I got a '98, imagine that, as a mechanic...I'd say....the headlights and corners come out, the piece of plastic above the upper rad support, and I'm thinkin it's a ton of screws n stuff to get the grille and surround out, just my thinking.
I took the shroud over the radiator and grille off but let me just say, i had to do the headlights one time and oh my God why Ford? Why do this to your fans? There was no reason they should have been that difficult.
Only thing I can think of is heat the tabs up really warm, and try to bend them back. I'm thinking Ford did everything in their power to make sure it was near impossible to remove the inserts on the 97-98 F-150's.
Are you talking about these tabs here? I know it's hard to see but the little bump the screwdriver is pointed to? I took those and the obvious screws out and just put them back in cause it was getting dark but i'll probably do it tomorrow.