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Unread 01-29-2010, 10:49 PM   #1
Jerry Bransford
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New lightweight classic CJ-style flattie fenders for the Wrangler

Recent aftermarket Jeep product introductions indicate a real change in how they are now being designed for our Jeeps vs. the “old days”. Old designs made it easy to bolt enough steel on to turn our Jeeps into heavyweight hogs on the trail. Count me as one whose Jeep became overweight over the years. It has only been since the last six months or so when I started removing steel and replacing it with lighter aluminum parts from Savvy to get my then overweight TJ back down to its previous fighting weight.

So thankfully, a few manufacturers of aftermarket accessories have gotten smart and have gone in a new and much better direction with their products… light-weight but still strong & functional. Innovative and creative.

So in this thread, I’m pleased to have been asked to introduce a new company, Modern Classic Enterprises and install their first product, a complete vintage-looking Flattie Fender replacement kit for TJs and LJs. Founding partners in MCE are long time members of this forum and like many of us, live and breathe Jeeps.

So finally, cool-looking light, flexible, & inexpensive front flattie fenders for the masses. Lightweight, flexible, easily replaceable in the unlikely event you break one, and get this… $159.99 complete for both sides. If you manage to break a fender while grinding your way through a rock garden, individual replacement piece-parts are only $44.99!

What are they made of? A very flexible yet tough ABS plastic. ABS is tough stuff and a very good choice for fenders that expect to see much abuse.

Factoid... football helmets are made from ABS, it must be tough stuff.

How flexible? Very, take a look.



Can it take trail abuse? Check it out…





Benefits of the Modern Classic Enterprises ABS flattie CJ-style fender...

Light weight
Flexible strong ABS
Won’t damage or tweak the tub when you smack it into a rock like a steel tube fender can
Replaceable in minutes if you manage to break one
Low cost. $159.99. Compare that to the cost of tube fenders
Won’t rust if you scrape it up

So after years of coveting a steel tube fender, after all they do look cool, I finally accepted that what some of my knowledgeable friends was saying was true… that steel tube fenders can damage or tweak the tub. Not good. So when Mike at MCE contacted me to tell me about a new replacement fender design and told me about the above benefits, I was all over it. They couldn’t even send me photos until they got into the patent stage so the wait for the first photos was frustrating. Yep, the design will be patented.

So here goes… the kit arrived very well package and I was stoked. The top parts in the below photo cover the side of the wheel well after it gets trimmed. The bottom parts are the new flattie fender top pieces.



I wanted to paint mine to match the Jeep so I used Krylon Fusion paint after carefully cleaning the plastic with thinner per Krylon’s directions. They look great in their natural black finish so painting them is strictly optional.



Here they are freshly painted sitting on the old fender.



So here’s the “Before”. Dang, look how wide my TJ is, we’ll be fixing that. It’s hard to see here but I’ve had to jack my fenders back up several times after a few run-ins with rocks. Steel fenders can be a PITA on some trails.



So the installation begins.

Remove the old flares first that are held in place by a half-dozen screws or so.



Using a straight edge, follow the edge of the wheel well up & mark it with a felt tip pin. That line you mark is where you’ll trim the fenders. Directions are very clear, mostly, on how to make such cuts. That first cut is the hardest.





Joe Bertain (Humboldt) below, always a helpful friend, came over to spy on what I was doing so I put him to work making the first cut along that line. Nearly anything can be used to make the cut… hacksaw, jigsaw, cut-off wheel on an air tool, sawzall, whatever you have.



I finished the cut up on top with a jigsaw which really did a nice job cutting the curved part.



Here’s what it looks like after the cut is done as Joe holds the old fender for me. Pretty cool looking.



You have a few threaded inserts the fender flares were screwed into. Grind them down flush with the body off using a Dremel tool, angle grinder, grinding wheel on your drill motor, whatever. This is where the side piece attaches so it needs to be flat.



Looking good, the new fender fits perfectly during this trial fit. You can see where the edge of the grill was painted with rattle can paint, removing the old fender leaves an unpainted edge so a little paint is in order here.



Drilling the first of five small holes per top piece. The top is held in by an allen-head stainless steel machine screw & nyloc nut with four push-in plastic body trim holders. This is what makes it so quick to remove & replace if that should ever become necessary (for you abusive types).



I didn’t really just hammer it in like this. I used a punch between the hammer and push-in holder so it wouldn’t mar the surface. But you can’t hold a hammer, punch, and camera all at the same time you are taking a picture so there.



This shows all four of the push-pins with the side trim piece as well as the hood latch installed.



I reinstalled my Savvy rocker guard over the top of the trim piece. I’ve been really happy with the design during the installation process, it’s innovative and easily installed.

Finished with the fenders, now it’s time to install the side markers and front turn signals. I think it looks awesome so far.



A 3 1/8” hole was required for the JK turn signals I used. What’s cool about the JK turn signals is not only do they have that classic CJ-look, they accept the OE TJ turn signal bulb holders without any mods needed. Thanks to Mike/GzrGlide for that awesome JK turn signal idea and help on how to do it. I drilled mine so the hole is centered under the headlight instead of centered left-to-right in the space. That allows the turn signals to be outboard of things like driving lights, a winch, tow hooks, etc. so they aren’t blocked.

I retained the three ribs on the sides of the JK lights & after notching them & placing corresponding notches into the grill, mounted them in such a way that a 30 degree twist locks them in place without having to use RTV.




