I'll start off saying this right now: If you have the money, just buy the whole damn fender! What I'm about to show you I did was not worth the effort for the result gained! If however you are on a strict budget like me then this will work.
Rust and damage
My FJ's fenders were rusted badly along the inner seams and everywhere else for that matter. Not to mention a bit of tree damage courtesy of my brother. See Fig. 1-2. I knew that once I got it on the road that if I drove it in the rain it would soak the engine compartment. I shopped around and just could not afford the price of new fenders. I asked the list about used ones but if someone had them they were using them! Eventually I got a hell of a deal on a set of inner fenders from a friend in Colorado. I was out there on vacation last fall and picked them up while coming home. I figured that when I did the water pump I would have to drop the front bib anyway and that was half the battle of getting the fenders off right? Hah! Will I ever learn that on a 34 year old FJ40 there is NOTHING easy or goes as planned?
I started by soaking all the bolts I could find holding the fenders in place with Liquid Wrench the night before I actually started. This did not help much, I still broke just about every damn 10mm bolt I tried! 34 year old hardware in the rust belt just won't loosen, it breaks. I had better luck with the captured nuts, I only broke one of those. Next up was the bolts holding the fender support to the frame. I heated them, beat them, soaked them in Liquid Wrench, and proceeded to break every damn one of them! What I thought I could do in a matter of minutes took the better part of a morning. After getting the fender off I ground down the area where the fender support had trapped a lot of dirt and caused some extensive corrosion. I then drilled out the broken bolts and tapped them to 8mm x 1.25. See Fig. 3-6.
Now that I had the fender off I addressed how I was going to fix it. I started by mounting the inner fender I had to the frame. See Fig. 7. This allowed me to see what I needed to do to the rusted out fender to make it fit the 'new' inner. I started by drilling out the spot welds that held the fender brace to the fender. This wasn't too hard on the top as there were no metal left! After getting the support off I used a cut-off wheel to cut the inner fender off along the spot welded seam. See Fig. 8. I then ground down the edge flush with the fender top.
Next I used a jig saw to cut out the rusted area on top of the fender. I used the cut out piece as a template and cut a patch from the old inner fender. See Fig. 9. In Figs. 10-12 I tacked it in place, welded it in and ground it smooth.
Driver side removed
Getting the inner and outer fender to align with the body and the bib was an absolute pain in the ass! This was not helped by the fact my body mounts are toast. Well I did the best I could with what I had. In Fig. 13 I'm tacking the two together. I'll fill in the gaps later. remove it and sand blast the whole thing, use seam sealer on the weld seam, and then paint it. Fig. 14 and 15 show me starting on the drivers side. As of 11-29-2005 I'm into a lot of work on that side and have not finished the inner fender replacement. I will post the final results for this later after finishing the steering and knuckle rebuild
After working on so many other aspects of the truck I finally got back around to working on the front fenders. I looked at what I had done with the repair on the passenger side above and while it worked I was just not happy with the amount of rust on it and the fact it did not line up perfectly. So when a pair of fenders from a club member was offered to me for $75 I took them up on it. They are off a 1969. See Fig. 16-18. The drivers side needs just a bit of replacement metal work but the other one is in excellent condition and they fit my 2/71 perfectly!
I started by examining the drivers side fender. It had more rust and damage than I thought so I decided to separate the inner form the outer fender and replace the inner with one I had gotten to fix the original fender. (Confused yet?)
I first drilled out the spot welds holding the inner fender to the outer fender then the ones holding the outer fender to the support brace. See Fig. 19-20. There was a lot of rust between the two, but only a couple of places on the outer fender will need a small metal patchs put in place. See Fig. 21-22. The very top where it was spot welded to the brace was pretty thin and tore out on me when I used the air chisel to try to force the spot welds apart. Yeah I was a little more aggressive than I should have been! Just another patch to make and weld in...
Next I dug up the inner fender I had and dunked it into the de-rust tank for a couple of days. Once it was out I used a wire brush to remove the rest of the paint, primer and rust. I will have a small area to patch on this also. It's the same place as the outer fender. Go figure...
Here is a trick I picked up off the web. Clamp a thin sheet of copper under a small patch using a heavy straight piece of angle iron or something similiar. The angle iron will help keep the pieces straight and aligned. The weld will not stick to the copper and will act as a heat sink to prevent warping small panels.
After repairing the two places on the fenders I coated the place where they will overlap with a galvanizing primer them plug welded them back together. Then a nice coat of overall primer to keep the rust at bay till I can top coat.
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