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Discussion Starter #1
I've been wanting to replace the stock front grill, mainly to get rid of the huge H-emblem, but wasn't able to locate an aftermarket source. The only solution was a DIY job. I found a great website that had a video tutorial of customizing a 2018 Sonata grill (Custom Grills, Mesh Sheets, and More). They carry a variety of aluminum mesh sheets with differnt sized opennings and patterns. I ended up going with the one shown in the video as it seemed to look pretty good. Matt from CCR said he no longer sells the precut Sonata grill but was willing to do one for me. I ended up just getting a full uncut sheet as it was a little cheaper and I wanted to be sure the fitment was right for my grill since the one he makes was for the sport grill.

I bought a stock grill off ebay to use as the donor.

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The center part was cut out using a dremel 543 cutting/shaping wheel. The process was slow but eventually I got around the entire thing and removed the inner section. The rough edges of the frame were sanded down to provide a surface to attach the mesh
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The black powder coated perforated GT mesh was cut with tin snips. Again, the process was slow and painstaking and took several passes to get the right fit. The edges of the mesh were pretty sharp and I cut myself a few times so I sanded them smooth.
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The frame was sanded down to roughen up the chome finish, then several coats each of adhesion promoter, black primer, and black top coat were applied. The overall flat finish look pretty good. The mesh was secured to the frame with zip ties, then several layers automotive goop wwere carefully applied all around. It seemed very secure once dried, but I wanted an extra layer of adhesive to be sure, so I applied a generous layer of black Upol tiger seal. Once the Tiger Seal cured, it was very secure. After looking at the finished product, it seems I cranked the zip ties on the top left portion a little too tight as it appears just slightly crooked. Hopefully there is enough flex in the grill that it won't affect install or leave a large gap.

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Now just waiting for good weather to install. I also plan to relocate the front plate lower so it does not block the new grill.
 

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Good job, it looks great. I like the mesh pattern that you selected.

The new larger style grilles on most new models of cars are a main feature and changing it up really makes a personalized statement on your car.

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished job on the car.
 

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Looks nice. Hopefully will hold up well for you. Some mesh is very thin and dents easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yesterday I tried to install the mesh grill, however, the fitment along the top left side was off as I had feared. I had to force the bumper frame down to insert the tabs, but the grill would not fully seat into place. It did not appear anything was blocking it, but no matter how much I tried, most of the tabs at the top would not full engage, nor would several of the tabs along the side. After working for over an hour, I was forced to give up and reinstall the stock grill. I did successfully relocate the plate lower as I had planned to after the new grill install. I think it looks better as it does not block the grill, and as a bonus, blocks the middle brackets holding the LED light bars.

Below is a pictorial of the attempted install.

After removing bummer, flip over and remove the screws along the edge of the grill (circles). Pull off and remove the two metal clips (yellow arrows) holding the foam impact bar. This needs to come off to access the grill tabs underneath

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Remove 2 screws (circles) on each side holding the lower bumper chrome accents. Release the first 5 tabs (arrows) to partially remove the chrome accents. This will allow release of the screw tab holding the grill along the front.

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Release the grill tabs to detach front grill. I did this using pliers to gently squeeze and push in the direction of the arrow. This was a paintstaking step and care is needed not to break the tabs. I started at the top and once the grill started to release, worked my way around. Pull grill forward to remove.

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I figured the hard part was over and installation of the new mesh grill was going to be easy by just reversing the process. However, after struggling for an hour, the new grill was just not quite aligning along the top side. Although I was able to force the bumper down to insert the top tabs, they would not fully snap into place. A took a few shots of it partially installed with the top gap visible. This was a huge dissappointment as it was a ton of work modding the new grill and it was going to look great.

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I had also planned to relocate the plate lower so it would not block the new mesh grill. I was able to do this after reinstalling the stock grill and at least it does improve the front end a bit. Before and after shots below.
plate.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, it happened when I zip tied it to the mesh grill for glueing. Yesterday, I was able to separate the top grill frame from the mesh and carefully bend it back into shape. Next I'll reglue it and hopefully the alighment will be better when it's installed into the bumper.
 

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No, it happened when I zip tied it to the mesh grill for glueing. Yesterday, I was able to separate the top grill frame from the mesh and carefully bend it back into shape. Next I'll reglue it and hopefully the alighment will be better when it's installed into the bumper.
Good luck with it, I know frist hand it can be frustrating pulling the bumper and not being able to get a part to fit. When I replaced mime after it was damaged the DRL did not fit correctly after I repaired it and tried to install in the new bumper cover.

Post a picture after its done, should look great.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks and yes, I already got a sneak peek if you see the photo above with the mesh grill partially installed.
 

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Do you think the metal screen will have any effect on your smart cruise control?

[edit]
Never mind. I just went to Custom Grills, Mesh Sheets, and More and read where it will not work with the smart cruise/front collision radar.
 

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Couldn't you just remount behind the mesh grill?
I think the compatibility issue stems from the grill screen being metal vs plastic.
Wondering if the same design is available but in a non-conductive, material.
I really like the transformation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes Custom Car Grills does carry plastic too. I opted for metal for strength and was worried about the plastic cracking when being cut to shape.
 

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I don't think anything is supposed to be in front of the radar.
 

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The radar sensor is mounted to the front of the Smart Cruise Control (SCC) unit which is located directly behind the fully-plastic 'Flying H' radar cover:
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Discussion Starter #17
Today I successfully installed the new mesh grill. Total time was just over an hour. The fitment was still not perfect along the top, and all the tabs did not lock into place. However, with some patient effort I was able to secure it with the OEM screws along the edge and at least get the tabs seated properly even if they didn't fully engage. It does protrude from the bumper just slightly in some spots, but it's really not terribly visible.

This time the OEM grill came off with much less effort than last time. It helped to have it propped up on some cardboard boxes to keep it off the ground and prevent me from bending over too much.
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After securing the modded grill in place, I re-installed the foam impact bumper behind it. I wasn't sure if it was really necessary, but figured it was there for safety reasons so best to keep it. Plus, if it was left off, the steel bumper behind it would still be visible, so it really doesn't hurt the asthetics anymore or less. ONce the bumper was installed, the foam did press against the mesh fairly tightly, but not so much to cause any distortion. Also, there is plenty of adhesive keeping the edge firmly in place so I don't think there is any risk of it separating.

Pictures below are before attaching the front license plate. It looks far better without it, but the state requires front plates so no options here.

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But lowering it does help to preserve the look and not hide the grill.
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Before and after comparing OEM vs modded grill. Definitely happy with this change and glad I was able to get it installed.
grill.JPG
 

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Can you paint the foam black?
 
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