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Pelican Technical Article:

Headlight Switch Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$250

Talent:

**

Tools:

T30 Torx driver, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09)

Parts Required:

Headlight switch

Hot Tip:

Work with clean hands to prevent getting the dashboard dirty

Performance Gain:

Regain headlight function from failed headlight switch

Complementary Modification:

Check all the lights on the car and replace any failed bulbs

Mercedes Benz vehicles are technologically advanced automobiles. A computer network has replaced pounds of electrical wiring needed to run the electrical system of the car. In the case of the headlights, a headlight switch sends its inputs to the driver's side front SAM (Signal Acquisition Module) which is part of the driver's side fuse box by the firewall under the hood of the car. From there the driver's side front SAM sends the power out to turn on your headlight, high-beam, turn signal, etc. The driver's side SAM controls the left side head light assembly and the passenger side SAM controls the right side headlight assembly. If both of your head lights are out, of course you should check fuses and the power to the headlight bulbs with the car running and the headlight switch turned on. If you do not have power at the bulbs, then the SAM modules are not applying power to the headlight bulbs. You may have a bad SAM or fuses are blown in the SAM, but the odds of two driver's and passenger side SAM modules going bad at the same time are slim. Also the SAM modules control many other functions such as the windshield wipers, so if your windshield wipers are working then the SAM is at least functioning somewhat. When you turn on your headlight switch both SAM modules are commanded to power up the headlight bulbs. If neither one is commanded to come on you may have a bad headlight switch. If you have access to a scan tool capable of communicating with your SAM modules you can use scan tool data to determine if the headlight switch is functioning properly. In this tech article we will go over replacing your headlight switch.

This picture illustrates the left side of the dashboard to the left of the steering column.
Figure 1

This picture illustrates the left side of the dashboard to the left of the steering column. Using a plastic prying tool lever off the small wood trim strip above the headlight switch. You do not need to remove the steering wheel to do this job. I have done so for photographic purposes.

There are two pins (green arrows) for mounting the small wood trim strip so lever up on each side of it.
Figure 2

There are two pins (green arrows) for mounting the small wood trim strip so lever up on each side of it.

Using a plastic prying tool lever off the dashboard left side panel.
Figure 3

Using a plastic prying tool lever off the dashboard left side panel.

Remove the left side panel from the side of the dashboard by pulling the rear of it to the left and then pull it towards you to release the rear.
Figure 4

Remove the left side panel from the side of the dashboard by pulling the rear of it to the left and then pull it towards you to release the rear.

Remove the four T30 Torx fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 5

Remove the four T30 Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Pull up on the left corner of the dashboard upper panel slightly and remove the T30 Torx fastener for the headlight switch.
Figure 6

Pull up on the left corner of the dashboard upper panel slightly and remove the T30 Torx fastener for the headlight switch.

Lift up on the headlight switch to unseat it from the lower left dashboard panel and pull it out.
Figure 7

Lift up on the headlight switch to unseat it from the lower left dashboard panel and pull it out.

Unplug the single electrical connector by pushing in on the locking tab (green arrow) and sliding the locking lever (yellow arrow) in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 8

Unplug the single electrical connector by pushing in on the locking tab (green arrow) and sliding the locking lever (yellow arrow) in the direction of the blue arrow.

Then, with the locking lever fully released, pull the electrical connector in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 9

Then, with the locking lever fully released, pull the electrical connector in the direction of the blue arrow. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Push the electrical connector in with the locking lever in the fully released position and lever it back into its original position. This will draw the electrical connector in. Seat the bottom of the headlight switch into the left side lower dashboard panel and tighten the mounting screw. Position the upper dashboard panel and tighten the four fasteners, two on the side and two under the wood trim strip. Fit the front of the dashboard left side panel into the front of the dashboard, and then push it to the right until it snaps into place. Verify the metal tabs are lined up with their slots in the dashboard before snapping them into place. Line up the two pins on the wood trim strip into the metal clips in the dashboard and push it in until it is fully seated. Cycle the ignition key and verify that the headlights work.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Greg Comments: With the headlight switch off, the headlights both blink on, then the instrument cluster blinks off... then resets. This cycle repeats randomly, but more often when cold. Also, lights stay on when cluster blinks off when switch is in auto mode. Can you clue me as to what needs replaced?
January 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have. The issue could be the light switch or the control module for the headlights. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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