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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,

Finally got my car back from VIP Auto Salon on Friday night. R&D is now completed, just waiting on parts fabrication.

My F-Sport grills came in from Sewell Lexus a few days prior so I decided to slap my grilles on before work on Saturday. Here's the install process. The grilles didn't come with any instructions, but I got some tips from cenix and the process was similar to taking off the bumper for the RX350, when I had her last, so I sorta knew what to look for. Hopefully, these instructions help make the process faster. Took the pictures on my iPhone 4, so they aren't the best, and I should have taken more. OOPS.

Total time to take bumper off and replace it back on = ~30 min total.
Getting the stupid Lexus hybrid emblem off the stock grille onto the factory grille = ~1 hour
Slicing my finger open with a screwdriver = Priceless?

Step one, assemble your tools.

1) Dentist tooth pick or awl or some sharp, pointy object.

2) Bucket to catch windshield washer fluid (if you have the LED package w/ headlamp washers).

3) Phillips head screwdriver.

4) 10mm socket + socket wrench + short extension.

5) Flat head screwdriver.

6) Needle-nose pliers

7) A cocktail/vino/beer + a friend to help. + Towels to lay the bumper on once you get it off the car.

Grilles out of the box:



Step 1: Park car, no need to jack up car or use ramps. Please engage the parking brake. Safety first! Pop open the hood.

Step 2: Pop off the front engine compartment shield. There should be 9 plastic retaining pins. To loosen them, push the center of the pin in until you hear a click. Remove the front engine compartment shield and set the pins aside.



Step 3: Please reference the picture below.

Remove the plastic retaining pins as pictured in the squares/rectangles. Use the dental pick to pop up the center of the pin and the pin should pop out. Remember, the larger pins are closer to the sides of the car (you'll see what I mean when you see it on your car) for when you replace the bumper back onto the car.

The arrows point to rubber bushings that need to be removed by twisting them off. The clips underneath come off the same way as previously mentioned.

The circles are 10mm bolts that need to be unscrewed.





Step 4: Remove the 6 underbody screws that are underneath the front bumper. Remember, there are 6.

Step 5: Turn on your car, turn the wheel all the way to the right so you can access the left (driver's side) wheel well. Use the flat head screwdriver + the dental pick to remove the two retaining screws. Turn the screw counterclockwise so that it is parallel to the ground. Then use the dental pick to pop the screw up and out. The picture below is of the left (driver's side) wheel well.




Step 6: Start separating the front bumper (white) from the black wheel well cover by peeling the black wheel well cover apart slightly. You should be able to see a little 10 mm nut in the upper part of the wheel well that secures the front bumper to the body of the car. Use your 10 mm socket + extension to loosen and remove the nut. After, remove the white plastic retaining stud as well and set it aside by pulling down and out. Note: This picture is of the right (passenger's side) wheel well.



Step 7: Do the same on the right side (passenger's side) wheel well. I didn't turn my wheel all the way to the left since I was worried about rubbing the left wheel against the wheel well panel; you should have enough space to work on the right side.

Step 8: Start loosening the front bumper on the sides and start pulling it straight out!

Step 9: Loosen the headlamp washer fluid hose on the right (passenger's side) by pushing the clip and pulling out. Fluid will come out, so have a bucket handy to catch everything. In the picture, I tried to stop it with a mechanical pencil. It didn't work. LOL.



On the left side (driver's side), unplug the fog lamps by pushing in the on the clip and pulling straight out. Set the bumper down on the towels so you don't scratch it. Makes it much faster with help. I had to do it by myself, so it took MUCH longer than I expected. Note: The red arrow points to the fog lamp connection.



Step 10: Remove the styrofoam support (if it hasn't already fallen off) from behind the bumper and set it aside.

Step 11: Remove the bottom grill. The arrows point to clips that hold the bottom grill in. Use the flat head screwdriver to push the clips over to loosen the grille. There are 6 clips. The circles point to areas where the hoses clip into the grille. To remove them, turn the grille over and you'll see the little pins that hold them in. Use needle-nose pliers to GENTLY squeeze the clips as you gently pull on the hose on the other side. There are 7 clips that hold the hose to the bottom grille.







Step 12: Remove the top grille. Start by pushing in the six plastic clips that secure the grille to the actual bumper (same as the first step of the previous step). There are 6 clips. You can actually see the clips securing the upper grille in the previous picture too.

Next, use your flat head again to loosen the clips that secure the top part of the upper grille. The top part clips actually belong to the upper grille surround trim (in chrome). The clips themselves are also chrome colored so it shouldn't be hard to miss. They are like the clips at the beginning of this step, but much more skinnier. There are 6 of these too.

Pull the front grille off, then use the needle nose pliers again to remove the weatherstripping at the top of the grille by squeezing the pins underneath gently and exerting gentle pressure on the other side to pull the pins through the grille and out. There should be 6. You don't have to pull all of them off, just the ones attached to the grille.



