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2006 SLK280
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1,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finally got around to installing aftermarket HID headlights in my SLK. I chose a kit from The Retrofit Source:
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/hid-systems/morimoto-elite-hid-system-h7.html

To install on an R171, you will also need the clips because of our unique :rolleyes: headlight mounts:
http://www.theretrofitsource.com/accessories/euro-h7-hid-bulb-adapter-48755.html

There have been other DIYs posted around the site for HID installs, but I'll post my experience in case someone decides to do the same kit. Mostly goes by the book, but there were a few issues for this particular application. As usual, I am not a mechanic and all DIY work us undertaken at your own risk.

Step 1. Open the kit and make sure everything is there. I chose the 35W 5000K kit with the error correcting capacitors. You should have 3 major parts: the bulb wire harness, ballast and capacitor. The clips are shown in later steps.




Step 2. Jack up the front end, take the front wheels and wheel well liners off. There are other posts around for doing this, so I won't repeat that here.

Step 3. Take the dust covers off the low beams, twist off the bulb holder and move the halogen H7 bulb.

Step 4. Prep the dust covers. Drill a hole in the lower half of the dust covers with a 7/8" spade drill bit. Clean up the edges, I used an X-Acto knife.



Step 5. This step isn't on the supplied instructions. The non-bulb end of the bulb wire harness needs to go through the hole you drilled in the dust cap, but it doesn't fit. Seems to be an oversight in the instructions. You have two choices: drill a bigger hole or make room for the connector edges to fit. I chose the latter. Remove the wire straightening clip from the end of the connector:



Then use an X-Acto knife to carve out two small openings for the connectors to fit through:



Pass the connectors through:



Work the grommet to fit inside the hole. Takes some squeezing, but it will fit:



I chose to seal the inside of the grommet with electrical tape. The grommet is unlikely to make a perfect seal around the drilled hole, so I took the precaution to keep the dust out:



Don't forget to reattach the wire straightener.
 

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2006 SLK280
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Step 6. Attach the clips to the bulbs. The clips hold the bulbs in place on the headlights. Note that they are not interchangeable. The pointed ends of the clip mounting tabs need to go into the mating holders on the headlight housing. Test fit the clips to make sure you have the correct ones on the correct side.



Slip them around the wire just below the bulb and slide them into place:



Step 7. Mount the ballasts. I looked around in the wheel well for a long time thinking of where to mount the ballasts. This kit comes with a metal hanger for mounting. I chose to drill through one of the OEM ballast mounts with a 7/32" drill bit to hang the ballast from. Note that I drilled two holes, but decided the closer of the two would work better.





Step 8. Install the bulbs. Screw the bulb holders into the headlight. This part takes some patience. Press the clip tabs down slightly so they fit under the headlight mounts. Make sure both tabs are engaged and the pointy ends are in first.



Step 9. Plug the spade connectors into the contacts on the OEM bulb holder. Plug the capacitor into the ballast, the bulb harness into the capacitor and the bulb harness into the ballast. The connections only fit one way, so you can't mis-wire the system. Check that the lights work to make sure the polarity of the spade connectors is correct.



Step 10. Slide the wires the wires through the dust cap to get an appropriate length in the headlight housing. Screw the cap shut. Tie up the wires and reinstall the wheel well liner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pretty happy with the kit overall. The quality seems great and I like that they had clips that worked with the R171 and the bulbs. I've seen others modifying the stock clips and I'm glad I didn't have to do that. The only minor problems were the connectors not fitting through the dust cap holes and finding a place to mount the ballasts. I don't love how the ballasts mount, but I don't think they are going anywhere.

The connectors and harnesses have weather seals on them, which I thought was a nice touch:


I'll check for errors with the car running (no errors with it off) and get some action shots in the next couple days.
 

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* Founding Member #2
2008 SLK55 AMG
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Very nice and detailed write up , I'm sure it will come in very handy for someone , seems like a sticky to me !
Second this motion.
 

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2006 SLK280
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Drove the car tonight in the dark with the lights on. No errors, although I don't run DRLs so I can't comment on that. The lights seem to take a moment (~5 sec) to warm up and come to full brightness. Any other HID owners experience this?

Actual driving illumination looks good. It's a little hard to tell in Irvine because there are so many lights on the road. Saw a little violet fringing around the edges. Looking at the car with the lights on, they look pure white with maybe the slightest touch of blue. If anything, I would dry the 4300K bulbs next. Next SoCal SLK meet, I would be interested in putting the car next to an SLK with OEM Xenon to see any differences side by side.

Pretty satisfied with the refit overall, the bulbs blend much better with the LED parking lights compared to the halogens. It will be interesting to see how bright they look on a truly dark road.
 

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Founding Member 2006
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Thread stuck per request
 

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2006 SLK280
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Founding Member 2006
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108,901 Posts
Well deserved! Thanks for the check!
 

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Registered 2006 SLK280
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131 Posts
I also install the Hid and yes I take a few minutes. After that they look great.
 

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Registered 2007 SLK280
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80 Posts
Fitted my new kit over the weeked and I'm well pleased. Th kit has metal based bulbs and seemed very well put together. The light output is fantastic and we've not been flashed for blinding people yet. We checked for glare etc by driving past each other on the road and all seems well. Your write up helped so thank you. Very, very pleased with the HID's so far - the night vision is almost a 100% improvement.
 

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Registered 2008 SLK280
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132 Posts
Hey everyone,

Sorry to write in an older post, but this post is incredibly helpful and I am currently trying to do this conversion to my 2008 SLK 280 - R171 and even though it’s an old post it’s very relevant to me. Anyways I have two questions.

1) Which bulb do I choose from the retrofit link the H7A or H7B?

2) Could someone please point me to a working link for the bulb adapters? Both links in this post are dead.

Thank you friends!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
1) Which bulb do I choose from the retrofit link the H7A or H7B?
Either one should work, it looks like H7B is a slightly improved internal design. The bulbs I have would probably be called H7A. FWIW, they still work perfectly, no issues since install.


2) Could someone please point me to a working link for the bulb adapters? Both links in this post are dead.

I would try these:
https://www.theretrofitsource.com/h7-hid-adapters-euros-49086.html
 

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Registered 2008 SLK280
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132 Posts
1) Which bulb do I choose from the retrofit link the H7A or H7B?
Either one should work, it looks like H7B is a slightly improved internal design. The bulbs I have would probably be called H7A. FWIW, they still work perfectly, no issues since install.


2) Could someone please point me to a working link for the bulb adapters? Both links in this post are dead.

I would try these:
https://www.theretrofitsource.com/h7-hid-adapters-euros-49086.html
The H7B bulb is exactly the same as the H7A as far as no internal improvement. The only difference is the positioning of the return wire along the bulb length. This video explains the differences, but I don’t know which one the SLK/R171 needs for best results. Also those retainer clips are round not rectangular like yours; however, I found the retainer clips on ijdmtoys.

https://youtu.be/G-qdyoPcReo

Also I know this sounds stupid, but in the instructions it just says to jack up the front end of the car... I have no idea how to properly jack up my SLK/R171 without damaging anything. Should I use the jack that came with the car? Would it be safe to just do one side at a time with the provided jack?
 

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2008 SLK350
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The H7B bulb is exactly the same as the H7A as far as no internal improvement. The only difference is the positioning of the return wire along the bulb length. This video explains the differences, but I don’t know which one the SLK/R171 needs for best results. Also those retainer clips are round not rectangular like yours; however, I found the retainer clips on ijdmtoys.

https://youtu.be/G-qdyoPcReo

Also I know this sounds stupid, but in the instructions it just says to jack up the front end of the car... I have no idea how to properly jack up my SLK/R171 without damaging anything. Should I use the jack that came with the car? Would it be safe to just do one side at a time with the provided jack?
Jacking instructions are in your manual
You need to do headlight work via the wheel well. So long as you are not shaking the crap out of the car, 1 side at a time is fine.
 

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Registered 2008 SLK280
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132 Posts
I believe the manual only covers the instructions for the stock jack. I know the vehicle has jack ports, so I just ordered the jack pad adapters and will be using a low profile jack as I’ve heard the stock jack isn’t the safest.

Now hopefully The RetroFit Source or someone here can get back with me on the H7A or H7B bulb.
 
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