Friday, July 16, 2021

LX470 On-board Air

After the drawer system was done, I felt that the rig could use a compressor system. I had a couple of components for air at home so I set out to plan for that. I wanted to utilize the space under the flaps on one side just to maximize space so set out to do that. 

First I laid out the tank and compressor to see what works best as far as layout, clearances etc. 

With the measurements of the components in place traced out the floor and the sides. This would make it completely removable and going to integrate the straps etc. to hold the onboard air in place as well. Pics below shows the platform I came up with.

The platform was clearanced and fits perfectly under the flap.

With the platform clearanced, positioned the compressor and tank for it's final location.  

The mockup and mounting of components. Created a wiring harness utilizing a switch, a pressure switch, a relay and an automatic reset trip fuse. I wanted the setup to work only when the car is on and the switch is on as well. When the tank reaches 150psi the pressure switch turns the compressor off, when the tank falls to 120psi the pressure switch turns the compressor on. All the wires are soldered, heat shrunk where needed and used tech flex to clean up the wiring. 

There are three wires to unplug and the whole unit is removable. Power, Ground and ignition trigger.

All the components mounted.

Dismounted everything and then carpeted the platform to match the drawer system.

Platform carpeted and everything mounted.

This is the other end of the harness that will get wired to the car. 

Unit mounted and strapped down using the same straps holding the drawer system down as well. 

Used one of the tank holes to mount a pressure gauge and another with a safety coupler to attach an air hose and fittings.

Everything fits nicely under the flap. 

Happy with how everything turned out. 

                                                                                                                -AJ Abraham

Monday, July 12, 2021

LX470 Park Light & Turn Signal Light mod

 This might be pointless to some but I didn't like how the top corner lights was just park lights and the turn signals were down next to the fog lights. I was going to upgrade the headlights and fog lights to white and I wanted the park lights in the corner lights to be white as well to match. At the same time I wanted to use the corner lights to be amber turn signals as well and the turn signals in the bumper next to the fog lights to be amber turn signals and amber park lights. 

To start I wanted to clean up and smooth out the fog lights which was definitely showing its age. Sanded the fog lights using 600, 800, 1200, 2000 and then got them cleared using PPG's 2K Clear.

With the fog lights looking fresh, I ordered the clear corner lights as well. 

The fog lights and the corner lights from factory come with a two pin connector. For what I want to accomplish the two pin connector needs to be converted to a three pin connector to use a dual filament bulb. 

Parts List:
For the socket that goes into the corner lights and the fog lights:
Toyota part: 90075-60060 x 4
For the connectors to go into the sockets you can either go OEM: 
Toyota part: Housing connector (3 Prongs): 90980-11020 x2
Toyota part: Terminal Repair (for insert into housing connector) - 82998-12440 x 12
Aftermarket Toyota style connector: Corsa-technic - TS090-3S-6
Bulbs needed:
Light Bulb (Dual Filaments): Sylvania 7443 x2
Switch back LED: 7443 x 2

Now to test and note what control what on the connector. For this I just used a 12V battery to power and test the connectors.

Below is the wiring schematic for the connector.

With the schematic figured out, I created a harness to integrate into the factory wiring. Everything is soldered, heat shrinked and used techflex wire loom for a clean look. 

The white wire coming out of the harness I made goes to the park light side trigger of the harness. This white wire I spliced into the green wire which is the park light signal on the factory harness. The yellow wire on my harness goes to the the turn signal side trigger of the harness. This yellow wire gets spliced into the green wire on the factory fog light harness. The ground black wire from my harness goes to the white and black wire on both ends of the factory harness. 

I left the factory connectors and wiring in place just incase the mod needed to be reversed. All the wiring was soldered, heat shrunk and taped up where needed.

This is what it looks like with the park lights on now. White up top and amber at the bottom.  

With the turn signals on, both top and bottom blink amber. 

Happy how it turned out, now I just need to figure out what I want to do for the headlights and fog lights.

- AJ Abraham

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Pre-Facelift (2008 - 2011) Mercedes W204 C300/C350 Conversion to Facelift (2012 - 2014) C250/C300

Since I get asked this so often, I will be explaining the process for converting your pre-facelift 2008 - 2011 Mercedes C300/C350 W204 to the facelifted 2012 - 2014 C250/C300 model.  In this first article, I will just focus on all the parts you need for the front-end conversion.

For the most part, I am not going to list part numbers or pricing because it varies and really depends on where you're buying it.  There are OE replacement parts that will work and will save you money, so you don't always have to buy OEM parts, which is much more expensive.  When I did my conversion, I bought all genuine MB parts because OE replacement parts weren't really available and nobody had ever done this conversion in the US before, so I had to figure a lot of this out by myself and didn't want to chance getting things that didn't work.  Now, there are plenty of viable options that can save you money, so this conversion is very affordable.

Also, if you want to take the easiest route, there are folks selling the 2012 - 2014 C63 Style bumpers that comes with everything you need.  I personally do not like the way those bumpers look, so I didn't go down that route.  If you want the sport bumper look, here's what you will need to do the conversion:

Parts you'll need

1) 2012 - 2014 Front Bumper
Important Note:  Make sure you get the Sport Bumper. There's also a Luxury style bumper that is different with totally different components.  So when buying parts, just double check and make sure everything you're buying is for the sport front bumper.  I made this mistake and it created quite a bit of confusion and hassle sending things back.  The bumper should look like this:

2) Bumper Lower Grill

3) Daytime Running Light (DRL) LED - Left and Right Side (L/R).  Try to buy this as one package with the backing mounts, grills and chrome decorative moldings.  I made the mistake of buying all these parts separately from Mercedes and it wasn't cheap.  Also, make sure you're buying it for the 2012 models, not the 2011 models. In 2011, the bumpers stayed the same but went away from fog lights to DRLs before the facelifted models were released.  I actually don't know if they are the same in shape, but I would say to make sure you're buying for the 2012 bumper, it's better to be safe than sorry.

4) DRL Electrical Connector (x2) - MB Part #: 211-545-13-28 
Try to find the connector with wires already attached (I've seen them on ebay), the MB ones don't have wires in it so you have to add pins and wires yourself (which is kind of a pain).  The connector looks like this.
These weren't available when I did my conversion, but try to find the pre-wired connectors.  They look a bit different, but they'll fit:

5) 25v Capacitor (between 50 - 100 uF) - You'll need 2 of these, one for each DRL to get rid of error codes from going from halogen bulbs to LEDs.  If you don't know how to wire up a capacitor, it's easy, just wire it in circuit with positive to positive and negative to negative.  See example below.  One note, for me, I taped it up with electrical tape and then heat shrink over it and more tape to make sure no water got to it.

6) Front Bumper Upper Support Brackets - You'll need this in order to mount everything properly and for stability.

7) Front Bumper Lower Reinforcement - I didn't have this at first and the bumper was very flimsy without it.  The bumper is very thin, so although you don't absolutely need this, it's highly recommended.

8) Side Markers (L/R) - Make sure you buy this with the black mounting bracket.

9) Headlights (L/R) - For me, I bought the OEM bi-xenon headlights at first, but struggled getting the wiring to work, so I ended up just using the Depo replica headlights.  It looks exactly the same, just doesn't have the Mercedes badging.  One good thing about the Depo headlights is that it's only 5 wires to deal with, as opposed to 10 wires w/ the OEM bi-xenon headlights.

10) Headlight connectors (x2) - You have a few options, you can find the pigtail connectors that plugs into the headlights (easiest option), or you could do what I did and just bought universal connectors and make your own harness.  When I did my conversion, these weren't really available, so I had to make one using the wiring diagrams for the headlights.  Now, I think they are more readily available and will save lots of time.

11) 2012 - 2014 W204 Hood - I would recommend getting the Black Series style hood with the vents in them for the best bang for your buck.  However, any hood for the regular 2012-2014 W204 models would work, except for ones specifically made for the C63.  If the hood is for the C63 models, don't buy it, it won't fit because it's wider.

*One note is that if you don't want to change out your headlights and hood, you don't have to.  The facelift bumper will still fit, but it will have a gap around the headlight area.

Parts you don't need because they stayed the same across all W204 models:
  • Fenders
  • Front Grill
  • Hood Components
    • Hood Emblem
    • Hood shocks & Bracket
    • Hood lining & tabs & bumpers
  • Reinforcement Bar