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2005 E320 4MATIC, 1994 E320, 2000 Ducati M750
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135 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Rather than pay $129 for a new grille, I pulled the old grille, took it apart and redid the whole thing. I used steel wool and chrome polish on the chrome outer ring, and once taking apart the eggcrate portion, I removed the peeling, ugly old chrome strips and cleaned them up seperately. I used Dupli color black trim paint for the eggcrate portion, then sanded down the chrome strips as they were off the grille and repainted w chrome paint. Yes, I know chrome paint ends up looking more like bright silver, but they came out amazing regardless. Put it all back together, and the end result looks great.

Heres some before and after pics. P.S Don't mind the hood of the car, I still need to sand down and repaint the leading edge and other spots.
 

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About a dozen 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 sedans, wagons, 4Matics and 1 coupe
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5,466 Posts
The grill shell *is* chrome-plated steel and will clean up with steel wool, chrome polish, and a soft cloth.
The divider strips, however are anodized aluminum. Cleaning them up with steel wool strips off the anodized outer layer and makes them shiny for a while. A very short while. They will now oxidize and turn powdery white is an amazingly short period of time, especially where you live.
So it looks good now but it won't in a month or two.
 

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W124
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5,235 Posts
If I recall correctly you can get the plastic insert, all the strips, and the clips used to mount them for approx. $75-90 depending on how friendly your dealer is. I was amazed at what a difference there is between a used grill insert that I thought was in great condition and what a new one looks like. I had no idea they had a gloss to them when new.

Yours looks great though and I'm sure was worth your effort.
 

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2005 E320 4MATIC, 1994 E320, 2000 Ducati M750
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135 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
The grill shell *is* chrome-plated steel and will clean up with steel wool, chrome polish, and a soft cloth.
The divider strips, however are anodized aluminum. Cleaning them up with steel wool strips off the anodized outer layer and makes them shiny for a while. A very short while. They will now oxidize and turn powdery white is an amazingly short period of time, especially where you live.
So it looks good now but it won't in a month or two.
The shell is chrome plated steel, however the divider strips are not aluminum. I don't know about earlier W124's, but on this 1994 the divider strips are cheap chrome plated plastic strips. On mine in particular there wasnt any chrome left on the strips, it was just flakes and black plastic underneth. And I didn't use steel wool on the strips, if you read my post you would see I sanded the strips and painted them
 

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89 300E; 00 E320
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2,519 Posts
In the pictures it looks brand new, and a lot nicer than the one outside in the garage. Nice work.
 

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About a dozen 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 sedans, wagons, 4Matics and 1 coupe
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5,466 Posts
The earlier 124 grills did use anodized aluminum divider strips. The shape is very complicated and precise. I bought new ones when I installed a new grill matrix a few years ago and the new strips are much less complicated and don't fit the matrix nearly as well as the originals. Definitely a disappointment. It sounds like the facelifted grill has parts made of even cheaper materials. Progress, I guess.
As for sanding the strips vs. scrubbing with steel wool, well, I missed that.
 

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2000 SL500
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193 Posts
You are just coming right along with your new project! :)

Looks great. I look forward to painting my insert black soon. I have been back and forth on this decision for awhile but it sure does look good.

Keep up the good work!
 
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