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JK5 or whomever.....an easier way to do my fender mods??

Discussion in 'The Body Shop' started by Greg72, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I've heard guys suggest that the "hot rodder" way fender openings typically get enlarged is by making a vertical cut in the wheelwell, and then grafting-in an additional section of donor fenderarch to allow the opening to "grow" wider. The problem is that the proportions change, and the wheelwell gets more oblong looking.

    Here is a pic of an experiment I did on my front fender:

    [​IMG]

    First, I traced the "stock" opening to get the exact shape transferred to a wooden template. Then, I went around and measured exactly 2" from that stock tracing to enlarge the overall shape by 4 inches without changing the proportions. At that point, the only thing I could think of was to cut out my wooden pattern and make it into a "buck". I took a couple of donor fenders and cut off the fenderlips, and made a whole series of "pizza slices" in them every couple of inches, and welded all the sections to each other. I then bent them over the buck to give them the new larger wheelwell shape and tack welded them back onto a donor fender. If you look carefully at the above pic, you can see all the individual slices still in that front fender.

    My question is this: I am pleased with the overall shape that I got, but now I've got HOURS of welding to button up all those slices. When I'm done, it seems like I'll have a distorted mess... is there a simpler, less labor intensive (or simply a BETTER) technique to accomplish what I did?

    It was a fun experiment to try since I'd never done any kind of sheetmetal work before, but I have a feeling that what I did is not what a REAL customizer would have done.

    /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  2. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    they sell premade strips like that. 1" x 1" angle with one side having all the slits...

    i'll be doing something similar in a couple years when i need qrters.. have a brand new pair downstairs to get ready before i install em... i'm thinking of removing the lip, slitting it, reshaping it and welding back in. and yes, i'm assuming it will be lots of dainty weld work too /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    keep cool, wet rags around to keep distortion to a minimum.. i've mentioned a product on here before that helps that, but i'm not sure they make it anymore.. its a modeling, clay type stuff you put around the area and just sucks up the heat.. amazing, but also probably loaded with asbestos or something... i wonder if a welding supply place might be able to get it.. i'd love to have a can of that stuff again..

    weld it up and throw a little mud on her /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Looks cool!!! /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
    With that kind of wheel opening...you're limited..splicing is it..
    Take your time welding it..so it doesn't warp...

    Are you going to move the doglegs??

    I think I'd cut the dogleg area of fender...and move it back... /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif

    With that kind of wheel opening...you're limited..splicing is it..
     
  4. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Jerry,

    What do you mean by "doglegs"?

    I reproduced the original shape, even what's called the "fang" on the forward edge of the fender...that part where it actually curls back under toward the tire.

    I have always been annoyed that every 1st Gen I have seen has those "nipped" off to clear the larger tires, and wanted to find a way to keep that little styling cue. The entire opening is shifted forward about 1" over stock, because my front axle is also shifted forward. I was concerned about interference when the tire "stuffs" but with the shackle/leafspring setup, the tire moves substantially BACK as it articulates, so it clears the fang just fine..... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    When I do this same fender mod on my '69 with a linked front suspension, I'll have to re-consider all of that positioning again, because the axle won't be shifting as much.
     
  5. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    [ QUOTE ]
    What do you mean by "doglegs"?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That's the fender's sheet metal found by the rockers...and below the marker light.

    It looks good..but the wheel opening is a little "egg shaped"..
    I was thinking...it may look a little better...if it had a "rounder" look.
     
  6. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    What do you mean by "doglegs"?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That's the fender's sheet metal found by the rockers...and below the marker light.

    It looks good..but the wheel opening is a little "egg shaped"..
    I was thinking...it may look a little better...if it had a "rounder" look.

    [/ QUOTE ]


    The stock 1st Gen fenders are a little strange after you look at them for a while.... everyone thinks of them as "round" compared to the later K5s, but there's actually quite a bit more to their shape than just "round".

    The trailing edge (by the rockers) actually straightens out at about the beltline seam and tapers away from the tire. On the front edge (by the marker light) you can see that the curve actually gets tighter (like a decreasing radius) as it nears the "fang" area.

    It was a strange discovery, since I was expecting "perfectly round" openings. When I built the wooden buck, I built a huge compass out of a scrap of metal, and drew a half-circle (about 40" across) direcly on top of my original fender tracing. Once the two lines were super-imposed on each other, it really became obvious that what I thought was "round" was actually more complex..... /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif

    I do agree that there's a certain amount of "eyeball" work too. Small changes to a "perfect" template may actually give a more pleasing look. I definitely DON'T like the huge amount of gap around the tires (at the top of the wheel arches) but when you grow the opening in all directions, that's what you get! I am seriously considering pulling some lift out of the truck to reduce that gap and to make the truck a bit easier to climb into.....(I'm only 5'9" remember? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) All of the D60 swapping and subsequent re-levelling of the rear end to match have added about an inch of height that I never really wanted to be there.... but I digress.


    /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif
     
  7. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    [ QUOTE ]
    It was a strange discovery, since I was expecting "perfectly round" openings. When I built the wooden buck, I built a huge compass out of a scrap of metal, and drew a half-circle (about 40" across) direcly on top of my original fender tracing. Once the two lines were super-imposed on each other, it really became obvious that what I thought was "round" was actually more complex.....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    ok...
    I guess...I would approach this a little differently...
    I'd grab some cardboard...cut-out a templet of the wheel opening...
    Make several templets...until I find the desired design.
    Once I find something close...I paint the templet black...
    tape-it to the truck...and then look at the truck from a distance.
    If I like it..then the fun begins..
    I break out the torches..body hammers...dollies...spoons..
    and go to town..
    Metal work is more of an art...then a science.

    It's too bad...you're not down the street...
    You'd FREEK...if I showed you..metal heat shinking..
    It's a dying art..that enables me to convert a blazer fender into a VW bug fender if I want. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    [​IMG]

    I also use my tac welds to shrink and help form the steel too.

    [​IMG]

    Here's heat shrinking..insted of slicing the steel.
    I heated the corner with a torch..then cooled it with a wet rag..
    I had to repeat this several times..
     
  8. camiswelding

    camiswelding 1/2 ton status

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    another trick is to take thinwall tube... bend it to the arc you want ... make the cut in your fender... weld the thin wall back in ...keeping the weld runs short and moving from end to end to limit distortion and then a little bondo and you are done...
    this makes the arc and gives you a nice finished lip... (doesnt make it much wider though)
     

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