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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Today the External Light Fail came in my 94 E320. At the same time both my instrument cluster lights as well as center console lights were out and haven't come back on. I've read everything that I can find in the sight concerning this issue and have already fooled around with the dimmer on the LH side of the instrumentation cluster. I checked the fuses an fuse 3 had broken. I replaced it and that external light fail indication on the dash went off. However, now my instrument cluster lights, my center console and weirdly enough the licence plate lights. I check the bulbs above the license plate and they still have the filament still intact and don't look blown.
Does anyone have any pointer on how to troubleshoot/ fix this issue?

Danke:confused:
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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17,394 Posts
First thing to do is to establish a electrical baseline by replacing the OVP relay and ALL of the fuses in the fusebox and the single fuse on the back of the instrument cluster. The instrument cluster fuse can only be obtained from the dealer.

Be sure to buy a new genuine MB relay or KAE(hler) relay exclusively. Anything else is junk and not worth the investment.
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ok, I'll take that advice. Wheres the best place to get that relay? Is that located near the fuse box and if so do you have any instruction on how to install it?
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
ohh i see where it is now, but yeah any directions on installing it? is is fairly easy for someone with a bit of mechanical know-how?
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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17,394 Posts
OVP relay is located behind the battery splash shield. Simple plug & unplug operation. The relay twists/rotates into the holder. The socket is pushed by hand onto the relay.

Make sure you get the relay that is specific to your model#. Not all OVP relays are the same and thus are not always interchangeable.

You will need the instrument cluster removal hooks or build your own to get the instrument cluster out, being careful not to damage the cluster or connectors, in order to replace the fuse on the back of the instrument cluster.

As a courtesy, please fill in your profile. This helps other fellow boardmembers tremendously when troubleshooting.
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks so much for your info. I'm gonna get on this first thing tomorrow morning. If I go to the dealer will they charge me out the wazoo for the OVP and can I get fuses at any Auto Parts place for this car? I know now that if I discover the instrument panel fuse is blown I'll be going to the dealer anyways. Which leads me to my next question. How can I tell if the fuse is blown? (Saw only one pic of it online and it wasn't good enough quality to see, didn't look like your typical fuse though...)

I looked at another thread that showed how to make your own cluster remover tools with hangers...I've already "machined" two precisely as they did. I'll put them to test tomorrow.
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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17,394 Posts
You can get a fuse kit that does the whole car for less than $5 from joetlc.com

For the OVP relay, the KAE(hler) relay is available from autohausaz.com

You MUST get the instrument cluster fuse from the dealer.

The original aluminum fuses corrode. So even if they look OK to the naked eyed, they may still be bad and prevent the flow of electricity to the protected circuit.
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
OK I noticed now since its light outside that my radio is Says "CODE" on it and the C in code is flashing. what does this mean?
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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Discussion Starter #10
Also do I need to be disconnecting the battery before I do any off this. I'm sure the radio has CODE on it now because of me replacing fuse 3. For for a period of time the radio was disconnected from its voltage source.
 

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W124
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5,173 Posts
While you are waiting for the fuse kit, you might make some progress by "cleaning" the fuse tips. This is done with the fuses in place in their holder. With slight finger pressure, rotate each fuse in its holder 90 degrees in one direction and then 90 degrees back to the position it was in. Its possible this is all that is wrong. It seems odd that when you changed one fuse you fixed one problem but inherited another; the adjoining fuses could have been touched slightly and are now not making good contact because they need to be cleaned. The fuse kit should resolve this kind of problem for a long time.
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Ok everyone, I've taken out the cluster and everything is fine there. No blown fuse and the bulbs are fine. I got a few replacement fuses from the dealer to tide me over till i get my online order. At this point EVERYTHING on the car works fine exempt for the already mentioned INSTRUMENT CLUSTER LIGHTS/ CENTER CONSOLE LIGHTS and the LICENCE PLATE LIGHTS. Fuse 3 supposedly fixes this...it fixed everything else. This car had a new wire harness put on back in like 2006 that looks brand new. talk to the previous owner and he has never had this issue...

Any further tips would be greatly appreciated. Ive already planned on getting the OVP and new fuses just to have a clean playing ground there as a previous poster mentioned
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I've noticed that most people say that there digital read of the outside temp goes out usually when this happens. Mine still works...i have noticed that i has blinked a couple of times what could that mean? what system involves the instrument panel/ illumination and licence plate lights aside from fuse #3?
 

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E320 94', 158K mi
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Discussion Starter #14
Went to the dealership to get my radio code. very simple process. No charge! So I've got tunes again! Just no backlight at night haha... I going to get to the bottom of this. I'll keep everyone posted.
 
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