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S, GL, Escalade ESV, my shoes
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283 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I receive lot of email, almost on weekly basic, asking about help with aftermarket headlight, most have to do with the DEPO one.

Usually, when I ship the modified Depo headlight to my customer, I send along the detailed instruction. However, lot of people buy the light from elsewhere, or perform the modification on their own. I figure sharing the instruction and question & answer with our forum fellows would benefit all.

I will try to summarize the questions that I have helped to answer here. I use pictures from the headlight set that I just modified as example here. It looks a bit different to the one you buy, however, in term of functionality & installation & aiming, it's all should be the same.

I would not comment about the light output and pattern. It's up to the user to decide whether they're happy with the light output of the original Depo light and H7 bulb (or even w/ Xenon ballast & bulb). However, regardless of light source, I am sure everyone want the best fit and aim for the aftermarket headlight.

How do you know if the headlight unit is a Depo or not

You should see the Depo logo on the back of the headlight. Also, I put a pix of the headlight from front so you know how it look like





Does Depo provide auto-level feature

Nope

How do you install the Depo light ? Which model require bumper to be removed ?

On the 96-99, you don't have to remove the bumper, the installation process is very simple. On the 2000 on, you will have to remove the bumper to install the headlight. Remove of bumper is quite simply, provide that you have a jack to lift the front up a bit ( DO NOT USE THE MERCEDES JACK TO LIFT THE CAR FOR BUMPER REMOVAL !!!). I'll add instruction for 96-99 installation, if there're request.

Here's the pix of location of screws you will need to remove to take out the bumper. It also show location of screws to attach the headlight to car body



After I've installed the headlight, the fit is not that good. Lot of gap here and there, and the light does not stay flush with the car fender/hood/front-panel

As the matter of fact, the Depo is made from the same mold as the OEM. They have some cool feature just as the OEM: you can align them to make them fit well into the car (this is separate from aiming). There are two metal lug, and one big plastic lug-ring. You adjust them during the installation process to make them fit nicely onto the car body. The upper metal lug to adjust the up/down location (of the whole headlight), the other metal lug for left/right, and the plastic big ring is for in/out. Once you play around with them, the light will sit nicely. The OEM headlight have to go through this same alignment process at the manufacture & bodyshop.



After I have installed the light, how do I aim them

First of all, if your car is 2000-later model, prior to putting back the bumper, turn on the light and test everything. It's still a PITA to remove the bumper again in case some thing don't work out.

There are two knobs on top of the headlight, the upper one to adjust the light beam left/right, the lower one to adjust up/down.

Wait til it's dark, find a flat ground place that have a wall/fence (usually on back of warehouse/supermarket). Park your car so that the driver side is paralell to the wall, the driver side about 3 ft front the wall, and turn on the light. Adjust the up/down knob on the driver side so that the beam is parallel to the ground.

Next, move your car, park it so that it face the wall, about 1 1/2 car lenght from the wall, adjust the up/down knob on the passenger side so that it's same height as the driver side.

Then adjust the left/right knob on both the driver and passenger side, so that the little grove on top of the light beam cut-off is right in front of the light.

Then you are done, happy driving.







 

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Registered
1996 210.020
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3,972 Posts
Zam, I'm not a potential customer from you or any other projector lamp vendor; I'm very happy with the stock lamps.

But this is a very good write-up for anyone who is working on their lamps. I have replaced mine with other OEM lamps, due to the clouding. I was able to figure out the alignment to the body using the three adjustable mounting points, but have never seen it explained, but I'm a bit better at visualizing these things than most. This will doubtless help a lot of people who do want to replace their lamps.
 

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W203, W210 Moderator
E55 ///AMG
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6,911 Posts
Zam thanks you for posting this, it's now included in our updated DIY & FAQ.
 

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Premium Member
'13 Sprinter 3500 - '12 R350 - '97 E420 - '89 Ferrari Mondial - '88 560SL
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799 Posts
Zam your the mam. Or, Huy youre the boy.... My lights still are awsome as the day you put them in, still havent aligned them to the car yet if you can believe it but now you gave me inspiration to try it. thank you for the write up
 

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Registered
2000 E320
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105 Posts
Diego97 said:
Zam your the mam. My lights still are awsome as the day you put them in, still havent aligned them to the car yet if you can believe it but now you gave me inspiration to try it. thank you for the write up
Ditto for me. Very happy with my Zam2000 lights. It's the only upgrade I've ever done to my 2000 E320, and I'm completely satisfied.

