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Typically you do not have to remove the grill. Usually you DO have to remove the entire headlight assembly, which comes out with 3 or 4 bolts. Then the whole thing comes out and you can easily change the bulb.
If they are sealed beam headlights then you have to remove the grille in order to gain access to the screws to change the light. If they are halogen bulbs, they are accessed from behind the headlight. Held in by a retaining ring.
For agrivation go to walmart and have an oil change and ask them to change the headlight bulbs, they do NOT CHARGE EXTRA labor charges.
Otherwise, gently apply pulling pressure on the front grill every few inches to get the grill unhooked on the top and bottom nearest the headlight assembly. Then have someone hold the grill assembly out while you pull out the headlight assembly to access the rear of it to remove the hold down nut to remove the bulb's. Reverse removal procedure, which is actually harder to put the headlight assembly back into place then it is to remove.
Fig. 5: Retainer clip used to secure the front grille
Raise the hood and support it with the prop rod.
On 1981-94 models, remove the retainer screws from around each
Remove the retainer screws from the corners and center of the
Using a small prytool to press the tab on each of the grille
retainer clips at the top of the grille upward while pulling the grille
away from the radiator support.
When all the tabs have been released, lift the grille up slightly
and out to remove.
Engage the lower portion of the grille into the radiator support.
Carefully push the grille toward the radiator support, making sure
the retainer clips align with their respective mounting hole. Once all
the holes align, press the grille and retainer in until it clicks into
Install the retainer screws from the corners and center of the
On 1981-94 models, install the retainer screws around the
Check that headlamp switch (11654) is in the off position.
Lift hood (16612).
Release latch and swing filler panel to left or right.
Remove electrical connector from headlamp bulb by grasping wires firmly and snapping connector rearward.
Remove headlamp bulb retainer (13N019) by rotating counterclockwise (when viewed from rear) about one-eighth turn and sliding ring off plastic base. Keep headlamp bulb retainer as it may be used again to retain new headlamp bulb.
Carefully remove headlamp bulb from socket by gently pulling straight backward out of socket. Do not rotate headlamp bulb during removal.
Headlamp Assembly, Explorer Removal and Installation
Remove turn/park lamp attaching screws (2) and pull assembly away from body. Remove bulb sockets from housing and remove lamp assembly. Repeat on opposite side of vehicle.
With turn/park lamp assembly removed, screw attaching grille to front fender flange is accessible. Remove grille attaching screw. Repeat on opposite side of vehicle.
Remove attaching screws (4) located across top of grille.
Grip lower edge of grille and pull outward to disengage from retaining clips. Remove grille.
Using needle-nose pliers, compress barbs on headlamp housing retainer. With barbs compressed, pull forward on housing just enough to disengage from retainer. Repeat on opposite side of headlamp housing.
Turn headlamp housing as necessary and pull forward to disengage from headlamp aiming ball socket.
Disconnect wiring from headlamp bulb socket.
If replacing headlamp housing, remove retaining collar and bulb.
For installation, follow removal procedures in reverse order. Make sure to check headlamp aim.
you can access the outer headlights from under the hood. the inner healights have to be replaced by removing the grille. after grille is removed you will see 10 mm head bolts above & possibly below the headlight bracket remove them & headlight capsule should come right out.
No other way to get the headlight housing out other than to remove the grille not the fender. Remove the clips that secure the top of the radiator grille. There are 5 screws on the bottom portion of the grille that have to be removed before you can remove the grille. There are 3 screws and something called a guide pin on the headlight housing. Detach the electrical connector from the bracket by squeezing the lock tip with a pair of pliers. Remove the bulbs and have fun cleaning the headlight lens.