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1982 380SL
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Discussion Starter #21
My next tires were going to be Goodyear Eagles but I had 15" rims. One thing you might check is your headlight alignment. You may not need new lamps, just get these pointed in the right direction.
Haha yes, the 14" size really seems to limit my options. In the research I've done so far, it's the same tires coming up every time, with the General Tire being the best rated of the bunch. I definitely don't want off-brand stuff.

I don't know if the alignment would solve my problems. I did a lot of night driving two summers ago and on roads without streetlights or country roads I could hardly see.
 

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2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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593 Posts
You do need tio verify your ball joints and tie rod ends are solid. The rubber boot on the lower ball joint tends to rot with time allowning water to enter and causing it to fail. The steering box is adjustable to remove much free play. Also- There is an hydraulic steering damper which generally is bad. This is an easy repalcment and they dont cost much.
 

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1982 380SL
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
You do need tio verify your ball joints and tie rod ends are solid. The rubber boot on the lower ball joint tends to rot with time allowning water to enter and causing it to fail. The steering box is adjustable to remove much free play. Also- There is an hydraulic steering damper which generally is bad. This is an easy repalcment and they dont cost much.
Thanks for the advice. I know I had the steering done when my mechanic did a bunch of engine work over spring and summer. The steering was always a bit loose but since I've had the car back in the last three weeks, it's noticeably more responsive and a bit tighter.

The ball joints have been mentioned as something that I need to address in the future. It will happen next spring when I get a proper safety performed on the car. There are also a couple other small things that need to be done for the safety too, but they have to wait for now. The work I had done took seven months, so I missed an entire driving season here. I got the car back three weeks ago and I've been driving it as much as I can before I have to put it away in a week or two. I did not expect the engine work to take as long as it did, but I'm excited to have it back and starting to plan for next spring/summer.
 

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1987 560SL
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2,309 Posts
Thanks so much for your reply. Are these Hella conversions plug and play?
Yes they are, unscrew old, screw in Hella.
If I go with different bulbs, like the Sylvanias you suggested, do I need to install a relay?
No relay for the Sylvanias, they draw the same current as stock. Yes a relay is likely if you buy a higher wattage bulb but that would not be street legal.
This is all new to me, but I know I need to do something, as the stock bulbs are just not safe for night driving.
You say stock bulbs, but is what you have in your car now a sealed beam? If so you should replace them. If they are not sealed but have a replaceable bulb, go get the Sylvanias and see if that makes you happy.
Is there a detailed step by step instructions for installing a relay?
Okay, I just Googled "headlight relay" and there are 35,800,000 results. So take your pick. I assume anyone using an online forum is also capable of a Google search, but since you and I are nice people I refrain from any critique of your internet capabilities, just this once. Next time it will be pure entertainment.
 

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1982 380SL
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Yes they are, unscrew old, screw in Hella.
No relay for the Sylvanias, they draw the same current as stock. Yes a relay is likely if you buy a higher wattage bulb but that would not be street legal.
You say stock bulbs, but is what you have in your car now a sealed beam? If so you should replace them. If they are not sealed but have a replaceable bulb, go get the Sylvanias and see if that makes you happy.
Okay, I just Googled "headlight relay" and there are 35,800,000 results. So take your pick. I assume anyone using an online forum is also capable of a Google search, but since you and I are nice people I refrain from any critique of your internet capabilities, just this once. Next time it will be pure entertainment.
Thanks a lot for your help, sincerely. This is all new to me and the last thing I want to do is damage to my car. I am a complete amateur when it comes to the mechanics and inner workings of vehicles. I'm learning as I go and this is the first thing outside of detailing and cleaning that I'm attempting on my own.

I genuinely appreciate you not critiquing my internet search capabilities. I am quite knowledgeable on such things. However, I don't assume that all 35,800,000 results have to do with the Mercedes R107, which is why I asked here. I am hoping to find the most specific set of instructions for our cars because of the fact that I have no clue what I'm doing, but would greatly love to learn. I'm sure most of you could take the instructions for any car or application and apply them to your situation, but I can't. In the future, I hope I have as much knowledge on these topics as you guys.

