2016 Explorer Total LED Swap | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2016 Explorer Total LED Swap

I went with JDM Astar stuff on Amazon. I've had good luck and others have not.

I find their brightness on the low side of adequate during the day and incredible at night. To be fair the OEM bulbs seemed too dim to begin with themselves, in my eyes (no pun intended).

Make sure to jiggle the housings--sometimes the pins don't line up perfectly and you'll have a dead bulb without adjustment of the pins with the contacts. And, if you kill the bulb out notification, you'd never know.

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Original poster:

The rear and front turn signals you want are the 3157 and 7440 with one minor twist. You want the 3157A and 7440A (Amber) the turn signals are a clear lens so you want a amber bulb. I personally would recommend upgrading to LED but get the type with the Built in resistors. About as plug and play as you can get and you wont get the dreaded Hyper Flash. My 2018 appears to have all interior lights LED so no problem there. I went with 7440A with built in resistors for rear turn signals and 7440 for rear back up lights. Brake and running lights are already factory LED. IF your questioning about the rear back up lights and rear turn signals/flashers being the same bulb...YES. The only difference is the back up lamps are regular 7440 and turn signals/flashers are 7440A (Amber) For the back up lights you don't need the resistor since the back up light is a steady current not flashing.

Installation notes.

Front Turn Signals...…… Corrections. HyperFlash…......Rotate bulb 180 degrees in the SAME socket.
Flickering...……...Swap bulbs from Left-Right Right-Left.

Rear: If you get the bulbs with the resistors built in there should be no corrections. Rears are a touch simpler. They pretty much either work or don't. If they don't
work rotate the bulb 180 degrees in the same socket. Check the OEM Bulbs coming out and match the metal conductor strips.

I recommend testing bulbs one at a time preferably before installing in the lens assembly.

I also upgraded the High Beams to a 6000K LED so my vehicle can pretty much melt rust of the Titanic. O.K Not that good but you get the idea. My local airport sent me a letter and told me I can't use High beams within 10 miles of the terminal area. Again not that good but you get the idea.!!

What brand did you use. Looking around for my 18 and I want to get the correct ones. Thanks.

Anyone know if these would also fit in a 2018 Limited? I'd like to LED all of mine, including the puddle lights on the side mirrors. Only my front b lights are currently LED

Links to the LED Bulbs I Used

Here are Amazon links to the bulbs I used for my upgrades. All were a straight swap with no issues and completed in about half an hour. I agree with blwnsmoke that quality is important. I look at the Amazon reviews and try to infer a consensus conclusion. Some negative reviews are based on the customer saying the bulbs won't fit in the housing of their vehicle; that's not applicable for usage in this vehicle. NOTE: if you use the Amazon product finder for the 2020 Explore, it will tell you that none of these are the correct bulb. That is wrong. It's possible they haven't updated their finder for the 2020, plus I have found it's not always 100% accurate as to other cars I've owned. These will fit.

License Plate Lamps
These are a straight swap for T10, 168, 194, and W5W (W5W is the spec for the Explorer). If you look at the illustration in the link, you will see that they are flat and project on only side, which is ideal for lighting license plates and trunk/cargo interiors. They are pure (6000K) white.Full disclosure: these bulbs are bright. See the photo included in the link. They light up the whole lower portion of the liftgate. I think this is great as it really defines the view of the vehicle from behind, especially out on the interstates at night. The lamp housings are tucked up out of the way (use a small flat-blade screwdriver to carefully push back the locking tab under the valance panel and pop out the housing), and should not cause problems for following drivers (other than they can't claim they didn't see you). As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I've used these same bulbs on my Fusion for several years now with no issues.

Turn Indicator Lamps

Turn signal bulbs can get very complicated very quickly if you've ever had any experience with this. In short, these bulbs are a direct fit. The owners manual lists "3757NAK, PY27/7W." These are a type 3157 equivalent bulb and will fit without modification. I'm not gonna get bogged down here in technical differences but in short, a 3157 bulb will fit in a 3757 socket (though not vice versa).

Since this is a turn signal application, swapping an LED bulb for incandescent requires a resistor to avoid the dreaded "hyperflash" condition. The good news is that these bulbs include a resistor prewired into the assembly. If you have any experience with converting turn signals to LEDs, you know what an advantage this is. The bulb is integrated into its own "universal" rubber socket that snaps into the Explorer housing like it was custom designed. The other end of the wiring has a 3157 plug end that fits into the Explorer turn signal socket. You could seal that connection with electrical tape; I left it alone as it plugged in snugly and everything seems well protected from the elements on the backside. There is enough room on the backside of the housing to tuck in the resistor and pigtail wiring. I used some electrical tape to hold it in place for reassembly.

Since the purpose of a turn signal is to communicate your intention to other drivers, I think the extra brightness really drives that point home, especially during the day.

Reversing Lamps

The manual lists W21W (similar to other Fords, and previous Explorer models apparently). 7440, 7441, 7443 and 7444 bulbs are equivalents for the W21W and these fit nicely. They are a projector style and pure (6000K) white. They really add to the view as seen in the rearview camera. I have used a similar style (but not this brand) in my Fusion for several years and they work great. And again, another benefit of the extra brightness is communicating to pedestrians and other vehicles that you are in reverse gear, again especially during the day.

