Aftermarket HID Kit on the R171 - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 05-04-2007
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Aftermarket HID Kit on the R171

Hey guys

Am thinking of putting in an aftermarket HID kit to replace the stock halogen low-beams, and have done a little bit of research into the matter. Still have a few questions though:

1) Will the aftermarket HID bulb just fit into the housing for the lowbeam lights? I know its a H7 bulb fitting, and was just wondering if I got the rebased H7 HID bulb, whether it would just be a simple unplug the stock H7 bulb, and replace it with the HID H7 bulb? I've seen some threads around where someone said they had to retrofit the fitting so the HID would fit, and others have said that its just plug and play, not sure who's right.

2) In the interests of not causing too much glare and blinding oncoming drivers, do the HID kits differentiate between RHD and LHD vehicles? ie. if I buy a HID kit from the US, will this be geared towards LHD vehicles, and if I install the bulbs into my RHD SLK, it'll dazzle the oncoming drivers because its set incorrectly? I'm thinking probably not because its the way the lights are aimed more than anything, and my lights would already be aimed correctly for RHD. Just checking though

3) Also, on the SLKs, its a projector housing, which I've been told is better for aftermarket HIDs than a reflector housing which just causes way too much glare. After I install the HID bulbs, do I then have to re-adjust the lights because I would have thrown their alignment off during the install? Is there like a procedure I can follow so I adjust the lights to a legal height/whatever? Last thing i want to do is to cause inconvenience for other drivers, etc...(fast way to get your car keyed/etc...)

4) Will probably be using the harness that comes with the kits so that the lights are connected directly to the battery and its just triggered via a relay from the original stock lighting harness. If I've got XenonPresent=Yes in the diagnostic cluster and in the gateway, will this still cause a problem eg. its still expecting some resistance on that line? In that case, is it possible to switch off the Bulb checking of the diagnostic completely? I saw on a thread somewhere the following line "I'm not sure if there is a difference between US programed cars vs. non US programed cars on the StarDiag sheet but did your dealer had to change anything else on the StarDiag to make ur headlights work cause on the sheet there was also a light malfunction indicator category that could be enabled or disabled.". That wouldn't be too bad anyway if it was disabled, I could just chuck LEDs in the lamps that I want and not have to fool around with resistors....just a thought.

5) Is there a good spot in the light housing or near it where I can mount the ballasts? On the OEM xenon kits, where are these mounted? Will probably try and mount it in the same place if I can.

Would appreciate any answers anyone has or feedback. All info is good info
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#2 Old 05-04-2007
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You've asked some questions I can't answer. Personally, I'm not a big aftermarket HID kit fan. I see too many potential problems, but you might get the look. My first choice would be factory Xenons, my second choice would be a factory Xenons retrofit. You can purchase a set of NEW, factory, SLK light assemblies off eBay for $1299, plus shipping, installation, and StarDiagnostic coding. Here's a link from this forum for some great HID information that should help answer some of your questions.
https://www.slkworld.com/general-modi...-tutorial.html
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#3 Old 05-04-2007
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Hi, I installed aftermarket HIDs into my SLK280 a month ago. I wanted the OEM HIDs but when I purchased my car, all the ones built didnt have the HID option.

The install is pretty straight forward. Before doing anything though, make sure you can get your car programmed to Xenon = Present. See if your dealership will be willing to do this for you. My dealer also offered to reaim the headlights, but to our surprise, the beam pattern was perfect already without any adjustments.

I can post some pictures of the install later when I get home.
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#4 Old 05-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenlau View Post
Hi, I installed aftermarket HIDs into my SLK280 a month ago. I wanted the OEM HIDs but when I purchased my car, all the ones built didnt have the HID option.

The install is pretty straight forward. Before doing anything though, make sure you can get your car programmed to Xenon = Present. See if your dealership will be willing to do this for you. My dealer also offered to reaim the headlights, but to our surprise, the beam pattern was perfect already without any adjustments.

I can post some pictures of the install later when I get home.
Cool! Love to see pix and tutorials.

