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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So no major issues with my car after owning it for about 3 weeks now, just some minor and inexpensive headaches that were easily solved. I get into my car last night and see the dash indicator advising me my left low beam is out. Seconds later, I get a notice that my active lighting is inactive referring to the motor(s) on my intelligent lights.

I get home and after some careful inspection and removal of select parts, I accessed the left low beam xenon bulb. Get on the phone to one of the only parts stores in town still open and they have a replacement available. I confirmed it is the correct bulb and while wearing my surgical gloves I applied some bulb grease to the wire harness connector and carefully installed the bulb. Button everything back up, but it still doesn't work. I also noticed the left headlight has moisture/condensation inside which tells me a seal is leaking and the cooler outside temp combined with the intense heat from the bulbs could be affecting the bulb motors and bulbs. I carefully moved the headlight motor slightly left and right and up and down and it moved smoothly. As of driving the car this morning, when my headlights came on I did not get the active lights warning again, just the low beam is out.

At this point, am I safe to assume the low beam ballast has burned out? I don't mind buying a replacement for $150 and removing everything if it will solve my issue. I have resealed headlights with clear silicone in the past to reseal them so I don't mind that. I just don't want to go thru all the work of removing the front bumper to access the headlight, replacing the ballast only to be disappointed with the low beam still not working.

If anyone on here has done this ballast replacement with success please chime in. I will note that the rest of the headlight functions properly (led strip, turn signal and high beam) I don't know if the left cornering light only functions when the left low beam is on, but that bulb is not turning on as well. If the ballast for the cornering light has also burned out I would prefer to replace both while I have everything apart.

Thanks everyone and have a nice weekend!!

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #2
UPDATE:

Ok, so after researching how to fix my low beam issue I discovered there are actually three (3) ballasts on each headlight mounted underneath the housing. The only way to access them is to remove the entire headlight, which means I have to remove the front bumper to get to all the bolts. Not what I was planning to do with my newly purchased car, but honestly, if the headlights and ballasts are the original which I have no reason to suspect otherwise, that means they have lasted 8 years and 87K miles.

My only dilemma is whether to purchase all three ballasts since I have no idea which ballast controls the low beam. I spoke with someone online who informed me that the 3 ballasts are actually connected somewhat so if one goes out, it could affect the others. I have no way to test these at my garage so I have no alternative but to purchase three used replacements with warranties and replace one at a time until my headlight functions again. I don't know whether I will need to have my car scanned to clear any codes and have the electrical system "accept" the replacement parts.

I will post what I find out after I get the parts installed and switch everything on.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #5
w220 and w221 headlight mounting different??

That's an awesomely helpful accounting of your experience, thank you!
So I read the attached link and the part that says the member did not have to remove the bumper to remove the headlight assembly on their W220.

I just watched a detailed video on Youtube about an owner removing their front bumper on a 2007 W221, removing the headlights and reinstalling everything. According to the video and the close up of the sides of the headlights, there is a torx screw stud that attaches along the side of the headlights that cannot be accessed unless you remove the bumper cover. That is probably why there are so may headlights for sale on Ebay with broken mounts because not all of the screws and bolts where removed before someone grabbed the assembly and pulled it forcefully to remove it.

If you watch the video I don't see how you could remove the headlights otherwise. That said, I know that my bumper cover was repainted when the dealer repaired my car well before I bought it so arguably all of the mounting screws and bolts should come loose fairly easily. I don't plan on removing the entire bumper cover and unplugging all of the parking sensors, headlight washer connections, etc. so I will have to rig up something that will allow me to pull the bumper cover out just enough to access all the mounting screws for the drivers headlight.

