Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
2000 E55, 1987 300D Turbo, 1955 Piper Apache
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just finished upgrading some of my exterior lighting on my 2000 E55. This was prompted by one of the original HID low beam D2R bulbs going bad (pink). I bought some 6000K HID low beams to replace them and upgraded the H7 high beams and H3 fogs to Sylvania Silver Star ZXE's.
Inspired by the improvement I decided to upgrade the rear of the car as I have not been impressed with the tail and brake lights when following the car on the rare occasion that it is driven by another family member.
I have repaired the tail/stop light socket connections a few times - a common weak link on this model. I was also dismayed by the poor selection of upgrades for the standard 7225 lamp (none, unless you want LED's). So, how do you fit a commonly available dual element bulb? I elected to go with the common 1157 lamps as that would afford a wide choice of replacements. I perused the local auto parts stores with the stock lamp socket in hand to look for options. Below is what I did.

What is required:
8mm Nut Driver
Wire cutter/stripper
Drill with 3/32" bit
Soldering Iron w/electrical solder

Purchase:
2ea - Dorman 85830 Double contact socket for 1157 bulb (I got two for less than $13 at Advance)
Your choice of 1157 bulbs (I bought a two pack of Sylvania 1157ST Silver Stars for $9.95 at Advance)
2ea - 1/4"X6" heat shrink tubing (optional)

First, remove the tail light assemblies from the car - pop open the "door" in the trunk liner and gently remove the wiring harness connector from the bottom of the unit. Squeeze at the edges and pull down.

Use the 8mm nut driver to remove the 4 nuts that hold the housing into the vehicle. Wiggle the housing out of the body of the vehicle and take it to your work area. Repeat for the opposite side.

I did some checking with a multi meter and found the contact strips for the ground, stop, and parking lights on each side. You can see my labeling in the photos.


Next, I did some checking with a battery on the new lamp socket to determine the corresponding wires for each function - Black for Ground, Brown for Parking, Yellow for Stop. Here is a pic of the new socket.

Then, I drilled a hole where each wire would be attached. The wires were stripped a 1/4" and tinned with the soldering iron. Then, the shrink tubing was placed over the wire bundle and each wire was attached to the proper hole with a drop of solder.



The sockets will twist lock into the housings with minimal effort and no modification allowing you to go back to the stock bulb holders any time you want to. I remounted the housings to the car.

I also replaced the inner park lamps with Sylvania 1156ST Silver Stars. The results are pretty dramatic.


Total cost was only about $35 and about 2 hours of my time.
 

·
Registered
2002 E430 4-Matic
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
Wunderbar. Has the brightness contrast between the tail lights vs. the brake light improved as well?
 

·
Registered
W210 e240
Joined
·
20 Posts
Amazing !

We've only got the car for a month now but this is the most annoying problem, Check lamps!
i've sanded and cleaned the contacts and used solder,,Kind of fixed but the bulb is impossible to find ! Great DIY :grin
 

·
Registered
2002 e320 4matic Wagon
Joined
·
868 Posts
Nice solution! I've spent many hours trying to get the bulbs/holders to connect well--even buying new holders. Even when everything looks clean they just won't connect. I will make this modification soon.
 

·
Registered
1999 e300 turbodiesel
Joined
·
11 Posts
I tried this on my 99 TD and did not find the socket fit on to the circuit board, I'm going to have to modify the socket that's not a problem but I found the true reason for the bad connections. the plastic support under the stoplight connection is melting everytime you press the brakes . I just shoved a toothpick pick in between the plastic support and the steel making a good connection now. See how long it lasts.
 

·
Registered
1998 E430 Sport W210
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hey everyone:

Stu1021, first of all, thank you for taking the time to post this DIY, I followed your advice & did the 1157 socket swap on my 1998 e430 Sport. (Prior to doing this fix, I would only get bulb malfuction errors once every 25 drives in my car - I would then open the trunk, take out swamp the left and right brake sockets - and it would usually buy me another 25 or so trips in my car without the warning light)

After doing the fix everything was working great, I also replaced the inner park lamps with Sylvania 1156ST Silver Stars like you recommended.

Unfortunately, I am still getting bulb malfunction alerts on my car (usually when lightly applying the brake - the car will show no malfunction alert sometimes till 10 minutes into the drive with all lights on).

