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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All:

I thought I'd try to document the highlights & few specifics of our (on-going) HID headlamp upgrade.

Our 2000 e320 Wagon had pretty good headlight function, but not quite.

We live in rural deer country - it's nothing to see herds of a dozen on the roadside here. Thankfully, 98% run the other way, but there is the exception.

Add to that the dark nature of most rural roads, some very few have a few lights, many do not.

So, I wanted the best headlamp performance, brightest downroad light, but also safe, ie not blinding any oncoming motorists, and hopefully in the stock OEM (Hella) headlamp housings.

First off, there was some slight yellowing on the housings, so I polished them with a high quality polymer cleaner / sealant. Several buffings & they were back to nearly a perfect clarity & appearance.

This is important, as if the plastic lenses have aged beyond restoration, the installation of brighter HID's won't do much but throw glare, won't help the driver's vision.

Next I had a few options to consider, wattage, bulb color & which lamps to convert.

At least on my 2000 e320, it has 3 positions:

Low beams & High beams & fog lamps - First 2 are H7 bulbs. Fogs are H1 bulbs.

When the highs activate, the H7 highbeams just add into the already on H7 Low beams.

[The H7 Highs are in that inboard, separate smaller lens (along with the parking / DRL low intensity bulb), fyi]

I actually upgraded the Fog lamps first, and it helped nicely.

I chose the 5000k color. It has a very intense, but slightly blue tinted light.

The install wasn't hard, it was a bit tricky to cut the hole for the weather grommet on the new HID wire harness, to fit the factory weather cover on these OEM (Hella) fogs housings.

To wire power to the new light, one simply locates the positive wire on the stock harness / plug & insert the red spade terminal HID wire, and likewise on the black (-) side.

I did get the "warning canceller' modules as the HID's draw less power & will trigger a 'bulb out warning', so this inline additional module (resistor) avoids that hassle.

301 Moved Permanently

Really the biggest challenge is running all the wires neatly. My son & I just creatively bundled the 'slim ballast' & extra length wires together & zip tied them securely to the bumper support & made sure all connections were properly tight.

On the Fogs, the downroad light pattern is better and the side road - seeing the road edges, is very much improved.

The only downside is it takes a few seconds to warm up to full light output.

Here is the fogs kit:

301 Moved Permanently

On the main headlamp side, I wasn't sure which to upgrade first, the Low beam side or High beam side - or both.

One thing to emphasize first, after some initial research, I noted there are two different wattages for HID upgrade kits:

55 watt and 35 watt.

In terms of the Kensun brand kits, the 35 watt ones are called SDX, and that is what I decided to go with.

I've heard that most factory HIDs are rated at 35 watts.

I suspect that the 'blinding oncoming traffic HID's' we've probably all had the misfortune to be blinded by had some of the following factors:

55 watt kit installed
old, faded headlamp housings
improper aiming
rude driver / operator

Avoiding all those factors, should give a satisfactory result !

So, after reading reviews on Amazon on the 35 watt kits, it seemed like the 'sensible upgrade' that would work.

And work they do !

301 Moved Permanently

I would estimate that now we enjoy 40% brighter downroad - which gives the wife & I, 150-200 ft more 'seeing distance' for deer & other road obstacles.

So, after deciding on the Kensun SDX 35w kit, which position to put it in ?

The Low beams already had the HID fogs that can run at the same time, and truly, the Low beam bulb access on the Drivers side was very tight - against the hydraulic tank, these factors made me decide to do the install on the High beam side first.

[I intend to do the HID upgrade to the Low beams in the future. This will probably require front bumper removal. If going to all that trouble, I will probably also try a Projector Beam Headlamp upgrade as well.]

Thus one advantage of doing the High beam side is, easy access !

Simply unscrew the lens housing rear cover, a quick twist and it's off.

There are 2 bulbs in this Lens. The lower one is the parking / Daytime running light, a low wattage bulb. Above it is the H7 main High bulb.

One simply unplugs the plug & harness from the stock bulb & grasps bulb base & twists CCW as viewed from back of car, bulb will release.

It is held in place by a metal clip over the plastic bulb base. The clip edges fit under anchor screws on either side of bulb opening.

One mod required: we had to use a die grinder to cut a slot in this Metal bulb retainer clip, so that the new harness wires could pass thru.

This is needed as the HID bulb is 'hard wired' to the harness, no removable plug at its base.

I did see that Amazon lists a modified H7 bulb clip for this purpose, but it was far simpler & faster just to mod the stock one.

One aspect did slow us down, and you should look for it:

Crispy oem insulation on the Main beam wiring harness !!

What had happened was, our wires had insulation that was cracking due to age & heat.

I suspect the high heat of the halogen bulbs, in that fully enclosed weather tight housing was too much for the insulation to handle.

Most of it cracked off when unplugging the stock bulbs, so we had to do a reasonable repair job before proceeding.

Our solution ? Carefully re-wrap all the exposed wire with high quality electricians black tape. It worked fine.

[If one were removing / replacing the entire headlamp housing, I would use all new wires. If anyone knows of an aftermarket source for heavy duty headlamp harness, I'd love to learn of it....]

One consolation is that the new HID's use waaay less wattage, and thus make waaay less heat on the wires & insulation from here on.

This could also have the beneficial effect of lengthening the life of the factory housings & lenses due to the reduced heat.

That would be nice.

Ok, now one also has this aspect to consider: what color bulb to choose ?

There is a large range of HID bulb colors, measured in K or Kelvin.

Anything above 6000k begins to look quite blue.

For example, typical halogen is around 3000k, and has a distinctly yellow tinge.

My two choices were either 5000k - bright white with blue tint or

4300k - brilliant white light.

We did go with the 5000k for both the Fogs & High Beams.

They have a good hint of blue, but not objectionable.

I'm also planning on testing some 35w / 4300k H7's in the High beam position, very shortly.

(I got 2 sets of bulbs to compare. The Ballasts are the same, so just switch bulbs to compare colors.)

The performance of these HID lights is simply outstanding, far better illumination downroad, really strong High beams, and no glare for oncoming drivers, all with stock housings.

Now, I still have to dim the High beams, but that was also true before with the halogens.

We just completed a 800 mile round trip in largely rural East Texas to Hill Country, and I noted that on 4 lane highways, my highbeams didn't get flashed even once by oncoming traffic.

When it switched to 2 lanes only, yes, I had to dim the Highs each time.

But, when doing that, the HID fogs would help out, and thus we had great illumination in either "Low Beam" or "High Beam" mode.

I suspect that the very precise nature of these factory (Hella) headlamp housings, proper aiming & the moderate nature of the 35w (versus 55w) HID output have all contributed to this nice upgrade that is also 'road safe', and not a bother to other drivers.

Will try to add some pictures later.

I do have the Projector Beam Housing & Low Beam HID upgrade in planning stages & will update the thread at that point.

If you've any questions, please ask below.

Safe drving & Cheers,

David in East Texas :wink
 

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Sounds like a great project and you got the results you desired. Any idea why the pictures are not showing? I'd like to see your good work - thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pictures of HID Upgrade to 2000 e320 wagon factory headlamp housings

Here are a couple of pictures showing the results of our HID upgrade.

Housings are factory MB (reads "Hella" on housings). They are a bit worn by time & miles, but mostly clear.

Fog Housings are a bit chipped, inevitable for 140k miles, but otherwise clear.
The upper pic shows the HID fogs on with Low Beams

The lower pic shows the Low Beams with HID Highs on - illustrates how yellow halogens are compared to the much whiter, brighter HID.

To the eye & after dark, the blue tint is fairly noticable. I am going to 'switch down' to a lower color temperature, from this 5000k to a set of 4300k to see if I note a bit less blue. This is a preference that will vary from person to person. Everyone's eyes interpret colors differently. I am basically looking for as close to pure white as possible. I've heard experts opine that 4300k is the whitest & the most amount of lumens per watt - ie the most efficient color. Whereas, the more blue / purple one gets, the less efficient.

Both High Beams & Fogs are a 35w - 5000k color HID bulb & ballast upgrade.

Low Beams - the larger diameter Outside Lenses - are the stock Halogen H7 bulbs. (I may upgrade them later to HID)


Cheers & Safe Driving, David
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Back to you, OJ......

Sounds like a great project and you got the results you desired. Any idea why the pictures are not showing? I'd like to see your good work - thanks.
OJ, if you're still there, hit refresh, I just added them.

Sorry my photo skills don't show the 'On Road Lighting Improvement', trust me, it's dramatic.

My wife is like, "Oh, now I can see the deer, all of them, waaay sooner. That's safer !"

Goal accomplished.

$ 35 + $15 for the 'bulb out warning canceller'. $ 50 total

How's Temecula ! ? Guess where we lived before coming to Texas......! :wink
 

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Here are a few links for reference,
Skip to #9
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/test/1328919-99e430s.html

Good read here,
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w210-e-class/1398570-hid-conversions.html
and here,
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w210-e-class/1322435-question-answer-about-depo-headlight.html

The real upgrade for the W210 is to get the W211 E55 BiXenon projectors, a member here (zam2000 ? I think) has a thread on how to build them in to a Depo head lamp housing.
http://mbworld.org/forums/w211-amg/231016-bi-xenon-retrofit-50-pics-56k-no.html

High Beams in W211 (did same in W210)
http://mbworld.org/forums/w211-amg/248575-anybody-know-what.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Projector Beam Headlamp Upgrade 2000 e320 Wagon

Well, here we go, again. Another upgrade, but it should be fun.

I'll be installing these:

Amazon.com: Depo 340-1118PXAS Mercedes Benz E Class Chrome Headlight Assembly Projector: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51EeK6wOfTL

The reviews look pretty solid.

Try to attach a picture.

I wasn't planning on this upgrade, but the bad wiring harness in the OEM lamp assembly is somewhat forcing my hand.

The new housings will have new wiring harness, and I get to test a new type of headlamp.

I will also install the Kensun HID 35watt upgrade at the same time.

So, this should be interesting....:wink
 

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Going to 4300k from 5000k is a good idea. It's not about personal preference...you get more light (which is the prime reason you are going to all this trouble) from the lower colour temps. This is not my opinion...it's fact.

Th HIDs should be in the low beam first, not the high beam. I presume you want better light all the time, not just when you are using high beam?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Some ideas....variations, etc

Going to 4300k from 5000k is a good idea. It's not about personal preference...you get more light (which is the prime reason you are going to all this trouble) from the lower colour temps. This is not my opinion...it's fact.

The HIDs should be in the low beam first, not the high beam. I presume you want better light all the time, not just when you are using high beam?

On the color temperature, I concur, 4300k is max light and, to me, the ideal color.

It's just when buying a set, you have to choose the color. And with about 8-12 choices it's a bit daunting.

I mainly know because we just did the factory Fogs on my daughters Mercury Sable, and I liked the color which was 5000k but on this set, the 5000k looks more blue. On hers, much more pure white. So, I had to 'switch' color rating when switching sets.

FWIW, on the Sable, we used the 'extra bright 55w Kensun HID' kit.

On the e320, I used the SDX 35w kit.

So, wattage & color seem to interact.

(I have since heard that most all factory HID's are 35w. So, I would beware of using the brighter 55w HID's in 'normal' oem style headlamp assemblies. I think this causes the glare we all don't like to see from oncoming traffic.)

So, lots of factors to consider.

On which beam to do first, again, one can do either Lows only, Highs only, or both. (Fogs too, of course) This is an advantage as the e320 uses both H7's for Low & High Beam.

(Say, versus my Dodge Ram truck, where its a double filament, single H/L 9007 bulb, so you have to project (pun) what you want & will be 'stuck' with that choice, it will affect both H & L)

The sole reason I didn't do Low Beam first, is I didn't want to pull the bumper, for clearance reasons with Hydraulic tank on DS side, so the Highs being inboard, were easier access.

Plus, I already had HID Fogs in & they do a pretty nice job of brightening the road, supplementing the Lows.

So, now with my wiring harness shorting out in the oem headlamp housings, I've got to pull the bumper anyway.

Ergo, time to do HID Lows & wanted to 'test' this reasonably affordable Projector beam headlamp unit.

Thanks for the feedback - Cheers, David :grin
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Please define.....Bi Xenon.....in e320 context...thx D

If you really want good light output you need to put bi-xenons in those housings. With my setup I wired the bix to come on with the stock high beams.
Interesting.

Pardon my 'newbie' understanding, but I'm just getting going on HID stuff.

To this point, around 4 setups, but all single bulb.

Can you define precisely what you mean by Bi-Xenon ?

I've heard the term, but assumed that implied converting both H & L to HID / Xenon.

Or, in the case of my Dodge Ram truck, I thought it was when one installed a double HID bulb, like a 9004 etc.

So if you could describe what you mean by "Bi-Xenon", I'd be grateful :grin

Thanks, David
 

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The difference between Bi-Xenon lights and those from the amazon link you posted is the cutoff shield. The cutoff shield is the thing that controls where the light goes and creates the light pattern you see when you shine you lights on a wall like this ------------\___________

In bi-xenon lights the cutoff shield is not fixed so when you turn on the brights the shield moves out of the way letting the full beam be visible.

More
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
The difference between Bi-Xenon lights and those from the amazon link you posted is the cutoff shield. The cutoff shield is the thing that controls where the light goes and creates the light pattern you see when you shine you lights on a wall like this ------------\___________

In bi-xenon lights the cutoff shield is not fixed so when you turn on the brights the shield moves out of the way letting the full beam be visible.

More
Ok thanks that was helpful.

Can I ask what exact bulb you have in your e320 now & if it's the same # as before you installed the bi-xenon ?

I checked the HID bulb listing on Amazon, and it listed Bi-Xenon only for 9003, 9004, 9007, 9008.

No Bi-Xenon listing for H7.

Thanks David :wink
 
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2000 E 320 White Wagon
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