Review & Install Video
Hey, guys, Adam here with americantrucks.com. Today we're taking a quick look at and installing the Axial Black Projector Headlights available for your '04 to '08 F-150. You should be checking these out for your own F-150 if you're looking to modernize the front end appearance of your truck. Now, we all know those mid-2000s F-150s are a little bit dated at this point, the headlights on the front end are pretty bland and honestly, they're not super good for visibility. Now, if you're looking to upgrade in all three of those categories, these are gonna be the way to go. Now, aftermarket lights like these with the projector styling and the halo lights won't be for everybody. It is a little polarizing, some guys might love it, some not so much but if you're into that look, you can pick this particular setup for just about 350 bucks. Now, everything on the inside of the housing has that black finish in the clear lens, not compromising any of that lighting output. But you do get the halo styling around the high-end low beams, you get accent lighting up top and down low reusing some of the factory bulbs but not all thanks to some of that new LED state-of-the-art technology. There is gonna be a little bit of splicing when it comes to the installation. Now, when it comes to that, there's a number of different ways you can actually do the splicing, I'm gonna show you the way that I prefer when it comes to splicing in new headlights, which will leave you the ability to revert back to stock at any point without compromising your factory wiring harness. Again, a number of different ways to tackle it. If you don't wanna splice the way I'm going to do so, again, any way that fits your preference will do the trick. Now, the splicing I'm gonna do today does require you to pick up some spade connectors, the male and female ends as well as heat shrink butt connectors and finally a little bit of extra wiring, something about this big, couple of inches long on each side, which will splice off of the factory wiring harness into the headlights.That will allow you to just unplug the headlights whenever you want, put the stock ones back in without having to do any further splicing in the future. With all that said, two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. Splicing does take it up just a little bit as far as difficulty is concerned because you are working with wiring, you wanna make sure you're disconnecting the negative cable on your battery just to be safe. You wanna make sure you have wire cutters, wire strippers, a heat gun if you're using the heat shrink like I will be. All of that good stuff will just take about an hour, maybe two at the absolute most from start to finish depending on your personal experience. I will take you guys through every single step of the process. So, if you're not familiar with the process, I'll help you guys out if you're doing this at home, just follow along with me and you'll get this done in no time. So what do you say we just get to it? Tools used for this install were an impact gun, and a 10-millimeter deep socket, wire strippers, wire cutters, ratchet, 8-millimeter socket, male and female spade connectors, heat shrink butt connector and a heat gun. The first step for the uninstall to get our factory headlights out, we have to expose those bolts on the inside towards our radiator. Now, as you can see, there's a plastic rivet or that pushpin clip here, I'm gonna use a panel removal tool. You don't have one of these, it's very useful to have on deck but a flathead screwdriver works just as well. I'm gonna go ahead and pop this off, that's gonna help me get rid of this splash shield here. So, I'm gonna pop that up and pull this out, that way we're able to fold this back. Now, you don't have to fully remove this, just fold it back to expose the top and bottom bolts. We're gonna do the same thing on the other side. Perfect. Now we can grab our ratchet or impact gun and our sockets and start removing these bolts. The next step, grab your 10-millimeter socket and remove the top bolt here and the 2 10-millimeter bolts that we just exposed from the inside of this splash shield. All right. Now we can pull up on this tab here and then straight back on our headlight.From here, you wanna disconnect the bulbs, set your factory headlight aside. We're gonna repeat for the other side. So, we got our factory headlights off of our 2007 F-150 on the table here next to our Axial Projector LEDs. Now, these are a complete night and day difference compared to our factory one. As you can see starting with the basics here, let's talk about the interior housing. As you can see, this has that chrome aluminum finish on the inside, it's very reflective, very standout-ish, shiny, flashy. Whichever adjective you like definitely describes this. Now, going over to our Axial option here, it's stealthy, it's got that matte black interior housing with a clear lens that's really gonna give you the impression of a smoked lens without actually compromising any lighting output. So, this with the clear lens and the black interior housing, it's got some textured finishes all around on the interior of the black. It's got some custom designs on the inside as well just giving it that little bit of character. This is definitely gonna look a little bit better on our front