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Thread: DIY: Mesh Lower Grill Cover

  1. #1
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    DIY: Mesh Lower Grill Cover

    Tools Needed
    Wire cutters
    Black Vinyl Gutter Gaurd
    Pack of 4" Zip (wire) Ties
    Electric Drill
    9/64 Drill Bit

    Time to Complete
    Approx. 20 minutes
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    (Original idea by 12CoolDude Racing mesh upgrade...Inexpensive!)

    My brother suggested I do this mod a year or two ago and the piece never stayed in place because of issues I will bring up later in this DIY. I decided to document this for anyone who wants to freshen up the look of the old pre-facelift bumper's ugly lower grill.


    Get the black vinyl instead of the aluminum shown.

    (Photo courtesy 12CoolDude)

    Use a tape measure to measure and cut using wire cutters or scissors:
    Length = 44.5"
    Width = 4"



    Tip:
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    When you are trimming the piece to shape, cut favoring an intact . If you cut right in the middle of the X, you weaken that point which will allow the zip tie to sever the more easily.


    Here I have cut the piece to length only and am comparing it to the old piece.


    Cut the piece to width.


    This is the old piece, but I use it here to show what the finished piece should look like.


    The problem with the old piece staying in place was caused by not having a place to anchor to the grill on the passenger side.
    You do not have to remove the passenger side piece to drill, but I did to make things easier, and because I wanted to know for sure I wasn't drilling into some crucial component.

    I used the wire cutters to gently pry the center pin of the expansion rivet out.


    This is what the rivet looks like with the central pin pulled out (this is also on the driver side but I'm using it for reference).


    Pull down and out to remove the grill piece (once again, this is on the driver side, but is identical on the passenger side).


    I used the drill to drill two small holes, but it turned out I only needed the hole on the left.
    Note: This is on the passenger side grill piece only.






    Here are the zip ties I used to secure the mesh piece in place. You'll need two for each side, four total. You'll have to connect two zip ties together for each side. Do not tighten the two zip ties together until you are securing the mesh in place.


    Note: You will NOT need to drill a hole on the driver side because you can secure the zip tie around the top of the grill piece as shown below.


    Here I have secured the passenger side throught the drilled hole.


    The middle and bottom of the mesh is held securely in place by the license plate clips and the lower bumper. You can use extra zip ties to secure the middle portions if you choose, but it is unecessary.




    Here's what the finished product looks like.








    Special thanks goes to 12CoolDude for coming up with an excellent idea, and ignoring the haters who lacked imagination and open mindedness.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 03-17-2011 at 07:20 AM.

  2. #2
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    Looks good Jamie. I wanted to do this, but I switched to the M bumper...
    Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket

    Stable: e92is, e53 N62, e46M54B25, Tribby & e39 M54B30 R.I.P.

  3. #3
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    Excellent! Well done!

    The original bumpers are the best looking. The M-Technic bumpers look simply horrid.





  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    Excellent! Well done!

    The original bumpers are the best looking. The M-Technic bumpers look simply horrid.

    I HATE the pre-face lift bumper, it needs to curve out or straighten out not curve in.

    Now its time to do a DIY for the good ol' bumper sag.
    Last edited by 1st3series; 11-10-2010 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  5. #5
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    I also like the grilles on your car, James. The original thin and cruel ones look much better than the somewhat feminine 'Mick Jagger' grilles they put on the later cars.

    Last edited by Graham E39 528i; 11-10-2010 at 06:21 PM.




  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    I also like the grilles on your car, James. The original thin and cruel ones look much better than the somewhat feminine 'Mick Jagger' grilles they put on the later cars.

    I'm not sure if you are being sacrcastic.
    I like the mod and the bumper if it is done right.
    Here's a pic of Jordan's (jord1016) car. The lower bumper mesh is original race mesh.
    (Source: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...8&postcount=68)
    I would also like to eventually do the bumper lower lip like this too (I just discovered Petes540i6's kick a** DIY today - Integrated Front Lip Spoiler).


    I like the look of the border around the mesh. It gives it a finished look. I'll have to think about how to replicate it.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 11-10-2010 at 06:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    I'm serious. Ask Jason5Driver, he wants to put the thin lips on his car.

    I've heard of a number of guys who have put the M-Technic style bumpers on their cars, and a few years later they take them off (in disgust).

    Anyway, what's the point of the pasta strainer on the front?
    Last edited by Graham E39 528i; 11-10-2010 at 06:50 PM.




  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    Anyway, what's the point of the pasta strainer on the front?
    Lol!
    Ah ah aaaah! If you want to know the point, read the DIY.
    (Although from what I understand, the mesh smooths the air flow of the air entering and cooling the engine compartment. The smoothed out air flow cuts down on drag and therefore causes a miraculous increase of 20HP.)
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 11-10-2010 at 06:56 PM.

  9. #9
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    And for the love of God, what is your avatar? It looks like part of a woman's anatomy set alight with gasoline.

    James, are you a misogynist?





  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    And for the love of God, what is your avatar? It looks like part of a woman's anatomy set alight with gasoline.

    James, are you a misogynist?

    it's the eye of sauron from the lord of the rings movies

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    I'm serious. Ask Jason5Driver, he wants to put the thin lips on his car.

    I've heard of a number of guys who have put the M-Technic style bumpers on their cars, and a few years later they take them off (in disgust).

    Anyway, what's the point of the pasta strainer on the front?
    LOL!
    Yes, I prefer the pre-facelift front grills.
    I like the clean conservative lines of the older grills.
    Call me crazy...
    Oh wait...
    LOL!

    James-
    Very nice DIY!
    Awesome job!
    Very well written!

    Thanks!
    Jason

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
    James-
    Very nice DIY!
    Awesome job!
    Very well written!

    Thanks!
    Jason
    Tanks, mang!

  13. #13
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    lookin good James (:
    (oOO\(|||)(|||)/OOo) /00=[][]=00\

  14. #14
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    Nice DIY, James! Nothing better than an inexpensive facelift to spruce up the look of the e39.

  15. #15
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    Clever. Really makes the non-M bumper stand out a lot more. Looks a lot better

  16. #16
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    the real reason for the mesh is to keep track debris like rocks, tire goobers, etc from taking out your radiator or oil cooler. on the e90 328i that we run in Grand-Am, we have black mesh zip tied behind all openings in the front; including the grille, bumpers, brake ducts, etc

    for the street? not really necessary but can help cut down on the cig butts and leaves i repeatedly dig out of those gaps
    James
    '88 M3 (track and weekends) | '01 540i/6 (daily) | '95 4Runner (lifted and armored)


  17. #17
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    Thanks guys (gals?).
    The great thing about this mod is that I have enough material left over to do it again and again and again.
    Total cost of the mesh = $4.00 USD.
    I do want to do the border though. Not sure what material to use. Maybe 12CoolDude will think of something.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    I do want to do the border though. Not sure what material to use. Maybe 12CoolDude will think of something.
    Well, I guess he already did...This is my next "to do"...
    Quote Originally Posted by 12CoolDude View Post
    All right...so the project continues. Made a run to OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) to check on the Gutter Guard in black and they DO make it in black poly. You get 20' of the stuff for a mere $3.79 so you could go wacko meshing everything from your windshield to your a**hole Gumbs (LMAO) and it will still be stealth black. I really was checking on this for my Bro cause I know he wants to do his in black and a few others exhibited interest in a blacked out version as well.

    I've been looking for some sort of edging before inserting any of that metal into the bumper and wasn't having much luck (except for some expensive stuff on eBay) until I walked into Kragen's tonight and started searching through their door edging. Lookie what I found on the very bottom shelf...a 9'9" roll of black edge trim for a whole $10. Looks like this mesh project is gonna run me a GT of about $14 FTW so put that in your pipe and smoke it!! Stay tuned for a final shot of the completed project...



