1997 below the bumper driving light bulbs | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1997 below the bumper driving light bulbs


Elite Explorer
February 6, 2016
Reaction score
City, State
No. Alabama USA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Blue Ex 4.0 SOHC
KAGG 3611 (CB)
I think that the lower front lights are called driving lights ,however
Is this the correct bulb type for them. H3? I want to use LED swap outs... Click here>LED H3 bulbs

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They are fog lights, probably 880 bulb with 893 a slight enough upgrade that some feel it's not worth the bother.

What you linked looks like you'd need a wiring mod to graft on a pigtail for it instead of factory connector, and is both dimmer than stock bulbs, and more glaring in fog due to the colder 6000K color temperature. It would be a substantial downgrade.

There are LED bulbs that fit it but again these are wide fog housings (and your housing may need refurbished or replaced for best results after so many years) so the benefit as driving lights is minimal or possibly worse in fog unless you use a warm color temperature bulb. For low speed off-road use, a brighter LED bulb (than what you linked) with colder color temperature could make sense for avoiding very nearby ground obstacles that the headlights don't hit.

If you want LED for driving lights, replace the housings with something designed for the specific bulbs (more likely you'd find it with integrated LEDs, not replaceable bulbs), more of a projector style housing then you'll need a custom bracket and (probably) a wiring pigtail to match. Seek competent reviews of the product, a lot of them being called "spot beam" are still way too floody and short range to be useful for driving lights.

I mounted a 4” Rigid Industries LED bar in the bracket that holds the OEM rectangular foglight. Took some trimming of the valence to make it fit. It’s wired directly to the factory wiring. I did the wiring mod that allows the foglights to be on as long as the car is on. I only did the driver side for now. I just wanted to add some decent light for my 2am or 3am drive to work. I could actually drive with just that on, it’s that bright. Another one on my passenger side would be even better.

No bulb of any type or size in the OEM housing would even come close to the output of the Rigid unit.


Basically I just want to fix what it there because my wife drives in the dark (4 in the morning) on the way to work. There re a lot of DEER on her path and if I fixed the driving lights and if they are on with the high beams she would be able to see the wildlife better.
I think now after everyone's input I just need some stock replacement bulbs. What type is it that I need and does someone have a link to some without me going to the local auto parts stores?
ADDED: I've been looking at these on rockauto. Click here>Driving light bulbs
? question. Can I use 100 watt replacement without any modification or just stick with the 55 watt replacements?

The factory housings don't cast far enough to be useful for driving at speed on roads. You won't notice any improvement for picking out wildlife, far enough away to make any difference.

You could try brighter bulbs but again this only helps for objects very nearby already, far too close to help stopping in time for deer - which I deal with regularly, there are a pack that feed in my backyard every other night.

I don't know if anyone has tried 100W in the stock housing, but it is pretty big jump. The factory bulbs were probably more like 32w so even 55W is above the design expectations. Obviously you can put any bulb in and see what happens, if they fail it is not critical since it is not the primary headlights and you probably have to replace them anyway to reach the goal.

I am back to my prior recommendation that if you need to see at a distance ahead for deer or pedestrians, whatever, that you can't get that out of the factory housings, have to put some with a tighter focus in their place instead. The factory housings would be great for looking at the deer you just hit, if it bounces off the front and lands 10' in front of the vehicle. :)

What I would do instead is get a brighter bulb for your headlights. If the bulb in them right now is old, it has some brightness degradation already, then if the lens is clouded, clean that up too with a refinishing kit or the abrasives you already have to refinish and polish them, or new headlight housings.

You might try something like GE Nighthawk Sport bulbs for the headlights if you don't want to invest in some further throwing replacement housings to put where the fog light housings are. They have a shorter lifespan as do the LED bulbs, so with any headlight "improvement" I'd keep spare bulbs in the vehicle for when they fail. The LED bulb claims of crazy long life, are somewhere between wishful thinking and lies when it is a drop-in replacement. A good long life LED light needs the whole housing to be a heatsink rather than an inch of surface area.

What I do in areas where deer are likely is slow down. The funny thing is, that since deer feed in an area where they can see my '98 parked outside, they seem to recognize it. Some have even come up to it after a near miss, snooping around. lol.

thanks for your input. Living in the south as you do, y'all probably have to deal with rebelious deer as we do. Time and time again they WILL NOT use the deer crossing signs ;). Now I know how Canadians feel having to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks.
Seriously I think I will stick in some 97 cent 55 watt Hellas and polish the one old lens still on the vehicle. I know that it wont help much but the headlight are high intensity Euro style. The RH driving light housing is new after being replaced after hitting a deer. He didn't have insurance. 10 pointer. Too bad he got away!

I mounted a 4” Rigid Industries LED bar in the bracket that holds the OEM rectangular foglight.
That is the way to go. I run two of those on each side, and there is no way the stock bulbs or housings could keep up. Mine are hooked to the stock dash switch, and I only use them in storms and blizzards.

^ Two on each side? Wow... aren't they around $250 each, so they've doubled the value of the vehicle? ;)

Hello AllmyExes, whatever light bulb you put into your FOG LIGHTS isn't going to help you much with what you're trying to achieve.
Fog lights are meant to be used in fog and in fog only. That is why they're mounted so low and why they don't focus the light very much at all, but illuminate a wide area close by to the front and to the sides of the vehicle.
If you aim them higher you will only be blinding others due to this specific beam pattern fog lights are designed and meant produce.
if you really want and need more light when driving with the high beams on, then you should consider fixing or upgrading your headlights.

I assume you'll likely have old and dim headlights in rather poor condition, because you probably wouldn't need any more light if they were in a better condition.
If your reflector housings are hazed and discolored, try polishing them up with a headlight restoration kit or swap them out. If they are all clear and still look like brand new, then try installing new bulbs and see if that helps.

Messing with the fog lights trying to improve anything other than visibility in fog, isn't really going to help you get anywhere that you want to get.

The deer here on old HWY 31 stand beside the road and watch you go by.
@German Engineer I have replaced the headlamp capsule assemblies with new ones and better headlamp bulbs. I simply want to make my fog/driving lights work again!

The opening need a bit of fine tuning on the trimming, but it's close enough right now...


I swapped in some stock type incandescent bulbs in a higher wattage, but they burned out fairly quickly. Went back to OEM.

Two on each side? Wow... aren't they around $250 each, so they've doubled the value of the vehicle?

A full tank of fuel does that!

(The lights I have were expensive, but I don’t think they were $250 each. Maybe $70 each? I am not sure.)

Sounds familiar. Walking the property, deer, especially does with yearlings, give you a dirty look like they own the place.
Suppose they do, considering they've been around forever & will be around much longer once I'm buzzard\coyote food..
The hilarious part is they run right into the path of a vehicle, but if they see me walking 50 yards away, they flee in terror.

Sometimes, they set up surveillance from across the pond.


All this talk of deer today, about mid morning at my Resto Shop near here 6 or 7 does made their way up my driveway towards the shop and then turned and went around the side of the building. I rewound the security footage and they went by pretty quick. Sorry no pics.


I put sea light 880 leds in mine. On the driver side you can see the new one and on the passenger side is the oem one and you can’t even tell they’re on. I have them coming for the headlights as well. Up top I have diode dynamics switchbacks. They were in my raptor, then my Jeep rubicon and I didn’t like them on either and they look perfect on the explorer.