Thanks again
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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29,153 Posts
If your tires are 7 years or older....you are not driving your car enough!
 

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2005 SRT Crossfire
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31 Posts
Just got my car last week, tires were over 20 years, so I got the local shop to get any tires he could get before I flew in to drive it home. He was able to get General tires locally. Just drove them 2000 miles they are rated at 112 mph S or T rated. I knew the spare was even older, found Duro Tires in a 205 70-R14 with a H rating (130mph) about $60, it came in today. It will go on the spare, I hope to upgrade l believe the high rating means a stronger built tire that will hold up better.
 

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1982 380SL
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
For the "Bible" on headlight relay systems go to Daniel Stern Lighting...I used his info when adding a headlight relay to mine...
Thanks for your reply. I have checked out Daniel Stern's website and read about relays. However, I'm pretty green and a lot of the vocabulary goes over my head. I've watched some YouTube videos about wiring in relays and the actual process seems a lot easier than the theory.

One question I have is where to wire the relay; the battery or the alternator? With the battery being in the trunk, where do your route the wires to the front? With the alternator, how do you connect it?
 

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1988 560SL (California Model)
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5,072 Posts
Thanks for your reply. I have checked out Daniel Stern's website and read about relays. However, I'm pretty green and a lot of the vocabulary goes over my head. I've watched some YouTube videos about wiring in relays and the actual process seems a lot easier than the theory.

One question I have is where to wire the relay; the battery or the alternator? With the battery being in the trunk, where do your route the wires to the front? With the alternator, how do you connect it?
Look on the passenger side towards the rear of the engine. Pop the plastic cover off and there is a full time 12 volt positive connection from the battery.

2612784
 

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1973 450SL 1984 300TD 1997 E320
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I highly recommend these Hella H4 headlamps. Fitment is perfect. Hard to believe they are still on sale here:
I bought both the low beams (two filament bulb) and the high beams (single filament bulb).
You can put any bulb you want inside them but I highly recommend the Sylvania Silver Star Ultras, these are noticeably brighter with better beam spread.
I say it doubled my visual distance at night with lamps properly adjusted.
On my 1963 I wired a relay so it gets juice directly from the battery. On my Mercedes SL I did not find rewiring or a relay was needed, but if you are seeking the brightest possible light, measure the voltage at one headlamp with engine running, it should be near 13 volts. Below 10 I would rewire.

Finally, your fog lights have a metal half-moon beam block built into the case. You can brighten things up by bending the metal beam block up and out of the way of the halogen (or LED) bulb. If you do this they no longer function as fog lights, it will light up the fog or rain that obstructs visibility, but will give you more photons when there are no atmospheric particles in your path.
Sorry could only edit my reply. Could not delete.
 

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'80 450SLC Afro RHD Ikonengold
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2,791 Posts
because the relay will supply power straight from the battery, a fuse is due.
8A if each headlight are power fed with each in its own circuit or 15-16A if single power circuit feeds both.

8A is equivalent of about 100W circuit so good for 60W -ish load. Wire should be at least AWG14 / 1.5mm². Bigger is always better. Double relay/circuit (for each headlight) easily doubles the wire gauge.

Relay should be no less than 10Adc per highthead, ideally 20A or more. Please note that DC rating is compujlsory for safety and AC ratings are not proportional (10Aac relay could be capable of as little as 1Adc).
 

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1973 450SL
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14 Posts
I had the same issue with dim headlights and installed the Hella lights for both low and high beams. While in town it was not much of an issue because of the street lights, I store my car in the winter and it seemed like a flashlight would have provided more light while driving in the country at night. I could have probably figured it out on my own, but I ordered the relay kit for more power from Daniel Stern and followed his instructions. The difference is amazing and highly recommended.

