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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering purchasing aftermarket headlights for my 2002 S430, this may sound like a stupid question, but how do you tell the difference between halogen projector headlights and Zenon headlights. Second, are the aftermarket headlights generally well constructed?
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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One can have Halogen projector headlight units and Xenon projector headlight units. However, because the focusing optics are different between the two, depending on which type of bulb the unit is designed for, you do not mix bulb types and reflector/projector types.

Generally, the projector units will be designed only to accept the proper kind of bulb. Their external appearance may be similar, but they are entirely different in the curvatures of their optics. Mixing them is not only illegal, it is dangerous.

Check the W220 S-Class Encyclopedia for more references. The first link under headlights is a link to a compilation of data on headlights.

The OE "standard" headlight unit on earlier W220s was straight Halogen, with separate bulbs for high and low. The "HID" upgrade had a Xenon low beam and a separate Halogen high beam, if I recall properly. Later, the "Bi-Xenon" upgrade had separate Xenon high and low beams.
 

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2006 S430 4Matic
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Thoughts on aftermarket Headlights

IMO bad idea on a high end vehicle. I've had a couple different kids of aftermarket headlights on three vehicles:

- 2008 HUMMER H2
- 2007 Denali (Both projector with LED's and then HID low beam conversion)
- 2005 WRX (Replacement headlights with LED's)

On both the Denali and WRX the fit and finish was mediocre at best. On both cars the plastic lens started to yellow pit severely and became cloudy in a year. The LED's started to have intermittent problems and the finally stopped working in various areas. It was embarrassing! In both cases I purchased the highest end (based on price) products I could find had them installed at a professional shop I prior business experience.

I finally got rid of the projector LED headlights on the Denali and had the shop reinstall the OEM headlights but install their best HID system. I hated that it only had low beams. Then after a year the right one died. When I went back to the shop, the manufacturer no longer carried that same model. The replacement was a different hue, although the color temp was supposedly exactly the same. After all that money I told them to throw out the aftermarket HID units and install the old equipment. That was an expensive lesson.

As for the 2008 H2, I couldn't resist and bought an entire unit that actually replaced the headlight housing, ballast and everything else. That unit is awesome. However, it was specifically made for the HUMMER H2 because no H2 comes with HID's as standard or as an option. This option was a factory level alternative. HID PROJECTION HEAD LAMPS / 2003-2010 HUMMER H2 & SUT

Unless I find this type of alternative I'm not experimenting with anything cheaper. I changed out my H7 bulbs and Wedge bulbs with PIAA and I swear the lights are just as bright and nice looking as the HID's in my Escalade.
 
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