with Bill Johnston
Petroworks new Mudbuster Fender Flares
Have you ever looked at your tires... from the drivers seat? Have you ever been stopped by the Law for a ticket or warning about your tires sticking out too far from the vehicle? Or does your vehicle often get categorized as a 'ricer' because the tires stick out so much? We wanted protection from the elements (as well as law enforcement and backhanded remarks) when we got ready to widen the track on the Stalker Project. The tires and suspension was about to change, so when Petroworks told us about their new fenders we jumped on the opportunity to fix the fender problem too.
Petroworks now carries the MudBuster Fender Flares. They are designed to be a direct replacement using factory mounting clip. These are an made from a High Density Polyethylene and they are "high impact resistant" which means they take a pretty good hit. The MudBuster guys drove over one of their flares with a Samurai and it was marked up a little from scuffing the cement but sprung right back into shape. The black color is a natural UV stabilizer so they have no reason to expect any brittleness problems for 7 to 10 years or longer. What does that mean? They will take abuse, and will not shatter on impact! Installation starts pretty easy as you just remove the factory molding ends (gently, as you will reuse them) and then remove the factory retainer clips. These can be removed with a standard phillips screwdriver. If they have gotten brittle from with age, don't worry because new clips are included with the fenders!
The stock fender lifts off of the body mounted retaining bracket. Look closely at the edge of the fender and you will notice the ridges that hook over the retaining bracket. The new fenders use the same kind of ridges, so set them in place like the stock fenders. The front fenders have are not interchangeable (left to right), so make sure you match the the shape to the originals.
When lining the fenders up, there are two places to check. At the trailing edge of the retaining bracket (near the door) you will see a factory screw that helps to hold the bracket in place. There are corresponding holes in the new fender that the back of these screws will fit into. There is also a faint molding line on the underside of the fender where it rests on the top part of the retaining bracket. This line will line up with the mounting hole at the top center of the bracket. The holes for the retainer clips are not drilled at the factory, just in case your panels are a little out of alignment. Using a white marker (I used a 'white-out' pen) you can mark the holes for drilling. Once the holes are drilled, just drop them back into place and 'pop' in the fasteners. No need to use a screwdriver for this, just hold the fender firmly against the bracket and use your thumb to push the clips into place.
The last step is to trim the rear bumper caps and the factory rocker molding ends (remember we gently removed them at the beginning?). The instructions show how they should be trimmed. If you take your time you will be surprised how many folks never notice it was trimmed. We apologize for the mud, these shots were taken on 'mud test' day. You can see that they are similar, but twice the width of the stock fenders. These photos show how much a set of 31/10.50/15R tires show when mounted on standard 8" rims with 3.75" of back space. Although this installation shows us replacing the 'early' style fenders, they are also a direct replacement for the newer steel fenders, you just use the plastic clips (included) instead of the 10mm bolts. Here you can see what they look like with a 33/12.50/15 Swamper. Still enough fender (almost another inch!) to keep the tickets away.
Finally, we took the Zook out to what little mud we could find (the desert southwest doesn't have much) and we tried to get it dirty... not much luck though - the fenders did their job well and didn't let much touch the body.
These fenders really showed their strength, quality and good looks. Total installation time: two hours (it would have been less, but we really took our time during the trimming portion). Source:
Petroworks Off-Road Products 111 W. Aviation Rd. Fallbrook, CA 92028 Tel: 1 (800) 952-8915 Orders 1 (760) 731-9434 Tech Fax: 1 (760) 723-7596