Cracked Grill Repair – Eastwood Hot Stapler

Posted: October 21, 2015 By: JamesR

Many late model cars are made with plastic grills, bumpers, and interior trim.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this but the one area they lack is in their strength, even the slighest fender bender can cause them to crack or break off.  Not to mention that as plastic ages it can become weaker.  If you’ve ever tried, super glue will never hold the pieces together so repairing with that is out of the question.  Eastwood has a permanent way to repair your plastic interior and exterior parts and save you from having to buy new.  The Eastwood Hot Stapler allows you to re-attach the broken pieces by bridging the crack with a metal staple.  It doesn’t just hold the two pieces together it fuses into the plastic by melting into both sides.

 

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The grill of this 2000 Silverado was damaged when a piece of mud was thrown off of another cars tire.  A new chrome grill for this truck costs around $100, this might not seem like much but depending on your car it may not be easy to locate replacement parts.

 

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After removing the clips that hold the grill to the radiator support, I was able to take the grill off and bring it into the shop.  The damage was actually a little worse than I had originally thought because the lower black plastic was completely gone.

 

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I removed the plastic tabs holding the two pieces of the grill together to reveal that the cracks along the inside were even worse yet.

 

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In order to make a hidden repair I decided to continue to separate the two grill halves until I had enough room to get the stapler in and repair the front half.  I used a welding magnet wedged in between them to keep the two separated so I had an extra hand to work.

 

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Using two needle nose locking pliers I was able to hold the two pieces together so they wouldn’t move out of place, once I put the first staple in the position of the two pieces it is set in shape.

 

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I placed three of the wide staples along the flat edge, these will provide the main support.  I’ve found that once you press the staple into the plastic, push it to the side to completely submerge the metal under the plastic.  Doing this will prevent the staple from pulling straight out of the plastic.

 

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I removed the two clamps and put two of the narrower staples on each of the edges, placing them here will help prevent any twisting that might occur while driving down the road.

 

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To remove the staple tails use a pair of heavy duty flush cutters.  Do not use wire cutters, the hardness of the staple will gouge the cutting surface.

 

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While the two pieces were still separated I had to deal with the rest of the cracked plastic.  Since the majority of the black plastic will not be seen from the outside I was able to put staples on both sides of the cracks for extra support.

 

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To reconnect the crack that was in the corner, the kit comes with a special staple that is angled to fit directly into a corner.  These are great because corners like this are very prone to cracking and these staples are a very straight forward solution.

 

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Along the back side I followed the same procedure using both the wide and narrow depending on where each of the cracks were.

 

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From the factory both pieces of the grill were melted together at each of these tabs.  While disassembling the grill I was forced to cut away the melted plastic to separate them.  To rejoin the two I was able to use one of the narrow staples to melt them back together.

 

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The grill is now one solid piece again but Its not quite finished yet.  The crack along the plated piece caused the coating to peal off.  Look out for a future article where it will be sanded filled and repainted.

 

Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To’s, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

– James R/EW

 

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One thought on Cracked Grill Repair - Eastwood Hot Stapler

  • I picked up a 1980 Fiat 124 spider project car. Previous owner had stripped off paint to bare metal and then applied rattle can (NAPA) self etching primer. Can I apply the 2K Urethane Primer Surfacer or Contour Polyester Primer over this thin coat od self-etch primer, or should I strip it down again to bare metal before applying the above primers? Thank you.

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