Jeep JK Wrangler Factory Fender Chop

Even after installing a tall suspension lift, fender rub is a common problem that many Jeep owners suffer from especially if you’re running wide tires and/or have wheels with very little backspacing. Now, the easy answer to fixing this problem would be to install taller bump stop extensions, add more suspension lift or maybe install a body lift. However, by going higher, you also raise your Jeep’s center of gravity and that isn’t going to do a whole lot to help you out on the trail. So, what is one to do? I say, chop your fenders!Of all the mods you can do to your Jeep JK Wrangler, chopping your fenders is by far one of the easiest ones you can do and will offer you as much as 3.5″ of fender clearance! In other words, with chopped fenders, you can practically run 35″ tires without any lift at all. And, bigger tires with less lift equals a lower center of gravity and that’s something that every serious wheeler should want. Of course, the best part of all this is that it costs next to nothing to do and as an added bonus, it will give your Jeep a customizable bad ass new look.

What You Will Need


• Dremel
• Fiber Rotoray Cutting Wheel
• Utility or XACTO Knife
• Trim Tab Removal Tool
• Needle Nose Pliers
• Wire Cutter
• Sawzall
• Hand Drill
• 1/2″ Drill Bit or Unibit
• 10mm Socket
• Ratchet
• Ratchet Extension
• Bench Vice
• Blue Painters Masking Tape
• 25′ Door Edge Molding
• Flexible Plastic Ruler
• Pencil
• Silicon
• (2) 1/2″ Amber Dash Light
• (4) Solderless Terminal Connectors
• Touch-Up Paint
I purchased 25′ of Door Edge Molding from Pepboys
You can buy Fender Molding Clips on eBay. The part number you’ll want to look for is Chrysler
55157055-AA
For side marker lights, I used 1/2″ Amber Panel Lights that I found at PepBoys
 

Instructions


1. With your fenders still on your Jeep JK Wrangler, take some blue painters tape and spend some time masking out one side of your fenders in a shape that is appealing to you. Then, take detailed measurement so that you can replicate it on the opposite side. Using a flexible plastic ruler will help make this easier.
2. Using a trim tab removal tool and a pair of wire cutters, cut the plastic rivets securing your Jeep JK Wrangler’s front and rear fender pants to the fender itself.
3. Using a trim tab removal tool, extract all the push tabs securing the front and rear fender pants to the body of your Jeep JK Wrangler.
4. Disconnect your Jeep JK Wrangler’s side marker light wiring harness both at the lamp and at the body. You will need to press down on the release tab and pull in order to get it out. 5. Using an 10mm socket, remove all the bolts securing your Jeep JK Wrangler’s front fender substructure to the body. 6. While most of the fender molding clips are inaccessible, there are a few that you can reach with a pair of needle nose pliers and I would recommend that you try to free them up and out if you can.
7. This is a close up shot of what the fender molding clips look like and how you should pinch them with your pliers in order to get them out. These clips break very easily and so the more you can save, the fewer you have to buy. 8. As far as the rest of the fender molding clips go, your best bet is to simply pull on your fender until they all come free. I have done this a few times now and can tell you that most of the clips will come out just fine but a few may still break. Apply some touch-up paint to the body of your Jeep as needed. 9. Using a trim tab removal tool and a pair of wire cutters, remove the remaining plastic rivets securing the front fender sub structure to it.
10. Using the measurements that you took back on step #1, mask off the rest of your Jeep JK Wrangler’s fenders so that it can be used as a guide while cutting. 11. Using the blue painters tape as a guide, carefully cut your Jeep JK Wrangler’s fenders using a Dremel with a fiber rotary cutting wheel. 12. The cutting process will leave some residual melted plastic clinging to your cut fenders. Use a utility or XACTO knife to shave them off and give your fenders a clean edge.
13. In an effort to give the front fenders more rigidity, I decided to reuse the factory substructure. However, left as is, the substructure is quite unsightly and so I used a Sawzall to do some trimming. 14. Using a Dremel and fiber rotary cutting wheel, I cut off the support arm and did my best to clean things up. 15. After doing a preliminary test fit, I found that additional cuts to the substructure would help give a cleaner factory look.
16. The door edge molding comes with an adhesive already embedded inside and so all you need to do is apply it to the edges of your newly cut Jeep JK Wrangler fenders. So you know, the warmer out it is, the easier it will be to install. A hair dryer can be used to help this process as well. 17. If you had any of your fender molding clips break during their removal, install new ones you purchased now. 18. Reinstall your modified front fender substructure to the body of your Jeep JK Wrangler and secure it in place using the factory bolts. A 10mm socket will be needed for this job.
19. Install your brand new chopped factory fenders by snapping all the molding clips into the mounting hole along the body.
20. If you have a light colored Jeep JK Wrangler like Stone White or Silver, you may want to take some time and paint the rear fender wells black. This will help them to look factory again.

Side Marker Light Installation


1. Cut your Jeep JK Wrangler’s side marker light wiring harness just past the plug that goes into the lamp. 2. Strip off a bit of insulation from each wire and then crimp on a solderless blade terminal to each end as shown. 3. Using a 1/2″ drill bit or unibit, drill out the existing hole on your Jeep JK Wrangler as shown.
4. Apply a little silicon to the back end of your amber dash light, insert it into the hole you just drilled out (the shaft of the light is tapered a bit so it will be a tight fit towards the end) and then plug the solderless terminals into the blade ends of the light.5. Wrap up the solderless terminals with electrical tape.6. Turn on your parking lights to verify that your new side marker lights work.

The Results


To see more photos of this installation and/or more shots of what your Jeep JK Wrangler can look like with chopped fenders, simply click on the link below:

Jeep JK Wrangler Factory
Fender Chop Photo Gallery


And that’s all there is to it. You now have great looking fenders that allow for tons of clearance and for dirt cheap. Please let me know if you have any questions.
 

55 Comments so far

  1. O2bDrty February 11th, 2009 5:25 pm

    Will you come to my house and chop my fenders? Thats really cool.

  2. gregkuiper February 11th, 2009 7:18 pm

    I like the look that you went with Eddie. I didn’t take off my fenders when I cut them and didn’t have any issues.
    http://www.jk-forum.com/showthread.php?t=69245&highlight=front+fender+flare+chop

  3. shadowpro-jk February 12th, 2009 12:19 am

    Im really curious. i want to do this but how flimsey are they after getting cut??? My KM2s toss huge chunks of mud up, and they going to get bent or nocked around??

  4. wayoflife February 12th, 2009 10:44 am

    they aren’t too flimsey especially if you retain the substructure up front. however, they are flexable enough to take a hit and just bend out of the way (and return back to normal) without doing any body damage to your jeep the way steel tube fenders or even hard plastic xenons will - trust me, i have seen this happen. if they get hit hard enough, the will pop off but then, all you need to do is snap them back into place :)

  5. Shadowpro-jk February 12th, 2009 11:57 am

    So i found next sundays activites. I really like this mod. I was trying to decide if i really wanted to go with steel fenders or a body lift to get my extra inch of needed clearance. I like the way this looks too. So win win! Mark another one for the jk!

  6. Spetz February 12th, 2009 3:50 pm

    Anyone do this with Sahara fenders? Just wondering if they are more brittle because of material, or is it just paint on regular X - Rubi fenders..

  7. Etidie February 22nd, 2009 10:50 pm

    I need some closure, haha. You were saying you could practically run 35’s with no lift doing this mod. I’m about to buy a TF 2.5″ BB, and now that you said that…I’m wondering if I really need to. I’ll be running 35’s myself. If the lift’s not needed, the only thing I’d really need to do with 35’s is trim the corner on the body in the rear wheel wells, at least I think that’s it…of course using backspaced wheels, etc. Also, doing this mod, do the fenders “flap” at all at highway speeds? Flimsy at all? It’s an awesome mod, and I’m most likely going to do it anyway, just had some questions. Awesome job man.

    -Rob

  8. Brett February 23rd, 2009 10:50 am

    This is a really nice lookin mod! And the answer to my tight budget! Question is. How do they hold up on the highway? looks like thoes front fenders could possibly act as an air scoop! Have you had any problems with this?

  9. wayoflife February 24th, 2009 2:17 am

    hey Spetz, the member off topic over on jk-forum.com has done it to her sahara and it looks real nice.

    Etidie, so long as you keep the substructure in place up front, the fenders will not flap much if at all. the rears are small enough and shaped in a way that this is not a problem.

    Brett, they hold up just fine even at 85mph and a strong cross wind. trust me, i speak from experience.

  10. Ed February 24th, 2009 1:05 pm

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Nice job and thank you Eddie

  11. goochman February 24th, 2009 1:32 pm

    where is that rubber lining you put on the fenders???
    on my door???

  12. wayoflife February 24th, 2009 1:42 pm

    goochman, i found the door edge moulding at pepboys. it comes in a 25′ roll.

  13. goochman February 25th, 2009 3:11 pm

    hey thx! thought i was going crazy
    looking for that stuff on my door.

  14. stormrider March 9th, 2009 12:03 pm

    I’m wondering if it would be feasible to run 37″ tires with the Teraflex 2.5″ BB and the chopped fender flares. Wheels with less backspacing would be used. That would be awesome since I want to run 37’s but will probably have to stick to 35’s for a year so I can slowly add the mods needed for them and save money.

  15. wayoflife March 9th, 2009 2:14 pm

    yes, it is very feasible. you may need a 1″ BL to ensure clearance but it can be done.

  16. stormrider March 10th, 2009 11:00 am

    Hmm this is good to know…how do you think the flex would be though? I really want to eventually do a real suspension lift and run 37’s, but if I flex and wheel better on a 2.5″ BB with just 35’s then I will stick to that. What would you suggest?

  17. wayoflife March 11th, 2009 11:31 am

    flex is determined by shock lenght for droop and for the most part, bumpstops for stuff. needless to say, a real suspension lift will give you longer shocks at the very least and so you would have more flex with it - just a higher center of gravity.

  18. tyler March 11th, 2009 12:47 pm

    After doing this yourself wayoflife,what size tire do u think could be run on a jk with no lift?And while still being able to off road with no rubbing?33 10.5? 34 10.5?Aslo with this done are u able to go wider with no weel spacers or sifferent rims?

  19. wayoflife March 11th, 2009 10:01 pm

    without any lift, you should be able to run 35’s without any problems. however, you will need wheel spacers as the 12.50 width will be too wide and you will have rubbing issues on full turns up front and sidewall rubbing issues in the rear.

  20. WESTCHESTER March 18th, 2009 1:59 pm

    Eddie, Great write-up, Ill be chopping the fenders soon but want to keep the inner fender as a wheelarch and muck protector. Im thinking I can cut both the inner and outer fenders with an angle grinder whilst they are still mounted on the Jeep. Other than accuracy, is there any reason you removed them to chop them ?

  21. wayoflife March 18th, 2009 8:14 pm

    nope, accuracy is the only reason to pull them. well, that and to paint your fender openings but you won’t be doing that.

  22. ThinkMud March 21st, 2009 6:16 pm

    Any chance of doing a how to for the rear? Looks like there is a lot more plastic in the rear…

  23. wayoflife March 21st, 2009 7:54 pm

    actually, the rear is super simple to do and that’s why i only included a few pics of it. step #2 is the same front and rear and step #3 is for the rear specifically. these steps will get rid of the fender pants. from there, you just need to trim the fenders like the front and snap it back in :)

  24. Curt March 22nd, 2009 8:42 am

    Hi Eddie. Can a guy use a roto zip with a fiber blade? It is a bit bigger - I think it is a 3″ diameter blade.

  25. wayoflife March 22nd, 2009 12:08 pm

    i don’t see any reason why not. the only thing you might have issues with is tight turns if you plan on having any with your design.

  26. Cody April 18th, 2009 12:38 pm

    I am just wondering are the side marker lights required to be put on after the fender chop is completed? Is it legal reasons you put new ones on or just for looks?

  27. Nick April 21st, 2009 6:24 pm

    Hey Eddie. I know that you’ve answered similar questions but i know you have a wealth of info on this so… Do you think that this coupled with a 4″ lift and 1.5″ wheel spacers would allow for 37’s on the factory rubicon wheels.
    Thanks

  28. wayoflife April 22nd, 2009 9:59 am

    hi cody, the side marker lights are required in my state and that’s why i added them.

    nick, yes, you should be able to clear 37’s with 4″ of lift and fenders chopped :)

  29. kamran June 5th, 2009 11:07 pm

    it cool

  30. Omar J June 12th, 2009 9:50 pm

    Very easy to do! Great look as well! Awesome tips!

  31. Reid June 15th, 2009 11:35 am

    Just did my Sahara fenders last weekend…I found that if you use a wood rasp instead of an exacto knife to trim the melted plastic that is left after cutting, it will create a much smoother surface and is much less time consuming.

    Also remember to start cutting on the correct side of the tape…

  32. Cory June 20th, 2009 8:51 am

    Love the tip. I am going to be picking up a New Wrangler Rubicon soon, as soon as I am back from this deployment.

    I am wondering what the exact setup on your jeep pictured is?

    Thanks a lot for the site and all your help

  33. wayoflife June 20th, 2009 10:39 am

    hey cory, the exact setup as you see it can be found here:

    http://www.jk-forum.com/member.php?u=2

    :)

  34. Tony July 2nd, 2009 10:17 am

    Eddie, thank you SO much for this awesome website! I was about to do the Mopar approved 2.5″ lift w/ 35″ tires. But, if I now chop my fenders way back do you think I could squeeze on 37″ tires with just the 2.5″ lift? I will not be doing any rock crawling.

  35. Cory July 7th, 2009 8:39 pm

    I know you already answered this question with a link to the thread, I asked what the exact setup was for the vehicle is as pictured, But for some reason I have been trying to become a member on the forum for sometime now, and i got the email clicked the link to register and it still says I cannot view the page, that you gave me the link for. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks again

  36. Tony Zappala July 21st, 2009 6:18 pm

    Does anyone know if someone is monitoring these questions anymore?

  37. wayoflife July 22nd, 2009 2:01 am

    while you might be able to squeeze in 37’s with chopped fenders, it will be a tight fit and you will have other issues to consider like axle strength.

  38. WhiteRhino07 July 25th, 2009 1:09 pm

    A tip when I took off my fenders today, instead of using pliers to remove in inner fender clips, slip an 8mm socket over them and they pop right out!

  39. wayoflife July 25th, 2009 10:41 pm

    well that’s a nifty trick

  40. Dmitriy January 7th, 2010 6:43 am

    I’m gonna attempt this next Wednesday if it gets warm enough. Wish me luck :D

  41. Sam January 17th, 2010 10:34 pm

    Just cut my fenders this weekend look great. Could somebody please tell me were to get the Side Marker Light’s like the one in the picture, can’t find them anywhere.

  42. Riley February 18th, 2010 12:35 pm

    hey what are your dimensions i dont wna to screw it up?

  43. darnell March 15th, 2010 6:22 pm

    do most folks that do this mod leave the front fender line on or off? pros/cons?

  44. Drew May 26th, 2010 5:19 pm

    Insane! I just finished, it took all day, but it’s done! It looks INSANE!!! Now, Let me help some of you out… Originally, my driver’s side front fender got side swipped, torn right off. I was going to go back to the dealership and replace it for $250 but then saw the Bushwacker Flat Fenders for about $600. One day I found this web site and decided that I would try this and worse comes to worse, if I screwed up or they looked like shit, I would spend the $600. I just saved $600 cause they look INSANE! If you’re a Jeep Guy or Girl, you have to try this!
    I kept my fenders on when I did the cut and had no problem. I also kept and cut the inner liner. You have to remove the tire to do this. Right now the liner looks ok but there are gaps. My Jeep is silver so I’m going to paint the exposed metal in the wheel well and that should hide the gaps.
    Believe me, this is not that hard. Try it!!!

  45. Coy July 7th, 2010 6:56 pm

    Just completed my chop on the July 4th weekend. It looks awesome and have many compliments from my Jeep friends. Mine took a day and a half since I masked and painted the fenders wells. This is a great article…thanks Project JK.

  46. Matto July 24th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Just chopped my fenders and did the front bumper mod on my ‘07 JK Unlimited. I like it so much better than paying for aftermarket. I have gotten a ton of compliments on it too! Just put some 33 x 12.5 17 BFG all terrains and they went on just fine with no other modifications. The 33’s barely just rub in the front at full turn only (at the swaybar). But I’m going to do a 2.5″ BB lift soon so I’m not too worried about that. Thanks for this website and your awesome step by step instructions! You’ve saved me a ton of $$ with better results!

  47. Eli April 23rd, 2011 2:09 am

    This is really nice!! I’ll be doing it really soon. Now what about the rear fenders?!

  48. Chip80 May 13th, 2011 4:19 pm

    How many molding clips are there on the fenders. I was thinking about just buying new ones before I start the job.

  49. Jay Goldman May 13th, 2011 6:01 pm

    This says to remove the bolts holding the fender substructure using a 10mm socket, what size bolt is it removing? I’ve completely destroyed those bolts and need to replace them.

  50. Trailslayer November 6th, 2011 11:47 pm

    Chopping away this weekend, excited to get the look without feeling it in the wallet

  51. Jethro July 2nd, 2012 11:44 am

    Just finished my front fenders last night. I am really satisfied with how it turned out! It was actually a pretty fun project. I found that a jig saw worked perfectly for me. I’m now trying to decide if I want to try and replace the fender lining. Thanks for the writeup!

  52. Chris Crocker July 29th, 2012 1:56 pm

    Finished both front and rear fenders Friday night. Went wheeling at Uwharrie National Forest on Saturday and all the JK owners were asking where I got them or if I could do theirs. They held up great and look even better. Thanks for the write up.

  53. OC JK December 7th, 2013 12:54 am

    What are the measurements on the front fenders? Its a good look and I would love to cut mine like that

  54. ssfirefighter February 18th, 2014 12:15 pm

    What did you use for an inner skirt on the front? I doesn’t look like you reused the factory skirt in any way.

  55. Troy August 11th, 2014 10:57 am

    Fantastic write up. Took me about 3 to 4 hours. One question however.
    Does anyone have concerns about the open and exposed engine area left after removing the inner fender linings? I live in an area where we can get a lot of snow. Thoughts

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