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Old 02-07-2019, 09:21 AM
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Streching a fiberglass fender

I want to put a little wider tire on the rear of my '39 P/U and rather than building tubs and narrowing the rear housing I would like to widen the rear fenders by about 2". I only see two problems with this thinking... one problem will be the interface of the running board to the rear fender once it is widened and the other problem is the fact that although I have worked with 'glass before (repairs and covering panels) I am not sure of the process of splitting the fender down the center and adding a 2" extension.

Anyone know of any DYI articles on doing this sort of thing? I am thinking that fixturing will be my biggest challenge but the "built-not-bought" guy in me wants to give it a try.


Thanks in advance for any and all words of instruction, advice, and encouragement.


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Old 02-07-2019, 11:55 AM
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How much clearance do you have on the inside to widen your tires without tubbing?

Looks complicated...I found an old post on this site where they widened one but nothing more comprehensive. They weren't dealing with a running board here, nor did they widen the entire section.

https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/wid...er-234957.html
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:38 PM
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Captn_Jim

I'm just about ready to widen the front fenders on my '37 Coupe. But it's a one piece front end, aka Nose. It's a Superior Glass Works carbon Fiber race car body, but it's the same Polyester Resin, just carbon fiber instead if woven glass.

Unfortunately Superior Glass Works had a fire in their Glass Bay and lost all the parts and Molds, all of them. A sad day. One of my one piece front ends was the only part that survived the fire, it was in the center of the bay and sustained minor damage. So there's no way for anyone to get parts or wide fenders from them as they closed down.

I had part time job back in my College days, great pay, but dusty and very messy, making molds and FRP parts for Corvettes. I learned a great deal and I still dabble in FRP now and then.

If you can't obtain rear wheels with a different offset nor narrow the rear end widths then your down to fenders, new wider if available or modify what you have now. This isn't difficult or back breaking work, but it does take time and patience !! There are two common choices, Widen the fenders on your Pickup,,,or make a mold from your current fenders, widen the mold and make a new fresh set.

This is how I'll be Widening my front fenders, because it's a one piece front end and I'll only to this once. So I'm going to make several Elliptical Cuts in the fenders and make cuts from about 1/2 inch in front each edge. Then open up gaps where I made cuts, then repair an Fill.

If you want to give this a try, get an old rear fender, any make make and mount it on a stand it sits in the normal position - and use it for your test prototype. Your stand must be stable !!

What I do is use thin masking tape and place the tape on the fender in a Elliptical shape, NOT an Oval, that matches your wheel opening. I place one at the top just were the widening would start and one on the bottom where the widening stops - usually just inside the Lip of the wheel opening. Then I wait several days and take a look a few items a day,, keep thinking on the pattern and shape to be, before I cut. I find some MIG wire very handy for making an Elliptical radius and something to tape in place to draw the solid line where the next cut would be located.

SO,,,, now think about reading a Contour Map, Bird's Eye View. The closer the lines the the steeper the slope. And the wider or greater the line separation, the gentler the slope. This is where a Good EYE comes in as you would need to decide Where the fender starts the slope DOWN, because this area wold be the filler piece start area. And typically near vertical or slightly downhill slope

This TOP reference Cut line, I use a small electric or air saw, Shop Vac too with FRP . BUT, Do not cut the Fender metal completely OFF. ""Do Not cut the ENDS OFF at the bottom of the fender. Once you've made the first cut then you can gently and slowly pull down on the outside of the fender and enlarge the gap. If the gap is difficult to open, then cut a little more at the bottom of the fender. GO EASY

Once I've got the top cut then it is time for the very thin painters tape. The job is to decide where the next CUT will be located. I cut almost always close to the Lip on the Well Well. It should be very obvious and a Wedge Shape should be appearing.

