<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Bushwacker TJ Fender Flares

ROCKCRAWLER.com
Bushwacker Pocket Style Fender Flares
For Jeep TJ

By Shawn Pagan

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In an effort to resolve the problem, I started asking questions around the 4x4 community and soon discovered that this seemed to be a pretty universal problem with the Bushwacker flares. Some people had fixed it by installing their own fasteners and throwing out the supplied bolts, while some were just living with it, and others simply removed the Bushwacker flares and sold them to someone else.

So at a loss as to what to do I decided to act like a regular customer and call Bushwacker's Help line at (503) 283-4335 and spoke to one of their Customer Service Reps. I must say that I was impressed!

I did not tell them that I was with Rockcrawler.com and simply told them that I had received the flares as a present. I explained the problem I was having and I also explained that I felt their instructions were lacking, especially regarding the use of the Nylon spacers and the edge trim. They politely asked if they could put me on hold for a few minutes.

So after sitting there for a little while, they came back on the phone and told me that they had reviewed the instructions for the installation and realized that I must have a very old kit. They agreed to email me the new instructions (IN1-10908 dated 08/02) and send me a new parts kit in the mail. They assured me that they had already addressed the issues that I had (instructions) and was having (the bolts pulling thru).

I eagerly awaited the parts kit and was again surprised by the effort Bushwacker went thru. They even called me back to make sure the parts arrived and were to my satisfaction.

This kit had bolts that were much longer than the original bolts, with a slightly larger metal washer this time. It no longer used the black or chrome snap caps, but retained the "industrial appearance" by replacing all the bolts with Stainless Steel Torx bolts.

In addition, the new instructions had much better detail. They described exactly where to put the Nylon spacers (1/4" thick spacer go on the front and the 3/8" think spacers are used on the rear). They also did a much better job of describing the installation of the edge trim and are simply much clearer and more concise.

Okay, so now it's back out to the garage to "re-install" the Bushwacker Pocket Flares. I simply removed the original hardware and re-installed the new, one bolt at a time. In about 20 minutes, I had the flares installed and looking good again.

I must say that after two quick trips off-highway I was impressed with how well the new hardware helped the kit out. I have been able to scrape and rub the flares with no noticeable problems (other then brush pin-stripping, but I don't really consider that a problem) at all.

In fact, I can pretty much bend the flares all the way into the body and they pop back out without pulling thru the bolts or causing other problem - so far, none the worse for wear!

Sometimes the relationship with a vendor is not always measured by the times when everything goes right but rather how things are handled when they go wrong.

I was, and am, extremely happy with the attitude of their customer service and what seemed to be their commitment to help any customer with one of their products. That attitude will keep me coming back as a Bushwacker customer.

In conclusion, the Bushwacker Pocket Flares provide coverage for my street tires as well as my off-highway tires. They have pretty much eliminated the mud thrown up that was covering the inside of my vehicle, they make me legal in those states that require tire coverage, and I think they look nice.

With the additional benefits of their new fastener design, I would say they have taken a large leap forward in making these flares functional, but they still have a ways to go for those that frequently scrape rocks or whose tires rub their flares hard.  I have on numerous occasions pulled the flares completely off the body.  Yes, I have been able to reinstall the flares but they show obvious signs of the wear and tear they have received.  By comparison, I have seen other flares, including the stock flares hold up to much greater off-highway abuse.

Having said that, for mild wheeling, mudding, and trail riding on wider trails these flares are an alternative to the bland styling of many products on the market today.

Update: As of Nov 2003 contact with rocks and narrow passages pulled the Bushwacker flares off so many time the mounting holes were no longer useable.  I have since switched to an alternate brand and as of yet have had no issue running the same trails.  I still appreciate the different look of the Bushwacker flares; however, for hard or extreme trails I would recommend looking into a different brand.

 

RESOURCE

Bushwacker, Inc.
6710 N. Catlin Ave.
Portland, OR 97203
Phone: (503) 283-4335

Website: www.bushwacker.com

 

Jack Brinks

Shawn Pagan is a Staff Writer for ROCKCRAWLER.com, as well as Our Land Use Editor. Shawn resides north of Houston, TX.

Contact Shawn at thepagan@rockcrawler.com