2020 Ford Shelby F150

Grille Lighting, Underglow

I routinely get phone calls from random locals looking for quotes on underglow lighting. They are sometimes shocked when I tell them it starts at $1k when the car audio shop around the corner will do installs for $500 out the door. To this, I must re-iterate: ALL UNDERGLOW IS NOT CREATED EQUAL! The quality of the components utilized is important, yes, but not nearly as important as the quality of the installation techniques utilized to complete the work order. What products are used and HOW they are used will directly affect the light output and the final result.

Michael initially called me requesting a basic underglow and grille lighting installation for his 2020 Shelby F150. I explained that even my most basic install was not very basic at all and he was on board for the high quality reliable approach for his premium truck. I opted to utilize Diode Dynamics 5m universal RGBW LED rolls to complete the lighting transformation since they are incredibly bright and resilient products. Using the bulk rolls allows me to cost-effectively cut strips to length and solder on my own waterproof terminations which allows for a perfect fit for each vehicle maximizing output while maintaining serviceability. As per his request, I put a stainless steel illuminated button in his kick panel to activate the Bluetooth controlled Diode Dynamics RGBW controller which can quickly and easily turn the lights on and off.

The side strips were mounted hidden inside the motorized step bar channel. This location keeps the LEDs invisible even if you are on the ground next to the truck but still allows a ton of light distribution without harsh cutoff lines. Each strip has a service plug on the end which will allow for further expansion if desired.


The front strip required some extra attention and love to produce the intended result: a proper glow without being able to see the LEDs.  For this application, I created a T-Beam (I am making up this term but when you see the picture you’ll know what I mean) out of 1/2″ expanded PVC which was the perfect balance of strong and rigid but still slightly flexible to facilitate the gentle bend I needed to work around some large aluminum box structure under the vehicle.  I don’t know what that box was but I’m guessing maybe an oil reservoir.  Mounting the strips to the skid plate would have made them exposed and visible and the reservoir wasn’t nearly wide enough so a mounting bracket was necessary.  The T-Beam was held in place by two pieces of aluminum that I fashioned into basic L-Brackets.  The self-tapping screws from Shelby that originally held on the skid plate were removed, the holes drilled out, and Riv-Nuts were installed so that serviceable machine screws could be used to hold everything together.  And, as always, waterproof service plugs were put on the LED strips to make removal easy as necessary.


For the grille lighting, I had to remove and disassemble the front grille completely.  The Shelby is a bit more effort than a normal F150, but nothing crazy.  I custom cut and installed three sections of Diode Dynamics RGBW LED strips completely hidden inside the front fascia and wired them together to a service plug.  The result was gobs of stealthy light.

2019 Ford F-150 Shelby Grille Lighting Installation


And that’s basically it!  Reassembly and then photo op.  I got quite a few pictures of the finished product here so please enjoy!


Thanks for reading!  -13-

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