DIY homeade trailer fenders | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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DIY homeade trailer fenders


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Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
February 9, 1999
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City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
Well, this isn't exactly an off-road project, but this is the trailer I'm using to take the X to the trails.. so I figure it belongs here.

I've had this trailer for a while. its an old uhaul trailer with upgraded axles but no fenders. It hasn't had fenders for many years..

Since I am planning on taking it into CA I figure I really need to get fenders on it as I doubt the CA police aren't nears as friendly has the Az cops.

I didn't want to spend any real money on the fenders so I decided to try to build the fenders my neighbor has built years ago, back in Nebraska.

Here is what we did.

Step 1, Find free scrap tires (no tread is just fine). We found the 265x75r16 6 ply tires worked the best (we used two 265x75r16 6 ply and two 245x75r16 4 ply)

step 2, cut the bead off the tires
I used a harborfreight 7.25" metal circular saw to cut through the bead.

I then used a sawzall to cut through the sidewall a bit and then cut JUST THE BEAD out. If you cut too much of the sidewall out the tire will become too floppy. I cut to about the edge of the thicker part of the rubber.

step 3, Cut across the tire on one side.

step 4, We then flipped the tire inside out. It took 2 people. One person held the rest of the tire up while the 2nd person pushed down on the sidewall of the tire. We were pushing the tire carcass (fender) on the trailer tires.

step 5, we welded 3 pieces of metal to the side of the trailer for mounts. I tried to space them evenly around the tires leaving about 5" of space between the metal and the tires. I used some angle iron I had lying around

step 6, We had to modify the center bracket. A flat piece of steel would work better here so we cut the angle iron so it was basically a flat piece (vertical) with some bracing. This was the 2nd modifcation we did, you can see an extra piece of steel I welded to the top when I was trying to acomplish the same thing.. the cutting of the angle iron made design work better.

Step 7, Drill 2 holes into the metal. The outside hole is around 2-3" from the end and the inside hole is about 5" or so inboard. It doesn't need to be exact.

Step 8, clamp the tire onto the brackets. It took 2 people to do this.

step 9, once the tires are clamped on we drilled holes in the tires by putting the drill through the metal into the tires. Then add some nuts/bolts.

Step 10, cut the excess tire off. Once we had one tire done we knew that 65" of tire was going to be almost right. We only had a couple inches to trim per side.

Step 11, We were running dual axles so we had to clamp the 2nd tire on, drill the holes and bolt it on..

I don't have a good picture yet, but here is a pic take when we were done.
You can see that the left tire looks nicer. That is a 265x75r16 6ply when the tire on the right is a 245x75r16 4ply. I may eventually re-do the 4ply fenders just to make them look nicer.


With the tires inside out and most of the sidewall still there, there isn't that much give. It doesn't look like the fenders are going to move enough to hit the tires.

I'll try to get better pics during the day tomorrow.

This was pretty cheap to do, tires were free, nuts/bolts/washers were free. I did need to replace the blade on the 7.25" saw after cutting through 6 tires (2 were experimentation) and 1 sawzall blade. I had the steel lying around, and I have a 10lbs spool of welding wire..

As an added bonus, I can hit the fenders with things and not worry about denting the fenders :)

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This a very good use for old tires. I know that Ford uses old tires to make rubber parts such as brake pedal covers. In India, they go a step further to make prosthetic limbs out of tires. You could get a third tire, and make mud flaps.

man if you could later get your hands on some like 36 mudders or any other larger tire with just a bit of thread left, hit it with some tire paint (and not urning them inside out), it would look great. But men i love your creativity, just the kind o thing i would do in your situation

Here are some pictures I took this morning (daylight pictures). You can really see the difference between the 4 ply and the 6 ply fenders.




Overall, I like how they came out.. They may not be the prettiest, but they seem to work just fine.

You can tell the forward and rear fender mounts are farther way from the tire than the center mount so the fenders aren't exactly "round".. Just one of the things we figured out after we were already working on it.. We weren't going to redesign that part though.


Thats a good idea to get you by with the tires.

The trailer looks so small by the way

I think it is a little small, at least to carry the Explorer.

The front tires of the X are all the way at the front when I carry it and the tires just fit between the rails..

From what we can tell, its an old Uhaul trailer (its orange under the white)..

The axles were upgraded years ago when they installed cheap/weak rims and had the center rip out when carrying a vehicle. I think those are 5k axles now (I'd have to go look at the tag again).


I need a new fender for my trailer....but I don't think I'll go this route:D

6ply ones look much better.

Your metal fenders don't take kindly to being driven on :)

I find I can stand on them. hit them, drive on them etc..and they just move out of the way. If I put enough weight on them make it dent (e.g. stand on the top of a 4 ply) I just reach above the tire and push it back..


That is a heck of an idea especially if you have to drive over your fenders to load your truck. I like it!

Or if you load your truck like Stic-o does :D he managed to do that on one of the truckhaven runs..


Or if you load your truck like Stic-o does :D he managed to do that on one of the truckhaven runs..


yeah yeah...:rolleyes: I want to build box ones that go all the way to the rear of the trailer, so they have storage boxes built in at the rear. Trailer is not really at the top of my list right now:(

Well, time for an update I guess.

The Arizona Sun was drying out those tire fenders pretty quickly. They were starting to rip.. I expect It would have last another year in the Az sun.

I cut off the old mounts and made a metal set.. Gave me some time to practice welding without doing any true structural welding.

I used 2x2 3/16 wall for the main horizontal supports.. and 1x1 1/8" wall for the "frame" and 18 gauge for the skin.

Its nothing fancy, but I learned quite a bit.


metal-fenders-skinned-1 (0)
by maniak_az, on Flickr


metal-fenders-skinned-1 (2)
by maniak_az, on Flickr

At first I made them too short (trailer wasn't sitting flat). Now they are plenty tall. I am going to modify where the frame mounts to the 2x2 so I can remove the one on the driver side. That way if I ever load a "car" on it I can get the door open. Right now your door needs to be 14" above the deck to clear the fender.

I still haven't decided what I am going to do for the inner side of the fenders. I'm leaning towards putting rubber (think conveyor belt) on the inside of the fender. That way I can get it out of the way if I need to get to the back of the hubs/backing plate etc.

Of course, now that I have fenders I need to replace the wires that ran down the "rail" of the trailer. Aparently my welding and use of the hot wrench (torch) melted some of the wires.


much better then old tires:thumbsup:;)