Headlight upgrade options for the W166 ML350

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.

RockDriver

New Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2022
Messages
13
Location
London
Car
ML350
So obviously my halogen lights are so ridiculously bad, it's like one of those anecdotes where you have to actually check they are on.

I almost never use high beams, so I've been looking at upgrading my low beams. They are the standard lens projectors (or whatever you call them) that the W166 comes with.

I found these VLAND aftermarkets: 12-15 Mercedez Benz W166 ML-Class HID Edition 3th Gens Vland OE Styles Headlights Without Control Unit
They seem to be certified, but it doesn't say if you can swap the standard halogen headlights with them. I would assume so, because otherwise what's the point? They look exactly like the factory Xenons.

VLANDs are out of stock though, so because I have to take off on a long trip in a few days, I've been looking at the HID conversion kits and LED bulbs. LED bulbs seem to be a straight forward solution and if the right ones are used, apparently no dazzling is caused. Some retrofit LED bulbs are already certified in France and Germany as far as I know, so the legal adoption is spreading.

I was thinking about these or similar: Philips Ultinon Pro9100 LED H7 I PowerBulbs UK
Not sure if some sort of additional bracket is needed though. Also, some of these bulbs can trigger some CANbus error, whatever that is?

Anybody got experience with the above?

Ultimately I'd like to get my hands on the VLANDs though, but in the mean time I need some short term solution.
 
Without wishing to introduce a negative note to your post ( he says, about to do exactly that;) ), the VLANDS unlts you link to are LHD, and the Philips bulbs are for offroad use only and not UK road legal.
Your best best for a legal upgrade is a better halogen bulb, such as the Osram Nightbreakers.
 
Without wishing to introduce a negative note to your post ( he says, about to do exactly that;) ), the VLANDS unlts you link to are LHD, and the Philips bulbs are for offroad use only and not UK road legal.
Your best best for a legal upgrade is a better halogen bulb, such as the Osram Nightbreakers.
Pretty sure VLAND has RHD version as they seem to sell them to UK as well, it's just all out of stock now. There's also the genuine stuff, though much more expensive obviously: MERCEDES ML W166 A166 LED INTELLIGENT SET HEADLIGHT A1668207559 A1668207459 RHD | eBay Not 100% sure if these can be retrofitted.
 
This has been covered before, with the following rationale:

- Halogen-to-HID conversions are illegal in the UK, unless you also retrofit the auto-levelling system and the headlamps washers system (the latter requires, among other things, a complete new bumper), which amounts to an eye-watering cost, at the end of which you'll have a car fitted with... obsolete technology that has been superceded by LED.

- LED headlamps do not require auto-levelling or headlamps washer systems, however, no LED conversion is currently approved in the UK, and therefore all Halogen-to-LED conversions are currently illegal.

- Assuming that a full (and legal) HID retrofit is a non-starter due to cost, and given that both low-cost HID conversions and LED conversions are equally illegal, the logical choice is to do neither, or go for the LED.

(For the record, I recommend doing neither, and personally have only ever fitted Osram Nightbreaker bulbs as upgrade to my Halogen lights)
 
This has been covered before, with the following rationale:

- Halogen-to-HID conversions are illegal in the UK, unless you also retrofit the auto levelling system and the headlamps washers system (the latter requires, among other things, a complete new bumper), which amounts to an eye watering cost, at the end of which you'll have a car fitted with... obsolete technology that has been superceded by LED.

- LED headlamps do not require auto levelling or headlamps washer system, however no retrofit is currently approved and therefore all Halogen-to-LED conversions are currently illegal.

- Assuming that a full (and legal) HID retrofit is a non-starter due to cost, and given that both low-cost HID conversions and LED conversions are equally illegal, the logical choice is to do neither, or go for the LED.

(For the record, I recommend neither, and personally have only ever fitted Osram Nightbreaker bulbs as upgrade to my Halogen lights)
I think that the retrofit LEDs will get some form of legality eventually here in UK as they already have in some other countries.

Also I've always been curious what is the rationale behind HIDs needing washers? Is there an actual reason or just some outdated legal remnant?
 
RD is well up on the legalities because as he's found out there are more light bulb police on the two UK Merc forums than there is out on the UK roads .
 
RD is well up on the legalities because as he's found out there are more light bulb police on the two UK Merc forums than there is out on the UK roads .

The issue isn't with the police, the issue is that it's a domino effect. If you decide to go for an illegal mod, then you can't really declare it to your insurer, so now you've got an undeclared mod, that can potentially invalidate your insurance cover. Then, you may or may not need to swap the headlamps back before MOT time, plus you'll be potentially putting in trouble the car's next owner.

Of course, you can just say that I worry too much, and I am well aware that some people do lead their lives without a care in the world.... to each his own.
 
...Also I've always been curious what is the rationale behind HIDs needing washers? Is there an actual reason or just some outdated legal remnant?

