Review – Crawler Conceptz Front and Rear Flares

4WAAM-Crawler-Conceptz-FullIf I had to come up with one word to describe the Crawler Conceptz front and rear fender flares I just installed, it would be precision. Compared to other flares I have attempted to install recently these fenders are by far best I have worked with. 

Features

  • Both flares are made of solid steel and the bends are brake-formed giving the product unbelievable strength.
  • Parts are shipped raw metal for several reasons:
    • increases customization options
    • allows for any desired modification during test fitment
    • can use brackets and flares as drilling template, when needed, without marring a finished product
  • Very little modification to mounting area needed
  • Front fender flare precut to accommodate required marker light
  • Brackets & instructions included to reuse stock inner fender liners

Installation

Front Fender Flares:4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Front

Install of the front flares is a very straight forward process that goes pretty quick. After removing the stock flares and cleaning up the mounting area, you will quickly come to appreciate how precise the Crawler Conceptz brackets and flares are. The primary bracket slips up behind the original top mounting area and reuses the stock bolts to help index exact placement. The anchor holes on the bracket are slotted so there is room to slide the clips to exact location for actual flare install. This feature completely negates the need for extensive prying that you need to do when installing flares from some other manufacturers. Take just a little extra time during this process so when it comes time to mount the actual flare, placing each bolt will pass through the flare, body sheet metal, and bracket perfectly.

Once the flare is hung, the rear lower bracket is placed to ruggedize the install and bridge the gap between the stock sheet metal. This is where you need to remember how exacting your parts are. Crawler Conceptz paid attention to the 1/8th inch difference in width between the lower and upper portions of the gap in the body sheet metal. Instead of just doing a straight bend, they actually took the time to make sure that their part wouldn’t cause any need to pull in the body panels.4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Carbon-Fiber-Tire

Finally, when everything is on, installation of the stock inner fender is simplified with the provided “L” brackets. The stock upper rear 10mm fastener is reused to anchor the liner. Personally, while your parts are being finished, I would go grab some washers to fit between the flange and the liner. Even tightened all the way up, there will be room for the inner liner to rattle up and down. For a couple dollars, I bought four washers that ended up pressing the liner all the way up; this and a zip tie on the bottom rear of the inner liner eliminated all vibration. You could also consider their custom inner fender liners.

Rear Fender Flares:4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Rear-Inside

Installing the rear flares is ultimately what made me truly appreciate Crawler Conceptz’s precision and attention to detail. The rear mounting area has a very difficult angle transition to worry about. These flares fit into the stock location with zero issues. As you can see in the photo, the multi plane transition is very well contoured and all edges are finished perfectly. This one feature made the whole process so much simpler as compared to some other flare manufacturers.4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Rear-Profile

A word of caution though, this install still depends on your skill with nutserts and drilling out the flimsy body sheet metal. Aside from that, the flare mounting area lines up perfectly and if you follow the detailed directions you won’t run into any problems. Just like the front, once you have your flare hung, place your lower bracket and mark the holes needed to drill.

The inner liner can be reused but I chose not to. I will just end up using a truck bed lining on the inner fender area. As a separate option, you may look into the aluminum rear inner fender liner that Crawler Conceptz just came out with.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, I am very impressed with the flares. I chose to show them off by getting a local shop (Classic Custom Coatings) to hydrodip the flares with a carbon fiber pattern and just powder coated the brackets.4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Carbon-Fiber

The only thing I would add to the design is a way for water and mud to drain from the brake-formed pocket under the flare. The wide channel has potential to store of a lot of debris that will slowly work away at your chosen finish. I solved this problem on the front flares by using a spray in foam, waited days for it to stop expanding and fully cure, then sealed it with a spray on bed liner. I haven’t done that to the rear yet but, based on my last wheeling trip, I will do the same to the rear very soon. Cleaning the front flare was a snap but it took a lot of water to get all the debris out of the rear flare pockets.

The flares are certainly heavy, as one would hopefully expect since they are solid steel. If weight is a major concern of yours, Crawler Conceptz just released news of their aluminum versions. They will still come with the steel brackets but the flares themselves are solid 3/16th inch thick aluminum and are produced from the exact same plans as the steel ones.

They also produce a special option for Unlimited owners. There is an integrated rear quarter panel armor and welded on flare option that you can go with.4WAAM-Crawler-Fender-Flare-Integrated-Driver

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