So first off, I removed the 1156ST's park lamps & put the OEM spec ones back in - Still getting the bulb malfunction warning even though all my lights are working.

Second,
I removed the brown & blue butterfly bulb sockets, sanded down the taillight assembly metal where they contact, & added some solder to the ends of the butterfly sockets that were a bit pitted - Still getting the bulb malfunction warning after 5 to 10 minutes of driving.

The weird thing is that when I go through the bulb malfunction identification steps (turn on car apply brake 5 seconds etc) I cannot make the malfunction come up like it will when I actually have a bulb out on the car.

It only comes up when I lightly break - My only other guess is that the power used by the 1157 bulb is different then the OEM dual filament bulb.

Anyone else had this issue? I really want to get rid of this malfunction light.
 

Attachments

·
W210 Moderator
99 E320
Joined
·
5,041 Posts
are all of your bulbs exact replacements to OE?

is the "OEM spec" bulb you referred to labeled P21?

if you look up the tech specs for P21 v 1157 you will note differences (though
physically sized the same). would it be better (or worth trying) the more
appropriate 7225 Sylvania/Osram instead? i will leave the pin orientation
comparison and verification to you though

be sure to verify that the bulb is correctly inserted into the plastic holder,
oriented properly and locked into the holder. it should not drop out if held
upside down (or pulled out-able) an indication that it isn't locked in

are you using any LEDs in ANY of your exterior lighting sockets?

since bulbs can't measure 'time' then it can only be amperage, resistance,
heat.... or continuity

a couple months ago i experienced repeat display of 'bulb malfunction' on my
1999 E320. it was triggered only when i rotated the exterior light rotary switch
one click or more....yet all exterior bulbs were lit. after chasing this back and
forth for a couple of months and noting a clear pattern i went back to the
license plate bulbs and found that one was slightly dimmer than the other.
both bulbs were festoon LED in bright white. fortunately all I had to do was to
replace the dim bulb ($5 for pack of 10) and all is well

I can only think to suggest that a methodical approach and note of the subtle
changes and patterns in which the dash alert is triggered may get you the
next step closer.

(if you're reasonably close to Boeing Field, let me know and I may be able
to swing by)
 

·
Registered
1998 E430 Sport W210
Joined
·
18 Posts
are all of your bulbs exact replacements to OE?

is the "OEM spec" bulb you referred to labeled P21?

if you look up the tech specs for P21 v 1157 you will note differences (though
physically sized the same). would it be better (or worth trying) the more
appropriate 7225 Sylvania/Osram instead? i will leave the pin orientation
comparison and verification to you though

are you using any LEDs in ANY of your exterior lighting sockets?
Raymond, thank you for your quick response.

All of my bulbs are OEM spec except for the 1157's due to this mod (the pink colored socket). I did try non-OEM bulbs in the park lamps but I removed the 1156ST's park lamps (when i did the 1157 Mod) & put the OEM spec ones back in yesterday (the brown colored socket).

I am not using any LED's in this car.

I checked out the 7225 online you recommended - I have not tried these (but I am assuming that I would have to go back to the pink colored butterfly socket if I went this route) - Is that correct?

As for checking continuity - Do I just do that on the bulbs themselves? I do have a continuity tester I can use.

I will check the rear trunk license plate lights as well.

I live just south of Shoreline by Jackson Golf Course btw.

Thank you again for the help.
 

·
W210 Moderator
99 E320
Joined
·
5,041 Posts
thanks for the background. had you used LEDs in any of the circuits, it would
help understand the symptoms sometimes, kind of like the EMT asking if you
are you are a smoker or something.

the 1157 and 7225 and P12 should be using the same socket but i'll let you
google for a cross reference chart/table on that. i'm in a waiting room (sigh)....well, waiting.

...but reading back now, since you have already stated "...Still getting the bulb malfunction warning even though all my lights are working." continuity of the
bulb isn't likely the problem and more with resistance and amperage. so I'm
thinking that some component within that circuit...even though your bulb(s) are
all intact...is tricking the system into displaying the 'bulb malfunction' alert

that is why i posted my experience with the license plate light, ie an example of
high resistance or low amperage triggering the alert in my case
 

·
Premium Member
1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
Joined
·
6,189 Posts
Check the wiring from the replacement sockets (brown / yellow wire connection points). The bulbs have different resistances for tail and stop filaments. So if the tail filament is lit instead of the stop filament, the resistance difference will cause the warning (less current).

