Easy and Cheap Honeycomb Grille Insert DIY
This Subaru did not come with a honeycomb grille, obviously — nor is it an STI! So silly looking back at all these absurd modifications — many of which are circa 2006-2007.
But I digress.
Honeycombs are awesome. Want one? Sweet! Many online performance shops will sell you a fancy custom grille — but here’s the thing: they usually cost $400 or more, and are unpainted and perhaps ridiculously-bad quality.
My solution to update the Legacy GT’s nose? Cut out inner grille bars, replace with Ford Crown Victoria honeycomb mesh.
Cost for Crown Vic grille? $28.
I got this idea from a LegacyGT.org forum member, and pulled up the initial post to refresh my memory.
It is a much-better how-to in photos than I can create in retrospect, so pls check over there for the full details.
A Honeycomb Grille Insert? Really?
— Why: Looks great and believably OEM, but also unique. Cheap, easy, and (pretty) durable.
— How: Recommended donor honeycomb? Ford Crown Victoria part.
— Cost: Usually less than $30
Will this work on your car? Possibly. It depends on the original grille shape, of course.
— Other options? Full Honeycomb sheet; less recommended because the depth is very shallow, the honeycombs are too thick, and they stuff is pricey for what it is actually worth.
— This piece of plastic directly below costs $200, plus shipping.
— Also: Don’t bother trying to use any screen or other material you can buy at a hardware store. It will look even worse than DIY: Home Made!
How-To Add a Crown Victoria Honeycomb Grill Insert
— Order the Crown Vic grille online, Amazon and Ebay both carry it. Get a new one. They are as low as $20 for a replacement (non-OEM) part.
— When it arrives, use garden shears to cut the honeycomb out of its giant grille surround.
— Leave much extra honeycomb around the edges — final trimming much later
— Remove your OEM grille from car, and determine best way to remove its inner shapes. For my Subaru, the best way was to use a Dremel drill.
— Be very careful. The OEM grille will be very fragile without its inner pieces to keep its shape. I broke the bottom of mine, as shown somewhere below.
— Determine the angle and placement you desire for the honeycomb insert
— Carefully start trimming the Ford piece down to size, checking over and over how it fits after every few snips. Go too far or cut wrong shapes, and it will look incomplete and wonky once finished.
Note on this photo above and some below: I have actually done this twice or three times overall. The first time, I wrapped the chrome pieces in that carbom-look material, and used a farbon-fiber molding piece to keep the grille at a more vertical angle inside.
Wraps suck though, and I later painted it all. But there are tears visible above from some old wrap job.
Ambitious, but rubbish… they said…
— Drill small holes in edge of grille (inside area, not visible from outside). You want two holes next to each other — just wide enough for the zip-tie to fit though.
Why a pair of holes per mount point in the OEM grille edge? To pipe the ziptie in from behind, through Ford piece, and back out behind the other OEM grille piece hole you drilled.
If not, you will have a sloppy and visible ziptie in the grille — which is never a classy style statement.
— Also drill a single small hole in corresponding places on the Ford piece.
— When the right fit is achieved, you can line it with rubber edges like shown in LegacyGT photos, or go without, like I did.
— Use small black zipties to cinch the honeycomb into the OEM grille in at least six places. Be carefuly with zipties — too tight = broken ziptie. Plus, be aware that you want the ziptie nub to be on the inner-most side of the grille.
Re-apply new 3M Heavy Duty Outdoor double stick to your original badge, and stick on.
Re-snap grille back onto car!
Bam! You now will receive many longing/confused looks while people try to figure out what kind of car your new stealth cruiser is…
— Obviously, most Crown Victoria Grilles come with an oval mount point for the Ford badge. If you do not have a Ford, this is problematic. Subaru’s 2005 emblem as comically undersized to cover this giant oval area, so I updated to a 2011+ Subaru badge — which is nearly double the size.
Most brands’ emblems are getting bigger, so investigate a later model-year from your car company to see if it can cover that area.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.