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Unread 02-09-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
mycreativename
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Removing WJ Front Fender Write-Up (Pic Heavy)

My front driver side fender had been rusting from the inside out for quite some time; finally the bubbling was getting to where it was breaking through the clear coat. I decided that rather than crawl up into the fender as I had done in previous attempts to slow the corrosion, I would take the fender off and paint the back of it where I would be able to easily sand and paint. Up here in WNY (or the North East US for that matter) it isn’t a matter of stopping corrosion, just fighting to slow it down.

Anyways, before taking the fender off, I searched for a write up on it, hoping to have a guide should I run into any speed bumps such as hidden fasteners or the like. I was not able to find any decent ones, so I took pictures and intended on doing a write up on it for you guys .

Tools Needed
- Flat Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- 10mm Open Ended/Ratcheting Wrench
- 10mm Socket
- T-30 Torx Bit

You’ll want to begin by pulling your cleaned, waxed WJ into the nice warm garage so you don’t freeze your *** off outside in the 20 degree weather, hah.

Removal of Fender

Jack your Jeep up, chock the wheels and take the wheel off. Yes you probably could accomplish this with the wheel on if you had to, some people will tell you that you can, but these people are not your friends, they just want to see you suffer, hah. If you’re me, at this point, take a look at your front rotors and realize that a brake upgrade is in your near future.


Anyways, go into the fender and pull out the push fasteners from the inner fender cover, they come out easiest with the proper tool, but a flat bladed screwdriver will do. Drag that out of your way, careful not to get all the dirt and garbage that is inevitably shoved up in between the inner and outer fender, into your eyes as I did looking up into there as I moved it around. While you’re in here, reach into the rear of the fender (towards the driver’s door) and pull out a piece of foam that is in there. If you can’t get a decent grip, you can push it from the other side, from inside the driver’s door hinge area.


Now in the back of the wheel well, on the rocker panel cladding (not sure if this is the same for Limited models with the painted ones) remove the Phillips headed screw.


You’ll have to pull the cladding away from the body to reach the two bolts from underneath the body that go through the bottom of the panel. I found that by removing the front-most square pop clip inside the door frame, this task was made much easier.


Behind the cladding, there will be two 10mm/T-30Torx bolts (you can do either, I found the 10mm ratcheting wrench to work fantastically here). You will have to take both of these out.


If you ever happen to catch some of these on sale, get them. I was always the one saying I wouldn’t need them, didn’t mind lifting the wrench off the bolt and putting it back on, but these really do make so many spots so much easier to work in

The next bolts I would undo, are located inside the front bumper cover, yet you can undo them easily so long as they aren’t rust welded in so bad that you strip and break the bolts… (Yea that was a ton of fun for me, ended up taking my electric impact gun to get them off after destroying both the Torx head as well as rounding the bolt, all the while using the torch trying to heat it enough to release them.) As a result of how bad they were in there, I had to remove the bumper cover to get to them with any sort of leverage.


This was after I had already broke them off

Now I’m going to mention this right now, on the back of the header panel/thing that holds the headlights in, there is a sort of pop clip type thing that needs to be undone before the fender is removed. This doesn’t come into play now unless you can get it to stay unclipped, just remember it for later when you’re trying to remove the fender and it just seems to be stuck on something but you don’t quite know what.


Now go back to where you removed the foam insert, the one in front of the driver’s door hinge. There are two gray colored studs that you need to loosen just enough to slip the fender out.


Now the final push, the bolts that need to be removed along the edge of the hood. The front two of them need to actually be taken out, while the one under (don’t worry there’s an access hole, this is where the Torx bit comes in) the hood’s hinge just needs to be loosened enough for the fender to be pulled out.


At this stage, you should be able to pull the fender away from the body and carefully lift the lower piece (where the cladding is) up and out, it took some flexing of the plastic cladding down there for me to be able to get it out, but it wasn’t particularly difficult.


Now just to quickly run through what I personally did at this point. (Respectively Pictured Left to Right)
- Sanded down the rusted areas best I could with either wire wheel or sandpaper
- Covered the rusted areas with some Naval Jelly
- After that was cleaned up, used some Rustoleum Rust Converter spray
- Then over the spray on the fender I sloppily applied some Rustoleum with a brush while in the wheel well I used up what was left of a can of Undercoating
- Cleaned out all the gunk that had accumulated inside the rail on the top of the body there
- BREAKTIME! Haha

Putting Fender Back On

Pretty much just put the fender back and do the fastening process in reverse, though you will want to NOT tighten everything up until you’ve made sure all your gaps are in the correct range. For example, if the panel is too far back, you’ll bend it in with your door the first time you open it if you’re not careful. Edge the bottom down in first when placing the panel back on.


Take your super-expensive-hightech panel gapper and before tightening anything down, try to move the panel far enough forward that the gap in between the door and it is large enough that contact will not happen in any area. It will probably take a few tries to get it right, just make sure to check all clearances before cranking it down and ripping open a door.


For the record, the paint was scraped off there before I started, but that is obviously a problem area

And I believe I’ve covered everything then. If I’ve left anything out or made any glaring errors, please tell me so I can edit it. This was written over the period of a day when I had the chance to do so, so my mind might have told me I got something down that I really didn’t.

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Unread 02-09-2012, 06:52 PM   #2
billzcat1
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Good write up! Thanks for contributing.

PS: that rotor is gross!

PPS: it's always nice when you pull off a fender or pull out a seat and find a hidden Baked Pie or a treasure trove of french fries for a snack.
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Unread 02-09-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
mycreativename
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1
PPS: it's always nice when you pull off a fender or pull out a seat and find a hidden Baked Pie or a treasure trove of french fries for a snack.
I personally found it very considerate of Jeep to leave such goodies hidden behind the panels
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Unread 05-01-2012, 09:59 AM   #4
VA-WJ
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Thanks for the write up! I have the same problem. Rust bubbling from behind the fender to the front. I attempted to remove the fender in February but I couldn't get the stud loose with the tools I had. Now that it is warmer I will give it another shot! My 10mm socket was not deep enough to allow me to grab the bolt on the stud hidden behind the fender to break it free.

Maybe we should compare "rust" notes since my WJ came from NorthWestern PA on Lake Erie.
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Unread 05-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
mycreativename
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA-WJ
Thanks for the write up! I have the same problem. Rust bubbling from behind the fender to the front. I attempted to remove the fender in February but I couldn't get the stud loose with the tools I had. Now that it is warmer I will give it another shot! My 10mm socket was not deep enough to allow me to grab the bolt on the stud hidden behind the fender to break it free.

Maybe we should compare "rust" notes since my WJ came from NorthWestern PA on Lake Erie.
No problem, I hope it helps.

And yea, that's right down the shore from me up here in Buffalo. I feel like by the time I'm done with my WJ, I'll be fully qualified in the art of rust warfare, haha.

We'll definitely compare strategies sometime!
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Unread 05-01-2012, 02:52 PM   #6
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this should be linked to in the FAQ.
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Unread 05-01-2012, 03:24 PM   #7
Bake1tEazy
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Very informative write up. Wish my Jeep had some free goodies when I took it apart
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Unread 01-23-2014, 08:38 PM   #8
WarMace
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Thanks for the writup.

My only issue is the plastic push rivets all broke, every one. I'm going to have to track down replacements.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 12:20 AM   #9
mycreativename
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarMace View Post
Thanks for the writup.

My only issue is the plastic push rivets all broke, every one. I'm going to have to track down replacements.
Your welcome!

Check your local hardware store's hardware aisle, I saw some there that were meant to be universal, might find one that fits well enough and save some money. If that fails, I believe there are websites out there specifically dedicated to selling just those types of fasteners. I'm on my phone right now so I don't have it, but I swore I had one bookmarked on my computer.

Sent from my blimp fortress using my carrier pigeons.
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That being said, it's like boinkin' your sister...just because you can, doesn't mean you should." - Double E
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Unread 01-25-2014, 10:13 AM   #10
WarMace
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I ended up buying 100 for $7 rather than $1ea at home depot.
I see them used thorough the vehicle so the extras might prove useful.


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017UBHQS/..._M3T1_ST1_dp_1

Only downside is I have to wait till Monday for them to arrive.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 10:31 AM   #11
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Ooo, nice find! Yea I had no idea how much they were at the hardware store, I just know I saw some when I was looking for bolts for something else.
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Unread 01-29-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
WarMace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycreativename View Post
Ooo, nice find! Yea I had no idea how much they were at the hardware store, I just know I saw some when I was looking for bolts for something else.
Just an update from the garage, the hardware I linked was not an exact replacement to the ones I pulled out but still fit nice and tight.



Thanks for the write-up!

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Last edited by WarMace; 01-29-2014 at 08:27 PM..
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Unread 04-21-2014, 01:21 PM   #13
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is it the same for limited edition models???
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Unread 04-21-2014, 01:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycreativename View Post
Ooo, nice find! Yea I had no idea how much they were at the hardware store, I just know I saw some when I was looking for bolts for something else.
Www.clipsandfasteners.com probably has some. I saw some exact replacements not too long ago, but my mind's filing system is not what it used to be. I should have written it down.

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Unread 04-21-2014, 01:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by aiden8 View Post
is it the same for limited edition models???

Yes it should be.
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