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Unread 01-29-2010, 10:50 PM   #2
Jerry Bransford
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After smoothing the hole’s rough edges with a file or rotary smoothing tool, be sure to touch up the raw edge with paint to prevent rust. You can see the three small notches I cut to accept the JK turn signal ribs which after notching the ribs up front, allow the mre JK turn signal to lock into place on the grill with about a 30* turn.



I drilled the back of that opening so I could pass the front turn signal wiring through, spliced it together, and mounted the original turn signal light socket into the new JK turn signal. I think the lights have a very classic look which matches the looks of the new flattie fenders. I guess all this is pretty much paying homage to the CJ look which I personally like very much.



The JK turn signal enclosures I used came from www.rockauto.com/ & their part numbers are 18603400 (left) & 18603300 (right). They are $11.02 each plus shipping.

Next come the side marker lights which worried me from day one. Then I discovered the LED lights from my old fender flares were the perfect size & shape.



Humboldt (Joe Bertain) came up with the perfect idea when he saw them on how to mount them so they were recessed & flush with the edge of the new fenders. That way, they aren’t likely to get scraped off by the rocks. I trimmed the edge of the lights & with tubular aluminum spacers, set them flush against slots I cut into the plastic. Mr. Dremel came to the rescue here and together with a bit of filing, it came out fine. Not perfect but good enough for me.





The above LED side marker lights are available from http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/cm/cm_HD40106.htm

The below photo taken from underneath the fender shows that the hood latch's OE reinforcing bracket is still there. The hood latch remains as strong after this mod as it was when it came from the factory.



So here are the final “After” pictures. I think it turned out great.







All in all, the guys at Modern Classic Enterprises have come up with something I think is going to sell like hotcakes. At only $159.99 for the entire kit and $44.99 for individual replacement piece-parts should you hardcore types manage to somehow break one, they're a bargain. Light, flexible, a great classic look, inexpensive and easily installed.

I’m loving mine. My 19 year-old son took one look after I was done and pronounced them “bad-***”. That about sums them up!

Check them out at www.modernclassicenterprises.com/
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:27 PM   #3
WAC_Jeeper
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Thanks!

Thanks for the great write-up, Jerry! Jason (ziptie) and I are really glad you liked them and everything worked out for you!
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97 TJ, MCE fenders and flares, heavily used and reliable on 35's.



MCE, LLC

Patented Off-Road Plastic "FLEXIBLE FENDER" - made in the USA - A Modern Twist on a Classic Icon

www.flexiblefenders.com






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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:30 PM   #4
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Cool product - I have a question though. A lot of metal is removed from around the hood latch when you cut off the fender. Is there a tendency for some upward buckling on the fender as you latch down the hood.

(I should go outside and check the LJ to see if that area is reinforced - but it's cold out and typing is easier )
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:37 PM   #5
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That's pretty sweet. Good idea, and from the pictures it looks good as well!
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:38 PM   #6
LJameson
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If you look closely, you can see a bracket underneath the latch. So yes, it's still reinforced.

I'm normally not a huge fan of flatfenders, but I REALLY like these. Now I know what to do if I ever mangle up my fenders.
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repete View Post
Cool product - I have a question though. A lot of metal is removed from around the hood latch when you cut off the fender. Is there a tendency for some upward buckling on the fender as you latch down the hood.

(I should go outside and check the LJ to see if that area is reinforced - but it's cold out and typing is easier )
There is a significant reinforcing piece under there as the factory sheetmetal would be insufficiently strong as well.
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:46 PM   #8
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Love the idea and Jerry they look great. I just want to see how they hold up after some trail abuse and I may have me some new fenders soon!!!!
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:56 PM   #9
WAC_Jeeper
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Thanks for the compliments!

I forgot to mention, we have a little video on our website that gives an example of how they work.

www.modernclassicenterprises.com


thanks,

Mike
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97 TJ, MCE fenders and flares, heavily used and reliable on 35's.



MCE, LLC

Patented Off-Road Plastic "FLEXIBLE FENDER" - made in the USA - A Modern Twist on a Classic Icon

www.flexiblefenders.com






***LIKE us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bothel...547844?ref=sgm***
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:09 AM   #10
Jerry Bransford
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Here's a pic I just ran out into the garage to take to show how the hood latch area is braced from underneath. MCE's design does not remove any of the supporting structure for the hood latch, it's fully intact.

I'll add this photo to the writeup later.
underneath.jpg  
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:15 AM   #11
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Any plans to make a wider version with flares?

Hey, Jerry, I really love the look of your new fenders. And I'm diggin' the JK turn signals.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:18 AM   #12
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Looks great but are these street legal?
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Border Dave View Post
Any plans to make a wider version with flares?
I think I just found my answer on the website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Modern Classic Enterprises, LLC
Can I re-use my factory fender flare?

Yes, a modified OEM flare will work. The flare will need to have the front cut off, and the fasteners will need to be other than stock (along with new fastener holes drilled). However, by doing this, you can achieve more tire coverage if needed. Hopefully this can hold you out until we come out with a custom, matching flare.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:48 AM   #14
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Those are genius! I was about to drop 600 bucks on some steel fenders. Jerry can you take some more pictures of the finished product?

WAC Jeeper are you considering making any other styles? I am really taken with the shape of Gen Right fenders but I like the price point and advantages of plastic.
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Unread 01-30-2010, 12:57 AM   #15
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That came out nice Jerry! Great write up on an innovative product.
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