02-05 Thunderbird headlights LED

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Bird52

Active Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2004
looking to upgrade to LED headlights.
Can anyone recommend some and tell me how they look and the visibility change?
thanks

MODERATOR NOTE:
Just an FYI putting LED headlights in halogen housings is illegal in many places, and forum members have reported lawsuits with accidents where parties were found partially at fault for replacing halogen bulbs with LEDs.
 

Nitpicker

Active Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2004
looking to upgrade to LED headlights.
Can anyone recommend some and tell me how they look and the visibility change?
thanks
LED bulbs are brighter, use less wattage, last longer. Changed all exterior & interior bulbs to LED, but one caveat -- Tbird headlamp reflectors are designed specifically for halogen bulbs, so LED lamps won't give safe and proper dispersion/aim/coverage. Too, they are so bright some states outlaw them. I got great headlight improvement by switching to PIAA "Xtreme White Plus" halogen bulb HB5 (9007), purchased online websites like Amazon.

LED bulbs are brighter, use less wattage, last longer. Changed all exterior & interior bulbs to LED, but one caveat -- Tbird headlamp reflectors are designed specifically for halogen bulbs, so LED lamps won't give safe and proper dispersion/aim/coverage. Too, they are so bright some states outlaw them. I got great headlight improvement by switching to PIAA "Xtreme White Plus" halogen bulb HB5 (9007), purchased online websites like Amazon.
Only buy and use "CANBUS ERROR FREE" LED light bulbs as they have resistors built into the units, and the lights will go out when you turn them off (no faint glow 24/7).
 
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Skizix Savage

Mountain Shadow Gray Metallic Over Bright Tan
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2003
LED bulbs are brighter, use less wattage, last longer. Changed all exterior & interior bulbs to LED, but one caveat -- Tbird headlamp reflectors are designed specifically for halogen bulbs, so LED lamps won't give safe and proper dispersion/aim/coverage. Too, they are so bright some states outlaw them. I got great headlight improvement by switching to PIAA "Xtreme White Plus" halogen bulb HB5 (9007), purchased online websites like Amazon.


Only buy and use "CANBUS ERROR FREE" LED light bulbs as they have resistors built into the units, and the lights will go out when you turn them off (no faint glow 24/7).

What specific factor causes my LED lamps to glow after power is cut off? It would seem intoitive to me that no power = no light. Is this a drain on the battery?

Also, although switched off, my map lights not only have an “afterglow,” but they remain ON for the entire drive, day or night! This is true of the footwell lights, too. Shouldn’t the map and footwell light turn off as they did with the old incandescent lights’ habits?
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2003
Headlights were changed to LED - auxiliary lights left in just to illustrate the difference. The brightness of the auxiliary's are obviously less, but the color is what makes most of the difference in usable visibility when upgrading to these. I got mine on Amazon from a seller called "NAO" - I've used 4 sets on 4 different vehicles all with positive results.

(my old man photo-bombed this shot)
 

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Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2005
I'd like your opinion now that you have had the LED headlights for awhile. As you drive, Do you really have more light and see better OR do the LEDs just offer a whiter light but not brighter? If the latter is the case than the LEDs do make your car more visible to other drivers which is probably good too.

What the brand name & their part number for the LEDs you installed. Are they available in walk-in stores or only on line?
Please respond, trying to learn more.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2003
I'd like your opinion now that you have had the LED headlights for awhile. As you drive, Do you really have more light and see better OR do the LEDs just offer a whiter light but not brighter? If the latter is the case than the LEDs do make your car more visible to other drivers which is probably good too.

