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2002 E320 4Matic Wagon
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got the 2002 4Matic wagon. The lights on the rear hatch never come on (the ones at the bottom corners, the brake light is fine). I removed the inner panel and checked what I could. The bulbs are fine. No juice at the connectors. At the fuse panel on the side of the dash, fuse #12 for the fog lights is getting juice when the switch is on. Is there some intermediate connector somewhere I should be checking? I also observed an odd thing at the lamp connectors. The terminals on the twist-in bulb holders were perfectly-evenly oxidized, like no juice had ever gone through them.

Also, I'm a little puzzled by the asymmetry of the lights. The left one has one bulb in the clear and one in the red and a three-wire connector. The right lamp housing has one in the clear and nothing but a molded-in knockout in the red, and only has two conductors on the connector. What's the one red light supposed to be for? Are the clear ones the fog lights, or are they back-up parking lights?

I've read through the 300+ page owners manual, and I remain baffled.

Thanks.
 

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Current 2008 320ML CDI. Previous 1998 E320, 2007 E320 Bluetec
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2,533 Posts
There's only one rear fog light (drivers side).
My understanding is that the rear fog light is used to alert traffic to the rear of your presence when visibility is poor.

The two clear lenses would be for backup lights.
 

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Premium Member
97 E-420 (180K miles), 97 SL500, (93K miles) 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD CC/SB/4x4 Duramax(55K)
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4,659 Posts
There's only one rear fog light (drivers side).
My understanding is that the rear fog light is used to alert traffic to the rear of your presence when visibility is poor.

The two clear lenses would be for backup lights.
yup.

Only ONE is used, likely to make sure it isn't confused with brake lights.

there are sockets on each side, one for cars with LHD, one for Cars with RHD. appropriate one is configured likely during mfg.
 

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2002 E320 4Matic Wagon
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can't figure out this problem. The fog light isn't getting power, although the fuse is. And, it turns out, NONE of the backup lights are working. I've gone through all three fuse boxes and I can't seem to find anything blown out that would account for it.

The brake lights, tail lights, license plate lights are all fine, as is the rear washer/wiper, so it's not like someone unplugged an entire harness. Yet, it's two seemingly separate problems: backup lights (all 4 of them) and rear fog light. The front fog lights are fine.

Any ideas where I should be looking?
 

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W210 Section Moderator
1998 E320 base sedan @ 235K miles
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10,582 Posts
Do you have 4 backup bulbs ?? I have two in my car :)

If your backup lights are not working, this could be due to several things.

1) fuse (you checked and it was OK)
2) bad fuseholder of the illumination control module (the fusepanel is part of this module)
3) bad ignition control module connection to the gear shifter
4) bad reverse switch in the gear shifter
5) cabling in between the shifter and the Illumination control module
6) cabling / bulb between the illumination control module (you would get defective light warning and each lamp is individually powered so both of them failing not likely.

Most likely is the gear shifter reverse switch, if some work has been done on it., or the shifter is out of adjustment.

The rear fog lamp does not work on my car either. I am not sure if it is legal to have such lamp anyway, so it may have been turned off by the coding.
 

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1997 E300D
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544 Posts
The rear fog not working could be a failure to pull the knob all the way out. The first detent is the front fog light and the second detent turns on the rear fog as well, if I remember correctly.
 

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2002 E320 4Matic Wagon
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I didn't already mention it, I was able to measure "on" voltage showing up at the fuse when the switch was turned on (in this case to the second detent), but the bulb (which tests fine) didn't light up, and I didn't measure any voltage at the connector, either.

As for the backup lights, I haven't seen a fuse labelled specifically for them. The one in the panel on the side of the dash covers a bunch of stuff, and all the rest of that works. Only the backup lights don't. There's one in the panel under the back seat labelled something like "reversing detection." I pulled it and tested it and its fine. Haven't checked the connectors while the car is in reverse. That's going to wait for when I've got an assistant. Most likely Saturday.
 

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W210 Section Moderator
1998 E320 base sedan @ 235K miles
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10,582 Posts
The reversing detection is likely for switching video when reversing I guess. Fuse 4 powers the reversing lights among other things you confirmed working. So it could be the reverse switch issue.

The rear fog problem could be the switch itself. I would have thought you would get a defective bulb message if you had an open or short in the wiring to the fog light.
 

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2004 SL 500 Kleemann
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49 Posts
I just went through this with my 2004 sl500. It turns out when the headlamp switch is pulled to illuminate the rear fog lamps, only the left rear top red lamp is supposed to light up. There is a right lamp there but it is for right hand drive vehicles only. It is not supposed to light on a left hand drive car like mine.
 

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2002 E320 4Matic Wagon
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I took the rear panel hatch's interior panel off and had a good look. The right red lens is there, but it's empty. It's not wired and the socket is plugged with a plastic knockout. There's no bulb, and instead of the three-wire plug of the wiring harness on the left, it only has a two-wire plug.
 

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Premium Member
97 E-420 (180K miles), 97 SL500, (93K miles) 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD CC/SB/4x4 Duramax(55K)
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4,659 Posts
I took the rear panel hatch's interior panel off and had a good look. The right red lens is there, but it's empty. It's not wired and the socket is plugged with a plastic knockout. There's no bulb, and instead of the three-wire plug of the wiring harness on the left, it only has a two-wire plug.
that's the way U.S. cars are. the ONLY rear FOG light is on the LEFT side. And for the rest of the world it is similar. the ONLY rear fog light is on the DRIVERS side of the car.

Same on my SL500
 

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2008 ML550, 2003 E320, 2003 ML350 - former W108/W111/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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6,441 Posts
Keep in mind that you'll only get a defective lamp indicator when that lamp is supposed to be lit. That means if you clear the alarm you shouldn't get a bulb out alert until you turn on that feature, i.e., the reverse lights.

That's an easy way to narrow things down when you're trying to identify the defective bulb.

Dan
 
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