99-04 Mustang: Painting Your Grille
A nice way to add a little pizazz to the front of your Mustang is to paint the Pony Corral and/or the Pony itself. The factory chrome look is nice and quite a classic, but for a lot of Mustangs it just doesn't flow with the rest of the car. This is a very simple job and quite cheap as well.
If you don't already have some spray paint laying around, I recommend you pick up a can of Krylon spray paint. I recommend Krylon because the nozzle simulates the spray pattern of a paint gun unlike brands like Rustoleum that spray in a circular pattern which is more likely to leave you with uneven paint.
To start with, go ahead and open your hood. You will need to remove the grille assembly. It is held in by 4 screw and clip combos. Unscrew all 4 screws and remove them. Then use the screw driver to pop the 4 clips out.
There may or may not be 2 bolts at the bottom of the grille holding it to the bumper. If there are, the bumper is flexible enough to be bent just far enough to get a wrench under to to loosen and remove the bolts.
With the grille off you'll need to remove the corral. There are 6 tabs holding it in place. You'll probably need 2 screw drivers to pop the tabs off and hold the popped ones away from the grille so that they don't pop back into place while you're working on the others. Be careful not to break these tabs, they are the only thing holding the corral in place.
With the corral off you can go ahead and give it a light sanding with a 1000grit sandpaper then clean it up. Then you're ready to paint. Remember to keep the coats light and even. Give the paint 5-10 minutes to dry between coats. When you feel you have enough coats on you can either 1) let the corral dry before reattaching it and putting the grille back on or 2) apply 2 to 3 coats of clear coat for extra protection.
If you want to paint the pony, do this at the same time you do the corral so that you have something to do when you're waiting for the other to dry. If you want to paint the pony black, you can simply cover up the rest of the grille with paper/plastic and paint the pony while it is still attached. If you want the pony to match your car then you'll need to remove it so that you don't paint the bracket behind it. To remove the pony simply remove the 2 washers on the rear side of the pony.
Preparing the pony is the same as the corral. Give it a light sanding with a 1000grit sandpaper then clean it up. Repeat the same process for painting as you did with the corral.
When the pony and corral are dry and reattached, just attach the grill back onto the car, close the hood, and enjoy the new look of your front end!