SS Grille Disassembly

The ribs or slats of my grille are a separate framework, held inside the outer shell with 2 nuts at the top, 2 nuts at the bottom, and these tabs in the middle.

The tab is soldered to the outer shell and there is a cross bar which sticks through it and is soldered.
I’m wondering, is it better to unsolder the tab from the shell, or to unsolder the cross bar from the tab. Has anyone here done it?

Well, no responses, so I thought about it for awhile, asking myself “How would the factory guy have done it, and could I work it backwards?” I decided that the last step would have been soldering the cross bar to the tabs. So I unsoldered there, and I found I could stretch the grille shell out a little, just enough to get one of the ends of the bar off the tab. Then the other side was easier.

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I apologise Rob, I intended to note my suggestions and it is generally the same as yours.

My Approach would be to leave the cleats in place and remove the tie bar. The problem is the globs of solder need to be freed at both ends simultaneously to be able to slide the bar. My idea was to fire up the compressor and use an air gun attachment to blow the solder away as it melts.

Thanks Peter. My cross bar was dirty and so when I melted the solder it just ran down to the middle in a blob and did not stick to anything.
I really don’t want to unbend all the ends and centers of the slats and drill out the rivets, so I will take it assembled to my plater and see what he says.
I may have to remove the sliding cover at the bottom center.

Be prepared for a cost shock. I enquired five or six years ago for a Mk IV and the plater said something like 800 (A$) and needed all parts separated. But it is the showpiece first attracting people, and the most photographed, and needs to be good.

Well, you were right. The plater said he couldn’t do a good job with the pieces all together. Professional pride I suppose. So I brought it home and took it all apart, had to use a small die grinder to grind away the rivets. Some of the tabs broke off, so I will have to make new ones and solder them on after the plating is done. He said it could be done without discoloring the chrome, just try not to use too much heat. After all, the factory guy did it, put the sliding cover on with a soldered strap.
All the parts were chromed originally, top and bottom joiners and even the two center cross bars.

Yes, the assembly solder was done after plating, so the surfaces needed some preparation to enable the solder to bond. I assume the rivets were just the standard hollow shank brass type. Difficult to replicate. What I’ve used before is copper pop rivets. These compress at low pressure and don’t distort the brass.

Rob, if you solder the broken tabs back on, the solder will be too thick to pass through the slots, and the solder will make them too stiff to bend. Not trying to be a naysayer…just the voice of experience as I did the same thing about 9 months ago. How many tabs did you break off? You’d be further ahead to find replacement slats with intact tabs and have them re-plated. Are the SS and Mk-IV slats the same? I think I’ve got some Mk-IV leftovers which need plating.

The MkIV chrome shell differs from the SS one at the bottom and I suspect (don’t know) the slat lengths differ.


My slats are 25" overall length measured at the bends.
Only 3 tabs are broken at the top end.
My method will be to make bent tabs, rivet or screw them to the top bar, and then solder them to the back of the slats.

I took it all to the plating shop today. The cost will be $500 for the shell and $1125 for all 20 of the grille parts. That includes straightening work on all 15 grill slats. I’ll see it again in 4 months.
As you say, the grille is a very visible and important part of the presentation of the car. He’s done other parts for me, always excellent. So I think it is wise to pay well for good workmanship.
He let me in on his secret straightening method. He has some straight steel bar stock, and he clamps the grille slat to it and heats it up while tapping out all the dents. When it cools it’s straight. Stress relief annealing.
I’m glad I chose to drive there, 160 miles, rather than trust my precious parts to UPS. When I arrived he had just finished an argument with UPS about a lost package, Jaguar parts in fact, that he had sent to Los Angeles, but they mistakenly went to San Diego and then Tijuana Mexico. They’re not even going to try to get them back, just pay the $100 insurance, on parts worth $300.
I think these guys in little one-man shops must go entire weeks without seeing anyone. He was very chatty, told me about several other packages with UPS either broken open, damaged or delivered to the wrong address. A $1400 Chevelle grille packed carefully in foam, yet it arrived broken. FedEx is no better; one job with 8 parts he sent to the customer, but only 6 parts arrived, yet the package was still taped up. Another time his customer received just an empty box, no idea where the parts went.
And I thought the US postal service was bad. I thought the pro’s were better; I guess not.
So I’ll be driving there again in 4 months to pick it all up.
It’s a nice drive through the country. Farmers were out harvesting their feed corn.