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#5 Old 05-05-2007
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Since I just got my SLK, and have never really worked on any R171s before, I decided to take off the front bumper and headlamp assemblies to scope out potential places to mount the ballast. (*NOTE: you do NOT need to remove bumper and headlamps to do this install, I will explain later)



The stock BiXenons have the ballast mounted directly under the headlight assembly. But I dont feel that it is secure enough for an aftermarket ballast that is bigger and without proper mounting holes...so the next best place is this beam behind the front cross member.


Many people use zip ties to install their ballasts but I feel I need more security so I used stainless steel piping rings.


To prevent metal to metal contact vibrations, I put some foam electical tape around the piping ring, which also gave the ring more grip.



Now, probably the hardest part of this install is securing the HID bulb in the Halogen Socket. Normally I see a metal clamp used to secure H7 Bulbs, but for some reason in the 171, it uses a metal retainer. The metal retainer in the next picture is already modified by me using a dremel tool. Originally it has a rectangular hole in the middle, I used a dremel to cut it so that the round HID bulb may pass through. **** IMPORTANT THIS IS THE KEY PART OF THE INSTALL ****
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#6 Old 05-05-2007
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Here is a look of the above part installed into the Headlamp Assembly:


As you can see, the back of the H7 HID bulb has a rounded base. The modification of the original bracket is needed to have the bulb pass through.

Then, we need to pass these wires from the bulb, as well as power from original wiring harness out to the ballast. This is done by drilling a hole in the back cover of the lamp assembly.


I used heavy duty electrical tape to further seal the hole (not shown) by taping all around the rubber seal. Here you can see a set of wires from the bulb, and a set of wires directly plugged into the original wiring that drive the halogen bulb to power the ballast.

Put the assembly back into place and and power up!
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#7 Old 05-05-2007
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After the above is done, have the dealer program the Xenon = Present, or the HIDs will flicker and stobe like crazy (which is very bad for the lights). I just left the connector to the lamp unplugged and drove to the dealer in the day time.

Here is another way to do this install without removing bumper. Turn the wheel all the way to one side, and remove screws in the wheel well. Pry open the plastic cover and you will have all the access you need.


I covered all the connection points with heavy duty electrical tape to prevent moisture.
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#8 Old 05-05-2007
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Some more food for thought:

Before the install I thought about wiring up the ballast to the battery directly and using a relay connected to the original harness. I measured the current drain, and potential drop across the ballast and concluded that this wasn't necessary. As a matter of fact, this system actually draws slightly less power than the stock halogens (interesting!) This may vary depending on the ballast, so do this at your own risk.

Also, I worried about the heat that may be produced by the HID bulbs in the halogen housing. But after measuring the temperatue of the bulbs after 30 mins of powered on, surprising they produced less heat than the stock halogens. So again this was not a concern.

The dealership offered to adjust the beam pattern for me, but it was concluded that it was already perfect and no adjustment required. Again, you may want to adjust your system depending.
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Thanks for the pix and tutorial. Stevenlau you are gifted with mechanical and electrical skills.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by etyu View Post
Thanks for the pix and tutorial. Stevenlau you are gifted with mechanical and electrical skills.
I agree. Thanks for taking your time to document with pictures and sharing. Many are not capable of doing this type of work, even with step by step procedures. My recommendation, get the factory xenon option. Another easy, but expensive option, is to purchase the factory xenon light assemblies, either new or used, and make the swap. This option is more expensive than factory. Upgrading with a HID kit, replacing the factory halogen bulbs with other "higher color" (5000k, 6000k) halogen bulbs or keeping the factory halogen bulbs. I love the xenon look and think they're money well spent.
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Great explanation. Great Pictures! Great job.
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#12 Old 05-05-2007
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You've got skillz stevenlau, that was a good step by step tutorial, I would definately do it if I didn't have HID's. Good job, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I love it when people share, it's what these forums are about.

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#13 Old 05-05-2007
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Thanks for the detailed instructions.

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#14 Old 05-05-2007
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awesome mate....I've been looking for some pics of installs like this for some time, thanks a whole heap!

I do have a followup question looking at your pics. I see you customised the existing metal retainer to fit the H7 HID bulb instead of the stock halogens. Once you put the H7 HID bulb into that hole, is there a way of securing it so it stays in place? I'm assuming that something keeps it pointing where you aimed it, otherwise everytime you go over a bump or something, the H7 HID bulb will be jolted and moved.
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#15 Old 05-05-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenlau View Post
Some more food for thought:

Before the install I thought about wiring up the ballast to the battery directly and using a relay connected to the original harness. I measured the current drain, and potential drop across the ballast and concluded that this wasn't necessary. As a matter of fact, this system actually draws slightly less power than the stock halogens (interesting!) This may vary depending on the ballast, so do this at your own risk.

Also, I worried about the heat that may be produced by the HID bulbs in the halogen housing. But after measuring the temperatue of the bulbs after 30 mins of powered on, surprising they produced less heat than the stock halogens. So again this was not a concern.

The dealership offered to adjust the beam pattern for me, but it was concluded that it was already perfect and no adjustment required. Again, you may want to adjust your system depending.
the fact that the HIDs draws less power than the stock halogens is top be expected I think... from what I can tell, most of the aftermarket HID kits run at 35w(some have appeared on market with 50w), which is a fair bit lower than the 55w that the stock halogens run.
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#16 Old 05-06-2007
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The metal bracket is what keeps the H7 HID bulb in place. It presses against a ring around the base of the bulb and locked into the socket by the two tabs on the side. It is keeping it in place the same way as it does the stock halogen bulb.

Yes I read in the specs that it consumes less power. But I needed to measure it myself to be certain. Also, during fire up I believe the HID ballast actually sends out a jolt of energy up to 20kV (according to specs) to the bulb. I needed to make sure this doesn't wreak any havoc on the existing stock circuits.
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#17 Old 05-07-2007
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hi everyone, brought here because my gf will be picking up a 2006 SLK280 in the coming week or two.

i have a question about the install. since she didnt pick it up yet, i dont really know what i am looking at interms of the headlights. is the 2006 the same housing as 2007? and i was configuring the 2007 model and bi-xenon is an option, based on 06 is the same as 07, would that mean if HID is installed other than the OEM bi-xenon, i'll lose the highbeam function? is there a flash-to-pass on the SLK that use other part of the headlights? one last question, what are my chances of having the dealer enabling the xenon function for me so the HID will get enough power?

sorry for having so many questions

thanks in advance
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#18 Old 05-07-2007
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Hi and welcome.

The 06 housing is identical to the 07.

The OEM kit as as you point out is Bi-Xenon so one lamp and a flap act as both dipped and high beams as far as i am aware the aftermarket kits mostly just replace your dipped/low beam bulb so the highbeams remain operational as standard as the non Xenon SLK's have a bulb for each.

Dealer should be happy to enable the functions takes 2 minutes to do it, its not about power draw but the lack of it once the ballast has fired the startup charge into the HID bulb the voltage required to operate it drops way down and if the car is not told Xenon's are present it will trigger the lamp fail warning and cause the light to pulse and thats fatal for a HID unit.
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thanks for the quick response DansSLK.

so the dealer will enable that feature even if the HID unit i will be installing is not an OEM part? that's really new to me since from what i understand, dealers are reluctant to do something like that since it's non-OEM. i've even heard stories where the dealer would void the warranty of the car.

nice to know the highbeam will still work since it's a separate lightbulb. i though it would be like my GTI's bi-xenon that the highbeam will work only as a flash-to-pass in which the halogen bulb for the highbeam will not stay constant on.

i am definitely going to install HID on her SLK now, just need to make sure if i can get the dealer to enable the xenon function.

thanks
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#20 Old 05-07-2007
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Well don't tell the dealer what your doing otherwise they might not be happy just say to them you want it set to Xenon = Present and they should do it for you.

They don't need to know why you want it done.

With the highbeams it should all be fine like i said but i really cant guarantee that because with Xenon's the car just sends a burst of power down the line to the flaps but then the whole wiring harness is different for them so it all depends on if it supply's the right power
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