W111 Headlight Upgrade Pt 1

After restoring the 250SE to the correct wheel trims, the next step is to fit the correct headlights.   The car is currently fitted with the stacked headlights.  These are often known as Americana headlights.   They are actually different to the USA style as they use halogens not sealed beams.  This style was a common extra on the V8 W111’s and later a popular after-market fitment on other W111, W112, W108 and W109’s.  While these are more popular than the original, I prefer the original style.  The question of which is the best W111 headlight is not easily resolved!

I had a box with the original headlamps for this car, but they were in a bad way.   I was able to get another used set to see if I make get one good set.    The 2nd set were in fairly good condition, but had the normal wear and tear with perished gaskets (one gasket to hold onto the car, and one to hold the glass on to the headlight unit), and marginal reflectors.    New gaskets and reflectors are available from Mercedes, but they are not cheap.    Luckily MB Spares can get them and they deliver from Canberra.

First step is to remove all the perished gasket material.


Next is to remove the glass so the 2nd gasket is accessible.   This is not normally needed as the bulbs are changed from the rear.   As these gaskets are not cheap or easy to come by, somebody in the past had used some kind of sealant on one headlight.  Luckily it was old and could be removed with a little care.

Sealant on Headlight

To remove the glass, there are six holders that swivel around on some kind of rivet.  I used a little penetrating oil to free the, and screwdriver to turn the (using the little slot).  From there the glass can be easily removed and the gasket revealed.   The condition of these gaskets are important as the reflectors will rust if they get wet too often.     With the glass removed, the condition of the reflectors can be ascertained.   Mine were in ok condition, but not great.   The ones on the first set of lights were horrible.   In any case, I will replace them.


With the reflectors inspected, the next step is to review the condition of the glass covers.  I had three pairs of these, a spare and one pair of each set of headlights.   They were very dusty, so a good washing revealed that they were all in good shape.


The surrounds were also cleaned, although they will need some polish to get them to where they need to be.

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