I believe I read the headlight washer pickup tube can be unhooked by turning the connection 90 degrees and pulling it free. If anyone has does this and that is incorrect please let me know asap so I don't snap something off or end up with a geyser of a leak from inside the bumper cover should I find the need to wash my headlights while driving. :)

I did purchase all three (3) ballasts that were confirmed to be in working order and tested with refund policies within 30 days or longer. I have been told various versions of which ballast controls what, but I think I am going to end up doing a plug a play until not only my low beam functions again, but also the active intelligent light and cornering light on the left side start working again. I am assuming that the malfunction in the cornering light and active lighting is directly related to the low beam not working, but I don't want to just replace that ballast, bolt everything all back together and find out my cornering light and the active lighting feature are controlled by one of the other ballasts.

Finally, I have read up on how to disconnect the battery and discharge the any stored electrical charge before removing the headlights. Is there any need to have my vehicle scanned after I reinstall everything so my Command System recognizes the new parts? Or will my computer scan everything connection, recognize the parts as OEM MB pieces and function as normal?

Thanks!!

Ted
 

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Agree with you Ted, there is not a non-destructive way to remove the W221 headlamps without removing the bumper. BTW, I removed mine to fix the front radar sensors and it really wasn't too bad;

- Remove screws from under each fender holding the seam binding clip in place, remove binding clip
- Remove the screws on each side holding the front belly pan to the bumper
- remove 4 bolts from front of bumper, two behind the lower grille, two near the inner part of the headlight
- Slide the bumper out part way and disconnect the side marker lights (2 connectors) and radar sensors (1 connector). You can also do this if you remove the front belly pan prior to removing the bumper bolts.

No need to disconnect anything to do with the headlamp washers (at least no on my car, perhaps so on the 2010+ models) as they are mounted to the frame behind the bumper cover.
 

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Well, now we know about removing the bumper cover. Thanks for updating. Folks used to say you couldn't remove the W220 headlamp assembly without removing the bumper - which was not so. Based on your writeups, the W221 brings additional complications making removal necessary.

Ted, it would be helpful if you posted a link to the video you watched. The first of these shows low beam bulb replacement only. The second, which could use some serious editing, shows removal of the headlamp assembly and ballast (though the unit shown had only one ballast, not the three you mentioned). We'd love to see one showing your car better - or perhaps you'll post photos once you get underway.

and
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Skylaw:

The second video you posted is what I was referring to. There is also another video posted by the same person demonstrating the re-installation of everything. I just received one of the ballasts and expect to receive the remaining 2 by this coming weekend. Since I don't have any faith that the other ballasts won't take a dump within a year after this repair, I am going to just swap out all three ballasts after I figure out which one controls the low beam and cornering light. Like I stated in my previous posts, I am assuming the cornering light feature and active lighting malfunctions are directly related to the low beam not functioning, but until I start swapping ballasts and testing functions I have no knowledge.

All I can relay on this is that I spoke with someone online who advised me these ballasts are connected so if one goes out it affects the others. I take that with a grain of salt considering all of the other functions of the drivers headlight (high beams, LED running lights, LED amber turn signal and switching between DRLs) all functions normally. I purchased all three ballasts tested and with a replacement warranty for under $300 so for that price I can hopefully have some peace of mind once I swap out my ballasts that could have been exposed to moisture that got into the headlight assembly. I researched the headlight seals and apparently the do sell a replacement seal. I was planning on carefully removing the clear cover and resealing the entire unit with black RTV gasket maker or a clear silicone. I've done this in the past on other headlights with good success that last many years.

I promise once I get the headlight working again and bumper back on the car I will post a few pictures of my car. :)

Ted
 

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All of your settings should be preserved via the small 12v battery in the dash. On the pre-facelift cars there are three batteries; starter (engine compartment), consumer (trunk) and settings preservation (behind the dash). On your new beauty there are just two, the one under the hood and the behind the dash. As the lights are not just powered, but connected to the CAN Bus I would just be safe and disconnect the battery per the instructions.

Do you have complete instructions or need them?
 

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Thank you for responding. If you would kindly forward the complete disconnect instructions that would be greatly appreciated.
You bet, glad to help. I need to get home so it will be later this evening, but you would at least have it before the weekend. If anyone else posts them before me that's cool too, I'm not proud. ;)

Thanks also for taking the time to document your experiences, lots to be learned here. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So now I am getting a little nervous about my headlight repair since I am brand new to the W221 model and all its sensors and warnings.

