Install of HIDs into R171 SLK - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Install of HIDs into R171 SLK

Finally got around to installing a HID kit for my low beam headlights on my 2005 SLK280, and I've detailed the install as follows.

A big help from stevenlau from this thread SLKWorld Forum - A Mercedes Benz Discussion Forum, whose picures and commentary were very useful. He mounted his ballast on a cross beam that for some reason, I didn't have in my car, so I had to find an alternate mounting location.

Here's a picture of the kit. Its not my kit per se(I forgot to take a pic when I first got it), but I've been told its the same thing, so I took the pic from a guy who was selling the kit(sorry!!). Its a Kingwood kit made to replace H7 halogens with 6000k H7 HID bulbs, and I'm led to believe that it is waterproof and shock-resistant. All the cable connections seem to be made with water resistance in mind(ie. they have seals, etc..) and theres a picture of the kit working in water here HID Light Conversion Kits - The best waterproof HID conversion kit resource!


The kit comes with ballasts, 2 H7 HID bulbs, mounting brackets, some nuts, bolts, washers, and wiring harnesses. There are two wiring harnesses, one for connecting as such: stock H7 bulb fitting -> blade connectors to wire -> wire to ballast to convert voltage -> from ballast to H7 HID bulb.
The other harness is an addition to the first harness and has relays and fuses in the harness, and is designed so that the stock H7 bulb fitting is connected to the relay, which then triggers a direct connection from the battery to the ballast, which then leads to the bulb. I decided to NOT use the relay harness for 2 reasons 1) the wires that came with the harness weren't long enough to get to the battery AND connect to both lights and 2) figured that the electrical system in the SLK was robust enough to handle it without a relay, as Dan mentioned that its pretty strong. Making this decision to not use the relays also resulted in a favourable side effect later on(I think...).

I took a picture of the beam pattern against a wall with the stock halogens. Also marked off the beam pattern with some masking tape, so I could compare later to see if I had inadvertently misaligned it while installing.


Picture of the underside of the light assembly. To get to this, I basically had to undo all the screws fastening the plastic liner in the wheel well. All up, per side, its 6 grey screws, and 2 silver screws. Its a bit of a pain putting it back on so all the screws fit as well. While unfastening the plastic liner, I just turn the wheel all the way to one side or the other to get access to the screws, and while working on the mounting, I turn the wheel inside. Its enough room to get access to everything. In this picture, you can see where the metal beam that stevenlau mounted his ballast doesn't even exist on mine(!!!), so I decided to screw the mount to those plastic black portrusions pointing down(outlined in red). I just got some self-tapping screws from the hardware shop to do that.

Last edited by ghostdunks; 05-29-2007 at 08:04 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Pictures of the stock H7 bulb with the metal retainer on the bottom. This metal retainer is what is used to secure the bulb to the housing, which is different to how bulbs are usually secured. AFAIK, bulbs are usually clamped to the housing, but in the SLK, it uses this metal retainer. Stevenlau had to dremel a hole in the metal retainer to fit his bulb in, but I decided not to make any changes to the metal retainer just in case I had to restore to stock halogens. The tabs outlined in red are what are used to lock the bulb into the housing. The bit outlined in blue denotes the bottom of the bulb/retainer assembly. The small metal bit on the left forces the whole assembly to only go in one way, with that metal bit on the bottom.




Pictures of the HID bulb. As you can see, because I didn't want to make any changes to the metal retainer, I decided to cut the wires leading to the bulb and replace with crimped connectors. This lets me insert the HID bulb into the metal retainer(without modifying the retainer), then connect it back with the cut wires on other side. If I didn't cut the wires, I wouldn't have been able to fit the wires connected to rubber grommet through the hole in the metal retainer.





Pictures of the HID bulb fitted to the metal retainer. As you can see in the pictures, with the way the HID bulb is constructed and because of the metal bit which forces the bulb to be only mounted in a certain way, this means that the metal strip on the topside of the HID bulb is on the top side. Wasn't sure if this was the right orientation because on other installs I've seen in other cars, the metal strip is on bottom side. Checked with Dan and -1-, and they both said that on the factory xenons, the metal strip is on top, so I guess its all OK!




Here's the dustcover after I had modified it to fit the rubber grommet. All I did was drill/dremel a hole in the dustcover large enough to fit the grommet, then inserted the grommet into it. Easy as pie! I was going to seal the edges with silicone, but the fit was pretty tight, so I just left it.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2007, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Pic of the HID light installed on one side. You can compare the brightness and color difference with the stock halogens. I had also changed the stock parking light(type w5w) and fog light(type 9006/HB4) with some Phillips CrystalVision halogen bulbs, which are supposedly 4300k in colour. The parking light seems white enough, but the fog light still seems pretty yellowish, but there does seem to be a difference in colour if you compare to stock.


Pic of the completed install from the inside. You can see here the wires coming out of the dustcover, which then lead to the ballast mounted underneath the lighting assembly. I also thought it was a good idea to use some sticky-backed felt on the ballast so that where it had contact with the metal mounting bracket, there was some felt there to take the shock and to avoid metal on metal grinding. It also made the ballast sit nice and tight inside the bracket.


Pic of the beam pattern after I had installed the HIDs into both headlights. As you can see, the beam pattern matches the stock halogens(marked by the masking tape) so there probably wasn't any need to get the beam pattern adjusted. I went to the dealer anyway just to double-check it, and they confirmed that there was no need to adjust the beam pattern at all. You can also compare this pic with the picture of the beam pattern with the stock halogens and see the colour difference is quite dramatic.


Pic of the car with both headlights replaced with H7 HID bulbs, parking lights and fog lights replaced with 4300k halogens


The "favourable" side effect I alluded to earlier, which I attribute to connecting the HID bulbs direct to the stock halogen bulb fitting, and NOT using a relay, is that I never got the strobing. This was an effect that a lot of other people had experienced after they had installed their HIDs whereby, if they turned the lights on without the engine, it would be fine, but if they turned the engine on, the HIDs would flicker or strobe. Rapid voltage pulses like this will cause damage to the ballast. This flickering or strobing was attributed to, as far as I know, the onboard computer where it detects a problem with the bulbs because the resistance is too low, so it thinks the bulbs have blown. The fix for this was to get the dealer to set Xenons=Present on the gateway, so that it expects less current(as the HID bulbs only use 35w as opposed to 55w for stock halogens). I'm still not exactly sure whether this is right or not, just that I never got the strobing effect from the start, and I think it was because I didn't use the relays.

I did go and get the dealer to set Xenons=Present today anyway just to make sure I wasn't causing any inadvertent faults, and also to check the beam pattern. Told them to change it in two places, the Main diagnostic in controller, and also the Gateway, as that was what I had found from other threads on installing HIDs. They could only find the Gateway setting and changed it, but couldn't find the other setting. Not sure if this will cause any problems, but I didn't have any obvious issues before I had the setting changed, so its not like I can check whether the strobing occurs at all.

Anyway, very happy with the finished product. Now thinking if I should change the stock fog lights for HIDs(so they match the headlights), only problem would be to find a place to mount another ballast!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 05:42 AM
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Nice write-up and good job!!!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 11:24 AM
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excellent pictures and writeup. if i was not mechanically challenged i would attempt it. what was the price or did i miss that?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Price for the HID kit was Australian $180, screws were about a buck, and crimp connectors about 4 bucks I think, felt to cushion the ballast, about 5 or 6 bucks, so about Aussie $195 all up, or US $156..quite inexpensive I think for a substantial upgrade to lighting. Also, dealer charged me Aus $50 to change the xenon=present setting on the onboard car computer and to check beam alignment, but I could have skipped that step since I didn't have the strobing anyway, and the beam pattern was fine without any adjustment.

I know you can get the same kit in US from HID Light Conversion Kits - The best waterproof HID conversion kit resource! for about US$250 shipped, but I'm sure you can get it cheaper elsewhere. I went with the Kingwood kit, because I had heard some good things about it, and there was a pic of it working underwater, so I thought might as well. I'm surprised that my total cost came to lower than the price of the kit by itself, usually stuff in Australia is more expensive than US.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-01-2007, 05:17 AM
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Thanks!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2007, 11:22 PM
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I bought and installed the MTEC Kit, no resister or mercedes dealer reset required...
worked great out of the box...
heres the thread on it...
https://www.benzworld.org/forums/show...66#post2547266
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2007, 04:47 AM
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Very nice job.I did it in my car with a BOSCH kit
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2007, 11:10 AM
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How's the after market one works? does HIDs turn off when the ignition is off? or it stays on? I think all stock HIDs turn off when the car is off.
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