If you look at the pictures, in one case, the brown wire is connected to the outer, metal strip, and on the other the yellow one is connected. Is this correct ?
 

·
Premium Member
1999 W210 E300, green, 148k mi. (Feb2016) (sold Sep2018, 163k)
Joined
·
862 Posts
that is why i posted my experience with the license plate light, ie an example of high resistance or low amperage triggering the alert in my case
I may have posted this anecdote here before . . .

I've owned five Ford Aerostars, still driving the last one as the dog-hauler, and pioneers long ago learned the hard lesson about modifications and LED lamps on the Aeros. Newbies rediscover this one every so often . . .

Change the stop lamps to LED. They sure look cool!

But, now, no cruise control! No overdrive! No torque converter lockup! WTF?

The ECM (which, on '96-97 is also the TCM) will not engage OD or lock the TCC if the brakes are applied, which is monitored by the brake pedal switch. But not the Mercedes way . . . the ECM senses ground on the lamp side of the switch when not depressed. Pedal depressed = 12v to lamps and ECM. Pedal not depressed = ECM ground through the stoplamps' filaments (low enough resistance for a signal to ground, though not a true zero-ohm ground).

Unpowered LEDs don't have low enough resistance when (the diodes are biased high enough) to effect a proper ground to the ECM: ECM thinks, "no ground, brake pedal must be depressed" and will not lock TCC or allow OD.

Same situation with cruise control.

Solution: install small bypass resistor parallel with new LED stop lamps.

(or stick with OEM setup: 1157LL for me). I do a exterior lights check at every fuel fillup anyway, and lights out are rare in my world.
 

·
Registered
'87 560sl
Joined
·
216 Posts
Thanks for this info. Is the socket issue also responsible for causing the brake lamp switch to go bad and cause the error message? The previous owner of my 2001 E320 wagon replaced the brake lamp switch 4 or 5 times over the course of 54,000 miles.
 

·
Premium Member
1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
Joined
·
6,189 Posts
Thanks for this info. Is the socket issue also responsible for causing the brake lamp switch to go bad and cause the error message? The previous owner of my 2001 E320 wagon replaced the brake lamp switch 4 or 5 times over the course of 54,000 miles.
Not likely.

Never changed a stop light switch so far, even though I had my fair share of brake lamp socket / connector problems.

He probably had to change the switch so many times due to any / all of the below:

1) use of non-OEM part
2) Misdiagnosis
3) Bad advice
4) Improper installation
 

·
Registered
'87 560sl
Joined
·
216 Posts
Not likely.

Never changed a stop light switch so far, even though I had my fair share of brake lamp socket / connector problems.

He probably had to change the switch so many times due to any / all of the below:

1) use of non-OEM part
2) Misdiagnosis
3) Bad advice
4) Improper installation
Mr. Boca,

I am sure these are all possibilities. The dealer did all of the work and I'm sure they used OEM. But if they replaced the brake lamp switch and the problem was solved, how could that NOT be the culprit?

One of the replacements pertained to the shifter not going out of park without using the emergency operation. Another was for cruise either not working or having intermittent issues. I would hate to be stranded as a result of a bad brake switch/sensor.
 

·
Premium Member
1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
Joined
·
6,189 Posts
Well, you only listed two incidents :) The first one may be a genuine brake switch problem, I don't know, so replacing it solved the problem of shifter lock. The second one may be due to improper installation of the first one, who knows. The MB brake switch could be installed, and work for a while, but over time it could lose its adjustment which is a crucial part of its proper operation. There are Technical Service Bulletins on proper installation of the switch, and I am not sure if the technicians are aware of the problems associated with improper installation.

It could also be a bad wiring / connector issue which provide a resistive connection over time. The previous owner should have complained to the servicing workshop that the brake switches (or their function) do not last as long as they should. Maybe some mechanical adjustment at the pedal where the switch is installed was needed.


In the meantime you could look at the TSB below.
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top