The iconic grill of a DB9 is one of distinctive and signature looks of any Aston Martin. The shape is immediately recognizable to any car enthusiast. The early DB9’s were fitted with the distinctive 7-bar grill that has 7 horizontal bars. Later models received an updated 5-bar grill. Same grill shape, just fewer bars. The 5-bar grill can even be retrofit to the earlier models. The grill in the Vantage is similar, but absolutely not the same (8-bars and a different construction).
From what I’ve learned grills came in different finishes. The grill in my DB9 is an anthracite grey color. I’ve seen that a ‘polished’ finish was also available as an ~ $1,000 upgrade.
What I’ve also discovered is that the anthracite grey finish is merely paint applied to the same polished bars. In my car, that 14 year old paint is beginning to fail horribly, and is flaking off. You can see in these photos that most of the paint has failed off the middle bar (and others). As the issue was starting to appear it merely looked like the finish was chipped from a stone or something. Soon there were multiple spots, and on multiple bars. Now it’s epidemic.
I asked Aston Martin if they could sell me a new 7-bar grill. “No” was the answer. Apparently they are permanently out of stock and their plan is to supply the later model 5-bar grill only. The 5-bar grill also requires you to fit a completely new plastic support surround for it, which requires removing the front bumper cover too. I had a look at the cost for a new 5-bar grill and surround (Aston Martin part number 9G43-71-11098), and ScuderiaParts.com has it for around $1,540 USD. Ouch.
Personally I prefer the look of the 7-bar grill and I’ve decided to refinish my grill (and that will be another article). The first step is to actually remove the grill, and that’s what this article will cover.
The good news is that the process is fairly simple and will only take a few minutes.
To get ready to remove the grill you need to accomplish another relatively easy task. You need to remove the Engine Slam Panel, and you can learn how to do it in this article and video here.
You only need a couple of tools to remove the grill:
- 7mm box end wrench
- 7mm socket and ratchet/extension
- Nut driver to use with the socket
- Magnetic pickup tool
- Inspection light
Really you can do it all with just the 7mm wrench. The other tools just make it go quicker/easier.
I couldn’t find any documented procedure in the Official Aston Martin Workshop Manual, just merely a mention “Remove Grill” as part of other steps.
Removing the grill will only take you about 10 minutes once you have the Engine Slam Panel removed (again, check out my other article on how to do that).
The grill is actually two parts, the decorative 7 bar grill portion (we are trying to remove), and the black plastic surround frame it mounts to. We are going to leave the plastic surround in place.
- There are ten (10) 7 mm nuts to remove
- Use the 7mm socket and ratchet/nut driver to remove the central six of them that are easy to reach. There are three to the left and three to the right of the hood catch.
- The outer two nuts on either side are more difficult to reach. They are positioned in front of the plastic air inlet ducts. There is only a few inches of space, not enough to get your fingers and the socket into.
- Use your inspection light to be able to see what’s going on
- Use the 7mm box end wrench to reach in and start to loosen the nuts. Once they are loose a turn or two I found they were really loose.
- Use the tip of your finger to spin the nuts to speed the process up.
- As the nut comes to the end of the stud, you won’t be able to hold it (with just a finger tip). If the nut drops off, it could fall into an unreachable location. I used the magnetic tool to reach in and be stuck to the nut as I spun it off the last turn or two. When the nut came off the end, it was safely attached to the magnetic pickup tool. Tough to describe in writing, I’d recommend that you check out the technique by watching the video below.
- Remove each of the four remaining nuts using this technique.
- With all the nuts removed, the grill will be free to pull straight forward and out.
- Be very careful to extract the grill straight out. The painted portions of the front bumper, fender and hood are all right there, and you can easily scratch them with the ends of the grill bars if you aren’t paying attention.
That should be it. You should now have the grill in your hand and you can move on to whatever your next task is.
If you are interested in refinishing your grill I have covered the process in another article and video you can check out here [Coming Soon].
When it’s time to reinstall the grill check out my article and video on how to do this properly [Coming Soon].
I made a short video showing the steps and it might be helpful to watch.
10 thoughts on “How to Remove the Grill from an Aston Martin DB9”
Did a lot of research myself in ‘18 on the grilles for the db9 as some guy cracked mine in a parking lot by backing into the car. Indeed the DBS grille fits great and is polished stainless , so paid the additional few bucks over the standard and got the DBS grille during the claim Doesn’t chip etc like the original Db9. Website link to photo of it on the car .
Hi Rodney. Thanks for taking the time to share this with me. Looks great, especially on a silver car. I love the ‘stepped’ bars that match the hood. I’m not sure the polished would look right on my Merlot Red car though. A little too bright maybe? At least I know I have an option that can just plug in if I have a disaster…..
Thanks Steve, these blogs and YouTube videos are really very helpful. Am in the middle of replacing a Headlight Unit (I found that the Headlight Washer Pump had been attached with epoxy presumably after a previous break). I have also removed the slam panel and grille but the grille subframe is damaged in a number of places like yours. Have you ever removed the grill subframe? Or did you simply patch yours up in situ?
Hi Martin. I’ll be fixing my grill subframe in a few days. As you’ve seen, it can’t slide out the front without removing the bumper cover. Fixing it in situ will be the best option for most. For me, my car is getting repainted right now (literally) and they have the bumper cover off, so I am heading to the shop to remove, repair, and reinstall the subframe while I have access.
Like many, my 2005 DB9 also has a broken grill subframe due to the dubious design of how to plastic subframe takes the brunt of the bonnet spacer loads. I am intrigued to know how you fixed it and whether you have a way of strengthening the structure. Epoxy or superglue?
Thanks again for your dependable advice and “How To” videos. I saved a ton of money and really enjoyed replacing my failed headliner and having my dash panels recovered. Any advice about a worn 15 year old steering wheel…?
Hi Steve, I have the same issue with my grill subframe. Intrigued to know how you fixed yours. Epoxy or superglue? Clearly the design of the subframe is not optimal as so many seem to crack or break where the bonnet hits the stoppers.
Thanks again for ALL your help. Just replaced my headliner and recovered the dash panels. Saved a ton of money and enjoyed doing it. Any thoughts on an ageing steering wheel?
The subframes seem to be crumbling with time, mine has added a new crack in the year since the video. I use 2 part epoxy to reset the break, but it will only be a matter of time before the frame gives up. Definitely a market here for someone to 3D print replacements since Aston has given up on the 7 bar grill and frame. If someone 3D scanned and printed out new frames in black, and could do it for under $500 each, there would be a market. A replacement 5 bar grill and frame is $1,400.
Steve, thanks for your blog; it’s terrific!
I have the same issue with my 2005 DB9 plastic subassembly for the grille. I think almost as much is missing as present so gluing doesn’t seem to be a great option. Alas, nowhere in the world one seems to exist for the 7 vane grill. Like you, I’d like to keep the original look. Have you heard of anyone doing the 3D printed subassembly?
I was able to buy a grill AND frame from a foreign seller on eBay. Received it in perfect order and have one major question for you – Can I replace the frame without taking off the front bumper…?
Thanks again for an excellent blog, website and great research!
Congrats on getting a grill! The front bumper cover must be removed to replace the plastic support structure. Good luck with your project, let me know how it goes.