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Discussion Starter #1
There are many ways to go about determining whether or not do a particular mod. Once the decision is made, there are often different ways to go about doing the mod. In my case, 'To Black Out, or Not to Black Out' my grille.

A brief history -
There are more than one black 4th Gen Ram in my community, and every once in a while, I would see one that really caught my eye. After a few sightings, I finally figured out it was the grille.....NO CHROME. Upon closer inspection, I realized it has an R/T grille, but more important, it is completely Black.

Phase 1 - (Testing) - 28 May 2011
As I was unsure of how this would look with the horizontal slat grille, decided to do a 'non-permanent' test. I started to apply strips of satin backed duct tape to each slat. It's didn't take long to figure out this was not going to work doing this with the grille in the truck, so I took the grille off and removed the insert. Being the first time, this took FOREVER! The insert is installed with the clips from H3LL! I then applied strips of black tape to each slate in the insert, and re-installed it. The next day, I got a real good look at it, and determined this was exactly what I wanted -



So off to the paint store to get the 'right' stuff, and on to......
Phase 2 - (Paint Grille.....1st time) - 30 May 2011
On the recommendation of the paint store, I purchased a can of Duplicolor Wax and Grease remover, and a can of Duplicolr Trim Paint in satin black. I removed the grille again...and the insert...and following the directions from both Duplicolor and the paint store, I cleaned the grille to perfection and painted it. Installed it back in the truck and 'WOW', it looked great! Even the wife was impressed with the look.

Next day I made a 300mile highway trip in the rain to pickup family from the airport in Winnipeg. On my return home, I was 'Horrified' by how bad the grille looked. About 25% of the paint was missing! :wow:

Phase 3 - (Paint Grille......2nd...... & 3rd time) - 2 June 2011
I took the truck to the paint store for their evaluation. Without going into details....they had no answer.
I took the grille to the car wash and stripped the paint off the grille in under 60 seconds....all the paint....every bit!
I then proceeded to do all the same stuff, but prior to painting, I washed the grille with acetone. Painted again, and.......FAIL!

Phase 4 - (Paint Grille ...... 4th time) - 3 June 2011
Car wash - Took 3 mintes this time....an improvement I guess. LOL
Went and got some 'Tried & Proven' stuff -




After you remove the grille assembly from the truck, your left with this -




Here is the 'painted' grille insert after a few minutes at the car wash -




Although I now have the tried and proven stuff, decided to use the chromed area in the center as a test area; 3 sections
Left - no sanding + adhesion promoter
Center - Sanded with 320grit + adhesion promoter
Right - Red scotch pad scuffing + adhesion promoter


Test 1 - Car wash (this completely removed the left side)
Test 2 - Screw driver scratch (both remaining sections scratched equally well)
Test 3 - Finger nail scratch (Center stood up, right did not)
Test 4 - Scotch pad (Center stood up, right did not)
Test 5 - 320 grit sand paper (Actually took some work to sand through the center :smileup:)

Tests confirmed that agressive sanding was the way to go, so 320 grit sand paper it is! (All the professional painters on the forum are too stunned to even laugh :158:)
Here you can see the results. The right side of the pic is sanded, the left is yet to be done.




Finished the sanding, cleaned and cleaned and re-cleaned with Grease & Wax remover, followed by paint thinner, let dry for 15 minutes and applied 5 light coats of SEM trim paint and set it in the sun to bake. Heres a couple pix showing the paint drying ;) -






After about 5 hours baking in the sun, I introduced the insert to the grille surrond -




And since the surrond was accepting of the newly painted insert, I assembled it for the 63rd time (or there abouts) and ended up with this -







This was completed on the 3rd of June 2011, and so far so good. Been to a high pressure car wash a couple of times, and the paint is sticking. It does have a couple of very tiny chips from stones, etc. and I will likely repaint it and finish with 'Satin' clear coat, that I didn't even know existed, until a few days ago.

( A NOTE to the Grille Insert Activists - No grille insert tabs were broken in this grille painting adventure. No tools were thrown in a violent fit of rage, and less the normal number of 'explicits' were voiced throughout the ordeal. The writer can now remove the grille assembly from a 4th generation Ram in under 30 seconds, blindfolded, wearing a straight jacket, without tools; and is considering going for a Guiness record ;) )
 

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ohh really like me, congrats man, how you take the grill off, i want to do the same thing, but my truck is a 3er gen, do you clear coated?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think that is awesome work sir! Very good choice there.
Thanks! :)

ohh really like me, congrats man, how you take the grill off, i want to do the same thing, but my truck is a 3er gen, do you clear coated?
Do you mean grille off, or remove the insert from the grille assembly? If the latter, I used a plethora of flat blade screw drivers, wooden door/window wedges and a bunch of assort trim removal tools. Having a few good nights sleep in front of this task goes a long way to having the calm demeanor required. :) You need to carefully undo each clip and place a thin wedge under it to stop it from re-latching as soon as you move to the next one. It's painstakingly slow, but I've done it a few times and haven't broken of damaged a single clip....and there are lots of them.

Nice Brad, persistance pays off! You've got more than I do, for sure some tools would have been thrown:LOL:
You do have to be in the right frame of mind, and have lots of time available. Not something to tackle if you are dealing with a time crunch. :fca5278d:
 

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Looks awesome man!!!! Painted headlight housings next??!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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I wonder how a grill would look like that painted white? I plan on adding a sprt grill to mine and I dont like the look of the honeycomb i dont think. I may have to paint my stock "billit" grill white and see how i like that.

Nice idea and congrats on the look!
 

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Wow Brad, that looks great, amazing how much a difference it makes! Great job on your writeup/pics, too! :smileup:

- Cajun
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Got some points for your persistence. Looks well worth the steep learning curve!
Thanks Ed! It was well worth it. Really changed to overall look for the better IMO. :)

I wonder how a grill would look like that painted white? I plan on adding a sprt grill to mine and I dont like the look of the honeycomb i dont think. I may have to paint my stock "billit" grill white and see how i like that.

Nice idea and congrats on the look!
Being your truck is white, I think it would work. If not, it can always be repainted. You could do the preliminary test with tape. Medical bandage tape comes in white, and I believe you can get it in 1", which would be the perfect width to cover the slats. If you were considering gloss white (which IMO would be the way to go), use white electrical tape. :)

Wow Brad, that looks great, amazing how much a difference it makes! Great job on your writeup/pics, too! :smileup:

- Cajun
It is amazing how something so small can make such a difference. I just wish all the mods could be this inexpensive. :smiley_thumbs_up:
 

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well its been about month since this mod, how is it standing up? Any sign of weathering?

and BTW thx for pointing me here
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just posted this 2 days ago....I was waiting until I had some time on it before I presented it to the masses. If you do this, make sure you get the clear coat. I didn't this time around, but will on my next go around. The clear coat (which I didn't know at the time is available in satin) goes a long way to protect the paint from stones. :)
 

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heh, thats what I get for not getting enough sleep.... shoulda looked at my computers date to keep me in check.... Hope it works well, I might just get a paintable "outer"grill/shell as mine has a big hole in it for a rock striking it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If your going to do that, check out Rockauto.com. I noticed some really good prices on grilles there. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The grille does look pretty good!!!!
Thank You! This is one mod I am real happy with (looks wise); so re-doing it with clear coat is no brainer. :)
Just need to find a temporary grille to put in the truck while I'm re-doing. I would prefer to give it a couple days of curing time before subjecting it to the hazards of every day driving.
 

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If your going to do that, check out Rockauto.com. I noticed some really good prices on grilles there. :)
Just looked there and found 3 grilles there fairly cheap ... question is, it says it comes from various manufactors (check part number CH1200280) it appears to be what I am looking for, is that just an OEM replacement? Just worried that it will have fit issues is all.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yeah....good plan! I cleared the CRAP out of my little ram head up front!
Me too! The Ram head is doing great. Not a single mark. Clear coat wins! :smileup:

Just looked there and found 3 grilles there fairly cheap ... question is, it says it comes from various manufactors (check part number CH1200280) it appears to be what I am looking for, is that just an OEM replacement? Just worried that it will have fit issues is all.
I can't speak from experience, but have been told by more than one person that RockAuto can be trusted to supply parts that work/fit. If I was looking for a replacement grille, I would definitely go this route. If it turned out to be less than acceptable, at least it wouldn't set me back very far, and the whole Z would be informed of the issue (assuming they didn't take care of the issue).
 
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