Apple Carplay and Android Auto so that we can use our phones to provide navigation and music through the stereo.

The swap-out wasn’t hard, but there are a couple of sticky points along the way. Read on for the details.

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Sprinter antenna replacement and repair

How about a shark fin antenna instead of the stock one?

We’ve already written about how flimsy the Sprinter’s antenna (aerial) is. We’ve repaired ours before after snapping off part of the housing when we caught the mast on something.

This time, we needed to remove the antenna from the roof to really glue it back together properly. Here’s how we did it, and some other options if you can’t make the repair work.

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Adding a subwoofer to the stock Sprinter stereo

Pioneer subwoofer close-up

The stock Sprinter stereo doesn’t have great dynamic range. It does relatively OK in the high end because it has separate tweeters, but the door speakers just aren’t big enough to reproduce low frequencies very well.

The head unit doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer output so you have to get creative if you want to add better bass. Here’s how we did it.

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When will Mercedes start building Sprinters in the USA?

Sprinters at Mercedes assembly plant, North Charleston

Mercedes has to disassemble every cargo Sprinter van it ships to the USA, and then reassemble it over here. That’s to avoid the chicken tax.

They worked out it costs them around 7% more on the vehicle price to do this, but that’s still better than paying the 25% tax.

Now that there’s a large enough market in the USA for Sprinters, Mercedes is building a plant in Charleston to make them directly in the USA. Its opening will probably coincide with the introduction of an updated Sprinter model.

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