Only after I bought two new tires and had a few tires mounted up did I realize they really wouldn't fit all that well without a good bit of surgery.. so I decided to make 'em fit.
On Tuesday night I pulled my rig into the shop to get ready for our trail ride on Sunday..
Nice to actually have my rig fit in the shop..
Pulled it in, then fired up the 80,000BTU propane heater for 15 minutes or so.. really took the chill off.. shut 'er down and had a comfortable night o' workin'.. I just need to find where I stashed the CD changer for the stereo.. sometimes the radio gets old (they don't play NIN, Metallica, Zombie, or any other fun music here..)
Virgin fender with the 33.
Here's the passenger side with the 36.
Started drawing out some curves..
I tried to make a cardboard template, but that failed.
I think I'm going to cut it at the 2.5" mark, then slit it and fold it over to the 3" mark.
That translates out to enlarging the wheel opening by about 3" all around.
Except at the top center, where it'll be raised about 2.5" and flat for a little ways.
This horizontal line is roughly were the inner fender shelf is.
When the outer fender wouldn't come loose thanks to a stubborn bolt...
Too bad it made a heckuva racket.. but it did heat up the bolt enough that the next attempt with the wrench broke the bolt.
I had this fender off in '98.. but look at the junk.
And on my clean shop floor, too!!
Tossed my gloves on to make sure you can see the shelf.
I measured the outermost edge of the inner fender to come out to just shy of 5" from the vertical wall.
I then broke out the aviation snips.
I cut a few slits in the outer / lower arch, then cut up both ends.
Once I got it free enough, I started using a hammer to flatten it out.
I found it best to pull up on the outer edge while hitting at the bend.
I then taped off a line about 5" from the "wall" and snipped away.
Another shot of the fender lookin' all innocent over to the side..
Set the fender back in place - not quite "in place" since I didn't fight the door jamb n' such.
This is looking UP at the new flat shelf inner fender with the outer sorta in place.
The black cracks in the "middle" are where the paint/dirt/mud cracked when I flattened it out.
The part I'm concerned about is where the shelf meets the outer fender, trying to keep that relatively "tight"
Looking to the rear/firewall. Next time I'll be more careful about cutting this out - it would've been nice to keep the shield for keeping mud out of the vents.
Up and towards the rear again.
Took the fender off, set the 36 in place..
Firewall/rocker area. With my SUA and stock shackle setup, I don't think this will be a problem with just 36s.. in the future that might change though.
Assuming the tape measure is about 2" tall I have about 7" of up-travel available here. The bump stops give about 6.5" of up-travel, but they're more inboard on the axle.
I didn't start on the outer fender yet.
The plan is to cut it out at the 2.5" radius mark. Keep the top/center "flat" for a ways.
Then slit the lip in about 0.5" to the 3" mark.
In the center, fold the "flat" portion under and wrap it up against a piece of 1x1x.120 wall square tubing that I'll tack to the back of the fender.
On the curved portions, just fold it back over into a "V" shape.
Then ideally when I put the outer fender back on the box tube will sit over the modified inner fender shelf.
I can then run bolts up through the inner fender and into the box tube.
That should give the outer fender back some strength for when I lay it against a tree, plus it should keep it from flapping.
The remaining fender should be "small enough" or cut in the right manner that it shouldn't really flap (I hope).
Whaddya think? How am I doing? Should I cut more, cut less.. make a prettier arch to cut? (the garbage can lid isn't big enough..)
A few more pics and a slightly different write-up..
Still no nibbler...
So.. more with the shears..
Problem is I have to keep stopping to use pliers to move the cut metal away..
First hunk removed..
Test fit.. make sure I'm on the right track..
Got some more cut off the rear now..
I stopped a little short in the lower rear corner - I wanted to try and retain both "bottom" mounting bolts.
Put the tire on..
Some folks weren't clear on where the box tubing was going..
I then proceeded to cut slits around the curved portion, then grab my linesman pliers..
Test fits are GOOD..
Because I wanted to keep the bottom mounting bolts, the firewall/inner fender / rocker area may be visible from the side.. I can always cut it up or beat it into submission with my sledge later I guess..
The front, folded..
