A while ago I spotted a a Mustang with a grill to radiator cover plate fitted and I liked the look of it. Over the years I have sort of kept an eye out for one for my car and eventually found one a couple of weeks ago. This is a little post on me fitting it as it doesn’t warrant a full fitting guide as there are only four bolts to hold it in place.
The old look of the car was fine but there is always that gap after the grill to radiator, it’s just an empty void.
The part was ordered from the USA and arrived about ten days later well wrapped in a box with plenty of padding.
The “Show Panel” as the company called it done a few variations; natural finish, anodised black or a brushed steel finish. As my under hood colour scheme is naturally a satin black with chrome, I went for the black anodised look.
This panel is the single flat panel type and my preference, as it covers the gap, but leaves the natural look of the radiator top rail. The other point is that it will allow just a little more airflow to the radiator as well. There are other designs on the market where the panel is bent up into an “L” shape to then cover the front of the radiator support.
With this panel there comes a roll of edging strip and four plastic washers.
On the first test fit it was obvious that the panel was not going to fit with the horns in their correct locations mounted on top of the radiator support.
The supplied instructions (which came on a post it note sized bit of paper), advised you to move the horns out of the way lower down. Where you wanted to move them to is your choice of course, but lower down to keep things looking clean made sense instead of cluttering inside the engine bay.
I removed the first one and it just happened to be that the top radiator bolts would be perfect, but the horns would need a little mod. The mod came to the holding brackets of the horns which need a more pronounced “S” curve to move it away from the support panel. I could have left them untouched if I pointed them both towards the centre of the radiator, which could have a detrimental effect on the cooling.
The test fitting here shows the initial bracket ‘modification’. The locating pin to stop the horn twisting in the original position(s) was straightened out to allow a flush fit.
Both horns were removed and cleaned before they were refitted to their new locations.
There was enough slack in the horn wiring loop to allow the connection again all be it through a different hole where the aircon radiator pipes would have passed through.
That was the worst part done, now it was time to fit the edging strip to the panel. This was a nice touch and finished the panel of nicely. I made sure that the join wouldn’t be seen as it would be hidden under the fender lip.
The instructions advise to cover the panel with masking tape to protect it from damage while fitting along with the edges of the fenders and around the hood latch. As I was being super careful and I didn’t actually need it.
Two bolts from the middle hood latch and two that hold the top of the grill in place to the headlight buckets needed to be removed. As they were satin finish I thought they would look better in polished finish. I think that was a good call, same bolts here, but one was polished and the other still in natural satin.
The panel needed to be slotted under the radiator support top rail, while bowing the middle up to slot under the front edge of the fender lip.
With the panel in place it was a case of refitting the two centre latch bolts and the two end bolts for the headlight and grill. The supplied plastic washers were used to protect the panel.
The two end bolts didn’t quite line up, so I had to loosen a few smaller bolts to locate the panel where I could then refit the bolts. With everything aligned it was simple case to tighten everything back up again.
With everything in place, I could then clean the show panel from my finger marks.
As it was getting dark now. I decided to call it a day there and fit the remaining edging strip to the hood bump stop holes.
In hind sight I should have done it before fitting, arrowed.
So there you have it, my new panel that I made dirty again with my finger prints, which needed another clean. I can see me constantly cleaning this panel as it shows any finger prints.
the final step was to fill the holes in the radiator support where the horns were with black grommets to finish the look.
I just think the panel neatens things up a bit and I’m really pleased with the result. 🙂