After seeing the Daddy Long Legs LJ from Poison Spyder sometime early last year I knew I wanted to use Poison Spyder's DeFender XC's. It took a while, but I finally got to order them last week, as well as the Spyder inserts and the aluminum inner fender kit. I found the best deal at Northridge 4x4 - ordered them on Friday and they were dropped shipped directly from Poison Spyder and got to my house in Georgia on Wednesday. I think I was more excited about getting these than I was my Rock Krawler long arm kit.
I never could find anyone's step by step install of these fenders. There may be a write up somewhere, but really what I was looking for was an install done by an average person, with common garage tools, in a garage like my own. In the back of my mind I wasn't 100% sure that I could do the install and make it look "good", but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I don't consider myself a super advanced installer / fabricator by any means, but I did install my Rock Krawler X-Factor Plus Long Arm kit on the floor of my garage, so although I work slow I can usually figure things out.
So I started the install early on a Saturday morning and started by reading through the instructions, which were pretty short. First up was removing the hood, and my daughter helped me out with that.
Next was removing the tank for the windshield wiper fluid, and then the two horns.
And then I removed this HUMONGEOUS evap canister assembly contraption. As I was removing this I was thinking how in the world and I going to get all this stuff to fit in here after the new fenders were on.
The fender was held on with I think 4 bolts into the firewall, and maybe 6 bolts in the radiator support, all of which were 13mm. I was able to use my impact, extension, and swivel joint with the 13mm to make the removal go a little quicker.
It would have been pretty easy to remove the fender, except the rocker knockers extending past the tub kept them from pulling straight out, but I got them out without having to remove or do anything to the rocker knockers.
Next I removed the battery and the plate that it sits on, as well as the factory air box, and then the passenger side fender.
It was at this point that my wife and my brother were questioning what I was doing, probably thinking I was crazy, haha. And finally I got to test fit the driver side fender, and it fit like a glove.
Then I installed the Spyder inserts just to see what they would look like, then removed them to continue the install.
It took me a while to decide about painting them - rattle can black, color match the silver, powder coat, etc.... I finally decided on just priming them & spray painting them with the Rustoleum Semi-gloss from Wal-Mart. I had good luck with painting my rocker knockers that way. I wiped them down with Acetone, did a couple coats of primer, then several coats of semi-gloss black.
This was on Sunday afternoon, and I was super excited about how well the paint turned out. And it was great that it was in the low 60s for the painting.
At this point I was feeling really good about the whole process. I let them dry and after they got to the point that I could handle them, I loosely installed the driver side fender. After I got it in place I realized I had missed a few spots. By this time the sun had gone down and it had cooled off quite a bit. I figured I could just do another coat while the fender was in place......and this happened.
Needless to say I was sick to my stomach. I've never had that happen before, and still am not sure why it did, so I decided to leave that issue until the next day and I went ahead and loosely installed the passenger side fender and called it a night.
The next day I started back on the passenger side and installed the battery tray bracket that came with the fenders using the factory hardware.
Then I installed the new inner fenders and the spyder insert.
In this photo you can see the fact that I have the 1.25" body lift installed. If not for that the fit on these inner fenders would be perfect. (the good news is when the hood is on and closed you don't even notice the gap)
Here you can see that the A/C line sits just above the inner fender with just a little persuasion, and the fuse box in this photo is just sitting there, not mounted yet.
After getting the passenger side in place I moved back to the driver side and removed the fender, sanded the "crinkle" that I caused in the paint, and and then repainted it. While it did end up being much better than it was, it still wasn't as perfect as the passenger side, but it was bad enough that I wanted to start over on it, so I put it back on and installed the inner fender.
Now that I had both fenders installed and the inner fenders installed, it was time to do the thing I was most nervous about - cutting the hood. I decided to use painter's tape to tape off the fenders since I knew I'd be scratching the fool out of the fenders otherwise.
I had asked for a few pointers from a few people that had some experience with the DeFender XC's. Justin from Rock Krawler (Stretch_LJ on Instagram), said he cut the body line on the hood and then trimmed to fit from there. John Grounds, who works at PS now, suggested taping the surface to be cut, which was definitely a good idea and kept the paint from being scratched during the cutting.
I wasn't sure what was going to be the best tool to use to do the cutting. I had an air saw that works pretty good, but my little pancake compresser comes on after 3 seconds of using it, so that wasn't a realistic option. I didn't have a sawzall so I decided on my Makita jigsaw with a metal cutting blade. I started out attempting to cut with it sitting on top of the tape on the fenders, which was not a good idea, so after cutting this much I moved it onto the box that the fenders came in.