The "shelf" - you can see where the inner shelf sits just under (or nearly so) the folded "L" lip where the box tube will go.
Took a couple "wide views".. again, the fender isn't *quite* on - I didn't fight it into the door jamb.
Here's the back side - see all the folded edges? Eventually all but the center will be folded into Vs.. but that's AFTER I apply POR-15 tomorrow..
Shake can of 3M Weld-thru coating..
Practice bad welding (really bad until I remembered to turn on the gas..)
Put it back on for another test fit.
Here's how I did the front corner - again, kept both mounting bolts.
Unfortunately, while pulling the passenger tire off to pull the fender, I found a stripped wheel stud..
Guess I'm pulling the rotor off tomorrow..
Got it down to the inner fender before I called it a night..
FINALLY my nibbler arrived.. COOL.
As expected, my air compressor isn't so happy about it..
Got the passenger side "done" in one night (vs two for the driver).
Used the sawzall on the inner.. short work.
Then broke out the new nibbler for the outer. I had to use the snips at first to cut out the stock "L" lip - the nibbler didn't want to go around that bend..
Eye protection is not optional.. sure makes the metal chips fly!
Nice n' easy to make a sweeping curve, too.. not as loud as the sawzall on a vibrating flapping fender, and easier to control/see.
After cutting and folding the tabs.. I wanted to see how close I came.
Note that they're not standing up together "just so"..
In this pic they are tho'.
Pretty darn close!! I couldn't believe it. The bottom/front corner on the passenger side needs a little more TLC.
This test fit I did fight the fender into the door area.. this is "it"..
At Mark Ashford's suggestion, I even welded up and ground down (somewhat.. wasn't going to spend all night) the slits back together.
Only bummer was AFTER I managed to stuff the fender into my drill press, drill the holes, and weld the nuts to the back.. looks like the mounting setup won't quite work.
I'm going to weld some 1x1x.120 angle to the "back" side of the box tube. I'll drill it on the press FIRST. Then weld some 3/8" nuts to it.
Trim the inner fender shelf back another 1/2" or so so it'll be "inside/behind" the box tube. Then push the inner fender shelf up a bit more and bolt it to the angle. That'll leave a slight lip from the "shelf" to the wheel opening.
I need to clean up the welded slits on the driver's fender, test fit and determine how much to trim from its inner fender..
Break out the Acetone, wipe things down, and try out the POR15...
Bought the new wheel stud I need to fix the passenger side. Maybe i'll R&R that while I wait for the POR-15 to dry on Saturday (or I could try to get the paint down tonight and let it cure overnight)
Still need to trim the rear quarters just a bit.. but no big deal. Do that on Saturday when I can make as much racket as I want with the Sawzall.
I then painted everything with POR-15 and called it a (Friday) night.. and returned to it Saturday morning.
You can see where I "massaged" (hit with BFH) the rear portion of the old inner fender into a sort of mud-guard for the vents. You might also notice the angle-cut I made to the inner fender at the front outer edges, cutting the bottom off and angling in to where the inner fender got "thick" and was doubled up.
Finished outers -
A wider angle..
This is the custom battery hold-down I devised years ago.. uses an existing hole in the inner fender. This was necessary after the factory welded-rod broke off.
All done, driver's side fender - yes, I was a little sloppy with the paintbrush. :( -
The mounting bolt/tabs almost worked like I wanted them to - my welds didn't hold very well on the nuts..
The "mud guard" -
The forward bolt.
Front of the wheel well.
And with the 36x12.50 TSL mounted to the rotor.
After getting the passenger side back together, I attacked the rear for a few minutes. This minor trim job was far easier than the fronts.
Mostly I tried to continue the factor arc while cutting the bottom of the quarter off so the tire wouldn't curl it under.
The finished passenger side -
I hit the gas station to fuel up before the trail run the next morning and took pics.
After the trail ride, I took a few pics in the driveway..
It looks like I'm going to have to cut off the bottom mounting bolt on the lower front - it didn't rub on the trail ride, but I didn't exactly twist it up a lot, either..
And finally, this is the pile of metal I removed..
So far so good..
Tom's Bigsky Binders
Copyright 2002 Tom Mandera