Home Write Ups Body/Exterior 2004 Grille Retrofit (WJ)
2004 Grille Retrofit (WJ)
Written by Cebby
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:
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 aboe 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.
Passenger Side Close Up 1
Passenger Side Close Up 2
Passenger Side Close Up 3
Passenger Side Close Up 4
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.
In the daylight...
Daylight Shot 1
Daylight Shot 2
Shot with Lights on