What the brand name & their part number for the LEDs you installed. Are they available in walk-in stores or only on line?
Please respond, trying to learn more.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076P5H7TW/?tag=thunderbirdforum-20 <= these

There is a noticeable difference in terms of brightness and clarity compared to standard bulbs. They make street signs "pop" like HID's do, and the usable light pattern is leaps and bounds better. Most of these are online only as your retail places generally carry traditional bulbs from Sylvania, however I've noticed some are carrying the turn-signals in LED versions (without load resistors which are almost always necessary to ensure the blinker relay doesn't go crazy).
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1957
I have replaced my 2003 Thunderbird's Headlights with GTR Ultra Gen 3 9007 LED bulbs and they are BRIGHT!!! Not cheap, but bright. I couldn't fit the retaining ring around them that holds the traditional Halogen 9007 bulbs in, but they pressed into the headlight housing pretty tight .. so I'm hoping that is secure enough to hold them .. so far, so good. I also replaced the lower lights 3457 bulbs with the VLEDS 3157 Switchback LED bulbs ... and they shine white when the lights are on, and turn amber when the turn signal is on. Finally I got rid of those horrible Fog light bulbs and put in JDM ASTAR Extremely Bright 2000 LED bulbs. Awesome outcome ... and much better lighting at night.47689427_10217901500268293_8047717502278434816_n.jpg48046819_10217901499428272_4687664084382908416_n (1).jpg48358477_10217901499908284_4274861471755665408_n (1).jpg
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2003
Just purchased my dream car since they came out. A 2003 Convertible Thunderbird.
It is like new throughout except the headlights have that yellow haze to it. I have googled and found nothing that I trust for some nice aftermarket headlights that are bright and clean looking maybe with the led lights in it to give a newer look to it.
Any suggestions as to where to go for something like this?
Thanks for taking the time to read this and suggest :)
 

Bubblehog

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Thunderbird Year
none
Just purchased my dream car since they came out. A 2003 Convertible Thunderbird.
It is like new throughout except the headlights have that yellow haze to it. I have googled and found nothing that I trust for some nice aftermarket headlights that are bright and clean looking maybe with the led lights in it to give a newer look to it.
Any suggestions as to where to go for something like this?
Thanks for taking the time to read this and suggest :)
The old headlights will obscure a lot of the output of any lamp in the crazed plastic instead of passing it through. I have a 2005 that had spent its whole life parked outside when I bought it in 2018, and the headlamp assemblies were in bad shape from all the years of UV exposure. The best thing to do is buy a new set of headlamps rather than try to spruce up old ones. My own are TYC aftermarket units that cost about $70.00 each and fit exactly like the original Ford units. They came with new Sylvania Halogen bulbs. They are easy to change out- you need a 10mm wrench for the one nut on each, and a pair of pliers to get a grip on the two steel clamps on the back of each headlamp, and a small (5 mm, if I remember) wrench and a nice blank wall to aim them after replacing them. If you plan to do any work on the car, I recommend the shop and wiring manual on CD-ROM from eBay. There is a 2003-04 version covering all Fords for $12.99 here.
 
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biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 9, 2003
Thunderbird Year
2005
I'm still sorting through the many (many) offerings on Amazon - and the broken English - to find LEDs that will work. I did note that these Auxbeam's say that they have "built-in canbus to avoid error codes". Only $29.99.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKM8R4D/?tag=thunderbirdforum-20

Your headlight housing is designed for halogen lamps, so most of the LED lights that are cheap like that are not going to work safely or properly in your housing you need something like this-
https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...e-tennessee-area-to-test-led-headlights.7203/
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2003
Thank you for the info. I did purchase OEM new headlights. Now to find a great bulb. In this forum and there are many different versions. When I go to Smart bright, type in yr make model it brings up OEM bulbs. I want to make sure what I purchase will fit right in as far as aftermarket bulbs go. any suggestions? Id like to stay under $100 for 2 headlight bulbs :)
 
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Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2005
I have replaced my 2003 Thunderbird's Headlights with GTR Ultra Gen 3 9007 LED bulbs and they are BRIGHT!!! Not cheap, but bright. I couldn't fit the retaining ring around them that holds the traditional Halogen 9007 bulbs in, but they pressed into the headlight housing pretty tight .. so I'm hoping that is secure enough to hold them .. so far, so good. I also replaced the lower lights 3457 bulbs with the VLEDS 3157 Switchback LED bulbs ... and they shine white when the lights are on, and turn amber when the turn signal is on. Finally I got rid of those horrible Fog light bulbs and put in JDM ASTAR Extremely Bright 2000 LED bulbs. Awesome outcome ... and much better lighting at night.View attachment 2990View attachment 2991View attachment 2992
I have replaced my 2003 Thunderbird's Headlights with GTR Ultra Gen 3 9007 LED bulbs and they are BRIGHT!!! Not cheap, but bright. I couldn't fit the retaining ring around them that holds the traditional Halogen 9007 bulbs in, but they pressed into the headlight housing pretty tight .. so I'm hoping that is secure enough to hold them .. so far, so good. I also replaced the lower lights 3457 bulbs with the VLEDS 3157 Switchback LED bulbs ... and they shine white when the lights are on, and turn amber when the turn signal is on. Finally I got rid of those horrible Fog light bulbs and put in JDM ASTAR Extremely Bright 2000 LED bulbs. Awesome outcome ... and much better lighting at night.View attachment 2990View attachment 2991View attachment 2992
I tried a set of Seabright 9007's (S3)but could not get the bulb retaining ring anywhere close to fitting around the heat sink. Did your lock ring fit over the heat sink? I also replaced the yellowed headlight assembly, and they did come with new Sylvania 9007's so brighter, but not the "pop" that the 6000K LED's have
emailIMG_20200216_172754.jpgemailIMG_20200216_172804.jpgemailIMG_20200216_171927.jpg
 
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Joined
May 25, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2002
I replaced the headlights with LEDs yesterday. It just needed a slight aim adjustment. I also replaced the fog lights with LED canbus type bulbs #194. There is no afterglow when the fog lamps are off.

I think I will do my headlights and possibly the fogs /driving lights also.. Glad to hear you didn't have any afterglow.. I was kind of worried about that but how long could that afterglow last.. A few seconds fine, a few minutes no way, I would put back in the incandescent / OEM's.. I was only going to do the headlights but seeing your photo IMHO the color temperature of the headlights and driving lights need to match and they look great on yours.. I won't do the side marker lights or the tail lights.. I saw a pair of Philips LED's for the headlights in Pep Boys for about $56 or so for the pair.. I did not think about doing the driving lights at that point but will check them out also after seeing your photo.. BTW My lenses are still pretty clean and non-yellowed... It's a low mileage 2002, just about ready to turn 20,000.. I do wax the headlight lenses with Turtle wax Ice.. I read that that helps protect the polycarbonate plastic.
 
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Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
These are the LED headlights I put in both our tbirds. The retaining rings will not fit over the cooling fans but the new lamps seem to be holding themselves in just fine. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X54ZKCL/?tag=thunderbirdforum-20
These are the fog lights I put in. They also can be used for the interior and mirror lights. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HQ5S15Q/?tag=thunderbirdforum-20

The difference in the illumination of the headlights are amazing! The interior lights and the fog lights are much brighter and very white as are the new headlights.
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 9, 2003
Thunderbird Year
2005
Thanks for the links Photofinish.. They look like the answer..
Just an FYI putting LED headlights in halogen housings is illegal in many places, and forum members have reported lawsuits with accidents where parties were found partially at fault for replacing halogen bulbs with LEDs.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1957
I tried a set of Seabright 9007's (S3)but could not get the bulb retaining ring anywhere close to fitting around the heat sink. Did your lock ring fit over the heat sink? I also replaced the yellowed headlight assembly, and they did come with new Sylvania 9007's so brighter, but not the "pop" that the 6000K LED's have/
I also could not get the retaining ring to fit over the heat sink. However, my bulbs plugged in and pretty much stayed in position tightly ... so far, so good. However, I have issues not being able to get a high beam to work properly ... vendor I bought the bulbs from sold me some resistors to help, but apparently that blew my fuse. Ugh .... I hate the Halogens and the LED's are somewhat problematic for this car. Thinking of switching to HIDs.
 
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