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Headlight Switch Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Headlight Switch Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

1.5 Hours

Tab:

$407

Talent:

**

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver, a quarter, 10mm socket, ratchet or nutdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement headlamp switch

Hot Tip:

Remove or at least lower the lower dash panel

Performance Gain:

Headlights work

Complementary Modification:

Check fuses while transferring them to the new switch

The R170 headlight switch is an expensive unit because it doubles as a fuse block. If the headlights don't work properly, begin by checking the less-expensive possibilities: namely the bulbs and fuses.

If the switch is bad, paying for it is more painful than replacing it. (The Pelican Parts part number is 170-545-03-04-M22.) The most elegant way to remove and replace the switch is by pulling the lower dash panel. We discovered that it is possible to save some time and shimmy the switch out sideways through the side panel. However, reconnecting the plugs and getting the switch back in is a thread-the-needle operation.

A compromise is possible: remove most of the lower panel's screws and bolts but leave it dangling (with something to support it) by the hood release handle and OBD-II diagnostic port. This saves a few steps and allows the lower panel to be dropped down far enough for easy headlight switch access. Please see the lower panel removal article for further details.

The plastic side cover is held on with quarter-turn fasteners (arrows), which can be removed by using a quarter in the slots.
Figure 1

The plastic side cover is held on with quarter-turn fasteners (arrows), which can be removed by using a quarter in the slots. Once the fasteners are out, the panel can be slid out from under the weatherstripping and lifted off the car.

Although removing the vent housing with the grille still in is entirely possible, the louvers can be easily squeezed off its pivot studs and removed.
Figure 2

Although removing the vent housing with the grille still in is entirely possible, the louvers can be easily squeezed off its pivot studs and removed.

The small Phillips screw at the top of the vent housing is now easily accessible.
Figure 3

The small Phillips screw at the top of the vent housing is now easily accessible.

With the vent housing pulled out of the dash, the headlight switch's two forward-facing Phillips screws (green arrows) can be removed.
Figure 4

With the vent housing pulled out of the dash, the headlight switch's two forward-facing Phillips screws (green arrows) can be removed.

Two more Phillips screws (green arrows) secure the switch on the left side.
Figure 5

Two more Phillips screws (green arrows) secure the switch on the left side.

Adventurous R170 owners can jockey the switch around the vent duct and carefully remove it out the side of the dashboard.
Figure 6

Adventurous R170 owners can jockey the switch around the vent duct and carefully remove it out the side of the dashboard. The drawback is potential damage to the side panel's quarter-turn mounting sockets. An alternative is to remove the lower dash panel to access the headlight switch.

Each of the four plugs is different.
Figure 7

Each of the four plugs is different. This prevents confusion when installing the new switch. No tools are necessary to unplug them from the switch.

Unlike some other automotive headlight switches, this Mercedes-Benz unit removes and replaces with its rotary dial remaining on the switch.
Figure 8

Unlike some other automotive headlight switches, this Mercedes-Benz unit removes and replaces with its rotary dial remaining on the switch.

The switch is also a fuse block, which partly explains its cost.
Figure 9

The switch is also a fuse block, which partly explains its cost.

Removing or at least lowering the lower dash panel takes a little longer (please see the dedicated article).
Figure 10

Removing or at least lowering the lower dash panel takes a little longer (please see the dedicated article). However, pulling the headlight switch out from the front is cleaner than trial and error maneuvering it out the side.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Harvey Yates Comments: Whilst I normally would do any simple DIY work myself, I took my car in to a non-Merc garage to replace the switch as I didn't want to break something plastic and expensive. Delicate I am not. I gave a link to this page to the mechanic. When I came to pick up the car, I was told that there was £40 off the original estimate as the job took less time than Merc reckoned.

How cool is that?

He did not remove the vent, using a fine screwdriver to remove the screw.

Thanks again for your help.

Have you thought about publishing the articles as an e-book? It is easy enough and as thanks for your help, I'd be happy to tell you how.

I'm really grateful.

Regards,

HY
April 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Consider the site a giant repair E-book for European vehicles.

Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Harvey Yates Comments: A clear and well illustrated article. Simple and straightforward. Your pages are a brilliant resource.

One suggestion - please don't take it as a criticism - but a hotlink to the Lower Panel Removal article would have helped a bit. That article was superb as well.

Many thanks. I'll put a link in to a couple of websites for you.
April 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Carl - UK Comments: Many thanks for your assistance with your headlight removal article. An easy step by step guide that was excellent. Saved me at least £100 by doing this myself, and has given me more confidence in future projects. A*****
March 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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