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1977 280SE, 1984 280SEL
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Discussion Starter #1
1991 350SD W126 - My fog lights next to the headlights are not doing it for me on wet nights, even on newly paved road with newly painted lines. Oncoming headlights just blind me. What do others put in to overcome this problem. I know I'm not alone. I have tried these night driving yellow tint over glasses which do not seem to help.
 

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Premium Member
1990 SEC
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4,088 Posts
Unfortunately, apart from ensuring your lenses are spotless, your bulbs are of high quality and your lights are properly aimed and aligned, there isn't much to be done.

Fog lights don't help and installing nuclear-powered stadium lights are of limited use. Yes, new Xenon, LED and Laser headlamps are better, but poor night vision is an unfortunate side effect of advancing age.

I drive much slower at night than I used to.
 

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1998 e430
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359 Posts
like the above, i'd check that the lenses are clear. the plastic one's on my w210 are a bit oxidized and i'm sure this costs lumens.

doesn't help that inconsiderate drivers "upgrade" to illegally bright bulbs or just drive around with their high beams... to be honest, some new cars low beams seem like high beams to me. i'd like to see some sort of safety check here in california (like hawaii) that measures lumens, bet some wouldn't pass.

i'm only 49 and getting to the point i prefer to drive rather than ride my motorcycle at night...
 

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1991 500SEC sub 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 150K mi. 2018
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4,028 Posts
1991 350SD W126 - My fog lights next to the headlights are not doing it for me on wet nights, even on newly paved road with newly painted lines. Oncoming headlights just blind me. What do others put in to overcome this problem. I know I'm not alone. I have tried these night driving yellow tint over glasses which do not seem to help.
My similar night driving issues are due to age I believe, mine... not the SECs...
[Truth be told, I am about 2.5 times older than my SECs.]

In keeping with these thoughts, I have a much more modern Volvo SUV w/active Xenon lights and those present a vast, vast improvement..

My US version SEC has the stock version halogen lights which to my mind are really useless for driving.

My '91 Euro 500SEC has the larger Bosch euro headlights.. and those really deliver the goods...

If yours are the stock USA headlights.. a set of the Euro lights, even with stock bulbs, will brighten your outlook considerably!

M.
 

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Two '87 570SECs, one '87 560SEL
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4,443 Posts
As MBL8560SEC states, Euro headlights are FAR superior to US headlights but.... they're now extremely expensive. I just sold a used set on eBay for $1,000. $1,000!!! I also put a $40 set of LED headlights into my SEL Euro headlights instead of 80/100W incandescent lights and that was an improvement. Put a set if $70 LEDs into the SEC but like the $40 ones a little better. But.....having the cataract surgery 18 months ago with the expensive Accommodating Lenses implanted made another significant improvement. BIG improvement. So, now I can see at night in both the SEL and SEC. YMMV!
 

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Without spending $1000 on euro lights you can fit super bright hid or led lights into USA housings very cheaply

Most car stereo shops can do it
 

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Outstanding Contributor
350SDL, '17 GLS450, "Grandpa's Roadster" Project Car
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3,030 Posts
+1 on the cataract surgery! It doesn't matter how good the headlights are if the light is just bouncing around inside the lenses in your yes. No exaggeration, it's a freekin' miracle! (I went with standard lenses and a pair of progressive lens glasses.)
 

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'87 560 SEC, Pearl Grey/blue; 300,000+ mi; '07 CLS 550, Barolo/stone; 90,000+ mi
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435 Posts
I've read the H4/9003 bulbs for the Euro headlamps sometimes only last a year or so--are there LED versions that screw in the same way? I guess "warm white" would be closer to the original tone, and "cool white" would look closer to Xenon?
 

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85 500SEC (Euro), 87 560SEC (now sold)
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As MBL8560SEC states, Euro headlights are FAR superior to US headlights but.... they're now extremely expensive. I just sold a used set on eBay for $1,000. $1,000!!!
I am in the market for a nice pair of Euro SEC lamps. Not a set in need of restoration, but one that can go on in and look sexy as hell.

Last year I secured a completely new, never used set for 1200 to 1300 (I cannot recall exactly) only to have them arrive smashed and cracked due to improper packing. What a nightmare that was. :( Once UPS finally paid out I went and bought my BBS wheels, but really do want a pair of Euro lamps for my grey market Euro SEC (it was "federalized" with USA lights).
 

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1983 300SD
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52 Posts
The absolute best option (as far as improving performance) would be to swap to Gen 1 headlights and put JW Speaker LED sealed beam replacements in them. Otherwise, euro lights with reflectors in good condition and good quality conventional bulbs would also be a big improvement.
 

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SuperModerator
1986/1990 W126
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13,419 Posts
A big thing for night driving is having a new windscreen. I only know this from my other car, not 126. I've no vision problems but it was a hard car to drive at night. Somewhat fuzzy windscreen although it didn't look it. Just years of tiny marks. New windscreen made it fine at night.
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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39,465 Posts
Unfortunately, apart from ensuring your lenses are spotless, your bulbs are of high quality and your lights are properly aimed and aligned, there isn't much to be done.

Fog lights don't help and installing nuclear-powered stadium lights are of limited use. Yes, new Xenon, LED and Laser headlamps are better, but poor night vision is an unfortunate side effect of advancing age.

I drive much slower at night than I used to.
Ha Axel. I do everything slower than I used to.
Leonard Cohen: I ache in places I used to play.....
 

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560SEL 560SEC 300SEL E320 Cab. MB Metris Van / 300TD 300TE 300SDL, 300D, Unimog 406 (Gone)
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2,307 Posts
Stop driving at night. Good excuse not to have to go to symphony and opera.
 

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1991 500SEC sub 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 150K mi. 2018
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4,028 Posts
Just a note to JR,

Luckily, and should you want to go this way, used MB/Bosch Euro lights & aftermarket euro lights for an SDL are one heck of a lot less money than the SEC variant mentioned above.

In the aftermarket, the Depo and Anzo USA brands appear most prevalent on EBay & Amazon.
It looks as though $150 - $500 should get you some more light.

Some examples:
Used MB:
Depo:
Anzo:
*Note: One may need an adapter harness to install..

Good luck,

M
 

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1985 Mercedes 380SE Metallic Navy Blue
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440 Posts
Cataract surgery...
 

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1977 280SE, 1984 280SEL
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
A big thing for night driving is having a new windscreen. I only know this from my other car, not 126. I've no vision problems but it was a hard car to drive at night. Somewhat fuzzy windscreen although it didn't look it. Just years of tiny marks. New windscreen made it fine at night.
This came to me with a brand new windscreen, clean and scratch free, Brand new wipers and a carefully applied coat of RainX
 
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