I also had the issue of older tires when I bought my car. They looked brand new, but were 14 years old. As other posters have said, you should replace at 7 years. Most tire places in the US legally, if I recall, can't work on tires that are older than 10 years old. I went with Michelins I got from Costco who also did the installation. No problems other than slight squealing noise in some ramps while making turns which other cars do also.
 

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Premium Member
1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
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5,147 Posts
. I went with Michelins I got from Costco who also did the installation. No problems other than slight squealing noise in some ramps while making turns which other cars do also.
I've always liked Michelins and have used them for more than 50 years . Having said that I'm running Pirelli P6 on my S430 (they were on special vs the Michelins) and I'm happy with them. Gotta watch the budget these days.
 

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1982 380SL
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #36
Look on the passenger side towards the rear of the engine. Pop the plastic cover off and there is a full time 12 volt positive connection from the battery.

View attachment 2612784
Amazing! Thank you much for the help. That was the biggest hurdle in my head when trying to determine how to wire the relay. This changes everything!

because the relay will supply power straight from the battery, a fuse is due.
8A if each headlight are power fed with each in its own circuit or 15-16A if single power circuit feeds both.

8A is equivalent of about 100W circuit so good for 60W -ish load. Wire should be at least AWG14 / 1.5mm². Bigger is always better. Double relay/circuit (for each headlight) easily doubles the wire gauge.

Relay should be no less than 10Adc per highthead, ideally 20A or more. Please note that DC rating is compujlsory for safety and AC ratings are not proportional (10Aac relay could be capable of as little as 1Adc).
Thanks a lot for your reply. It's a little over my head but I have read that changing the fuses and brushing the terminals with a brass brush can help some of the electronic elements of the car, so it was something I was looking into. Where would I buy replacement fuses for my '82?
 

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Premium Member
1987 560SL
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2,309 Posts
Thanks a lot for your reply. It's a little over my head but I have read that changing the fuses and brushing the terminals with a brass brush can help some of the electronic elements of the car, so it was something I was looking into. Where would I buy replacement fuses for my '82?
You are responding to two separate ideas. The line to the relay requires an in-line fuse that can be any 10 to 20 amp automotive blade fuse; this does not go through your fuse box. let me know if you want a picture. Replacing the existing fuses in your box if they are not already brass is a must-do, as many electrical problems can be traced to resistance due to dissimilar metals. These are also known as European or ceramic fuses. Notice in the picture below these have copper metal ends. If you have white or silver colored metal fuses replace them now. Replace the same color ceramic body as what you remove. My preferred source is e-Bay but you can get these anywhere.
2612878
 

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1982 380SL
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter #39
You are responding to two separate ideas. The line to the relay requires an in-line fuse that can be any 10 to 20 amp automotive blade fuse; this does not go through your fuse box. let me know if you want a picture. Replacing the existing fuses in your box if they are not already brass is a must-do, as many electrical problems can be traced to resistance due to dissimilar metals. These are also known as European or ceramic fuses. Notice in the picture below these have copper metal ends. If you have white or silver colored metal fuses replace them now. Replace the same color ceramic body as what you remove. My preferred source is e-Bay but you can get these anywhere.
View attachment 2612878
Yes, a picture that shows the in-line fuse to the relay would be great if you have one. That would be a huge help.

Sorry to cause confusion, I was talking about replacing all of the fuses in the panel regardless of what I do with the headlights. Some of the electrical components are a bit finicky and I'm hoping some fresh copper fuses and a cleaning of the terminals will help.
 

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1988 560SL (California Model)
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5,072 Posts
Yes, a picture that shows the in-line fuse to the relay would be great if you have one. That would be a huge help.
The in-line fuse/s can be placed anywhere on the 12 volt connection. On mine I run two relays...one for the high beams and one for the low beams. First pic shows the "pigtail" with the in-line fuses. The single end attaches to the 12 volt terminal I showed you in a previous reply. Second pic shows the fuses mounted to the reservoir support bracket. Third is the relays mounted to a bracket I made out of aluminum angle. Just one way to do it. The relays can be mounted anywhere but suggest that the closer to the headlights the better.

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