(approx) 3 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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Hey guys, Adam here with americantrucks.com. And today, we're taking a closer look at, and installing, the Rough Country mesh upper grille, available for the '13 to '18 RAM 1500, excluding the limited and rebel models. You should be checking this out for your '13 to '18 RAM 1500 if you're looking to swap out that factory grille, which can tend to be a little bit boring at the front end, for something that makes it a little bit more aggressive and a little bit stealthier. This Rough Country mesh grille is made from a black powder coated billet aluminum. So it's a little bit more sturdy, it's a little bit more sleek-looking at the front end, and it definitely changes the front-end appearance.The big change here is coming in the center of that upper grille, this is gonna have that mesh-honeycomb design, as you can see here, which of course is completely different than our factory one, which we'll touch on in just a second. This does require some modification to your front end, I wanna mention that right off the bat. You do have to do a little bit of cutting and a little bit of drilling to your factory grille in order to mount this to the factory grille mounting bracket. We will detail every step of the install in just a little bit, but first off, if you wanna get this two-piece grille, it comes in just under the $200 mark, around 180 bucks, which does make it a pretty affordable front-end mod. It's gonna drastically change the appearance of your RAM. If you have a color just like this one behind me, it blends in so well and just looks super aggressive.As I just mentioned, it is a two-piece grille, so, as you can see, that honeycomb mesh is the center portion but it does come with this border. This is what you're gonna be bolting up to holes you'll be drilling in the factory grille. It's got a pretty prominent RC cutout on the top, so you show a little bit of brand pride with the Rough Country. I think it adds to its level of design. It just looks a little bit sleeker, it's not a chrome plate that sticks out like a sore thumb on other off-road aftermarket parts. I think it blends in really nicely.As you can see, it's got pre-drilled holes in this bracket here, so you'll use these as a template when it comes time to drill. It comes with all new stainless steel hardware, all of this is corrosion and rust-resistant, and new mounting brackets which we'll touch on in just a little bit.The install for this is gonna get close to three out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter simply because you do have to make the cutting and the extra modifications with your drill and drill bit set. But it's not gonna be too-too difficult. With that said, it'll take about three hours, from start to finish, maybe a little bit more if you wanna take your time which I definitely recommend. Other than that, simple hand tools like a ratchet or impact gun and a socket set will do the trick. And with all that said, guys, I'm gonna take you through every step of the process starting with getting our factory grille out of place on a '13 RAM behind me. So what do you say we get started?Tools used in this install include an impact gun, a 1/4 ratchet, 11/32 short socket, 8 and10-millimeter deep sockets, a 5/32 hex socket, 11/32 and 7/16 wrenches, a center punch, needle-nose pliers, drill, 11/64 drill bit, flat-head screwdriver, panel removal tool, and a body saw or similar.So the first step of the uninstall here is to get your hood popped of course. Grab a panel removal tool. If you don't have one of these, I recommend picking it up from your local auto-parts store. But if you don't wanna do that, you can always use a flat-head screwdriver. I just find this to make life a little easier.First step, once you get your hood popped is to grab the panel removal tool and remove the plastic rivets or the push pin clips holding on your factory radiator shroud. We're just gonna pry up and remove them, there's about six of them all around. Just stick that panel tool right underneath and pry upward. If your engine bay is a little bit dirty, like ours is, it can be a little resistant. But you just pry off and they'll pop out. And you're gonna do this for all six. They're just Christmas-tree clips holding it in place. All right, at this point, we have all of those pins removed, we can just pop the shroud off and set it aside.The next step here is to unbolt our factory upper-grille from the top underneath of our radiator shroud. The two bolts in the middle are 10-millimeters, and the two on the ends are eights. The next step here, now that we have the top unbolted, is to pull back on the top portion, and you'll see that loosens up, get a grip on the bottom here, and just pull straight back. One side disconnects. The same thing over here. Now, we can put it on our table.So now, that we have our factory grille off of our RAM 1500 on the table here, I just wanted to give you a quick side-by-side comparison between this and our new Rough Country mesh grille. Now I know we already talked about a lot of the details here, but seeing a side-by-side comparison can give you a different perspective.I wanted to show you guys exactly what you'll be losing and replacing here. Now your factory grille, on our RAM 1500, has the chrome fins, three to be exact, in each of the four corners. It's got the color-match trim piece and the emblem in the middle in a chrome finish. All of those design features are being completely replaced. You are basically just gonna be unbolting the bracket from the back that bolted it up underneath of your radiator shroud. We'll be unbolting that and disassembling it and rebolting it to our new grille. We're also gonna be doing a little bit of cutting, and trimming, and drilling to that skeleton in the back of this grille in order to mount our new one. So you're replacing the fin styling with a honeycomb mesh, replacing your color-matched borders with our black-powder coated trim on the new one. And instead of that factory emblem, you're gonna be getting the new Rough Country cutout that I mentioned earlier. That's gonna be just on the top here as you see there. So with that said, complete night-and-day change between your factory grille and your new one, but we're not done