The "Satoshi" Grill Mod
By: Bob_98SR5
Date: 2/15/04

FJ 40/45 Emblem
Diamond-hole cut grill material (black color)
Door edge guard (2 packs)
Metal pipe strapping (black color, if possible)
Allen bolt head bolts with plastic washer and nuts

Tools & Supplies
Cordless drill with bits
Flat-bladed screwdriver
Dremel with flexible shaft attachment
Dremel cutting disks
Dremel drum sander

Black zip ties
Fiberglass mat
Fiberglass resin and Mepk
Bondo and hardener
Putty knife
Sanding block
Sand paper (80, 100, 200, 400 and 1000 grit)
Sandable primer
Flat black paint
Clear coat
Masking tape
Sharpie pen

This mod is named in honor of the creator of this mod, Satoshi Miura. This mod has quite an interesting development history which owes itself to several key players: Al Gore (after all, he did create the Internet), Miki Uchimura (Robinhood's wife) and Akemi Miura (Satoshi's wife). For an interesting background story on the man himself, his wife Akemi, and his awesome Hilux Surf, click here.

Note: this mod was done on my 1998 4Runner. I am fairly confident that this mod should work with 96-98 grills as they basically the same. However, the 99 and 02 grills will be much more difficult because of the new shape. Nevertheless, please read this mod in its entirety before performing this mod.

Warning: You will be working with fiberglass, fiberglass resin and lots of aerosol paints. There will also be alot of dust particles from sanding. You MUST use a respirator with the appropriate filters for this project. Don't go "ghetto"---your lungs are too valuable. Read my recommendations on what to buy and where to get it.

Step 1: Removing the stock 96-98 OEM grill
There are a total of 7 grill tabs that you need to release before the grill can be removed. Using your long-handled flat bladed screwdriver, press down on the following tab locations. Press down on the tab, then gently pull the grill out to release. They may occassionally snap back in place, but don't worry, just repeat until you can remove the entire grill.

Unfasten tabs (T) to remove the grill   This is a pic of the bottom tabs

Step 2: Cutting Up the Grill
Skip the dremel on most of this task and bring out the coping saw to cut the grill out. Once you get most of the grill out, you'll need to Dremel drum sander to sand down the remaining grill pieces.

Cut these pieces out (G) and work around the grill to remove   Sand down until it looks like this. Get it flat and don't worry about the appearance as you will fiberglass and bondo this area down

Using 80 grit sandpaper, sand down all areas flat before continuing.

Step 3: Fiberglassing and Bondo'ing the Grill
Because there are holes in the grill material, you will need to fiberglass the back for support before bondo'ing to fill in those gaps. First, turn your grill over and clean the area off with soap, water and then some acetone. Next, put on your respirator gear and latex gloves. Cut up some fiberglass mat pieces and mix up the appropriate amount of fiberglass resin and mepk. With the fiberglass resin, you have about 10 to 15 minutes to work with it before it hardens up. Apply some resin on the back of the grill area. Lay down a piece of fiberglass mat on the exposed areas. Take your brush, dip it into the resin and stab some resin into it. You don't need a lot---just enough to soak the mat. Repeat the process until you've covered the areas with holes. It should harden up within a half hour.

Don't be a fool and work with fiberglass without a respirator.   Here you see that I've fiberglassed the back. This will give the bondo support

After the fiberglass has thoroughly dried, mix up some bondo with the hardener to a nice, pink color. As with the fiberglass resin, you have about 10 to 15 minutes to work with it before it hardens up. Apply the bondo in the areas that have craters and gaps until you've filled up those parts. Let harden and then sand with 80 and 100 grit sandpaper.

Ok, a little much but it was the first time I worked with this stuff!   Here's the areas all sanded down.

Repeat for the other side and then get ready to prep the rest of the inner part of the grill.

Step 4: Prepping, Priming and Painting the Inner Grill
With successive sanding with 100 and 220 grit (dry) sandpaper, gently sand down the entire inner grill area. This is very important because you want a nice smooth finish. After finishing with the 220 gril sandpaper, move to a 440 grit and wet sand until its very smooth. Rinse off all the dust and wipe down with acetone to remove any fingerprints or oils.

Next, mask off the chrome parts of the grill with masking tape, paying special attention to covering the edges. After masking, spray two to three coats of sandable primer. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommendation for dry times. Follow through by wet sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper between each coat.

Here's a shot of the grill that has been both taped and primed (hard to tell, but it is)   Here is the inner part of the grill painted (no clear coat)

Finally, spray two coats of flat black spray paint. Finish with two coats of clear coat.

Step 5: Emblem Preparation and Painting the Other Parts
Note: You can skip this part if you are satisfied with the silver color of the Toyota emblem and if you've purchased black allen bolts and black pipe strapping.

While you've got the materials out for painting, now is a good time as any to prep and paint the other hardware. Begin by cutting 9 inch strips of pipe strapping. You may need to pound it flat with a mini-sledge on a flat metal surface. For the allen bolts, stick these into a piece of cardboard. Acetone, prime and paint the pipe strapping and the allen bolts, according to the directions. Let dry before clear coating.

In order to allow the emblem to sit flush against the grill material, cut off the two threaded bolt channels behind the emblem. Using a Dremel cutting disc, cut off both bolt channels. Sand them down with a drum sanding disk. Make sure it is completely flat.

Here's what you need to cut off on the back of the emblem. Sand flat   Tape up the black parts including the inside of the "O" and the "A". Here's the emblem with the first coat of gloss white paint

Optional: For the Toyota emblem, I decided that the silver did not contrast well enough with the black grill. Thus, I decided to paint it white.

Take some painter's tape or masking tape and cover all the black parts over. If you pay attention to any part of this, make sure you thoroughly cover the black areas with tape. Next, clean off any oils or residue with acetone and primer and paint according to directions. Remove the tape when completely dry.

Next: Page Two

Questions or feedback? Email me and I'll try to get back to you. If this article helped you save time, money or just made things more convenient for you, please consider donating to keep this site alive.