::: De-Badged Grille :::
This is yet another cheap and simple mod that can transform the appearance of your car. It is possible to buy debadged grilles from upwards of £60 but if you do it yourself you should be able to halve this cost. The mod is applicable to most wide slatted grilles such as the late Corrados, post 88 Golfs, late mk1 Cabrios, post 88 Jettas, Rallyes and the like. It is also possible to apply the principle to the narrower slatted grilles but it is harder and the results are less impressive. You will need the following :
» Complete grill (use a CL one for
the single h/lamp look)
Using the hacksaw cut through the slats of the grille to remove the badge. Do not cut through the lower or upper slat as this will leave you with two halves (not desirable), instead cut horizontally through the vertical support strut at the top to separate the badge from the top slat. You will have to take a small chunk out of the lower slat in order to remove the badge completely and this will be rebuilt with filler later. Trim the 'chunk of identical grille' down so that it fits in the gap remembering that once material is removed it can't be put back, so trim it down 'bit by bit'.
Once it is a snug fit roughen up the mating surfaces and glue it in place. These joins must then be reinforced at the back with the fibreglass matting and resin. Once the resin is dry you can start neatening it all up with the filler. Smooth the filler over the front of the joins and then sand back to leave you with a seamless join. You will also need to rebuild the lower slat to it's original form with the filler. It is crucial to spend time getting this bit right as it will make or break the final appearance of your grille.
Take care to sand the filler right back so that it does not sit proud and use progressively finer grades of wet and dry paper to remove any scratches. If there are any imperfections visible at this stage then they will show up even more when painted black so keep perfecting until the joins are completely smooth. When you are happy with the joins wash the grille very thoroughly in wax free soapy water (fairy liquid). If like me you use plastic care products on your grille (auto glym bumper care etc.) then it is crucial to wash any traces of them away as they will prevent the paint from taking to the plastic. Dry the grille thoroughly and then paint.
Apply as many light coats as you can. If possible do this outside in daylight as you will see any imperfections in your filler handiwork sooner and so can go back to square one before wasting an entire can of paint. Once dry; refit the grille taking care not to bend it excessively, as this will crack the filler.
If you used Halfords satin black paint and took lots of time over the smoothing then you should have a factory look debadged grille as well as the satisfaction of having done it yourself. Obviously if you want a colour coded grille then ignore the 'satin black' bit.
N.B - This article has been written from the experience of having done several post 88 Mk2 Golf GTi and Polo G40 grilles - some of the finer points might be different for other models but the principle should be the same. The Jetta for example will only have 3 slats so there should be less work to do.
Disclaimer : Matey-Matey accept no responsibility for any of the information contained within this document or the accuracy thereof. It is intended as a helpful guide and is solely based on personal experience. The author also wishes to stress that the methods highlighted are centred around personal opinion and there may be other equally credible ways of performing this conversion.