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Pelican Technical Article:

Headlight Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

**

Tools:

T20 Torx driver, flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool, 8mm nut driver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09)

Parts Required:

Headlight assembly, headlight bulb, Xenon module or igniter

Hot Tip:

Do not touch bulbs with bare hands

Performance Gain:

Repair damaged headlight assembly, replace faulty headlight bulb

Complementary Modification:

Replace turn signal bulbs

Mercedes-Benz W211 vehicles with optional high intensity discharge (HID) or xenon headlights utilize a special high voltage bulb and control unit for low beam headlights. Conventional halogen bulbs are used for high beams. The headlights are controlled via driver input from a headlight switch then activated by the front SAM module. If you are trying to diagnose and issue with a standard halogen bulb, check for power and ground to the bulb. If you are trying to diagnose a problem with a Xenon bulb, swap parts from side to side, as it is dangerous to attempt to test the high voltage output of the Xenon bulb parts.

The headlight assembly seals can wear out over time resulting in water leaks and repeat bulb failures. On models with high intensity discharge (HID) or Xenon lights, the HID module is located at the bottom of the headlight. Water can enter the module electrical connector causing headlight faults. If this happens to you, you will have to replace the headlight, the electrical harness and the HID module. The procedure below highlights Xenon style bulb replacing, high beam bulb, turn signal bulb and driving light bulb.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please include your vehicle information.

You can replace all of the bulbs located in the headlight via the engine compartment.
Figure 1

You can replace all of the bulbs located in the headlight via the engine compartment. I will explain how, but show the views of the bulbs with the headlight removed for clarity. The green arrow points to the low beam bulb. The yellow arrow points to the turn signal bulb. The blue arrow points to the high beam bulb. The red arrow points to the front driving light bulb (this bulb illuminates the high beam capsule).

If you're replacing the left side bulbs, move the coolant reservoir aside.
Figure 2

If you're replacing the left side bulbs, move the coolant reservoir aside. Remove the coolant reservoir fastener (green arrow) and move it aside. If you're replacing the right side bulbs, you will have to squeeze past the anti-lock brake hydraulic unit.

This is the left side headlight assembly, as viewed from the rear.
Figure 3

This is the left side headlight assembly, as viewed from the rear. Reverse the bulb positions for the right side. The green arrow points to the low beam bulb. The yellow arrow points to the turn signal / parking bulb. The blue arrow points to the high beam bulb. The red arrow points to the front driving light bulb (this bulb illuminates the high beam capsule).

This view shows the left side electrical connectors with the headlight pulled forward.
Figure 4

This view shows the left side electrical connectors with the headlight pulled forward. Reverse the positions for the right side. All of the connectors are accessible by reaching under the radiator support. The green arrow points to the low beam electrical connector (you will not disconnect this when replacing the bulb). The yellow arrow points to the turn signal / parking bulb electrical connector (you will not disconnect this when replacing the bulb). The blue arrow points to the high beam bulb electrical connector. The red arrow points to the front driving light bulb electrical connector (this bulb illuminates the high beam capsule). To disconnect an electrical connector, press the release tab and pull the connector straight off.

Turn signal / parking bulb: Working at the outside top of the headlight assembly, rotate the bulb holder 45° counterclockwise and remove it from the headlight.
Figure 5

Turn Signal / Parking Bulb: Working at the outside top of the headlight assembly, rotate the bulb holder 45 degrees counterclockwise and remove it from the headlight. Remove the bulb from the holder and replace it with a new one.

Driving light bulb: Working at the inside bottom of the headlight assembly, disconnect an electrical connector.
Figure 6

Driving Light Bulb: Working at the inside bottom of the headlight assembly, disconnect an electrical connector. Rress the release tab and pull the connector straight off. Rotate the bulb holder 45 degrees counterclockwise and remove it from the headlight. Remove the bulb from the holder and replace it with a new one.

High beam bulb: Working at the inside top of the headlight assembly, disconnect an electrical connector.
Figure 7

High Beam Bulb: Working at the inside top of the headlight assembly, disconnect an electrical connector. Press the release tab and pull the connector straight off. Rotate the bulb holder 45 degrees counterclockwise and remove it from the headlight and replace it with a new one.

