11. After the bolts are removed the fender is lifted off the truck. Joe was fortunate to be able to remove all the bolts with a wrench and not have any snap off due to rust.
12. Often, the lower fender mount is rusted badly. Happily, LMC has these brackets stamped just like the originals. Rust was relatively minor in this area of the truck.
13. The LMC reproduction is spot-on, a perfect fit for the truck.
14. A couple squirts of penetrating oil goes a long way to removing the rusty bolts. After the bolt has loosened it pays to spray again and work the bolt in and out to allow the oil to get into the threads.
15. Here we see the two brackets side by side, with the LMC bracket on the right. While the original bracket could probably have been sandblasted and reused, we opted to go with all new parts.
16. Here is the new bracket bolted in place using the factory fasteners. This entire area will be cleaned and then painted later in the build.
17. The inner brace on the fender is also the upper mount and once again the LMC part is a perfect match. You can see by the shape that this is the brace that captured the dirt and water to provide a rusty fender.
18. A cutoff wheel makes quick work of removing the rusted area. Again, tape was used as a cut line guide.
19. The lower piece hits the recycle bin while the top half of the fender is mated to a new patch panel.
20. The top half of the fender (the good part) was removed from the old fender brace by carefully unfolding the fender panel from the brace. Work slowly and take care not to bend the outer face of the panel.
21. While you are unfolding the fender you will discover a series of spot welds. These spot welds must be drilled out to remove the outer skin.
22. Our upper crossbrace was in good condition so it will be reused after a little cleaning and painting.
23. The new vertical fender brace is now test-fit to the truck. It aligned perfectly with the new lower brace and our original upper horizontal brace so we are ready to fit sheetmetal.
24. The new LMC patch panel fits the new braces nicely and should provide a perfect door gap, too.
25. With the top half of the fender shimmed and bolted in place, the LMC patch panel undergoes final fitting and trimming.
26. A close-up view shows the new panel will mate nicely with the original cutoff mark, but it will require the “grind a little, test-fit, and grind again” process until a perfect fit is achieved.
27. After fitting the patch panel, Joe used six sheetmetal screws to temporarily hold the panels in place. This ensures a perfect fit and prevents the panels from moving while they are being tacked in place.
28. This close-up view shows how perfect the gap is between the patch panel and the original fender. Nice work.
29. A series of tack welds are used to hold the panels together. Spacing the initial tack welds a couple inches apart prevents warping.
30. After initially tack welding every 2 inches, come back and weld up the gaps between the tack welds until you have stitched the entire seam. Moving around the perimeter of the panel while welding up the seams lessens the chances of excessive heat buildup, which causes panel warpage.
31. After completing the welding and grinding the entire fender will be finished and rust free. The panels will be painted on the underside using Eastwood's 2K Aero-Spray Chassis Black for rust protection. (Shortly after this photo was taken Brennan was spotted in a booth at Brakeman American Grill attacking a hamburger.)