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  #1  
Old 06-11-2001, 03:32 AM
mbenz300e
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After driving all these new cars, I feel that the stock headlights on my '87 300E doesn't seem bright enough. Any suggestions on replacements for them. Basically just looking for better lighting and ease of installation. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2001, 04:24 AM
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Probably one of the most discussed items in the archives. Search under Euro Headlights, Bulbs, wiring, relays, Xenon, Halogen, and similiar key words and you will find enough pictures, suggestions, pros, cons, costs, wiring diagram links, aiming info, shortcuts, dealer links, new vs. used, Tiawan vs German vs Italian Euro lights, keep or discard headlight wipers, and installation tips to keep you busy reading until next Xmas!

Basically, Bosch or Hella Euro lights with H4 Philips Premium + 30 bulbs is the most effective and common answer, at 300-500 dollars. The stock 87 headlights are worthless. The Euro lights have better reflectors and beam patterns and put all the light on the road where it is needed. The lights themselves are more streamlined and take 10 years off the front of the car, especially if you dump the wipers. They are not particularly legal in most states, even though from 94 on the MB headlights in the US were basically Euro lights. On the Other hand, if you keep the stock wattage bulbs and don't live in a state with annual vehicle inspections, the chances of being caught are close to zero, and the lights are actually easier to oncoming drivers on low beam than the old US lights. Hope this helps.

[Edited by JCE on 06-11-2001 at 03:39 AM]
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2001, 07:24 AM
LarryBible
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Yes,

The early 124 lights are near useless. The Euro's are well worth the money, and will improve your vision to a safe level on these cars.

Have a great day,
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2001, 01:05 PM
mbenz300e
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Thanks for the Info, I live in Southern California, do you think that if I get the Euro Lights, there will be a good chance of getting caught?
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2001, 02:38 PM
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mbenz300E:
I also live in SoCal. I have been using them for about a year with no problem, and have seen several others with Euros. I keep the old US lights in case I ever get an 'equipment violation' ticket so I can swap back temporarily. Courteous use of the high beams helps minimize chances of 'official' attention.
Where abouts in SoCal? I am in south Orange county. If you want to see Euro lights and their beam patterns, you are welcome to look at mine.
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2001, 04:41 PM
mbenz300e
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I live in LA but work down in OC. Thanks for the offer. Where in Cal can I get euro lights and about how much do they cost? Thanks
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2001, 05:31 PM
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I don't know if FastLane carries Euro lights or not, but they would be worth a try. If they don't have them, then Impco/Performance products in Van Nuys (1-800-243-1220) shiuld have them for about $475 per set, which includes replacement indicator lenses (as do most of the vendors, for some strange reason).

On line, the best articles on aiming and wiring are at:
http://lighting.mbz.org/products/ They carry the lights, but you have to email for prices, I believe.

Other on line sources for Bosch/Hella units are:
http://www.mother.com/capitolwest/mercedes_exterior_accessories.htm#Euro Lights

http://www.bekkers.com/details.php3?EuropeanHeadlightsforMercedes

Used units taken from German 300Es are often available from:
http://www.europarts-sd.com/
They were about $300/pair, do not include new turn indicators, but usually have the vacuum servos for adding the in-car leveling control on the dash - An article was in the Star magazine a few issues ago on these lights as well.
There are lots of installation instructions in the archives, this is a pretty simple DIY project, especially if you don't care to keep the headlight wipers.
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  #8  
Old 06-11-2001, 06:53 PM
mbenz300e
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Everyone is charging 400+. Would just changing the bulb on the US lights be a good temporay solution? In the near future I would definitly get the euro headlights. If it is a good temp solution, would I still use the H4 lightbulbs or something else?
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2001, 07:31 PM
NikoE320
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Yes, just changing out the bulbs does make a difference. I searched different sites and this place is the cheapest. I got the PIAA 15660 headlights($52.95) and 15635 foglights($32.95). Both are the Super White platinum bulbs.
They don't have all info on their site, so just call them with the part #'s you want to buy.
http://www.accessconnect.com/

Go here and pick mercedes from the drop down search list. Will return all benzes and what bulb style you have.
http://www.nextcollection.com/html/light_bulbs.cfm
Don't buy from these guys, just use the page for the bulb info and car specs. They wanted $70 and I got them for $52 from accessconnect

good luck with the temporary solution
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2001, 07:44 PM
mbenz300e
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Thanks a lot for all the info. I appreciate it very much.