By the way, that's my ride pictured in Zam's post. ;)
 

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Premium Member
'13 Sprinter 3500 - '12 R350 - '97 E420 - '89 Ferrari Mondial - '88 560SL
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799 Posts
LorenzoBenzo said:
Ditto for me. Very happy with my Zam2000 lights. It's the only upgrade I've ever done to my 2000 E320, and I'm completely satisfied.

By the way, that's my ride pictured in Zam's post. ;)
its the only upgrade need in my book but just maybe the lighted sills would be nice but scared to death to try it myself but that would be it for upgrades.
 

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Registered
'10 E550 & '10 GL450
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52 Posts
The 2000 - 2002 E Class Model picture diagram of the front bumper bolt placement does not reflect where they are actually located. This is the same diagram that's been floating around this forum that really is intended for 96 - 99 E Class models. There are about 4 more bolts/screws located on the bumper & headlight assembly that are not illustrated. A message to all......I will post actual pictures of the front bumper disassembly in about two (2) weeks when I get some more leisure time.
 

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W210 Moderator
99 E320
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5,041 Posts
you're right. :( it must have been dropped from Photobucket site for some
odd reason. i'll dbl check when i get home from work; pretty sure I saved
the post in PDF format.

follow up: okay, this isn't from the same post, but from memory, it was
pretty close to what was posted by Zam. will this do? (see attachment)
 

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Registered
2002 e320 4 Matic Wagon
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364 Posts
Does anyone know if the quality of the Depo headlight has been improved to match the lighting of the Mercedes headlights without modifications?
 

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Registered
'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,633 Posts
Does anyone know if the quality of the Depo headlight has been improved to match the lighting of the Mercedes headlights without modifications?
Yes...and no.
Very few lights (OEM or aftermarket) match MB quality, depo is just a cheap aftermarket provider. Their design is theirs and it is what it is. You can't get quality light from a cheap source.

With values on the 210 where they now are, it is hard to justify such the expense of a quality retrofit, so do the DS 65 watt thing, polish the lenses and call it a day. The last thing you want is poor lighting, your life depends on being able to see the road ahead.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg
 

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Registered
2001 E320 Midnight Blue
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71 Posts
Greggs, I'm in the market for Depo's. My question is for you and I have no other reference for this question, but what is the quality of the Depo that lacks from the MB OEM? I have stock headlights, and I just like the look of the Depo headlights with the clear lenses. Basically all the new MB's out there have the clear lens look with the headlight beam inside. So I'm just curious before I go and purchase the Depos, if the light bulb is the same (H7's) what would be the difference? Thanks for your help!!!! Much appreciated, to you and everyone else for their input.....

just an FYI out there for everyone reading this....I have recently had a Shifter Module Meltdown (due to snow slipping down to the shifter) and I successfully fixed it and saved BIG TIME $$ due to this SITE and all the influences out there!!!! I also have done my front brakes and rotors ( again also to the help of everyone out there) and I also have done my Sway Bar Bushing and Link Arms (once again for the help of everyone here) I'm still moving my way through this car, with all the help here!!! Thank you to all for your input!!!!
 

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Registered
E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,319 Posts
You will find several topics on the subject in the archive.
I put aftermarket headlights on the car I already sold. They had less powerful bulbs and so-so quality mirrors but look way better that OEM lights and were head turners.
We don't drive at dark and when even so, with heavy traffic your lights don't give you much, so the light output wasn't big concern for me, but comparing the aftermarket (not Depo) lights on MB were still better than OEM on Ford.
BTW I still keep OEM lights with dull surface in my garage. I sell them really cheap to somebody who doesn't mind some elbow work.
 

