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Old 08-30-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
BradWhite
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Post 08 Custom Grille How To

I've had a number or requests for my how to on my grille so I guess it's time to post it. Now you can buy this exact same thing (well damn close) for $217.98 (plus shipping) HERE or make yourself for under $20.

2008 Ford Focus Sedan Grille Modification

If you have trouble with the photos, here's a link to them on PhotoTrail.

Here's mine.



And here is cboss08’s grille in Pittsburgh, PA (Nice job Chris!!)



I want to thank Ender07 of FF for helping me fine-tune these instructions. Ender07 and I collaborated between Wisconsin and Washington State while he used these directions to modify his grille. He let me know what made sense, what didn’t, and when he had no clue what the hell I was talking about. Thanks, Travis it was fun working with you on this.

(Travis didn't have to finish his before he ran off to Germany for the summer)




Cost:

Less than $20.

Material:

Mesh: Select mesh of your choice, I used:

Top vents and center = Gutter Guard: (3) three pieces - $1.67 each at Lowes or Home Depot (really only need two, but better safe than sorry)

NOTE: After doing mine if found gutter guard at a local hardware store in a 6”x20’ roll. Find that and you won’t have to solder two shorter pieces together for the center grille


Bottom three vents = BBQ Grill Topper: Found it at grocery store, 4 sheets for $5 bucks (meant for grilling veggies on) can be hard to find though, I couldn’t even find it again at the store I got it from.

Chrome door trim: $9 bucks for 15’ at AutoZone

Stainless Steel Wire: small gauge, to secure everything to the grille.

Masking Tape: to protect bumper

Gloves: wear ‘em when you’re cutting the gutter guard, that blank will cut the blank out of your hands if you cut it a little off center. There’s a picture below, in the soldering section that shows what to watch out for.

Shop around and find some mesh you like, it turns up in the funniest places. Here are some examples.



Left to Right; Disposable Grill Topper, Gutter Guard, a piece of a sheet from Lowes

Tools Required:

Sheers to cut material
Drill and bit sized for stainless steel wire used
Pliers
Super Glue
Felt pen marker
Some soldering required (maybe)

Note: Removal of the front grille is required. This is an easy process and explained fully in this FF “How To” HERE.

Top Vents:

Remove Grille for this step. (be careful with that grille when it's off, lay it on a soft towel or something. You don't want to scratch it up.)

The two top vents are easy. Cut two pieces of gutter guard to fit between the grille and the black molding. Include covering the black area (look from the front) when you are sizing these pieces. Also allow enough material to overhang the other end of the vent. (See pictures below)

One end is held in place between the grille and black molding. The other end I simply pressed into the gap and I wedged it in place with a piece of plastic I had laying around.





Center Grille (you might want to save this for last and do the bottom three vents first, then you’ll be highly motivated to finish this step, it is the most difficult)

Re-install the grill

First the gutter guard (let’s call it mesh, just sounds better) is not long enough to cover the grille with one piece, at least what I found wasn't. (see note above)

I cut one piece of mesh in half (lengthwise).

Note: Wear gloves, this stuff produces razor sharp little edges if you cut it a little off center. I wore gloves and it cut through the gloves and then my hand!

Place the two pieces end to end and overlapped by ONE diamond section. Solder that together on the BACK side. Pay attention to up/down, back/front (you have to look really close to see that).

OK, the next two pictures show what I was trying to say above.





Again, remember to do this on the BACK. And NOTE the little “tabs” on that piece on the top; it’s not cut flush to the diamond pattern.

Cut it flush on the bottom piece, which will be the front. What? Remember the pictures here are of the back. Leave the tabs on the top piece, but not on the bottom one.

Those tabs are where you want to apply the solder. You only need enough solder so that tab gets soldered to the piece below. Don’t move the piece until you finish soldering all the tabs, at which point it will be strong enough to hold together with no problem.

If you see little pieces like above in the yellow circle, trim them off before they cut you to pieces.

When you are done soldering you will have one piece let is now long enough for the center grille.

Protect your bumper first

BEFORE you get that thing anywhere near your grille, protect your bumper with masking tape. Tape off the bumper under the grille so you don’t scratch the hell out it. You remember what it did to your hands don’t you!

Hold the mesh up to the grille, line up the soldered joint right in the middle under FORD and you’ll be centered. Mark each end about 4 inches longer than required and cut the extra off the ends.

Now trim one edge so that it is straight (see picture below), that will be the bottom. From now on all trimming will be done to the top only. Leave the bottom straight.



Now we start the fun part, and do this slowly – very very slowly.

Center the mesh on the grille again. Use your marker to mark cut lines that follow the grille and the contour of the headlight. Keep the mesh pressed in against the grille while you are marking.

DO NOT try to cut this to fit in one shot, it will not work.