Nextcollection reference website doesn't seem to show bulbs for a '87 300E, the earliest they have is for '89. They are the 9004. Will those work on a '87?

The website and forum is great, been using it for only a month of so, but have learned so much. Thanks again.

[Edited by mbenz300e on 06-11-2001 at 06:51 PM]
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  #11  
Old 06-11-2001, 08:53 PM
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Yes, 9004 is the correct bulb for the US headlights on a '87 300E. And a price that is only 20% of the Euro lights is tempting. With these bulbs, you will usually see a whiter or more blue light with these Hyperwhite/platinum white/Xenon white bulbs, but several groups have tested them and found that there is actually less light being sent to the road, in some cases less than the stock factory bulbs! The yellow component of the light has been filtered out, so some of the light went away, and the filament was redesigned to send more light out the center, where they made their measurements. These tests (example: http://www.overboost.com/story.asp?id=102 )showed a slight increase in intensity in the center of the beam, and a disproportionate DECREASE in light for all other areas, and at distances over 50 feet. Others have noted that removing the yellow component makes the headlights noticeably less effective in the rain or fog.

The answer frequently sought is to use higher wattage bulbs. Some people have no problems with heat from these bulbs, while others have reported damaged wiring or connectors. The other complaints include short life spans for the bulbs, and the fact that 'blue light specials' seem to attract lots of police attention, as they are used a lot by the rice racer crowd.

The problem is that the US reflectors and lens focus light so poorly that adding brighter bulbs is like trying to turn a shotgun into a sniper rifle - no matter how much gunpowder or buckshot you add, you still won't have a sniper rifle, just a weapon where some of the shot may reach the target, but most will be wasted into space! Just my opinion, but there 'ain't no free lunches'!
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  #12  
Old 06-11-2001, 09:10 PM
mbenz300e
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hmmm...thanks for all the info on the PIAs...it doesn't seem to be a very good solution if the US headlight reflectors are poor and I don't get better lighting, just cool looking color. So there isn't any good temporary improvements? Then the way to go is the Eurolights with H4s?

If it seems that i'm sorta pesty please let me know, I just like to find out all I can for all my options before I go out and buy something. I'm just like that.

Thanks guys.
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2001, 12:31 AM
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You can try all sorts of band aids such as those that have been described here already, but you will wind up causing problems for yourself and will not get a meaningful improvement in light output. One of the important reasons for this is not the higher output bulbs, which are important in the correct installation, but the properly focused glass lenses (some 124s have plastic lenses, another good reason not to use high wattage bulbs) that put the light where you can use it. Wait a little longer and buy the euros. You can sometimes score a deal on ebay and through Hemmings, so keep your eyes open. I have flat glass Bosch euros in my euro 500SEL, and upgraded to 85/100 bulbs with no problem whatsoever from police. Since my car is a euro it has the vacuum control that allows me to lower my lamps to compensate for a car full of people, etc. (a very cool thing to add to your euro lamp install, cheap too) and with all the HID headlights around these days euros don't stand out like they used to. Get the real thing and you'll be glad you did.
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  #14  
Old 06-12-2001, 12:47 AM
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i believe the main factor contributing to the Euro-beam quality is the lens (of course there could be differences also with the reflector). Following is a comparison of a stock 190e headlamp lens (top) with the Euro lens.



the lens "flutings" determine how the light is spread. The finer the flutings, the wider the beam will be spread. Notice how haphazard the stock lens fluting patterns look compared with the Euro version.

the areas defined by the blue lines illuminate the low beam area directly ahead of the vehicle (the topmost part of the lens illuminates the part of the road ahead nearest the car). The bottom parts of these blue areas define the sharp horizontal cutoff of the low beam, which is designed to not glare oncoming drivers.

the area defined by the green lines illuminates the low beam areas to the sides of the road ahead, just enough to see objects on the curbside, for example.

the area defined by the red lines creates the asymmetric part of the low beam, which illuminates the road signs on the right side of the road. This creates the upswept part of the low beam - the "/" in "_/_/"

In my opinion, if you are looking for a quick fix, turn on your foglamps as auxiliary lighting for your low beam, but be sure to aim it properly for proper road illumination as well as to not glare oncoming drivers.

[Edited by bobbyv on 07-26-2001 at 09:16 AM]
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