Ford Fusion 2013-2016 - Replace headlight bulbs without removing the front bumper!

My CSRT4, after the unfortunately incident that I had, has been replaced by a 2016 Ford Fusion. A lovely "little" car that impressed me quite a lot (especially on the twisties).
One of the things that I hated about it was the fact that it might not be a car that can be easily maintained. However, as I recently discovered, that might not be the case… !?

As I discover new things and start working more on this car, I will probably be adding new DIYs in the future. For now, here is how to replace your headlight bulbs without the need of removing your bumper!!
Personally, with this occasion, I went ahead and upgraded to HID bulbs as well, but the steps can be used for just replacing your bulbs with regular ones.

Things that you will need...

  • Screwdriver (Phillips head)
  • #10 wrench
  • Your bulb(s) and ballasts (if you upgrade to HID)
  • A flashlight (depending on your lighting conditions, a flashlight will be helpful to see what is going on inside the headlight housing)
  • Special tool that we need to fabricate (if your hands are too big to fit inside the housing to twist bulbs into place)
  • Patience and elbow grease...

If your hands are bear paws size, you will probably need a friend/girlfriend/wife with thinner hands :(.
If you don't have any friends and your other half could not give a flying brown matter about your car then fear not, there is still a way; you will just have to make your own little tool to help you twist the bulb in place - more about it later on.

Removing the headlight brackets...

Trough my trials in trying to figure out what is the best way, I discovered that if you just remove the top support of the headlight will give you just enough space to maneuver your hand and bulbs around. Practically, there are 2 plastic brackets that are hold in place with a few screws.
Please note that all these screws are loosely tighten and they do not require a lot of force to remove or install - so when you install them back, be gentle or else you will break stuff.

Remove the 2 10mm bolts with your #10 wrench and then remove the other screw using your screwdriver. Pull up the first bracket at a 45 degree angle and it should come out without any drama.

The second bracket is a little bit trickier since it has a self-tapping screw encased but with a little bit of patience I managed to take it out with the #10 wrench, using it at an angle - see images below.

Once the second bracket has been removed, you should be able to take out the rubber cover from the headlight casing without any trouble.

Removing the bulbs...

Grab your flashlight (if needed it) and have a look inside the headlight housing. You should be able to see the end of the bulb and the connector that is connected to it.
Using a flat screwdriver (if your hand cannot fit inside of the hole) gently pry the clip and at the same time with a finger push it out. Now you should be able to grab the wire with the connector and move it outside of the housing - there is quite a lot of wire in there.

IMPORTANT!!!

DO NOT unscrew the bulb until you remove the clip first... or else you will have some hard time to remove the bulb out of the housing with the wire attached.
Also, removing the wire while the bulb is moving around is almost near impossible...

Just trust me on this one - REMOVE WIRE/CONNECTOR FIRST!!!

Now with the wire out of your way (if your fingers are thin enough) just grab the bulb, twist it out of its place and gently remove it with the tips of your fingers :).

If is hard to get any leverage because fingers are a little bit too big, what you can do (and I did) is to hold the bottom of the bulb with your finger while with the other hand you are gently pushing with a flat screwdriver on the connector part to get it to twist out of its place. Then just gently pull it out.

Now all you have to do is install the new bulb following these same steps, in reverse :).
The only difference will be that when you put the bulb in place and you try and twist it (and you don't have much leverage to do this) you need an "L shaped Allan" key so you can hook the connector part of the bulb and gently pull up on it in order to make the bulb twist into place.

Installing the HID lights...

If you are like me and you want to install HID lights there are a few things that you need to consider...

First of all, you have to make sure that the ballast you are using has the anti-flickering unit as well, otherwise you will have all kind of issues.
Second, you need to fabricate a tool to help you twist the bulbs into place (since the ends of the HID bulbs are straight and they do not have an L shaped end) - see pictures below. Alternatively, you can also sacrifice a wrench and cut it to size - just find the number that will be able to fit the end of the bulb.

Personally, I had some scrap of aluminium flat bar lying around and I used it to cut a deep rectangular on its side, big enough to securely fit the end of the bulb.
Like I have mentioned, you can also sacrifice a wrench, you just need to cut it in half - it needs to fit inside the headlight housing.

Once you have the tool done, place it on the bulb, put the bulb in its place inside the headlight housing and then, while you hold it in place with one finger, use a flat screw driver to push on the fabricated tool and get the bulb twisted in its place.
Remove the tool and your done :).

IMPORTANT!!!

Make sure that the tool you are fabricating sits tightly around the base of the bulb (so it will not fall inside the housing) but in the same time is not tight enough to damage the base.

When you are installing HIDs, you will need to cut a part of the rubber dust cap in order for the wires to come out of the housing.
You can either use the grommet that comes already on the HID kit wires (but then you have to make sure you cut a perfect round circle and the grommet stay in place) or (like I did), cut the grommet from the wires and tape them (the wires) in a small bundle - then make a small cut on the rubber dust cup at the bottom and feed the wires trough it while you put it back on the headlight housing. Connect your wires and you are done.

Another thing that I have done was to tape the end connectors with electrical tape - this ensure the connectors will not disconnect, by whatever magic, and in the same time protects them a little bit more from weather elements.

Final thoughts...

If you are installing HIDs, I would recommend to test your lights before you install anything back in. You do not want to have everything installed in place just to realize that something was not connected properly and lights are not working...

Installing the headlight brackets back is just like removing them, but in reversed order. Do not overtighten the screws... you will strip the threads and damage the plastic bits. Pay special attention to the self-tapping screw and make sure you install it straight and not at an angle.

This process originally took me around 3 hours, from beginning to end to replace the bulbs. This is taking into account the time I spent trying to figure out how to do this the best way and the time it took me to make the tool that helped me twist the bulbs into place.
Now that I know what to do, should not take me more than 45 minutes to replace both bulbs - less time, less effort and less things to remove; compared with removing the front-bumper.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to get in touch with me by using the Contact me form.
I will do my best and help as much as I can.

Disclaimer!
I am NOT a professional mechanic. Everything I do I gathered from my experience and from other car enthusiasts.
While what I advise and recommend is one way of doing things, please understand that you take your own chances following my DIYs and I cannot be held responsible if you damage your car or hurt yourself by not following the "proper procedures".