end and it is definitely more aggressive. Now, aside from the appearance itself and the design of the interior housing, we're completely upgrading the lighting going from that factory lighting to our new LED technology. This is gonna be a lot brighter, a lot wider, and it's gonna look a lot cleaner on that front end. LED technology, we all know, gives you that pure white light, this is more of a 4K or 5K color technology, whereas that factory light has that yellowish tint to it which never just looks as good as the modern technology you'd find on the actual unit here. Now, on the back of our headlights, you'll see that there is a little bit of splicing we have to do as I said earlier, these are for the LED accents and our halos. The halos are a big upgrade as well, we've got that dual Halo design on the front end circling the high-end low beams. The factory lights, more of that projector-style going forward, doesn't really have that accent lighting. It's pretty straightforward, pretty, you know, boring, very traditional. This has that upgraded modern feel.It's got those LED lights on the top end here, the reflector on the sides, and again, that textured finish on the inside of the black housing. Now, again, we are gonna have to do a little bit of splicing on that back end, we're going to connect our positives from our accent lighting to our positives on our halo lighting and the same thing for the negatives. Those are gonna connect together and then go straight into the factory vehicle harness which I'll show you guys every step of the way. First things first, I wanna get rid of our factory lights, we wanna get some of those new tools on the table to help us splice everything together. We've got butt connectors, spade connectors, heat shrink, we're going to use a heat gun later on and also wire cutters and clamps. So, we're gonna get that on the table and get to work on our splicing. All right. So, the first thing we're gonna do here is get our wire strippers and wire cutters. These are gonna help us in this process, we also have male spade connectors, the female side, we'll be wiring into our factory harness on the vehicle. So, male side, for now, you can, of course, start with the female side, just make sure you're using the opposite when it comes to wiring up in our factory harness. So, you wanna start by unraveling the open wires here, you wanna make sure that you've got them separated, of course, red is our positive, black is our negative on the LED accents. For the halos, black is our negative, white is our positive. The first thing we're gonna do is take our wire strippers and just strip back some more of this wiring to give us a lot more to work with. From the factory, these don't have too much stripped off, so just put it through your wire strippers and pull some excess off of that. Do that for all of the open wires. Perfect. Now, what we're gonna do is take the two red wires and we're going to twist those together. What we wanna do is connect the two reds up here and the two whites on the other side. These two are gonna get connected and then we're gonna connect those together into one spade connector. So, I'll show you guys what I mean by that. So, now that we have these two strips, we're just gonna twist those together and make them one. And we're gonna take our two white wires and do the same thing. Now, the red wires and the white wires, we're then gonna take those and twist them together. That way all of our positives and all of our negatives are together in one connector. Okay, same thing with the negatives. We're gonna take our negatives and twist them together. From here, we're gonna twist all of our negatives. Perfect. Now, on the end of our positives and on the end of our negatives, we're gonna add one of those spade male connectors. Gonna insert that on to the wiring, make sure they're twisted nice and tight, insert that and we're gonna clamp them down. You wanna make sure that's real nice and tight, you wanna give it a tug and if it doesn't come off, you're good to go, do the same thing on the negative. If it does come off, however, you wanna redo it, make sure it's tight enough that you can't pull it off. You wanna make sure that has a really good connection. Perfect. Now, we can do this to the other headlight and then head into the vehicle and work on our harness. All right. So, next up here, we're back in our vehicle, we have to do a little bit of modification to our factory harness. Now, as you can see, we've done some modification to this in the past, I want you to completely ignore this wiring here. This is not relevant to what we're doing, this is from a previous project we've done here at AmericanTrucks. So, what we're gonna be working with is actually our parking light. Now, as you can see, there are other...there are two other connectors. One, of course, is your headlight, we don't need that for just a second. There's a three-pin and a two-pin, the two-pin is your parking light, that's what we're working with. You wanna peel back some of that electrical tape, if you haven't already, to expose your ground and your positive. The black wire is your negative and the brown wire is going to be your positive. It is also recommended to grab a test light and test that to make sure you've got the right negative before you start wiring. We've already done