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An Overview of What You Need to Know About F150 Grilles

By:  Zach Wright  / Jun 21 2019
An Overview of What You Need to Know About F150 Grilles

The famous motto “Built Ford Tough” was forged on the back of the incredibly durable and rugged F150. From the beginning of production, the F150 was built to take on all kinds of terrain and a litany of work duties, all while providing creature comforts, low-maintenance/minimal up-keep, and looking better than the competition. This ideal still holds true to the F150’s rolling off the assembly line today; however, today’s trucks allow far greater mod-ability and customization than the gen 1s. This guide will go over one of the most popular forms of F150 customization: replacing your F150’s grille.

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The first part of your truck that appears in someone's rear view is usually your grille. This quick glimpse is the first impression most get of your F150, and you'll want to make sure it's the right one. From Raptor imitation grilles to show-stopping billet, the choice is yours.

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What is an F150 Grille & What Does it Do?

An F150 grille is the front center section of your truck’s fascia that isn’t part of the body panels or hood. The grill allows outside ambient air to come through the F150’s radiator and provide cooling to the engine. The grille also carries the manufacturer’s logo, the infamous blue oval. 

For the 2015 F150, the grille has seen increased possible functionality with some grilles offering LED lighting, either for design or added visibility.

What’s the Difference Between an Upper & Lower F150 Grille?

On some F150’s 2004 and up, there are two grilles on the front of the truck; an upper grille and a lower grille. The upper grille is the main grille and mixes style and performance (cooling), while the lower grille is a secondary grille, there for looks. If you decide to replace the grilles with aftermarket ones, you should also upgrade the other grille to a similar style grille to keep your look uniform and fresh.

Why Should I Replace My F150’s Grille?

  • It is an easy way to improve your truck’s overall appearance
  • Depending on the style, it could offer increased cooling/airflow or lighting
  • It personalizes the look of your truck
  • Can replace damaged or worn stock parts with OEM fit

While there is nothing wrong with the stock front fascia on the F150, adding a personalized touch to the look is never a bad thing, and there is no easier way to do that than by replacing the stock grille.

F150 Grille Styles

There are a wide variety of F150 grille styles including:

  • Mesh
  • Billet
  • Raptor
  • LED/Light Bars
  • Bar

Mesh F150 Grilles Explained

Mesh F150 grilles use a wire mesh design that can vary in thickness. From a tight/small mesh to a larger, just smaller than chicken wire, mesh grilles are on the more different options for your F150.  This style tends to allow cooler air to flow into your grille because the mesh design is usually more breathable/less obstructive.

Mesh grilles are usually framed in a thick outside trim that wraps around the perimeter of the grille. Some mesh grilles are broken up in the middle by a bar or a design, while others are not impeded and stretch from border to border with a solid mesh pattern. Some mesh grilles can feature an LED light bar, but this will drive the price up.

Billet F150 Grilles Explained

Billet F150 grilles come in either a polished/chrome finish or black finish, and use a stacked arrangement of bars that stretch horizontally from side to side. Billet grilles are what you would consider more of a classic design and are a more popular upgrade on older F150s.

Billet grilles typically never adorn a logo or badge, however,​ there are some that install over top of your factory grille and have a cut out for the blue oval badge to pop out in the center. Currently, there are no billet grilles that feature lighting support. Billet grilles have no impact on coiling or airflow into the engine.

F150 Raptor Grilles Explained

F150 Raptor style grilles are popular on 2009 F150s and use a look reminiscent of the Ford Raptor’s grille. While there is no logo or badge on these grilles, you do find the perimeter of the grille lined with amber yellow LED lights. Some versions of the grille do feature round cutouts across the middle. 

The main design note of the Raptor style F150 grille is it uses a honey comb design that achieves slightly improved engine cooling. The F150 Raptor style grille is arguably one of the most aggressive and rugged looking grilles offered.

F150 LED/Light Bar Grilles

Multiple style F150 grilles can incorporate LEDs into their design, including but not limited to:

  • Raptor style
  • Mesh
  • Raptor

About 95% of the aftermarket F150 grilles offered on the market today use an LED light bar as their main lighting source. Stretching across either the top or middle of the grille, light bars are the perfect extra of light you need on a dark and stormy night or on a low visibility trail. 

The other styles of LED light equipped grilles on the market are Raptor style grilles the use amber yellow LEDs around the outer perimeter of the grille, or lower grilles that use small LED cubes. Although light bar grilles may be designed for function, their form is sleek and aggressive.

F150 Bar Style Grilles Explained

Bar style F150 grilles are your most common types of grilles and use thick bars stretching horizontally across the length of the grille. Unlike Billet grilles that use 15 small few centimeter thick bars, bar grilles use thick and wide 2”-3.5” bars. Bar grilles are great because they can usually take a lot of abuse without showing it too much​ while looking very straight-laced. 

How Hard is it to Install a Grille on My F150? 

Replacing your stock F150 grille with an upgraded aftermarket one is fairly easy. Depending on your year and model as well as the style of  grille you are upgrading to, you may need to remove the front bumper to access the upper or lower grille. Thankfully, there is a lot of space to maneuver and reach your hands in, eliminating any worries on space constraints. 

To replace the grille you will need a screwdriver or two, and some socket wrenches. Outside of that, you can figure on an install time that can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Fitment includes: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, Lightning, KingRanch, HarleyDavidson, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, Platinum, Raptor