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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATE: Click here to see a new post I added on page 3, which resolves the gap problem discussed in the thread, and shows off the black version of these lights.

As some of you may know, SPYDER are currently testing out several new headlight units for different Mercedes models. I was hit up by the guy who offered his C-Class for the test install to SPYDER to see if they could use my SLK to test their new R171 offering.

We installed it last Wednesday at their facility in Industry (in the greater Los Angeles area) and I will be testing these lights for the next several weeks for them.

The lights replace an older version which is still listed on their website. This is a new and improved version specifically for the North American market. The lights are still in the R&D phase and they are taking suggestions from people with respect to styling etc. They are also still getting improved versions from their supplier and I will actually be going back in the first week of April to get my set swapped out for a new one that is supposed to have better light output.

As such I was asked not to post any "garage door" style pictures of the overall shape of the light output yet, as it will change in the next iteration. I can say that like the OEM lights for SLK these lights have an asymmetric shape to their light pattern which improves street sign readability.

In keeping with the topics discussed by AZN Optics in his C-Class post I will kind of go over some of the major points.

Fitment: I feel there is a slightly larger gap between the lights and the hood on the insides but it is tough to say for sure because I didn't have the opportunity to see the old and new lights installed one on each side. It is not apparent unless you know what to look for and it is definitely not an issue. Very good for aftermarket lights.

Installation: (EDIT: Rewrote this section because I got installation video link from SPYDER.) I was not present during the installation (liability issues on their end I guess). Installation requires the bumper to come off which is probably the majority of the work. Once that's done it's a matter of a bunch of screws and some electrical connectors. You need to move over the low-beam, ballasts and headlight washers from the OEM to the new lights. After that it's a matter of putting the whole thing back together again. I would say you should be able to do it in a few hours. Here's the video showing the entire process. This might be useful in general for people needing to take their bumper off!


Bulbs: The OEM headlights have 4 bulbs: low-beam, high-beam, parking and blinker. The SPYDER lights have low-beam, high-beam, blinker and a strip of 6 LEDs that take the place of the parking light. The unit comes in two versions (actually 4 if you count colors), one is for non-Xenon and the other is for the Xenon version. I had the latter and during the install they only transferred over the low-beam bulb, the other 3 bulbs are replaced with lamps and LEDs that come with the unit. I am not clear on what the specs are on the bulbs since I haven't had a chance to open up my wheel-well and take them out. I will update this thread once I get more information. The stock configuration comes with an amber turn-signal bulb which I will be replacing with a stealth bulb as soon as I figure out the correct type. I suspect that besides the low-beam which transfers over, none of the other bulbs are the same type as stock. As you can tell from my pictures, the Xenon low-beams are practically the same color as the LED strip which looks very good. The OEM fogs are much more yellow and now that I've seen the combination of everything I'm itching to replace the fogs with some kind of LED contraption. Something to research.

Color: They offer two color variations of the housing unit (which together with Xenon/Non-Xenon makes for 4 different types total). The one I have is chrome but they also have a black version. Forum user jameslk350 has the black version of the existing line so you can look at his pictures for comparison. Note that these are not the new line yet so the styling may change compared to what James has. One thing you notice on the black version is that they are not all-black, but have reflective areas behind the turn signals and the high-beams. This is to be in compliance with DOT regulation and unlikely to change just because we asked them :D. The OEM headlights are a silver, brushed-metal look on the inside, and post-facelift they have a colors bottom section. Initially I found the chrome on these SPYDERs a bit jarring, but I very quickly got used to it. I have received a lot of positive comments on the lights in the week since I've had them and everyone really seems to like the color. I personally wouldn't mind if they came out with a silver/brushed version as well but perhaps that would mean too many SKUs, raising the price.

Style: I have put some side-by-sides for quick comparison with the original OEM lights. The OEMs are more of an "empty" light. They have a large "floor" with nothing going on except the slightly raised non-shiny area. The SPYDERs have the LED strip going on at the bottom, but the other sections of the light are also protruding more forward than the OEMs so they look quite "full" inside the housing. They do not have an eyelid (unlike the C-Class version) and this prevents them from looking too busy. I'm curious if people would actually like to have an eyelid at the top of the lights to give it more of an R172 look. I'm not really sure on this one.

