Clarion G80 Sound System Restoration

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Clarion G80 Sound System

I have a 1983 Mercedes 500SEC euro spec that was fitted with them AMG body kit and trunk spoiler, AMG Rear Speaker Shelf, Rial Wheels , as well as the visually impressive Clarion G80 Sound System in the center console. When I bought the car, it needed everything. It sat in a barn for over a decade and needed some major attention. Unfortunately the Clarion system was not working. The previous owner said it did work before being put away for many years. When it came time to start troubleshooting the sound system, it became obvious that it was going to be difficult. The Clarion G80 would power ON which let the different modules glow green but the tuner display, the tuner, and the tape deck did not work. I discovered under the passenger floor mat / insulation mat was the location for the amplifiers along with a mess of wires that led to nowhere. It seems someone removed the amplifiers at some point and as a result nothing worked. Making progress! I purchased a used set of amplifiers hoping that is all it needed but not that lucky. Months later, I found an entire Clarion G80 system on eBay and bought it. The seller said it did not play music but the tuner worked and all the modules glowed green. Since, I had another set of amplifiers at home, I thought maybe buying this Clarion system would allow me to get 1 working system to install back in the car. The seller stated it came out of a Gemballa Porsche and he also sent me video of the unit powering up.

Below is the Clarion G80 system fitted into the center console of the 500SEC. Notice the custom Burl Wood center console panel requireed to make this Clarion system possible in a w126 SEC. Many of the center console buttons had to be relocated. The ash tray is normally located right below the center console panel on OEM cars but due to the length of the new panel, it was relocated behind the wood gear lever panel. A custom metal housing was fabricated and covered in blue fabric to match the interior. This shortened the center tray but was still very usable.

Example of the Clarion G80 installed at the height of the custom tuner trend in the 1980s. There were some extremely impressive custom installations done. I hope these cars still exist but I have not seen one. I would love to talk to the installers.

Below: The original documentation for the original Clarion system from my 1983 500SEC.

Below: A look at the wiring and the the back of the Clarion G80

Below: Finally getting the Clarion out of the car for bench testing

Below: In order to get the Clarion G80 sound system out of the wood frame, the silver framing and handles must be removed.

The 2nd Clarion system would not play which I was aware of when purchasing it. Here is an inside view of the 2 Clarion Amplifiers.

Transistor replacement required

Clarion G80 Equalizer Module. This is the main unit of the Clarion G80 system that everything connects to. This unit powers ON/OFF the entire system. All the din connectors plug into this module.

After the system was tested , it was time to put everything back together for re-installation. The Amplifiers required some custom work. Since there was no room behind the center console for the amplifiers, the original installers (AMG or whoever) separated the amplifier visual display from the amplifier body. This required some custom wiring but worked out beautifully.

Fitting the Clarion G80 amplifier display into the wood center console.

I have made the center console template for those wanting to add the clarion G80 into their cars.

Update | 5/13/21

Update 7/5/21

I have now created both the clarion g80 center console for the USA spec and Euro spec versions

Update 7/5/21

Created exact wood patterns for both USA and Euro climate control versions of the Clarion G80 consoles for Mercedes w126 500sec 560sec 500sel 560sec

To Be Continued…..

What do you think?

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  • Yuriy
    February 20, 2021

    Where I can look wood trim for clarion? Thanks

  • Polgar Ciprian
    August 10, 2021

    Hallo, there is no USA and Euro climate control versions, it is manual or automatic climatization, Both variants are present in Europe and America, depending only on the money that the first owner had. I’m now trying to mount the Clarion system on the 300 SE, it has the same manual climate as yours and I want to see what changes have been made to raise the climate control. In the automatic one, is simple, there are only wires, in the manual climate there are mechanical parts that are not easy to handle.

  • Phil
    October 28, 2021

    The Clarion G80 was a fantastic system. I had mine installed in the centre console of my Colt Supporo in 1981. The supporo had a stowage bin which was removable and the installer cut a plate to fit (as in your Merc). The supporo instrument lights were green and Dimmable, so I could actually Tune the dash lights to be exactly the same as the G80 console. Looked like an aircraft cockpit- truly impressive!

    The sound was stunning, actually with the car doors open, it provided the music for our sub Aqua club annual BBQ – although I did have a flat battery in the morning…

    I took my G80 out of the car when I sold it in 83 and still have it in the loft. As far as I know it’s still fully functional!? But having seen your article and being reminded of it, perhaps it’s time for eBay now…

    Great trip down memory lane! Thanks.