with this yet. I'm gonna flip this over, we're gonna disassemble this. And so, for now, I'm gonna set our Rough Country grille aside.Now the first step of disassembling our factory grille to get that skeleton off is to grab an 8-millimeter socket and remove about 10 bolts all around the upper edge holding this bracket in place. I'm gonna start here, on the right side, I'm gonna bang all these off. At this point, we can just grab the brackets and remove that whole piece and set it aside.The next step is to pop off these air ducts on the back of our factory grille. And in order to do that, I'm gonna grab a flat-head screwdriver, we're basically just gonna pry in between the plastic clips holding it together. Now this might take a little bit of patience but you wanna get your flat-head in between these little push pins that hold it in place and pull upward on it.All right. So getting these out is very tricky. You just wanna pry your flat-head in and peel off those plastic clips all around the edges. You'll hear them snap out of place. Repeat this for the other side. With those ducts out of the way, the next step is to remove the fins on both sides. Same kinda clips, all around. There's three on the bottom, three on the top, two on the side, and three more in the middle.Now as you go along, you wanna just slide your fingers underneath so they don't snap back into place while you're working on the next one. We've got these three bottom ones out of place, I'm just gonna keep my fingers down here to make sure they don't snap back in. Once you get toward the end, they pretty much just fall out of place and you can set this aside. All right, now we do the same thing on the other side.Now the next step is to cut the vertical and horizontal bars off of our grille. Now, in order to do this, you wanna be extremely careful not to damage any of the paint, and to be as straight as possible. We're gonna be using a body saw for this, it's an air tool, but you can use anything similar to this if you have a different tool of your preference. Also, I'm gonna painters-tape the edges here, just to make sure that I don't damage any of the factory paint around the trim that is going to be reused in our new grille. So I'm gonna set the painters tape in, the painters tape just a little bit more around this edge here just to prevent any damage. And we can also use this to draw a straight line across where we're gonna be cutting. Basically, we're gonna cut straight against and flush against the edge trim to go straight down.Now you may find it easier to actually do the cut on the inside. You can flip this over. All right, now we flip this over and I'm gonna start from the back. You get a little bit more detail around the edge. And you can see a little bit easier where you're cutting. I'm gonna go straight across. Keep in mind, you can always take more off but you can't put more back on. So make sure you're putting your blade exactly where you wanna cut, go as straight as possible. And if you need to go back and do a little bit more, we can.All right. So we've cut these horizontal bars, next, we're gonna do the vertical one. So I'm gonna flip back over and just tape off the outside here just in case the blade kicks off so it doesn't nick the paint. Start cutting right along this bottom edge.At this point, we're gonna cut the top portion of the vertical bar on our grille, and we're gonna leave just a little bit more room, a little bit more material on this end here, to have our RC logo bolt to. So, from here, we're gonna cut about an inch up using the bottom of this painters tape as my marker.Now that the cutting's out of the way, we're gonna bolt up our brackets to the inner mesh grille, and the inner mesh grille to the outer trim. We have hardware included in the kit. The 1/4 inch by 5/8 bolts, the longer ones included in the kit are gonna bolt both the grilles together and to the mounting bracket. Where the mounting brackets are not gonna be located, we're gonna use the 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch bolts to bolt the two grilles together.I know that sounds confusing, and I'll walk you through that process. So step number one, grab the longer bolts in the kit, and we're gonna bolt up all of the brackets to both grilles. Now you wanna have the grilles face down working on the backside. Put the longer bolt through the front on both grilles, and just tighten down the nylon lock nut by hand. Just get it nice and hand-tight. And then, move along with the brackets.Now the brackets go in a certain position along the grille. So we're gonna start here at the bottom, we're gonna go four in and put the bracket, space three out and go to the next one. You don't wanna tighten these down with tools yet, you wanna make sure that this bracket can rotate so that we can attach it to the shell of our factory grille.The next one, you're gonna skip three spaces and go to this corner. Put that bracket through, tighten it down by hand. The next bracket's gonna go directly next to that. Skip one and move on to the next bracket. The next bracket is gonna be directly next to that as well.Now we're gonna skip one and move on to the next bracket in that second hole. Skip one again. That's your open space for the backing of the RC logo. Skip one again and use that next hole. Skip one, and the next two are gonna get brackets. All right, we're gonna skip one and the next two will get brackets as well. All right. And with that, that should be the last of your 1/4 inch by 5/8 bolts. The rest of those open spaces, all the ones that we skipped are gonna get the 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch bolts with no brackets at all. So we're just gonna insert that into those open spaces and use the same nylon lock nuts. So just a quick recap of the spaces that you're gonna use for the brackets and the spaces you're going to skip. With this faced down, from the back, starting at the top, you'll skip, hit the bracket, skip, two brackets, skip, two brackets. So the bottom corners will always have a bracket. And then, there's gonna be three open spaces and a bracket, three open spaces and a bracket, again, three open spaces, two at the corner, skip, two at the top corner, skip, and another bracket leaving these two. Now the rest of these open spaces are just gonna get the 