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W210 Moderator
99 E320
Joined
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5,041 Posts
the depo projectors are woefully deficient in their design, both lens and
bucket. it doesn't have nearly the coverage, eveness in beam, or brightness.
even if you inserted a quality H7 bulb in OEM and DEPO, it is easily apparent
the difference in quality. after I installed the Depo, my temporary enthusiasm
in its outwardly appearance (clear lens/projector) was dashed after I turned
on the headlight. the beam pattern was spotty, segmented, and had hot and
cold spots. I switched to Silverstars but all that did was show off more vivid-
ly, the hot/cold areas.

depo projector (poor R&D bowl and lens). but, it
is possible for you to improve its performance if you
find a Hella 90mm lens and replaced the Depo lens.
it won't be a night/day difference though, because
the bowl design still sucks and is not optimally matched
to the lens.


example of depo coverage. this person inserted
a rebased H7/D2S bulb and powered up. this
shows how poor the coverage can be


some of the non-Depo aftermarket clear lens projector
for W210 use a smaller bulb, so if you opt for non-Depo,
BE SURE you ask the vendor the bulb model the headlight
uses.
 

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Registered
2001 E430 4Matic
Joined
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466 Posts
I receive lot of email, almost on weekly basic, asking about help with aftermarket headlight, most have to do with the DEPO one.

Usually, when I ship the modified Depo headlight to my customer, I send along the detailed instruction. However, lot of people buy the light from elsewhere, or perform the modification on their own. I figure sharing the instruction and question & answer with our forum fellows would benefit all.

I will try to summarize the questions that I have helped to answer here. I use pictures from the headlight set that I just modified as example here. It looks a bit different to the one you buy, however, in term of functionality & installation & aiming, it's all should be the same.

I would not comment about the light output and pattern. It's up to the user to decide whether they're happy with the light output of the original Depo light and H7 bulb (or even w/ Xenon ballast & bulb). However, regardless of light source, I am sure everyone want the best fit and aim for the aftermarket headlight.

How do you know if the headlight unit is a Depo or not

You should see the Depo logo on the back of the headlight. Also, I put a pix of the headlight from front so you know how it look like





Does Depo provide auto-level feature

Nope

How do you install the Depo light ? Which model require bumper to be removed ?

On the 96-99, you don't have to remove the bumper, the installation process is very simple. On the 2000 on, you will have to remove the bumper to install the headlight. Remove of bumper is quite simply, provide that you have a jack to lift the front up a bit ( DO NOT USE THE MERCEDES JACK TO LIFT THE CAR FOR BUMPER REMOVAL !!!). I'll add instruction for 96-99 installation, if there're request.

Here's the pix of location of screws you will need to remove to take out the bumper. It also show location of screws to attach the headlight to car body



After I've installed the headlight, the fit is not that good. Lot of gap here and there, and the light does not stay flush with the car fender/hood/front-panel

As the matter of fact, the Depo is made from the same mold as the OEM. They have some cool feature just as the OEM: you can align them to make them fit well into the car (this is separate from aiming). There are two metal lug, and one big plastic lug-ring. You adjust them during the installation process to make them fit nicely onto the car body. The upper metal lug to adjust the up/down location (of the whole headlight), the other metal lug for left/right, and the plastic big ring is for in/out. Once you play around with them, the light will sit nicely. The OEM headlight have to go through this same alignment process at the manufacture & bodyshop.



After I have installed the light, how do I aim them

First of all, if your car is 2000-later model, prior to putting back the bumper, turn on the light and test everything. It's still a PITA to remove the bumper again in case some thing don't work out.

There are two knobs on top of the headlight, the upper one to adjust the light beam left/right, the lower one to adjust up/down.

Wait til it's dark, find a flat ground place that have a wall/fence (usually on back of warehouse/supermarket). Park your car so that the driver side is paralell to the wall, the driver side about 3 ft front the wall, and turn on the light. Adjust the up/down knob on the driver side so that the beam is parallel to the ground.

Next, move your car, park it so that it face the wall, about 1 1/2 car lenght from the wall, adjust the up/down knob on the passenger side so that it's same height as the driver side.

Then adjust the left/right knob on both the driver and passenger side, so that the little grove on top of the light beam cut-off is right in front of the light.

Then you are done, happy driving.









Sorry for the grave digging, but the pics are gone. Anyway to fix this?
 
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