DIY: GrilleGuy Lower NO ZIP-TIES
This option for mounting a grille guy lower aluminum grill insert may be to permanent for some but the zip-ties were not going to work for me. I've read all the threads and comments about mounting these grills with zip-ties and heard all the opinions about how the zip-ties aren't noticeable but I just didn't like that idea so this is what I did.
Instead of ordering the lower piece that was specifically for the Element I got the Universal
grill in the Razr pattern with the black powdercoat. It cost the same as the Element specific one and left me with the extra material I needed to mount it my may.
Step 1: Cut out a piece that's 31"x 7". I used a Dremel with a medium cutting disc and a straight edge (to help me cut straight) but I guess you could use tin snips, band saw, or whatever you choose.
Step 2: I bent the grill to form a box top like thing to go over the inside of the bumper opening. I bent a 7/8" flap on the top of the grill, a 3/4" flap on the left and right side and a 1/2" flap on the bottom. Had to have the small flap on the bottom or it wasn't going to fit tight. Not having access to a bender, I clamped the grill between two pieces of straight edge and slowly
bent the grill. Don't try to bend it all the way the first time. I tested my bending method on a scrap piece before starting and found that if I bent to much to quick it would snap. I started at one end and bending a little at a time moved the length of the grill. I bent all the flaps to about 85 degrees. A right angle would be to much and you would have to bend it back, making the bend weaker, to fit over the bumper opening. The left and right side were a bit harder to bend, I couldn't use the straight edge, I used two small pieces of scrap metal I had laying around to clamp the grill between. This shot shows the grill in the clamp at about 1/2 way through the bending process of the top flap.
Step 3: I used the Dremel again to cut six slots in the flaps. This allows the grill to bend and follow the curve of the bumper. I cut one slot in the middle of both the top and bottom flap, two more on the top flap 7.5" in from each end, and two more on the bottom flap 7.5" in from the ends. The cuts are visible in a pic coming up.
Step 4: Time to mount this thing to the inside of the bumper. I picked up some 3/4" long (that was overkill 1/2 or 3/8 would have been better), 1/8" diameter, zinc coated (almost looks black) screws/bolts at home depot. The guy told me they shouldn't rust. We'll see. I didn't want Phillips or Slotted and was hoping to find Torx but ended up with a 2.5 mm allen. I thought the Phillips or Slotted wouldn't look as good IMO.
You had better have your front bumper removed for this next part. I put my grill, now bent into the shape of a box top thingy, over the inside of the lower bumper opening. I thought about cutting out an opening for the license plate bracket and decided the grill was going to fit tight without and it does. Plus that bracket hides two of my mounting screws. Push it over the inside of the lower bumper good and tight. I used masking tape to hold it in place so I could drill:shock: yes drill
(this is the permanent part I was talking about), through one of holes already in the grill, into and through the bumper. I drilled eight. One on each side of the middle slot in the top flap. Two more on the top flap, one at each end. Two on the bottom flap, one on each side of the license plat bracket. One on the bottom of each of the side (left and right) flaps going through the side of the bumper opening (there is one visible in the lower left of the pic below). Push your bolts/screws through from the front side (that's the side everyone sees), throw on some stainless hex nuts with nylon inserts, mount your bumper back to the front of your Element, and your good to go. You can see the slots I cut into the flaps in this pic.
No that's not a real baby you see on the ground there. It's my two year old daughter's. She was a great help on this mod even though it took her two or three tries to hand me the right tool.
Thanks to those of you that read this far along. I hope my poor attempted at this DIY helps someone out or at least gives them some kind of an idea on how to mount a grill w/o zip-ties. If you have any questions let me know and I'll answer them. And now for the part everyone likes, finished pics. I know if I was reading this thing I would have been anxious.
This one shows just about all the screws.
The only screws that are visible from more than three feet are the ones on the sides and they're black so it doesn't really matter to me.
Here's a shot next to my other baby with some illegal window tint (on the Civic). The new grill is barely visible in this shot but if it wasn't there the AC condenser would be screaming at you.
I like feedback, both positive and negative, so let me know what you think. Not necessarily on the look, we all know it looks good, but on the idea of drilling and using screws. Everyone I've shown thinks it looks like part of the original vehicle. They're not even drawn to the screws at all.