When I decided to do a satoshi style grill on my '99 I looked all over the online forums in search of a solid write-up. I didn't find one. So, using a write-up for the 05+ i went at it, all the while taking pictures whenever I remembered. I still have yet to see a write-up for the first gens so I figured I would do one myself. Here it goes:
dremel tool with a cutoff wheel and sanding wheel
Fiberglass repair kit
60, 120, 240, 400, 600 grit sandpaper
Rustoleum semi-gloss black high performance enamel spray paint
Grill mesh of your choosing( i used expanded metal)
zip tie mounts or 1"x1" angle aluminum
The first thing to do is remove the grill from the truck. There are five retaining tabs along the top of the grill surround and three along the bottom. I used a long flathead screwdriver push down on the tab and then gently pulled forward to separate it from the body of the truck. once all the tabs have been separated the grill should pop right off. Heres a pic of the mounting tabs:
The next step is to gut the grill. Using the dremel tool and cutoff wheel I started at the top of the grill and cut each piece of the grill that was attatched to the surround. There are the two main crossbars as well as well as two thin crossbars and five thin vertical crossbars. I wasnt able to cut everything out suoer close to the surround which meant i had to use the sanding bit on the dremel tool to grind these down flush. Once this is done my grill looked like this:
The next step is the hardest step. The two big holes on either side of the grill need to be filled in. This is where the fiberglass kit comes in to play. Each kit is different but take the fiberglass and cut it into 4"x8" strips. You will need two or three for each side so 4-6 in total. Then following te directions on your kit apply the resin to the fiberglass and lay the strips across the holes in the surround. Do this one strip at a time and make sure you are putting the fiberglass on the inside portion of the grill surround. After allowing the fiberglass to dry cut the exess fiberglass off in a straight line with the surround like so:
Sorry no pics of this part but now that the large holes are covered you need to smooth everything out. Follow the mixing instructions on the Bondo container and apply the bondo to any spot that is uneven or rough. Dont be afraid to use alot, it sands down quickly.
Now the sanding begins, using the sanding block and the 60 grit paper, sand down all the high spots in the bondo until they are almost even. Then move up to the 120 grit and bring the high spots dwn a bit further. Then increase to the 250, and then the 400. If there are and holes in the bondo or low spots go back and Refill them with more bondo. YOU CANNOT SAND TOO MUCH. A good paint job is 90% preparation so dont skimp out on the sanding. After you are satisfied with the bondo work go over everything with the 600 grit paper.
Once I was done sanding I taped everyting i didnt want to paint and layed down a couple coats of primer:
and then painted:
The next step is to cut out the grill material. i took some measurements and cut the expanded metal out with about a 1" overlap on the top and two sides to help with mounting. After cutting the metal out I primed and painted it to match the grill surround.
There are two options for mountaing the mesh: zipties and zip tie mounts for a recessed grill or aluminum brackets and zipties/bolts and washers to mount the grill flush with the surround.
To mount the grill recessed I took the adhesive ziptie mounts and placed them around the perimeter of the grill surround.
Then i set the grill on the surround and ran zipties through the mounts and around a piece of the grill to fasten it. This held firmly all winter with no broken zipties or mounts. Comes to a finished product that looks like this:
I liked the look of this but I wanted to mount the gril flush to see how it looked. I first had to make some L brackets to mount the grill. i cut small sections of 1"X1" aluminum and then drilled a hole on each end. Then I painted them to match the grill. they look like this:
Then i drilled holes through the grill surround and attatched the mounts to the surround with small bolts like this:
I cut out a new piece of metal and used the edge of the work bench to form the curve to match the grill surround. Once this was done i primed and painted it. Then i set the grill on the surround and attatched it to the brackets with some zipties. I will proabaly upgrade to some bolts with a washer but i couldnt find the rights ones around the house. I also painted the rest of the chrome surround black and added a body matched emblem for a finished product that looks like this:
Once everything is attatched securely I put the new grill back on the truck and I was finished!