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A few days ago I received the dreaded Side Marker Light out error on my 2005 SL500. After doing some research, it looks like there are (at least) 4 options to remove / replace:
1 - Go in from the wheel well: Remove the screws holding part of the inner wheel liner, pull it back to enable you to get a hand in to turn, remove / replace the bulb
2 - Go in from under that side of the car by removing the plastic panel below
3 - Try to pry out the light housing (note that you can't just pop out the amber lens - it's part of the housing) to enable you to turn the bulb 90 degrees to remove / replace. You could do this by possibly prying back the plastic strip that I've included photos of, or try to get a tool in under the housing directly, then sliding the tool in to push the tab forward (towards the front of the car) to release the housing. The problem I encountered was that I didn't think there wasn't enough slack on the wire to the bulb to allow for the assembly to come out enough.
4 - Do what I did and
(Picture 1) get a plastic spatula and start from the front of the car and slowly slide it around on top and bottom to release the integrated plastic clips. Then (and there wasn't much slack) get your fingers in and release the light bulb.
(Picture 2) shows the released bulb
(Picture 3) Shows the plastic strip upsidedown. Notice the hinged tab on the left side of the light housing which locks the amber lens / housing in the plastic bumper strip. Pushing that hinge in releases the housing.
(Picture 4) Shows the released housing. Not necessary, but wanted to provide a better look at what you're dealing with.

Summary: You have a couple of options. This wasn't too bad. Going in through the wheel well (or from under) might have involved less. I still think it's more work than it should be to replace a bulb...

Hope this helps "shed some light" on the situation.
 

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2020 GLE460 - 2003 SL500
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38 Posts
Side Marker Light

Mine is out. Can anyone tell me how to get to the bulb? Does the lens just pop off?
 

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SL63 Iridium Silver Metallic
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BE VERY CAREFUL ...

the lens is held in place by a big tab, near the tire side (not the grille facing side). It would be easier to CAREFULLY, and slowly, pry the END of the bumper strip out far enough to loosen the tab from the back side with your finger. You should be able to see it after a few tabs from the bumper strip are CAREFULLY removed. I used a cloth rag coverred wide flat tip screw driver. I don't ahve a diagram of where the tabs are for the bumper strips.

HAVE PATIENCE when you do this. It's easier the more you do it, but DO NOT pry the lens off, it will break! :thumbsup: I have installed clear lenses and replaced the light bulb a few times to see what I liked best, so I have done this a few times ...!

BE CAREFUL, and GO SLOW! See if you can find a diagram of where the tabs are of the bumper strip.
 

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2005 SL500-awesome "about town" ride. 2015 SL550 with red interior for dates.
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Easy option to change side marker bulb from the back side.

Another easy option to change the side marker light bulb (You DO NOT have to remove the wheels):

I tried the credit card or screwdriver insert suggestion to release the amber lens to get to the light bulb, but it would not release for me. I took it to an indy friend, and they had it changed in less than 5 minutes. Here's how.

Be sure you have the new bulb ready, because this is EASY PEASEY.

Turn the steering wheel to move the front wheel of the "dead side marker" toward the engine to expose the back plastic weather shield inside cover between the tire and the fender well.

Remove the sheet metal screw holding the plastic shield to the fender. This is the screw 1/2 way up the fender well. There are other screws on the bottom of the plastic shield, but you do not have to remove them unless you want more work room between the released shield and the fender. (This sheet metal screw inserts into a metal clip that is attached to the fiber glass fender inside the shield. This clip can fall off easily. Be aware that you will not be able to fasten the sheet metal screw back into place if this clip falls off and you lose it, which I almost did ! :surrender:)

Now remove the 10mm plastic nut that is visible holding the plastic weather shield to the fender. It is midway up the shield and about 6 inches toward the engine. It is clearly visible. This is a friction fit plastic nut.

With these two pieces removed, pull the plastic weather shield away from the fender starting at the bottom of the fender well. Mine just popped out from behind the fender. Hold the shield out of the way with one hand.

With a flashlight, you can now see into the fender well and locate the electrical supply wire and plastic bulb housing that holds the bulb into the amber lens.

Turn the plastic bulb housing 1/2 turn toward you, and it will release with the bulb. Pull the dead bulb straight out of the housing and re-insert the new bulb by pushing it straight into the housing.

Re-insert the bulb housing into the amber lens and turn the assembly 1/2 turn away from you to lock it into place.

Now test the light before you put the screw and nut back into place.

With the sheet metal screw clip in place on the fender, pop the plastic shield back under the fender lip and replace the screw and the 10mm nut.

You are DONE. 10 minutes the first time. 5 minutes after that per side. No paint scratches or broken lens.
 

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