How to replace headlight level sensor / ride level sensor for w212 E350 (no air suspension)

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

MrGreedy

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 13, 2020
Messages
2,255
Location
Here and there
Car
E350 CDI
Hi Merc fans,

I've got a crack on the ball joint linkage arm of the rear level sensor that controls xenon headlight level. I bought some replacement links only, but on removal of the links/sensor on the rear passenger side (above the drive shaft) I can see that there is a crack in the sensor housing itself where it holds the securing nuts, and the balls of the ball joints are super corroded and rough. Despite a lot of trying to fettle these up, there is too much corrosion to give a smooth surface for the replacement arms.

So given the failing sensor housing, I was just thinking about replacing the level sensors, but I need some help please.

1. Are there sensors on both sides at the rear, or is it just one on rear passenger side wheel suspension linkage, and one on front driver's wheel suspension linkage? Because all it needs to understand is the pitch of the chassis to auto adjust the dipped beam? Does anyone have the part numbers for all the level sensors for my 2011 w212 E350 please, or suggestions for new units other than the £400 ones that Merc charge for?

2. Having put everything back together today, this evening my headlights are way to high, so I've disturbed something. I did fully disconnected the level sensor and unplug. I assume whatever this is, it would also be the same issue if I installed a new level sensor. How do I reset the xenon headlights to the correct level? Can I do this with iCarsoft?

3. Everything could be removed fairly easily except the plate (and associated ball joint) that connects to the upper rear suspension arm. I could remove what appeared to be the single securing nut for the plate (pics below), but the plate appeared welded on to the upper suspension arm from how much it wasn't budging. Seeing as this plate and associated ball joint comes with a new level sensor, is there something I'm missing in removing it?

Securing nut removed from back of plate with ball joint
1000012496.jpg

Front of plate with ball joint that I just cannot budge/remove
1000012495.jpg
 
Sorry, bumping in the hope of some help or helpful guesses... 🤞

@Jobsworth

Apologies for shamelessly linking you in; you are a mine of useful information and tips. Thank you in advance if you have any suggestions.

The only thing I can think of is either removing the upper suspension arm and getting medieval with it (heat, drilling, 5lb lump hammer) to remove the old ball joint plate, or replacing the upper arm along with a new ball joint plate that comes with a new sensor.
 
Last edited:
Rear Left Upper LEMFÖRDER Rod / Strut 36250 01


You can make out the two holes in the arm where the ball joint plate should sit.
The Right hand equivalent arm (36251 01) also has the two holes depicted, but this could be for ease of manufacture rather than confirming there is a level sensor on the rear driver's side.
 
There is a level sensor both sides on cars with air suspension. Steel sprung cars only have one. It’s possible to flip the arm over I think, so you may have done that and that’s why the headlights are high. Or the sensor has died from being disturbed. The brackets are often corroded in place. Dousing with penetrating fluid will help and judicious wiggling back and forth. I have used a bit of heat to get them out before, but be bloody careful because you are near fuel tank and other bits of flammable stuff. You’ve taken the nut off. The other bit is just a locating pin.
 
Thanks Jobsworth.

I'll douse with penetrating fluid and leave until the weekend.

Failing that, would you recommend removing the upper arm for better access/purchase/leverage/hammering ability? The subframe was replaced last month (as is hinted at by the fresh black paint finish on the subframe) so at least one end of the arm has come off recently so I'm hoping it shouldn't be too difficult to remove and work on it on the bench.
 
This is what happens when one of the worlds oldest (and in the past) very prestigious car manufacturers pushes a steel screw through a hole drilled in aluminium that they know full well will be exposed to all sorts of 'weather' . :doh:

Heat and violence are your friends in this fight. I have something like this in my workshop 'flame' ****nal , creates a very intense pointed flame (with MAPP gas) that can be accurate targeted , as Jobsworth says , mind the fuel tank ! . I often see people on YouTube using basically a plumbers gas torch to heat stuff up while working on cars and always think ' what bit is that bloke actually trying to warm up ? the nut , the bolt ? or the whole frigging assembly ?

 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom