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Thread: Front Headlight Upgrades

  1. #1
    Member sluggish91's Avatar
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    Default Front Headlight Upgrades

    Hello again Grand Marquis guys and gals.

    I wanted to ask the community if anyone has upgraded their factory style front headlights with some newer style LED lights.

    By just doing a google search on "85 Grand Marquis headlights" I came across a few different options on a website called topgearautosport.com, don't know if anyone has dealt with that provider before.

    Also, has anyone done LED bulbs in the taillights, and if so which ones would I need?

    Thanks everyone.
    1985 2-Door: CFI, K&N Filter, Edelbrock Performer 289 Intake, E7 Heads, BBK Shorty Headers, Summit H-pipe, Hooker Max Flow Mufflers, E-Fan, 3G Alternator, Race Crank Pulley, Bilstein Rear Shocks, KYB Front Shocks, Front Lowering Springs, FTI 2400 Stall Converter, PA Performance Valve Body, Motive 4.30 Gear, Eaton LSD Differential - I own quite possibly the fastest CFI powered box to the 1/8th mile: 9.95@68.89mph
    1991 4-Door (Dad's Car): Pro-M EFI, 306ci, Ford Racing Aluminum Heads, COMP XE264HR cam, Cobra 1.7 Rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM 2 Intake, 30lb. Injectors, Custom 65mm TB/EGR Spacer, Pro-M 75mm MAF, BBK Ceramic Shorties, Custom Summit H-pipe, Walker Mufflers, ASP Crank Pulley, Jegs Built AOD, 3000 Stall Converter, Ford Racing 4.10 Gears

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    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Can't say I've done anything with LED headlights, just the tails.

    Small anecdote, but I usually recommend a relay upgrade first and make sure the lamps are actually aimed where they belong. I've found many sealed beam cars with lights aimed in no useful direction, which implies and LED will just be as lousy. Well aimed lamps make a world of difference.

    And one last step before swapping to LED, E-Code lamps with the fluting on the face (not on the back of the reflector housing) are also pretty decent. They use an H4 lamp, you just have to change the pins on the connector a little to get the Hi/Lo feeds correct.

    Obviously, the choice is yours. Hopefully someone familiar with them chimes in.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1986 Dodge D-150 Royale SE (112K Miles) - Awaiting TorqueFlite
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (230K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

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    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    I changed mine to Led headlights on my 88 Lincoln Town Car. I love them, bright as hell. I paid about 210 CDN for them. I got them from Amazon.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1995 Lincoln Town Car Executive Series: "Albert" my daily driver
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (loved it) - R.I.P.
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

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    Member sluggish91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome Wolf View Post
    Can't say I've done anything with LED headlights, just the tails.
    Could you point me towards what type of bulbs you used for the rear taillights?
    1985 2-Door: CFI, K&N Filter, Edelbrock Performer 289 Intake, E7 Heads, BBK Shorty Headers, Summit H-pipe, Hooker Max Flow Mufflers, E-Fan, 3G Alternator, Race Crank Pulley, Bilstein Rear Shocks, KYB Front Shocks, Front Lowering Springs, FTI 2400 Stall Converter, PA Performance Valve Body, Motive 4.30 Gear, Eaton LSD Differential - I own quite possibly the fastest CFI powered box to the 1/8th mile: 9.95@68.89mph
    1991 4-Door (Dad's Car): Pro-M EFI, 306ci, Ford Racing Aluminum Heads, COMP XE264HR cam, Cobra 1.7 Rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM 2 Intake, 30lb. Injectors, Custom 65mm TB/EGR Spacer, Pro-M 75mm MAF, BBK Ceramic Shorties, Custom Summit H-pipe, Walker Mufflers, ASP Crank Pulley, Jegs Built AOD, 3000 Stall Converter, Ford Racing 4.10 Gears

  5. #5
    Member sluggish91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayenne View Post
    I changed mine to Led headlights on my 88 Lincoln Town Car. I love them, bright as hell. I paid about 210 CDN for them. I got them from Amazon.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    Nice upgrade there Shayenne, that is kind of what I was thinking of doing on my 85 except maybe a chrome housing. The black looks sharp on the black Town Car though. Were those headlights a simple remove and replace ordeal or did they require any special relay upgrade like Kodrachrome Wolf mentioned?
    1985 2-Door: CFI, K&N Filter, Edelbrock Performer 289 Intake, E7 Heads, BBK Shorty Headers, Summit H-pipe, Hooker Max Flow Mufflers, E-Fan, 3G Alternator, Race Crank Pulley, Bilstein Rear Shocks, KYB Front Shocks, Front Lowering Springs, FTI 2400 Stall Converter, PA Performance Valve Body, Motive 4.30 Gear, Eaton LSD Differential - I own quite possibly the fastest CFI powered box to the 1/8th mile: 9.95@68.89mph
    1991 4-Door (Dad's Car): Pro-M EFI, 306ci, Ford Racing Aluminum Heads, COMP XE264HR cam, Cobra 1.7 Rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM 2 Intake, 30lb. Injectors, Custom 65mm TB/EGR Spacer, Pro-M 75mm MAF, BBK Ceramic Shorties, Custom Summit H-pipe, Walker Mufflers, ASP Crank Pulley, Jegs Built AOD, 3000 Stall Converter, Ford Racing 4.10 Gears

  6. #6
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    LEDs generally should draw less power than the stock lights. It's probably still a good idea to do the relay, but I've switched to LEDs on my car without and it's worked out so far.

    It's important to be aware of the beam pattern and aim of your headlights when switching to something much brighter. Sealed beams and I believe most DOT conversion reflector housings throw a lot of light up high, which is one thing when you're using a halogen, but could be a hazard to other drivers when it's an LED. The custom units like what Shayenne posted ought to have a good cutoff since they were designed for LEDs. For more stock-looking headlights, the E-code/ECE housings have a much better cutoff than DOT. Although with any housing designed for an incandescent or halogen filament, the relatively thicker LED bulb will produce a somewhat compromised beam pattern since the light source isn't exactly where the housing expects it to come from.

    I'm using Bosch ECE housings from eBay. With the headlights off they look stock, unless you're really looking and spot the LED bulbs.



    As I mentioned before, beam pattern isn't perfect, but I believe I got it to a point where oncoming drivers aren't blinded while my own visibility has improved dramatically.





    If you do go the conversion housing route and not some all-in-one replacement, picking the right LED bulbs is another challenge. I found www.bulbfacts.com to be a great resource. They have charts for all headlight types, and the LED chart breaks down things like quality of beam pattern, color temperature, noise (which is something you wouldn't think of), etc. I think I went with Techmax bulbs, which I felt were the best bang for my buck, but there are probably better products out now at all price points.

  7. #7
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    I didn't use a converter or anything like that. Pretty much plug and play, but there is a small change you gotta do to make the low beams work. It is just switching a wire out on the plug. No biggie. Don't ask me which one though (I forgot) it will be in the installation description.
    And I did have to use the grinder and cut off some "nipples" from the back of the housing on the Led headlight to make it fit into the housing.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1995 Lincoln Town Car Executive Series: "Albert" my daily driver
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (loved it) - R.I.P.
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

  8. #8
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    Alignment and beam pattern are key with bright lights. What I like to do is drive another car towards my upgraded vehicle to see just how good/bad they new bulbs are after I set the alignment. You will expect some additional brightness but the beam should certainly not hit an oncoming driver in the eyes.
    Last edited by jaywish; 01-18-2022 at 12:43 PM.
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, Blue Fuzzy Dice
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
    08 Escape Limited V6 Auto, Beamtech LED headlight bulbs,

  9. #9
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggish91 View Post
    Could you point me towards what type of bulbs you used for the rear taillights?
    Essentially these: Amazon Link

    I’m running a similar style set in my ‘97 and they’ve been working good for a long time. Only thing you might have to do is change your turn signal flasher if you’re using an original 323 or 325 flasher. The lack of load from the LED won’t cycle it.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1986 Dodge D-150 Royale SE (112K Miles) - Awaiting TorqueFlite
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (230K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

  10. #10
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    You will likely need an electronic flasher. There are many types available. Some require a 3rd wire and some have adjustable speed and some click louder than others. I can't put my finger on the one I used in the Marauder right now as it is away for the winter but I think it is this one. It needs any ground for the pigtail iirc. I needed this because I changed all exterior bulbs to led with the exception of the CHMSL which I left incan as the cruise control uses the resistance of these bulbs to function properly. They can be replaced with leds that have resistors but I did not bother.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/141586901963 This may be what I used for Marauder.
    Last edited by jaywish; 01-18-2022 at 01:36 PM.
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, Blue Fuzzy Dice
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
    08 Escape Limited V6 Auto, Beamtech LED headlight bulbs,

  11. #11
    Still Wrenchin'! friskyfrankie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome Wolf View Post
    Essentially these: Amazon Link

    I’m running a similar style set in my ‘97 and they’ve been working good for a long time. Only thing you might have to do is change your turn signal flasher if you’re using an original 323 or 325 flasher. The lack of load from the LED won’t cycle it.
    Which flasher do you recommend?

  12. #12
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    EL12 flasher is what I used in my cars. Fits fords no issue and no third wire. You may need to clearance the cover a bit as it's taller than the stock one, but I think it fits in boxes no problem.

    You WILL need to use a resistor to get it to flash properly.

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  13. #13
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    I am pretty sure that for no resistor you use the one with the added ground. I don't believe the Marader had a cover fitment issue.
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, Blue Fuzzy Dice
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
    08 Escape Limited V6 Auto, Beamtech LED headlight bulbs,

  14. #14
    Member sluggish91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutrova View Post
    LEDs generally should draw less power than the stock lights. It's probably still a good idea to do the relay, but I've switched to LEDs on my car without and it's worked out so far.

    It's important to be aware of the beam pattern and aim of your headlights when switching to something much brighter. Sealed beams and I believe most DOT conversion reflector housings throw a lot of light up high, which is one thing when you're using a halogen, but could be a hazard to other drivers when it's an LED. The custom units like what Shayenne posted ought to have a good cutoff since they were designed for LEDs. For more stock-looking headlights, the E-code/ECE housings have a much better cutoff than DOT. Although with any housing designed for an incandescent or halogen filament, the relatively thicker LED bulb will produce a somewhat compromised beam pattern since the light source isn't exactly where the housing expects it to come from.

    I'm using Bosch ECE housings from eBay. With the headlights off they look stock, unless you're really looking and spot the LED bulbs.



    As I mentioned before, beam pattern isn't perfect, but I believe I got it to a point where oncoming drivers aren't blinded while my own visibility has improved dramatically.





    If you do go the conversion housing route and not some all-in-one replacement, picking the right LED bulbs is another challenge. I found www.bulbfacts.com to be a great resource. They have charts for all headlight types, and the LED chart breaks down things like quality of beam pattern, color temperature, noise (which is something you wouldn't think of), etc. I think I went with Techmax bulbs, which I felt were the best bang for my buck, but there are probably better products out now at all price points.
    I like these headlights too. I think I will end up going with something like this, something simple that still looks factory but updated from the old yellowish lights. Are these the ones with the H4 lamps?
    1985 2-Door: CFI, K&N Filter, Edelbrock Performer 289 Intake, E7 Heads, BBK Shorty Headers, Summit H-pipe, Hooker Max Flow Mufflers, E-Fan, 3G Alternator, Race Crank Pulley, Bilstein Rear Shocks, KYB Front Shocks, Front Lowering Springs, FTI 2400 Stall Converter, PA Performance Valve Body, Motive 4.30 Gear, Eaton LSD Differential - I own quite possibly the fastest CFI powered box to the 1/8th mile: 9.95@68.89mph
    1991 4-Door (Dad's Car): Pro-M EFI, 306ci, Ford Racing Aluminum Heads, COMP XE264HR cam, Cobra 1.7 Rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM 2 Intake, 30lb. Injectors, Custom 65mm TB/EGR Spacer, Pro-M 75mm MAF, BBK Ceramic Shorties, Custom Summit H-pipe, Walker Mufflers, ASP Crank Pulley, Jegs Built AOD, 3000 Stall Converter, Ford Racing 4.10 Gears

  15. #15
    Member sluggish91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome Wolf View Post
    Essentially these: Amazon Link