The owners manual instructions (page 330) are pretty clear about removing the taillight housing. I'll just add: (1) you need an 11mm socket to remove the holddown bolt (behind the access cover on the interior trim panel - use a small flat-blade screwdriver to pop it off from the top), (2) a T-27 Torx screwdriver or socket driver is needed to remove the trim/securing plate on the tailgate jamb, and (3) there is a locator pin on the forward end of the housing that has to pop out of the socket on the body side, but it will come out with a little wiggling using fingers only. Don't pry or use any tools for that step. There is also a locating tab and slot on the bottom of the housing (above the bumper) and a rubber gasket on the tailgate jamb side that will need to be pressed back in place, but none of this is difficult. I decided to leave the taillight/stop lamp socket engaged in the housing (you could remove it, but I decided to keep it simple), so I carefully balanced the housing with my leg and one arm, and swapped out with the other arm and both hands. If anybody needs any additional input, I'm happy to help to the extent I know.

Anyone know if these would also fit in a 2018 Limited? I'd like to LED all of mine, including the puddle lights on the side mirrors. Only my front b lights are currently LED

Look for my posts. I did all mine on my 18 Limited.

So I just replaced all my external lights with LEDs. Not sure why more aren't LED, or at least white color, from the factory, but they are now.

I'll start with what I purchased:
High beams: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XNYRJM8/?tag=serious-20
Fog lights: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LNNR9GG/?tag=serious-20
Front turn signals: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XSQWY75/?tag=serious-20
Rear turn signals: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PGRGSH6/?tag=serious-20
Reverse lights: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NPIYDWU/?tag=serious-20
License plate: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DE7UC6C/?tag=serious-20
Puddle lights: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RVKTWDB/?tag=serious-20

Replacing most of them was easy. I'll itemize again:
High beams - These were pretty difficult because of how little space there is to work in there. I spent like two hours on it. To get the dust cap off, it's easiest to work a pry tool or screwdriver in behind the very top and just pull from there. Once I actually got the old ones out, I could not get the new bulbs to turn and seat/lock in correctly. Would not go. Even swapped the supplied O-ring with the old O-ring, didn't change anything. After swearing at it and putting some bruises on the ends of my fingers, I noticed that the bulb lock ring that's attached to the housing has star-head screws. Once I figured that out it went quick. I loosened the top two on each side, seated the bulb properly, then tightened them down. There's plenty of room behind the bulb heatsink/fan too so there's no need to cut or alter the stock dust cap.
Fog lights - pretty easy, just need to pop out the plastic rivet piece and the covers come right out. Bulb replacement is easy.
Front turn signals - Really easy to remove the bulb holder. I did have an issue getting the bulbs in the holder, I filed down the two tabs on each end. That wasn't the only issue though, where the tabs are on the new bulb makes it sit kinda crooked in the holder, so it took a bit of force to get in there. Make sure polarity is correct too before you put them back in (test it while it's out). Not sure polarity matters much though, or I just got really lucky, because I didn't have to rotate any of the 4 turn signals.
Rear turn signals - the bulb holder might take a bit of effort to rotate when removing it from the housing. Other than that it's easy, didn't have the same issue as the fronts.
Reverse lights - easy peasy.
License plate - lemon squeezy.
Puddle lights - I haven't actually done these yet, they're still in the mail, but they look really easy too.

Everything has been great so far. I have used the Hikari LEDs in my motorcycle in Las Vegas, had them for over 2 years, so I know they don't die from heat. Lots of light from them, I always recommend that brand. I haven't used JDM Astar before, and I was actually nervous that they would be too bright for turn signals, but I'm happy to say that they're not too bright. They're a good amount brighter than stock but not as bad as I was expecting. I hate blinding other people, and that's not what I was going for, so these are great. The reverse lights and fog lights are much brighter too, so it's both an aesthetic and functional upgrade for those.

I did have the hyperflash issue. I didn't want to deal with resistors (and anyone doing resistors really should get 100W resistors, not the 50W resistors that come in all the prebuilt packs. They stay much cooler), so I just fixed it with FORScan. And it was wayyyy easier than I was prepared for! I read a bunch of threads that were talking about different codes and some years having different codes or whatever, but there was no codes at all. Read something like "Front signal bulb outage" (not exact wording), then had a choice of enabled or disabled. Same with the rears. That's it. Super easy.
I used this cable: FORScan OBD link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081VQVD3F/?tag=serious-20
And just follow post #2: https://www.fordescape.org/threads/hyper-flashing-led-indicator-bulbs-possible-solution.71706/
Though one note is that after clicking "BdyCM", click the play button at the bottom.

And now for a couple very mediocre daytime photos:




Pretty happy with how everything turned out.

Got the puddle lights in. Used heatshrink because the blade connectors are bare and don't want those shorting, other than that it was really easy.

More mediocre daytime photos: