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  #1  
Old 03-18-2002, 07:21 PM
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E500 US - European headlights?

I know that the E500 appears to have Euro style headlights. Are they any easier to convert than the earlier 124 lights? can you just put higher strength bulbs in w/o dealing with heavier wiring?
As we all know, the 124 lighting is pretty bad.
Tom
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2002, 08:24 AM
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Tom

In my experience with changing over to Euro-lights in my 500E and 190E...both 92's...it was a VERY simple conversion...like 3 or 4 8mm bolts...took about 1/2 hour each side with fitting new motors and wipers... I can't imagine it being any more difficult on a 94' model...its the same W124 chassis save the cosmetic differences of the hood and lights. (You knew that) Have you read FADs experience on his Euro-light conversion?

Stick with the recommended wattage and type for bulbs though...just to be safe.IMO...some of the folks here have complained of burnouts/ups which would scare me away from doing it at all. I do think the Euro-lights normally accept a slightly higher wattage bulb, but I'm not entirely sure of that...hang loose...the rest of the crew will be chiming in soon for sure.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2002, 08:44 AM
fhmajid
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Tom,
In my humble opinion, the return on adding European lenses to the E500 assembly is negligible. The lens pattern varies little between US and European and otherwise the headlamp assemblies are to my knowledge identical.
I did such a conversion on my 95 E320. I could not see a tangible difference in light pattern. Only sharper cutoff.
E500 lenses are likely to be difficult to obtain and expensive.
Best
farrukh

Ps. I will not be replacing the US lenses on my own E500... :-)
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  #4  
Old 03-19-2002, 12:20 PM
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Hi Tom- that's a great question you have and can offer my observations. I have experience with both DOT spec lighting and true E-code lighting on my '94 E500 (38.5k) and also have Bosch OEM DOT lighting on my '94 E320 Coupe (95k).

E500 DOT spec OEM lighting is manufactured by Bosch and the E-code lighting manufacturer (I used) is manufactured Hella. I believe that e-code W124 lighting units are also available from Ziegler, TYC, & Fifft (sp?) among others with various build/ materials qualities.

In summ:

>Here is a ranking of reg. drive lighting effectiveness based upon my layperson observations w/ stock 55w/60 bulbs:
1) Hella E500 E-codes (defined as "baseline + 100%" = supreme)
2) Bosch DOT OEM E500 (defined as "baseline + 40%" = best DOT spec W124 lighting)
3) Bosch DOT OEM E320 Coupe (defined as "baseline" = above average vastly improved lighting vs. pre '94 W124's)


> The "headlamp assemblies": Bosch DOT vs. Hella E-code E500 are NOT identical: a) DOT E500 vs. E-code E500 units. Even moreso in comparison of DOT regular '94 W124 units (Euro look versions) vs. DOT regular E500 units. Naturally with these differences come differences in the effectiveness of the lighting.

There are easily observable differences in materials and interior construction between the DOT Bosch units vs. the Hella E-code units- resulting in more effective lighting w/ the E-codes. You may wish to search for more of my observations posted in Michael's E-code lighting thread (thanks again Michael for passing the PUMA supplier on to us- the Hella product is definitely the real deal- but not cheap by any means).

>Both Hella and Bosch units appear to be of the highest build quality- but with different build/ project specs.

I haven't converted my '94 E320 Coupe to E-codes so, I'm not able to offer a comparison on the relative ease of conversion between W124's, however, I can mention that the conversion on the E500 was very very very easy and fun. On our 1994 E500's there is no need to update/swap/change the stock wipers and/or motors since they work perfect with Euro-spec lighting units.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most difficult), the procedure is ~a 1.5-2.0. I would suggest masking all painted and shiny areas that may risk scuffing/ scratching (thanks Dcraig for the passing on the hint) and finding a lazy weekend afternoon to enjoy the install process.

I'd also like to pass on a tidbit I gathered up from browzing around re: headlight effectiveness- as a vehicle ages, the lighting effectiveness is often reduced quite significantly due to lense wear, impurities inside the unit itself, etc. ...so folks that have ineffective lighting, E-codes not excluded, may not be receiving 100% all of the benefits of their light's design and intent.

I had only 38k on my E500's odometer w/ stock OEM Bosch units and noticed a marked improvement in lighting effectiveness w/ the Hella e-code conversion. Other's results may yield varied and wide opinions of this upgrade based upon the quality of the e-code units used, wiring conditions, etc. (and personal preference).

Note - though- - that there are construction differences between W124 E-code units: regular W124 vs. 500e/e500 so, performance gains may not be similar.

I'd agree 100% with Jim's comments also.

Hope this helps.

-fad

PS- if one resides/ drives in well lit areas....one may not require or need better lighting than what comes OEM DOT stock on the '94 E500's

Last edited by -fad; 03-19-2002 at 05:30 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2002, 12:30 PM
Manu
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Tom,

I have a euro 500E and can tell you that the lighting really isn't anything worth spending cash on. I have a height ajustment switch for the beam but it's totally useless, as I always drive on the highest setting. It's quite ridiculous actually, on the lowest setting the lighting is less than 8 meters in front of the car. I can only get some visibility when the car is loaded. And even then, the beam power is a pity.
Lighting on high beam is just correct, nothing to get excited about.