    I’m running a similar style set in my ‘97 and they’ve been working good for a long time. Only thing you might have to do is change your turn signal flasher if you’re using an original 323 or 325 flasher. The lack of load from the LED won’t cycle it.
    Thanks for the link on these, I'm going to give these a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaywish View Post
    You will likely need an electronic flasher. There are many types available. Some require a 3rd wire and some have adjustable speed and some click louder than others. I can't put my finger on the one I used in the Marauder right now as it is away for the winter but I think it is this one. It needs any ground for the pigtail iirc. I needed this because I changed all exterior bulbs to led with the exception of the CHMSL which I left incan as the cruise control uses the resistance of these bulbs to function properly. They can be replaced with leds that have resistors but I did not bother.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/141586901963 This may be what I used for Marauder.
    Thanks for the link on the flasher. I'll end up using this flasher once I install the rear LED's Kodrachrome Wolf suggested.
    1985 2-Door: CFI, K&N Filter, Edelbrock Performer 289 Intake, E7 Heads, BBK Shorty Headers, Summit H-pipe, Hooker Max Flow Mufflers, E-Fan, 3G Alternator, Race Crank Pulley, Bilstein Rear Shocks, KYB Front Shocks, Front Lowering Springs, FTI 2400 Stall Converter, PA Performance Valve Body, Motive 4.30 Gear, Eaton LSD Differential - I own quite possibly the fastest CFI powered box to the 1/8th mile: 9.95@68.89mph
    1991 4-Door (Dad's Car): Pro-M EFI, 306ci, Ford Racing Aluminum Heads, COMP XE264HR cam, Cobra 1.7 Rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM 2 Intake, 30lb. Injectors, Custom 65mm TB/EGR Spacer, Pro-M 75mm MAF, BBK Ceramic Shorties, Custom Summit H-pipe, Walker Mufflers, ASP Crank Pulley, Jegs Built AOD, 3000 Stall Converter, Ford Racing 4.10 Gears

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    I installed Philips Integral Beam H4656 and H4651 in my 88 Lincoln. The Philips LED H4656 is low beam only but it has a third wire so stays on with high beams. The new beam output is cool white, very wide, and the cutoff is very sharp. I'm happy with them but they are rather boring. I got them on eBay for around $100 a lamp.

    Here is a video I took driving with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulhlJORhSjw

    There is a very expensive LED lamp by Holley called Retrobright (they want $200 a unit / $400 a pair / $800 for all four) that replaces H4656, they support low/high beams, and they most interestingly come in 3000k that matches the hue of Halogens, and they use lens fluting to control the beam so it mimics sealed beams. If they existed when I was in the market I'd have bought two to replace my outboard low/highs and kept my inboard Sylvania Halogen high beams.

    This is Holley's page on the retrobrights: https://www.holley.com/products/exte.../parts/LFRB120

    Their comparison image with the original sealed beam seems disingenuous since I remember my sealed beams being very bright, just not as wide as LED beams.
    Last edited by aharonLTC; 01-18-2022 at 08:25 PM.

  17. #17
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    LED can be an H4 bulb using an H4 or similar housing or can be a new led based housing. With Led it could be a replaceable bulb in a housing or an integrated housing with incorporating an array of emitters permanently installed.
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, Blue Fuzzy Dice
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
    08 Escape Limited V6 Auto, Beamtech LED headlight bulbs,

  18. #18
    Carthago delenda est Lutrova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggish91 View Post
    I like these headlights too. I think I will end up going with something like this, something simple that still looks factory but updated from the old yellowish lights. Are these the ones with the H4 lamps?
    Yes, these took H4 and H1 bulbs, or in my case LEDs made to be roughly equivalent. The trouble is they're hard to come by. I picked up 3 Bosch and a Hella for $90 a year ago, but a quick search on eBay today isn't showing anything in the used market. Autopal, an Indian manufacturer, makes a similar housing, but I'm not confident it's any good.

    The only lead on this replaceable-bulb style housing that I'm currently aware of is through Daniel Stern - danielsternlighting.com. He seems to have a stock of pricey ($180/pair) but quality housings. He's also definitely not in favor of using LEDs in them, but at the end of the day it's your car.

  19. #19
    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayenne View Post
    I changed mine to Led headlights on my 88 Lincoln Town Car. I love them, bright as hell. I paid about 210 CDN for them. I got them from Amazon.
    Could you post a photo at night pointed at a wall or so? I'm curious to see how the beam pattern looks. I almost pulled the trigger on a similar set, but not knowning how it throws the lights had me stop myself.

    Alex.

  20. #20
    Member Shayenne's Avatar
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    I don't have a picture of the lights at night. At the moment the car is in storage without the battery...

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    1995 Lincoln Town Car Executive Series: "Albert" my daily driver
    1988 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series: "Don Vito Corleone" my Summer Cruise
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2004 Grand Marquis LS: "The Boss" with floor shifter (loved it) - R.I.P.
    1997 Crown Victoria: "Victoria, the Armadillo" R.I.P.
    2003 Lincoln Town Car: "Nikkatello" - R.I.P. (Miss you the most)
    1995 Grand Marquis: "Gustavo Gonzales, the dirty Mexican" - R.I.P.

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