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Aftermarket Xenon Bulbs - help! ML300

Discussion in 'Tuning, Styling and Performance.' started by RobinML, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. RobinML

    RobinML New Member

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    Hi,

    New to the forum as my wife has not long ago bought a 59 plate ML300 with what appears to be a myriad of small annoying issues.

    It's MOT time next month though and one of her main bulbs has gone, took it to a merc specialist for something else and asked them to change it but they said it was a "chinese aftermarket kit" and they wouldn't touch it. any suggestions?

    I have a picture but not sure how to share it...

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WRj9uTulrqbuDFC9cvIdp3JqZgNY0IRL/view?usp=sharing

    any help would be much appreciated
     
  2. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Hi Robin, and welcome!

    Ideally you'd want to get rid of the aftermarket xenon bulbs / ballast, etc.
    That is of course, if the headlights weren't xenon from the factory, then just fit a quality bulb(s) - Osram or Philips would be my choice.

    If the headlights were halogen originally, there won't be headlight washers just under them (two little covers) - perhaps the easiest way to tell (and no wash button next to the light switch).

    BTW, if it is indeed an aftermarket xenon retrofit, and depending on its quality, it might or might not pass the MOT, even with all the bulbs working - there are new rules in place now.
     
  3. OP
    RobinML

    RobinML New Member

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    Hi,

    thanks for the reply! Yeah i'm pretty sure it was a retrofit - it did pass MOT last year though... might be heading outside my sphere of skills to remove the whole kit and change back to standard (plus the mrs likes the lights of course!).

    I think i'm willing to gamble the MOT side of things on getting a bulb in there - from looking around it looks like it's a HID bulb I'm just not sure which one to get or what to do with it when I get it as it is not like a bulb fitting that I've ever seen before!
     
  4. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Fair enough, my own car is far from original - I love my little mods too :)

    With the bulb replacement - if you don't see any markings on it, there might be some on the box outside the headlight. It's hard to say what the type it is, without seeing the original mount.

    I'm not up to date on aftermarket xenons, but as far as I know / remember, there are 35W and 55W equivalents to standard halogen bulbs, usually used in dipped beam - H7, H11, H4, H1, etc. Your Owner's Manual will tell you the exact type.

    Perhaps it is as simple, as picking up a compatible (again, say H7) aftermarket xenon bulb on eBay, etc?
    Someone with actual experience of those might chime in.

    In any case, I would replace the pair - unlikely there's a consistency with those, from different manufacturers, and one being older to boot.
     
  5. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Those aftermarket kits are illegal.
    To maintain legality you must use e-marked components designed and certified to work together. Those units cannot be certified so will never be legal.
    Passing an MOT is no guarantee of legality either as testers are not legally permitted to dismantle units to check legality hence can only give 'benefit of the doubt'. I would expect that to change at some point in future.
    Illegal units like that cause glare to other drivers (colour temps are usually towards the glare inducing blue end of the spectrum) and are a menace.
    As GLK mentioned, bin them and replace with Osram Nightbreaker H7 bulbs. Totally legal and as good as it gets without changing to a factory HiD setup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  6. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Totally agree, of course ^^^

    If you do go that route, you might need to replace the covers - if they drilled through them, and not the body of the headlight (from the picture it looks like the cover). These are supposed to be waterproof ...

    The actual removal of HID kit might not be that complicated - they normally use a dummy plug, and leave the original socket hanging outside, so removing the dummy, and fitting a proper bulb in original socket (and disconnecting the ballast, obviously) is pretty much it.
     
  7. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    As GLK says, trace the wiring back to the ballast. There will be another set of wires from the ballast back to the original bulb connection (assuming they haven't butchered the wiring). Simply fit the correct bulb to the headlight, connect the original connector and fit the rubber cover again. Repeat on the other side.
     
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  8. OP
    RobinML

    RobinML New Member

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    Thanks for the advice - long term i'm going to do as you suggest and strip out the conversion kit, in the meantime i'll pick up two 5000k H7 bulbs as the quick fix.
     
  9. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Just double-check the manual, to make sure the dipped beams are, in fact H7.
     
  10. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    That pic is an H7 base.
     
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  11. Capra

    Capra Senior Member

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    Do you have to replace both the dipped and full beam bulbs?
     
  12. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    No. Independent bulbs unless the bulb is H4 where both filaments are in the same bulb.
     
  13. Naraic

    Naraic Moderator

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    On the other hand...my first MB had headlamp washers but did not have Xenons...so, not conclusive.
     
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  14. Capra

    Capra Senior Member

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    Why did they fit washers with xenon lights?
     
  15. Naraic

    Naraic Moderator

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    ...'cause they could get dirty? Legal requirement.

    Washers have been around much much longer than hids.
     
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  16. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    My 210 has washers but no HiDs.
    So does my 129.

    Due to the high light output dirty lenses can cause light scatter so head light wash systems were fitted to try to reduce the scatter.
     
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  17. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    As Ciaran and Alastair have said... high luminous flux output hitting dirt on lenses scatters light creating dazzling to oncoming drivers and other road users. Regs changed in 2017 to state that all lamps over 2000 lumen required headlamp washers. Consequently all cars produced from that point had 1999 lumen lamps or below (HiD lamps are usually 3000lm or so, LED lamps can be way over that but are easily tuneable so were derated). That allowed for HLC system to be deleted, which was a nice big cost reduction for all OEMs...
     
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  18. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Many OEMs had them as a spec/ feature differentiation, high grade would get HLC over mid grade etc. Your 129 being a 500 would automatically get all of the high grade standard kit, likely the 350 didn't get it unless selected as an option.
     
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  19. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Interesting, thanks - never knew that, always assumed washes on [modern] cars only came with HID.
    Seen quite a few old Caddies and Pontiacs, to know the headlight wash was there long before xenons ...
     
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  20. Capra

    Capra Senior Member

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    Thanks all for the response, never knew the reasons. Oddly enough, my Astra GTE 16v had them, not that they worked! and I always thought what could a spray of water do to clean the lenses?
    Is the jet of water enough to clear dirt on modern cars?
     

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