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch bolts without any brackets at all. So we're gonna do the same thing just minus the brackets to the open space. All right. So we got a 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch bolts going straight through no brackets. We're gonna use the same nylon lock nuts.All right. At this point, we can lay this on the inside of our factory grille shell and mark the holes that we need to drill. Now to bolt this down to our shell from the factory, I find it easier to lay it into place from the front and grab a tape, I'm using gaff tape because it won't damage our factory paint, and we're just gonna tape it down into place. Now because the grille ships flat and it will need to be curved in order to line up properly to our factory shell, I find it easier to line up and just tape as you see here, just to make it sit in place and keep itself in place as we bolt everything on. Perfect.So we have that tape on both sides. Now we're gonna flip it over and mark the holes we need to drill. Basically that tape is just to hold this into place so it doesn't move, so we can mark the locations of where we need to drill to mount these brackets. So we left everything loose so we can rotate our bracket into position. I'm gonna use a center punch to mark the hole that I need to drill. Now that just gives it a little ding so we know that that's where we're drilling our hole. So we're gonna go around to each bracket and do that same thing. If you don't have a center punch, a sharpie works, but because this is a dark-colored car, it obviously isn't gonna be as easy. So a center punch makes it a little easier.Now that we have the grille back off of our shell, grab an 11/64-inch drill bit and drill into the holes we just marked with our center punch, or if you're using a sharpie, drill into those marked positions from the sharpie.Now, I find it easier to work with the face up, it gives you a little bit more room with the drill bit. But if you have A-arms or something to lay this on top of, that can make life a little easier too. Just give yourself as comfortable of a space as you can to make sure your drilling is accurate. So I've got my drill bit on my drill. We're gonna knock this out.The next step. We have the grille back in place and, again, taped down. We're gonna use these bolts to go in from the top and tighten them down to the nuts with the teeth on them. Now this is a little bit of a weird angle so it can be a little bit tricky. But if you just tighten this down by hand on all of them, we'll then come back down and bolt it up with our Allen key or socket.All right. Next up, grab your 3/32 Allen key or socket. I've got mine, in our drill bit here, on our lowest setting so we don't strip anything. Grab an 11/32 wrench to hold the nut on the back side. Just tighten those down. All right. Now that we have our brackets bolted down, it's time to tighten up the rest of the hardware connecting the two grille pieces. So grab a 7/16 wrench and a 5/32 Allen socket or Allen key, and we're gonna tighten these down. I'm propping this up to make life a little easier. Hold the nut on from the backside. And just tighten down from the front. All right. The last step before we reinstall all of this onto our RAM is to grab that bracket that attached to it originally. That's gonna go right back into its position around the shell using those factory 10-8 millimeter bolts. We've got those here, we're just gonna line that up to its original location and just start to tighten them down. Got my 8-millimeter socket here. All right, with that last bolt in place, it's time to throw it back in our truck. Well, we're just about done. We've got our grille back into place. And when you're putting it back on the truck, make sure you're hooking in the bottom clips to their slots. Without that, you'll have a little gap at the bottom. So we got those through, they're lined up at the top. Now if you remember, in the beginning of the uninstall, taking our factory grille off, there were two 8-millimeter bolts and two 10-millimeters. The two eights, one on each side, and the two tens are gonna be in the middle so we're gonna bolt that back up. All right. Now we can grab our tens.Now the last step is to throw your radiator shroud back. All right, we can push those clips back down at the top, and the smaller ones will get pushed back into those smaller locations. Well, guys, with your shroud back on and everything in place, you are good to go. That's gonna wrap up my review and install for the Rough Country mesh upper grille available for the '13 to '18 RAM 1500, with the exception of the limited and rebel models. You can grab yours right here at americantrucks.com.
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Features, Description, Reviews, Q&A, Specs & Installation
Built To Impress. It is now possible to give your 2013-2018 Dodge RAM 1500 that unique attention-grabbing look with the addition of Rough Country Mesh Upper Grille Insert. This aftermarket upgrade features a distinctive laser-cut mesh design that commands attention on the road.
Cooling and Protection Additional Utility. The Rough Country’s Upper Grille is made to provide a unique appeal while also according your car with additional protection from perils on and off the driving lane. Additionally, the mesh design allows for an efficient air flow into the radiator to keep it cool and to ensure that your engine performs to its best.
Rigid Aluminum Construction. The Rough Country Mesh Upper Grille features a housing design made with die-cast aluminum. It is also finished in a black powder coat finish for corrosion resistance and also a distinctive RC emblem as a mark of quality.
3-Year Limited Warranty. In order to guarantee the best quality of their materials and craftsmanship practice, Rough Country offers a 3-year limited warranty on this Upper Replacement grille.
Application. Rough Country Mesh Upper Grille Insert fits all 2013 to 2018 Dodge RAM 1500 Excluding the Limited and Rebel Models.
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Fitment: 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Details
Rough Country 70197
CA Residents: WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
(approx) 3 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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