    Thanks for all the encouragement from the non-haters and as I said before...the rest be damned!! LMFAO
    Quote Originally Posted by 12CoolDude View Post
    Even though it's late and I'm tired, the project has reached it's climax. Here is the 2am pic of the gutter/race mesh. Remember that it's DARK cause its NIGHT so the flash illuminates the mesh more than it will be during normal daylight. Flame away if you must but I'm happy with the $14 result!

    Here is the actual cut and edged piece (sorry, too tired to photo doc the whole thing). Basically measure the opening (approx 44"L and 3.5"H) and trim the mesh (lengthwise) to begin the edging process. Edge one side of the length, trim the mesh to the 3.5"H and then edge the other exposed length. Now do the ends...WHEW! Be careful, this stuff is soft.


    Here it is installed. The only thing I had to do was remove the foglight access panels and trim the plastic semi-circle (part of the bolt cover) from the access panels. BTW, no glue was used as the license plate cover helps hold the mesh in place. Hope you enjoyed the ride...

  19. #19
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    horrid?

  20. #20
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    Should you cut the mesh up into 3 separate pieces. That way you still have easy access to the fog lights bulbs?



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeniczone View Post
    Should you cut the mesh up into 3 separate pieces. That way you still have easy access to the fog lights bulbs?
    Good idea, but no. When you need access to the fog lights, just snip the zip tie, pull the mesh aside and install new zip ties when finished.
    Trying to line up the three seperate pieces to look like one piece would be a PITA and unecessary.
    The best things about this mod besides how it freshens up the lower grill, is the low cost and ease of the install. Keeping it simple should be tantamount.
    If the mesh gets damaged by road debris, it's so easy to cut a new piece and replace. This is the first time I've replaced it even though I did the mod exactly two years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 (11-11-2008) View Post
    I did the lower black mesh. It was easy and looks great. Way better than the stock look.
    And I still have enough left over for several more replacements.
    Last edited by jamesdc4; 12-21-2011 at 10:26 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jht3 View Post
    the real reason for the mesh is to keep track debris like rocks, tire goobers, etc from taking out your radiator or oil cooler. on the e90 328i that we run in Grand-Am, we have black mesh zip tied behind all openings in the front; including the grille, bumpers, brake ducts, etc

    for the street? not really necessary but can help cut down on the cig butts and leaves i repeatedly dig out of those gaps
    I reckon if you hit tire goobers or rocks with that vinyl mesh, they'll go straight through.

    We might need a materials technical update (MTU). Zip ties also do very poorly when exposed to the elements. HiRel Zip ties (with a steel tooth) would be preferable in this application.





  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
    I reckon if you hit tire goobers or rocks with that vinyl mesh, they'll go straight through.

    We might need a materials technical update (MTU). Zip ties also do very poorly when exposed to the elements. HiRel Zip ties (with a steel tooth) would be preferable in this application.

    That's why I mentioned it earlier.
    For track applications, I would go with the aluminum mesh or something a little tougher. The black poly is really for aesthetics only. The zip ties however, seem indestructable.

  24. #24
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    I also noticed the plastic stuff is a bit tricky to install. I was trying to put it on last night and it kept breaking when I tightened the wire ties. I guess the ~30 F temperature outside didn't help the plastic's flexibility too much.

    I guess I'll have to track down some aluminum stuff; has anybody found any black aluminum mesh?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by njgilligan View Post
    I also noticed the plastic stuff is a bit tricky to install. I was trying to put it on last night and it kept breaking when I tightened the wire ties. I guess the ~30 F temperature outside didn't help the plastic's flexibility too much.

    I guess I'll have to track down some aluminum stuff; has anybody found any black aluminum mesh?
    You could also heat the mesh up with a hair dryer or the like before installation.

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