Recently, I stumbled onto an odd JK grille on Craigslist (or what I thought was odd at the time). As it turns out, there were some changes to the Sahara JK grilles for ’16. My first impression was that I didn’t like it. The slots are slightly squared out and I wasn’t digging the two-tone.
The thing is, the more I looked at it, the more it started to grow on me. Also, it looked like lighter silver portions of the grille were inserts that could be removed and repainted…. I started to wonder what Lil Punkin’ would look like with a Billet Silver grille and Mango Tango inserts or what if I replaced Dirty’s grille and painted the inserts her accent blue?
Well, before you know it, I had shot an offer across the sellers bow to see if we could reach an agreement. Next thing you know, I was the owner of the grille and now I can post up some more details on it. 😎
Here it is in all its current glory. This is from a 2016 Billet Silver JK.
Upon a deeper inspection, I learned two things from the manufacturer’s mold stamp. One, it’s made in America and two, it’s actually just the JK Dragon Grille. You know, that hideous special edition Jeep offered in 2014. It seems I paid so little attention to that Jeep that I didn’t notice these very grille mods on it.
Here is a closer look at the inserts.
And from the rear…
So, are they in fact removable? Happily, yes. The slot inserts are a simple snap into place type and the headlight inserts are a combination of snap in and metal clamps to hold it tightly in place.
Here you can see the headlight insert metal clips. I was able to use a screwdriver to rotate the clip up and off of the tab. Then, I used a plastic pry tool to push the other plastic clips in and separate the insert from the grille. I would suggest having an extra pair of hands handy. It was fairly tough to lightly pry the insert up while releasing the clips and they wanted to snap back in place at the slightest relax.
Here is the grille with one headlight and one slot insert removed.
So, now what?…. I was pretty sure the inserts would be getting a coat of Mango Tango and then the grille will likely find a home on Lil Punkin’. If the whole thing went poorly, I really wasn’t out that much and the project would give me a little shop time in my otherwise cold and dormant season. I am the type to go in fairly committed, but if you were concerned, you could also use Plastidip. The inserts have a heavy coat of clear on them so I’m sure the dip could easily be removed.
…after a bit of thought and Alana (Mrs. SSS) and I going back-and-forth on what Jeep we wanted to gear this for… (If it were to go on Lil Punkin’ the inserts would be painted to match her Mango Tango body. If this were to be done for Dirty then the inserts would be painted in metallic blue to match her cage and other blue accents.)
The decision is… After much deliberation, we have decided to use this on Dirty. Our main sticking point was the fact that we are not a fan of different color grilles on Jeeps and the Billet Silver would detract too much Lil Punkin’s boldness that we have come to love. Also, we used to have blue grille inserts in Dirty that we liked, but had to be removed for interference with the PSC cooler.
With some direction finally in mind, we removed the remaining inserts in preparation for paint and learned a little in the process.
If you plan to do this mod, be mindful to not get ahead of yourself… The locations of the inserts are specific and not interchangeable. They are marked in two ways but one is misleading. The misleading and likely the first marking you will notice is the bar-code labels at the top of each insert. Just behind the part number on that label is a digit (1-7). While this digit does in fact indicate the individual inserts, they ARE NOT used in chronological order. So, if using this as identification, be sure to write down where each number should reside.
An alternate way to identify the insert location and what we will be using is the part description that is in the molding itself. While not in a consistent location, somewhere on the outside of each insert is a description of where the insert goes. NOTE: The locations are described as if you are looking at the grille from in front of the Jeep (not the actual Jeep side).
The labels for the slots are as follows from left to right when viewed as described above:
LT OUTTER VERTICAL (“Outter” is not a typo)
LT MID VERTICAL
LT INNER VERTICAL
RT INNER VERTICAL
RT MID VERTICAL (Actual Location Indicated Below)
RT OUTTER VERTICAL
With all of this out of the way, I have some sanding and painting to do. Hopefully, Dirty will be sporting a new look soon…
Finally sanded the inserts and got the first coat of blue on….
Finally got the painting done… three coats of blue metallic and three coats of clear. Here are the inserts all done.
…and them installed into the grille…
Now, the money shots! Here it is installed back on the Jeep. I am pretty happy with it. I really like the grille slot inserts but I’m not totally sold on the eye-liner around the headlights. All-and-all, I am happy though.
Most of you know I have some awesome Honda lights on Dirty 🙄 😀 so here is a shot with them turned on. I know these are a love/hate and really I don’t care. We are on the love side of things and I enjoy all the banter they bring 😛
Anyway, that is it… all done. Now, go out and find yourself a 2016 Sahara JK grille and have some fun! 🙂 😆 🙂