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W116 280SE warning lights ?

Started by Big Tiny, 22 May 2022, 08:08 PM

Big Tiny

A quick question to other W116 owners.

The standard arrangement appears to differ a fair bit regarding the layout an options, especially regarding the BRAKE light HAND BRAKE light, PAD WEAR indicator.

I have two 280SE w116, one is a parts car. One 1976, other is 1977, both RHD. One Australian Delivered, and one is UK.

Both have dash warning lights with separate HAND BRAKE and BRAKE warning lights. However only the HAND BRAKE warning lamp is illuminated, when either hand brake is engaged, or brake fluid reservoir is activated.

The BRAKE warning light seems redundant, and I cant figure out why its there, nor why it still has wiring and lamp connected at back of cluster.

I'm currently overhauling a cluster and want to make sure I get it right.

Also for the obvious, I have scanned through wiring diagrams, and they only show the HAND BRAKE (BRAKE) light as a shared warning light. Owners manual also the same.

Big Tiny

Big Tiny

Big Tiny

I've also attached a separate pic of a cluster from a 1974 280se which had the single brake warning light.


If I understand right, you're saying that the hand brake warning AND the hydraulic warning from reservoir AND wear sensors are all wired to the same light?  If so, that does sound odd indeed.  Now I'm curious, will take a look at the wiring diagram.  Cheers,
Now:  1976 6.9 Euro, 2015 GL550
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

Big Tiny

HAND BRAKE + Fluid level same light on left

Pad Wear indicator on right (separate) the 1974 had no pad wear as last pic above.

The far right lamp which is BRAKE doesn't seem to do anything, although has wires and lamp running to it.


To check the brake pad wearing light the easy way is to disconnect the female connectors and make a short circuit by using a small piece of wire then check the light on the instrument cluster. Left plug on your car is more accessible to do the test. The other plug is under the fusebox.
1978 280S

Big Tiny

Yes both of these plugs are as factory and left insitu and work accordingly.

Cluster is back in car now. all functioning as per with the redundant BRAKE light.

Big Tiny

This is for pure entertainment now as I have no intention of investigating any further however here are pics of the wiring and plugs from both a 1976 and 77 280se (BRAKE light) ??