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Headlight Switch Replacement


Moderator Emeritus
January 26, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Acura TL

Last week I was driving at night and my headlights and foglights went out (my parking lamps were still on), and I could barely see the road. I then barley touched the headlight switch and the lights come right back on - which indicated to me that the switch was bad and not a wiring problem. I then ordered a switch, 3L5Z-11654-BA, and replaced it. Here is how you replace it on a second gen:

I believe the bolts inside are standard, but I went ahead and used metric stuff (so you'll need a 7mm and a 8mm - 1/4 drive). You may also want a light if you aren't in a well lighted area.

Go in this order:

(1) Radio Bezel, (2) Instrument Panel Bezel, (3) Bottom Panel (by OBDII connector and Hood Release), (4) Hood Release, (5) Metal Panel (under #3), (6) Under Panel


That may seem a little complicated but it'll all make sense once you get into it.

Now, once you get to #5, you will see two gold colored screws (both 8mms) that will need to be either loosened or removed to pull it down just a little to get to the two other bolts for the instrument panel bezel. After you get those two bolts, you're ready to pull the bezel out. Now, I pull the bezel only out a little bit and then unscrewed the screws for the switch (2 phillips screws). You can also pull the bezel out, just make sure you disconnect everything before. Disconnect the connector once the switch is loose and replace it with the new one. Then reverse the directions to reinstall. It isn't that hard.

Here is what I found:

1) Burnt/Corroded Prong/Post
2) Melted Switch and Connector (a little bit, not enough to complicate the connection)
3) Burnt Out Light (which indicates Off, Parking, Headlamps)

Sorry for the not so clear pictures, but they'll work:



You can see the discoloration on the prongs/post and if you look hard enough you can see a little bit of the melted plastic. My connector (thats in the car) was melted a little, but not enough to keep my switch from getting a good connection. If a connector is burnt/melted really bad, you should replace it before replacing the switch (it may cause the new one to burn up).

When I recieved this Explorer I always noticed that the indicators (Off, Parking Lamps, Headlamps) never illuminated; but it was because the bulb was burnt out. I could of caught this earlier, but I didn't know it was suppose to light up until I was in my brothers '99 Ranger which illuminated. Oh well, live and learn. Hope this helps someone out.


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Its been discussed before that it is so common to have the indicator light burnt out that most people don't realize that it is supposed to light up. Mine has been out for years.

That indicator light even stays on during the day - no wonder it burns out prematurely. But it still better than nothing at all :thumbsup:


I pulled the old switch apart and the thing was just corroded up inside and the contacts were just worn down. That thing gets a lot of use -- can't blame it for crappin out.


that doesn't look anything like my switch on my '96


bmacd said:
that doesn't look anything like my switch on my '96


The top picture is not my switch -- it's just a picture I found of one thats similar. That looks like a Ford Expedition and F-150s switch. It was just for reference.


thanks this was helpful

The top picture is not my switch -- it's just a picture I found of one thats similar. That looks like a Ford Expedition and F-150s switch. It was just for reference.


Must be for a Euro spec vehicle, even my mom's Expedition with all the bells and whistles doesn't have rear fog lights. IIRC Ford only includes them on their European models.

As said before the burned out headlight switch bulb is a very common occurrence, I didn't know it was supposed to illuminate either until I saw a thread here about it. Ford really should use LEDs instead of light bulbs for illumination; it'd make life a lot easier.

There are write-ups for converting everything that lights up in the interior to LEDs. I've decided against doing it though because I'm not sure if the brightness and spread of light will be the same with the LEDs as the stock bulbs are. Plus I don't like cutting up my Explorer.

This thread is the reason I joined this forum.
Same problem on my '99 Ford Explorer.
running light, dash lights stopped working while driving all of a sudden.
Check all fuses- All OK.
Remove headlight/running light switch and used a continuity tester on the leads. Seems to be a problem, but the internal inspection of the switch seemed OK with no strange looking corrosion or burnt sections. I couldn't get continuity across the small light bulb.
New switch ordered from Pep Boys arriving this afternoon.
I'll post the results and I'll re-test the continuity across the posts to see if it's different than the suspect old switch.
Fingers crossed...

the headlight switch shown above (the top one) is a volkswagen euro switch if anyone was wondering. its the same one i have in my jetta

I recommend just ripping the bulb out of the switch and relaceing it with an LED and resistor


then it wont burn out

great write up. I just had to replace my headlight switch. very easy. the thing that took the most effort was prying the wire from the bad headlight switch. Other than that everything worked out. New swtich cost $30 at local auto parts store.

Nice thread, I got pulled over by the cops for my tail lights both being out (and my interior instrument lights were out too). I tried to fix it and found some corrosion on the wiring, but I couldn't pry the wire from the switch assembly. I gave up and put it together and then my car wouldn't start. Took it to a mechanic and he got the car to start, but then my headlights wouldn't turn on. Going to give it another shot and if not then I'll be in trouble.


Would like to say thanks for this thread! Just replaced my switch.