Ford Transit USA Forum banner

Anybody upgrade there Headlights yet?

88364 Views 208 Replies 69 Participants Last post by  Blueburger99
Wondering if anybody has upgraded there Headlights yet? If you did what route did you go? Riding home in the rain tonight the stock system leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Van Safe,
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 10 of 209 Posts
Sorry to bump an old thread, but has anyone made the leap with a HID replacement for headlights yet? I bought a kit and was about to try it myself, but I chickened out after reading all the negativity associated with HID conversions. Up here in Alaska, almost every other car has one, and a lot of them are not set up properly and blind the piss out of you on the road. Given how high up the headlights are on these vans, I didn't want to blind oncoming traffic.

The low beams on the Transit are just dismal. I hate that I have to look down at the dash to make sure they are on at times. I was thinking now of going with just a brighter conventional bulb and trade out some of the longevity.

I'm also looking at upgrading the taillights to LEDs. I see that carid website listed above has options for this. Has anyone tried that yet too? There's a lot of mud and grit on the roads up here, and that tends to get all over the van, partially obscuring the taillights at times. I want to make them brighter.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I'm a little hesitant to add anything to the front like that if I can help it. It does look nice what you have setup there, but I was looking for something a little cleaner and simpler, using the factory headlights.

I agree though that a HID on a reflector style headlight is not a good idea. I almost did that but then thought better after being on the receiving end of that nonsense way too many times to count. It's quite literally blinding at times, even as high up as I am in this van.

I do appreciate the advice though. I will probably pull the trigger on some LEDs for the taillights and just a brighter halogen for the headlights. If anyone develops a complete swap of the headlight assembly though to make them HID, I'll be all over that.
Count me in as an interested party as well. If you do decide to do that, please let us know how it turns out.

So I pulled the trigger on a set of LED lights for the high and low beams. And **** what a difference they make. The projection pattern is fairly good since the diode only emits light upward into the reflector, which then radiates out in a general downward pattern.

I just gotta lower the headlight aim a bit to get it back in line with the stock halogens and I'm all set. I'll post pictures when it's all said and done. Overall, having LEDs back and front really gives the van a much crisper appearance.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I got my all LEDs from one place. Very great customer service. I had to return a few bulbs because I got Can Bus compliant ones when I didn't need them for the side running lights. They flicker on and off because there is no can bus management for those particular bulbs.

My Backup Lights:
(Also my turn/brake and front headlight turn signal. You want amber for front turn and red for rear turn/brake.)

Low-Beam Headlights:


Mirror Turn Signal:

Side Running Light:

Annnnd License Plate:

I meant to take pictures tonight of the headlights, but I ended up working too late. Since I need to pull the headlights to swap out the side-marker bulbs, I'll take em tomorrow after finalizing the beam adjustments.
  • Like
Reactions: 3
Here's what the LEDs look like. Quite a crisper appearance than those shoddy halogens.

The van is on a steep driveway, which makes the beam pattern seem higher than it really is. I'll admit that my inner idiot made finding the adjustment screw for pointing a difficult task. The diagram in the owner manual is not entirely accurate. Also took me a little longer after I did find it to find the right size Philips screwdriver that would slot into the gear to turn it. Being that it was also hovering around 0 temperature-wise didn't help either.

The lights are probably pointed a tad too low, but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Overall I am very happy with these LEDs. The high beams are something unto themselves as well.


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
Thanks for posting pics!
I am going to do exactly what you've done for sure once I get my wagon, it looks excellent!
I noticed your engine block heater plug exposed, how does it work for you?
Is it worth the extra $75?
So far I haven't really noticed a benefit for any temps above 0. But I still plug it in whenever it dips below 20 because it supposedly makes for a more eco-friendly startup. It's definitely worth having if you live in Alaska. I'd say worth the $75 to have just in case. You never know where you'll end up.


EDIT: Don't forget to get resistors! You need to wire in resistors to simulate the current draw of a halogen bulb. I had a little trouble making sure those were mounted where they don't touch any plastic or paint. They get hot, very hot. I made the mistake of touching one after adjusting the aiming and burned my finger. From what I understand, if you don't have the resistance the cam bus expects to see, the van will give you a headlight out message on the dash... at least I think it will. I didn't try the headlights without the resistors to see if this was true or not. Just assumed that would be the case.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Yes, thanks for the pictures, those look great. What was the installation process like? Easy? Difficult?
Considering, before I attempted this, I had no prior experience at all with anything like this, it was a mildly difficult process. The hardest part was splicing in the resistors for the turn signals (front and back). If you're interested in just the headlights, the resistors for those are plug and play and can be purchased with the headlights from the site I purchased mine from. Very easy to hook up.

However, finding a safe place to mount said resistors also tripped me up. These suckers get hot quick. I was very surprised when I burned my finger. You cannot let them touch plastic, or rubber. It will melt when contact is made. So I ended up using zip-ties and some metal brackets to suspend them along the support as shown in the image attached. It's not pretty, but I was limited in tools and what I could accomplish. If I manage to find time and the proper tools, I will probably fashion a mounting bracket.

The first attempt of securing the resistor without that metal plate shown resulted in the hard plastic starting to melt. I thought it would be good enough, and I was wrong.

Lessons Learned:

  • This goes a lot better with a second person helping. (Turn Signal Advice) The resistors I purchased had very short wire leads, and trying to make the splice while manhandling the headlight/taillights and such was not easy alone (I had to keep the light hooked up because there is some guess and check work with finding the correct wires). Also I recommend getting extra wire and some wire nuts to give you more room to properly mount them.

  • Don't bother trying to do the bulb swap with the headlight still attached to the van. Just unscrew the two star bolts holding the lens in and pull forward to the front of the car (it will give you a bit of resistance but will come out with a pop). There's only two wire bundles that need to be disconnected and then you're free and clear to take the lens inside and change the bulbs out at your leisure.

  • Oh, did I mention you need a star wrench for this? Yes, you need a star wrench for this. Although the star bolts also have a slot for a flat head screw driver. Still, a star wrench made things so much easier.

  • (For Turn Signals Only) If you use the splicers provided by the website, it will take some trial and error making the splice, as the wires love to slip out of the plastic housing. Definitely advise two people to do this part, as it gave me the most heartburn. They come pre-greased with dielectric grease too, so it gets a bit messy. Ford doesn't really help you identify which wires are the hot, intermittent, and ground, so you will probably have to guess and check by splicing and then plugging the lens in to test it out. I'd pull the brake lights off to check which is which, but I'm afraid the splices will come out.

  • (Turn Signal) A hyper-blink means the car doesn't see the resistor and you need to try again.

  • The resistors get hot. Mount them to a metal plate and away from plastic or rubber.

  • The actual LED headlight install is simple as can be. Just remove the rubber cap (gotta dig your finger nails into the edge to get purchase) on the back of the lens and twist the halogen bulb assembly until it unlocks. Then slide out and replace with the LED, twisting back the other way once you slot it in to lock things in place. You will have to keep the rubber cap (I guess used to keep mud and dirt off the wires) off though because the LEDs come with a cooling fan assembly on the back to dissipate heat.

  • You want to make sure the Low-beam LED is facing up in the housing. This ensures that most of the light bounces off the top of the reflector and down so that you don't blind other drivers. There are key slots in the housing hole that will help you insert the bulb and lock it in the correct position.

  • You will need to adjust the headlights down after installing the LEDs. They do a good job of limiting unwanted light radiation, but still end up pointing slightly up. The adjuster for this is located on the outside back of the low beam housing. To adjust, insert a Phillips head screwdriver down from the top into the small hole and turn clockwise or counter-clockwise to adjust up and down. There is no horizontal adjuster. I parked in front of my garage door about two feet away and dropped the beams about 6 inches from the initial point of measurement.

  • The LED headlights come with a power module and connectors. It's all plug and play for that with special prongs to ensure you don't plug the wrong thing into something else. This includes the resistor. Also the low beam assembly is slightly bigger than the high beam, and does not fit in the high beam. I only realized this after fumbling with the wrong LED for about 20 minutes trying to twist it in. You can see the final look in the pictures attached for both bulbs.

  • Make sure you have plenty of beer on hand. :)

Does the led website sell the resistors as well or did you go to a different source?
I understand the reason for a resistor, but have no idea how to install, is it more complicated than the directions that come with the resistors or would it be easy to follow the instructions that come with the resistors (if they even are included)?
They do. When you select a bulb to add to the cart, they give you a warning that states the bulb will probably need a resistor, with a link to add the correct one to your cart. There's also some guides on the site that help explain what resistance you need and why. (i.e. doing one bulb as opposed to two, etc etc)

If you're just doing the headlights, the resistors are plug and play, and are designed specifically to complement the LED headlights. You still need to find a safe place to mount the resistor though.

If you do the turn signals, you need to splice into the existing wires, which basically installs the resistor in parallel with the circuit. Fairly straightforward, albeit awkward given the short wire leads they give you. I have 4 (6 ohm) in total in my install, two for the front blinkers and two for the rear lights. Without them, you will get hyperflash when the turn signal is engaged as the can bus assumes you have a light burned out.

Hope that helps!


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 4
Hoping one of our Canadian members can provide an assist?

In the U.S. the headlights don't come with the daytime running lights installed from the factory. (an always on feature) Not required by law, I guess in the U.S.

In Canada, they are required, from what I have heard.

Need someone in Canada to get the Canadian parts # for a headlight assembly having daytime running lights as factory equipment. And cost.

If anyone having knowledge if the two parts, U.S. and Canadian, would be interchangeable , would be a bonus.

Thanks in advance.

Semper Fi
I'm not sure if this is entirely accurate information, but this webpage breaks down all the bulb part numbers and shows that the daytime running light is the same part number as the high-beam headlight.

Specification: 9005. I checked this in the owner's manual on page 222 and it seems to correlate this data.
I am all about more visible. I recently bought the sylvania 3057 led for rear tails/brake catalog says amber? not true white bulbs. leds tail markers are not as bright as oem, they only go in one way, then they also do not activate on braking. info i have found is leds are one line visibility only. oem tails rely on reflector disperse low watt light, leds cannot do this and. leds do not have the projective strength. at $22 for leds that are less bright and incapable, they appear to be a worthless up grade
A few things I've learned with my LED install:

  • If you are installing LEDs in a red taillight housing, you want a red LED light only, not white. This, so I've been told, is because less light gets filtered out if you have the red versus the white.
  • LEDs also vary in brightness. There should be a measurement of lumens to indicate how bright they are. Typically I've seen that more LED diodes = brighter light. My taillight LEDs are about 240 lumens. This is much brighter than the stock bulb by far.
  • LEDs also only work in one direction when you seat them in the connector. If the light does not work when you hit the brakes, pull them out and reverse them in the connector.
  • The LED I use has diodes all across the circumference and the front face, so that all angles of illumination are covered. It does a much better job at getting your attention than the OEM bulb ever did.
See less See more
1 - 10 of 209 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.