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Registered 1999 SLK230
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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever had this situation before?

This morning, I started my car and turned on my headlights (aftermarket xenons, that have been on there for almost 3 years with no issues)...and it was normal for a second, then all of a sudden the bulb out indicator came on. I got out of the car and checked all the bulbs, but none were out.

When I turned off the headlights (left parking light on as well as off), the indicator went out. I turned the lights back on and drove it awhile...and it stayed on for about 20 minutes. Then, I pulled into a parking lot and put it into park, and the indicator went off...went out to check bulbs, all were still on.

Is this one of those german engineering gremlins? :confused:
 

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Premium member 2009 SLK55 AMG
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4,935 Posts
Has anyone ever had this situation before?

This morning, I started my car and turned on my headlights (aftermarket xenons, that have been on there for almost 3 years with no issues)...and it was normal for a second, then all of a sudden the bulb out indicator came on. I got out of the car and checked all the bulbs, but none were out.

When I turned off the headlights (left parking light on as well as off), the indicator went out. I turned the lights back on and drove it awhile...and it stayed on for about 20 minutes. Then, I pulled into a parking lot and put it into park, and the indicator went off...went out to check bulbs, all were still on.

Is this one of those german engineering gremlins? :confused:
Might be an intermittent failure caused by a loose connection. Are these the SPYDER projectors for the R170? I've had some problems with the tightness of the connector that goes into the low-beam housing and the Xenon igniter (this is on the R171 but probably same principle). Might be worth opening up the backs of the lights to see if anything is starting to rattle itself loose.

Also when these Xenon bulbs finally do go, they tend to first get worse (flicker, failure to consistently ignite, etc) instead of just completely failing from one day to the next. You can try switching bits of the lights between left and right side of the car to diagnose issues like that.
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Durkatlon, I actually have xenons installed in the OEM housings. So I do not have projectors...but good point. I should take a look at the connections just in case. In the past few years, they have given me no problems whatsoever...and the bulbs are still coming in no problem. No flickering, discoloration, etc. They are 5k bulbs and still very white/blue...but you're right. Perhaps I should wiggle around the ballast/bulb connections to see if that triggers anything...
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So it looks like one bulb I didn't check may be the culprit...the passenger side rear fog light. It used to work...and now it doesn't. But here's the odd question...I remember it working before when I first got the car...very clearly. But when I look at the back of the taillight, there is no bulb in there...I'm thinking I'm looking at the wrong spot.

It looks like there is a plastic cutout there that should be removed for the bulb to go, but no bulb (the kind of plastic that you see when you buy plastic toy models and you need to cut the pieces out of the plastic "network"...that's what is here...)

Should this be pretty straightforward? And should the bulb indicator go off even though the rear fogs are not on? It comes on automatically when I turn the headlights on...
 

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Registered 2012 SLK250-gone
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1,212 Posts
As I found out on my 06 ML350... the light out indicator will go out if any of the lights go out... brights, normal beams, fogs etc. On the newer MBs the driver console usually tells you which light it is... not sure about the later ones thought. At least the 2006+ models have it.

So it looks like one bulb I didn't check may be the culprit...the passenger side rear fog light. It used to work...and now it doesn't. But here's the odd question...I remember it working before when I first got the car...very clearly. But when I look at the back of the taillight, there is no bulb in there...I'm thinking I'm looking at the wrong spot.

It looks like there is a plastic cutout there that should be removed for the bulb to go, but no bulb (the kind of plastic that you see when you buy plastic toy models and you need to cut the pieces out of the plastic "network"...that's what is here...)

Should this be pretty straightforward? And should the bulb indicator go off even though the rear fogs are not on? It comes on automatically when I turn the headlights on...
 

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Premium member 2009 SLK55 AMG
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4,935 Posts
So it looks like one bulb I didn't check may be the culprit...the passenger side rear fog light. It used to work...and now it doesn't. But here's the odd question...I remember it working before when I first got the car...very clearly. But when I look at the back of the taillight, there is no bulb in there...I'm thinking I'm looking at the wrong spot.

It looks like there is a plastic cutout there that should be removed for the bulb to go, but no bulb (the kind of plastic that you see when you buy plastic toy models and you need to cut the pieces out of the plastic "network"...that's what is here...)

Should this be pretty straightforward? And should the bulb indicator go off even though the rear fogs are not on? It comes on automatically when I turn the headlights on...
Again I can only talk for the R171, but on those the passenger fog is not supposed to be on. Even when you put a bulb there it won't light up: fogs are one side only, I forget what the design reason was; something to do with it being more obvious this way when the brake lights come on.
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Now that I look at it, I think maybe I was just seeing it...lol...I remember clearly in my older e36 3 series, both rear fogs came on and I have pics of it, so that's probably what I was remembering. But...I know that the tail light recall is due to the bulb being out and the connections being bad, but what if all connections are good? What would cause it to come on?

I checked headlights, highs, front fogs, rear fog, brake lights, parking lights, turn signals, reverse lights, side markers, and the orange bumper lenses on the side of the front and they are all on. Am I missing any?
 

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Registered 2012 SLK250-gone
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1,212 Posts
... if the connections are good, and all the lights work, you're not done... any time the instrument warning messages come on, they don't automatically turn off. You may have to manually reset the warning indicator for whatever was not working in the first place since it should be working now since it works. Worst case, head to the dealer and ask the Service Manager.

Now that I look at it, I think maybe I was just seeing it...lol...I remember clearly in my older e36 3 series, both rear fogs came on and I have pics of it, so that's probably what I was remembering. But...I know that the tail light recall is due to the bulb being out and the connections being bad, but what if all connections are good? What would cause it to come on?

I checked headlights, highs, front fogs, rear fog, brake lights, parking lights, turn signals, reverse lights, side markers, and the orange bumper lenses on the side of the front and they are all on. Am I missing any?
 

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Premium member 2009 SLK55 AMG
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4,935 Posts
... if the connections are good, and all the lights work, you're not done... any time the instrument warning messages come on, they don't automatically turn off. You may have to manually reset the warning indicator for whatever was not working in the first place since it should be working now since it works. Worst case, head to the dealer and ask the Service Manager.
Bulb warning do automatically go away once the cause is taken away I believe.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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97,411 Posts
durk is right. you might have to restart the car, but once the bad bulb is replaced, it is reset.
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hmmm...i know when i replaced the faulty tail light, the indicator automatically went off. I checked all the bulbs and none of them are out...(except the passenger side fog...lol)

I shut off the car and restarted, still on, even when I only have it to the parking lights....so it's not the aftermarket xenons (although they have been in for a few years now and never had an issue). I disconnected the battery too for about 5 seconds and reconnected still the same. Do you folks think I should keep it disconnected for longer?

I'm thinking if I have to, I may have to remove all bulbs and reinstall them just to see if that helps....
 

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Premium member 2009 SLK55 AMG
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4,935 Posts
I shut off the car and restarted, still on, even when I only have it to the parking lights....so it's not the aftermarket xenons (although they have been in for a few years now and never had an issue).
Does the 170 have a side-marker in the tail lights?
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Hi Durkatlon...not as far as I see on the pre facelift versions. But anyway...I found the culprit...and feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner. It was one of my license plate bulbs!!! So if anyone has that issue and has checked all exterior lights....make sure you check the license plate lights too...as they obviously count as exterior lamps...lol...CRISIS AVERTED!!!
 

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Now that I look at it, I think maybe I was just seeing it...lol...I remember clearly in my older e36 3 series, both rear fogs came on and I have pics of it, so that's probably what I was remembering. But...I know that the tail light recall is due to the bulb being out and the connections being bad, but what if all connections are good? What would cause it to come on?

I checked headlights, highs, front fogs, rear fog, brake lights, parking lights, turn signals, reverse lights, side markers, and the orange bumper lenses on the side of the front and they are all on. Am I missing any?
Did you check the rear two license plate bulbs ?
 

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Registered 1999 SLK230
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114 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I know, right? I checked every bulb (of course it was daytime too when I got the indicator)...and it was the damn license plate bulb...lol...which makes me wonder, how easy it would be to install leds instead? I figured since I have a yellow sllk, perhaps yellow leds? =)
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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97,411 Posts
newer models tell you exactly what bulb/location is out
 
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