What I SHOULD have done... Fender Purchase - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 07-09-2004, 09:53 PM
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What I SHOULD have done... Fender Purchase

Hey,

Since I'm partially knee deep in two fenders that do not fit, I thought it best to pass on my thoughts on what I SHOULD have done.

Granted this works if you live near the dealer, which I do (1.5 hour drive).

Hopefully you have your stock fender, or what is left of it. If not, find someone who has one.

Now get a long piece of cardboard from say a box the chrome bumper you bought came in. Cut the cardboard in such a manner to serve as a template that mimics the mounting areas of your STOCK fender. You can also take certain measurements from tip to tip or nut to nut, wherever that is suitable for a repeatable measurement.

Now with template in hand, call to see if your particular fender is in stock. (You did not special order it, so that cannot be forced on you). Take your template with you and go about the purchase where you would like to inspect prior to ringing it up.

Place your template on the aftermarket fender. If all your marks for bolt holes and the "line" of the fender match. You have a winner.

I was able to reverse the template for passenger side, while the driver side was on the other. In my case, I am trying to return a fender using my template to show how far off the metal is from stock. To think I spent two day wrestling and wondering what I was doing wrong... It wasn't me!

So there you have it. Take the extra time. Prepare yourself. Don't hand over the money unless you know you are getting a good fender. When I inspected them for the initial purchase, they were clean and they "looked" fine. But that don't mean they fit, and in the case of 58/59 Apache fenders, they are locked into shape with extra metal that serves for the headlamp bucket attaching metal, eyebrow corner reinforcement, and a section that flows into the support bracket for the grill. It's amazing metal can be bent that much, and most importantly, think how hard it would be to massage it to fit when all you had to do was take a pencil to some cardboard and avoid the whole situation.

Hope this saves someone the trouble.

billg

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Old 07-10-2004, 09:48 AM
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seems to me that most of the real old reproduction parts are made overseas.

All of the patch-panels I've gotten from Brothers have a sticker on them that says "brothers blah blah"...you pull that sticker off and underneath it is another sticker that says made in taiwan.

Most of the stampings I have received are pretty close. Pretty close does not = perfect.

I'd imagine in the old days when these pieces were being stamped at GM, that maybe one machine to the next would be "off" a little from the next one. Just a guess, but perhaps they had a system in place to match parts based on which machine they came out of.

Good luck with your fenders. Hopefully you'll find something that matches perfect. If not, you're probably going to have to massage them into place.
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Old 07-10-2004, 10:13 AM
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Are you sure its the fenders? Not to be nasty but not long ago I saw a 40 ford where the front end was hanging a 1/2 inch over the cowl and all it was, was not shimming body right, Once I showed him next day he call and said front fit good.
You may want to see if a body man will stop by and look at it, it maybe something very simple,
I know a lot of these after market parts are bad but usually misaligned holes or creases. 2inches to long? They would have to be total idiots.
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Old 07-10-2004, 10:35 AM
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Fender saga continues...

First off, I returned the fenders to OBSCHEVY and they were very nice about it. In turn I purchased the lower rear patch panels for both fenders. I will have to fab the rest.

As far as comparisons go, I did two things to verify I wasn't losing my mind... First off with the cardboard template it was extremely effective in showing where the stock line should be in respect to bolt hole location and proper bend. My stock fenders are straight, just slightly cancerous in places.

The other thing I did was lay the stock fenders along each other. Apart from the slight curve (along the X and Z axis that is supposed to be there) that each had they were perfect book ends. Then I placed each aftermarket fender up against the stock fender and each one had the same curvature along axis that would mount to the inner fender as the stock fenders did. BUT along the Y axis (up down) each went off differing amount from the same point to where the fender begins its unique curve into the top bend. Bear in mind that all these bends are somewhat impossible to modify without breaking every spot weld up front, removing the bracing, and removing the mounting bracket for the headlamp bucket.

I truly believe that if they (taiwan manufacturers) were checking the bends on a jig they could produce "replica" fenders, but from the looks of these I find it very unlikely they are checking this. The problems could have been corrected prior to welding them up, but they did not. You can even verify the amount of bend based on measurements from the rear most fender mount hole to the last tac welded nut. These numbers did not jive with the stock fender AND they were not even consistant with each other. In my case each fender had a different final length that was over by 1/2 to 3/4 inch not including the fact that each had different Y axis bends near the front. This would have been interesting to see me go nuts lining the hood up IF I muscled them in!

I should have done more homework with measuring and template making prior to this purchase, and will do so in the future. It is worth the time spent. Not to mention I was lucky that I picked up my parts and returned them so I paid no freight.

Thanks for answering... This BBoard is a Godsend!

billg
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Old 07-10-2004, 07:35 PM
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you know it almost seems sacreligious to put taiwan parts on an old Chevy. But unless you're skilled enough to fabricate the panels or patch panels yourself OR you are very wealthy and are able to afford paying someone like Randy to make them...you're pretty much stuck with the Taiwan panels.

I buy all of my parts from Brothers. I know they are a little more expensive than some of the other places, but I've always read that they have very good panels. The good news is, a friend of mine Wray Schelin (master metal shaper / creator of Metalmeet.com) was impressed with the patch panels I showed him from Brothers. He said they were nice heavy gauge.
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Old 07-11-2004, 01:02 AM
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Good to hear they made good on the fenders, Bill. I haven't seen too many repro parts (in my limited experience) fit perfectly, from floorboard pieces to taillights. Did these guys have any extra fenders that looked like they might work? Good luck with the project. Dan
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Old 07-11-2004, 09:09 PM
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Fender saga continues...

Thanks Dan,

They were expecting more fenders to come in, but since I bought the lower rear panels, I wont be wanting full repo fenders. Heck I gave it a shot to save time so I could get my truck back on the road with plans to work on the original fenders. Now I'm removing all the mystery filler from the stock fenders and revealing the patch work that was done on the truck back in 97 (based on reciepts that came with the truck when I bought it). All the patches were layed directly onto cancerous metal, then filler was caked on top. I'm sure it looked good when it was freshly painted but now it's like the fender has the mumps in all the right places of course.

So today I bought an angle grinder and hit it with a 3" knotted wire cup brush... being careful not to heat up the metal... Filler was at least 1/2" thick in some places to hide the patches. I carefully cut thru the tac welds and pealed back the patches. The patches were clean, but underneath the bad metal let water get into the body filler that lay on top of the patch.

We'll see if I can make some clean patches to butt weld in place. It may take time, but look what happened when the last guy rushed it!

I need to get a good/cheap digital camera and keep a project log.

billg
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