Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Porsche Cayman S grilles

I have a 2006 Porsche Cayman S.  From the factory there are no grilles for the radiators so they collect leaves, rocks, bugs, everything.  The stuff gets sucked in and has no way out.  This is an issue on the 987 (Cayman/Boxster) and 997 (911). The plastic bars in the openings are plenty big enough for all this trash to get in but not really big enough to get your hand in there to clean it out well.  If you push and struggle, you can reach some of the bigger stuff.  The only way to really clean it out is to remove the nose of the car.

There are aftermarket grilles available.  Most cost around $300.  Some pop on from the outside and others install behind.  After looking at some of these options I decided to just get stainless grille mesh from Amazon and make a set of grilles myself. The grille material comes in a 6" x 36" flat piece which was perfect to make these grilles.  I wanted very good airflow so I selected a mesh with at least 80% open area.  It cost $18.99.  My goal was to keep the larger debris out.

The nose of the car is not that hard to remove really.  However, it is not obvious how to do it either.  You need to read the manual.  There are a few options to get the manual.  You can go to to get the factory service information for any 1996 or newer car or truck.  The manufacturer works with the government to determine pricing for subscriptions.  In Porsches case, they have a rather undesirable pricing scheme where you can buy $10 access or $100 access.  Of course the stuff you generally want in just over $10 it seems so you have to opt for the $100 access.  Instead, I thought I would give AllDATAdiy a try.  I think it was under $40 for a year of access.  I have used it many times now and while its not as good as the factory info, it works.  Basically there are screws in top, in the wheel wells, and along the bottom you can readily see.  Then there are 2 clips you access from under the front trunk area.  There is also a large wiring harness you disconnect behind the right headlight area and a washer hose behind the left headlight area.  From there you slide the whole thing forward.

Here are some photos showing the nose removed.

Nose removed showing the air ducts over the radiators and condensors

The nose off the car

Looking behond the nose of the car at the air openings

You can see the slot to the right of this headlight where the clips goes behind to hold the nose.

The electrical connector is in here, accessed from the wheel well above the radiator

I had already cleaned most the debris out when this photo was taken. You can still see the leaves packed above the condenser though.

New grille in place, held in with small black zip-ties

After removing the nose and air ducts I loosened the condensers and cleaned the debris from the radiators and condensers.  I also used compressed air to carefully blow back through the radiators and condensers to remove all the smaller debris and bugs while being careful not to bend any of the cooling fins.

Here is what it looks like now.

I actually wanted black grilles but I did not want to use metal that would rust.  Aluminum would have been either too weak or too bulky. I could have painted these grilles, which was my original plan, but I was concerned the paint would not bond well and if they chip you would see the bright stainless under it which would be much worse.  So, I left them unpainted stainless.  

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