Installing The ABM One-piece 3D headlight System In A 1997-2003 F-150/1997-2002 Expedition



By Ken Payne

With many newer trucks and suvs featuring the newest reflective style headlight systems (sometimes referred to as 3D or Euro lights), the look of the 1997-2003 F-150 (and its cousin the Expedition) is starting to show its age. ABM has the solution, a one piece headlight system which replaces both the stock headlight and turn signal housings.

ABM has gone beyond traditional aftermarket lighting system with their new 3D system by combining great form with high performance function. With practically any lighting system we know some people are bound to install an HID setup. It’s not uncommon for aftermarket lightning systems to suffer from melt-down when HID is applied. Generally speaking, the many aftermarket systems have melt-down due to any the following reasons:

  1. The housing material on a light system isn’t evenly made, and the quality of the materials used can vary greatly. Usually some areas are also thicker and thinner.
  2. The focusing on the reflecting and refracting is not evenly distributed on the housing design.
  3. The heat exhaust isn’t properly designed.

Any of these can cause some 3D systems not to work with HID applications. ABM has designed their system with a precise optical program taking all these factors into consideration, plus their housing material is even better than the original OE housing. "The quality of our ABM products are up to the task," said Steve Grimm of ABM Motorsports.

For this installation and review, we used Lance Lanier’s 2002 F-150 FX4, Extended Cab F-150, FTE’s 1997-2003 F-150 project vehicle. Here’s how his truck’s front end looked before installing the ABM system. The truck had stock headlights and aftermarket blackout turn signals. While it looked good, we were positive the ABM system would improve it.

The first installation step is removing the radiator core support cover by removing the screws securing it.

And the screws securing the headlights.

Here’s the cover removed.

Pull up the clips holding each headlight in place. There are similar clips for the turn signal. Pull those up as well. Unscrew the plastic bulb holders and remove the assemblies and disconnect the wiring harness from the assemblies.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the pressure sensitive tabs holding the headlight aiming assemblies in place.

Install the headlight aiming assemblies on the ABM housings.

Splice in the running light wiring to the white LED lights in the ABM housing. Test the lighting and install the ABM housings, which is the reverse of the stock removal housing. This will take some work. The aiming pins have a tendency to move and are very difficult to align because you cannot see them while inserting the lamp. Be patient and take your time and they’ll go in. Push the headlight and turn signal retainer tabs back down and aim the headlights. Don’t forget to reinstall the radiator core support cover!

This last step is the most important…. these lights are sharp and they dress up any Ford F-150: go show them off!

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