If you read my original thread this all began just a few short weeks after I bought my car. I was fully aware the car had been side swiped on the left side which more than likely damaged the seal on the drivers headlight.

So either due to the prior damage or my over washing on my brand new car, moisture got into the headlight and caused one or more of the ballasts to fail.

The warning I got last week was left low beam out followed by active headlights inoperative or something to that effect. I also received the left cornering light out too. For the next 3 to 4 days following, those 3 warnings continued to pop up on the dash and then one day they didn't.

A visual inspection of the left low beam shows it cocked at slight angle towards the grill I stead of pointing straight out.

I'm sure I'm paranoid that the active headlight motor has now crapped out as well but can someone inform me whether the active headlight motor is controlled by the low beam turning on? Ie: since my low beam has malfunctioned requiring a ballast or 2 to be replaced, this has disconnected the active headlights so I am not getting any more warnings?

I understand there are separate fuses for each headlight and I have not checked the left headlight fuse. However as I stated above everything else works on the left headlight so I would assume the fuse is good too.

Worst case scenario the moisture that got inside the headlight that zapped the low beam ballast has also affected the active headlight motor what can be done to fix that without tearing it apart? The motor still can be moved so it's not locked up.

I really don't want to be pulling the bumper cover off again and the headlight after I put everything back togeyher and it doesnt work properly.

Someone please put my mind at ease and tell me it's going to be alright!!! :)

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok not sure how the discussion about missing plug ends to a radar system became part of this thread but I would suggest sending members a PM to request things outside of what the original thread was designed for which is to diagnose and hopefully fix the low beam out function of these intelligent lights. 🙂

That said, I hope that member has found the part he needs. Funds the missing radar module he needs so he can drive 160 and piss off the state troopers without getting caught. Unfortunately it was too cold and snowy.for me to crawl around my car with my camera so I did not take any photos and I was able to get the left headlight out without removing the entire front bumper.

Since this was a detailed and somewhat complicated retrieval and repair involving 2 installs I prefer typing on my computer rather than my phone. I'll post more later today.

Ted
 

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You are correct about the topic change, Ted. The posts relevant to another issue, connectors to sensors in the bumper, have been removed and relocated HERE.

Not sure we need to speculate about others' motives, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Detailed write up. Fixed the intelligent lighting problem?

** UPDATE **

Ok all. I started to post my results using my phone, but quickly tired or dancing all over my tiny phone keyboard. I wanted to post my process, findings, head-up and end results. First off, depending on whether you need to remove one or both headlights, I was able to remove the left headlight without completely removing the whole bumper. This is significant because on the left wheel well, whoever installed the bumper used the factory push/pull pins and clips. Easy on, easy off. However, on the right side, someone used those POS phillips head screw in pins and clips which are a complete b&itch to remove. They always strip out and unless you drill them out, therefore ruining the clips your project takes a screeching halt!! By removing the two 10mm bolts on each side of the grill, the two 10 mm bolts located thru the lower grill and all the fasteners on the left side, the bumper was able to be carefully pivoted out far enough to unbolt the headlight and pull it free.

TIP No1:

Please keep in mind there are shims located under the two upper grill bolts that are to alight the bumper, grill and hood lip. They will come flying out if you just grab the bumper and pull it free from the core support. Make you put all the shims in the proper place upon reinstallation. Also, since your bumper may still be connected on one side, you need to create a support to hold up the loose bumper end at the same level as the secured end. I used the handle of my leaf blower carefully balanced under the center left portion of the lower bumper lip. Kepp in mind it will go flying off that if you bump it and you run the risk of cracking your paint or worse, cracking the bumper.

REMOVING THE HEADLIGHT

After unplugging the LED fog lamp, the amber corner light and the ambient temp sensor, you are ready to swing the bumper out just far enough to remove the headlight. 2 8mm bolts on the top and a 27 torx bit on the side is all that secures the headlight in place. Carefully disconnect the harness plug and before you just unclip that pesky headlight washer nozzle read tip no 2!!

