June 1, 2014 in BMW 318ti
Car is ready, certified and I’m excited to roll! Time for a quick shake-down run. WOOT! Check the car over, check the fluids, driving gloves – check, I’m stoked to rip through some gears. As the car takes the minor dip into the gutter at the end of the driveway I hear a horrific sound – my spaced out rears a grinding and vibrating and being cut by the fenders. I’m too wide and too low, if there is such a thing. I’m now halfway in the road with the fenders slicing into the tires, blocking one of the lanes in front of my house.
At this point it’s quite clear to me that in order to remedy the problem I’m going to need to roll the fenders… I couldn’t possibly take the spacers off, the car is just begging to have them on. So, I’ve seen some crazy videos on the interwebs on how to roll your fenders with a bat. It seemed like a great, cheap way to make some space for the tires. After searching around for a cheap baseball bat, I found a hardwood shovel handle at the skate-park with my son. Boom. I’ve got a plan.
As it turns out, rolling your fenders with a piece of wood is a terrible idea. The tire gives way before the finder, it’s inconsistent and it takes hours to make any progress what-so-ever. I can only guess that they videos that I’ve seen are successful because people are rolling aluminum or thinner gauge metal. I have no success and as I realize I’m crossing into territory that will irrevocably damage my fenders I stop and decide to regroup.
I’ve seen Eastwood fender rollers during my searches that yielded wizards pulling off fender manipulating miracles with bats. The problem is they’re quite expensive; they cost upwards of $400 and being in Canada they’ll probably take 15 or so weeks to reach me. I’m way too cheap and impatient for such things. Luckily for me a local is renting one via Kijiij. Eighty bucks later I have a roller to use for a week.
Rolling is definitely a skill mixes with some artistry. I’m mostly happy with my my results, but despite my heating the paint with a heat gun I still end up with some cracked paint. I also had a couple of rust spots that amplified the flaws of my work. It’s nothing a little paint and bondo can’t fix, but it’s a little disappointing nonetheless.
The advice that I’ll pass on to any would-be-rollers out there: Go practice at the wrecker if you can. Every fender is going to be different I’m sure, and every part of that fender is going to give way differently. My fender seemed to have a double lip so it was really slow going, wouldn’t bend near the front of the fender and had rust spots that cracked and warped all funny.