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Head Light and Turn Signal Light Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Head Light and Turn Signal Light Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$5 to $1,200

Talent:

*

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver, 8mm, 10mm sockets, ratchets,

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement light housings and, or bulbs

Hot Tip:

People with pacemakers shouldn't work on xenon headlamps.

Performance Gain:

Improved visibility, legal compliance.

Complementary Modification:

Replace a cracked grille.

The SLK has two different head light styles: "base" halogen lights and premium xenon-gas HID (high-intensity discharge) units (612b option code). The HID lights conduct high voltages and can inflict serious injury if mishandled. Further, people who have electromagnetic implants (pacemakers, for example) should play it safe and avoid working on HID head lights. (Make sure the ignition is off when working on lights.)

Our project car, a pre-facelift 2000 SLK230, has the standard halogen bulbs. Replacement processes are similar for both styles, but Mercedes-Benz recommends professional service for the HID lamps due to the stored voltage.

As with most matters Mercedes-Benz, head light and turn signal light replacement is a good news/bad new proposition. The drawback is that new, replacement light housings are pricey. On the plus side, most owners can do the labor themselves at home.

The turn signal housing can be removed in a matter of seconds, simply by pressing its retaining lug with a screwdriver, sliding the light forward, and unplugging the electrical connection.

Head lights are a little more involved. Their adjacent turn signals must be removed to access an outboard mounting bolt. Inboard, the grille must be removed (please see our article on grill removal for assistance) to uncover another head light bolt.

To replace burned-out turn signal bulbs, small hands can conceivably unplug the harness and twist out the bulb assembly with the light housing in the car. Removing the housing is likely easier for most owners.

The head light bulbs are changeable on-vehicle by removing the black cover at the housings' rear.

Front Turn Signal Bulb: 2375A (5-watt/21-watt amber)

Low Beam Bulb: H7 (55-watt)

High Beam Bulb: H7 (55-watt)

The turn signal housings' retaining lugs are visible through a hole in the inner fender, under the hood.
Figure 1

The turn signal housings' retaining lugs are visible through a hole in the inner fender, under the hood. A screwdriver can be used to move the lamps' lugs slightly inboard and downward, releasing the light housing.

The turn signal housing can now be slid forward.
Figure 2

The turn signal housing can now be slid forward. The harness (purple arrow) is easier to unplug with the housing out of its socket.

The lamps retaining lug (green arrow) is plastic.
Figure 3

The lamps retaining lug (green arrow) is plastic. If the lamp is original, its lugs are likely brittle and will snap if bent too far during removal. The bulb comes out by twisting its base (purple arrow) counter-clockwise.

The turn signal bulbs have a bayonet base.
Figure 4

The turn signal bulbs have a bayonet base. They remove from their sockets by pushing down slightly and twisting counter-clockwise. Applying a dab of bulb grease to its base helps conductivity and facilitates bulb removal.

Six sheet metal screws hold the grille (aka radiator paneling) in place.
Figure 5

Six sheet metal screws hold the grille (aka radiator paneling) in place. (Please see our article on grille removal for details.)

Aiming/adjustment is designed to use a specialized tool, but note the position of the bubble (purple arrow) prior to removing the head light.
Figure 6

Aiming/adjustment is designed to use a specialized tool, but note the position of the bubble (purple arrow) prior to removing the head light. It gauges the light's horizontal pitch.

Also note the outer adjuster for future reference (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Also note the outer adjuster for future reference (yellow arrow).

Unscrew the 8mm inboard bolt that was obscured by the grille (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Unscrew the 8mm inboard bolt that was obscured by the grille (yellow arrow).

A bolt with a 10mm head secures the head light to the fender under the turn signal housing (yellow arrow).
Figure 9

A bolt with a 10mm head secures the head light to the fender under the turn signal housing (yellow arrow).

A third bolt (8mm head) holds the light housing to the fender's upper lip (yellow arrow).
Figure 10

A third bolt (8mm head) holds the light housing to the fender's upper lip (yellow arrow).

Unplug all connections to the light housing.
Figure 11

Unplug all connections to the light housing. (Some models have a pneumatic line for range adjustment.) Burned-out low-beam and high-beam bulbs can be replaced with the light housing in place by removing the black cover piece (see Picture 14).

The light can now be carefully wiggled out of its socket.
Figure 12

The light can now be carefully wiggled out of its socket.

The turn signal harness (yellow arrow) is long enough to extend through the body while still attached to the light.
Figure 13

The turn signal harness (yellow arrow) is long enough to extend through the body while still attached to the light. Unfortunately, the head light plug (purple arrow) is on a short leash, so it has to be unplugged before the light housing can be removed.

Burned-out head light bulbs can normally be replaced on-vehicle by pulling off the black cover to reveal the plugs.
Figure 14

Burned-out head light bulbs can normally be replaced on-vehicle by pulling off the black cover to reveal the plugs. The low beam bulb is on top; high beam is on the bottom (yellow arrow).

Pull off the dead bulb's plug (yellow arrow).
Figure 15

Pull off the dead bulb's plug (yellow arrow).

Slide the retaining clip sideways out of its â€Ã...
Figure 16

Slide the retaining clip sideways out of its "lock" grooves, then swing it upward, away from the bulb's metal base (yellow arrow).

Pull the bulb (yellow arrow) out of the light housing.
Figure 17

Pull the bulb (yellow arrow) out of the light housing. Be careful not to touch the glass with bare hands: skin oil causes hot spots that shorten bulb life. Install replacement parts in the reverse order.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mr Bill Comments: 2004 SLK230; Turn signals suddenly not working. no bad fuses, all light positions operaate including emergency flasher, but have lamp indicator on. Any suggestions?
October 8, 2017
MrBill Comments: 2004 SLK 230; Turn signals suddenly not working, checked Fuse #1 ok. Where do I go from here?
October 3, 2017
Rich Comments: Hi,
My 2002 SLK32 has the HID lights and there is an open slot for a wedge type bulb in the back of the reflector housing. There is no bulb installed but there are wires to it. I believe in Europe these are "city lights", used when you don't need the full headlights in town. I but a bulb in the slot but it doesn't light. There is no fuse problem that I can find. Do you know how to turn these sockets on? I'd like to use them as DRL's.
June 1, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You would have to locate the euro model wiring, then install a missing fuse and most likely program the light module to activate the light. I have not done this, so I am making assumptions. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marcos Comments: As usual dead on! Thanks man! Chanche the low beam in 10 minutes because of your good directions.
December 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
brooke Comments: cant you replace glass only
October 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No that I am aware of. To be sure, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-310-626-8765
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Tue 10/17/2017 02:33:22 AM