that, so we're gonna move forward here. Now, you want to grab a butt connector for each side. So, what we're going to do here is we're actually going to cut this wire here, and we're gonna cut this wire here. I'm going to splice this butt connector onto this end and heat shrink that, same thing on the ground. On this side, we're going to actually add a wire, there's gonna be another wire coming off of this that I'm gonna connect to this end along with the other end of our factory harness. So, these two...I'm essentially cutting this, I'm gonna reconnect them with a butt connector. The only difference is we're adding a wire that's going to splice into our new headlights. So, I'm gonna explain that a little bit better as we do it. So, I'm gonna grab my wire cutter, I wanna leave enough room here. So, we're gonna cut about halfway up, cut those in half and grab our strippers and peel this back. Before you start going any further, make sure you have your negative cable on your battery disconnected. Of course, you don't wanna take any risks. Anytime you're working with your factory lighting harness or really anything electrical in your vehicle, make sure that battery is disconnected. So, we're gonna grab our strippers and strip some of this back. Grab your butt connector and connect it to the wiring on the factory connector side. We're gonna slip this into one end of our butt connector. Sometimes it helps to fold this over to make it a little thicker, that way, it sticks. That's gonna help us out a little bit here, we can give that a nice twist. Perfect. We're gonna clamp that down. Again, the same thing that we did with our headlights, give that a pull to make sure it's secure. Later on, when we're done connecting everything, we'll come back with a heat gun. Once we're done with everything, heat that up so it shrinks together. Now, what we're gonna do is grab an additional wire that's gonna come out of this end here. And we'll clamp that down with this wire and heat shrink those. Next step here, I'm actually gonna grab separate wiring. Now, like I said earlier, there's 100 different ways to skin a cat, we're gonna use extra wire to splice off of this butt connector. Now, of course, if you don't wanna do that, you don't have to, you can go straight into the wiring but because this is one of our fleet trucks here at AmericanTrucks, we are gonna do it this way. What we're gonna do is take the other end of our factory harness and twist that together with our additional wire that we're splicing in. Now, that end is gonna go into this side of the butt connector, we're gonna clamp those down. Give that a tug, make sure it's nice and tight. Now, we're gonna do the same thing on our negative and then we'll be able to grab our heat gun and heat shrink this.All right. Now that we have those spliced in, on the other end of that additional wire coming off, we're gonna splice in our female spade connectors. This is what's gonna plug into the back of our new headlights. Perfect. Now, we can grab our heat gun and shrink this together. Because these are heat shrink connectors, it allows us to really get a solid airtight seal on the connection by just adding a little bit of heat. So, I'm gonna turn this on, hold it over and you'll be able to see it shrink together. Now that we have our new headlights up here, we're ready to install them. I know it looks like a little bit of a rat's nest here but once we have them plugged in, you'll see it's a little more organized than it actually looks. So, we have our positives here, positive LEDs, positive halos spliced into our male connector. On our positive end of our factory harness, we have the female connector, those are gonna get connected together. Those just plug straight into each other. Takes a little force, you might have to flip them back and forth, but they'll click in and just push them together. The same thing here with our blacks. Now, these are our negatives, we've got our female connector already spliced into our harness, those plug in together. Next, the parking lights. Those will go right into our three-prong connector. That plugs right in nicely. The parking lights are actually gonna use our factory bulb that we've screwed into our new housing, that's just gonna plug right in. And finally, our headlight bulb from our factory lighting is gonna be transferred over, that will plug straight in. Now, we're gonna set this into place up here and you wanna test the lights before you move forward. Make sure the splicing is done correctly. So, we're gonna lay this up here, reconnect our negative terminal on our battery and then test our lighting. All right. Next up, we're gonna bolt these back up. Now, you do have the option, of course, if you're following the exact same way we're doing it, you have the option of using electrical tape to tighten those up. We are not going to do that today, of course, it is not required, but it is something I wanted to point out. Now that we have the spec in place, we'll reuse our factory bolts and tighten them down. Now that we have that in place, we're gonna put that splash shield back in, replace that pushpin clip and repeat for the other side. All right. That's gonna wrap up my review and install of the Axial Black Projector Headlights. You can pick up this particular set in black right here at americantrucks.com.