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Afternoon Guys!
Even before I bought my slk it seemed the brake light didn't work, with the annoying little warning light on my dash. I suffered a good 6 months with this and finally enough was enough.

Looking on here I found only small details on what I later came to realise was a common fault with my r170, so thought I would share what I did.

After checking that the bulb wasn't blown or the bulb housing was faulty, even the usual WD40 on the wiring connectors I decided to remove the rear drivers side light housing and get a closer look.

The removal was ALOT easier than I had thought, after removing just 3 screws (making sure they didn't fall down into the obis to rattle forever more) the light housing just pulled out!

From there I moved into the warmth of my house and scrutinised the housing and found that the area where the bulb connected with the light housing was warn, and pitted. Filling this small pit with a small amount of solder and filing it down for a smooth finish I twisted the bulb back into place and returned to my Pride and joy.

Finally after 6 months, my driver's side break light works! and more importantly the warning light has gone from my dash!
I read that it's a common fault, mainly with the brake lights, where the metal gets so hot, it melts and ruins the connection between the light housing and bulb.
Glad its all fixed

Next I plan to replace my factory Grill with a CLK one as I think that knocks years off the already modern looking (for its age) car.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures on this, was a last minute thing. but seen as I hadn't found much on here about it, thought I would share.
 

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Hi! I just joined this site today but have been reading stuff on here for a little while. Anyhoo, so I am having the same problem but don't have or know how to solder. I'm sure I can find a "how to" video but I really want to get this thing fixed today. Is there anything besides soldering that I may have lying around my garage/house that can be used to fix this problem? Thank you!
 

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I guess kitchen foil could be used to bodge a dodgy connection?

I heard, in the US, if you take it to a dealer they will replace the tail lights free of charge as it was a safety recall - but you would need to ask.

I personally soldered some wires from the light assembly to the bulb holder - if you know someone into electronics with a good soldering iron, I am sure they could do this for you, it would last longer than the fix in this thread. You need to make sure you always put the bulb holder in a certain way though :)
 

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Hi! I just joined this site today but have been reading stuff on here for a little while. Anyhoo, so I am having the same problem but don't have or know how to solder. I'm sure I can find a "how to" video but I really want to get this thing fixed today. Is there anything besides soldering that I may have lying around my garage/house that can be used to fix this problem? Thank you!
Hi there HK! I recently replaced my tail light assemblies because I had no brake lights. The cost was not bad, just slightly over $250 for the pair. More than some might want to pay, but I thought they were a good value. I had the usual little warning light on my dash. I was in my 'fraidy cat' phase so I drove to The Dealer and they replaced the bulb in the drive lane. All it cost me was the bulb so I was happy! Until that warning light came on again. This time The Dealer found the little bulb socket was gone. I purchased a replacement and another bulb and off again I went! After the light came on again, I purchased another socket and bulb and had a go at replacing it myself. Eventually the problem manifested in the other side as well I tried several times to replace the bulbs and even the bulb sockets, but no joy. I asked the dealer if the recall had been performed on my car and of course - it had. I was out of luck. :crying:
I didn't like the price they gave me for repair by them so I decided to try it myself.

When I removed the light assemblies to replace them, I saw the metal conductor plate on the back had popped off it's little plastic mounting post on one side of the opening for the brake light socket. The bit of melted plastic intended to keep it in place had broken off. This had happened on both assemblies. This meant there was no way to lock the socket in place and therefore it would not receive power through the the metal conductor plate, thus no power to the bulb. The post had broken at the weld point so there was no fixing either unit. This could happen from heat fatigue of the plastic as the socket puts force against the little weld. It could also happen if an attempt to insert the socket incorrectly was joined with too much force. :surprise:

Your post did not indicate if you had removed the housing, bulb sockets, etc. I thought I would share the above info with you. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture to show you. If you have not already done so, I would recommend you remove a housing for inspection. The solder method would work fine it it is just pitted metal, but if you have any other fault in your light assemblies, you should consider replacing.

If I ever have another bulb out, I will remove the housing to replace the bulb. Then I can make sure I get the socket installed properly. :grin:

Good luck with this issue! I hope you get it sorted soon.
 

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I tried taking the assy out but my one hang up was that I have a useless CD changer completely in the way and cant get it out. Any tips on that? The owners manual doesn't say diddly squat about this kinda stuff. I want to try and learn how to solder cause I'm sure I will need to do it again with other random stuff anyway. Do I need to replace the bulb socket as well? I am extremely handy and can fix pretty much anything, so I have faith I can get it done myself. I just need the tool and some how-to videos. lol.

Randomly searching car-part.com today I did find a great condition tail lamp at a junk yard in my town for only $60. I may just go that route unless that one has the same issues as mine. We'll see when I check it out. Wish me luck and thanks for all the info!
 

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I just saw this about the CD changer removal. Mine has that as well. Look for 2 philip's head screws on top of the changer there at the side by the rear right sidewall. Those attached the changer to a bracket. If you can get those out, I think the changer just slips off the mounting bracket. Then you will see how to remove the bracket from the sidewall area. There is also a small black plastic body cover/panel that you slip out as well. That will give you access to reach in that cavity to unbolt the lamp housing. Be careful with the little black body panel fasteners. (One secures the front lower bracket mount in my car) These are a two piece fastener. A piece with prongs goes in first, then the little black center cap has a shaft on it that spreads the prongs (similar in design to the reinforced screw holders for sheet rock that we all love) in this case the center part is not threaded. ( Removal of those is obviously the opposite of installing) Luckily the housing has studs mounted into it and there are only 3 nuts to undo. I am awful with pictures so I could not post one for you. I always put all my hardware in little snap lock bags with post its inside saying what they are for. I hope you got this sorted already but if not let me know.
 

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Thank you all for the help & info!! I got it all taken out and replaced with in like 40 min total. If it wasn't for all your help I'd be lost. Lol. Now I can see what needs to be fixed on my old taillight. Nothing major, just a couple soldering spots. I'll be fixing it and selling it unless anyone knows anybody who wants to buy it as-is. Thanks again! You are all awesome!!:smile:
 

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As far as being cheap, Big Lots is a great place in the US to buy cheap tools. As for effectiveness, soldering irons just basically get hot enough to melt solder-the rest is up to you. Buy one of those bubble suction things to vacumn up excess or misdirected solder.
 

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Before pulling the assembly, just remove the bulb holder, scrape all metal contact points with a sharp edge (pen-knife, whatever) and bend the ends of the metal connectors 'up a bit. The scrape clean the metal contact tip on the bottom of the bulb - and clean the metal sided of the bulb. 9 out of ten times just improving the contact areas will be enough to get your bulbs working again.

If that fails, THEN pull the assembly, and:
a) very gently, clean the trace line on the lamp board, and then
b) lay down solder for each connection line, or
c) use a liquid conductive adhesive to lay down the connection line, or
d) run a contact wire from the bulb connector to the pigtail connector.

If your lamp assembly is in good condition (no cracks, etc) there is no need to spend $100-$400 to replace it just because a bulb isn't illuminating. The contact points on our R170s are at least 15 years old now... CLEAN THEM and REPAIR worn areas of conductivity. Us e the money you save on a nice detailing!
 
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