Full explanation here:

 
RD is well up on the legalities because as he's found out there are more light bulb police on the two UK Merc forums than there is out on the UK roads .
I just did 300 miles today, but this time I was paying attention to the headlights and the number of LED and HID conversions is staggering. The cops would have to pull over and dissect millions of cars, you can't put this particular genie back in the bottle. Kind of similar situation like with the "illegal" electric scooters.
 
I just did 300 miles today, but this time I was paying attention to the headlights and the number of LED and HID conversions is staggering. The cops would have to pull over and dissect millions of cars, you can't put this particular genie back in the bottle. Kind of similar situation like with the "illegal" electric scooters.
How do you know that the headlights you are commenting on were illegal HID or LED conversions?
 
I just did 300 miles today, but this time I was paying attention to the headlights and the number of LED and HID conversions is staggering. The cops would have to pull over and dissect millions of cars, you can't put this particular genie back in the bottle. Kind of similar situation like with the "illegal" electric scooters.

Now that you mentioned illegal scooters.....:

 
How do you know that the headlights you are commenting on were illegal HID or LED conversions?
Most are not difficult to notice - reflectors are a dead giveaway and many projectors especially in lower tier cars that wouldn't have stock HIDs.
 
How do you know that the headlights you are commenting on were illegal HID or LED conversions?

I find that I get dazzeled by modern cars with bright headlamps (HID/LED), especially when they are coming uphill towards me, e.g. as I approach a hump bridge, because their bright headlamps that normally point downwards towards the road are now pointing straight at me. But in terms of HID or LED conversions... I am guessing that only a very tiny minority of car owners actually fitted them.
 
Now that you mentioned illegal scooters.....:

I mean, this one is a clear case of Karen, but the more important bit is this: "only scooters rented from an “authorised hire scheme” are allowed on public highways.". This is the kind of ѕhit the governments and corporations are pushing. Own nothing and be happy. Just imagine if all the cars belonged to rental companies and private ownership was outlawed. How would the honorable denizens of this forum feel about that?
 
I mean, this one is a clear case of Karen, but the more important bit is this: "only scooters rented from an “authorised hire scheme” are allowed on public highways.". This is the kind of ѕhit the governments and corporations are pushing. Own nothing and be happy. Just imagine if all the cars belonged to rental companies and private ownership was outlawed. How would the honorable denizens of this forum feel about that?

OK... but not really related to this thread....? :D
 
I mean, this one is a clear case of Karen, but the more important bit is this: "only scooters rented from an “authorised hire scheme” are allowed on public highways.". This is the kind of ѕhit the governments and corporations are pushing. Own nothing and be happy. Just imagine if all the cars belonged to rental companies and private ownership was outlawed. How would the honorable denizens of this forum feel about that?
The reason only authorised scooters are allowed is that they are registered, have position and marker lights for the safety of the rider and others and carry insurance.

There are organised trials taking place to see what else may be required to ensure the scooters, their riders and other road users are adequately protected

Some people (such as our ex Cleaner) thought they had a right to buy and use one on a public road and couldn't understand why the Police confiscated it and the Court handed down a significant fine plus 6 points on her licence for not having insurance.

Would you rather cars were allowed on the road without these features?
 
I think that the retrofit LEDs will get some form of legality eventually here in UK as they already have in some other countries.

Also I've always been curious what is the rationale behind HIDs needing washers? Is there an actual reason or just some outdated legal remnant?
Washing systems are required because of the relatively high light output and how it is focused within the light.

Excessive dirt can cause the light to be reflected in an uncontrolled way with the potential to cause glare to other road users.
 
The reason only authorised scooters are allowed is that they are registered, have position and marker lights for the safety of the rider and others and carry insurance.

There are organised trials taking place to see what else may be required to ensure the scooters, their riders and other road users are adequately protected

Some people (such as our ex Cleaner) thought they had a right to buy and use one on a public road and couldn't understand why the Police confiscated it and the Court handed down a significant fine plus 6 points on her licence for not having insurance.

Would you rather cars were allowed on the road without these features?
Here's the thing - there's nothing that much different from the so-called "authorized" scooters and privately owned. In fact, neither of them meet the current "motorized vehicle" requirements of this country - I'm talking about ѕhit like tail lights having to be at least 35 cm off the ground and so on. So right now you can't legally insure privately owned scooters or any scooters for that matter, because the laws would have to be changed for that.
 
Here's the thing - there's nothing that much different from the so-called "authorized" scooters and privately owned. In fact, neither of them meet the current "motorized vehicle" requirements of this country - I'm talking about ѕhit like tail lights having to be at least 35 cm off the ground and so on. So right now you can't legally insure privately owned scooters or any scooters for that matter, because the laws would have to be changed for that.
The construction and use regulations clearly have to be adapted for e scooters.

The ones you can hire come with insurance.
 
No offence meant, RD, but it seems to me that you are talking yourself into fitting some form of HID or LED conversion kit. You can - and obviously will - do whatever it is that you want to do... but there's really no need to find excuses or to try and justify it. The facts are there... now do as you please.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom