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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, not that you need permission, but feel free to flame me... :devil:

Does anyone have any experience putting on Bushwacker fender flares on a 97 or later XJ?

I've been reading around and it seems it is difficult to make the rear flares fit without cutting the weld beads at the read, of the rear wheel wells.

I've read the online articles and I've read Bushwackers installation instructions. Now I'd like to have a tie breaker and get the information from a real live person.

Worse case is I'll figure it out while I'm putting them on, but since I have the whole of the Internet to question, why not ask first, right? ;)
 

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Do you have them already, or are you thinking of ordering them (as it says in ur sig)? I know it's kind of off topic but I'm j/w.

Personally, I've seen BW's crumple up on the trails. They do look nice when the tires fill out the wheel wells and such, but they actually become more of a hassle when wheeling, IMO.

As for trimming the rears, if you do the cut and fold method, I believe that you can cut through the weld (vertically) and fold it over. If I'm not mistaken, this will not affect the entire weld, and will not create any problems because you are not removing the entire weld from left to right. Someone with better info may chime in an correct this though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you have them already, or are you thinking of ordering them (as it says in ur sig)? I know it's kind of off topic but I'm j/w.

Personally, I've seen BW's crumple up on the trails. They do look nice when the tires fill out the wheel wells and such, but they actually become more of a hassle when wheeling, IMO.

As for trimming the rears, if you do the cut and fold method, I believe that you can cut through the weld (vertically) and fold it over. If I'm not mistaken, this will not affect the entire weld, and will not create any problems because you are not removing the entire weld from left to right. Someone with better info may chime in an correct this though.
No I have them in my hot little hands. I picked them up last night.

About 99.9% of the time I'll be on pavement (sadly). The 0.1% I'll be off road, I won't be on the rocks, and I won't be near a tree, at least not near enough to bushcrack. Well that's the plan. I've read many opinions on the to flare or not to flare, and I bought these anyway. I want the additional clearance, plus I like the "look" of the XJ with the flares.

Yes I still need to bump stop. I was planing on 33" tires when these wear out in the next 10 years, but I may be going larger. Even more reason for something to reach out and cover the tire edges.

Fold and rivet I've read about. Dunno...
 

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About 99.9% of the time I'll be on pavement (sadly). The 0.1% I'll be off road, I won't be on the rocks, and I won't be near a tree, at least not near enough to bushcrack.
Fair enough... I've seen many people who I wheel break their flares then run off pissed and upset that they just broke something expensive because they didn't think that it'd get ripped off against something like a tree or a rock. I was mainly trying to give you that heads up, but am glad that you were aware it of it to begin with.

The rivet may work well also. Do you or anyone you know, know how to weld? You could always just trim to where you want and then wrestle with the sheetmetal to re-weld it.

How much exactly do you have to trim the fenders to get these on?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Fair enough... I've seen many people who I wheel break their flares then run off pissed and upset that they just broke something expensive because they didn't think that it'd get ripped off against something like a tree or a rock. I was mainly trying to give you that heads up, but am glad that you were aware it of it to begin with.

The rivet may work well also. Do you or anyone you know, know how to weld? You could always just trim to where you want and then wrestle with the sheet metal to re-weld it.

How much exactly do you have to trim the fenders to get these on?
Well I have read that the front is a piece of cake. The problem with the rear is (according to what I have read) the bushwhacker instructions say to cut off "X" amount, but not past the welds. People putting them on say that if you cut like the instructions tell you, you cut past the welds and then you have a gapping hole that you have to weld, unless you did the radial cuts then you can fold over and rivet.

The problem with the welding is it is sheet metal and difficult to weld. If you are not VERY careful you will warp the sheet metal with the heat and you certainly will discolor the paint.

Others that did the radial cut and fold have a very clean look but wind up having to cut 2 inches off the rear flare (the back flares are 2 pieces) so it will fit. I believe they also cut a bit of the trim that goes from the flare into the wheel well.

Personally I just don't think they are doing it right. I don't believe bushwhacker would flat ass lie in their instructions. Of course reading "AND UNDERSTANDING" instructions is truly an art.

I've never welded. Could I do it, of course. In fact I've been mulling over getting a MIG welder (sp?) I think it would be a blast to weld stuff up, and even repair things that break.

Edit: Oh btw, that comment about your buddies getting upset when their crackers crack. Reminds me of my first 4x4, I was 25/26. I was plugging away down a trail pushing small tree limbs out of my way. 4" lift with 36.5" (yes that .5 was important) mudders. Having a blast. Later I was washing my truck and I was like "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!" There were scratches down the side of my beautiful midnight blue Chevy truck! They weren't really bad, but still! Then it dawned on me... tree branches. lol I thought my 4x4 was indestructible I guess.

Dumb ass kids...
 

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Thats basically how i trimmed mine, if you Bushwhackers the new style bumper end caps will have to be trimmed as well
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thats basically how i trimmed mine, if you Bushwhackers the new style bumper end caps will have to be trimmed as well


See that large gap between the rear wheel and my new bumper? :D
 

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your good to go. I have been kicking this idea around as well. Even looking at Rustys Flexy flares
 

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Discussion Starter #10
your good to go. I have been kicking this idea around as well. Even looking at Rustys Flexy flares
People love them or people hate them. Personally I like the look. I think I'm going to wait until Saturday and do all of them at the same time. I was thinking about doing the front one night and the back another night.

