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Flare with Style

Installing Bushwacker Pocket Flares on an '88 Jeep YJ

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Picture of Brenda Summers

Brenda Summers

Photography by Arnold Hemedinger

Arnold Hemedinger, a self-employed European auto mechanic and a die-hard Jeep lover, discovered an 88’ YJ Jeep Wrangler that had been stored in a barn and obviously seen better days. Arnie, being the visionary he is, instantly saw the Jeep as a diamond in the rough and with a little tender care would polish out brilliantly. His wife on the other hand saw the Jeep only as another mid-life crisis project that would sit among two and half acres of other would-be diamonds.

With complete assurance that this project wouldn’t take from their household monies, she threw her hands up with her “what ever gesture” signifying her somewhat approval. So he did what every generic male would do: he let out rebel yell and traded a perfectly good running 88’ 740 Volvo for a Jeep that had to be pulled out of a barn with a tractor.

Anyone can see why this Jeep that had no engine or transmission became a covert operation. With that being said, redefining this Jeep with all the ear markings of a junk- yard throw away into a viable trail vehicle would be quite a challenge, but one he was willing to risk.

Knowing first hand the limitations of a 31-inch tire on an aggressive trail ride, a decision to go with a 33 or a 35-inch tire was planned. But, the question was, which one? Bigger is deemed better when wheeling in the southeast where most trails consist of mud and rock. Taking this into consideration, Arnie realized that a tire which supports flotation and grip were essential ingredients. After reading various tire reviews, he chose the 35- inch PIT BULL MAD DOG’S mud terrain, knowing that the increased size would allow for added ground clearance keeping the belly from scraping rocks wedged in the ground. Now a lift is in order. Choosing a 2 inch body lift, a 2 inch spring lift, and 2 inches on the shackles gave the 6 inches needed to shoe horn the 35’s in the holes.

However the increase in tire size came with one notable disadvantage: the body needed trimming to accept the larger tires. Because he was using 17 inch MRW Bead locks, the tire upgrade called for further modifications to the fender wells. Still wanting to maintain the beefy look as opposed to the stock look for his Jeep, Arnie chose the Bushwacker Pocket Flares for their extended fender coverage and user-friendly installation package.

In order to gain steering clearance from rubber to spring, Arnie installed Spidertrax wheel spacers. “I elected to use Spidertrax 5 on 4.5 to 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern for future installation of Rock Crusher 60 differentials,” he said. To begin any installation it is always a good idea to read the manufacturers directions from start to finish. Make sure you have all the necessary parts and tools before starting. If there is a manufacturer’s suggestion for the install, it would be note worthy to follow it. (Remember, haste makes waste.) The level of experience needed for the fender flare install is beginner to intermediate. This would be a great project for a father and son who have a free weekend, and it would add points with mom.

Arnie illustrates the initial process of installing the Bushwacker pocket flares.

ARTICLE SOURCES

Picture of Bushwacker, Inc.

Bushwacker, Inc.

6710 N. Catlin Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97203

800/234-8920

Picture of Pit Bull Tire Company

Pit Bull Tire Company

A Division of Tire Mart, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri USA

800/645-2006

Picture of Spidertrax Inc.

Spidertrax Inc.

7510 Hygiene Road
Longmont, CO 80503

800/286-0898

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