I am making a set of wider rear wings (fenders) out of two sets of standard fenders. This is because the standard units, for what ever reason are narrower than the front end. So the truck would have to have the same or smaller size wheels/tyres on the rear as the front if they were left as is. The line of the truck also looks strange with the rear narrower. If anything I would like the rear to be slightly wider than the front. This will allow slightly wider wheels and tyres on the rear too.
I managed to get hold of a second pair of wings in reasonable condition. The bottom edges where they mount to the running boards are rotted through but that is usual and to be expected.
I intend to make the wings 1 1/2" wider than standard. I will be doing this by cutting the rear mounting flange off of one pair and cutting the rear section with mounting flange from the other. Then I will weld the two pieces together before finishing them with Lead.
I have sent them off to be shot blasted so that I can get a good look at what I have to work with.
The rear wings came back from the shot blasters, but unfortunately they had not been covered and were left to sit for some time, so they were all covered in surface rust again. Rather than send them off again I thought I would do the work on them first and then get them blasted just before I paint them.
The first task was to decide which of the two sets of wings I would be using as the wings proper and which would just be used as the 1 1/2" extension. This was not as straight forward as I thought as both sets had issues in different areas, I decided to use the original wings and use the spare set as the extensions. I cut a 2" strip off of the rear of the spare wings and bolted these to the sides of the bed, then I cut the rear flange off of the original wings ready to mate them to the 2" pieces using a half inch overlap for welding.
Hear you can see the left hand wing cleco'd into position on the extension that is bolted to the side of the bed. The cleco clamps are excellent for holding assemblies together prior to welding. You can see the bottom front section removed ready for the repair patch panel.
Once the cleco's were all in place I was able to take the wing off of the side of the bed to work on it. The Cleco clamps hold the two pieces tight enough to hold everything in shape whilst welding. The first step was to tack weld the two pieces together.
Then it was a matter of tack welding in between all of the first run of tack welds. As I am lead filling the seam I do not need to completely weld the entire seam. I also tack welded the underside as well to stop the edge curling up. The second picture shows the tacked wing in place on the bed with a running board positioned to see how I will need to modify them to fit the wider wings.
After the welding was complete, it was a matter of grinding the welds down flush or slightly lower than the wing itself. Here you can see the ground wing.
Both rear wings were rotted out at the lower front edge where they bolt to the running boards. I made the repair panels out of sections of the wings that I cut up. This meant that the repair patches were exactly the same thickness material. I don't have access to a shrinker, so I made the curve by cutting slits out of the return edge. The process I used was to just fold about an inch return in a vice with the aid of a couple of bits of angle and a large bit of wood. Then cut the return with small Vee cuts then just bent it round by hand until the correct shape was achieved. I then tack welded the patch into place. After more tacks in between effectively fully butt welding the patch in place.
The left hand wing also had a nasty split in the centre of the the outer lip where it had been pulled out to clear some large tyres in the past. Rather than try and push it back in and weld the split, I decided to completely remove the section and replace it with a section from one of the scrap wings. Here you can see the new section welded into place.
I made some stiffening (doubler) plates to go in behind the front bottom edges where the they mount to the running boards. I drilled 6 holes in them, then puddle welded them in place. I also made a couple of curved sections to weld to the inside of the bottom edge where I had to make the cuts to get the curve. Once all of the grinding was done, I set about thinking how I would do all of the lead work. I wanted to mount the wings to something to help keep them in the correct shape whilst I leaded them. I couldn't mount them to the bed as I would not have the room needed and I didn't want to risk distorting the bed sides with the heat. After a few minutes pondering, it came to me, why don't I just bolt the two wings together, they will hold each other. While I am leading one the other will be cold and hold the shape. All I had to do was find some thin aluminium sheet to put between the two to prevent me leading them together. You can see the wings bolted together here, the lads at the workshop reckoned that they looked like some sort of big shell bolted together.
Leading in progress, the two wings bolted together made the whole process a lot easier than it could have been. You can see the entire seam leaded on the left hand wing in the centre picture and then both complete on the right.
The left picture shows the tools I use to finish the lead, a body file also known as a Vixen File and just a body file blade with some tape over one end to use as a handle.
The two finished wings. Ready for final finishing with Plastic padding to take out any minor flaws and then paint.
You get a feeling for the extra width in these pics.