(approx) 2 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
Hey, guys, Adam here with americanmuscle.com. And today, we're taking a closer look at and installing the RTR grille available for all 2018 and newer GT and EcoBoost Mustangs. This particular kit is sold together in the combo kit like you see here with the upper and lower grille as well as the upper grille inserts, or you can get them sold separately. But if you want to complete the kit, this is exactly what it will look like. This is a super aggressive styling brought to us from the guys over at RTR all ready to rock.Now, if you're not familiar with RTR, let me break it down for you. RTR was founded by none other than Vaughn Gittin Jr. himself, a legendary name in not only the Mustang community but the Drift community as a whole. He has developed this really, really cool front end exterior styling pieces that just make the car looks so much more aggressive, which, in my opinion, is what this should look like from the factory. As a matter of fact, RTR has done some spec one, two, and three models that were available in a limited quantity at dealerships. This is exactly what you would have found on those RTR vehicles. The upper and lower grille gives you that matte black finish which blends in really well with that bottom chin spoiler that we have here on our performance pack. And, again, I just think it just looks really, really good. This particular option does not have the RTR grille insert lights. Instead, these are just solid matte black pieces that don't light up, making it a little bit more budget friendly than the options that have the grille inserts with the LED lights.Now, the RTR grille with the LED lights, in my opinion, is an iconic RTR look for the front end of the S550. But then, again, if you're looking to keep that budget down, this is a really good way to go as well, or maybe you're just not interested in frontend auxiliary lighting. Either way, really good look, and a really solid finish. Another thing that's worth pointing out is it does open up for a little bit more airflow. Your factory grille is closed off from the back, but I'll explain the differences between the RTR options for the upper and lower grilles comparing that to the stock options in just a little bit. Once I show you guys how to uninstall the factory upper and lower grilles, we'll put them on the table and talk about the night and day difference.Now, if you wanted to pick this set up as a combo as you see here, it's right around 450 bucks. In my opinion, a very worthwhile price to completely transform the front end of the S550. If you don't want to pick them up as a combo kit, say you just want the upper grille with the inserts, of course, it's gonna be less than that and even less for the lower grille separate than that. I definitely recommend picking it up as a kit to really complete that frontend. It just looks a lot better when both top and bottom matches, in my opinion.The install is gonna get a simple two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. And I say two out of three just because you do have to pop off the factory bumper, and there's very, very minor drilling required. The drilling I will say is not gonna be the to body of your S550 or not even to the factory bumper. You're gonna be drilling holes in the upper RTR grille, very, very small, 7/32nd holes is all you have to do. There's three on each side in order to mount this inserts.I'll walk you guys through step by step of the process showing you exactly where to drill, exactly how the entire process is from start to finish starting with getting those factory pieces out of place. It will all take you about an hour, maybe two at the absolute maximum if you're working in the driveway at home. It's really not too hard, and again, I'm gonna show you guys every step. So, let's just get to it.Tools used in this install include an impact gun, ratchet, 5 and a half millimeter short socket, 7, 8, and 10-millimeter deep sockets, flat heads and Phillips head screwdriver, 7/32nd drill bit or a 15/64th drill bit, and an electric drill. All right, so the first step of the installation here, grab your impact gun or your ratchet and a 7-millimeter socket. I recommend a deep socket because there are a couple of deep pockets here, and you're gonna remove 17 7-millimeter bolts or screws along with 2 pushpin clips or plastic rivets. Those are gonna hold on the belly pan underneath our front end. So we're gonna start here under our front lip or front chin splitter, work our way around, and then we're gonna work our way to the back.All right, we've got four more of the 7-millimeter screws right in the middle here in these little indents, so one, two, three, four straight across. We're gonna pop those out. All right, with those four out of the way, we have one and two plastic clips or pushpin rivets. And we also have a couple more of them in each of the wheel well. So we're gonna grab our panel removal tool to pop these out. All right, now we have a couple of those plastic pushpin clips inside of the wheel well. We've got two right here and one more tucked in front of our tire. So we're gonna remove these three and then move on to the other side to do the same thing.For this last one in the wheel well, it is a little bit smaller. So a flat-head screwdriver goes a long way and help you to get it out. You can pry them up from both sides just like that. The next step here now that we have all of our bolts and screws removed from the belly pan is just pop it off our car. All right, the next step here, we're gonna disconnect our accessory light now that our belly pan is out of the way, and we can access it. So you want to come up here, and you're just gonna pinch right where the wiring are coming out of, pinch the top, pull straight back. Repeat for the other side.The next step here is to work on the pushpins holding on this side of the wheel well. Now, there's one clip here and another one inside this little indent. Now, we're gonna have to remove those two in order to hold back our wheel well liner. Now it is also recommended that you could take the wheels off completely on the frontend to make your life a little bit easier. I find that you could just turn them to the opposite direction and give yourself enough room. So first things first, grab our panel removal tool, pry off those clips. This one might be a little difficult to see, but grab your panel tool, stick it in there as well. A flat head screwdriver works just as well.The next step here is to peel back your wheel well liner and tuck it behind your tire if you still got your wheel on. If not, you can tuck it right behind your rotor. That will give you access to the stud block with two 10-millimeter nuts holding your bumper to your fender. So grab a deep socket 10-millimeter, grab your ratchet and take this nut off and the one that's a little farther behind it.The next step here is to actually just remove that black stud blocks, so we're just gonna peel that back. And as you can see, it disconnects your bumper. Next step, you want to get your car on the ground here, pop open your hood, and we're gonna remove our radiator shroud. Now, this is held on by eight more of these clips. So grab that panel removal tool we'd been using thus far, pop all eight of these out all across the radiator shroud. Once those are out, we'll have access to some of the remaining bumper bolts.Now we can get that shroud off. The next step here, since we are exposing the rest of our bumper bolts, there's a bunch going straight across the lip here. There's one on each corner, that's a 5.5-millimeter bolt head. So I'm gonna grab my 5.5 socket, get that one off, and then I'm gonna work my way down to the rest of the 8-mill, and then we'll finish off again with another 5 and a half. So we're gonna back this one out. Great. Now we're gonna swap that socket off to an 8-millimeter, and remove the rest of these. And for this last one, we're gonna pop the 8-millimeter off, put that 5.5-millimeter back on, and get this last one off.All right, it's about time that we actually remove our entire front bumper here. Now, it's a pretty easy process. You're just gonna lift up on it and outward toward the outside of the vehicle. Once it's off, you want to make sure you're setting it down on a safe place. You don't want to put it face down on the cement. Obviously, you want to protect your pan. So first things first, let's lift it up, and get it off the car.Now that we have our bumper off the cart and on our table. we still have a couple of things we need to uninstall. First thing we're gonna uninstall on the back of our bumper here is this bumper support right in the middle of the upper and lower grilles. Grab a flat head screwdriver and go right in here with these covered tabs. Those tabs are holding this bumper place in. So you want to stick that in, rotate the flat head, and pull as you're doing that simultaneously. That will pop the tabs off. Some of them will be easier to get off than others. Some might fight you a little bit, so you have to use your flat head just like this one here. Set this aside.And the next step here, we're gonna remove our upper and lower grille. We'll start with the bottom one because it's a little bit easier. We have a little bit more room to work with, and it's easier to show you guys how this is gonna get done. Now, the directions, I do recommend using a pair of slip joint pliers as well as a large flat head screwdriver. I actually found that it is doable by hand. If you need those tools, of course, you can use them, have them on deck just to give you a hand and make it a little easier. Because our car is red, our tabs are red. So, obviously, if you have a lightning blue Mustang, these tabs will be a different color. But for us, the race red Mustang has these race red tabs. You're gonna push upward on the upper ones and pull back on the grille at the same time to disconnect. So push up, pull back. Push up, pull back, and do that all the way around for all of them. And, of course, on the bottom, you'll be pushing down and pulling out.Once that's