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Old 05-12-2007
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Front End Ideas

I've been thinking about changing the look of the front end of my black '96.

The grille is gray with chrome trim on top (there's a crack right in the middle of the chrome -imagine that... a crack in the middle HA!- below the hood release latch.) And the chrome that surrounds the corner lights is beginning to wear off.

- The bumper is chrome with the gray trim & the lower gray valance with fog lights.
- A while back, one of the fog light lenses fell off at 65mph, so I replaced both lights with some generic round fog lights that fit almost perfectly in the factory holes.

I thought about pulling the grill & corner chrome (behind the corner lights) off & trying to epoxy the crack from behind (insert pun here) and hopefully fix the crack on the front so I can sand & paint the chrome black.
I'll probably leave the gray area alone for now, but I may paint it black later.

How much trouble will it be to sand the chrome plated plastic down to accept paint?
I've used that new plastic paint & it works pretty well, but I haven't painted anything that will be left outside year 'round.

Has anybody used those $40 "factory replacement" grills from ebay? I thought about buying a solid black replacement & painting it to match. The only problem is the chrome plated plastic around my corner lights... I haven't been able to find replacement parts in black (or any color for that matter)... and I sure don't want to go to a Ford dealer$h!p.

It doesn't look too bad now, just the hairline crack & the corner chrome is wearing away right under the bug shield, but I didn't want to start sanding the corners down only to find out that I'm wasting my time & won't be able to find replacements.
I think the corner plastic/chrome parts help locate the grille on top, so I don't want to be left with a droopy grill.

I'm not going for the "pimp my ride" chrome bling look - the less shiny stuff I have the better I like it...less crap to keep clean.

Anybody know of any good online replacement parts places?
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Old 05-12-2007
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On my son's 97, we painted the grill toreador red to match the rest of the truck and left the chrome, and that looks ALOT better than the stock gray that you are describing. We have a paint shop that puts the factory color in the rattle cans so that was super easy to do.

The other thing we did was to paint the gray trim piece black using the Krylon Fusion black and topping it off with 3 shots of clear coat. Also did the bottom valalnce. If I get time later today, I'll post a shot. Black looks so much better than gray, what was Ford thinking? LOL

Oh and I'll save everyone the trouble...regarding my post
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Old 05-12-2007
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black is a great color... it goes along with any other color. and black with chrome just sets a truck off.
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Old 05-13-2007
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Well, I started working on this project today...

The chrome trim behind the corner lights went pretty well. I sanded the chrome to accept paint & threw down 3 or 4 coats of black and a couple coats of clear. They look pretty good.

The grille... well I started sanding the chrome to accept paint when I snagged the sandpaper on an edge. I soon found that the chrome is actually a thick applied metal covering that (with considerable effort) will peel off revealing the plastic underneath.
I pried, pulled & scraped all of the chrome off and finally got down to the bare plastic.

I didn't have any epoxy to fix the crack, but I did have some PVC glue in my plumbing box. I slapped on some glue to the backside of the grille & let it set a while and it seems to have worked. The crack is still visible, but at least it isn't getting any worse.

I suspect the chrome trim behind the corner lights has the same metal chrome coating as the grille does, so if the paint flakes off the corner trim, I'll rip the metal chrome off of them too.
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Old 05-13-2007
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Do you have any pics?
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Old 05-13-2007
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I'll work on some pics ASAIGT (as soon as I get time)
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Old 05-18-2007
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I finally made it outside to take a few pics of the newly painted grille & side trim.







Check out the fog lights.... they've worked out great. One of the OEM glass covers fell off @ 65mph and was looooong gone & I found the pair of these at Wally-World for about $20 (at the time). Sure beats $30 for just one glass cover.

If you look closely in the closeup pic you can see the crack/split in the grille, along with some roadkill & my high-tech radiator protector/rat wire that I just painted black.
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