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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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. :thumb:

Now the pics:
 

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The Bad Guy
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Looks good.:thumb: That RR light bar is screaming for lights though. "MTH, put lights on meeeee!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looks good.:thumb: 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. :redface:

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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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. :thumb:

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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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.

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. :thumb:
 

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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.
Lew
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bumping this for the evening crowd given the popularity of grille meshes. :thumb:
 

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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:D, 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.:thumb:
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
kik said:
It is a good alternative and you did a great job with the install. But, if it's not made out of aluminum/aluminium:D, 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.:thumb:
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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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

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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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