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Old 02-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #1
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Good Grille Mesh Alternative & Pics

It's of course popular to put various types of mesh behind the grille.

The consensus highest quality option is probably this Metalcrafters grille insert, which looks great but is very expensive at nearly $300.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are DIY methods with some kind of gutter guard or screening and some sticky tabs (like this), which is what I have run for about a year. These only cost a few dollars in supplies from Home Depot, unless you're crazy enough to buy a "kit" of those same supplies on Amazon for $40 (here).

I haven't seen a lot of options between these extremes for a mesh until I saw this one by Rugged Ridge. It's a solid piece of powder coated steel, held in by brackets that you attach to the interior of the grille by drilling holes and securing with screws (hence, the statement on Amazon that it's a "no-drill installation" is simply false). Depending on where you shop online, you can usually get it bought and delivered for about $50.

Many of my DIY sticky tabs were starting to come loose and the DIY mesh set up was generally looking ratty, so I picked up a Rugged Ridge mesh and installed it this weekend.

First Impression. Pretty good. The mesh itself feels reasonably sturdy as do the brackets. It's all metal. Like the Metalcrafters option, the mesh also has "3D" protrusions that partly fill up the space in each slot.

Install. Not perfect. You definitely get the sense this is a discount product.

I had to bend the brackets a little to get them to fit, and I also had to bend the mesh itself where it meets the brackets to get it to fit. Your grille is plastic, so if you don't bend the brackets and the mesh and just force everything into place, the grille itself won't fit properly back on the Jeep. I also had to cut some of the plastic cover over the radiator with a razor knife to make room for the screw heads that now protrude into the interior of the top of the grille. Had I not done this, I wouldn't have been able to snap the plastic bolts back into to secure the top of the grille. Finally, the 3D protrusions don't actually fit quite perfectly into the grille slots, though it's not particularly noticiable.

Results. Definitely pleased. I have had Rugged Ridge products rust in the past, so I'm going to be on the lookout for that. But I could fix that with Rustoleum, so whatever the case, this is an alternative that I think is a better choice than the DIY sticky tab option. While I'm sure the Metalcrafters option is better (at least I certainly hope so), it costs nearly six times as much. So far, I would recommend this.

Now the pics:
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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Looks good. That RR light bar is screaming for lights though. "MTH, put lights on meeeee!"

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Old 02-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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Looks good. That RR light bar is screaming for lights though. "MTH, put lights on meeeee!"
Back in my younger days (WAAAAY back about a year ago . . .) I actually just wanted the bar--no lights--and so I CUT THE TABS OFF that would hold the lights and bedlined over the metal. Hence, no lights.

A little odd to take something functional and make it purely cosmetic, but I actually get asked about my "bumper set up" all the time. I've gotten eight or nine PMs from separate folks on it over the past year, so it's apparently a good look.

Them JCROffroad bumpers though are caaalllling me. Calling I tell you.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:16 PM   #5
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How snug is the fit? No rattles?

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Old 02-01-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MTH View Post
It's of course popular to put various types of mesh behind the grille.

The consensus highest quality option is probably this Metalcrafters grille insert, which looks great but is very expensive at nearly $300.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are DIY methods with some kind of gutter guard or screening and some sticky tabs (like this), which is what I have run for about a year. These only cost a few dollars in supplies from Home Depot, unless you're crazy enough to buy a "kit" of those same supplies on Amazon for $40 (here).

I haven't seen a lot of options between these extremes for a mesh until I saw this one by Rugged Ridge. It's a solid piece of powder coated steel, held in by brackets that you attach to the interior of the grille by drilling holes and securing with screws (hence, the statement on Amazon that it's a "no-drill installation" is simply false). Depending on where you shop online, you can usually get it bought and delivered for about $50.

Many of my DIY sticky tabs were starting to come loose and the DIY mesh set up was generally looking ratty, so I picked up a Rugged Ridge mesh and installed it this weekend.

First Impression. Pretty good. The mesh itself feels reasonably sturdy as do the brackets. It's all metal. Like the Metalcrafters option, the mesh also has "3D" protrusions that partly fill up the space in each slot.

Install. Not perfect. You definitely get the sense this is a discount product.

I had to bend the brackets a little to get them to fit, and I also had to bend the mesh itself where it meets the brackets to get it to fit. Your grille is plastic, so if you don't bend the brackets and the mesh and just force everything into place, the grille itself won't fit properly back on the Jeep. I also had to cut some of the plastic cover over the radiator with a razor knife to make room for the screw heads that now protrude into the interior of the top of the grille. Had I not done this, I wouldn't have been able to snap the plastic bolts back into to secure the top of the grille. Finally, the 3D protrusions don't actually fit quite perfectly into the grille slots, though it's not particularly noticiable.

Results. Definitely pleased. I have had Rugged Ridge products rust in the past, so I'm going to be on the lookout for that. But I could fix that with Rustoleum, so whatever the case, this is an alternative that I think is a better choice than the DIY sticky tab option. While I'm sure the Metalcrafters option is better (at least I certainly hope so), it costs nearly six times as much. So far, I would recommend this.

Now the pics:
No lie, I have pics of your jeep I'm using as the model for some of the stuff I plan on doing on mine.
I wish I still has access to a sheet metal shop because I would totally make the Metalcrafters one for myself, alas I no longer have access.

That's nice work.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:24 PM   #7
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How snug is the fit? No rattles?
Very snug and no rattles. When I bent both the metal brackets and the mesh itself to get it to fit right, I did so with an eye on leaving some tension in the set up. It's not going anywhere. Even when you push on the mesh from the front, it feels solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strider_mt2k View Post
No lie, I have pics of your jeep I'm using as the model for some of the stuff I plan on doing on mine.
I wish I still has access to a sheet metal shop because I would totally make the Metalcrafters one for myself, alas I no longer have access.

That's nice work.
Thanks! Good luck. Mine's still a work in progress, as seems to be the case for most of us.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:49 PM   #8
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Well if you DO decide to go with the new bumper, I know someone name ME who would be willing to buy your "no light" light bar! It does look good.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Well if you DO decide to go with the new bumper, I know someone name ME who would be willing to buy your "no light" light bar! It does look good.
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Rugged Ridge 11232.20 - Rugged Ridge Light Bar in Textured Black for 07-12 Jeep® Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited JK - Quadratec
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #10
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Bumping this for the evening crowd given the popularity of grille meshes.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:09 PM   #11
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It is a good alternative and you did a great job with the install. But, if it's not made out of aluminum/aluminium, stainless steel or plastic (which I would not recommend) it's going to eventually rust. I have the Metalcrafters black ss on for two years now and it still looks like the day I installed it. It is a bit expensive, but I think it will probably outlast me. The good thing is not having to do a re-paint down the road or removing the grill to replace it. I understand and do see your point though. A good comparison for someone to make an informed decision on this mod.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:19 PM   #12
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Bumping this for the evening crowd given the popularity of grille meshes.
LOL!
Awesome.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:53 PM   #13
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Did mine last weekend, looks great!!1
0.036 crs Powder Coated Black and I used Gorllia Glue to hold the bases down!!
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:56 PM   #14
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oops no pictures
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:17 PM   #15
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Did mine last weekend, looks great!!1
0.036 crs Powder Coated Black and I used Gorllia Glue to hold the bases down!!
That looks pretty cool!
I didn't really consider using the smaller perf like that before...and I might be able to get a nice piece of some black anodized stuff too.
Interesting!
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:26 PM   #16
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wish you had included a picture of it mounted from the inside.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:31 PM   #17
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It is a good alternative and you did a great job with the install. But, if it's not made out of aluminum/aluminium, stainless steel or plastic (which I would not recommend) it's going to eventually rust. I have the Metalcrafters black ss on for two years now and it still looks like the day I installed it. It is a bit expensive, but I think it will probably outlast me. The good thing is not having to do a re-paint down the road or removing the grill to replace it. I understand and do see your point though. A good comparison for someone to make an informed decision on this mod.
No doubt--I'm concerned about rust. Though for what it's worth, a lot of bumpers and assorted accessories (even OEM parts) aren't stainless steel and rely on the powder coating or other paint to stop rust.

That said, if money were no object I would've bought the metalcrafters. But at nearly six times the cost, that was simply hard to justify. Time will tell if just how good of an alternative this is. For the near $250 savings, I won't object to pulling off the grille and hitting it with some Rustoleum every couple of years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:38 PM   #18
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MTH

wish you had included a picture of it mounted from the inside.
Yeah, I forgot to get one . . .

But--here are the install instructions, where you can see some pics: (http://www.jeep4x4center.com/pdf/11401.31.pdf)
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:04 PM   #19
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Black pet screen screwed to frame of radiator, no monkeying w/grill, easily replaceable, block bugs from plugging radiators, cheap and quick. Why mess w/gutter glued to grill and serves no real purpose?????

To each his own!





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Old 02-01-2012, 10:11 PM   #20
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go on ebay and search wrangler grille inserts, theres a guy that sells em for about $30 ships free anywere in the states, nice looking diamond pattern plastic mesh

i know i put the search but heres the link anyway
Premium BLACK Mesh Grille Guard Inserts For Jeep Wrangler JK 07-12 1/4" Diamond | eBay

put them on mine looks great sorry dont have a pic available at the moment
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:28 PM   #21
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go on ebay and search wrangler grille inserts, theres a guy that sells em for about $30 ships free anywere in the states, nice looking diamond pattern plastic mesh

i know i put the search but heres the link anyway
Premium BLACK Mesh Grille Guard Inserts For Jeep Wrangler JK 07-12 1/4" Diamond | eBay

put them on mine looks great sorry dont have a pic available at the moment
Is this 7 separate mesh guards, some stick on tabs, and zip ties? That's the DIY option I listed above--you can pick up the items at Home Depot for just a few dollars.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by 12JKUR
Black pet screen screwed to frame of radiator, no monkeying w/grill, easily replaceable, block bugs from plugging radiators, cheap and quick. Why mess w/gutter glued to grill and serves no real purpose?????

To each his own!
I like this idea. Did u drill any holes or used existing.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:36 PM   #23
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I like this idea. Did u drill any holes or used existing.
Drilled holes, keep them as far to the outside as possible. start in one corner, strech hard (the material will NOT distort), start on other side pulling material like a hulk again!
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:42 PM   #24
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anyone have the DRAKE inserts? for $80 not bad at all. i have seen them installed, and they look good. i will be going with them when the weather warms up.

Drake Part JP-190008-BLACK - Billet Grille Insert by Drake Off Road for Jeep

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Old 02-02-2012, 12:57 PM   #25
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I did the DIY version of this, only difference is I used the experience of others, and took the sticky pads off the zip tie mounts, and expoxied them on instead. I would never consider spending more then 20 bucks on that type of project. A can of your favorite color spray paint, some gutter guard, and a few hundred zip ties. a few hours later and it comes out looking sexy.

You know, especially because they don't really do anything useful. It'd be like spending 500 bucks on a sticker or something. Or really, spending any amount of money on a sticker. Crazy!
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:58 PM   #26
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anyone have the DRAKE inserts? for $80 not bad at all. i have seen them installed, and they look good. i will be going with them when the weather warms up.

Drake Part JP-190008-BLACK - Billet Grille Insert by Drake Off Road for Jeep

now that, I like
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:30 PM   #27
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Just remember you want the bar that holds the wire to be as close to the front (paint part) as possible.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:13 PM   #28
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Here is something else to think about if you are going to purchase a grille insert rather than make one. Unemployment is high in the US mostly due to so many jobs being outsourced overseas. The Drake is made in China. I don't know about the RR, but it probably is also. The Metalcrafters insert is made in USA. I prefer to support the US rather than China. If people are not working, they won't be buying new Jeeps.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #29
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let me ask you this. Both companies support US workers, both headquarters are in US that employ US employees. What if your found out metalcraft got their supplies from china (this is the same way of sending money to chine) They might, they might not, I don't know. My point is in today's market US dollars are getting since everywhere no matter what.

Another example BMW- Headquarters are in Germany but the manufacturing plant that builds just about ALL BMW is located in spartanburg SC. Would you not buy a BWM because the company is not fully located in USA, while it still employees 1,000's of employees?

Dodge neons where made over in Japan while Eclipses/3000gt's where/are made in the US but is a Japanese company.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:07 PM   #30
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