How to install a Billet Grille - Nissan Armada Forum: Armada & Infiniti QX56 Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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How to install a Billet Grille

Received my APS Billet Grille set from: AutoMaxStyling on and decided to put it on today. The total time was about two hours.

Here's the tools I used:

* Flat Head Screwdriver
* Phillips Head Screwdriver
* Power Drill with Phillips Head Bit
* Branch Trimmer (I recommend using a drill cutting head or tin snips instead)


The first step was to remove the upper grille. After opening the hood you will see four twist connectors holding the top of the grille to the frame of the front of the vehicle. These four twist connectors (plus three along the bottom) are the primary connections that hold the upper grill onto the vehicle.

This is an image of the twist connector installed. Use the flathead screwdriver to turn the head at a 45 degree angle. This will allow the head to move from a "diamond" position into a "square" position. When all seven twist connector heads have been turned 45 degrees (in either direction) and are in the "square" position then the clip[s have been released and you can pull the grille straight out.

Once the seven twist connectors are in the "square" position then the only thing still holding the upper grille in place are two clips on each side of the grille (four total). Pulling gently but firmly through the grille mesh on one side, then the other, should pop out both upper and lower clips. You can see the upper plastic clip and lower metal clip in the picture above. You can also see there is a "middle" place for another plastic clip, but my vehicle didn't have this piece installed on either side. Be aware of this in case your setup does include this middle clip.
There are still two guide pegs along the lower part of the central section of the upper grille, so make sure to pull the grille straight forward from the vehicle so as not to break these straight plastic pegs by bending them.

Once you have removed the upper grille set it aside, since I'd recommend installing the lower grille billet cover first. Also collect all seven twist connectors from the vehicle frame. When removing the upper grille the seven twist connectors should still be in the vehicle frame. Remove them and put them in your pocket. For reinstall of the upper grill they are connected to the grille first, we'll cover that procedure later.


The lower grille kit (which can be bought separately) included the lower billet grille, four 1 1/4 inch screws, four retaining clips for the screws, and four plates identified as "J" plates or hooks. I decided to do this DIY after installing the lower billet grille so I didn't get a good picture of the install and I'm not sure the picture shows anything informative or illustrative of the install; so words will have to do.

The "J" hooks have a short flat side with a hole for the screw to go through, that then bends at a 90 degree angle into a longer flat side that ends in a curled back "J" hook shape. The curled back "J" shape end goes around the backside of the OEM lower grille upright, with an upper and lower hook on each side of the grille. The "J" hook plates face towards the center of the grille. The retaining clips are mounted around the shorter side of the plate with the hole in it so that the screw can go through the hole and both holes in the clip.

The phillips heads screwdriver will guide the screw to the plate and retaining clip combo end. You'll have to reach down behind the OEM grille to hold the curled end of the plate along the back of the OEM lower grille upright as you twist the screwdriver and screw into the retaining clip and plate. Unless you have super skinny arms your forearms will get sratched up doing this. You'll do this for all four screw/plate combos.

As a note I felt that the 1 1/4 inch screws were way too short for this application. Had I realized how way too long the screws for the upper grille install were I would have swapped some of them out with the shorter ones on the lower grille.

Once you have all four screws tightened down you can loosen and retighten them until the grille sits perfectly in the middle. Due to the short length of the screws you don't want to loosen them but about a half turn or risk it coming out of the retaining clip/"J" hook plate combo.


The upper billet grille kit includes the central billet grille, both side billet grilles, 8 2 1/2 inch screws, 8 retaining clips, and 8 plates. Unlike the "J" hook plates that came with the lower billet grille kit, the plates for the upper billet grille kit are all flat with a hole in the middle of the plate. The screw retaining clip slides over the hole in the plate, creating a passage for the screw to go through.

You can see from the back side of the grille how the retaining clip slides over the flat plate, which is then tightened down to lay across the OEM "X" or "Honeycomb" grille. I mounted the plates vertically since that seemed to cross more of the OEM grill "X" openings. As you can see the screws are very long when tightened down. There are four plates, retaining clips, screw combos for the central upper billet grille. I used adjustable pliers to hold the screw while I spun the plate/retaining clip combo down on it. Then when it was tight enough I held the plate in a verticle position behind the honeycomb OEM grille and used the phillips head screwdrive to tighten each of the four screws down while adjusting the fit of the billet grille over the OEM grille along the way.


The two side grilles use the same plates, retaining clips, and screws as the central portion; with two on each side as shown here.

The difference is that the side OEM grilles have these plastic pockets covering them (central left of image) and deflecting the air back into the central part of the grille. You can remove these pockets as they are attached only by plastic pegs, but most likely you'll have to break them off to get them out and the risk of damage was too great for me to consider

For the top screw I used the power drill and drilled it right through the back of the pocket, and then mounted the plate and retaining clip combo behind the pocket. You can mount the plate inside the pocket and over the honeycomb grille if you want, but that super long screw will still go through the pocket either way.

For the lower screw you can fit the whole screw, plate, retaining clip inside the pocket.

With all eight screws tightened down you now have six razor sharp daggers (two are behind the side pockets) ready to pierce your radiator and horns.

My solution was to clip them off with slightly more than half an inch left. I used what I had on hand (branch cutters) to clip the screws. I don't recommend this if you have a cutting head or metal cutters available, since it left a nice little knotch in my branch cutter blade.

Now your upper grille is ready to be reinstalled.

Last edited by Stanton49; 03-11-2017 at 05:17 PM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Now it the time to take the seven twist connectors you've been saving from earlier and reattach them to the grille.

This is the typical slot on the grille for the twist connectors to slide into.

Slide the twist clip into the slot.

THe twist clip will pop into place when it's seated properly in the slot. Do this for all seven twist connectors. Three along the bottom of the grille and four along the top.

Here you can see the two slots for the straight pegs to slide into and the lower three twist connector slots. You'll slide the pegs in and then pop the three lower twist connectors back in. Make sure not to pinch the line beside the far driver side lower twist connector slot shown in the second picture above.

Next you'll remount the two side clips on each side. A strong push on the grille should be all it takes to push the pins back into the connection slots.

With the side connections back in the last part is to push the four upper twist connectors back into the top of the frame.

And here is the finished result.

Last edited by Stanton49; 03-11-2017 at 05:24 PM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 06:01 AM
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Stanton49, great installation post and it looks really good! I'm sure it will be really useful for another guys here.

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