See the picture below. I put some blue tape behind the mesh for this pic so you can see the contour of the headlight. The yellow line is where I’d cut it first. Cut it that large from one end to the other end. The blue line would be my second cut from end to end. Then start working it slowly to fit between the bumper and the chrome grill while following the contour of the headlights.

REMEMBER – you can always cut more off, but you can not cut more on – go slow and test fit often. I test fit it after every trim and I only trimmed a ½ diamond section at a time. (Yeah, they’re not diamonds, but close enough for me)



See picture below of final shape before adding chrome trim.




When you’re done and you think you have it right (ha, you wish) cut a couple of six inch pieces of chrome door trim to use for final sizing of the mesh. Place those pieces of chrome trim on the top and bottom of the mesh in various areas to see how the mesh will fit with the trim installed.

NOTE: You could leave the door trim off - I put it on to protect the bumper and my hands when I'm washing the car.

Continue to trim slowly until you have the fit you want with the trim included.

Once you are satisfied you can wrap the entire center piece with the chrome door molding. I did the bottom first and let it run past each end about a ½ inch. Then I cut it to about a 45 degree angle with the end of the trim flush with the end of the mesh.

The top piece comes down and fits into the angled cut on the bottom. If you have a better way to get these ends to look good, go for it. I was shooting in the dark on that one.



I then glued the joint with super glue (back side so it doesn't show) to remove any gap and keep it together.

Here’s a picture of the completed center section on my bench before installation.



Once you have the center section done. REMOVE the grille again.

To secure the mesh to the grille use the stainless steel wire and start in the middle. Now that presents a problem because the grille is solid in the center (and ends). I solved that by drilling holes through the plastic grille where is wanted my wire to go. The red dots in the picture below are an example of where I drilled for my wire. Do not panic, if you ever take the mesh off you won't see these holes.



And hopefully the picture below explains the rest. But, look for places on the stock grille that line up with the mesh already. Also, make sure the wire only catches one piece of the mesh, like pictured below, and the wire will be very hard to see when you’re done.



The next picture shows where the wire is twisted in back to hold it on the grille (yea, I got lazy and didn’t complete the circles showing the attachment points on the right side)



Here’s a shot of one of the wires on the back where I drilled through the stock grille.



Set the grille back on the car a lot while you are securing the mesh to make sure things are lining up correctly.

When you are done securing the mesh to the grille, re-install the grille and admire your handy work.

Damn glad that’s over with, now for something easy;

Three Lower Vents:

The bottom three vents are a simply cut to fit and wire to hold. These I wired with the twist in front. You could wire with the twist in back in you have the energy to remove the splash guard under the bumper, I didn’t.

I found it pretty easy to use a piece of wire, longer than required, with a bend at the end. Fish the bent end through from the front and play with it until the end of the bend lines up where you want it and pull it back through. Then twist it in front and cut it short so you can’t see it.


I think the red circles below are showing where I secured it, even I can’t tell for sure in this close up. That wire hides real nice. But again, notice the stock black diamond pattern behind the mesh. Find spots where it lines up nicely with the mesh and fasten it there.



That’s it, you’re done

If you find anything confusing, wrong, or that I could do a better job explaining, please do not hesitate to PM me.


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Last edited by BradWhite; 08-30-2008 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:11 PM   #2
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very nice write-up..i'd do this if i had an '08
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Wait, stop the presses !!

I got myself curious today when I posted this. Hmm, what would it look without the chrome door trim? So one thing lead to another and this is what I wound up with.







I noticed that the "roll" of gutter guard I found has a different pattern than the pieces you buy at Lowes or Home Depot. It is also lighter weight material and easier to work with.

What I wound up doing was removing the chrome door trim (except for the piece directly under the chrome on the grille, that would have required removing the entire custom piece and I wasn't up to that.)

I took the new gutter guard and made an overlay that is now on top of my 1st custom grille. So there's the stock grille, my custom grille and now this new overlay on top of that. What the hell Brad - what are you thinking? Honestly don't know, just bored and needed something to do.

Anyway, between the two different patterns of gutter guard I think it looks more like chain maille now. I like it and that's how it's staying, well at least until I get bored tomorrow.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:09 PM   #4
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Really Nice. Great Writeup. Brad. You need to post the full scale pics somewhere though cause the site photo restrictions are killin the detail! :)
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:34 PM   #5
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thats really sick brad! like it a lot! this could be used for any foci if you just tweak the instructions a bit. great write up!
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S0C0nFused View Post
Really Nice. Great Writeup. Brad. You need to post the full scale pics somewhere though cause the site photo restrictions are killin the detail! :)
Here's a link to the photos on PhotoTrail, I'll add that to my first post also. Thanks for letting me know there was an issue.

Brad
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:08 PM   #7
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You did a nice job. Very clean! Thx for the linky! :)
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:15 PM   #8
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Almost forgot, thank you for the kind words gentlemen
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:48 PM   #9
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stickied, good job, as usual.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:31 PM   #10
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Well thank you
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