taken care of, you'll pop the lower grille out of place and do the same thing for the upper. All right, so doing the same thing here for the upper grille. We'll pry down on the bottom clips. It's also a good idea to have your hand on the outside of the grille pushing toward the inside here. Helps you to dislodge the grille from the position. All right, guys, we finally got our factory upper and lower grille off of our 2018 GT bumper. We've got them along the table here next to our RTR upper and lower grille with the inserts. I just wanted to show you guys some of the differences between the two. First, we'll start off with the materials. Your new RTR grille is an injection molded TPO material, very commonly used in aftermarket grilles, super durable, crack resistant, fade resistant, has that matte black finish as opposed to the gloss back on our 2018 performance pack, which a lot of guys aren't really a fan of.One of the biggest gripes that I have about the front end of this 2018 GT is that it has a gloss black upper grille and a matte black lower grille. It's just...I don't really know what Ford was thinking. Having them not even match, I'm not a fan. But the new grilles over here, both matte black finish, they have that smooth look. It's really just stealthy, really aggressive, looks nice on the frontend, and it matches. That's one of the biggest things that I'm just not a fan of between the two. I like the styling of the factory grilles. I just...I'm not a fan of the color match. With that said, this will not only match together, but they also match your factory lower chin spoiler. So that all just kind of blends the front end together, huge bonus in my opinion.Another thing I wanted to point out. Your factory lower grille uses that honeycomb pattern in the middle, has these fins on the side that, you know, some guys might not be a fan of, some guys might not even notice. But if you look at your new RTR lower grille, you'll see that those fins are no longer there. It's just a smooth matte black finish. And, also, it's no longer that hex shape honeycomb. It is now these oval-shaped honeycomb finish. And also, it's not blocked off in the back. If you notice on your factory grille, the lower portion is all blocked out not letting air flow through. So this is all opened up for a little bit more of increased air flow. That is duplicated as well on the upper grille. Your factory grille here seem kind of styling when compared to the RTR option. The only difference being your side corners here are completely closed off with the exception of just a couple of openings. Same thing on the opposite end. It's actually a little bit more closed off from the passenger side, and it also has that chrome pony in the middle.Some of you guys might be looking for a pony delete for the front. This is a really good way to go as well. Getting rid of that hex honeycomb finish for the oval finish so that's gonna match your lower grille as well and, also, completely opened up throughout. There's nothing blocking the backend here. There's no plastic inserts stapled onto the back that blocks off that airflow so you can expect an increased airflow like I said earlier. The open ends on each end are for those inserts. Now these RTR inserts are just solid TPO plastic matte black inserts with no lighting involved. They just snap right into the new RTR grille. But if you decided to upgrade in the future, you could always pop these out using the same RTR grille and popping the new LED lights from RTR if you wanted to take those up separately in the future. That's still an option. Always a good thing to have options in the future if you don't want to pull the trigger on something as expensive just yet.But this whole kit does have some similarities between this one and the factory one. I just wanted to point out a couple of those. But after all, I do want to start to assemble the RTR plastic inserts into the upper grille. So I'm gonna set the factory grilles aside, and we can get started on that. The next step we're gonna drill our holes in order to assemble our upper grille. As you can see, these little pockets here are just completely solid. We need to drill a very, very small hole in this little pocket right at the top here, and I've got my drill bit. That is about where that's gonna go. I'm using an 11/64th drill bit. It's also recommended if you don't have this, a 7/32nd we'll do the trick as well. It might just be a little bit tighter for the bolt to get through, but it is doable. So I'm gonna go one size up just to avoid that.So you want to grab your drill, go right to the top of this little pocket, start off slow. Go straight through. Just clean up that hole a little bit. There's one right below it and then one on the other side that we'll have to do. All right, now, repeat for the other side. All right, now we can assemble the hardware on the back of our inserts. All right, I'm gonna start here on the right side of our grille with our right insert. You want to grab these threaded clips, put them into the slots on your