Grilling about my grille...

Exterior Body, Paint, Trim, Chrome

  1. myk r sanchez

    myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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    Hello folks,


    painted-support-2.jpg
    painted-support-3.jpg
    I finished painting the grille support and new headlight adjusting hardware is in place, the buckets are painted. The body shop straightened out the support as well as they could, so this is the best I can do with this part for now.

    grille-1.jpg
    As for my grille, I've polished up the trim and cleaned it up as good as I can. I replaced a lot of missing hardware and repaired some of the cracks. I do have some questions though:

    grille-2.jpg
    First of all, on the passenger side the top part of the grille's plastic has sunken right in the middle. The grille has been in the car for at least twenty six years, so I don't see how that could've happened unless it was like that before I bought the car in '94. Is there a way that I could straighten that out? I was thinking low heat applied to the area and trying to gently push it back up? If I can't straighten it out, I went ahead and cheated a little by moving the grille trim down and as straight as possible to give the optical illusion of the grille being more straight than it actually is.

    grille-3.jpg
    The two left-most plastic brackets, on top and below, that help to secure the grille to the support are broken off. So, I heard about JB's plastic putty and thought that I could use that to reshape the brackets. Now that I think about it, I should've consulted with you guys before I went ahead with the putty. Do you guys have any experience with this putty and think it will hold? If not, what are some of the ways that have been used to repair these brackets?

    grille-hardware.jpg
    I bought a kit that's supposed to have all of the hardware necessary to bolt the grille to the support. Parts group #1 and#4 look easy enough; it's the J-nuts and the bolts that bolt the grille to the support and the hardware that's used throughout the grille itself. Group #2 I'm not too sure about. There are two types of spacers, ten of each, twenty in total. How do the spacers work? I wish I could remember how they looked on the car before I removed the grille but the car had maybe two or three of them in total and they crumbled into dust when I pulled the assembly out. Group #3 is labeled "grille top and bottom" and I just don't understand what that means, because the screws don't fit into the J-nuts.

    Finally, I test-fitted the grille to the support after I got the support back from the body shop and...it's a tight fit. The issue I have with this, is that it's going to be a bear to get those J-nuts back on to the grille AND shoehorn the grille back into the support. Is this normal? Is it supposed to be this snug of a fit? Thanks for reading all of this guys, I look forward to your input and direction. Hopefully I can get the car back on the road with your help...
     
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    • WileERobby

      WileERobby Well-Known Member

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      I've done plastic repairs for over 30 years. Plastic is funny. I've fixed plastic parts that look destroyed, yet others that looked easy never came back right. On the mis aligned area, hold it slightly past the level with a block of wood, apply gentle heat occasionally. After a few days, it MAY take the new set. On broken plastic tabs, I use the plastic repair kit I get from my body supply store, never used the glue you have.
       
    • myk r sanchez

      myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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      Thanks for the reply! What was the product that you used for the plastic repair? If the JB fails then I'll try your product. As for the grille, what sort of a heat source would I use? Would a heat gun be too much? Maybe a hair dryer? What do you think happened to the plastic? Thanks again...
       
    • Kern Dog

      Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      I remember reading that to repair a plastic part, nothing works better than the same type of plastic.
      In other words, if you have a damaged grille, if at all possible, obtain segments from a similar grille. I've read of taking a jar with some acetone in it and dumping in slivers/shavings from a broken grille. Eventually the plastic will soften and if there is enough plastic in there, you can make a paste that can be used to cement sections back together, fill cracks or bridge across broken areas. When the acetone evaporates out, you'll have a mix of identical types of plastic "welded/glued/bonded" to the grille.
       
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      • dla4567

        dla4567 Well-Known Member

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        This is how I have repaired many grilles. When old plastic is not available I use abs plastic. Just by a black abs plastic pipe fitting from hardware store.
         
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        • Durandal25

          Durandal25 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Yes, and yes.
           
        • Durandal25

          Durandal25 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          .....so in PIC # 2, did the Millennium Falcon get added in there somewhere? Han Solo can fix it.
           
        • myk r sanchez

          myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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          Han is nowhere to be found. I do have another question: it's been recommended that I paint the nuts and bolts going back into the car, but..should I wait for the bolts to be torqued down before I start painting them? Won't the process of tightening them take the paint off of the nuts and bolts anyway?
           
        • dadsbee

          dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Put a piece of plastic bag over the bolt as you're putting the socket on. 6 point sockets only and keep the turning force steady, IE don't ratchet them in. All the rad support, fender, door hinge, etc bolts on my car were painted before assembly. I only chipped a few and touched up with an artist brush.
           
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          • Demonic

            Demonic Well-Known Member

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            Acetone and either old Logos (may be worth more than you think) or the key caps off a dead keyboard. Both are ABS plastic.
             
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            • myk r sanchez

              myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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              Thank you, that's excellent! Now, before I paint the bolts, what sort of a cleaning process am I looking at? I figure I could just dunk them in a rust remover and then wire brush them afterwards? I'm not painting the threads, just the heads, right? Will they need primer as well? Thanks again...
               
            • dadsbee

              dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              All my hardware was blasted clean and painted as lightly as it could be in an effort to reduce the possiblities of it chipping off. As for primer it will depend on what you are using for paint.. spray bomb or gun. Many spray bombs now that are paint and primer in one.. and would be the best bet if going that way.
               
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              • myk r sanchez

                myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                Ok. Well I'm just going to soak them in rust remover, clean them and then paint them. Do I have to hit the threads too? Since the grille is out of the car couldn't I just hit the heads with paint after they're torqued in?
                 
              • dadsbee

                dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                Which ever way you want to do it, cars were painted assembled at Chrysler..
                 
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                • myk r sanchez

                  myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                  In an effort to align the headlight doors better with the center piece, I thought I would glue a washer to the inside of the headlight door to raise it a little bit. I might need to raise the other side as well. Is there another idea you folks think I should try? Thanks in advance.

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                • myk r sanchez

                  myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                  Got the grille back on the car today for a test fit. There were some issues I wasn't able to fix, but at least its clean, painted and with fresh hardware. Anyway, I couldn't help but notice the holes in the front of the fender where the grille sits in front of-the "L" shaped area. Is something supposed to go in there? Like a plastic piece, gasket or something? Thanks again...

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                  • Kern Dog

                    Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Looks normal to me, Myk.
                     
                  • myk r sanchez

                    myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                    I always see these L shaped gaskets for 68-69 Chargers online, saying it's for the front fenders and I was thinking that my car was missing them. Well tomorrow I'll put the grille back in and adjust it, hopefully for the last time...
                     
                  • myk r sanchez

                    myk r sanchez Well-Known Member

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                    Hey folks another question: the bracket that connects the lower radiator support to the grille support is bent, as you can see it's up and to the passenger side. From my estimations its going to take more than a little prying or tapping to get it down lower and to the driver's side. What do you guys recommend for that sort of work? I've heard all kinds of suggestions like sledgehammers, come-alongs, etc. I'm worried that if I use a sledgehammer it's going to bend the actual lower radiator support as well.
                    Thanks again...

                    [​IMG]
                    high quality image hosting
                     
                  • dadsbee

                    dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Something that a medium sided adjustable wrench should fix pretty easy.
                     
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