Step 13: Remove the emblem from the front grille. The *****y part. The emblem is held in not by double stick tape, but by two plastic pegs that are secured with one-time use star retaining washers, plus a plastic tab at the bottom. The tab is the easy part. The retaining washers, however, are a ***** to remove. If you don't wanna hurt yourself or don't have any luck taking the washers off, do yourself a favor and buy the emblem plus the retaining washers online. It's about $40 and will save you the trouble. I ended up cutting my finger open and stripping some plastic off the pegs, but after an hour of working at it, I got both rings off. WHEW!



Step 14: As the European car manufacturers say in their service manuals, "reassemble removed parts in the reverse order of removal."

It helps to have a friend when you pop the bumper back in. To reset the plastic retaining clips that hold the engine cover panel, you have to gently pop all the four prongs out in order to pop the pin back up. They are a ***** to reset and are expensive if broken ($1-3 a piece).

For the white retaining clip that holds the front bumper to the body of the car, make sure the little white tab on the retaining clip faces in towards the car:




Finished product:



Sorry for the long write-up. I hope I didn't miss anything that shouldn't have been missed!

I think the more you do this, the faster it will be each time. It took about 30 minutes to take the bumper off and put it back on, 1 hour to get the stupid emblem off the stock grille.

And yes, the above pictures were taken after I got the stock grilles off the bumper, so it shows the new grilles.

No plastic retaining clips were harmed in the making of this write-up.

Good luck!
 

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Great job - we need a section to archive the "how to's"
 

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Great write up - I would assume the upper grille is just a plug and play type without having to remove the bumper?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, the upper grille is attached in a way that prevents it from being removed without taking off the front bumper.

It is essentially attached to the front bumper, rather than to the hood or to the front part of the chassis of the car.

There also isn't enough room to work behind the front bumper to remove the upper grille, so you have to take the front bumper off in order to switch out the front grille.
 

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Very nice install. I agree we should have a place to put all mod that are "how to do" in one place, especially those with detailed pictures.
 

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looks great matt_rn. sorry i couldn't help you out more with details since i didn't take pics or document the process along the way, but it really is just a bolt-on affair without any technicalities or special tools needed--just takes time and lots of patience.

great writeup! the site operators should make a do-it-yourself section soon. are they even listening???
 

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Discussion Starter #7
LOl. Bueller. Bueller.
 

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Excellent write up. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

So what were the results of the efforts @ VIP? What are the different manufacturers looking at doing and in what order? A nice subtle front lip and some springs / coil overs would be great!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Vorsteiner is fabricating a full lip kit. I've heard it described as elegant. Haven't seen it yet since they're being hush hush about it.

Apexi used my car for coilovers and suspension measurements.

Both parts should be available for fitment on my car by June/July. I dunno about retail applications yet.

I may also be dropping my car off at Tanabe R&D in Torrance, CA for their coilover measurements.

Seibon may be using my car as well for their lip kit measurements.

PTS JoeZ exhausts has also expressed interest in R&D for the CT.
 

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Wow Matt! You really out did yourself with that DIY. Heck, I'll just have to pay the $100.....as that is wayyyyy beyond my expertise. hehe
 

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One more thing.. Matt do you have any pics from further away. I want to see the front view. Pleeeease... ;-)
 

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props to a fellow RN on the install, I couldnt do it myself so I payed someone. heres a pic I took today right before a wandering shopping cart hit the front. thank GOD no big damage...

 

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Vorsteiner is fabricating a full lip kit. I've heard it described as elegant. Haven't seen it yet since they're being hush hush about it.

Apexi used my car for coilovers and suspension measurements.

I may also be dropping my car off at Tanabe R&D in Torrance, CA for their coilover measurements.

Seibon may be using my car as well for their lip kit measurements.
All this makes me smile!!! I hope the Tanabe stop is just a quick confirmation that the JDM products are good to go and they can assign a US part#.

Thanks again for letting folks poke around your CT.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
LOL. for sure. I sure hope so. I know Tanabe coilovers are available for JDM CTs, but I heard the fitment MAY be a little different, so they may be doing a whole 'nother set of coilovers for the US market.
 

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Anything next planned? Or is it gonna be a surprise
 

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Discussion Starter #16
surprise!
 

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Thanks Breezy... they look good on the white too. Nice!
 

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Hey Matt, your instructions worked great. Just replaced my grille's yesterday and wanted to add my comment on how I removed those pesky star washers:

I used my old trusted technique to take the star washers off the emblem back: Find a flat screwdrive small enough to fit into the slots (in between the star legs) and strong enough to turn the star washer. As you turn it back and forth (like screwing in and out), take your dental tool or similar, and wedge under the washer to force up and out pressure. The star prongs end up scratching the posts but don't do any damage. Both off in about two minutes. Take a pair of pliers and flatten the star washers again. If they don't start coming off easy, you can take that screwdriver and instead of turning the washer, twist the screwdriver a bit to bend the star legs up and out. It may damage your screwdriver tip so use an old one.

here is a link to my pics:
Just ordered F Sport Grille set
 

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Glad that Lexus changed my Grille out that was not a simple process.
 
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