2004 Grille Retrofit (WJ)

Want to update the look of your older WJ with a fresh new grille?  Here's the writeup for my '04 Grille mod...

Tools you'll need:
  • Box Cutter
  • Dremel with spiral bit (looks like a drill bit, but you can plunge cut with it and cut on the side of the bit)
  • 4" Grinder with flapdisc sanding wheel
  • Cordless drill (with clutch) with phillips bit.

Here's what I started with - your standard run of the mill 2000 Taupe Frost Laredo with Chrome Grille:

Stock 2000 Laredo

Remove the (7) screws holding the chrome grille assembly on.  You will be left with this.  Note that the taupe colored trim ring is attached to the bumper fascia (all one piece)

Chrome Grille Removed

Using a box cutter (those nice flat holders that hold a straight razor blade), cut the grille ring off:

Cut Line

Next, remove two of the vertical braces from each side.  I used the Dremel with the Spiral Bit for this.  Leave the center two:

Cutting piece removed

With the grinder (or a sander) smooth out the two center support so they look like the photo below:

Modified Center Braces

This is where I started my trial fitting.  Without the outside piece on, you can see that the center two holes line up.  The outside holes are close, but not quite.

Passenger Side Test Fit

Also use the center of the grille as your reference (the two center holes line up, but the outside is off just a little):

Align Center Pin
 
Passenger Side Alignment

And now for the cutting:

Cutting and Notching Guide
Here are close ups of the slot and notch cutting.  Use the above diagram for reference.  This is a trial and error process to get it to sit nice and flat.  Hold the grille in place, cut a little at a time and repeat until it sits flat.

Completed Cutting

Passenger Side:

Passenger Side Close Up 1
 
Passenger Side Close Up 2

Passenger Side Close Up 3
 
Passenger Side Close Up 4

Driver Side:

Driver Side Close Up 1
 
Driver Side Close Up 2

Driver Side Close Up 3
 
Driver Side Close Up 4

Here's the tab at the bottom of the grille.  The slot goes right behind the point where the fascia is cut off.  The hole should be a rectangle with two extra slots for clearance of the nubs.

Lower Grille Hook

Here's how it fits in the piece on the bumper:

Hook in Custom Notch

Snap the grille back toogether and drill front the back to the front to locate mounting holes.  Some others have screwed the insert on and then snapped the outside piece on - makes it pretty tough to remove that way.  Mine is only held with 4 screws and they are under the hood when closed.

Drill after assembly

Use the existing two holes and screws in the center.  Screw these in now.

Inside Holes Reused

I used a self-drilling screw, but you can drill a hole for it instead.  Note that the original screw is not long enough.

Outside holes need to be redrilled

Here's what the screws look like through the top of the grille.  (Sorry the pic is a little fuzzy -- I'll fix it later)

Upper Screws Installed

Here's the finished product.

Complete

In the daylight...
 
Daylight Shot 1
 
Daylight Shot 2

Shot with Lights on

Gallery: 2004 Grille Retrofit (WJ)

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