To remove the grille on WJ’s, you must remove the bumper fascia first. If you just want to add a grille insert, however, it is possible to install some styles without removing the bumper fascia, although it’s more difficult and requires breaking off some tabs on the inner grille support piece. The fascia is not all that difficult to remove, and doing so makes it a lot easier to install inserts or perform other modifications.
1. Remove the three plastic rivets that attach the fascia to each wheelwell liner. These can be carefully drilled out using a 1/4″ or so bit. Drilling into the center of the rivet about 1/16″ is enough to allow the rivet head to separate and come off. You can also pry them out with a flat blade screwdriver enough to insert a pair of side-cutters and cut the rivet heads off. Use a rag or other protection under the screwdriver to prevent scratching the edge of the fender.
2. With a 10mm socket wrench, remove one upper bolt in each wheelwell that attaches the fascia to the fender.
3. From inside the hood, remove the four screws (7mm socket) located along the top of the grille.
4. Remove the three plastic fasteners underneath on the bottom of the fascia. These are “push pin” fasteners and are removed by prying on the center rectangular head with a small flat blade screwdriver enough to pop it down and pull the pin completely out. The plastic holders must also be removed and are easily popped free by pulling the fascia edge down.
5. Unplug the fog light bulb harness on each side, if so equipped. Turn the sockets 1/4 turn counter-clockwise to remove. Wrap each harness/bulb up and out of the way to protect it while working on the vehicle.
6. The fascia can now be slid forward and carefully removed.
Outer grille removal:
7. To separate the outer grille from the fascia, remove the three screws inside the lower front part of the grille with a 7mm socket. From the back, support as necessary, disengage the plastic clips and pry off the four metal attachment washers. These washers can be stubborn to remove but prying them up alternating on the sides with a flat-blade screwdriver will usually do the trick.
Location of front grille screws and close-up of grille support showing one of the four attachment washers
Reinstalling the fascia:
The rivets used to attach the fascia to the wheelwell liners are as much as $3.50 each at some Jeep dealers (part # 6034608). You can get identical rivets for far less at auto body supply shops, they are made by Marson Corp. and are called Klik-Loktm Plastic Rivets, part # MA48150 (or 58150). Marson also makes a tool for installing the rivets, Plastic Rivet setter # MA48000. The rivets however can be installed without the tool, by simply pulling on the end with a pair of pliers while holding the rivet base in place, although they will not be quite as tight as with using a rivet gun. Note: The Marson rivet gun is available online at Keytone.com for $23.52 plus shipping. A 20-pack of rivets from the same vendor is only $5.31.
When reinstalling the fascia, be sure to guide both sides of the fascia through the plastic support clips. The fascia has a groove that fits into these clips. Also, don’t forget to reconnect the fog lamps.
WJ front end shown without grille, and with and without headlight assemblies installed.
The arrow on the left photo shows the location of the outside temperature sensor.