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How To - Front Fascia & Grille Removal
-Michael aka MADDOG
Greetings! I know there are a few tutorials on the site regarding installing the grill, but I could never find a good "illustrated" version. I read about people installing their grills without removing the fascia and others that found it easier to just pull the fascia to install a new grill (and foglight bulbs). Well, I tried it both ways and here is my pain documented in pictures for all to see. This was on a 2006 300C SRT8, so I can't guarantee it is the same on other years or models. Some light commentary along the way:
First, there are two plastic snap-in covers on the top right behind the fascia:
Once removed, you can see four plastic push-pins holding the fascia to the front bracing. Whether you want to remove the fascia or not, you MUST take these out in order to get to the grill mounting screws:
Once pulled, you can pull the top of the fascia forward a little bit and see the ten inside screws that mount the grill to the fascia:
Besides those ten screws, there are also four plastic tabs that serve as guides on the factory grill and mount to the fascia itself. Some replacement grills such as the Startech will have these same mounting tabs:
Removing the top four screws will FILL you with tremendous confidence that you will have the whole project done in ten minutes without removing the fascia. Don't get too cocky just yet. Here are the four top screws removed:
In order to pull the fascia away from the foam bumper impact reinforcement, you need to remove two large plastic screws from the sides. They have square heads that you can remove with a small flathead screwdriver, or in my case a star screwdriver fits perfectly:
Looking down, you can see most everything:
What you can't
see are the four screws that will attempt to kill you and make a mockery of the entire project:
Now for those that want to install a new grill without
removing the fascia, this is where you will spend most of your time. First off, you will need to wedge open the small space between the fascia and the bumper foam:
You will then need an offset screwdriver to get to those screws. I tried several stores (automotive, hardware, and home improvement) and the best I could come up with was this from Home Depot:
Now the challenge is that those tiny little screwdriver bits are STILL too long to work well in that cramped space. Some people literally rip those screws out of the fascia (yep, ripping the fascia itself), while others wedge that gap open up even farther - hopefully without cracking the entire fascia in the process. After bloodying up my knuckles and cursing in several different languages, SUCCESS! We had the entire grill removed!
And here is what those screws look like with some space around them. The only way they will look like this is if you pull the fascia off. Which we ended up doing. But more on that in a minute:
So, putting in the new one will be a piece of cake, right? WRONG. You still have those ultra-tight spaces to get to the bottom screws, only now you are starting them into your new grill and have to hold it perfectly in place to keep them tight. It took five minutes to realize that with such a tight fit (especially on the sides) it wasn't worth it. So now we go to step two - removing the fascia!
It looks to be a very daunting task, but it is actually a heckuva lot easier than those four evil screws. The hardest part is removing the factory plastic rivets in the wheel wells. You could probably rip them out and risk tearing up something else. What I did was "punch" the center until it popped in, and then the rivet itself would slide out. There are only three in each wheel well that need to be removed. Turn your wheels for each side for best access:
And yes, I mangled the first one a bit (top) got better by the second one (middle), and was a pro by the third (bottom). Here is what those rascals look like once removed:
Don't worry about saving them - they are now toast and there are better ones out there anyway. Okay, now that you have those removed, pull back the liner and look up. See that silver hex head bolt installed vertically (upwards) at the top? Take it out. Do NOT take out the horizontal bolt below it. You think you should, but rest assured you do not need to. I promise.
There is only one bolt on each side - that's it. Don't remove any other bolts or screws as you simply don't need to. Okay, you have those two bolts out, now comes some easy ones. Lots of them:
Now you don't need a lift to get to these, although I am sure it would be helpful. I didn't even jack up the car to do any of this. A tad bit uncomfortable, but you work with what you got. These eight screws mount through metal clips on the body pan. Easy to take off, they are a bit harder to line up unless you have the car raised up and can get underneath. Here is what they look like when peeking through the lower fascia opening:
Zip, zang, zing - they are off. Nothing to it and a simple socket driver takes them right out. So now all of the mounting screws are out. Really - just the single bolt on either side and the screws underneath. So then why isn't the fascia just falling off? Aha! It's because those clever engineers at DCX created a slide mechanism whereby the fascia literally slides into place. There are two large "slide plates" on either side and one smaller one towards the front of each side. They look like this:
The fascia itself has a thin lip that slides between these plates. It looks like this:
Notice the notches on either one: They slide snugly around the mounting bolts of the plate itself. To take the fascia off pull gently near the headlights and in the wheel wells. Don't force it, just pull gently and rock it back and forth a little if it is too snug. And bingo, your fascia is off! Some folks suggest disconnecting the washer fluid, which I didn't do as I was only moving the fascia forward less than a foot to get easier access to those nasty screws on the bottom of the grill. In retrospect I should have disconnected it, as it did leak overnight - probably from the angle of the hose. When I put the fascia back on it was fine - no leaks.
Now, notice the larger plate towards the back has a couple bolts. Make sure when you put the fascia back on that you have it lined up correctly. When my bride and I did it we accidentally lined up the front notch on the back bolt of the larger plate. Didn't take long to figure out what was wrong! When reinstalling, simply nudge the fascia back into place, lightly tapping it with the soft side of your fist (or using a towel so as not to scratch it). It may take a little bit (or not), but it will nudge back into place perfectly.
From there it is a piece of cake: Install the single bolt on either side, reinstall the eight screws on the bottom, and then put the liners back into place. What? You threw away the rivets? GOOD! Like that offset screwdriver, I tried several places for replacement rivets. Bought some plastic pop rivets from Home Depot and they fell out within minutes. Advanced Auto, same thing. So then I tried AutoZone and they had 1/4" Phillips head nylon rivets:
Slid right in and then screwed down tight. Plenty of drive time since then and every one of them right where they should be:
And that, my friends, brings me to this:
Hopefully this will help some of you folks that are do-it-yourselfers like me. I am not a mechanic, so feel free to correct me or ask any questions and I will walk you through my install. The results are well worth the effort!