2018 Ford F-150 Headlights
Projector Retrofit, Quad Retrofit, Switchback Halos, Switchback Strips
Hooray! This build makes me excited just thinking about it. It was for a good friend who has watched my headlight builds progress over time and, when he got his brand new truck, he knew that it was destined for my shop for a front-end makeover.
The 2018 F150 has several different headlight options available. The standard stock halogen housings (seen here) have horrendous output. The upgraded OEM LED headlight option is $2400 but perform significantly better and look kinda cool. There is also an aftermarket option available from Morimoto for $1500 that utilizes LED projectors, looks super cool, and performs extremely well. But if you want something one-off… something nobody else will have… and if you want the BEST possible lighting output… Well now that’s where I come in to play. The headlight build you’re about to see is competitively priced (relatively speaking) but will outperform all other options in raw light output. And I honestly think they look the best. But you be the judge! Let’s get started!
Stock setup and getting the headlights off of the truck:
Quick, let’s get these apart! No no, I’m kidding, these were anything but quick to take apart. In fact, they were the worst headlight opening experience I’ve had to date, officially beating the Porsche Cayenne. Luckily I don’t quit easily.
A quick comparison between the OEM halogen bulb setup and the upcoming Morimoto MD2S assembly. The test rig was also built to confirm rotational orientation.
Obviously there is going to be a huge improvement in light output and control. The first step is to get these MD2Ss mounted properly in the upper reflector bowl and trim the shrouds appropriately. Client chose the Ocular shrouds, which were particularly interesting for this build due to their odd oval shape and the trapezoidal shape of the housings. They trimmed down all the same and fit quite nicely.
Next step was to install the Profile Hi-Lens high beam LED projector in the high beam reflector bowl. These things have a DRL mode where they illuminate white and behave as a super bright LED spotlight when activated. Same deal down here: trim the same ocular shrouds to fit and get em snugged up in place!
Putting the reflector bowls back into place with the new equipment:
Now came time to install the switchback strips. This was my first time cutting strips to length (sketchy sketchy). To add another factor of concern, they would be mounted on a chrome surface in full plain view, so no adhesive or holes for wiring could be visible. That’s cool, no worries, I got this.
Fully assembled and testing the DRL circuit before installation on the truck. The Hi-Lens and the strips illuminate as intended. It looks super cool.
The backside of the headlight housing properly capped and sealed to prevent moisture penetration.
And officially installed on the truck now!
Real fun sidenote tangent about Fords (apparently 2012 and up) that I learned on this install. All low current wiring such as the running lights and blinkers are controlled via the BCM and do not like to be tampered. This only becomes apparent when the engine is running though. So although everything functioned normally during testing with the truck in the bay, once I took it out for the test drive, I no longer had running lights or blinkers. Oops. So I had to relay isolate all the aftermarket equipment from the factory circuitry to get everything running properly. For the record, you could also use a solid state relay to get the same result but I didn’t have any on hand. All good in the hood! So let’s check out this new amazing looking running light circuitry: dual switchback strips, DRL HiLens, and a switchback LED bulb installed in the turn signal location!
Another fun side note worth mentioning: Those are the Morimoto XB LED fog lights installed. Man I love those things.
Ready to see the blinker in action? The HiLens is the only thing that remains white during turn signal operation. The strips and the LED bulb both go amber and it looks SWEET.
Okay okay, so all the glitz and glamour aside, how do these things actually perform at their intended objective of seeing at night? WELL, I’d say about friggin amaaaazzziiiing.
Low Beam & High Beam output shots below!
The client later came by for a round two of more options. I replaced the amber reflector with clear reflectors and added halos to the shrouds. Check out the video below for this remodel: