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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
THANKS PHOTOBUCKET FOR BREAKING ALL OF MY IMAGES! All of the pictures that were here (and a few more) are on my blog at:

3. Bodywork Phase 1 - Flared Fenders
4. Bodywork Phase 2 - Paint


The Goal:
Fit, at least a 9" front / 10" rear, as easily as a stock MR2 fits 8/9 (~ same offset front and rear), and without needing much if any tire stretch.

Additionally, I want some room to push the front wheels out a little with longer control arms. This will move the steering axis out and should alleviate some of the rubbing common when fitting larger diameter front tires.

Also, I want to keep at least some of the "edge" that the stock fenders have, rather than pulling them so much that it disappears as so often happens. I want it to look "almost" stock :)

The Car:
A completely stock 91 NA in very rough condition, and my wrecked 91 Turbo for experimenting on. Having something to try things and make mistakes has been critical to this process. It turns out, my first guess at how the metal will move has been wrong more often than right, especially early on.

The Starting Point:
10th Anniversary Cobra Replicas *Cough* Mustang wheels *Cough* in 17x9 +30 (+24 with spacer) and 17x10.5 +28, with 235/40-17 fronts and 275/40-17 rears (Federal ss595 tires). They are a little on the heavy side, but considering the price ($500 for a full set), it's hard to complain too much. These will be my street setup, at least initially. I'm not yet sure if I will get another set for race rubber, or get something else.

The car is lowered 1.25" from stock 91 ride height, and will probably end up another 1/4" or so lower when done. In these pictures, the rear tire is touching the un-rolled fender lip, so it's not going any lower. Camber is approximately -2° front and rear. I will likely run a bit more than that, especially in the front, but I didn't want to have to rely on that for fit. Keep my options open.









Measured from a straight edge placed across the wheel, they are poking ~5/8" front and rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
First off, grind paint off to bare metal where the fenders will be cut, for easier welding later.




Remove paint and drill spot welds holding the rear inner and outer fenders together. I found that I really like the "end mill style" spot weld cutters (like these). They leave a nice flat surface on the inner panel, and if you are careful it's pretty easy to cut the weld without drilling through the inner panel.

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
And start cutting and pulling.



Cutting the box structure inside the front fender is key to letting it move outward.


Three slits cut in the rear inner fender allow it to be hammered up and out to meet the new fender contour and provide extra tire clearance when the suspension moves.


I missed getting a good picture of the cuts in the rear outer, but here they are after starting to re-weld.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
A closeup of one of the welds, with a piece of sheet metal cut and bent to wrap around the lip of the fender. The tighter the fit on these pieces, the easier they are to weld. You can also see the piece of copper through the gap. This makes it so much easier to prevent burn-through when welding on thin sheet metal like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
And here's where it sits now.






Measured from points inside on the chassis to the fender lip I pulled about 1", but part of that was up, not out. Measured from the straight edge, the tires are now tucked about 1/8", so total gain is about 3/4" out.

Lots of work still to go, but overall I'm happy with the progress.
 

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Hi Alex- Was there a specific reason why you chose to "pie" cut your fenders rather than using the "Radius" method? It would seem like everyone has their own method of madness but your in the thick of it all and just wanted to hear thoughts on both methods.

-J
 

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Alex, looking good so far. I was actually thinking about going through the same process a couple weeks ago since I'm going to be doing body and paint to one of the TWO's here soon.

Did you really find it a need to cut the rears as far down on the fore and aft sides as you did?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Alex- Was there a specific reason why you chose to "pie" cut your fenders rather than using the "Radius" method? It would seem like everyone has their own method of madness but your in the thick of it all and just wanted to hear thoughts on both methods.

-J
Well, this is the first time I have done something like this, so take it for what it's worth, but it seems to me that the radius method would be more applicable to fenders that already have a more pronounced flare, such as the MKI fenders. Also, it helps that the MKI fenders are one continuous piece of steel down to the ground. On the MKII, your radius cut would have to end at the bumpers / side vents / molding strips. In the rear especially, I think pie cuts will work better.

The pie cuts also cause the fenders to pull up a little in addition to out. I'm sure some people won't like that since it will increase the fender gap a bit. But that also improves tire clearance, and should make a larger diameter tire look a little bit more natural. Radial cuts will make the fender pull down and out, which really isn't the direction I wanted to go.

Alex, looking good so far. I was actually thinking about going through the same process a couple weeks ago since I'm going to be doing body and paint to one of the TWO's here soon.

Did you really find it a need to cut the rears as far down on the fore and aft sides as you did?
The lowest one on the back might not have been needed, but I did that one before I did the upper one on the back. Generally speaking, those are needed to allow the metal to move, otherwise even with the cuts at the top the front and back portions of the fender are just too well constrained. It's actually pretty surprising how small of a movement at one area might be needed to enable another area to move a lot. For example, the cuts on the front and back only opened up by maybe 1/8", but without that small movement the top would barely move at all.
 

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The pie cuts also cause the fenders to pull up a little in addition to out. I'm sure some people won't like that since it will increase the fender gap a bit. But that also improves tire clearance, and should make a larger diameter tire look a little bit more natural. Radial cuts will make the fender pull down and out, which really isn't the direction I wanted to go.
^^^ This is the exact reason why I'll be doing Pie cuts too if I end up doing it. Although Radial cuts are easier to do, the results aren't the same. With the Radial cuts, it really depends on how much natural flare there is to the fender prior to cutting. The more vertical the area is that you are radial cutting, the more the gap just pushes the lip down and the less out. More horizontal the area being cut, the more it will push the lip out and less down.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What are you going to fill the gaps with? Wouldn't a pie cut be easier to fill with metal?
The gaps in the fenders where I cut it? Small strips of metal, and at some of the smaller points it will be filled with weld filler. The piece of copper backer makes it much easier to do this than it would be otherwise.

If by pie cuts you mean removing a triangle of metal instead of just cutting a slit, I wanted to keep the amount of metal to be added as low as possible, otherwise I would have that much more new metal to shape.
 

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If by pie cuts you mean removing a triangle of metal instead of just cutting a slit, I wanted to keep the amount of metal to be added as low as possible, otherwise I would have that much more new metal to shape.
True...you don't have an english wheel?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
True...you don't have an english wheel?
No, neither my metal working skills or tools are that advanced. Hammer and dolly is where those sorts of tools start and end, and my experience with that is limited and entirely self taught.
 

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that looks cool. Basically you're cutting from the bottom to top, pulling it out, then welding the gap...sound about right?

Silly thought- I once thought about cutting off existing fenders on another "bad" car and somehow welding/fab'n/blending them over the fenders on the good car maybe a wide body, but retaining the oem lines... I don't know, crazy thought..
 

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that looks cool. Basically you're cutting from the bottom to top, pulling it out, then welding the gap...sound about right?

Silly thought- I once thought about cutting off existing fenders on another "bad" car and somehow welding/fab'n/blending them over the fenders on the good car maybe a wide body, but retaining the oem lines... I don't know, crazy thought..
If you can find one that match, it works well. The problem is finding ones that match. One to real commonly done ones like this is on the MG's (I've actually done two of them to date). People use either the flares from the old VW rabbit's or the Dodge Omni's and weld them on to cut MG fender / quarters and gain about 1.5" per side. When done, it looked factory cause the flares matched up very well to the MG bodies.

I've tried looking for something along those lines for the TWO but have not been able to find anything that even seem's close to a potential candidate.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've tried looking for something along those lines for the TWO but have not been able to find anything that even seem's close to a potential candidate.
The other issue is with the bumpers and side vents being part of the fender arch, you would need to continue the flare into those. By pulling out the structure under those items they will follow along.
 

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The other issue is with the bumpers and side vents being part of the fender arch, you would need to continue the flare into those. By pulling out the structure under those items they will follow along.
totally see your point. I was actually thinking cutting off rears of an MR2 that was dead and welding those in place, but again, I'm sure that would be a tough like up process. It was just a thought. I've seen other fenders fab'd into the MR2's though and they do look pretty good.
 
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