This has come up enough in the past I decided to document the process. One of the first things I noticed is hardware size. The '79's have 1/4-20 bolts for most everything and the older grills have 5/16-18 bolts holding most everything together. You can interchange the hardware if you use the correct clips for the correct bolts.
Secondly, All the wires are plenty long enough that you don't need to add anything to the wiring harness. The older style turn signals have sockets that are pressed into the buckets that bolt into the grill shell. The '78-9 grills have a plastic lens/bucket that's all one piece that a socket twists into for the bulb.
Ok, let's get started........
Here's what we started with.... ('79 with a tube grill)
Pop the hood and take all six bolts out of the top of the grill. Take the headlight bezels off and remove the hidden screws under them. There are three bolts you have to get at from inside the fenderwell. Yup, you have to take that loose as well. You don't however have to take it out.
I tried to just take the bumper loose on one side to get the grill out, but after a while, it proved to be easier to just remove it all together.
Don't forget the bolt in the middle bottom of the grill and the two on either side at the bottom. All three are behind the bumper.
As I said, the wiring harness is plenty long enough, you just have to splice the pig tail from the new turn signal bucket into the existing harness. It would've been better to use a male/female spade connector so you could unplug it in the future, but I did this.
There are some differences between the '79 grill shell and the '77. The upper mounting holes on the outside are just different enough to not work. Here's a shot of the new grill lined up side to side with the body. You can see the where the old mounting positions are.
All the side mounting holes are the same, so you don't need to drill those over again.
The old headlight buckets are VERY different from the new ones. The '79 headlights mount about two inches higher than the '77 and older. That's why this is a good trick on lifted trucks. The older style grill brings your headlight angle down so you can have a little taller truck and still be legal.
I had to put the grill shell in place, hold the new headlight bucket in place, then scribe the new hole locations. I drilled 3/8" holes so I had a little wiggle room to fine tune the placement of the headlights.
Here's a shot of the scribe marks in each corner of the photo frame here....
I had to drill pilot holes, because the 3/8" drill bit walked around too much. Here's a shot with the new holes drilled. See the sharpie arrow marks? Those are the new mounting holes.
I loosely put everything together to make sure everything lined up. Looks good so far, so I tightened it down.
As I said before, the upper holes are just different enough to not work. I just drilled new holes in the grill shell since they'll be hidden anyway.
Ok, looks like we're all done. Everything in and lined up nice.
Just one more thing.....
Now that I can close the hood, I notice we have a Ford Ford.
I popped the letters off and pushed the plastic keepers into the hood. When I do the body work, I'll weld them shut and grind them smooth so you won't ever be able to tell I was here.
And here we are at the end result. A '77 grill in a '79 Truck. Woo Hoo!
No sweat Rich. I stumbled over a guy like your junk yard down here. I'm all set on dent parts forever. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a dentside in his yard. If anyone needs anything, let me know. The yellow truck is a bad picture. Those inserts are actually gray and black, it's just the picture was dark. As far as the bumper, if you have one laying around, let me know, but don't go out of your way for me. My bumper is still nice, and only old Ford truck guys will notice it's a '79 bumper.
looking good alan...i like the look as long as you keep foreign objects off the plastic parts....... a 13 yr. old kid is wanting my old green bumpside..i hate to sell it in a way its been part of the landscape around here since the 80's.. he almost crapped when i told him i wanted 750.00 for it anyway...i am thinking of doing a different grille in it like maybe a 67 style..i have some parts but time is the killer for me, when you get a few minutes come on down and show me how its done....ha ha ha then maybe i'll make it my daily driver again, get me outta this chevy wanna be truck
if you cant run with the big dogs...stay on the porch
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