Tail Lamp Malfunction - No Response on W203 Forum - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Tail Lamp Malfunction - No Response on W203 Forum

Maybe I will have better luck here..

I own a 2004 C240 sedan. I get 2 malfunctions listed in the display:

Tail Light L Check Lights! (not even listed in the owner's manual)

Tail Light L Back-up Light On!

The tail lights are not illuminating on either side. Instead, the brake light bulbs are on at a low voltage to provide the tail light function, which then glow brightly when you step on the brake.


All the bulbs are good (I checked them out of circuit). None of the external lights are fused. Instead, the spec sheet in the fuse panel says "electronic" for all of the external light functions. And, the owner's manual instructs the owner to visit an MB dealer as soon as possible for lighting problems.

My C240 is out of warranty, and the extended warranty I purchased from the used car dealer where I bought the car is not honored at MB dealers (or any other new car dealers for that matter).

Just trying to get a handle on what the problem might be.

Willie R.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 06:59 PM
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Hey, Willie, welcome to the forum.

I'm guessing you didn't get a reply in the 203 forum since no one else has had this happen. It certainly doesn't strike a chord with me.

Couple of thoughts come to mind, though.

First, are you the original owner? If not, it's possible there was an accident that damaged the left rear quarter (that it's only left bulbs affected suggests that possiblity) and that although the cosmetic damage was repaired, there is a squished channel where wires have worn through creating a short, etc.

Second, if the 203 is like the 210, then you have essentially printed circuits for the lamp sockets and a little plastic base with contacts into which the bulb fits, then that rotates into the light opening, right? If so those contacts are a finicky setup in the 210, perhaps you have the issue in the 203. There are a few posts in 210 about that issue.

It's also possible a connector to the light assembly has failed or corroded, check those wires well.

The external fuse thing is odd. It's entirely possible that part of MB's "knowledge sharing" with Chrysler resulted in some -- shall we say -- interesting engineering, so perhaps there is actually an electronic module that controls all your external lights. And if so, it's possible some part of that has failed...I'm sure it would cheap and easy to replace...NOT.

Anyway, that's all that comes to mind. If none of the above makes sense or pans out, you can also try calling a couple of dealers. If there is a TSB or recall they'll let you know, and often the SAs (if bored) will chat with you on the phone and give you a few ideas.

Last thought: once you have your fix, please post a synopsis in the 203 forum so the next unfortunate soul with the issue doesn't have to endure my rambling.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2007, 12:36 AM
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Does a 2004 C-class have the intelligent back-up feature for burnt bulbs? This would explain the brake light glowing, but I haven't tried if it should be as intelligent as glowing on low voltage or full power.

What I'm after is that quite often poor grounding makes tail lights function oddly. This could still occur in the combination of the intelligent system. When one side does not have good ground connection, a high power bulb that is connected in parallel with another one (on the other side possibly) would start providing (poor) ground connection.

MB has the capability to detect the failure of each of the bulbs separately, could be that they are also sourced separately and then the ground feed-through might not be possible.

In any case, if you take the bulb assembly and measure each bulb wire end close to the bulb, all ground wires (might not be a separate wire) having 0V even when the bulb is glowing or is supposed to be glowing, and each positive wire end having quite close to the battery voltage. If this is not the case, then there must be an issue along the wire, or the driving system at the other end of the wire (measure that at the next step). If all wires provide correct voltage, double check the bulb connections.

Finally, check that all bulbs are of correct wattage, the system might see a 5W bulb being burnt when there should be a 10W bulb, and then turns the back-up bulb on. Bulbs need to be of good quality, otherwise again the system detects a bulb failure, some low quality bulbs may do that from new. Then some good quality bulbs at the end-of-life do that too. Often a bulb appears a bit black at that stage.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2007, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornellred
Maybe I will have better luck here..

I own a 2004 C240 sedan. I get 2 malfunctions listed in the display:

Tail Light L Check Lights! (not even listed in the owner's manual)

Tail Light L Back-up Light On!

The tail lights are not illuminating on either side. Instead, the brake light bulbs are on at a low voltage to provide the tail light function, which then glow brightly when you step on the brake.


All the bulbs are good (I checked them out of circuit). None of the external lights are fused. Instead, the spec sheet in the fuse panel says "electronic" for all of the external light functions. And, the owner's manual instructs the owner to visit an MB dealer as soon as possible for lighting problems.

My C240 is out of warranty, and the extended warranty I purchased from the used car dealer where I bought the car is not honored at MB dealers (or any other new car dealers for that matter).

Just trying to get a handle on what the problem might be.

Willie R.
have you tried replacing the left tail light bulb. just cause they look good doesnt mean there good. also like mentioned above make sure the socket contacts arent burned as well as the housing. if they are no contact is being made and you will need a new housing. now you may also have a faulty rear sam. i have done several rear sams due to failures with rear lights.
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