That's about all for now. You can see from the pictures that I purposely left the car outside in the (fierce) rain all day Saturday to test water tightness. The lights passed this test with flying colors. The last picture shows that the lights project a small darker area in front of each of the lights. This is not an issue but just an interesting thing to note. In general these lights give vastly more useful light output than the OEMs do. Not sure if this is because they are more reflective because of the chrome, but the difference is quite impressive.

What SPYDER wants to see is feedback from the community. What do you think of these and how would you like to see them improved.






Old vs. New.



Rain test.


Lighting them up.




 

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I agree with too much chrome. Does the side "gills" light up also, when the low beams are on? Can the LED strip be used as DRL (with low and high beam off)?

I'll reserve any opinion until I see it in person this Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree with too much chrome. Does the side "gills" light up also, when the low beams are on? Can the LED strip be used as DRL (with low and high beam off)?
The gills don't light up; it's one solid surface unlike the OEMs.

The LED strips can be used as DRL. My first picture after the one in the rain was supposed to show that but it's not very clear I guess. The LED strip takes the place of the parking lights as far as the master light switch is concerned. They come on together with the lows in Auto mode, but if you select the left+right parking light setting (the setting between Auto and On), only the LEDs light up.

Regarding the chrome, yeah I'm still a bit torn on that. Out of everyone that's seen them so far (friends & family, no other picky SLK owners as of yet), I seem to be the only one with this concern. I'm just not that into chrome :D. I think on my car they would look better if my wheels were also chrome, but that ain't happenin'.

Next time I'm at the SPYDER facilities I'm going to check out the black version from up-close. They don't have one of the new Xenon prototypes in black yet, but they offered me to swap them out once they obtain a set. I'll have to see them first though. Black lights on a black car without black wheels may just be the wrong combination. And just like I don't see myself getting chrome wheels, I don't think I'm getting black ones either.
 

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Interested in seem more photos of the final version. I have to admit, the gap between the hood and the light looks much larger than the OEM's at first glance..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interested in seem more photos of the final version. I have to admit, the gap between the hood and the light looks much larger than the OEM's at first glance..
You think so too? Yeah, I didn't even notice it until last night when I took the pictures with the old lights on the boxes next to the car.

I know when you take the bumper off, there's those stops that can be adjusted. I can't tell whether those might have gone back on incorrectly.

This weekend at the mbjunkies Orange County Benz meet, I'll take some measurements of other people's hood gaps (the one between the bottom of the pointy part of the hood and the top of the bumper cover) to see if my stops are adjusted wrong.

EDIT: I found this old picture that seems to be the correct angle to compare. On this one I would say that it does look like the hood is adjusted further down. More to follow this weekend after I get a chance to compare.

 

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They look great ! The gap around the light doesn't seem to be too excessive , on the photos anyway . Love the built in leds / dlrs . Would be interesting to see he durability/fading of the lenses compared to the originals , speaking as a sufferer of yellowing lenses .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I edited the original post with a 15 minute installation video made available by SPYDER. This video is very useful even if you need to just remove your bumper cover for any reason.

By the way, I tried turning down the hood stoppers but it didn't close the gap.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
excellent job with the video.
thx you so much Durkatlon

how you manage to solve the gap "problem"?
I don't mind taking credit for the video, but I just provided the car :D. I agree though, SPYDER did a really nice job on it.

The gap problem is not solved. I thought perhaps the hood stops were set too high, but after I posted this morning I screwed them all the way down and the hood doesn't really move at all so it's already all the lowest point. I will try to see if there's any other adjustments I can do to the lights this weekend. I plan to open the car up to look at what types of bulbs are part of the new unit so I can get a stealth-bulb for the turn-signal, so I'll poke around then.
 

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I edited the original post with a 15 minute installation video made available by SPYDER. This video is very useful even if you need to just remove your bumper cover for any reason.

By the way, I tried turning down the hood stoppers but it didn't close the gap.
IIRC there are four.

Do you have to loosen the anchoring bolt before turning the stopper clockwise to lower it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
IIRC there are four.

Do you have to loosen the anchoring bolt before turning the stopper clockwise to lower it?
I just screwed it down; it's a very dense thread so they stay in place at whatever height you leave them. I only saw two but I'll take another look tonight.
 

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I just screwed it down; it's a very dense thread so they stay in place at whatever height you leave them. I only saw two but I'll take another look tonight.
2 at front of vehicle and one each at the sides (junction between front and side), same type.
 

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When I saw the SPYDER setup on Durk's car, I agree the chrome is really too blingy on a black car, but I do like the LEDs especially since they double as DRLs. The "gap" is there but not very pronounced unless you are pretty close to it. To sum up my take on this...

