After my acquisition of my Suzuki Wagon R, I bought back the 14x5.5 +42 Yokohama Advan Rally wheels I put on the car when I sold it. A bit weathered looking at the moment, but nonetheless two of the four tires are in very functional condition.
Unfortunately, the Wagon R tires are a bit taller than stock Alto tires, at 155/65/14 and 155/55/14 respectively. At normal ride height, that actually probably shouldn’t be much of a problem, as the wheel size isn’t too much wider and there is ample fender space. Now that the car is lowered, though, they won’t work for the front fenders, as-is. The rears, on the other hand, seem to fit pretty close to perfectly.
It actually looks pretty great, riding on half Advans and half Enkeis, if I say so myself.
After about a week of driving around on them, I discovered that the tire sidewall does hit the inner fender lip, so now there is a light worn ring around the tires, quite evidently seen from the side. Along with the fender rubbing from 15mm spacers, I decided to do the right thing and roll my fenders.
I picked up a cheap fender roller off of Yahoo Auctions for 4730￥ ($43 USD), shipped. That’s a really good price… let’s see how well it works!
I’ve actually never done fender rolling myself before, but I got a pretty good idea on how to do so watching someone work on my Mitsubishi Evo to fit my wider Work 11R setup. For a simple, cheap, Alto Works, it should be a cinch. Not to mention… hey, why not. This is as much an experiment for me as a project.
First up, a generous application of heat to help soften up the paint to prevent cracking and make the thin metal a degree more pliable.
Then gently applying pressure with the fender roller, spreading out the pressure over the entire fender lip.
Looks pretty good! I don’t need an aggressive fender roll, but just enough to make sure the lip doesn’t hit later or have any sharp edges the tire could catch on.
I just have to be careful around the clip areas, but luckily my setup is not going to be crazy wide, so a bit of a lip there should prove no issue.
Perfect! Now that the lip is smoothly flattened against the fender, a few generous coats of black paint would help seal any paint chips and exposed metal. Surprisingly, perhaps due to the heat gun application, there is no notable paint chipping on the exterior.
Rinse and repeat with the opposite side. I’m doing my best to keep myself calm and take my time to roll it slowly. I’m excited to put the wheels back on to see how they look once they’re finished.
With the wheels back on the car, I can immediately see that the fender lips are slightly pushed out due to the rolling, but not so much that it should affect the shaken inspection. Shaken inspection is pretty strict, so if there is too much of a variation over stock, such as with overfenders or excessively pulled fenders, the car needs to be re-registered with the wider dimensions.
I might even venture to put on a set of 5mm spacers one of these days.
The fender clips holding the inner liner as well as the liner itself needed to be removed.
Unfortunately, due to the old paint and flexibility of the thin front fenders, the paint has cracked. I needed to apply touch up paint almost the whole length of the rolled portion. While it isn’t overtly noticeable in the photographs, it is a bit of an eyesore up close. I suppose I will need to repaint the whole area or perhaps the whole fender in the future. For now, it will have to do.
After a week of driving around town, hitting every bump and dip, I’m happy to report the fender roller did the trick! For under 4500￥, I rolled the fenders on my Alto Works the right way. I had a slight issue with a roll pin breaking on the fender roller, but it’s still plenty durable for future car projects in the future.