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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys - the Internet doesn't seem to have any reasonable information on what I presume isn't a 300C-specific issue, since Google returns nothing but links to forums chatting about aftermarket HIDs. Anyway.

I seem to be having the same issue on some level as these guys:


Our left HID blinks for a fraction of a second before reigniting, and it does this a few times over a few seconds. My right-hand HID seems to do this occasionally also. I'm going to check the connectors today to see if there's any sort of corrosion. The issue doesn't seem to be related to vibration, movement, rev amount or anything that I can see. I see it most against retroreflectors at night and in the reflection of the car in front, but it seems very intermittent. Not even heat related. The "off" period seems longer than the typical plasma failure before the ballast reignites it.

The bulbs were both changed 18mths ago, and we don't drive daily. That said, we have daytime running light laws here so we're not just firing them up at night. I'm going to check the connections and report back on any corrosion or anything else I can see, however it seems that this might just be a case of having to throw parts at it to see what sticks. The bulbs don't have any sort of poor colour cast, so I'm suspecting ballasts. Obviously this isn't a cents-part so any second opinions help me throw money more or less in the right direction.

The switch has been mentioned as a potential fault as well, specifically with becoming hot. I can't say that I've ever experienced this at all, and neither has my wife....to the point it's pretty much a definite "no...."! As is normal, people report faults when they have them and rarely feed back into solutions. Has anybody fixed this? If I manage to figure our issue out, I'll report back....

TIA
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Philips. I don't bother using cheap parts as they're a false economy; much the same as I wouldn't use anything but Valeo ballasts.
 
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As devilmaycare said, flickering is usually a sign of the HID buld on its way out. You could inspect the bulb capsules - the salts are usually slightly discoloured (yellowish / light brown). If there are any signs of burning / soot accumulation on the capsule wall, this is also a sign of impending failure.
If all looks well, that leaves you with the ballasts and the harness that connects the two.
If you decide to get new bulbs, another option is converting to D3S LED bulbs. These are significantly cheaper, whiter and as bright (if not brighter) than HID bulbs. I've switched to LEDs and in my opinion, these are better.Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! The bulbs aren't showing symptoms yet, however I'll remove them from the housing for a closer check once we get a cooler and less humid day. Also a good time to inspect and clean the connectors.

I haven't thought of switching to LED since their directional beamforming is completely different to short arc Xenon plasma discharge. When reflectors aren't designed for LED bulbs, they result in poor performance and at worst beams that dazzle oncoming vehicles. I'm unsure of the specific laws on LED retrofits, however I gather that they're not road legal unless OEM or designed with the reflector in mind. Do D3S LED bulbs specifically form the same sort of beam as HIDs? We get a lot of wildlife on the roads at night in Finland, and we absolutely have to get the most even bright road illumination possible (rather than hot spots) so we don't end up in a moose or deer! Cost generally isn't the factor unless it's throwing parts at a problem to see what sticks.

An odd thing that I noticed is that the HIDs don't seem to flicker on the electrics without the engine running. That might imply a vibrational issue, whether in a connector or even within the ballast electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting. I'll have to look into these further in that case. Common LED aftermarket kits are atrocious in terms of real performance thanks to beamforming creating hot spots (creating a perception of brightness) and large dim areas. That doesn't fly here both legally or for basic safety....we've avoided plenty of deer between here and Tampere on unlit roads, and my son has had moose a couple of times and I know people who have had cars destroyed in collisions on highway 8. When I lived in the UK, wildlife wasn't really a thing beyond say, deer around Beverley Westwood or badgers. Do you have any reference material on how LEDs perform with the lenses...? If they are bright, evenly-lit and legal then it's something I can table....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The overwhelming issues are that aftermarket LEDs in projectors still have the issues of a large rear heatsink and poor distance projection by comparison to HID. Not an option because of the safety issues and likely legality also. Will feed back when I check out the connectors and ballasts.
 

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Will feed back when I check out the connectors and ballasts.
Might be worth checking Front Control Module (FCM) connections, as FCM also plays a part in headlamps control:

Extract from Service Manual:

"• Minimizes voltage variations to the headlamps to extend bulb life and to equalize the light output from the lamps, which might otherwise differ due to variations in wiring resistance"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Will do, thanks! What I'd give for a covered garage and ramps right now....I didn't realise until yesterday that the ballasts are secured underneath each headlight unit, which in turn require bumper removal. Ergh!

It does feel like it's a ballast issue, but this very much seems to be a contentious subject that's pretty resistant to easy diagnosis. The one factor that seems to provide a clue is that the HIDs don't flicker until they've been on a for a while....leading me to think that it's heating in the ballast power transistor or whatever is used to switch the high voltage. I don't particularly want to spend time repairing ballasts, but it does seem to correlate with that sort of heat-related failure mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It seems that with HIDs, everything is pretty much always on the table. The easiest diagnostic of swapping ballasts and bulbs isn't 100% ideal given the location of the ballasts and the fact that this is very intermittent fault....when you want to observe the flickering, it just doesn't happen. Thankfully it's intermittent enough to have flown through inspection in June! When you're barrelling down a highway and see the retroreflective signs illuminating and darkening in front of you, or in the reflection of cars in traffic. Hmm. Safety alarms start going off in the mind.

Cheap standard Philips and Osram D1S bulbs are about €30-40 which is worth it for the test I think. Are there any known problems with mismatching bulbs, what with the FCM trying to "balance them out"? They currently have Philips Xtreme-Vision (so extreme, how 90s!) bulbs, which I think isn't that meaningful beyond them being a good "brand".
 

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I've only replaced my HIDs once in 16 yrs. I think they were Osram. The car isn't driven much, but headlights always on, even in daylight. Although daylight running isn't mandatory, many drivers seem to do it here. I would recommend replacing bulbs in pairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's mandatory here to the point that I've wondered how to convert to DRL with the low beams. Maybe leaving the light switch on "auto" and taping over the light sensor....!
 
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