TIP No. 2: HEADLIGHT WASHER HOSE

For those of you who have ever messed with this part, what I'm about to tell you is no news to you. But for those like me who have never dealt with this I'm going to try and save other members the headache I dealt with after I pull this hose off. First of all, get yourself either a decent hose pinch clamp to stop the flow of washer fluid or in my case, grab a latex glove, insert the end of the hose into one of the fingers and tie off the top with some makeshift tournequit. Otherwise, you will have a never-ending geyser of washer fluid flowing from this hose making a mess exactly where you need to stick your head to and body to do this repair. After nearly draining my entire washer tank of fluid while I rigged up something to stop the flow and cussing repaeatedly, I got the flow down a small drip and pressed on. Also, DO NOT LOSE THE HOSE CLIP!!. Be careful when you are removing it because it will fly out of your hands and disappear. If you don't have this clip (good luck finding one at your local auto parts store) your headlight washer hose will not stay attached and you will end up draining your washer tank as fast as you can fill it up. So now, your project is being held hostage by a $.05 plastic clip!!

Got to get back to my work so I will post more later today!!

Ted
 

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" Funds the missing radar module he needs so he can drive 160 and piss off the state troopers without getting caught. "

I am not trying to fund anything, just trying to find the missing connector's part number which I did thanks to elite members who really care about helping others not just themselves. How could I piss off state troopers if I don't get caught ? This don't make any sense. Someone can't be pissed off if they don't know something happened. If you read anything I wrote then you would see my problem has nothing to do with wanting to drive fast. Some idiot millionaire who bought the V12 biturbo brand new installed a K40 radar laser detector in the car and then removed it before he sold the car so now my wires are not connected anymore. My problem is that my Distronic Plus and Radar Sensors don't work anymore now. I am not trying to re install the K40 radar laser detector. I have no use for such useless device. I have Eagle vision, I can see any cop even at night time anywhere I go and I don't need to ever speed anyway I am not a kid I drive a V12 biturbo 600 Benz for the status it brings me not to drive fast and race people. If I wanted to drive fast or race people I would of got a CL65 AMG. I live in Vancouver, the city with the highest gas prices in all of North America paying 2 dollars a litre right now so driving fast and racing people is not what I do.
 

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WOW, so many little things can add up to some major frustration! I can truly relate as so many times fixing Mercedes after someone else 'fixed' them is just sad and troubling.

Glad you are able to get the bumper to where you can remove the headlight assembly!

Also interesting about the shims, I don't recall shims on mine but I don't have the new new hotness of the facelifted model.

Thank you for taking the time to document your experience!
 

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WOW, so many little things can add up to some major frustration! I can truly relate as so many times fixing Mercedes after someone else 'fixed' them is just sad and troubling.

Glad you are able to get the bumper to where you can remove the headlight assembly!

Also interesting about the shims, I don't recall shims on mine but I don't have the new new hotness of the facelifted model.

Thank you for taking the time to document your experience!
Dlafever , I can also relate here I am dealing with the same thing. Buying a used Mercedes and dealing with the careless previous owner's messy repairs or modifications. There is other things I had to deal with on my car but I will leave that for another topic. I want to say Thank you so much once again for helping me out with the part number I needed. You are truly a Hero
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Ok. Back to my original thread. Let me continue my detailed post so I can only help myself and not others.

So after you remove the headlight and get it on a flat work space lay it lens side down on a soft microfiber and inspect the rear. The headlight has three ballasts that control various functions; 1 a distinct rectangular shape and the other 2 are square. Since I'm not an electrical engineer, I have no way to confirm exactly which ballast controls which function except the rectangular ballast which repaired my low beam issue. As I stated in my prior posts, I decided to purchase all three replacement ballasts that were bench tested and with a replacement warranty. They all came with a refund policy minus shipping as well.

My goal was to replace all three since I already had the headlight on the table and there was no way to confirm any moisture that had gotten into the housing did not damage anything else. I would learn to regret this decision which I will detail shortly. I was able to remove a majority of the water from inside the housing and after inspecting the seal, there were 2 spots that looked to be compromised and a potential source of the leak. After I removed the outer headlight seal that seals any gaps between the light and body panels, I ran a thin beam of clear silicone along the entire perimeter of the lens. While that was drying, I started swapping out the ballasts.

For reference purposes, the part numbers for the ballasts left to right are as follows:

Rectangular Ballast = 1 307 329 240 00

Middle Square Ballast = A 216 820 03789

Outer Square Ballast = A 221 900 80 01


TIP No. 3: SOMETIMES IF IT'S NOT BROKEN DON'T MESS WITH IT

After I swapped the ballasts out and used a hairdryer to cure the silicone, I plugged in the wiring harness, disconnected my make shift clamp on the washer hose and re-installed the headlight. Because I wanted to test the full function of the light including the leveling motor I bolted the headlight in place to make it straight and reattached the left side of the bumper so I could plug in the left DLR. Reconnected the battery and started the engine. No warning lights so good news, but when I checked out the left headlight, the low beam was now working, but the led below the headlight was not. So one of the square replacement ballasts must be bad because the led worked fine before I swapped the parts out.

Unhooked everything again, including the friggin headlight washer hose. Pulled the headlight out again and decided to reinstall my old square ballasts. Got everything put back together and in the car. Turned on the lights and everything lights up properly. I don't know whether the active lighting system is functioning, but when I started the car, I did see the low beams ignite and the lights adjust down and then up. It was too late to take the car for a spin to check the cornering lights so I will post that info later.

In doing the research on this repair, the cheapest OEM headlights I could find with all three ballasts was about $650 plus shipping. I found all three ballasts for a total price under $300. The rectangular ballast only cost me $75 shipped so after returning the other 2 I'll recoup $200. The tube of clear silicone was $5 and gallon of windshield washer fluid was $3. Redoing this job twice? Priceless.

TIP No. 4: MAKE SURE YOU RESET YOUR SYSTEM USING THE IGNITION KEY

I don't know whether this makes a difference or if it just takes your car's computer a few minutes to scan the system and recognize new parts. When I started the engine after the second install using my push button, the low beam lights only ignited on, but did not move down and then up. When I used my key, I got what appeared to be an old message to replace the battery in the key fob (I never got this message before and the battery in the fob is brand new) and the low beams started to move. Either way, I thought I would provide this detail.

I plan on getting off the train tonight after it's pitch black so I will test the corning lights and high beam on function. With my exterior lights switch on "A" if you move the high beam lever towards the dash, your high beams should not turn on if the active lighting is working. Mine have been able to be turned on prior to this repair regardless of the setting so I knew the active lighting was not working.

Hope this helps someone down the road. I'll update this thread after I confirm the active lighting is working properly or if my system needs to be scanned with the MB Star scanner to reactivate that function.

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Don't rely on used ballasts for your headlight repairs.

** UPDATE **

So, after posting my initial success removing the headlight and installing a "tested in good working condition" ballast for my low beam malfunction, last Wednesday I got a check low beam warning on the dash and the left low beam is out again. So word to the wise, purchase a new ballast or at least a refurbished one with a warranty. Surprisingly, the refurbs are not that much more than I bought the used one for. I received my replacement ballast super fast and by Friday night my low beam was working again.

I also visited my local MB dealer and purchased that fender liner/front bumper piece that closes the gap that was allowing high pressure soap and water to soak the headlight electronics. The piece was only $25 from the dealer. I will post the part info when I receive it. I also ordered another key fob since my car only came with one.

Once I am finished with my big trial in Kentucky I need to get my car in to be scanned to see why the active intelligent lighting system is not working. Hope everyone here in the Midwest is finally enjoying a little taste of spring.

Ted
 
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