Likes: LEDs as DRLs

Dislikes: Hmmmm!!! not much to be hung up over, I generally like it. For the chrome ones, may not work well with dark-colored cars... lighter tone cars will be OK, imo.

Wants: Lighted gills, gill placement as in OE, darkened lens to cover up the amber turn bulbs, affordable ($$), and dibs on the ones on Durk's car after swap-out :)
 

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Why not just get chrome bulbs (if you haven't seen these before, they are amber when illuminated!!).

Stealthauto sells them with lifetime warranty. Just remember for North American vehicles, the front turn indicator lamps are NOT PY21W bulbs for the R171. Unless you want to change out the bulb holders too (see post from lkchris), then one can have PY21W indicator lamps both for the fronts and rears.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
rocketace2012 said:
Wants: Lighted gills, gill placement as in OE, darkened lens to cover up the amber turn bulbs
I have heard the request about the gills from a few other people now. Yeah the OEMs have cut-outs for the gills and translucent material behind the cut-outs so light comes out the sides. These do not have this. I suspect doing this would mean more "parts" to the actual assembly itself potentially raising costs, but it's definitely worth bringing up. A few people have also remarked on the textured surface of the OEMs vs the smooth surface on these. I don't know if texturing the surface would make the chroming more difficult.

Regarding the amber bulbs, that is definitely fixable with a stealth-bulb and once I get that taken care of I'll take some new pics. Even though these don't have the little reflector in front of the turn-signals that the OEMs do, I think they will look really nice with some silvered bulbs in place of the amber ones.

Theregans said:
When will they be available for purchase? Any idea on the cost?
I think they still have to go through one more iteration on the prototype. There is already a version available now which is listed on their website and available through eBay. However I'd hold off on purchasing at this point so you can get this newer North American version. Also if there's enough interest we should see if a group buy can be arranged at a discount.

Stealthauto sells them with lifetime warranty. Just remember for North American vehicles, the front turn indicator lamps are NOT PY21W bulbs for the R171. Unless you want to change out the bulb holders too (see post from lkchris), then one can have PY21W indicator lamps both for the fronts and rears.
I'm almost certain that the fronts on these SPYDER are PY21W (i.e. they already have the other bulb-holder), but still haven't had a chance to confirm. My observation is just from looking at the bulbs from the front: they appear to be bajonet fitting, not sure on 6 o'clock or 5 o'clock of course.

I will be going in this weekend to replace one of my side-marker bulbs and will take some snaps of all the other bulbs in the SPYDERs.
 

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I have heard the request about the gills from a few other people now. Yeah the OEMs have cut-outs for the gills and translucent material behind the cut-outs so light comes out the sides. These do not have this. I suspect doing this would mean more "parts" to the actual assembly itself potentially raising costs, but it's definitely worth bringing up. A few people have also remarked on the textured surface of the OEMs vs the smooth surface on these. I don't know if texturing the surface would make the chroming more difficult.

Regarding the amber bulbs, that is definitely fixable with a stealth-bulb and once I get that taken care of I'll take some new pics. Even though these don't have the little reflector in front of the turn-signals that the OEMs do, I think they will look really nice with some silvered bulbs in place of the amber ones.

I think they still have to go through one more iteration on the prototype. There is already a version available now which is listed on their website and available through eBay. However I'd hold off on purchasing at this point so you can get this newer North American version. Also if there's enough interest we should see if a group buy can be arranged at a discount.

I'm almost certain that the fronts on these SPYDER are PY21W (i.e. they already have the other bulb-holder), but still haven't had a chance to confirm. My observation is just from looking at the bulbs from the front: they appear to be bajonet fitting, not sure on 6 o'clock or 5 o'clock of course.

I will be going in this weekend to replace one of my side-marker bulbs and will take some snaps of all the other bulbs in the SPYDERs.
Are you going Saturday or Sunday? I may want to tag along if it is on a Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Are you going Saturday or Sunday? I may want to tag along if it is on a Sunday.
Heh heh, I meant goin' into my wheel well. I'll be going back to SPYDER first week of April I think. No exact date has been set, though it'll be a weekday.
 

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These look great, watched the video and it's fantastic, my only question is this: I've got non-Xenon headlamps in my 350, and I'd like to upgrade to these with Xenon. Any idea if they'll be selling a kit with ballasts/HID bulbs etc?
 
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