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YJ Round Headlight Conversion using TJ Grill
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YJ Round Headlight Conversion using TJ Grill

Date Created: 04/22/2008
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Here is the process I used to convert my 1989 YJ to a round headlight grill.

Before we get in to it... Here is a finished photo...

The first thing you need to do is remove the YJ grill by...

1) removing the fan shroud by unbolting it from the radiator

2) removing the radiator by unbolting it from the grill

3) unbolting the inner fender well bolts that hold the grill in place (8 each side)

4) loosening the upper rod supports from the grill

5) removing the body mount bolt on the underside of the grill.

6) removing the wiring harness from the grill

Now that the YJ grill is gone... Slide the TJ grill in to place.

(a picture with the grill test fitted)

You may notice your fenders may bow out at this point. This is due to the fact the TJ grill is wider at the bottom. This is not a big deal. I took a body hammer and gently pushed the fenders back along the grill line until everything was square. You don't need to worry about being too exact at this point. The fenders will pull back nice and tight when the inner fender bolts are back in place.

Now bolt the lower body mount to the bottom of the grill.

The body mount should line right up. The bolt hole on the TJ grill seems to be in the same location as the YJ's. Be sure to keep the OE shims in place.

Now you will need to remove the upper rod support brackets from the YJ grill

To do this, drill out the 2 spot welds on the bracket and use an angle grinder to cut the other welds. You should be able to break them off with a hammer after that.

Now you need to take the upper support brakets and weld them to the TJ grill.

Just center the brackets on the existing bolt holes on the YJ grill and weld away.

(a picture with the upper mounts in place on the TJ grill.)

At This point you will need to move the adjusting nuts in or out until the top of the grill is in the desired location. I set mine so the top of the grill sticks out a touch like on a stock TJ. This makes the gap look a little less noticable as well.

OK, Now we need to drill new holes for the inner fender bolts

This may take a couple of tries to get the holes in the proper location. There will be 3 bolt holes on each side of the TJ grill you will need to drill for. I won't post any measurements or procedures on this part. You can figure it out for yourself... or do what I did.. Just eyeball the holes until you get it right

Now that you have your inner fender bolt holes drilled you should be able to put in the bolts. The fenders that are spread out and dented from hammering will now suck in really nicely after you snug the bolts.

At this point, you can take your original wiring harness wiring harness off the YJ grill and pop it on the TJ grill lights.

That's about all there is to it

Of course you will need to do a little hammering and bending here and there, but hey.... It's a jeep. That's what it's for.

What about the front signal lights?

I grabbed a set of 2 3/4" round trailer lights from a local parts store. Measured the diameter of the light bezal and used a correct sized hole say to cut two circles in the TJ grill where I wanted the lights placed. Be sure to apply some paint over the bare metal after the cut.

I then took the OE square blinker housings and cut the back end of the light (where the bulb plugs in) and used contact cement to mate it to the round lens. The OE wiring harness plugged in perfectly after that.

This may look like a big project since the pictures show the jeep undergoing a full restoration, but the process really isn't that bad. You could do it over the course of a weekend without any body work or paint.

The end result looks quite nice in my opinion. There are two small gaps in the upper corners of the grill due to the fact that the TJ grill is a slightly different shape than the YJ hood. The gap is there, but not that bad.


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