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#4013236 - 05/08/19 08:49 PM 98+ nose swap on 92-97 - by BigNSlow
BigNSlow Offline

Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 41278
Before I get into the step by step instructions I will post some general information. This write up will focus on installing 1998 and newer Crown Vic nose onto 1992-1997 Crown Vic. Same process can be applied if you want to install Grand Marquis or Marauder nose onto your 1992-1997 Crown Vic or Grand Marquis though some parts will differ. I won't be getting into what parts you will need for those other swaps. You can contact me directly with any questions with regards to those.

I will be putting 2001 Crown Vic nose onto 1996 Crown Vic. I found a donor car same color as mine so no paint work was required.

Parts that you will need:

- 1998-2011 CV/GMQ/Marauder hood
- 2003-2011 Town Car hood struts
- 1998-2011 CV header panel
- 1998-2011 CV headlights
- 1998-2011 CV corner lights (Marauder or Grand Marquis corners can also be used for different look)
- 1998-2011 CV bumper cover
- 1998-2011 CV/GMQ/Marauder hood latch
- (optional) 1998-2011 CV/GMQ/Marauder hood latch cable
- 1998-2002 CV/GMQ bumper reinforcement

You will also want to have all the bolts and brackets off the donor car for ease of installation. Also, I suggest grabbing as much wiring for the headlights and corners from the donor car as you can get as it will make your life much easier.

Tools that you will need:

- screwdrivers
- socket set
- wrenches
- zip ties
- heat shrink tube, electrical tape and anything else that you would use for wiring

You may also need files, hammer, hack saw, angle grinder.


1. Begin by removing the hood. This is pretty straightforward but you will need a helper. Aero hoods are made of aluminum so they are pretty light. Whale hoods are steel and are quite heavy so you will need a second hand. Open the hood, undo two 8 mm bolts on each side that hold hood to the hinges. You will also need to remove the hood latch.

2. Remove the headlights. To do this you will need to take off the plastic access panel. There are 3 clips holding the headlights in place. I usually use needle nosed pliers to get the clips off. Once the clips are off the headlights can be removed. Don't forget to take out the bulbs first though. Just twist and pull.

3. Remove corner lights. There are two 7/16" nuts that must be removed as well as a screw on the outside. After those are out the corner light just falls out. Bulbs come out same way as headlights. Twist and pull. Depending on your model you may have a corner lamp as well as a marker lamp.

4. Remove the bumper cover. There is a small screw that holds it to the fender as well as 8 mm bolt on each side.

Then there are two Phillips screws that must be removed inside the wheel well. Turn the steering wheel all the way to one side for easy access.

There are also four 8 mm bolts that hold cover to the radiator support and two more 8 mm bolts at the bottom of the fender. Once those are out you can pull the cover off.

5. Next step is removing the header panel. Two 8 mm bolts on each side holding it to the fender.

Then another hidden 8 mm bolt up on top. Remove two 8 mm bolts holding the fender in place as well.

You will also need to remove brackets attached to the bumper support. Take out the two 8 mm bolts. When the header panel is off you can take the brackets off completely as these will not be used. Now that all the bolts are out comes the fun part - taking the header panel off. If you tried to simply pull it off I am sure that you noticed that it doesn't come out. That's because there are alignment tabs on each side that go inside the fender. There are several ways you can approach this. Proper way is to remove the fenders. Another way is to have a couple of big guys pull on the fender while another person takes out the header panel. You can also use a large flat head screw driver and insert it between header panel and the fender from the inside. Basically go in through the headlight opening. Then just pry the fender off. This is what I did.

So, when the header panel is off that about does it for dis-assembly. Now is a good time to redo all the necessary headlight and corner light wiring. Trust me, you will want to do this now because it's a lot easier to access everything with the nose removed.

6. Headlight wiring is simple. Cut off the existing harness for lows and highs. Then wire in new headlight socket.

wiring is as follows:
on 1996:
Green - low beam power
Red - hi beam power
Black - ground

on 2001:
Green - low beam
Blue - hi beam
Black - ground

7. Next you gotta redo corner light wiring. If you got a complete harness from a Whale then all you need to do is repin the connector. Just compare it to the stock Aero harness and make it the same. If you have LX model you will have an extra wire on each side for the corner lamp. Brown/white on the left and purple/yellow on the right. Aero harness won't have those wires so leave them unplugged.

I didn't get as lucky and my harness was butchered so I ended up making my own.

wiring is as follows:
on both 1996 and 2001:
Light green/white - turn signal power
Brown - corner light power
Black - ground

8. Now we can install new header panel. Most of the steps are reverse of removal. I used a flat head to pry on the fender to install.

9. Next step would be installing the hood but before we do that I suggest replacing hood struts first. I discovered that stock Aero struts aren't strong enough to support heavy Whale hood. No problem, right? We will simply use Whale struts. Unfortunately as I've learned it's not that simple. Whale struts are shorter than Aero struts by about an inch. Also, lower strut mount location on Whales differs from Aeros. If you try to install Whale struts onto the Aero using you will discover that they too aren't strong enough to support the hood. Not to mention the hood won't open all the way because the struts are shorter.

So far I've been able to find two solutions to the problem. One would be to install lower strut mount from a Whale. The hole in the fender is already there but the sheet metal isn't thick enough. If you have a welder you can weld the mounts into place. Then just use Whale struts and call it a day.

Second solution is for those people who don't have a welder (like me). I spent part of the day walking around a junkyard looking for struts from other vehicles that would be strong enough to support the hood. I tried numerous vehicles and the only struts I found that work come on 2003-2011 Lincoln Town Car. They are same length as stock Aero struts so the hood will open as it should and they are strong enough to support it. They are also a bit thicker too.

When you got new struts installed you can put the hood on. You can use Aero hinges as they are the same. Careful not to crack the windshield when installing.

#4013682 - 05/11/19 06:59 PM Re: 98+ nose swap on 92-97 - by BigNSlow [Re: BigNSlow]
BigNSlow Offline

Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 41278
10. Now comes the hardest part (at least it was for me). Installing new hood latch and modifying the striker.

We will start with the latch. Bolt holes for Whale latch are slightly more offset than the Aero. I simply enlarged the holes on one side using a hand file. That let me bolt on the latch to the header panel. You will also need to either replace the hood latch cable or attach your existing cable to the Whale latch. I used a bunch of zip ties to attach the existing cable.

Next step was modifying the hood striker as it was a good half an inch from where it's supposed to be. The whole striker has to come to the driver side by about half an inch. What I ended up doing is filing out the bolt holes on the striker plate as well as the striker itself so the whole assembly moved over enough to line up with the latch. This step is a lot of trial and error until it fits without rubbing.

11. Installing bumper cover proved to be a bit of a challenge as well. I've seen another member do this mod to his car and the bumper cover fit on without any issues. When I went to install my cover I discovered that it would not fit on either side. It was short by a couple of inches on either side. I think it's a result of the bumper support. Whale bumper supports aren't as wide as the Aero.

There are two solutions. One is to install a Whale bumper support. I no longer had an access to the donor car so I ended up going a different route. I got out my hack saw and shortened both ends of my aluminum support. After that the cover fit in place as it should.

12. You will need to drill a couple of holes in the back of the bumper support to attach lower bumper cover brackets. If you are swapping in a Whale support then you can ignore this step.

12. Finish off the job by installing headlights and the grille.

You will need to use Aero bulb access cover as the Whale cover won't clear rubber hood stops.

Finished product should look something like this.

A couple of misc pics during the install. I put my hood on before swapping everything else. In case you were wondering if Whale hood will clear Aero header panel.


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