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Discussion Starter #1
I'd love to upgrade my headlights but am now confused as to what my car has and (upon determining that) what option I am left with to install.

1. How do I determine what type of headlight system my car has by visual inspection.

2. Depending on the type of headlights I have, are there simple plug and play options out there (I'm mechanically able but not comfortable cutting wires).

3. Are HID's the same as Halogen, just different terminology.

4. If I have Xenon would replacing with HID be a step backwords, and if possible is it easy from an electrical/dependable point of view?

I've noticed one main source SPYDER. Any others out there? Lots of EBay sales but no-one says who they are made by.

What ya all think? Thanks.
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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I would rule out hids as your car is old.
post your vin or check your datacard to see if it says halogens
hids are NOT the same as halogens
others that have upgraded their halogens on their r170 s will respond I am sure
 

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You have a facelift 170. Spyder upgrades would be simple plug and play. Chances are you have xenons now, but your datacard should say what you have. I don't know what the technical type of the spyders are called, but there are 7 different bulbs in them.

I don't know anything about hid's, sorry. The boys will chime up shortly. Just remember, there is a reason the spyders are so popular. I think this forum with a little searching probably exhausts every single headlight upgrade imaginable.

Good luck
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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Premium Member 2004 SLK200K
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HIDs are kits that use standard H7 etc with Xenon type bulb colours . HID kits can be used in a variety of colour tones marked in Kelvins , 6000k , 7000k etc. The tones range from yellowish ( halogen colour ) to white -6000k to purplish 12,000k .
If you have original xenon and your light isn't bright/ white enough you may have dirty lenses or corroded reflectors .
If you have halogens you could upgrade to a compatible HID kit to get a brighter/ whiter light , I would suggest a 6000k A/C 35w kit , so as not to blind on coming drivers and not have the flickering lamp problems the older D/C kits had .
If you put an HID kit in it's plug and to the fact that the bulb is the same model/ type you already have , H7 etc , and your actual connectors , connect the Ballast from the kit and the Ballast to the new HID bulbs !
 

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Super Moderator 2010 SLK300 2LOOK
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I replaced my oem with Spyder...it completely updated the look and was easy to install!

http://www.carid.com/2002-mercedes-slk-class-headlights/

The have either chrome or black.

Now remember once you start with the headlights you've got the fog lights, then the side marker lights (pay close attention to what's legal in your area), then the third brake light and the license plate lights to replace!lol
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the replies.

Is there anyway of visually inspecting to see/read what type I have?
 

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Premium Member 2004 SLK200K
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If the bulb is like this , it's halgogen H7 and will normally be written on the metal flange :



If the bulb is H7 HID it'll look like this :



And will have a ballast similar to this :



Or this :



If it's Xenon it'll look like this :



With a ballast like this :

 

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Anyone else? Not sure on the projector style lights they look too after market for me but those others look standard but potentially a little more modern.
 

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Premium Member 2014 SLK55 AMG
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1,665 Posts
I'd love to upgrade my headlights but am now confused as to what my car has and (upon determining that) what option I am left with to install.

1. How do I determine what type of headlight system my car has by visual inspection.

2. Depending on the type of headlights I have, are there simple plug and play options out there (I'm mechanically able but not comfortable cutting wires).

3. Are HID's the same as Halogen, just different terminology.

4. If I have Xenon would replacing with HID be a step backwords, and if possible is it easy from an electrical/dependable point of view?

I've noticed one main source SPYDER. Any others out there? Lots of EBay sales but no-one says who they are made by.

What ya all think? Thanks.
HID = High intensity discharge. Bulbs work by sustaining an arc between two tungsten electrodes and creating a plasma that gives off very intense light.
Generally not 'dippaple' so you will have a high beam set of lenses and a low beam set.
Very efficient. Bulbs are driven by a high voltage ballast. CAN BE LETHAL IF FIDDLED WITH THE POWER ON! Also contain small but potentially dangerous quantities of mercury vapour.

Generally HID bulbs although in similar fittings to traditional bulbs should not be used in fittings designed for other types as the light discharge pattern is different and results in glare.

HID's are most likely to be in headlamps with projector type lenses ( big hemispheric lenses )

Some 170's had optional HID lights, the slk 32 had them as standard in the uk i think.

Ignoring technicalities and legalities the difference in light is very, very marked! Its a bit like going from a couple of candles to a torch :)

Halogen lights are traditional bulbs with direct light emitting filaments.

The spyder lights get good reviews. There are Chinese knock offs that have badly aimed high beams ( point at the treetops )
 
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Discussion Starter #17
OK, so I have XENON headlights.
Are they better that the HID's or H7's?
Should I find a "spyder" type XENON headlight (like this link)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/360790124504?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

to fit my current set-up (cost's more but would be (hopefully) plug and play for me or..

should I go with a advertized "spyder" (like this link)..

http://www.autolightpros.com/1998-2004-Mercedes-SLK-Class-Black-HeadLights-08-0K-PRO-YD-MBSLK98-1PC-HL-BK/

Is it a real pain switching from my factory XENON to something else?

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If the bulb is like this , it's halgogen H7 and will normally be written on the metal flange :



If the bulb is H7 HID it'll look like this :



And will have a ballast similar to this :



Or this :



If it's Xenon it'll look like this :



With a ballast like this :


OK, so my data card says I have Xenon (and visually the bulb looks like Xenon ) but I don't see a ballast like in the picture above. Wire just goes from the bulb and snakes to the firewall area with no ballast seen? Where would I find this ballast in the engine bay?
 
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