Time to act a little grown up and wait. :(
 

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Well I have read that the front is a piece of cake. The problem with the rear is (according to what I have read) the bushwhacker instructions say to cut off "X" amount, but not past the welds. People putting them on say that if you cut like the instructions tell you, you cut past the welds and then you have a gapping hole that you have to weld, unless you did the radial cuts then you can fold over and rivet.

The problem with the welding is it is sheet metal and difficult to weld. If you are not VERY careful you will warp the sheet metal with the heat and you certainly will discolor the paint.

Others that did the radial cut and fold have a very clean look but wind up having to cut 2 inches off the rear flare (the back flares are 2 pieces) so it will fit. I believe they also cut a bit of the trim that goes from the flare into the wheel well.

Personally I just don't think they are doing it right. I don't believe bushwhacker would flat ass lie in their instructions. Of course reading "AND UNDERSTANDING" instructions is truly an art.

I've never welded. Could I do it, of course. In fact I've been mulling over getting a MIG welder (sp?) I think it would be a blast to weld stuff up, and even repair things that break.
The spot welds are in the same 'line' on the fender as the mounting holes for the flares, which means you can only cut maybe about 3/4" off the fenders before you hit the welds. That's not even close to the amount you'd have to take off to fit the flares uncut. Even doing the cut-n-fold method, which goes back about twice as far past the spot welds, you don't really get quite enough clearance to install the flares uncut. There's simply no way to cut enough and not cut past the spot welds. BW's instructions are flat out wrong if they say you can.

I'm the one, or one of the ones, that's bobbed the rear-most flare. You can see here how I shortened up the rear flare vs the "full length" flares I installed on my own XJ. On mine, I cut out the inner lip of the rear flares, which you can see in the second photo.





Something to keep in mind regarding my shortening the rear flares, which I myself just remembered about -- the real reason I had to do that and cut that much out of the flares was to fit them with the Custom4x4Fabrication quarter panel guards, which prevent you from doing the cut-n-fold method on the rear half of the fenders because they're designed to match up with the factory flares. If I'd had more time for the install, and a welder at the time, I would've just cut and shortened the C4x4 guards, but that wasn't an option at the time. With your bumper setup, you'll be able to do the full cut-n-fold method (no riveting needed) and should be able to fit the flares with minimal modifications to the flares.

Another tip/trick to installing them on a 1997+ XJ -- if you don't want to relocate your washer fluid bottle that's in the driver side front fender, just take care not to puncture it when you drill the holes for the flares, then just cut a few of the mounting bolts short so that they're long enough to thread through the fender but not so long that they hit the washer fluid bottle.

Also, for all the holes, if you can drop down one drill bit size from what's specified in the BW instructions, then go through with one of the mounting bolts and pre-thread all the holes. By going one bit size smaller you'll mushroom the metal around the hole when you tap it with the bolt, making for a bit more surface area for the bolts to grab onto when you mount the flares. You'll end up with a slightly stronger mounting that way. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The spot welds are in the same 'line' on the fender as the mounting holes for the flares, which means you can only cut maybe about 3/4" off the fenders before you hit the welds. That's not even close to the amount you'd have to take off to fit the flares uncut. Even doing the cut-n-fold method, which goes back about twice as far past the spot welds, you don't really get quite enough clearance to install the flares uncut. There's simply no way to cut enough and not cut past the spot welds. BW's instructions are flat out wrong if they say you can.

I'm the one, or one of the ones, that's bobbed the rear-most flare. You can see here how I shortened up the rear flare vs the "full length" flares I installed on my own XJ. On mine, I cut out the inner lip of the rear flares, which you can see in the second photo.

Something to keep in mind regarding my shortening the rear flares, which I myself just remembered about -- the real reason I had to do that and cut that much out of the flares was to fit them with the Custom4x4Fabrication quarter panel guards, which prevent you from doing the cut-n-fold method on the rear half of the fenders because they're designed to match up with the factory flares. If I'd had more time for the install, and a welder at the time, I would've just cut and shortened the C4x4 guards, but that wasn't an option at the time. With your bumper setup, you'll be able to do the full cut-n-fold method (no riveting needed) and should be able to fit the flares with minimal modifications to the flares.

Another tip/trick to installing them on a 1997+ XJ -- if you don't want to relocate your washer fluid bottle that's in the driver side front fender, just take care not to puncture it when you drill the holes for the flares, then just cut a few of the mounting bolts short so that they're long enough to thread through the fender but not so long that they hit the washer fluid bottle.

Also, for all the holes, if you can drop down one drill bit size from what's specified in the BW instructions, then go through with one of the mounting bolts and pre-thread all the holes. By going one bit size smaller you'll mushroom the metal around the hole when you tap it with the bolt, making for a bit more surface area for the bolts to grab onto when you mount the flares. You'll end up with a slightly stronger mounting that way. :thumbsup:

Great information, thanks. I'll be reporting back what I run into while doing the install.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not enough time to get going on the install and take pictures. I have a Christmas party to go to.

I may take some pictures of the rear install.

Anyway 50% installed, both front flares. Really makes a big difference how the XJ looks.

I'm sure I'll have some pictures of at least the finished product up tomorrow.
 

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Any chance you can get front and rear pictures? (view from the front of the xj and rear of the xj)? I'm curious how much they cover.
 
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