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  #1  
Old 12-30-2007, 10:08 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Deary, Idaho
Posts: 158
w210 headlight snafu

Well, I'm 'bout at my wits end with the OEM headlights in my 96 E300D. Initially, I had some leakage when I first bought the car... it looked like a tropical rain fWell, I'm 'bout at my wits end with the OEM headlights in my 96 E300D. Initially, I had some leakage when I first bought the car... it looked like a tropical rain forest in the enclosures and the light output was feeble (to say the least!) I also found that he wiring's insulation was severely cracked (but there is no replacement wiring harness that I have been able to find.)

I found that the problem with the light output was due to faulty and cheap bulbs as well as poor alignment. I have since replaced all the bulbs with the Sylvania H7 bulbs (WOW!!! what a difference!) but I am still having problems with leakage when ever there is a slight bit of rain!

I have taken both light assemblies out and sealed around the lenses with silicone sealant and around the back cover and the front/back joint in the housings with silicone grease. The result is that there is still leakage whenever it rains!!!!

I have had both assemblies out (going on) 5 times now! As sure as I am about having sealed them (each time), they still leak!!!

I am open to suggestions at this point. Is there a replacement that will give me great lighting, won't leak, and won't cost me a fortune (too much to hope for?) From what I've heard, the projection avenue is a lousy alternative. If anyone knows how to keep the damned OEMs from leaking, I'll entertain re-seal # 6 (though this won't solve the cracked insulation problem!)

Thanks in advance!

-l-

__________________
'84 300d turbodiesel (83K miles)
'96 300d (226K miles)
------------------------------------------------
other fine diesels...
'99 Polaris diesel (Fuji Heavy Industries single)
'01 Diesel Trail gator (Yanmar triple)
'95 John Deere 970 (Yanmar quad)
'11 BMW 335d
'12 VW Jetta TDI

****************************************
'00 BMW K1200LT
'02 BMW R1150RS

'15 BMW R1200GSA

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  #2  
Old 12-30-2007, 10:12 PM
Carson357's Avatar
www.stonebrew.com
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 1,116
Quote:
Originally Posted by landev View Post
Well, I'm 'bout at my wits end with the OEM headlights in my 96 E300D. Initially, I had some leakage when I first bought the car... it looked like a tropical rain forest in the enclosures and the light output was feeble (to say the least!) I also found that he wiring's insulation was severely cracked (but there is no replacement wiring harness that I have been able to find.) I found that the problem with the light output was due to faulty and cheap bulbs as well as poor alignment. I have since replaced all the bulbs with the Sylvania H7 bulbs (WOW!!! what a difference!) but I am still having problems with leakage when ever there is a slight bit of rain! I have taken both light assemblies out and sealed around the lenses with silicone sealant and around the back cover and the front/back joint in the housings with silicone grease. The result is that there is still leakage whenever it rains!!!! I have had both assemblies out (going on) 5 times now! As sure as I am about having sealed them (each time), they still leak!!! I am open to suggestions at this point. Is there a replacement that will give me great lighting, won't leak, and won't cost me a fortune (too much to hope for?) From what I've heard, the projection avenue is a lousy alternative. If anyone knows how to keep the damned OEMs from leaking, I'll entertain re-seal # 6! Thanks in advance! -l-
i am sure a little more water may not hurt, have you tried submersing them in a tub or something quickly and seeing where the bubbles come from?
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Last edited by Carson357; 12-31-2007 at 04:43 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2007, 07:19 AM
Parrot of Doom's Avatar
1997 W210 E300TD 243,000
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 983
These lights are so well sealed they shouldn't leak anything.

Take them out, take them apart, and see where the leak is. Here are pics of mine, to aid you:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/tom.jeffs4/car%20stuff/merc%20tech/headlamp%20renovation/

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  #4  
Old 01-01-2008, 12:26 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 574
I changed my reflector unit over to a projector based headlight design several
years ago. I gutted the atrociously designed Taiwan halogen projector and
grafted in a bixenonprojector from an E55. I used a salvaged Hella gen3 ballast
purchased off Ebay. The results were amazing. Beam 2-3x better than halogen
and the cutoff precise with no indications of unwanted glare (not suprising since
it was an OEM HID projector). I just started another one of these retrofits
but using Audi RS6 bixenon projectors...but the project is slowing down since
I'm experimenting with electroluminescent cabling to see if I make it unique
w/o detracting from the classic German heritage.

As a result, I have the OEM take-off headlights available if you want. Unfortu-
nately, shipping is kind of steep and probably will run $30 even if into the next
state. $160 shipped if you're interested. I have pics ready. No leakage on
these 6 yr old units. About 75% condition. Lens in very good shape, ie no
obvious pits, scratches and oxidation. Rubber rand intact. Reuse your old
bulb holders as I reused a couple for my project.

