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Bushwacker Fender Flares

 Bushwacker Fender Flares on Project Buckshot, a 1975 Ford Bronco

This is it. The build for project Buckshot, our 1975 Ford Bronco Sport, has officially begun. Most of the parts are in, the build plan is finalized and we’re off to the races. Our plans had us installing our 5 ½” Skyjacker suspension early on. However, for our 35” Goodyear MT/R tires to fit on the Bronco, even with the lift kit, we would need to make the wheel openings larger. 35” tires simply will not fit in the openings when the suspension travels – we had to make room for the big meats.

We know we will receive some flack about cutting the wheel openings on a vehicle that is becoming relatively rare. So, for those of you that are Jigsaw shy, turn away now. Or, man up and read on.


Bushwacker Fender Flares 1975 Ford BroncoWhen it was time to open the fenders a bit, we knew there was only one company we would trust to provide us with the best quality flares – Bushwacker. They have been in the business of making fender flares for over 40 years and their product’s quality is second to none. Over the years, we have installed dozens of fender flares on various 4X4’s, most of which were Bushwacker, some were not. While other companies make fine fender flares, we’ve often found their instructions to be lacking, the plastic too brittle, or the fitment to be questionable. Bushwacker on the other hand has always provided excellent quality products, so the choice for our project was easy.

Bushwacker Fender Flares offer excellent tire and wheel coverage for large tires and wheels. Their flares are made with Dura-Flex®, a material that provides exceptional durability and maximum flexibility while maintaining its shape during extreme conditions. Their flares all come with a semi-gloss black finish that can be left as-is, or painted to match or accent your vehicle.

For our application, we ordered the front cut-out fender flare kit (Part # 20001-07) and the extra large cut-out rear kit (Part #20005-07), which provides and additional five inches of opening. The standard rear flares will fit 35” tires on your Early Bronco, but Bushwacker recommends the larger flares for vehicles that have more axle articulation and will see the trail.

Installation – Bushwacker Fender Flares
Time: 4-6 Hours
Tools Needed: Jigsaw, permanent marker / pencil, drill, 3/16” drill bit, screwdriver, tape measure
Difficulty: Easy job

Installation

As with any project, take stock of the parts you have and the parts you need. Our Bushwacker fender flare kit came with all of the needed parts, including extra screws for mounting the flares.

We started our project with the rear wheels first. The instructions show you general placement, but you will need to align your fender flare up, down, forward and back a bit to get it exact.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoNext, place your fender flares where you want them and tape them into position. Check behind the flares to make sure that you won’t be cutting into any electrical or fuel lines, etc. We recommend that you take several location measurements and then check to make sure that the flares will match accordingly on the opposite side of the truck.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoIf your flares are where you want them, start tracing the outline of the flare with your pencil or permanent marker.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoBushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoBushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoOnce your tracing lines are where you want them, remove the fender flares. Break out your trusty tape measure and measure one inch below the trace line. Make dozens (or more) of small marks below the original tracing line and then play connect-the-dots. Your end result should be a line that exactly replicates the original trace line, one inch below it. This will be the area that you cut.
Double-check your cut line for accuracy as there will be no going back after you start to cut the body of your rig. Also, double-check behind your cut line to make sure that you will not cut something you don’t want to.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoNext, it is time to start cutting out the openings. We’ve always found that jigsaws provide the cleanest, easiest and most accurate cuts for this type of work. Use a high quality metal cutting blade for your jigsaw. Also, cover the base of your jigsaw with some masking tape to prevent scratches to the paint on your truck.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoBushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoCarefully cut the opening on your truck, following your trace lines. Take your time. Once you get past the halfway point of your cut, it is best to have someone hold the end of the area that has been cut to prevent the metal from sagging or moving around too much.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoOnce you’ve cut out your wheel well opening, we recommend that you use a right-angle grinder with a sanding wheel and smooth out your cut lines. Also, now would be a good time to apply a bit of paint or primer to the edge of the cut line to prevent rusting. You can use a small brush and some paint to make it easier.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoPre-drill each of the marked holes on the fender flare with a 3/16” drill bit.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoPlace your fender flare back onto your truck, aligning it with the original trace line. Using the supplied self-tapping screws, install 3 or 4 screws into the body, affixing it to the vehicle. This will free your hands to work with the gimp.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoBushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoInstalling the gimp (the rubber gasket thingy) is pretty straightforward. Tuck the gimp under the fender flare and run a screw through the fender flare, the gimp and into the sheet metal. Start at one end of the wheel well and work your way towards the opposite end. Pull and position the gimp along the way, ensuring it has a clean, sung fit to the fender flare, but do NOT pull the gimp too tightly and stretch it out.
Bushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoBushwacker Fender Flares - Project Buckshot a 1975 Ford BroncoRepeat this process for the other side, and for the front wheel openings as well. Your Bushwacker fender flares are now complete.

The Verdict

Bushwacker Fender Flares Ford Bronco
The Bushwacker fender flares have given project Buckshot the needed wheel well openings to clear our 35” Goodyear tires. Unlike some other fender flares, the Dura-Flex Bushwacker flares are supple enough to take a good whack or two on the trail without breaking, but firm enough to hold their shape in all weather conditions. The instructions supplied by Bushwacker are easy to read, very detailed and they provide excellent illustrations. Bushwacker supplies you with more than enough screws in the package (there are about 5 or so extras), but we did notice that a few of our packages had screws with different finishes on them (some were shiny black, while others were matter black). There weren’t enough of all of the same finish, so we will need to replace them all later with a common color.
Installation of our Bushwacker flares was a piece of cake and it came together smoothly. The flares provide excellent coverage and a great balance of needed opening versus vehicle coverage – in other words, the openings aren’t too big or too small. They also look great on our rig.
Bushwacker
6710 N. Catlin Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97203
Tollfree: 1 (800) 234-8920
Phone: (503) 283-4335
Email: customerservice@bushwacker.com
Web: www.bushwacker.com  

 

 

About Rick Webster

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