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Chrome Grille - Painted Black

Exproblems

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 17, 2011
Messages
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City, State
Orchard Park, N.Y.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
Back in late August 2013, I removed the scoured, chrome plated, plastic grille on my Explorer and decided to paint it black, which matches the color of my Explorer. Areas of the chrome plating in the slots on the plastic grille had been sand blasted off over by road grit and bugs hitting the grille over the years. Each slot in the grille was affected by this and the chrome plating on the grille looked pretty worn out.

Tool: Screwdriver-Philips Head

Supplies:

Sand paper, medium to 1000 grit

Paint : Krylon Fusion Black, Krylon Primer, Krylon Clear Coat

Grille Cleaner: Can of "Prep All"

So to remove the front grille, just open the hood and look for 3 plastic screws along the top edge of the grille. Remove these 3 plastic screws and the 3 plastic plugs that pop into the holes in the top edge of the grille. The plugs spread open or wider when the screw is screwed into them, holding the grille in place. The plugs just pull up out of their holes. Be careful not to break the screws or the plugs. Next, lean the top edge of the grille slightly towards you or away from the front of the vehicle while pulling up on it and it should slide out and into your hands. The bottom edge of the grille has tabs on it that just slide into place. It literally took me about a minute or two to have the grille in my hands and out of the vehicle. After painting, installation is reverse of removal.

Next, I removed (unscrewed) the Ford badge from the grille and I started hand sanding down the grille using a medium grit sand paper and finishing with an 800-1000 grit sand paper. I knew I couldn't fully remove the chrome plating from the grille but just wanted to "scuff it up enough" to hold the paint. The sanding is the part of this job that sucks! I did it by hand, but you could do it using a Dremmel tool or something similar. It's time consuming and rough on the hands. Once I finished sanding, I cleaned the front and back of the grille off with "Prep All" spray to remove any wax, oils or contaminants before spraying the Krylon primer paint on. I primed the front and back of the grille, using a length of wire to hang the grille off of the ground from a tree limb, while I painted it. Once the primer paint was dry, I started painting it with "Krylon Fusion Glossy Black". I applied a good 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of black paint. "Krylon Fusion" paint is made for painting plastic. After the black paint dried, I applied 2 coats of Krylon Clear Coat paint. Re-install the Ford badge when done painting.

Note: I'm no paint specialist by any means and the clear coat paint has a "frosty" look to it going on, so to bring out a glossy look to it, I think it needed to be wet sanded afterwards with 1000 grit sand paper or higher grit to bring out a glossy appearance. I didn't have time to do this since the engine in my Explorer needed replacing shortly after this and I never got around to doing it. I'm going to re-do this paint job next spring in 2014, since it is so easy to remove the front grille. I think the black paint job on the grille looks a lot better than it did before I did this job. No prior pics of the chrome grille before painting but trust me, it looked crappy.

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BigRondo

USMC 1371
Elite Explorer
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City, State
Worcester, MA
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2002 XLT V6 4x4
Tom, the grille looks good. :eek::thumbsup:

How well is it holding up?
 




Exproblems

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 17, 2011
Messages
1,687
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City, State
Orchard Park, N.Y.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
Tom, the grille looks good. :eek::thumbsup:

How well is it holding up?

Thanks Ron! It's holding up okay, considering the cold and snowy nasty winter we had this year. Just a few chip marks that I have already touched up with paint. I'm going to pull the grille again and re-paint it this summer.

My next 2 projects coming soon will be to buff out the entire Explorer with this 3m Perfect-It buffing kit I am going to buy next week. The 3M buffing kit costs $123.00. I have a bunch of swirl and scratch marks that won't come out with Part store brand polishing compounds. Gonna try the professional stuff.
I am also going to remove the running boards and either leave them off for good or re-paint them and put them back on. Snow and ice builds up on them in winter and is a PITA and they are starting to show rust in spots.
 




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