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47 34'N 122 18'W
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  #5  
Old 01-07-2008, 12:10 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Deary, Idaho
Posts: 158
Parrot... I've had the lights completely disassembled 6 times. The last time, I ran a bead of silicone around where the lens meets the housing... still leaks! I have just (as a last resort, ran silicone around where the front of the housing meets the rear (in addition to the factory seal). It will be a real project to get the enclosure apart again, but I am at the point where, if it doesn't seal this time I will probably just chuck the damned things and get some other headlights.

As it hasn't rained here (only snow (Oh Joy!)) since my last sealing attempt, I'm not sure if the problem has been solved... will have to wait for warmer weather.

Raymond... I am interested in your OEMs, but am currently at a dismal point in finances due to my having to replace glowplugs (and assorted broken bits along the way) and my blower fan regulator. I really love the way this car drives and the feel of quality, but it seems that I've been dumping about $300/month in repairs. I'm hoping this will taper off as time goes by, else I will proably be forced to sell the beast!

-l-
__________________
'84 300d turbodiesel (83K miles)
'96 300d (226K miles)
------------------------------------------------
other fine diesels...
'99 Polaris diesel (Fuji Heavy Industries single)
'01 Diesel Trail gator (Yanmar triple)
'95 John Deere 970 (Yanmar quad)
'11 BMW 335d
'12 VW Jetta TDI

****************************************
'00 BMW K1200LT
'02 BMW R1150RS

'15 BMW R1200GSA

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  #6  
Old 01-07-2008, 01:14 PM
Parrot of Doom's Avatar
1997 W210 E300TD 243,000
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 983
Well you obviously have either:

1) something missing
2) hole in something
3) incorrectly assembled

I was very impressed with mine, they are incredibly well sealed.

You do have the rear cover on, don't you? The cover that is secured from one side with a big metal clip, which you open to gain access to the bulbs?

I wouldn't mind betting that water is hitting the lens, riding up to the top/sides, getting into the seal, running down the seal and finding a hole that lets it into the lens.
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  #7  
Old 01-07-2008, 02:22 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Deary, Idaho
Posts: 158
The covers are in place and I went over all the seals with a 4X magnifier to try to figure out where the water might be getting in. Each time I removed the lights, I noticed that the rubber bezel that goes around the entire enclosure seems to collect and hold water along the bottom of the lens. I noticed that the lens looked like it may no be completely sealed to the body of the enclosure, hence the silicone treatment. I guess, once I have some time, and if they still leak, my last ditch attempt (prior to replacement) should be submerging them in the bathtub.

Hopefully, I won't have to take them out a 7th time!

Thanks!

-l-
__________________
'84 300d turbodiesel (83K miles)
'96 300d (226K miles)
------------------------------------------------
other fine diesels...
'99 Polaris diesel (Fuji Heavy Industries single)
'01 Diesel Trail gator (Yanmar triple)
'95 John Deere 970 (Yanmar quad)
'11 BMW 335d
'12 VW Jetta TDI

****************************************
'00 BMW K1200LT
'02 BMW R1150RS

'15 BMW R1200GSA

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  #8  
Old 01-07-2008, 09:46 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 574
landev-

since you've pulled it apart several times now, youre right, it may be more
labor intensive to seal. all the old silicone may just be getting in the way.
of course, we're presuming that water entry is only (?) via this seam,
although I'm not believing that all other possibilities have been ruled out.

suggestion to consider: there is Nissan butyl sealant which is a gray, non
drying putty which can be rolled out and stuffed into the groove. sofens
when heated, and molds into the contours. if you have easy access to
Nissan dealer, I can get you part#.

after this is done (or even if not) continue by replacing outer lens. then (!)...

use windshield sealant. it is more viscous than your generic RTV silicone.
after windshield sealant has dried, then go with thicker RTV silicone.
the rubber rand just helps the water coming from the road but really not
expected to keep all water out.

i'm sorry to learn that you've had to spend so much. car ownership should
be fun and not a wallet killer. if you continue to have problems with the
lights, email me for more ideas. r-
__________________
-- raymond~
47 34'N 122 18'W
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2008, 05:53 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Deary, Idaho
Posts: 158
Thanks Raymond... Once it warms up enough for water to be in a liquid form here (and provided I have resolved my other mechanical issues by then) I will be in a better position to see if my last sealing job worked. Thanks for the tip on the Nissan sealant. I may pick some up should I have more leakage, but will probably consider replacement instead (depends on cash flow.) I'm still quite interested in your OEMS... perhaps when $ frees up a bit I will see if you still have them available.

Thanks again!

-l-

__________________
'84 300d turbodiesel (83K miles)
'96 300d (226K miles)
------------------------------------------------
other fine diesels...
'99 Polaris diesel (Fuji Heavy Industries single)
'01 Diesel Trail gator (Yanmar triple)
'95 John Deere 970 (Yanmar quad)
'11 BMW 335d
'12 VW Jetta TDI

****************************************
'00 BMW K1200LT
'02 BMW R1150RS

'15 BMW R1200GSA

Reply With Quote
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