View single post by discogodfather
 Posted: 09-29-2007 03:10 am
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discogodfather



Joined: 09-17-2007
Location: San Francisco, California USA
Posts: 11
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Hey Judson,

Fender flares are a difficult task on the Healey.  The stock fender rimming is terrible, too thin and the geometry does not lend well to flaring.  My flares where done by a retired professional restoration and fabrication expert that owned the car before me.

He went to insane lengths to flare these fenders.  He literally worked the metal into a shape that was consistant with a good tangency to the body, and then welded metal in while working it all together.

His process was:

1) Didn't remove any metal
2) Contructed a special fender "roller" that bolted to the spindles and used delrin rollers at the tips of the arm to literally work the metal into the good tangency to the body (kind of like a can opener pushing the rim of the can outwards as it opens the can)

note: I remember he used went to great lengths to make this "fender roller".  About a year ago, I opened an Eastwood catalog and they had a very similar rig selling for several hundred US dollars.

3) Welded a rim in a flat butt weld in 18 guage parallel to the straight rolled shape of the flare (the extension piece was around 1.5" in length)

4) Used another rolling tool (I forget if it was custom or not) to hem the newly welded metal around in a circle.  This was very key to creating a strong, factory looking flare.

5) Sanded, hammered, and worked the metal into a smooth shape.  No bondo!  Absolutetly no bondo. 

All in all it was at least 50 hours of labor and I thought he was crazy for doing it, but it looks unique.  It allows me to run 8" wheels (could go to 10" in rear) with a 4 inch backspace- heavily inset wheels.  This is not a good performance thing, as any wheel specialist or engineer will tell you it is better to have a larger backspace to help natural balance the wheel.  Even with good wheel balancing I still get a shake at only at 60 mphs, no other speed.  Spacers and things might help that problem, but it dosen't solve the engineering issue.  For a great explanation on this phenomenon, go to:

http://www.diamondracingwheels.com/Terms-BS.htm

Look at the "backspace limits" section.  Don't get me wrong, I love the extra rubber, and it makes it nearly impossible to break loose even under the hardest turns- would be fantastic for racing.  Also opens 225/50 and 245/50 15" tires to the Healey- lots of great choices out there in those sizes. 

Going back to the flares, I would recommend looking at some bolt up fiberglass flares for racing.  They are cheap, look funky, and cost nothing compared to fabricating and maintaining steel fenders in a racing environment. 

If you really want steel, the only adivce I can give you is to look possibly at a Porsche body shop that has some old school guys still working (I bit of a long shot).  In the 60's and 70's the 911 had the same problem as the healey- anemic flares.  Tons of people wanted more rubber (and wanted their regular 911's to look like the 930 turbo) and steel flares are common additions to older 911's.  Look for a shop with steel experience- fiberglass flares for the Porsche where common and of low quality usually. 

Just say no to bondo!


Chris




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