Bestop Extended Fender Flares
by Andre Couturier
Why I am doing this?
As everyone knows, when you own a 4-wheeler, eventually
the stock tires are no longer enough. We recently reached this point on
our 1999 TJ. We upgraded to 32x11.50 tires on rims with 4 inches of
backspacing. This moved the rubber out past the current flares by about 2 inches.
After a trip on the Coquihalla in some heavy slush, it became apparent to me just how
much weather a Jeep with uncovered tires can generate. As an added consideration, I
had to think about how much longer I could go without having the police pull me over because they could not see past me on the highway.
I did a bit of surfing to see what was available and decided on the Bestop Extended Fender Flares.
Any comments I have heard on the Flares has been positive, plus, I also have a Bikini
Top and Duster from Bestop and have been very happy with them.
When I first picked these up I was surprised at just
how much bigger they seemed to be. They barely fit in the back of my TJ with
the back seat out. They had a fair amount of heft and it was easy to see
that they were definitely going to be tougher than the stock flares. A
quick test placement against the side of the Jeep gave a true feel for their size, they fit over the stock flares with room to spare.
The old rear flare inside the new flare. The new ones are quite a bit wider, and definitely beefier.
My estimate on this job from reading the instructions was that it should take about 2 hours or so
to complete with a helper (thanks Rick), and it is a 1 Banana job.
2100 W. Midway Blvd.
Broomfield, CO. 80020
Cust. Service: 1-800-845-3567
Let the Installation Begin
Tools needed (according to instructions)
- 1 Philips Screwdriver
- 2 Spring Clamps
- 1 Adjustable Wrench
- Safety Glasses
- 1 Philips Screwdriver
- 1 Large Flat Screwdriver
- 2 C Clamps (for about 30 seconds)
- 1 Power Drill and a 3/8ths bit
- 1 5/16ths Socket with Ratchet
- 1 5/16th Box End Wrench
- 2 Interesting Vocabularies (optional - not recommended if children or spouses are present)
Step 1 - Remove the old flares
- Remove the marker lights from the old front
flares. The instructions say that there are screws for this, and on my TJ
there are actually a couple of threaded washers that go over a plastic
tab. Once they were off, the light popped right out. I also removed the
light socket from the lens, which meant that I could install the
lenses in the new flare while it was not on the Jeep. This made
the lens install a lot easier since I could do it on a
bench rather than from underneath, after the flare was installed.
- Remove the front flares. Make sure you keep the old hardware,
especially the bolts that have a nut that is welded to the body. There
are replacements for the other bolts that have a nut on the back, but there
are no replacements for the others in the kit.
- Remove the rear flares. Same advice as above with an extra note
here. The liner in the rear wheel well will be in the way, you will need
to move it and that is easier on a fairly warm day. The day we did
this...was not. My helper and I both ended up with a fair number of
scrapes on our hands. Warm temperature = pliable plastic liner = unscathed hands.
The rear liner after removing the rear flare. I wish we had waited for a warmer day....
The tires really stand out when there are no flares at all....
Step 2 - Install the new flares
- Punch out the holes in the new flare for the
bolts to go through. On my TJ, that meant punching out all the holes. To
make this a little cleaner I used my drill with a 3/8ths bit to punch the
The front flare after I
had drilled out
all the holes.
- At this point, my helper and I decided it would be
best to wash off all the silt and dust that had built up between the flare and
the fender. Not that we had to, but we figured it would keep us cleaner later.
- Install the side signal lens in the
new front flares. I think this makes the most sense since you don't have
to crawl under the jeep.
- Now clamp the flare over the holes to line it up
before you start to put in the bolts. After spending a couple
minutes just lining up the holes and the clamps we said to heck with it
and just inserted one of the permanent bolts on either end of the flare
to hold it and began putting in the other bolts. This seemed to work just fine to us.
The left rear flare held in place with a couple of the permanent bolts.
- We then inserted all the bolts and got them finger
tight before we started to tighten any of the bolts.
- Now tighten the bolts. We started at one end of
the flare and worked to the other end. We did this since the holes through the flares are a pretty
good size to allow better alignment, but if we were not careful we could have had a bulge in the middle. We did have to use a box end wrench on some of these
bolts since there was not enough clearance for the ratchet. The
new flares were a lot better for this than the old ones...
- repeat 3 more times......again, the front flares were MUCH easier than the rear flares (at least on my TJ anyway).
- Now it is time to install the flare extension, just
to give the side of the jeep a little more protection.
- For the extension, put in both of the permanent bolts that were originally there.
Turn them in so they stick out just far enough to allow the extension to slide over
them. If they are too far out the extension will not slide on. This is where we
had to use the box wrench to tighten the bolts.
The two bolts turned in until the extension flare will just fit.
The extension after the installation.
The bolt to hold the extension and flare together.
- I really like the fit of the new extensions.
They are much better than the stock ones. With the
additional bolt holding the extension to the flare it forms a more solid unit and there are no gaps like there were in the originals.
- Whew all done....it took a total of about 3 and a
half hours at a leisurely pace, we definitely could have done it quicker...but
why...it was a gorgeous day to be outside....
Step 3 - Admire the results
- Here are the before and after shots. I am quite
happy with the way the flares look on the Jeep. Plus, the tires are now completely covered which means fewer problems for me in the future.
Front and Rear before and after photos. Much better coverage....
- This is an easy one-banana job for a beginner Shade tree Howler
Monkey. The only issue with this job was dealing with
the rear wheel well liner, and a warmer day would certainly have made that
easier to handle.
- The Bestop Extended Fender Flares are well designed and well
manufactured pieces of equipment. They are designed so that they may be
used on a CJ, YJ or a TJ; it is only the number of holes that are used that
are different. So if you're looking for bigger fender openings and greater coverage for your tires, you CJ/YJ owners should definitely check out these flares! The use of all the original factory holes were great since I still have not gotten used to the idea of drilling holes in the Jeep...
- If you have switched to bigger tires on your Jeep, this is the easiest way of dealing with the mess that comes from the tires not being completely covered.
- For added mud and rock chip protection for your rocker panels, Bestop also offers their Fender Flares with Rocker Extensions kit which includes a 45" extension that protects your rocker panel.
- Special thanks to Rick for spending half a Sunday helping me with
this...I am sure your hands will heal soon...