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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-10-2019 07:20 PM
rooster18 Bad ass. Great job on the headers
09-10-2019 07:04 AM
GLTHFJ60 Those headers came out fucking awesome.
09-09-2019 12:32 PM
frjiolee Decided I was driving myself crazy over the brakes so I should switch gears and try to knock out another project scattered all over the garage: headers.

I came back from a Ronin header session with quite a bit of scrap from setting up the madrel bender. I was hoping I had enough to make headers for my FJ40. Since I'm trying to run down the interior of my boat sides I really don't have a choice about custom. I also don't have space for a 4x tube bundle so unfortunately these have to be mid lengths. I'm giving up quite a bit of power by not taking advantage of pulse length tuning, but packaging won out and I'm doing what I can.

Started passenger because I'm mad at my driver firewall headaches:

The real build never lands exactly like the legos do, so I recheck every tube before moving on.

Note, checking spark plug fitment was something I probably should have been doing earlier in the process. It was actually some work on the driver side that clued me in that I should probably double check that. By the way, the while the headers legos are rad, I found it helpful to cut everything 1/8" long and then trim back cutting and grinding to optimize fit. Trial assembly is via the blue painter's tape. I cut just little openings in the tap before tack welding to be sure the clocking doesn't slip.

Passenger side went so well that I decided to be ambitious and tackle driver too. I pretty much know what I'm ducking under with the merge. I also wasn't kidding that I had bends and header lego's strewn all over my garage and I do need to pack all this ish away and move in 5 weeks.

Primary #7 will be my tight spot at the firewall so this one is a 2" CLR bend (where-as most of what I'm doing is 3" CLR.)

I was trying to jog low for the spark plug and use a single bend to both clear the frame rail and jog down toward the merge. By the way, if you want to try building headers fixture your merges! That was one of the better tips I ran into online and it really help when you can make one tube at a time from point A to point B. The problem I ran into here is that if I jogged any lower to clear the spark plug the 3" CLR 180 was almost touching the frame rail. It was also bit further outboard than I really wanted I solved it by switching to the 180 to a 2" CLR and cutting it in half to making this primary out of four bends instead of three. 1) Out and down from exhaust port, 2) curve back to flat, 3) horizontal 90 to clear the frame rail, 4)90 canted downward to hit the merge where I wanted.

Final driver model (one tube slipping out but you get the idea):

By the way, 3x pennies at the block flange make just about idea spacers to convert 1 3/4" header legos to 1 7/8" like OD. That's what you see taped in there at each connection. I'm not doing anything too crazy for these ones so they're just 1 7/8" throughout.

Complete (or at least laid out and ready to be tacked anyway).

When the bend ends up just right, you feel like such a rockstar. It's good. Better yet with the primaries all tacked, I can now pack up all my loose bits.

09-02-2019 03:01 PM
frjiolee After looking at this for a while I decided I was far enough along that I should stay the course and get the booster mocked in all the way. It's really the only way I can know how much space I have and need. I think I'm going to be about an inch shy of where I want to be but maybe I can find that and it'd sure be nice to do this on the simple approach I'd been planning.

Need a spacer to located the booster vs. pedals.

Turned the ID of some heavy wall stock to make the bore.

Even using the wood to try to prevent hole saw walk, I still had it move on me. That sucks.

Got to practice my gap welding, but I got it done.

Had to shorten the clevis and thread the booster rod a bit deeper but it does bolt up now.

Flush to the upper skin of the hood. Gotta be a least a 1/4" down from here but at least it gives me a feel for things.

Throttle is fine, but I was about right on calling out the +1" vertical I wanted for the brake. Boooooo.

Well, with the booster pushed full high, I can still shift the pedal up (actually this lets me put it 1/2" forward as well which would be good), but I'm still worried about brake system gain.

If I'm staying the course here, I figured I should at least run some math and scope out brake system gain. Giving up 5-10% on my pedal ratio might not be the end of the world.

The good news is that I think I can get a net system gain similar to what I'm used to in my rx7.

The stock D60 brakes use a 1.25" Master Cylinder. If I drop this down to 1.125" to up the hydraulic ratio that puts me in the ballpark, but I have to hope the pedal feel doesn't suck. I'm hopeful as I found a gent who talks about doing something damn similar: http://home.4x4wire.com/erik/4runner/brakes/ Looks like it's a relatively proven setup all the way up to 44" tires: https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/toyo...under-toy.html

Note, this guy was using a Toyota booster but it also looks like a dual diaphragm that's the same general size and class (8+9"). Two differences between his math and mine. 1) He compares hydraulic ratio vs. a single brake caliper vs looking at ratios vs. both sides. I added the row to my spreadsheet called 1/2 Gain to compare apples to apples. 2) He's just looking at hydraulic ratios where-as I also calculating gain of the entire system from brake pedal to COF of the pads, to leverage of the tires. The method is from the book "High Performance Brake Systems - James Walker" if anyone is curious.

The references to available boosters from the 70s and 80s GM 1/2, 3/4, and 1ton trucks were helpful. Notably, the old school master cylinders with integrated reservoirs are shorter in most cases than the plastic versions and I need that to keep the booster high.

The last issue is the MC to booster pin interface. For the life of me, I can't find a means to search MC's by attributes and half the time they don't even give me bolt spacing much less details on the booster MC interface. I'm debating buying the more expensive Wilwood booster (https://www.summitracing.com/parts/wil-260-8556/) just so I get the MC "bullet" insert that I can easily machine for a variety of depths. Oh and for the record GM used 3.220 and 3.400" bolt spacing on the old school MCs. The Wilwood comes with slotted mounting to work in a range from 3.220 to 3.400". If I go cheap and buy a 76 Blazer MC I'm going to have to machine it open a great deal further since I'm measuring about 3.150" on the Subaru booster and the Blazer is one of the 3.400" versions.

09-02-2019 03:01 PM
Originally Posted by gtxracer View Post
Read through most of the build and it's impressive! I dig the dedication, attention to detail, and just overall amount of work you've done. Nice job!

Any pics of said RX7?

edit: I thought this build looked familiar! I've read it a couple times and then somehow missed the last few pages. Saw the back of the Rx7 on page 3, looks killer!
Thanks. RX7 pics per request:

Current tire setup are 315s and 335s.

Got to show it off to Rod Millen a while back.

Pretty stupid amount of time into this vehicle but I do love it. FJ is much closer to full scratch build though. Engine swapping RX7s is pretty well sorted now and they make awesome candidates. Very little cutting and the shift lands exactly in the hole. In addition to working in astronomy I own a small company that sells swap parts if you're interested. www.roninspeedworks.com
08-29-2019 10:39 AM
gtxracer Read through most of the build and it's impressive! I dig the dedication, attention to detail, and just overall amount of work you've done. Nice job!

Any pics of said RX7?

edit: I thought this build looked familiar! I've read it a couple times and then somehow missed the last few pages. Saw the back of the Rx7 on page 3, looks killer!
08-29-2019 09:02 AM
the freeak Can you mount the master low(er) and drive it off a "swing set"/ Bellcrank system?

What about a willwood multi-master cylinder(s) with divorced reservoirs?
08-28-2019 03:19 PM
frjiolee The CAD study was my pause point as the Cruiser moved 2,500 miles—plus an ocean—with cardboard taped to the firewall.

Once we were settled in, I started picking away at the projects I could get too without fully unpacking the rig. It still had doors, hatch, and a bunch of boxes stored inside. That’s why I went after the rear seat first, it was one of the easiest areas to get to and working from the ends on the big interfaces seemed like a good place to start.

That said, the firewall is about the most complicated interface I have left to play with. Headers, pedals, steering, remote oil filter, feet. It all has to be happy ergonomically and play nice with one another. Ironically, I think the steering gives me a bit of a free pass since I can put the control valve under the dash and run lines where I want them (no steering column with full hydro).

Anyways, fam was out of town and had a friend who wanted to hang so I recruited a helper for wrenching (we dialed in his steering on the JK, so I got to return favor a bit). Decided it was time to launch into the firewall.

Here’s how it sat after finally unstrapping the 2x hoods.

When I did primer on most places, I also seam sealed and shot the shock towers black, in what I think will be my color for all the tube work. I’m using Rustoleum Engine Enamel Low Gloss Black. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Ole...8938/202436448

Good stuff, oil and chip resistant, holds up well under UV, easy to touch up given the low gloss. Thanks to 65imp for turning me onto the stuff.

The idea in pre painting these areas is that it will simplify painting around the shocks in the future… It also protect voids and crevasses that will be hard to sand/scuff up later. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks at a stupid-far-from-finished rig and contemplates paint colors (current lead candidate is metallic orange w/ a silver roof and black tube work/fenders, but I also get excited about aquamarine on occasion).

Part of what makes the template work—in theory anyways—is that it tips the pedals a bit (mounting surface isn’t vertical).

It looks OK, so I convert to steel. I’m using 0.050” because it’s what I have handy and seems reasonable. I will plan to reinforce pedals to help stiffen the firewall vs. just tin canning some flat pieces.

This is the kinda work where my mag brake excels. One piece FTW!

By the way, my friend John plays a mean didgeridoo and found a chunk of ABS on my wall that worked pretty well.

First snag… Pedals need more vertical real estate. Since I hadn’t cut out the firewall to verify the inside fitment I missed this. I had to cut the top seams and fold my steel work back open. I suppose I could cut the pedals but I’m trying to keep as much of that stock as I can. If I’m lucky, I’m hoping I can use an S2k throttle cable grommet.

Here it is with firewall cut away and the new piece mocked up behind. I did left a flange I can bend over to help welding up the seams (with thanks to Project Binky for that build tip).

But now I have a real problem. The overall vertical clearance is damn tight… Putting the pedals where I want them to be I run a real risk of the booster or master cylinder crashing into the hood. Remember that thing about the pedals needing to tip for fore/aft clearance? That makes my MC/booster combo point somewhat uphill. That makes it a harder 3D problem than my simple header lego mockup.

Measure all three of my other cars, the throttle tends to be about 4.5” off the floor, brake more like 6”. As shown I’m only at 4” for throttle and not quite 5” for the brake. I don’t think I have an inch left of room to the hood.

Decide not to be a wuss and even though it’s late and I’m tired, I bit the bullet and unload everything from inside the rig. I have to try this and see what it feels like and my brain is too wired up to sleep not knowing. Get the front seat mocked in and try it out. Sure enough, the pedals feel low. You can tell through the soles of your feet. Dammit… Joys of custom vehicles I guess.

I certainly want to get the MC/booster as high as I can, so that’ll take some careful mockups and I need to get the booster mounted all the way—which I can’t do without my firewall fortifications since I need thickness for the mounting to be correct. I also need to track down an MC reservoir as they intentionally break those at the junkyard. I can’t remember if I keep the broken one or not, gotta dig.

I can cut and relocate the pedals on their respective swing arms but I’m a little worried about having enough brake gain and/or an overly sensitive throttle pedal. The brake calipers are huge and were intended for use with a hydroboost, which I can’t do because of my fully hydro steering. Every story I’ve read about daisy chaining hydro steering and brakes off a common pump ends badly and I’m not ready to try to package a second PS pump… If I think this is bad, I’m DEFINITELY not stoked on working that one out.

I could run a smaller diameter booster (maybe) but again, I need the brake system gain because of the huge tires. I can’t move the floorboards down and still have space for the exhaust to run inside my triangular space frame boat sides thingies. Oh and if I get this wrong, I won’t know until I’m way way down the road.

Suggestions? Worth hooking up the full brake system so I can try the pedal? I kinda don’t think it’ll be representative enough without vacuum and I have a long way to go before this thing can move on its own to check. Anyone know brake system experts in the industry I could reach out to? I’d gladly pay a few hundo for a consult at this point.

In the meantime, I need to design myself in as much flexibility as I can. If that means I have to build the entire firewall extension but only tack it in—to able to move the whole piece around and allow different boosters and what not—that might be what I have to do.
08-27-2019 04:23 PM
frjiolee New topic, starting out with some out of date pics.

As you probably don’t remember back in January 2018 I was debating hard over pedals and decided to buy some s2000 units that looked promising.


I’d like to use a Subaru Brake booster because it’s a matched set to a larger MC that looks close for my brakes. It also has the advantage that it uses the same pattern as does both my rx7 and these s2k pedals. Grab some header legos to mockup the size and transfer to the firewall.

Bolt the pedals in (just mocked in place and there’s a problem. I’m way way choked up on the seat.

And the back seat is fully fitted and needs X amount of space for feet back there. It’s not just the pedals either, because in what feels like a comfy foot position I basically have the firewall at the elevation where the surface of the pedals wants to be. This says, I either need to A) sell the rig to a little person, or B) do some major rework on something.

Well, let’s start by taking some measurements of the vehicles I have at hand. Seat pans measure similar across the board. Mazda 5 and Jeep XJ are both right at 19” from brake pedal to the front edge of the seat.

RX7 is more like 21”. It’s also way low slung so it makes sense my legs would be flatter.

The XJ is sitting at about 15” (yikes!) and it’s seating position is more similar to the Rx7 than the others given the raised floorboards. How the heck do I find 6”? There’s just not a lot of space to clear headers if I try to take the firewall that far forward.

After starring at this for a while I figure out there’s only so many levers to pull, but maybe if I pull all them I can find enough…

1) Raise seat 1”. Easy enough. That lets me install some sliders so bonus there.
2) Tip pedals, the contour runs away from the firewall at the base and that’s mostly where my header problems are going to be.
3) Shift seat a tough to the left, that helps the angled plate at the firewall.
4) Raising the seat to 1.5” means that the rear passenger’s toes can go under the seat so that helps get the seat a touch further aft.
5) Make all those changes and you can finally picture a 3D firewall extension that just might do the trick and only needs to bulge 2.5” or so. If you can control where it bulges maybe you can get there.

CAD study:

Header mockup just to be sure… Well, we just might have something here.

07-16-2019 06:31 PM
By-Tor Beautiful job on the flares and congrats on your court victory!
07-13-2019 02:15 PM
frjiolee So what's the big deal says the voice in my head? You knew the law and you got ticketed... You knew what you were doing...

Well yes and no. I knew the law, I just thought it was a formality and much like CA no one really cared. Given some of the vehicles I see around town this seemed like a reasonable position. Hawaii has a pretty distinct wheel style, particularly with trucks. It's a lot of big offsets with wide smallish tires (contact patch via width rather than diameter) on even wider wheels. I'd say the majority of lifted trucks have a least a couple inches of tire poke.

After I got tagged I started tacking pictures of vehicles around town. A few of my favorites:

So what happened? When you fight a ticket in Hawaii you have three options. 1) Plead guilty, 2) plead guilty with mitigating circumstances, 3) plead not guilty and ask for a trial. I did the middle option when I was first ticketed and wrote a letter noting the local style, how my tires tore the garden trim loose/how I care about not littering (true), and how it felt weird getting tagged in a mainlander dress shirt when I see more extreme "local" vehicles driving by officers nearly every day.

Then on the second ticket, I plead not guilty (given the less than 30 day thing), and asked to appear before a judge to discuss both tickets since I hadn't heard anything on the first one.

Got my installed pictures the night before court as it got down to the wire and then spent a full morning at the courthouse waiting for what seemed like dozens of no-insurance and excessive speed tickets (note to self: avoid +30 mph and >81 mph). Good news what that anyone who brought in proof of insurance was getting cases dismissed. First question the judge asked me was whether my vehicle was brought back into compliance (yes). I brought pictures. She seemed a touch confused what she was looking at so I offered my second set of photos: a stack from the build process and my receipt on the bushwackers. I explained the "before" picture up front and she quickly grasped the effort associated. It was neat to see her sit up a bit straighter when she asked who built these ("I did your honor, it was quite an intensive process as you can see"). She informs the bailiff that they can dismiss the infractions.

Woot woot! I was expecting to get stuck on the first ones and let off of the second tickets worth.

She then goes on to inform me that she read my letter (first ticket), gives me a serious stare down over her glasses and informed me that "Yes, you should know that we do apply the law equally." I was damn tempted to reply that this had not been my experience... I had a third set of pictures with me, of about 70 something vehicles not in compliance, some of which are above... I also could have also pointed out that there were 3 vehicles with extended tires in the courthouse parking lot that morning.

BUT, discretion won the fight over valor, and there are few things worse than "stealing defeat from the jaws of victory" so I simply said "Yes your honor" and let it go. To be fair, I don't actually know whether locals are exempt (some of this occurs but how systemic it is, I don't know). It could be that the fender law is enforced only sporadically and I happened to get unlucky. Hell, maybe some police chief's mother-in-law had a windshield broken by a thrown rock so the local police started enforcing again.

I do know, I'm stoked that I didn't have to pay $576. I'll try damn hard not to be bitter admiring the local rigs, and what the heck, I had some good practice on tube fenders that I can apply to my FJ40 when the time comes.

And I really am thinking hard about lexan fender skins for round 2.
07-12-2019 09:12 AM
frjiolee Not shown: undercoating the bottom sides. Rust-Oleum engine enamel semi flat black on the uppers. (I finally standardized my touch up paint.)


Not bad if I do say so myself. All in I have something like 105 hours work into these.

My advise: Rocking sans flares is always best, looks clean and keeps it simple. If you don't have a choice, buy the Bushwackers before you mod anything. If you've already modded, find some less common option (there are a few others) and buy that. Do this job as last resort only.

PITA, but at least it turned out nice.


PS pics in the dark because I had to have finished shots to prove to the judge my vehicle was now compliant. Fighting tickets...
07-11-2019 09:51 AM
frjiolee Random shout out to my old college roommate and awesome guitarist Jack Roan. Jack was the one who taught me how to wind extension cords over-hand/under-hand. Given how many times I had to roll my welding cart back and forth that was pretty handy.

Just with the tack welding the skins on car these "popped" a little bit when I pulled them off. I actually debated whether to just leave them tacked and not risk even a proper stitch weld.

Instead I decided to get creative in how I was fixturing each tube. Weld deformation functions by molten metal shrinking as it cools. Since all welding is along the tube topside having this shrink would tend to rainbow the tube open. Fixturing helps to resist motion but I decided to experiment, went further, and actually preloaded my tubes in an attempt that the relaxed welds should end up closer to where the tube started.

Sharpie mark on the weld table showing the ~2" compression I put these under vs original spacing.

It worked out unbelievably well. Pretty much nailed it dead on what I hoped. Overall length changed by maybe 1/8" whereas just tacking on vehicle had been more than that.

My TIG welding is doing better too. By the way, the point of tack welding the end of each stitch is that it gives you a very obvious mark to stop at when you're welding up to a tack instead of starting from one.

Backsides of tube where you can see the slight angle I put in the one.

Given the stitch welding I used seam sealer on full length of the inside and between welds on the upper surface.

Turns out angle grinder stripper discs work great for cleaning up the extra seam sealer as well.

07-10-2019 10:54 AM
Originally Posted by fredycruger View Post
by the time i would grind the rust off, extend the tube and make sheetmetal tops, paint im way ahead just buying them
My experience as well. I'd never recommend this job unless you have extenuating circumstances like I did.


By the way, the metal circ saws just roughed out the shapes. Once they were in strips I could do the fine cutting on my bad saw and finally shave to fit (a bunch with sanders and files). I think I have 300+ test fits into this project. Between tube and skins, 75 test fits per corner is probably a decent guess.

But hot damn... That almost looks like something!

Bends were done by hand massaging over the motor on my bad saw since it was about the right diameter.

Once they fit decently, I needed to figure out edge trim. Some folks making tube fenders put a vertical leg on the skins where they meet fenders. Since I want the ability to take these on and off, I skipped that and used a plastic edge trim. Something I had lying around so no specs on these ones unfortunately.

That said there are some kinks and bends that get interesting. A lighter and some heat forming to the rescue.

So the next challenge I could see coming was welding the skins to tube. By putting a lot of heat to the upper surface of the tube only I was inviting this to turn into a rainbow (and loose all that perfect fitment I'd been fighting for).

Decided to stitch weld them down so laid out a pattern of 3/4" on 3" I roughed out positions then adjusted to optimize how the welds landed where the skins ended. What say you?Overkill or just OCD enough?

Rust from the rain. Sigh...

Scotch Brite makes them happy again.

Tacking the ends of each stitch on vehicle. Lots of clamps to keep the skin tight (hand bending isn't perfect.)

07-10-2019 05:26 AM
By-Tor Fenders are looking great
07-09-2019 12:10 PM
fredycruger nice work on the fenders

i was going to build set of rear tube fenders to match front
my buddy let me cut diy fenders from his rig and they ended up being short
i decided to buy shittybuild fenders from amazon for 110$

by the time i would grind the rust off, extend the tube and make sheetmetal tops, paint im way ahead just buying them
07-09-2019 10:50 AM
frjiolee Each tube ended up having a 5th bend to hit the frame where I need to hit it. Half bevel groove on these showing the full thickness bevel (and damn near CJP on the splice inboard which is cool).

I tacked these on the rig (one evening with minimal wind) then burned in the plates on the bench.

Capped the ends because I could. Used a hole saw in wood to guide the steel hole saw cut on the OD without needing a pilot drill.

That was some time intensive tube.

I also bought a couple big rivet nut drivers. To date m6 was a big as I could set. These go to m12 and by getting two I have a fall back if I failed one.

Two very different companies (or so it looks online) that seem to be made in the exact same factory.



Kinda stoked on the speed release feature of the 14" version and the power available by the 16" handles.

Finally getting into the skins for these things. Kind proud of how this worked out. By making a tight fitting paper doll I could then do a crayon rubbing to get an ideal fit vs the tubes.

This is how you transfer to metal when each template is 50-51" long and your steel is only 48" wide. Much cleaning with a stripper disc prior to this to get the major rust off this 16 guage plate.

When you're stuck working on something you'd rather not (and twice over bitter for a pair of tickets that locals don't seem to get) it's good to pause and admire a sunset or two.

I'm now rocking both Milwaukee's metal cutting circular saws. The battery version is my go to when I need something quick that doesn't fit on my band saw. Nothing moves metal like the big dog corded guy when needed.

07-07-2019 01:20 PM
frjiolee I'm taking my kids to school every day so still driving the Jeep. Figure my ticket should give me a few weeks of immunity. Nope, I get flagged down at a traffic stop and given ANOTHER ticket. Another $288. Same cop. The guy wouldn't cut me a break even thought it had only been 28 days (not the 30 I thought I'd have).

His take: "28 days is enough." My take, "Here's the pics of what I'm working on, it wasn't long enough for me!"

He reminds me of the garden trim thing... I don't WANT to run garden trim. I'll just be taking it on and off a hundred times to continue progress. Super frustrating, but I can't exactly pick a fight with a cop. Even a complaint to his Sergeant could easily go bad as and I sure don't want to be targeted in a small town...

Nothing to do but stay the course. We're down to the last week of school so at least my wife can drive the kids in and I have my RX7 to fall back on... So now the Jeep is sitting in my driveway not moving.

The wind is unrelenting though. I finally decided to pull the Jeep most of the way into the garage (partly shielded) and MIG weld weld the rear interfaces.

It's burned in but you can tell where the breeze caught me on the left side of the circle. Whatever, it'll hold.

Back to tube work, it's a game of fractions of inches but I'm winning.

You know things like cutting off the tacked brackets shimming tube with some weld filler rod and re tacking with 1 degree different clicking.

Then naturally it's starts raining on all my raw steel.

I need a bigger garage... This is some bullshit.
07-06-2019 04:42 PM
frjiolee So here's the kinda tolerances-killing-me crap I was talking about:

Measure where you think the bend wants to be but you come up short. Learn from your mistake and you can make your other side properly, but now you either scrap tube or deal with the mismatch or something.

Dammit, I will not be defeated by metal fab! I am learning as I go, but you know what, this isn't really that structural apart so I'm just going to cut and weld this bastard to make it do what I want it to.

V groove bevel weld just about all the way through the thickness... That's as close to a CJP (complete joint penetration) weld as I can do simply. It's not really structural so I just can't bring myself to sleeve this internally like I might on a chassis repair.

Much closer...

For frame interfaces I learned my lesson on the slugs that hardened on me so I figured I could go the other way and pre tap some plate that I'd them match drill and tap the rest of the way through.

Problem is that it been so windy working on the driveway I can barely get these to tack, much less get a weld I trust. Up front I finally cave and pull off the bumper attachment plates so I can bench weld them.

Still don't know how I can burn the rears in though. That bit of steel isn't removable and I need to move a ton of stuff (including a non running Land Cruiser), if I'm going to pull this into the garage.

By the way, I should probably mention that when you bring a vehicle to the island, you have 30 days to do a safety check for your new registration. I'm assuming that's how long I have to get these fenders flares installed and the clock is ticking...
07-05-2019 10:02 AM
frjiolee In a rare move for me, I actually gave up a project part way through. As much as I wanted to be a bad ass and make my own custom custom stuff, I just decided that this was likely to be hard enough and time intensive enough that I was being an idiot and should just throw down for a set of Bushwhacker Flat Fenders. They look decent, they're light, and between time and materials it was looking like I was gonna have way more cost (or opportunity cost) making my custom ish...

So I pulled the trigger and bought them.


Amazon even had a coupon going and the $420 I spent didn't feel too bad vs my $288 ticket, plus fitment looked to be pretty spot on.

Result: fitment WOULD be spot on... If you were starting from a stock Jeep, but I'm not.

The fronts might find the don't have some sheetmetal anymore.

The fender line looks decent up front.

But that rear fender you kissed with a tire in the whoops that's not quite perfect? Yep, that gap is almost guaranteed to suck dirt...

You'll have to trim for your welded rockers too, but that's not a big deal...

But now we reach the deal breaker: Bushwackers are not compatible with cut and fold rear quarters.

No way I can live with this hanging off that far and now way to plug this in a manner that will last, look good and not suck mud.

I was prepared to weld back in some interfaces to allow these to mount (my fender lips having been trimmed and massaged before), but I just plain missed the whole "Bushwackers no likey the cut and fold bit".

Busted... So back they go. When return shipping only cost me $25 (if I'd shipped this on my own I guess close to $150) I made the call and back they went.

Sigh, looks like custom fab after all. Not the project I wanted to be working on.

07-03-2019 10:59 PM
frjiolee Pardon, but I'm going to take a detour for another round of fab on my XJ. I wasn't really planning this but it is something I'll have to do on the cruiser eventually so I'd love some feedback on the process or how I could do this better next time. Topic at hand: flat fenders.


99% of the time I love our new home. It's unbelievably gorgeous on the Big Island, amazing weather/sunsets all the time, so many things to see and explore, a job where I'm getting to do some pretty neat work... Kinda a fairy tale as evidenced by the crazy rainbows we seem to get several times a week.

That being said, real-life smacked me in the face the other day and ended up in a bit of a fabrication saga.

A while back I mentioned something about Hawaii's safety check program, and guys running garden trim to get fender tire "coverage," right? Unfortunately, when I setup my jeep that way I don't have enough clearance for proper tire flex and I end up ripping the flares right off.

It seems like everybody else around here runs tire poke, so I figured when in Rome, and pulled all that stuff back off. I prefer my rig without fender flares anyways.

Turns out the Waimea police department does not agree with my preferences... :-(

Yep, it seems the locals can do whatever they want, but if you happen to be wearing a mainlander dress shirt on your way to work in a Jeep with some tire poke, that'll get you pulled over even if you are obeying the rest of the traffic laws.

The officer pulled me over as I was turning into the parking lot of my work as well, so naturally I'm sitting there getting a ticket the cop is parked right behind me lights flashing away. Several of my coworkers are walking in for the morning and waving at me. The heckling game was strong that morning. ;-)

4x traffic infractions, one per corner, $72 per tire for $288 fine. Ouchie...

So I break out my metal supplies and a tube bender I bought from a friend before leaving and figured what the heck, I'll try bending some flat fenders.

Testing out the machine I started by bending up a stack of FD trans mounts bars (aka, development efforts in work). I know I need a bigger garage, but it is expensive over here so when the time you have to work on it happens to be raining, you do your best.

That worked fine so it was time to try some multi plane bends. Hmmm.... This is going to be harder than I thought. Multiple bends end up being a tolerance nightmare. If you are a degree off on a bend and a degree off on rotation, the end result 5 feet later is damn hard to get exactly what you intended (much less replicated in a mirror image for the other side.)

It kind of looks okay but I'm not really that happy with it either, particularly as I compare side to side.

More to come (a lot more).
06-14-2019 02:15 PM
Originally Posted by jetboy View Post
I have an infusion setup for making my laminate parts (for sailboats). It could also work - but it's going to be a real PITA not to screw up the pretty surface finish. You'll have to coat the entire surface with plastic - you could use packing tape. And make sure there's no voids in it. Then you could infuse it from the back side. It'll fill every void. Then you'd have to re-trim all of the holes. I don't think it's worth it. But it's something you could do.

You might be able to do some sort of spot infusion Packing tape on the front. fill the hole with epoxy on the back side, then just use a shop vac to apply some vacuum to the area on and off and work the epoxy into the voids. A lot like how the windshield chip repair tools work. I'd vacuum cycle half a dozen times to get the epoxy into the void, then clamp it flat with a block of wood on each side so it cures with a flat front surface.

Good luck.
That's bad ass and I follow what you mean exactly... Thanks for the taking the time.
06-05-2019 07:23 AM
jetboy I have an infusion setup for making my laminate parts (for sailboats). It could also work - but it's going to be a real PITA not to screw up the pretty surface finish. You'll have to coat the entire surface with plastic - you could use packing tape. And make sure there's no voids in it. Then you could infuse it from the back side. It'll fill every void. Then you'd have to re-trim all of the holes. I don't think it's worth it. But it's something you could do.

You might be able to do some sort of spot infusion Packing tape on the front. fill the hole with epoxy on the back side, then just use a shop vac to apply some vacuum to the area on and off and work the epoxy into the voids. A lot like how the windshield chip repair tools work. I'd vacuum cycle half a dozen times to get the epoxy into the void, then clamp it flat with a block of wood on each side so it cures with a flat front surface.

Good luck.
05-20-2019 03:57 PM
frjiolee Thanks for the kind words. We'll give it shot.

Another area I'm rolling around in the head trying to figure out is a small fix needed in regards to my carbon fiber tailgate and dash.

I had a couple parts cut before bailing on CA in aerospace scrap from my buddy who works for Scaled Composites. It's intended to be both dash and tailgate area.

Issue is that even with very decent pre-preg, the carbon delaminated slightly around various holes while being cut on the water jet.

You can see it around most of the holes in the tailgate... I was match drilling the support structure in this pic.

In many cases it's only at the hole and I'll probably be able to get away with it via some fender washers when I bolt this down. The challenge is that a few areas of delamination are bigger (2" is about the max) and break out of the edges. I'm trying to figure out whether I can use syringes or some such to force some epoxy in there and clamp it back closed.

Apparently guys do something similar things on a much larger scale with RVs and the like.


05-20-2019 05:46 AM
rooster18 I was going to suggest some shoe polish. The nice thick boot polish kind. That’s the route I’d try first.
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