Friday, June 9, 2023


Protect your engine and radiator with a grill screen

By Greg Illes

We were happily driving along the highway, enjoying the passing scenery, when suddenly a small flock of sparrows crossed our path, darting frantically about in front of our class-A before escaping. Alas, one of the tiny birds was not as adept an aviator as his fellows and I heard/felt a small “thwack.” So we pulled over to investigate.

We were both glad that we stopped. The bird had passed straight through the factory grill (in several pieces) and was distributed in a very messy fashion across two radiators and my hydraulic jack pump.

Needless to say, it was a sad (and yucky) task to clean up, and it left me with a resolve to try to avoid a recurrence. I might not be able to save a hapless bird, but I can do better to protect my engine compartment.

After some brief Interneting, I found an online provider of standard and unique metal products and I purchased a small sheet of what is called “expanded metal” — in stainless steel!

Trimming and mounting the sheet in place of my factory grill took less than two hours of fiddling and fitting, and the results are rewarding. I have a rustproof grill with openings only one-half inch wide now. Anything larger than a bumblebee is going to be denied entrance to my engine compartment, including birds, sticks, rocks and other would-be trespassers. And honestly, as an extra bonus, I feel that the appearance is much improved over the old retro-looking steel-bar grill that came with the coach.

For $60 delivered to my door, this was a worthy mini-project. If you are intrigued by the possibilities, the material is available in various metals, hole sizes, and gauges at

Editor’s note: Amazon also has sheets of expanded metal.

photo: Greg Illes

Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at


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