For today's project, the foggy headlights on a 1998 ford crown victoria police interceptor are going to be repaired. These headlights are in good enough condition to pass the annual state smog/safety check, but are somewhat opaque and foggy after 9 years exposed to the sun's ultraviolet radiation.

The first part of this repair was to acquire a couple new parts. These are genuine OEM ford headlights for a production 2004 crown victoria. They have been sitting unused for a few years, but still look new since they were stored indoors in a dark dry place away from sunlight.

For this project, a few basic hand tools are required:

Now that the tools and parts have been acquired, the installation can begin. For this project, you'll want to open the hood and remove the plastic panel that covers the radiator and headlight area. Note that some variant of this panel is factory installed on all 1998+ crown victorias, but sometimes it's missing by the time the car is removed from police service and purchased by it's second owner.

Here are the clips which hold this peice to the metal radiator core support below. Be careful not to loose any of these when you remove the trim panel from the car.

Now the 4 metal retainers which hold headlights into the header panel can be slid upwards. A couple of these slid easily using a pair of needle nose pliers, others required use of the prybar.

Driver's side prior to retaining clip removal

Passenger's side prior to clip removal

The retaining clips and the tools used to remove them.

The passenger's side with the retaining clips removed

The driver's side with the retaining clips removed

The headlights slide forward easily once the retainers have been removed.

After disconnecting the wiring harnesses from the headlights, the headlamp assemblies can be removed entirely.

If your car was ever in active police use, it will probably have splices in the headlight harness from where the wig-wag headlight flasher was installed. Now would be a good time to clean up the wiring so that it doesn't corrode and cause issues like inoperative or flickering headlights.

Here are the old headlights next to the new headlights.

Here is the back of the headlights.

Starting in the 2003 model year, a removeable harness was installed in between the vehicles main electrical harness and the headlights. This makes it easier for aftermarket upfitters to install the wig-wag flashing headlight modules.

And a closeup of the 2003+ headlight jumper harness. Sometimes, police departments forget to reinstall this part before they send their cars to auction. If you're purchasing a "pre-owned" crownvic from auction, make sure to check if your headlights illuminate properly before you attempt to drive the car during the dark nighttime hours.

Installation of the new headlights is the reverse of removing the old ones:

Although not part of replacing the headlights, here is the electrical connector for the Daytime Running Light (DRL) Module. Some crownvics intended for the united states market will have this connector present, some will not. However, all vehicles intended for the canadian market will have this connector present and will also have the DRL module factory installed too. With the DRL module installed, the headlights turn on at partial brightness whenever the engine is running.

-All 1998 and later crown victorias use the same headlight design. But crown victoria headlamp assemblies will not physically fit in a lincoln towncar or mercury grand marquis.
-Modern car headlight lenses are constructed of polycarbonate. This stuff is incredibly shatter resisant, and gives automotive car designers great flexibility in terms of cosmetic shape but it also degrades when exposed to sunlight. Polycarbonate is also used in prescription eye glasses (most states have outlawed using actual glass in prescription eyeglasses).
-Do not handle headlight bulbs with your bare fingers. The oils from your skin will cause the bulbs to burn out rather quickly.
-Some light fogging of headlamp lenses can be cleaned up using car polish. But once polycarbonate headlights are really foggy or yellowed, you'll want to replace your headlights with new units for long lasting results.
-Browsing various internet discussion forums reveals that some people polish their car's headlights so frequently that one wonders if they have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
-If you are purchasing aftermarket headlights, you should consider acquiring CAPA certified parts. These will cost a little more to purchase, but they are also much more likely to fit properly and look good when actually installed in your car.
-Acquiring "pre-owned" headlamp assemblies from a salvage yard can be troublesome. Some headlights will be cracked around where the adjusters attach due to collision damage. Many auto recycling facilities will only sell the headlights as part of a complete nose assembly. And many of the "pre-owned" headlights that you'll find will be in similar condition to what's currently installed on your own car.
-If you are concerned about damaging the headlamp retainer clips during removal, you can order a pair of headlight retaining clips ahead of time for around $15 from your local ford dealer. The part #'s for 1998-2010 crown victorias are: F8AZ-13N020-AA (Inner) & F8AZ-13N020-AB (Outer).
-Additional headlight related part numbers are avaliable by clicking here.