Rust Never Sleeps Re­plac­ing De­grad­ing TJ FENDERS

4WDrive - - Contents - Words and pho­tos by Kevin Pow­ers

Rust, ev­ery Jeep own­ers other four let­ter word. My front fenders fi­nally got to the point where I was run­ning out of good metal to at­tach new metal. I came across a lo­cal sup­plier sell­ing re­place­ment fenders for $140 a side. They’re im­ported, solid enough, and came primed in a solid black. As I would come to learn, they fit as close to per­fect as pos­si­ble.

It’s not a hard job. I may have used an

im­pact and air ratchet, but there was noth­ing stop­ping me from just us­ing hand tools. So this is def­i­nitely a driveway doable job. Be pre­pared for bro­ken bolts, and plan for two days.

Also, ex­pect to drill a cou­ple holes. Over the years some ac­ces­sory mounts changed, and things didn’t al­ways line up on the af­ter­mar­ket fenders. It wasn’t a big deal, just worth not­ing.

1 Part of what causes TJ fenders to rot out so badly, is that the sup­port brack­ets lack any proper drainage. This al­lows dirt and grime to col­lect, caus­ing the fenders to rust from the in­side out. To coun­ter­act this, I’ve drilled holes at each end. Just a 1/4” to al­low wa­ter to drain. Hope­fully that keeps them healthy for a long time. At least for the same 18 years my old ones lasted.

2You can see by the pic­tures above the brack­ets I’m talk­ing about, and the lower pic­ture shows the dam­aged area. That’s the typ­i­cal TJ fender rust. In my case, the rust had prac­ti­cally eaten through the en­tire cen­tre of my fender. It was held to­gether with some old duct­ing and riv­ets.

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