We Calgarians sound like broken records right now; “It’s cold. It’s cold. It’s cold.”
It just is, though. We’ve apparently set a record for how cold it is, and as I’m typing this it’s STILL snowing outside (I realize none of this is helping to convince you to move up here, José…). Fortunately the Continental is taking it all without issue, but that can’t be said for all of our cars.
Sriracha was actually out of action briefly as the cold snap proved too much for it and it refused to run, so it had to be left for a few days until it could be towed to Mario’s shop; once it was there and it had thawed out the mini ST sprang back into life without any issues though, so fortunately no damage had been done. Mario even managed to get a Nitrous Blue RS as a loaner for those few days and had a bit of fun (scratch that, a LOT of fun) using it as his daily while the Fiesta was a popsicle.
In regards to parts, my spacers have arrived for Mustard and its flares hopefully aren’t too far out now, but since the last update on the site we’ve also decided that another car will be getting an SS Tuning kit this season so another set of flares will be following them later this year. Brian’s lip has arrived as previously mentioned, leaving side skirts as the priority of our parts hunting, and I’m planning to order a couple more items once I get this post wrapped up. This is all to say that things are moving along, leaving us (fairly) confident that the Driven deadline won’t be too tight.
Regardless, today’s post is about none of that. Rather, I want to follow up the previous post (which highlighted the benzondubs Stripe) with a second entry in this new Early Modifications/Early Days series – specifically one which dealt with something a bit more substantial, in the sense that they’re actual, physical parts as opposed to vinyl: the Titanium headlights and fog light bezels!
These days, black housing lights are available on various Mk3 trim levels but for the first model year here (2012) they were exclusive to the then-highest version of the car, the Titanium; hence why they were originally referred to as Titanium lights.
As the matching Titanium fog light bezels were fairly inexpensive it was a decently common swap to carry out, but I remember that back then, swapping to the Titanium headlights was one of the “big” things to do. While many owners were playing with bits of vinyl, shift knobs, and so on (myself included), fitting a set of Titanium lights definitely got the forums talking. How times have changed. Haha
It quickly became evident that a large number of owners desired to rid their cars of the all-chrome headlights and bezels, to the point where Ford had even taken notice; when the 2013 model year came around they introduced the “Black Pack” option for SEs (though only hatches, if memory serves) which included the Titanium fog light bezels and headlights along with a gloss black wing, gloss black mirror caps, and black/machined 17″ wheels. As mentioned in the last post Paul’s old SE hatch was a Black Pack, though given that the car itself was Tuxedo Black the gloss black wing and mirror caps didn’t really stand out – and yes, they were still gloss black on a Tuxedo Black car.
But, back to the point of this post – fitting the Titanium (AKA Ti) lights and bezels. Back into my archives I went for these photos, and I even double checked the part numbers to see if they were still accurate today. In my case, when I made Mustard a bit of a Titanium lookalike the parts were all brand new from Ford; these days there are certainly enough partouts and junkyard inventory to find these pieces secondhand at much lower cost, but back in ’11/12 that wasn’t really an option for us. If you can find a clean used set, go for it – but if you wish to purchase new those part numbers are below.
Titanium fog light bezels:
Prices may change over time but as of this writing the listed retail is around $53 USD per side.
In the case of the bezels, there are a few methods for removing them from the bumper. The first is to use a pry tool to release the tabs from the front, but I didn’t want to risk scratching the paint so that option went out the window. To release the tabs from the inside of the bumper then, meant either removing the headlights for access from above, or the undertray for access from below. I opted for the latter, so that I wouldn’t have to realign the headlights after.
The undertray is secured via numerous clips and torx screws but isn’t difficult to remove, just a bit tedious. The fog light itself is secured with just two torx screws, so its removal is a quick and easy process. From there it’s just a matter of undoing the plastic tabs that hold each bezel in place. There are four total: one on the top, one on the bottom, and one on each side.
Obligatory comparison photo of the original SE/SEL bezel on the left, and the new Ti piece on the right.
It’s then just a matter of clipping the new bezel in place, reinstalling the fog light (don’t forget to plug it back in too if you’d disconnected it – I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve forgotten this step in the countless bumper removal/installs we’ve carried out) and then replace the headlight or undertray, depending on which route you took.
Along with looking better and being easy to install, an added bonus of the Titanium fog light bezels is that they don’t look out of place against the all-chome headlights, and especially if the Mk3 in question has the Piano Black grille as Mustard did (as opposed to the standard black plastic pieces), they match those nicely as well. My original chrome fog light bezels only lasted a couple of weeks before being replaced, but it wasn’t until the car was just over a year old that I finally got around to swapping out the headlights to match; and that was simply due to their cost.
These unfortunately have a core charge which adds to the cost a bit, but it’s nothing too outrageous. The price at the time of this writing is around $230 USD, plus a core charge of $80, each.
The first photos of the shiny new headlights, fresh out of their packaging. As mentioned, I picked these up just after the one year anniversary of buying the Focus. I have a tradition of treating myself to one “big” modification each year for my birthday and this time around, I had opted for the headlights.
I couldn’t wait to fit the new black housings to the car, so it was promptly pulled into the driveway and this final “before” photo was taken. These lights were actually stored away following their replacement, and a few years later temporarily returned to the car following a retrofit and repaint.
Going through the old photos I discovered that I hadn’t taken a photo of the headlights removed when I was carrying out the swap, but I had this one from a few weeks prior so I thought I’d use it here. One thing we’ve continually been pleased with in regards to the Mk3s is how easy they are to work on much of the time; one such instance is with the headlights as two torx screws hold them in and that’s it! There’s no need to remove the bumper (as is the case with some other vehicles) or even any trim, meaning that anyone can tackle a headlight replacement at home.
Again, obligatory comparison photos. Functionally the lights are identical with the only difference being the outer bezel’s finish, so they’re a full plug-and-play swap on S through SEL models. Of course, this also means that a set of chrome lights could be fitted to a Titanium as another option.
With both lights switched out I rolled the car onto the street for some better photos and I remember how pleased I was; the headlights were definitely one of the best changes made to the car – and I’d still consider them to be – especially given that SEs had the black beltline trim (as opposed to the chrome pieces found on SELs and Titaniums) so the headlights looked right at home.
Obviously this post has been looking specifically at the pre-facelift version of the Mk3 Foci, but the procedure will be the same for Mk3.5 headlights as well, though naturally the part numbers shown for these units won’t apply. Come to think of it, we really should get a Mk3.5 in the group so that we can familiarize ourselves with them…
If staying fully OEM isn’t your thing, as an alternative there’s always the option to open up a set of chrome headlights and paint them yourself, which also gives you the chance to play around with further customization as Paul, Dom, and even I all did at one point or another. However, if all you want is a quick and easy swap to black housings, Ford has done the work for you and all you need to do is track down a set. Ford not only made these available on SEs, as mentioned earlier, but they even fitted these exact lights to 2013 and 2014 ST1s and ST2s as well, so they’re not exactly rare by any means; a quick search online should yield no shortage of options for used lights. The fog light bezels will likely be a bit less common since they weren’t on as many Mk3s in total, but still by no means will they difficult to find used. Customization is an option there too, mind, as many owners decided they wanted even less chrome and would paint their original bezels all black or another colour entirely.
Regardless of the exact route taken, swapping out or customizing the original headlights and fog light bezels remains as a quick and effective way to improve the appearance of a Mk3. And on that note, I think it’s time that Mustard’s original – but retrofitted – headlights return once again. Except for good this time.