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Chicane Sport Tuning - Lip Service

Clearancing Camaro Fenderwells To Accept Fat Wheels And Tires

Bob McClurg Jul 1, 2001
Sucp_0107_02_z Chicane_sport_tuning Jimmy 2/13

This is Chicane Sport Tuning's "Jimmy" Fender Lip Rolling Tool. Equipped with a 3/8-inch deep, 14-degree radius machined into it's 4-inch steel "jaw," this tool allows the user the freedom to roll the inner fender lips on any '67-01 Camaro safely and professionally. The Jimmy retails for $60 FOB Torrance, CA.

There's nothing more visually gratifying than adding a set of high-performance wheels and tires to your favorite GM musclecar. After all, a set of high-performance aftermarket wheels and tires not only enhance the performance and handling, they also boldly alter the looks of either that classic or late-model Camaro.

However, with bigger tires comes the problem of achieving adequate inner fenderwell clearance. And, that's especially true when you throw a set of lowered springs into the equation.

In the old days, you had a number of options. One, you could take a pair of tin snips and cut away the inner fender lip. In doing so you naturally create a "can opener effect," further necessitating the use of a body grinder to smooth out the rough edges.

Effective? Certainly, but in the process you also create a potentially explosive situation from sparks. You also stand a pretty good chance of bubbling the paint on the outside of the fender lip due to excessive heat buildup from the grinder.

Two, you could climb inside the fenderwell of your Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, or El Camino with a hacksaw, making a series of small cuts along the perimeter of the inner fenderwell lip-this often requires a ton of hacksaw blades. Then you could use a body hammer to pound the structurally weakened sheetmetal back out of harm's way. However, in the process those not experienced in body and fender work also stand a pretty good chance of tweaking the outer sheetmetal.

Sucp_0107_01_z Chicane_sport_tuning 98_camaro 3/13

The first order of business is to jack up this '98 Camaro Z28 and remove its rear wheels and tires.

Enter "the Jimmy" Fender Lip Rolling Tool marketed by Torrance, California's, Chicane Sport Tuning. "This tool was created to maximize the inner fenderwell clearance needed for today's bigger wheels and tires," says Chicane's Joe Gosinski. "The one-piece tool was designed to fit the inner fenderwell radius of any Camaro manufactured from 1967 to 2001. It features a 3/8-inch deep, 14-degree "cut," or radius, machined across its 4-inch jaw, which allows the user to progressively radius, or roll, the inner fenderwell lip on these vehicles aproximately 45 degrees without running the risk of damaging the outer sheetmetal."

Gosinski went on to relate that the Jimmy-which retails for $60, FOB, Torrance, California-also works great on Toyota Celicas, Mustangs, Hondas Isuzus, etc.

"This tool can be used on virtually any type of vehicle with a natural circular radius fenderwell." Chicane Sport Tuning also markets an application for radiusing the inner fenderwells of Chevy trucks or SUVs featuring angular fenderwell openings.

How easy to use is Chicane Sport Tuning's Jimmy? Very. To begin with you obviously have to have the vehicle in question elevated off the floor with the wheels and tires removed.

Once you have arrived at the amount of inner fenderwell material that needs to be rolled, you draw a scribe line on the fenderwell lip using a soft-lead pencil or marking pen.

Sucp_0107_07_z Chicane_sport_tuning Peel_away 7/13

At this juncture, Gosinski peels away some of the thicker paint prior to actually using the tool itself.

Next, you take a razor blade and etch the paint on the inner lip approximately 1/8 inch to the inside of the fenderwell, just inside the painted body surface. This procedure will greatly reduce the possibility of paint chipping away-something to give careful consideration with GM's notorious "water" paint jobs-on the outside of the fenderwell when the lip is being rolled.

With that done you place the Jimmy on the arc of the lip and gently pry the sheetmetal upward. It is highly recommended that you move the tool back and forth across the surface area of the lip, starting from the leading edge of the tire, working your way to the trailing edge of the tire.

Sucp_0107_09_z Chicane_sport_tuning First_pass 8/13

Gosinski makes his first "pass" with the Jimmy, starting from the leading edge of the tire, working to the trailing edge of the tire, rolling a 4-inch section of sheetmetal at a time. Caution and self-restraint are highly advised. It's not necessary to do the entire job on the first pass. Between three and four "passes" with the tool is normal, progressively bending each section a little at more each time.

You use the Jimmy to initially bend the lip slightly while progressively moving on to the next section. By doing this, you can work your way back and forth over the section, gradually bending the lip a bit further each time you pass across the area. With the Jimmy approximately three to four "passes" are all that's necessary to achieve the desired results.

Once the fender lip rolling process has been completed, you will need to finish the job using a regular flat hammer like a body-working hammer. While you are doing this, it is highly recommended that you place your hand on the outside of the fender to "feel" the motion of the hammer. Gradually work your way back and forth across the fender lip until you get the desired effect.

Once the bending process is completed, you can peel away what remains of the old paint. After that, routine sanding is required, followed by the spraying of either touch-up paint, or better yet, a high-quality, spray undercoat. Then it's time to bring on those fat 20-inch wheels and tires! Now follow along with us as we watch Chicane's Joe Gosinski and Renee Barba performing a little wheel well magic on this late-model Camaro.


Chicane Sport Tuning
Torrance, CA 90501



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