Project: EGR Pocket Style Fender Flare Install
Vehicle: 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
Level of Difficulty: Easy
The factory fender flares on our ’99 Wrangler were looking pretty rough. The left front corner had been hit at one point, leaving that fender flare bent and cracked. The right front was losing its factory clear coat, and both rears were rock chipped. Due to our wider aftermarket wheels with more backspacing than stock, the tires on our TJ stuck out past our factory flares. This left the sides of our Jeep a mess if there was any mud on the trail, so we decided wider fender flares were in order. Researching fender flares on the internet presented 3 basic styles: similar to stock, pocket style, and flat.
We decided the pocket style would look best on our rig, so the best deal hunt was on. Most flare sets we found were in the $500 range, which made us cringe. Searching further, we came across the EGR Pocket Style fender flares on CarParts.com. The look was what we wanted, and the extra width would keep our Jeep a little cleaner. All this combined with the $150 cheaper price tag convinced us to pull the trigger.
When our UPS guy showed up, he had a huge box in his hands. I got giddy. Just like Christmas morning, I had to open the box immediately.
The fenders were packaged very well. Each fender was in a separate plastic sleeve with a bag containing the hardware, rubber molding, and instructions.
The finish of the fender flares and included hardware was excellent. Mold flash is one of my pet peeves, and I’ve spent far too many hours of my life removing it from plastic parts with a razor blade. No need with these.
- Cordless drill with adjustable clutch – not necessary, but speeds installation up considerably 1/4 inch drive socket adapter for cordless drill – not necessary, but same as above. We made ours by hacking the business end off of an old 1/4 inch socket driver. 1/4 inch drive ratchet – used for removal of old flares and installation of new if you don’t use a cordless drill
- 1/4 inch drive 3 inch extension – used for removal of old flares and installation of new if you don’t use a cordless drill 1/4 inch drive T30 Torx bit socket or T30 Torx driver – used for installation of the supplied screws
- 5/16 or 8mm 1/4 inch drive socket – used for removal of the factory screws that hold the flares to the fenders 5/16 or 8mm 1/4 inch drive deepwell socket or 5/16 or 8mm wrench – used to hold the nut on the backside of the fender during installation
- 10mm 1/4 inch drive socket or 10mm wrench – used for removal and installation of the side marker lights in the front flares Channel-Lock or other type of pliers – may not be necessary, used to hold plastic backing nuts during removal of the stock flares
Removal of Factory Flares
The included instructions are split into front and rear. Since our jeep was parked with the front toward the garage, that’s where we started. The instructions are very well written, and the clear diagrams show you what to do.
First step is to check that you have all of your hardware. Our fenders came with all of the hardware, but no extras – be careful not to lose any. We had to fish some of the nylock nuts out from the rear fenders. The instructions say that a driver bit is included (no mention of what size – the hardware takes a T30), but our hardware kit did not include one. No biggie as we have a set of Torx bit sockets, but be aware that you may have to purchase some type of T30 driver or bit.
Step two is to remove the wiring from the side marker lights in the flares. This is clearly shown in the instructions, and required the 10mm socket (or wrench). I recommend putting the nut back on the plastic stud after removal so you don’t lose it. I doubt your local hardware store has one.
Step 3 is to remove the original fender flares. The instructions say to make a note of exact locations of the factory screws, but I have no idea why you would need to. So I set to work with my trusty 1/4 inch drive ratchet and 5/16 socket. The screw heads are a little hard to get to under the factory flares, but it is doable. If you try to unscrew all of these with a wrench, set aside a good amount of time. Or better yet, use that time to go buy a socket and ratchet. There are somewhere between 10 and 100 screws holding each front flare on. OK, its 10, but it feels more like 100. Some screws thread into nutserts in the body, and some go thru the body and thread into plastic backing nuts. Some of these can be hard to hold with two fingers (especially the ones in corners), so use pliers if necessary.
Once all of the screws are removed, pull straight out on the flare and it should come off. Our left front fender had seen some damage at some point, so we had a little rust and bent sheet metal. I’m also starting to doubt our Jeep’s previous owner’s claims that it had never been off-road. Hopefully your Jeep is a little cleaner under the flares.
We test fit the new EGR fender flare and realized there would be an interference with the factory plastic side thingy that comes on Sahara TJs. We are planning on installing rock sliders at some point, so the plastic sides came off too.
Removal of the rear factory flares turned out to be more difficult than the front. There is a plastic fender liner between you and the plastic backing nuts. Removal of the stock flare hardware required two people: one holding the fender liner back, and the other holding the backing nut and unscrewing the screws. Some after-the-fact internet research revealed that the easy way to do this is to remove the fender liner by removing the rubber plugs holding it in. I recommend going this route; your fingers and hands will thank you.
Luckily for us, the right side of our Jeep was in better shape.
Some clean-up, rust removal, and touch up paint later, we were ready to install our new flares! Handy tip: paint pens make for a quick way to cover scratches if the area won’t be easily seen.
EGR Flare Install
First step here is to install the rubber molding onto the flares. The instructions don’t mention an orientation of the molding, but with a little eye squinting it became obvious. The adhesive side goes on the underside of the flare, with the ‘triangle’ pointing upward (relative to vehicle).
With the rubber molding on, we test fit the fenders on the Jeep. The upper contour matched the factory line, which is good because dirt had damaged our paint under the factory flare.
The instructions have a very clear view of the hardware order. Make sure to follow it. You put a screw thru the flare, then slide a rubber spacer on the screw (inside the flare). This is pretty handy because the rubber spacer holds the screw in the flare. Some screws will go thru holes in the body, some will thread into nutserts in the body. Where the screws go thru holes, you will put a washer and nut on the screw inside the fender. We put the two upper screws in first (loose) so the flare would hang where it needs to. We then loosely installed the rest of the hardware.
Next step was to torque the hardware. By this point my forearms were telling me how unhappy they were, so I went the easy route and used a cordless drill with a 1/4 inch drive socket adapter and T30 Torx bit socket. One person held the nut on the backside of the fender while with the 5/16 inch wrench while the other operated the drill.
TAKE NOTE: remember the adjustable clutch part? This is where it comes into play. We set the drill clutch to 1 (lowest setting). This was just enough to get the nuts run down on the screw. Once we had all of the fasteners in each flare run down, we moved the drill clutch to the next higher setting. This drew the flares against the fenders nicely without crushing the rubber spacer and distorting the flare. During this step, also take note of the rubber molding and make sure it is lying fairly flat against the fenders. This same basic process was repeated on the other 3 flares. If you use a ratchet to tighten down the hardware, be mindful of how far you tighten the screws – it doesn’t take much. You just want to compress the rubber spacers and draw the flares against the fenders.
The EGR kit also came with some stubby extensions that go behind the front fenders – similar to what comes stock on most Wranglers. Since we are planning on rock sliders soon, we left these off.
The Bottom Line
We are beyond pleased with these EGR fender flares. They almost completely cover the tire, which will significantly decrease the amount of mud and water splashed up on the sides of our Jeep (and onto us). The icing on the cake is that they look amazing!