On my Fenders I think there will be three cuts to get the shape I desire, maybe four, But is three aren't enough, I can always cut another. . Metal is different because Ideally one would only want a top and bottom cut. A Crescent shaped paper pattern could be made and then shape the wedge on an English Wheel. Weld in only one piece.

But FRP is easier because once the Fender is reshaped & braced from the top exterior side, Fiberglass Tape would be saturated with Epoxy Resin and applied to the inside of the Fender to close all the gaps and secure the pieces. No Warp concerns re No Welding. So if there are three or four FRP Crescents cut outs from the fender to obtain the desired shape that's fine because they can be very especial to maintaining the proper shape.

Now, this is just the basics, a person still have to grind off the Gel-Coat from all pieces, bevel edges, wash with Acetone and etc. But it is not that difficult. BTW, I only use Marine Epoxy on all my Parts, repairs, or Mods. It's bonding is superior, minimal Odor, power additives (for strength, filler etc) and predictable cure times.

That's my process in a quick basic steps. Let me know if your going to move forward on this project, happy to help. But if narrowing this Rear end housing would provide the necessary clearance, then that would be my choice.

Also. if you can find a pair rear roller tires the size that you want to install, then use them to provide the exact width for decisions.

Good Luck,,,,,

Capt Mike....
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwighty390 View Post
How much clearance do you have on the inside to widen your tires without tubbing?

Looks complicated...I found an old post on this site where they widened one but nothing more comprehensive. They weren't dealing with a running board here, nor did they widen the entire section.

https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/wid...er-234957.html
Thanks for the link, and yes I can go a comfortable 1" wider ininside without any modifications, but would like to add annother 1 - 2" outside to give it a slightly wider stance in the rear. The pictures help in formulating in my head what I want to do.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:23 AM
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CaptMike,

Thanks for the reply and words of wisdom. You have given me plenty to think about! Since I want to increase the fender width across the full fender my biggest concerns are in the area where the fender joins the running board. Otherwise I think a 2" strip straight extension down the middle of the fender will be simple (not to be confused with easy).

Would love to see pictures as you progress on your endeavor.

Most all of my experience with glass has been in the marine field as well so most of the materials I will be using will be Awlgrip or West system products until I get to the final set up for paint process.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:03 AM
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Captn Jim,

Your welcome.

It is a tricky decision, not doubt. Ah USCG MM, good. I'm an Army Vet, but USCG licensed too. Son is still working a Capt up in Dutch Harbor. He's Capt up there multi duty work keeping busy & loves the Ocean. I miss it !

Yep, West System Epoxy is the Best, amazing product. What I always use and on my '37 Chevy. The fillers make this a truly great product. Awlgrip on a Car or Pickup on the exterior?? Can you get the same gloss ?? unless it's already painted with AG, then all will match.

I've got a similar problem with the one piece front end aka Nose on the '37,, Matching to the running boards and body clearance at the Cowl sides when opening or closing the Nose is a problem. These race body's are pretty rough and lots to do to get a close fit !!. I see only two choices, trim the lower edge on the fender on the inside which means that section will need to be somewhat modified and then bonded to the Cowl and Running Board on each side. OR Fab up and install a side blocks with UHMW to push this lower section out to clear the Cowl and then relax back inwards when the Front End Nose is completely down, but would still require a Mod at the Running boards. The latter doesn't seem to desirable !!

I'll probably complete the fender tire clearance mods first, to get back up my skills with West System and think on the other for a while. I'm just now finishing the Stick Framing and welding this up for the one piece front end re-enforcement, nearly finished. Then in goes the engine & Transmission for the last time !! To give me some good self gratification. I'm now into this build two years, mostly part time, so I'm getting anxious. Very much like getting off the Hard in the boat yard and anxious to get the hull wet again and go sailing !!

You might try doing some searches for Superior Glass Works in Molalla OR, see if you can come up with a few photos for ideas. There's still a lot of their product on the Web. I might have an .pdf file of their past product line, get back to you on that.

M...
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