Low (Xenon) beam bulb: To access the high beam bulb, rotate the access door (red arrow) 30° and remove it from the headlight.
Figure 8

Low (Xenon) Beam Bulb: To access the high beam bulb, rotate the access door (red arrow) 30 degrees and remove it from the headlight. Be sure not to lose the rubber sealing O-ring.

Low (Xenon) beam bulb: Rotate the high beam bulb holder 30° and remove it from the headlight.
Figure 9

Low (Xenon) Beam Bulb: Rotate the high beam bulb holder 30 degrees and remove it from the headlight. The electrical connector (red arrow) will automatically unplug when rotated.

Low (Xenon) beam bulb: Squeeze the retaining springs and unclip them from the headlight.
Figure 10

Low (Xenon) Beam Bulb: Squeeze the retaining springs and unclip them from the headlight. Pull the headlight bulb out of the socket and replace it with a new bulb. Reverse the steps for installing. Be sure that the bulb is properly seated in the socket before trying to install it into the headlight.

Headlight assembly: Disconnect the battery negative cable.
Figure 11

Headlight Assembly: Disconnect the battery negative cable. See our tech article on battery replacing. To remove the headlight assembly, you will have to first remove the front bumper. See our tech article on front bumper replacing. This procedure will cover the left side headlight assembly. The right side is similar.

Headlight assembly: Working at the headlight washer (red arrow), remove the Phillips head screw.
Figure 12

Headlight Assembly: Working at the headlight washer (red arrow), remove the Phillips head screw.

Headlight assembly: Pull the headlight washer forward and detach the clip from the headlight assembly.
Figure 13

Headlight Assembly: Pull the headlight washer forward and detach the clip from the headlight assembly.

Headlight assembly: Working at the bottom of the headlight, remove the lower fastener.
Figure 14

Headlight Assembly: Working at the bottom of the headlight, remove the lower fastener. You can see the nut at the front of the headlight (red arrow). Do not loosen or touch this. Working behind that nut below the fender, remove the 8mm fastener (green arrow).

Headlight assembly: Working at the top of the headlight assembly, remove the 8mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 15

Headlight Assembly: Working at the top of the headlight assembly, remove the 8mm fastener (red arrow).

Headlight assembly: Working at the side of the headlight assembly, remove the 10mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 16

Headlight Assembly: Working at the side of the headlight assembly, remove the 10mm fastener (red arrow).

Headlight assembly: Disconnect the headlight electrical connectors.
Figure 17

Headlight Assembly: Disconnect the headlight electrical connectors. Slide the headlight forward. Then remove the electrical connectors (red arrows) by pressing the release tab and pulling them straight off.

Headlight assembly: Working at the bottom of the headlight (yellow arrow), press the tab and slide the headlight washer (red arrow) out of the mounting bracket.
Figure 18

Headlight Assembly: Working at the bottom of the headlight (yellow arrow), press the tab and slide the headlight washer (red arrow) out of the mounting bracket. 

Headlight assembly: To replace the headlight washer, press the release button (red arrow) and pull the line up in the direction of the green arrow.
Figure 19

Headlight Assembly: To replace the headlight washer, press the release button (red arrow) and pull the line up in the direction of the green arrow. Be prepared to catch the washer fluid in a bucket, as it will leak. 

Headlight assembly: Flip the headlight over to service the control modules.
Figure 20

