W210 headlight lens replacement
We replaced the seriously oxidized OEM headlight lenses but retained the original housings on our W210 1999 E300TD Mercedes “executive” class sedan.
When the plastic headlight lenses on newer vehicles become seriously clouded - they diminish the effectiveness of your headlights, and make the front end of your vehicle look prematurely old - while your paint still otherwise glistens.
At this point, you have about five choices:
(1) polish and recoat your lenses yourself ~$20+ US plus several hours DITY time
(2) pay a shop to do that ~$200 on up
(3) replace the lenses on your OEM housings with new lenses ~$160-$200 plus one hour DITY time
(4) replace your headlight modules with a conventional bulb or HID aftermarket projector beam/halo headlamps ~$160-$800 and several hours DITY time or
(5) replace the entire headlight modules with new OEM units ~$800-$1,000 in parts and ~30-45 minutes DITY time.
Due to serious time constraints we elected to locate a (new) OEM style new left/right lens cover set to replace our existing, substantially oxidized, lenses.
Forum and Internet postings indicated quality issues with inexpensive eBay-type replacement projector headlamp sets and the cost of quality conventional projector and HID sets were more than we wanted to invest in our nice, safe, but commuter duty vehicle.
W210 Lens replacement is an easy, deliberate job. Finesse and GENTLE manipulation of plastic tabs is needed to avoid unnecessary damage to fragile plastic clip elements which would spoil the successful completion of this task.
A short video on Youtube (and also on this forum’s W210 DITY links) explains the ten (10) total fasteners that must be removed, to remove both W210 headlamp housings and associated trim, is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atv1zg2G85g
Parts Needed --- Set of new OEM style replacement headlamp lenses. We sourced ours from Auto Lamps Plus of Tamarac Florida via EBay for ~$156 US shipped in Feb 2010.
Tools needed --- Phillips head screwdriver, flat head screwdriver (for gentle prying), couple of 1 inch putty knife for prying (a couple of disposable nylon putty blades are handy too), nut driver for hex screws and flanged nuts, large Channel lock type pliers to assist in compressing lens/housing gasket and engaging each lens retaining clip. Some terry towels are useful to prevent scratching of paint and new lens as you remove and work with the lenses/modules.
View the video before removing the headlamp modules/trim. For each headlight, there are two screws in the lower headlamp fascia piece, and two screws and one wide flange nut that attach each headlamp module to the auto (see video). It is NOT necessary to remove the headlamp connector wiring as there is more-than-enough play in the wiring bundles to move the headlamp modules clear of the fender sufficient to replace the lenses. Also there is NO need to remove fascia trim piece weather stripping (as shown in the video), you can gently swing the fascia pieces (with weather stripping attached) out of the way - tape them in place if desired/necessary.
Total Time --- 1 hour working deliberately and carefully. Removal of headlamp modules is as easy as it gets for this lens swap out. It took us ~30 minutes to remove the headlamp clusters, and another 30 to remove and replace the lens covers. You need to remove and reuse the fascia retaining spring clip from the front center of your old lenses. They friction fit into the same slot on your new lenses and provides a mounting point to the center fascia retaining screw. Re-installing the newly “re-lensed” headlamp modules is the reverse of their removal. As a finishing touch, be sure to re affix the inboard weather-strip flap that is integral to the headlamp surround weather-stripping.
Lens change out ---A word of caution --- the lenses are held on by thin but wide retaining clips that are integral to the headlamp bodies these clips can be brittle on an older car so be gentle with them and don’t over flex them. Flex the tabs only enough to disengage and later re-engage the retaining tabs on the lens perimeters.
Use a narrow putty knife or wide flat-head screwdriver blade to disengage the retaining clips from the old lens covers – be careful not to break the perimeter retaining clips as they are all required to tightly hold on the new lenses and compress the stout lens gaskets that prevent moisture from entering the headlamp interiors and spoiling the reflective coatings.
Note --- There is one relatively fragile guide/alignment pin top center on the lens set that mates with a guide hole top center in the headlamp body. This helps align the lens to headlamp body - if you inadvertently snap one off as we did that’s OK you can still properly align the retaining tabs without it.
When done with your task, look at the huge improvement in the appearance of your W210’s front end and on your next night time drive, note the improvement in headlight illumination!
In closing - thanks to all the patient and generous folks that take the time and effort to post/share info on this Mercedes forum! https://mbworld.org/forums/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif