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Unread 11-15-2008, 01:37 AM   #1
89SAFARIXJ
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Write Up: Cutting & Folding Rear Fenders

So this is my first write up ever. Hopefully it will help those of you struggling to take the blade to your Cherokee. A night of wheeling with no bumpstops and no rear trimming left me with something I didn't want. This:

This may not be an issue in your case, but for me, I just grabbed a pair of beefy plyers and a fat slotted screwdriver. I went on my way prying until I could get a shape that somewhat resembled the original:

After my personal fender issue was taken care of, I grabbed a few trusty tools. I used a Jig/Sabre Saw with a 24TPI(Teeth Per Inch) blade. You can find these blades at your local hardware store. I used the same blades for my front fenders and it did awesome cutting through the sheet metal and making the turns. I also grabbed a rubber mallet and a regular hammer:

The Jig/Sabre Saw was my weapon of choice because to me, it is a little less violent than the well known sawzall. that thing seems to fly off the handle and destroy everything in its path. So the Jig/Sabre saw it was:

Cutting and folding the rear fenders is simple and doesn't take too long at all. it can be done in an hour if you have the tools and the know how. The concept involves cutting slits in the part of the fender that was used to mount the factory flairs so that you have several tabs that are easy to fold up under the fender well using either a rubber mallet or hammer. There are a few things the fender cutter needs to be aware of though. First of all, don't cut through the pinch welds. These hold the rear quarter panel and the rear fender well together. If you cut through these you will end up with a gap that allows mud to freely fling into your cargo area. Not my idea of a good time. Secondly, don't cut too high! This was a mistake that I made, being uneducated in rear fender trimming. If you cut into or above the bend in the fender that you are going to fold at, you will see the cuts you made after you fold the tabs under. It's ugly, trust me. This next picture shows the pinch welds circled in green and shows a cut that I made too high in a red square:

Here is a quote by EricsXJ to solidify about the cuts going too high.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricsXJ View Post
The number one mistake people make is they cut too high up and when they fold the flaps in the fold doesn't happen at the top of the cut and leaves it showing.
If you don't know EricsXJ, he is a moderator on JeepForum and he is known for his Cherokee smarts. This picture shows a little closer up a cut that was made too high:

I went up past the bend where I planned to fold at. It is a little hard to see, but it made for an ugly fender:

Also remember, you don't have to make a million cuts so that you have a bunch of tiny tabs to fold under. The straighter the spot on the fender is that you are going to bend, the less cuts you need. After I learned a little from the drivers side, I made some of my cuts closer together. For example, on the corners, putting the cuts closer together made it a lot easier to fold and it looke a little better. Although I still cut too high. Here is a couple of pictures of the spacing between the slits I made with the Jig Saw:


In conclusion, keep your cuts closer together on the corners, don't cut too high, and don't hit that nasty little spot welds. Some times they blend in so pay close attention to what your doing! If you do all these things, you should have a pretty good looking rear fender at the end. Just cut some slits with your Jig Saw and smash the tabs you formed back with your rubber mallet or hammer. Sounds easy, right? Well it is, but take your time to make it look good. Because if you don't you will regret it like I do.

Hopefully this can help somebody. Feel free to comment/ridicule.

-Sean

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Unread 11-15-2008, 06:42 AM   #2
portcityXJ
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lets see those finished-cut n' fold pics!

i'll grow some balls hopefully be doing this soon.
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Do they come in any other varieties besides crap?
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Unread 11-15-2008, 11:08 AM   #3
89SAFARIXJ
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the third pic up from the bottom is the finished cut and fold. for mine atleast. as i said, it can be done much better.

-Sean
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Unread 11-15-2008, 12:59 PM   #4
bobfortier
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That is a clear write-up, it goes straight into a folder on my computer and I'll use it when I do mine, thanks a lot
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Unread 11-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #5
nrpalmer32
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yeah this is a great how-to! Sheet metal is sort of hard to get used to with bending, cutting and modifying so you did a good job and it looks good! The only thing that I would add to it is to make sure you put some silicone/waterproof rtv on the back side of the cut metal before you bend it up so that it seals the metal where the paint chips off from moisture. Very good write up and good pics tho!
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Unread 11-15-2008, 07:50 PM   #6
89SAFARIXJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrpalmer32 View Post
yeah this is a great how-to! Sheet metal is sort of hard to get used to with bending, cutting and modifying so you did a good job and it looks good! The only thing that I would add to it is to make sure you put some silicone/waterproof rtv on the back side of the cut metal before you bend it up so that it seals the metal where the paint chips off from moisture. Very good write up and good pics tho!
hey thanks palmer! i thought i heard something about soing that once, but then never heard of it again. same stuff as they use when putting differential covers back on? i dont know why ineed it though. i could understand for keeping the folds up under the fender well. but they are pretty well tucked up under. i dont think they are coming back out. any other reasons i need it? sorry, not following....

-Sean
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Unread 11-15-2008, 09:29 PM   #7
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Nice write-up. I'm adding it to the Tech Write-up / FAQ sticky.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 09:46 PM   #8
xjpilot
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sealing off the folded section in the back will help keep moisture out, as well as helping to prevent your paint from chipping any further. I used black silicone calk and it turned out great.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:03 PM   #9
89SAFARIXJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricsXJ View Post
Nice write-up. I'm adding it to the Tech Write-up / FAQ sticky.
hey thanks eric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xjpilot View Post
sealing off the folded section in the back will help keep moisture out, as well as helping to prevent your paint from chipping any further. I used black silicone calk and it turned out great.
alright cool. i just need a day to get an angle grinder, a flap disc or two, some rtv or some black silicone caulking, maybe some por-15, maybe some jb weld. itll take a little while to get them the way i like them. im a perfectionist and not pleased with how mine turned out. i could have done better.

-Sean
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:15 PM   #10
EricsXJ
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I don't think yours look bad at all. One way to cover up any small imperfections is to use a thicker bedliner coating rather than just paint. Since I Herculined my interior, I used the left overs on the rear fenderwell and up over the folded area.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:29 PM   #11
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it took me about 14 hours to get my rears the way I liked. I relocated my stock flares though, which was like 100 times harder than just trimming.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:33 PM   #12
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can u attach the flares after doing this
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:37 PM   #13
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yeah, but it takes alot of work. Flareless isn't my style.... but I like big tires with little lift, so trimming was necessary.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:38 PM   #14
EricsXJ
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can u attach the flares after doing this
I'm going to say No on this for the stock flares although someone probably has found a way. There's nowhere to bolt the clips to.
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Unread 11-15-2008, 10:53 PM   #15
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yeah, you've got to drill your own holes, and try to manipulate the the flare brackets to get them into the holes. It was a pain, and I ended up needing another rear drivers side flare because i "manipulated" it too hard I actually cut and folded about 1/2" above the spot welds too. I'll see if I can get some pictures for you tomorrow
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