Headlight Assembly: Flip the headlight over to service the control modules. To remove the Xenon ballast (blue arrow), remove the three T25 Torx fasteners (red arrows). To remove the Xenon headlight module (green arrow), remove the three T20 Torx fasteners (red arrows). When removing the Xenon module, inspect the module for corrosion. If needed, replace the module as well as the headlight. When removing the active headlight module, inspect the module for corrosion. If needed, replace the module as well as the headlight. Reverse the instructions for reinstallation. If you suspect one of these units is faulty, you can swap them side to side on the vehicle for diagnosis. Remember the Xenon system works with a high voltage. Be sure that the system is off and the key is out of the ignition. Disconnect the battery, as mentioned above.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Zack Comments: Thank you for the article; beautiful!
I changed my driver-side xenon bulb, which was blown-up to pieces. However, when I started the car, the new one did not turn on. I took the bulb out and examined it. It appears that it is burned out the little bulb in middle of the full bulb is cloudy.
I checked the yellow with bk strip wire that is supposed to provide current to the low beam. The 12 V comes and goes out in the wire! Would that cause the bulb to burn. DO you have any suggestion for me?
BTW, can a xenon bulb be tested on the bench?
I appreciate receiving your response.
Cheers,
Zack
June 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A cloudy bulb is probably just a worn out bulb. No, you can't test a Xenon bulb externally. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lotusing Comments: I have a 2007 e350 headlight nightmare. I could not see with the halogens so I went to hids and it was amazing. I also replaced the park light with leds but kept driving lights stock. Now it is giving me soo many issues. The left parking led is only showing 6v, when I shut of the car and use the emergency left or right lights, the left driving goes on and it only has 6v. I changed the headlight switch and checked and rechecked wiring and its all ok. Also the head light blink all the time and have had them replaced 3 times. Please help!!!
May 24, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume the module was damaged from the wrong bulbs being installed. I would remove the aftermarket LEDs, then return the headlights to stock. Clear faults in the module, then retest voltage. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ephrom Comments: pelicanparts thanks for the write up, I have a question regarding a w211 05 E500. The car came with halogens and recently I purchased OEM xenon headlight housings. Each headlight has the ballasts on the bottom of theheadlight. besides having to program the ECU is there anything else I would need to make this work? additional wiring? where does the ignitor go does that come with the new bulbs i need to buy?
May 22, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may need wiring and software. Not 100% sure as I haven't done that upgrade myself. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
David Comments: I have a 2003 CLK 55. I'd like to replace my halogen low beams with LED's. The one's I've seen have a cooling fan at the base but I am concerned if I can still use the plastic cover. Will it overheat, assuming it fits? Anything bad if I leave the cover off?
March 21, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have no experience substituting LEDs in place of halogen bulbs. I would contact the bulb manufacturer or Mercedes-Benz for advice. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Danny Comments: Hi , I have a 2008 e220cdi, the left xenon light failed so changed bulb and still not working, I've swapped the ballast unit over and it's not that, all the other bulbs works, the motor goes up , so not sure what it could be. Mine uses the d1s bulbs, any ideas what it could be?
March 8, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the wiring to the ballast. I would check the signal to the ballast. Only check the low voltage (12 volt) side. Check for the control signal to turn the lights on. I would recommend getting a wiring diagram for your vehicle to be sure you are on the right wires. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bob Comments: i have mercedes e320cdi 2003 i have problem with headlight.when i start the car ligth do not flip up 100% only 30% and when driving they flip up and down after 20 mins they go to normal.i have checked bulbs and light fitting which are solid.
March 3, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check for fault codes. Possible the motor is binding when trying to open the lights. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steve Comments: were is the fuse or relay for the headlights located on a 2004 e320
January 19, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the location and a photo.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Al Comments: Once I unplug the 4 plugs to replace the headlight, how do I keep track of which plug goes where on the new headlight assembly? Or are they made in such a way they could not be plugged in incorrectly?
January 5, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They have one place to be plugged it. To be sure you are right when reassembling, take notes, mark the locations or take a photograph. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
loni Comments: Hi,
Which number is the fuse for headbeams on E class 320 year 2004.
November 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That info should be i=on the fuse card or in the owners manual.


- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Nate Comments: Hey guys, thanks for this article. I just replaced my low-beam halogen bulbs and noticed all of the insulation was off the wire on the passenger side. The light output is very dim,dim almost nil. Is there a way to replace the plug and wire inside the low beam canister? Thanks!!!
October 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can try to disassemble and rewire it. Most likely you will have to replace the headlight. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: Thanks for the view of what we did with the low beamgreen. The hid we inserted new would only come on for 3-5 seconds though after it was reset. Any idea why? The ballast were switched to insure it was an hid light or ballast issue and wiring/fuses are good as well. Thanks ahead of time. Joe
March 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is one side turning on then off, or both? If both, it may be a control module issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nick Comments: Thank you guys.
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Johnny O Comments: Excellent job demonstrating how to remove the headlight housing assembly. How hard is it to remove the bumper. Do you have A demonstration of that too? Do you have the headlight housing assembly for sale and how much ?
January 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here you go:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Mercedes-W211/92-BODY-Front_Bumper_Replacement/92-BODY-Front_Bumper_Replacement.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Thu 6/22/2017 02:46:19 AM