Just my opinion, but if I were to fork out for better lighting, I'd fork out all the way and go Xenon.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2002, 05:44 PM
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Manu- even though you feel that the E-codes on your vehicle aren't worth spending cash on, I'm wondering if you have had the opportunity to compare your light's output to DOT spec 500e lighting? Also, I'm wondering if your E-code lighting may use a bit of refreshing with new lenses and/or cleansed reflectors to operate at peak efficiency?

Fhmajid- ...wondering if you've have an opportunity to compare 500e/e500 e-code effectiveness vs. regular W124 e-code effectiveness? From your post, it sounds like regular W124 e-codes (Bosch? Hella? another brand?) perform very close to your E500 DOT Bosch units?

It would probably be most beneficial for those interested in this conversion to hear from more folks that can offer experience with both DOT and E-code 500e/e500 lighting vs. those offering experience only from a single version?

-fad
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2002, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Manu
Tom,

I have a euro 500E and can tell you that the lighting really isn't anything worth spending cash on. I have a height ajustment switch for the beam but it's totally useless, as I always drive on the highest setting. It's quite ridiculous actually, on the lowest setting the lighting is less than 8 meters in front of the car. I can only get some visibility when the car is loaded. And even then, the beam power is a pity.
Lighting on high beam is just correct, nothing to get excited about.

Just my opinion, but if I were to fork out for better lighting, I'd fork out all the way and go Xenon.
Manu,

Are Xenon lights available for the W124? Any details appreciated!
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2002, 08:04 AM
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Men

There are Xenon conversion kits available for most any newer car application with plug-in type bulbs but they are expensive, at least I think they are, around $350 for bulbs, ballasts and wiring. I've seen them advertised in European Car and EuroTuner mags.

www.lltek.com is an Audi tuner firm but they sell kits for cars with H1, H3, H4, H7, 9004, 9006, 9007 bulbs to name a few...check it out.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2002, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for the info, Jim.

The only reason I would even consider this as an upgrade is (after driving an S600 this weekend w/Xenon) now I feel like I'm wearing sunglasses at night on my "standard" U.S. 300CE headlights.

Guess I never knew what I was missing....
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2002, 10:40 AM
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el.p-

your current lights may be quite ineffective just due to wear, aging, crud/dust on the interior reflectors...coupled with the sub-par DOT 300CE units design (= poor lighting magnified)

you may not need to go fully to HID and spend HID $$$,- but just to the new W124 E-codes or new DOT W124 e-look units- to achieve tons better illumination...

just a thought
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2002, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by -fad
el.p-

you may not need to go fully to HID and spend HID $$$,- but just to the new W124 E-codes or new DOT W124 e-look units- to achieve tons better illumination...

just a thought
Fad, thanks for the response.

Are these available for the pre-1994 W124s?

Where can I find a pic?
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2002, 11:05 AM
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There is a thread somewhere in the archives by an owner who installed an HID conversion kit. If I recall correctly, the price of the blue-white light was loosing the high beams, and it was a one way conversion - you had to modify the reflector and it couldn't be changed back. Apparently the HID capsule was positioned for low beam use and wattage, with no way to use Hi beams. Newer retro-fit kits may be available that solve that problem???

However, there have been a couple of recent federal studies that claim HID is worse in bad weather than halogen, with more scatter and less penetration of the light, and less ability to see road markings.

I went to Euros to get more light on the road, and it worked. I went to the Philips Vision Plus bulbs in stock wattage to get even more usable light, and that worked as well. I plan on installing heavier gauge wire and relays with the stock 55/60 wattage bulbs to make sure that the bulbs get the least resistance to operation and that every single lumen is squeezed out of the stock setup.
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2002, 11:12 AM
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Thanks John, I'll do a search...

Is all this "updating", euro headlight conversion, HID, "e-code" stuff legal?
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2002, 01:20 PM
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E code lights are not legal in this country, but depending on the state you are in, chances of being caught are vanishingly small. After all, the beam pattern on the 87 E code lights is identical to the beam pattern on my 98 C230 US lights, so what is the big deal? Overwattage blue bulbs have a slightly higher chance of being caught, and just aren't worth the effort - many tests have shown that you are decreasing the amount of light on the road with blue-white coated bulbs. My goal isn't to look cool, it is to see better. HID aftermarkets show a fair chance of being nailed. They don't pass DOT or many state lighting requirements on the maximum lumens or beam pattern allignment. If your state has annual inspections, your chances of being caught are greater.

Most of the above info came from various web sources, and from talking to several motorcycle officers who hide near my house to try and slow down the idiots doing 75 in a 40 zone. They said that blue-white lights at night always get their attention, they don't look to pick on them, but once your attention is focused on a car, you notice everything they are doing. If it is 10 mph faster than the speed limit, you pull them over to try and slow them down.
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  #15  
Old 03-20-2002, 03:44 PM
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el-p

certainly- the e-codes are readily available for pre '93 300ce- they look like the units used in '94-'95 E320 Coupes (flat face glass).

I'd suggest Bosch or Hella units for the highest quality. I believe that JCE and Scott Shell (500e) has links to pics of the Bosch W124 regular e-codes.

good luck
-fad
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