So I’ve done a handful of research lately on halogen and Xenon lights. Below is a basic summary of my findings when investigating (and eventually buying) replacements for my stock Halogen headlamps in my 2006 Mercedes C55 AMG.
Disclaimer: I pulled this together from bits and pieces here and there. I do not claim to be an authority on lighting, but I think most of this is reasonably accurate.
Info about Xenons
- HID = High-Intensity Discharge (for purposes of this doc, HID == Xenons)
- HID Kit == Xenon Bulb (mine are size ‘D2S’ for low beam, H7 for high beam) + Ballast + Wiring.
- If you already have headlamps with HIDs or are replacing the bulbs in an existing HID with a different color / temperature you do NOT need a whole new kit, just new bulbs.
- Higher temperature == more color and less light
- Stock color / temp is 4300Kelvin. 5000Kelvin is a brighter white, 6000K starts to look a bit blue and 8000K is getting fairly blue. I went with 8000K
- HID kits are generally a bit flaky, but are very cheap
- Stock halogens are 35W, and to avoid complications its not a bad idea to stick with 35W if your upgrading to Xenon. If the ECU notices a different power draw from the headlights it might throw errors.
- Mercedes should be coded from Xenons (via STAR / ODBII computer systems) to avoid error codes.
- If you have halogen lamps you can take out the halogens, buy an HID kit and be good to go, total cost of upgrade on the order of a couple hundred bucks (2-300) TOPS.
- HOWEVER — You could also replace the whole headlamp assembly, which has several advantages:
- Stock halogen headlamps do not use projector lenses. Projector lenses look significantly better with Xenons than the traditional ones.
- OEM Xenon headlamp kits come with their own ballast etc. which is generally more reliable than a HID Kit.
- Mercedes OEM Xenon lamps have leveling motors etc, which is a nice to have but a bit gimmicky.
- I bought a used OEM Xenon assembly from a friend on mbworld.org — going to install them later this week. Hoping for the best!