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  #1  
Old 11-07-2008, 11:27 AM
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Location: Barrington, RI
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Exterior Lamp Failure Indicator Perplexity

Symptoms:

1. When headlamps are ON, and I press the brake pedal, SOMETIMES (but not always) the exterior lamp failure indicator comes on and stays on.

2. If I turn off the headlamps, the indicator remains on.

3. If I turn off the car and restart, the indicator will be off.

Even though all three brake lamps were working, I replaced them (I know that the indicator can come on when a lamp is about the to fail). But didn't help.

Any thoughts as to how to troubleshoot this? Other bulbs I could try replacing? I hate to pay someone to do this....I'd rather just put black tape over the indicator than pay even an half hour labor. But it is mildly annoying.

Thanks!

PS, this is on my 300D.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2008, 11:34 AM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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So what happens if the headlights are NOT on and you press on the brake? I assume that all is well, though you did not say. In the case of "momentary" lamps like brake lamps, the indicator is functioning correctly when it stays on. When the headlights are ON, the taillights are also ON; it's possible that you have a bad ground at one of the brake lights so that, with the tail lights OFF, the brake light can ground through the tail light circuit. With tail lights ON, the brake light can't work, draws no current, sets off the alarm. Have you had someone stand behind the car and look as you turn lights on and off, press on the brakes, etc.?
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2008, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy5848 View Post
So what happens if the headlights are NOT on and you press on the brake? I assume that all is well, though you did not say. In the case of "momentary" lamps like brake lamps, the indicator is functioning correctly when it stays on. When the headlights are ON, the taillights are also ON; it's possible that you have a bad ground at one of the brake lights so that, with the tail lights OFF, the brake light can ground through the tail light circuit. With tail lights ON, the brake light can't work, draws no current, sets off the alarm. Have you had someone stand behind the car and look as you turn lights on and off, press on the brakes, etc.?
Yes, all is well when headlights are not on.

And yes, I 've had someone look from the outside....everything is functioning normally.
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06 E320 CDI "Benson", Platinum Blue, 173k mi
06 E320 CDI "Rutherford", Black, 143k mi
91 300D "Otis", Smoke Silver, 128k mi
98 E300 "Murray", Silver, 127k mi, Stage 2 Rocketchip chip tuned, under son's care

Twelve other MB's owned and sold
2002 Honda Odyssey 240k mi (want to name it "Homer," wife won't let me)
1961 Very Tolerant Wife
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2008, 12:35 PM
sixto's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2000
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These cars are sensitive to bulb wattage. Variance in non-OEM bulb wattage can cause problems. If it really bothers you, pull the cluster and remove the bulb. Otherwise look for Osram or Narva (or other OE sounding brand) bulbs of the specified wattage. Might find some in the pick-n-pull.

It's curious that it only happens when the headlights are on so maybe it's a bad ground at the tail lights.

Sixto
87 300D
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