Samurai Front Fender Removal



Front Fender Removal

s you have probably seen in the run photos, my front end has taken quite a few hits since the rollover.  Both fenders are crumpled beyond straightening.  I had always wanted to remove the fenders and replace them with tubing and lexan so they would be strong and provide more clearance up front.  I started by sketching what I wanted the front end to look like.  I spent my lunch hours and some time at home sketching various views with the goal of keeping the same general lines of the original body and not making the front end too busy looking.  By now nearly everyone has seen the Spidertrax Samurai, it's a great example of keeping the original feel of the body intact while replacing nearly everything with tubing.  I tried making my version unique but it's hard getting away from their general shape up front, if you stray from that design it either looks too big up front or doesn't look like a Samurai anymore.  Here's the two concept sketches I liked the best.

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I know I wanted a cool looking hoop to make the front end stand out, I also wanted to retain the center of the stock grill.

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We had some problems with some of the locals who tried to leak out some early spy pictures of the project.  They were dealt with :)

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One last look at the old front end. 

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First Shane used his plasma cutter to cut the bulk of the front end off.  We used a piece of sheet metal as a shield on the inside of the fender to keep from melting the wires and hoses.  Once the fenders were off I used a .045 thick cutoff wheel on my grinder to make the final cut flush with the firewall.

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As you can see, once you cut those fenders you are committed.  The fender wells are part of the fender and the front clip relies on the front fender for a mounting point.

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Next we found a flat spot on the firewall to to use as a mounting surface.  We sandwiched the firewall with a pair of plates as shown in the second picture.  Due to clearance issues on the inside of the vehicle we were only able to get 3 bolts thru and had to notch the inner plate.  The fuse box had to be moved, I attached it using one of the holes from the drivers side speaker cover and added a new hole for the other side.

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After the finish cut on the fenders with the cut off wheel. 

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First Shane bent the top main bar.  We ran it behind the chopped fender and just in front of the firewall welded in a 90 degree mounting tube that was then welded to the plates attached to the firewall.  To hold it in position while we mulled over its positioning, Shane tack welded two pieces of square steel tubing to hold the front of the tube up.

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Here you can see some of the subtle bends required to make the front end look right.

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Next came the grill.

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Then Shane removed the stock body mounts with the plasma cutter,

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With the body mounts out of the way we added some support tubing for the grill.

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Here's a picture of Shane rig to give you an idea of some of the other work he has done.

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