plastic insert. You want the threading side down. Once those are in, they can be a little loose, so you want to make sure they're not popping off. From here, you can set this right into place on your grille.From there, you want to grab the Phillips head screws included in the kit and set them into place through the holes you just drilled. Grab a Phillips head screwdriver, and you can tighten those down. All right, and you can just quickly repeat this exact thing for the other side, and then we'll start assembling it back on our bumper. The first step, assembling this into our factory bumper is we're gonna start with the lower grille. Now, the lower grille has these tabs just like the factory grille when it came off. It's literally gonna go on the exact same way the factory grille came off. We're just gonna snap it in in reverse order. I'm gonna start here on the edge just to make sure we're lined up where we need to be and just put a little pressure on to get them to clip in. You'll hear a little snap each time it snaps into the locking tabs.All right, guys, with the lower grille in place, we're gonna do the exact same thing to the upper grille. I'm gonna put pressure all around to hear those snap-in. The next part is the middle bumper insert that goes right between the two. I'm gonna lay that into place. This one doesn't snap in as much, but it still clips in using the same system. There's two top and bottom on the ends, two top, and bottom on the middle, and on each end as well. All right, now we can drop the bumper on our front end here. I just want to hook the top end around the little knobs that we removed from the front. From here, you want to go into the wheel wells and just pop those back into place with the Christmas tree clip and the studs, and they will hold themselves up. Now, we can put back those bolts that we removed from underneath of that radiator shroud. There's a bunch of 8-millimeter ones and two 5 and a half millimeter ones. All right, so we got our 8-millimeter socket and our bolts. We're gonna come back to 5 and a half ones at the end in just a second. For now, let's gun these on. You just want to make sure you're not overtightening them. You don't want to strip them out because this is the crucial part and what's holding your bumper on. Grab the two 5 and a half millimeter bolts for each end. Perfect. Now, we can grab the radiator shroud and just finish up the underhood stuff. As you know, the radiator shroud is one of the easiest things to pop on. It lays right into place. Use those plastic rivets we took off in the beginning to just pop them down.Now, we can go into the wheel wells on each side and install those 10-millimeter nuts and then finish off with the belly pan underneath. So now, we're in the passenger-side wheel well liner. You just want to peel that back to gain access to the corner where the bumper meets the fender. Grab those 10-millimeter nuts you removed earlier, thread them on by hand, and then we'll grab our socket and ratchet, and tighten them down. So make sure that stud block is pushed all the way up. I like to do it all the way by hand, so you don't have to do too much in this little space with your ratchet. All right, now, grab your ratchet and tighten those down a little bit.Perfect. Goes back. Push it back into place. Now, you can grab your rivets and put it right into the spot right above that indent and then we'll repeat for the other side. Perfect. Now, we can head over to the driver's side. Now, before we put out belly pan back into place, I want to plug our fog lights back in. So along the driver's side here, this is where it's gonna plug into. So just grab that, push in. You'll hear a snap, and just repeat that for the passenger side. All right, the last step here is our belly pan. And I'm gonna slide this in toward the front, and you use push pin clips toward the back to hold it in place. You just want to make sure it's going in behind the mud flaps.Perfect. Now, we can grab all the screws, tighten those down with our 7-mill socket. All right, now, there's a couple of more plastic pushpin clips that we'll have to do back here, and that'll be it. Well, we got three in each one of the wheel wells. All right, now repeat for the other side. Perfect. We can drop this down to the ground, and you're good to go.Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the RTR grille available for all 2018 and newer GT and EcoBoost Mustangs. It's available in the upper and lower grille combo with inserts for the upper grille or sold separately. If you want to pick up this aggressive styling for your front end of the S550, you can do so right here at americanmuscle.com.
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Features, Description, Specs & Installation
Fitment: 2018 2019 2020 Details
CA Residents: WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
(approx) 2 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
What's in the Box
Combo Kit Option:
Upper Grille Option:
Lower Grille Option:
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