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Radiator Grille Paneling Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Grille Paneling Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

20 minutes20 mins

Tab:

$265 to $290

Talent:

*

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

OE or aftermarket grille

Hot Tip:

Don't over tighten the screws and crack the grille's mounting tabs.

Performance Gain:

Radiator protection

Complementary Modification:

Replace cracked head lights

The factory R170 plastic grille (aka radiator paneling) is somewhat fragile. Its main vertical panel withstands some abuse, but vibration, impacts, and age can cause the plastic to crack at the mounting ears.

Our project car, a pre-facelift 2000 SLK230 Kompressor, is a classic example. The grille looks fine when the hood is down. But raising the hood reveals that half of the grille's mounting holes are compromised.

Grille removal is a preliminary step for other operations, including radiator work and head light housing replacement.

Replacement OE grilles are available, as are many aftermarket styles: finned, chromed, AMG-inspired, and more.

Six sheet metal screws hold the grille in place.
Figure 1

Six sheet metal screws hold the grille in place. Half of our project car's mounting tabs are either cracked or broken off.

A cordless drill/screwdriver with a Phillips bit sets the grille free in minutes (or less).
Figure 2

A cordless drill/screwdriver with a Phillips bit sets the grille free in minutes (or less).

Once unscrewed, the grille's top can be tilted forward; then the piece is free to be lifted up and out.
Figure 3

Once unscrewed, the grille's top can be tilted forward; then the piece is free to be lifted up and out.

The grille must be removed to access mounting bolts for the headlights, radiator, and more.
Figure 4

The grille must be removed to access mounting bolts for the headlights, radiator, and more.

Damaged mounting tabs can possibly be repaired with epoxy and flat washers.
Figure 5

Damaged mounting tabs can possibly be repaired with epoxy and flat washers. Alternately, replacement grilles are available. Reinstall the grille by setting it in position and tightening the six mounting screws.

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