Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
  1. #1
    6 PSI Boost
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    12

    Can you switch out 86 headlights with 84-85 recessed lights?

    I'm assuming the answer is no... but is it possible to retro-fit the 84-85 headlights onto an 86, or would it require replacing the entire front end section?

  2. #2
    the well known PIA VIN guy Ken Potter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Woodstock, Georgia
    Posts
    7,619
    SVO's: 84,85,85.5,86x2
    Yes it can and has been done by others in the past. You'll need the wiring pigtails, backing plates / buckets, and lights with trim rings. I "think" an extra mounting hole might need to be drilled in the header panel but I'm not completely sure about that.

    Otherwise the bumper cover and inner and outer turn signals remain the same.

  3. #3
    Pimpin Pumpkin Carver Laredo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Stillwater, MN
    Posts
    1,190
    SVO's: 86 2R
    Quote Originally Posted by mlyle1967 View Post
    I'm assuming the answer is no... but is it possible to retro-fit the 84-85 headlights onto an 86, or would it require replacing the entire front end section?
    I get it, there's something about the look of recessed lights on the 84-85 that stands out a bit more appealing. I've pondered the switch also. There's an interesting story behind the recessed / flushed differences. SVO was the 1st Ford produced with flush headlights, and originally they were to all have them but at production time in late 83, the supplier wasn't ready. The recessed lights were "Plan B."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Potter View Post
    ...You'll need the wiring pigtails, backing plates / buckets, and lights with trim rings. ...
    I have all these parts in a box in case if my flush lights ever got damaged or I ever planned to do the reverse swap. But at this point, it will probably never happen. I now have a nice set of "reserve" NOS flush lights on the shelf as well. If you find an 85-1-2 to 86 and you want to make the swap, I'll donate my parts to the project.
    "If there's no plan, what can go wrong...?"

  4. #4
    Administrator SVOeric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Richmond, KY
    Posts
    12,914
    SVO's: 86-1C & 86-1E
    Quote Originally Posted by Laredo View Post
    I get it, there's something about the look of recessed lights on the 84-85 that stands out a bit more appealing. I've pondered the switch also. There's an interesting story behind the recessed / flushed differences. SVO was the 1st Ford produced with flush headlights, and originally they were to all have them but at production time in late 83, the supplier wasn't ready. The recessed lights were "Plan B."
    My memory of the story is, wasn't just the supplier wasn't ready. It took extra time to get the DOT approval, which is why the supplier wasn't ready when they went to production.

    Anyway, yep, as has been said --
    the swaps are easy, and fairly common. hardest part of going to the 85-5 & 86 lights is finding the fiberglass buckets
    hardest part of swapping to 84-85 style, is finding the lights themselves, the metal buckets, and rings. -- trick this way is the metal buckets were shared with other vehicles as I recall.
    Eric C
    SVOCA Webmaster

  5. #5
    Pimpin Pumpkin Carver Laredo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Stillwater, MN
    Posts
    1,190
    SVO's: 86 2R
    Quote Originally Posted by SVOeric View Post
    My memory of the story is, wasn't just the supplier wasn't ready. It took extra time to get the DOT approval, which is why the supplier wasn't ready when they went to production.
    ....
    ^^ Yes! Good memory Eric - now that you mention it I recall hearing the DOT thing also.
    Last edited by Laredo; 03-22-2020 at 02:27 PM.
    "If there's no plan, what can go wrong...?"

  6. #6
    Pimpin Pumpkin Carver Laredo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Stillwater, MN
    Posts
    1,190
    SVO's: 86 2R
    Quote Originally Posted by SVOeric View Post
    .. -- trick this way is the metal buckets were shared with other vehicles as I recall.
    I think the early Aerostar vans had the same buckets and trim.
    "If there's no plan, what can go wrong...?"

  7. #7
    6 PSI Boost
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Clayton, NC
    Posts
    12
    Thanks Laredo! I may have one by the end of the week as there's an 86 just 90 minutes from me that looks promising.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Eric!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Ken!

  8. #8
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Streamwood, IL
    Posts
    4,009
    SVO's: 86 1C
    Just to throw in another $0.02. I thought I remember hearing that the backing plate was the same between the recessed and flush units, just different screws for either the glass bulb vs flush bucket. I have to say that I have never looked at this as a project, but sounds like Doug (Laredo) has all the parts and could confirm just what the differences are.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  9. #9
    Administrator SVOeric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Richmond, KY
    Posts
    12,914
    SVO's: 86-1C & 86-1E
    I don't have my 85 anymore to go look, but I thought the 85's had metal plates where the latter ones had fiberglass / abs
    Eric C
    SVOCA Webmaster

  10. #10
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Streamwood, IL
    Posts
    4,009
    SVO's: 86 1C
    As I noted, I had only 'heard' of the commonality behind the headlamp, but never confirmed it since I have only owned my 86. Now Mikesvo has some 85.5/86 adjuster plates up for sale in the classifieds, for a visual reference. Not sure if anyone has any 84/85 adjuster plates hanging around or pics of to compare??
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  11. #11
    Pimpin Pumpkin Carver Laredo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Stillwater, MN
    Posts
    1,190
    SVO's: 86 2R
    Quote Originally Posted by svono50 View Post
    ...Not sure if anyone has any 84/85 adjuster plates hanging around or pics of to compare??
    Well, sort of. In a storage tote, 10 feet up on the upper shelf in my garage, which would require movement of 2 vehicles (1 is "dead") and a tall ladder to access.
    "If there's no plan, what can go wrong...?"

  12. #12
    OVER-BOOST!! MIKESVO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Villa Park, Illinois
    Posts
    1,517
    SVO's: 84 U3
    The backing plates are not the same as mentioned. Also, as Ken mentioned you'll need to drill an extra hole in the headlight mounting panel. I honestly can say, I've done a few of these conversions over the years. The sealed beam headlight assemblies were shared with the Aerostar. Exactly the same set up.
    I have the 85.5/86 headlight buckets for sale.
    Mike
    PETRO EXPRESS=CITGO=BOYCOTT / Illinois - Taxation w/o Representation!

  13. #13
    OVER-BOOST!! svono50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Streamwood, IL
    Posts
    4,009
    SVO's: 86 1C
    Mike, thanx for chiming in with actual hands-on experience! I wonder if backing plate and mounting panel terminology were freely swapped in conversation over the years, hence the conversation here.
    Ted
    86 SVO Mustang
    17 Cooper S Clubman ALL4

  14. #14
    6 PSI Boost
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    18
    Other than the headlight and trim ring, is this the bucket that's needed to retro fit the earlier headlights?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-NEW-198...IAAOSw8sBb0efL
    86 SVO. Spearco FM, Holset and a few other bolt on's.
    86 GN
    91 Syclone

  15. #15
    OVER-BOOST!! MIKESVO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Villa Park, Illinois
    Posts
    1,517
    SVO's: 84 U3
    Nope, that's the smaller bucket for the 4 eye set up on a Mustang. I think I have a set of the 84/85 buckets and stainless rings.
    PETRO EXPRESS=CITGO=BOYCOTT / Illinois - Taxation w/o Representation!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •