No High Beams - 2003 SLK320 - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 06-22-2012
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No High Beams - 2003 SLK320

Hey SLK Fans and Aficionados… Where on earth is the high beam relay hidden? I’ve got a 2003 SLK320.

I’ve searched this forum high and low and see that in 1999 SLK230 it’s somewhere near one of the headlight wells, but there are no relays that I can see there in my car.

I’ve checked the schematics at the EPC site (wow is that cool!) and what I see there is:
The schematic shows one relay at the back of the fuse box (you have to take off the second cover). The parts display shows two entries. One entry says it is the “Relay – Electric Seat Adjuster”. The second entry says “Relay – Turn Signal – On Electronics Compartment in Front Passengers Footwell”. My fuse box has two relays. I am going to cross reference both of these part numbers this evening to see they match EPC. I’m sure they will…

Nowhere in the EPC system could I find a headlight / high beam relay.

The symptoms are: I detected that high beams not working one evening earlier this week. They had been fine before. Neither high beam works for “on” or “flash”, nor does the blue indicator light go on. I tested both of the H7 bulbs (removed the lower bulbs and used some shorty home made jumpers off the battery). They are both fine. The fuses look fine as well. Again, I’m going to put new fuses in tonight just to be sure…

Does anyone know where the high beam relay is? I’d like to check the relay for ~$10-$15 before doing anything with the multi-function switch on the steering column.

Thanks!
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#2 Old 06-25-2012
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Deductive Reasoning

Hi,

I'm a little surprized nobody has chimed in with where the Hi Beam relay is located. But here is what I figured out this weekend working with the two relays located in the fuse box. Both relys are MBz parts - having the star logo and MBz part numbers.

The outer relay (yellow) did not match the EPC diagram part number that was labeled "Electric Seat Adjuster”. What it did match from a web search is "Multi Purpose relay". Additionally, with this relay removed from the socket, the seat adjusters still worked.

The inner relay (black) did match the EPC part number labeled "Turn Signal" (but obviously it is not mounted in the "Front Passengers Footwell”). When it is removed, the turn signals didn't work.

I swapped the yellow relay inserting it in the black relay socket. One of the turn signals came on and stayed on - did not blink. I put both back in their sockets. I deduce a switch connector in the yellow relay is fused closed. Hence the high beams don't come on nor flash.

I went to several local auto parts stores and nobody had this in stock. So I have ordered it from Autohaus along with some other necessities including air filters, oil filters, trunk support struts and a 12-pack of spark plugs. I also picked up some MAF cleaner at one of the parts stores. I should recieve this mid to end of week. I'll post a note if replacing the relay solves the high beam issue. Then this weekend I'll be back in the garage to do the plugs, MAF clean and filters.

Keep those cards and letters coming!
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#3 Old 07-05-2012
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High Beam Relay is internal to headlight switch

Here's an update. Got the relay from Autohauz, plugged it in and voila - oops - I mean bummer. Still no high beams. Talked to my mechanic and he looked it up for me on his pay-for mechanics web service. He cross referenced the wiring diagram to parts and it appears the high beam relay is internal to the light switch. The light switch is basically a multi-function set of relays and includes the fuse box that is inside the dash. I did a quick surf and we are talking $350 for this part (A 170 545 03 04). My mechanic warned me this would cost a lot! Yikes!

Things get even curiouser... I used EPC to get the switch part #. In the diagram they also show a "fuse". This is distinguished from the "fuse links" which are what we (I) typcially think of. You know - the 7.5a brown and 15a blue fuses. EPC names these "fuse links". The fuse is part# A 003 994 16 45. I did a web search on that and only found 2 U.S. sites that had it. Both listed it as a "lock". go figue...Wait a second, as I am typing this and looking at the EPC diagram, it probably is a lock and the EPC description is incorrect! The part and location on the diagram looks like the locking plate for the screw that secures the fuse box / lamp switch to the dashboard frame. You can see both the screw and lock plate when you removed the access panel and look at the bottom right of your fuse box. Another quality problem with the EPC site!

Next step is still more diagnosis - will likely run some continuity tests to see where power is being lost. I think I'll start with the blinker / headlight switch on the steering column. At least thats a cheaper part (A 170 540 03 44) - $100 on e-bay, somewhere around $200 on auto parts suply web sites.
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#4 Old 07-07-2012
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My '01 SLK320 had the exact same issue - the high beams worked when I got the car, then failed after a week (just like you mention). I looked for information on relays also, but found nothing. So I just decided to replace the multifunction switch on the steering wheel. This fixed the issue, got high beams back and all has been well. Not to difficult of a job. I found the following that helped:
BenzObsession.com • View topic - Replaceing multi function switch slk 230 R170 diy

Good luck, hope you get it fixed!
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#5 Old 07-16-2012
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Red face I'm still going to save over dealer repair

Hi gang,

Here's the update. I'll start with the good news. The multifunction switch was indeed the problem. It is installed and verified. To recap, I got the replacement part from e-bay at cost of $100, plus $11 shipping.

Now for the bad news (aka “stupid me”). When I was doing the first step of taking the air bag off the steering wheel, I managed to confuse left-loose / right - tight because I was sitting in from of the wheel but working the driver from behind the wheel. I wound up snapping one screw (and yes it is a T-30), then stripping the other to where I had to work the air bag back and forth to fatigue the metal until it snapped. What snapped was the anchor bolt pulling out of the aluminum backing on the air bag. Thank goodness it was the not the plate on steering wheel. That looks like it would have required a new steering wheel! So that air bag is trash - it can't be screwed back in on that side, nor do I think I could find anybody who would weld ("braze"?) the nut back to the aluminum plate on the air bag.

I have ordered a replacement airbag (again, a junk yard off of e-bay) and that cost me $225. Free shipping – yea! I'll pick up some replacement screws at a local MBz dealer. Those should be about $5.00 (Annapolis shows them at $1.88 each). I'll be back on the road later this week.

My total cost will come in around $340. I am confident that is cheaper than having a dealer do it - I doubt they would install my used part. I also think it's cheaper than if I had my local mechanic do it. He would have accepted my used part, but would probably have charges somewhere around 4+ hours labor at $60 to $75 per hour. That total would be between $350 and $411.

Of course, my time cost nothing. I got so much value out learning how to pull the lower dash, how to work the slide lock for the switch electrical plug, putting the cable tie straps back just like OEM (except mine are white instead of black), and adding Torx screw drivers to my tool collection. There was no way my Torx socket drives were going to work.

End of story. Thanks to "livefreeordie" for the DIY photos!
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#6 Old 03-27-2014
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Was it relatively easy to replace the multifunction switch on the steering wheel?
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#7 Old 03-28-2014
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Relatively is Relative

As my subject line says "relatively easy" is relative...

It was easy to remove the airbag from the steering wheel... once I got the right tools. I purchased a set of Craftsman torx screw drivers. My socket wrench torx sockets were too big to fit in the wholes in the backside of the steering wheel. Also keeping perspective that righty-tighty / lefty-loosey gets reversed when working these from the back side.

The rest was easy, until I had to pull out the old multifunction wiring harness. It has a plug under the dash, so you have to take much of the dash and underside apart to do that simple remove / install. And putting the dash back together is tedious.

None of it was rocket science, but I went slowly to preserve the tight fit of the dash pieces as well as my sanity.

Good luck!
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#8 Old 12-30-2018
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It worked for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by MidLifeSolution View Post
Hi,

I'm a little surprized nobody has chimed in with where the Hi Beam relay is located. But here is what I figured out this weekend working with the two relays located in the fuse box. Both relys are MBz parts - having the star logo and MBz part numbers.

The outer relay (yellow) did not match the EPC diagram part number that was labeled "Electric Seat Adjuster”. What it did match from a web search is "Multi Purpose relay". Additionally, with this relay removed from the socket, the seat adjusters still worked.

The inner relay (black) did match the EPC part number labeled "Turn Signal" (but obviously it is not mounted in the "Front Passengers Footwell”). When it is removed, the turn signals didn't work.

I swapped the yellow relay inserting it in the black relay socket. One of the turn signals came on and stayed on - did not blink. I put both back in their sockets. I deduce a switch connector in the yellow relay is fused closed. Hence the high beams don't come on nor flash.

I went to several local auto parts stores and nobody had this in stock. So I have ordered it from Autohaus along with some other necessities including air filters, oil filters, trunk support struts and a 12-pack of spark plugs. I also picked up some MAF cleaner at one of the parts stores. I should recieve this mid to end of week. I'll post a note if replacing the relay solves the high beam issue. Then this weekend I'll be back in the garage to do the plugs, MAF clean and filters.

Keep those cards and letters coming!
I'm glad I found this comment, that relay turned out to be (a) problem with mine, too. I never would have suspected since the manual and online resources don't reference those relays much.

Of course, the combination switch was also a problem for my high beams. But with some sandpaper (and a bit of frustration that it's a sealed unit) I cleaned the contacts in the switch that operate the high beams.

So aside from that $5 relay at AutoZone, I saved myself the $500 the dealer wanted to replace my combination switch and whatever else they would have charged me for diagnosing the relay too once they realized the combination switch wasn't the only problem.
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#9 Old 12-30-2018
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What caught my attention was this dude messing with an air bag when he seemed to be a tad challenged.
Messing with an air bag without properly disconnecting the battery and waiting at least an hour for the capacitors to discharge can be dangerous.
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#10 Old 1 Week Ago
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Multi (Combo) Switch Repair

Usually it is the combo switch under the steering wheel that has gone bad, but it is easy to repair. When you remove it, drill out the 4 rivets. Be careful when you pull it apart that the rocker does not fly away. Use a dremel with a steel brush, clean off the contacts in the switch and on the rocker. They should shine. Put the switch back together and drill the 4 holes a bit larger to accommodate a rivet and re-rivet, or you can use screws and nuts to hold it back together. Hope this helps.

DennisK
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#11 Old 1 Week Ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk2000 View Post
Usually it is the combo switch under the steering wheel that has gone bad, but it is easy to repair. When you remove it, drill out the 4 rivets. Be careful when you pull it apart that the rocker does not fly away. Use a dremel with a steel brush, clean off the contacts in the switch and on the rocker. They should shine. Put the switch back together and drill the 4 holes a bit larger to accommodate a rivet and re-rivet, or you can use screws and nuts to hold it back together. Hope this helps.

DennisK


Folks....fyi this thread is 7 years old

change your view to not post in old threads
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#12 Old 1 Week Ago
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#13 Old 1 Week Ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk2000 View Post
Usually it is the combo switch under the steering wheel that has gone bad, but it is easy to repair. When you remove it, drill out the 4 rivets. Be careful when you pull it apart that the rocker does not fly away. Use a dremel with a steel brush, clean off the contacts in the switch and on the rocker. They should shine. Put the switch back together and drill the 4 holes a bit larger to accommodate a rivet and re-rivet, or you can use screws and nuts to hold it back together. Hope this helps.

DennisK
Good post Highly relevant and useful Thank you!
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