Fender rolling

So my my e46 has 255/35/18′s with a 9.5″ off set on the fear. I bought the car like this, the wall of the rear tires are eaten up pretty bad. The fenders would rub over every single dip in the road or sharp turn. Needless to say I decided to roll them. I like the wide aggressive look so I didn’t want to switch to smaller tires. This is my experience with what little photos I did take, sorry its not a very thorough DIY its my first one, but maybe you can learn some thing from the thread if you plan to roll your fenders.

Tools used:
-Fender roller (rented for $40) (if You’re local *So-Cal* contact me for a referral to my renter)
-Heat gun (included with rental)
-Dremel 300
-Jack stands
-2 ton Jack
-50 foot extension cord (no garage!)
-utility knife
-BMW tire Iron (included in your trunk tool box)
-needle nose pliers (bent nose would have been MUCH more Ideal)

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Step 1: Loosen the bolts of both wheels. Proceed to jack up rear of the car (if doing the rears) I drove on a pair of 2×10′s to elevate my lowered rear, and used the bracket by the differential to jack up, once it was high enough I lowered the car onto jack stands on the two rear support points. Make sure the car isn’t too too elevated or the axle will hang too low for the roller. Make sure you have wood or bricks behind the front tires to prevent rolling.

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Step 2: Remove the wheel you’re starting with. My first wheel came right off, the 2nd was a PITA, If your wheel is stuck to the hub, remove the center cap, spray WD-40 in there really good. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes, then lay on your back and give the tire a few good BOOTS on the edges, turn the tire around the hub it will eventually give.

Step 3: its time to prep the fender you’re about to roll. Use a Utility knife first to cut the plastic lining around the rear bumper clip. I know this is a bad pic but it shows it:
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You will also need to cut off the bumper studs, this nasty thing was tearing my tires up! I dremeled off the entire bolt & nut on the first fender along with the clip. On the 2nd I realized it was much easier to unbolt the nut then just shave off the stud. (Do not worry this won’t make your rear bumper sag one bit, its still very supported)

This shows the stud shaved off (note there is a 2nd stud higher in the fender I also shaved this one off but left a piece of the nut over a portion of the stud):
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Step 4:
Honestly, this step makes is the biggest pain in the ass, it turned a 3-4hr job into a day job for me I wasn’t ready for it nor did I have the proper tools. There is an undercoat/adhesive under the entire lip of the fender, and its cemented in there. I’m not sure if its because my E46 is a NY car or if its on all models. Some are lucky and can just get one piece of it out, and pull slowly along the entire fender pulling it all out as one large piece, or at least in large chunks at a time. I was not so lucky… I got out as much as I could in each fender but I would say I left more than 50% of this cement under the fender lip. the down side is you will NOT get a smoothed out fender lip in the end. BUT you can still flare the fender out with this gunk behind it so from a functionality stand point it does not matter. I used a pair of bent nose needle nose pliers to rip out as much as I could while heating it up with the heat gun from the inside:

Remove as much as you can, than proceed to the next step!

Step 5: Install the Fender roller on the Hub. Use your existing bolts to bolt it right on. note: I had my parking brake still engaged, dis-engage it but make sure rears are fully elevated and the front tires are wedged by wood blocks or bricks.

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Step 6: Adjust the fender roller to begin. Note: most rollers adjust in 3 ways; 1: the head/wheel will rotate, 2: the wheel will raise up/down to accommodate height. 3: the angle at which it rolls is manipulated by the crank. On my first fender I started at the very top middle of the fender. I would suggest the same, except slowly working your way around the entire fender with the process. DO NOT start on one section of the fender, and roll that section flat, before moving onto the other sections of the fender. The result will be a deformed / creased fender. so try to evenly roll the lip flat, working your way around the entire fender. I had to go around the entire fender from top to bottom about 3x to flatten it, then I continued to flare/pull it out even more.

Our E46 Fenders have a lip like so:

For me I had the best luck working this edge in first. You would do so by applying pressure from the fender roller against this corner first BEFORE trying to flatten it out:

Once you have a section picked put, tighted the fender roller against the area you want to flatten using the crank.

Step 7: Test the roller to insure its positioned correctly. You want to be able to move back and fourth 10-15x, left to right before increasing the tension pulling the lip back even more. Once its positioned You will use the heat gun to heat the exterior of the fender section you are rolling. If you have a friend have them heat it while you roll the job will go MUCH more quicker. this shows the roller in position, ready to rotate back and fourth while the heat gun is applying heat. I also heated from the inside:
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After you roll the fender back and fourth for a few repetitions, turn the crank about 180* to increase tension outwards, and continue to roll back and fourth. Roll the fender about 1/3 of the way flat before moving on to a different section. I worked my way from the top down one side, then went back to the the opposite side and worked my way down again. Once you have the entire fender rolled about 1/3 of the way start back at the top middle and repeat the process. Try to evenly roll it as much as possible to keep a clean flat look. If you flatten one side out to much it will crease.

Constantly adjusting the roller will be required as you move to different sections of the fender. It takes some time to get the technique down. After your first fender you will have the hang of it. You will have to adjust the height and angle of the wheel as you move to different fender sections, remember the crank is just to apply outwards pressure. As you crank the roller, the more pressure its going to apply against the inside wall/lip of the fender to flatten it and flare the fender.

I would highly suggest having two people for this job. One guy heating the exterior the entire time you roll along that section, just do not heat one area for too long be sure to move the gun back and fourth. If you only have one guy I would suggest heating it for 30 seconds then rolling in intervals of 10-15 reps, then tighten the roller and repeat. Be patient and results will looks good.

I will take better photo of the finished look but both rear fender are much wider and flared. If you want to flare the fenders, once the lip if flat continue to roll the inside of the fender until it flares out more. I would only suggest going for .5″ at most.

Here is a look at the flared fender form the inside (sorry I forgot to take a before)
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Here is a pic of the finished product with the tire back installed. Notice how much room I now have. Before I could barley fit a thumb’s worth of space and the tire actually flared out more then the fender. (yes I know of the nasty paint chips, the tire tore up the fender before this roll)
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This is the closest pic I have to a before, its not quite at the same angle but the tire is actually sticking out more then the fender in this pic.

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Conclusion.. Did it work? Well before the roll my over sized tires rolled constantly when I had a passenger in the car it was embarrassing to drive. There are certain turns/dips/bumps in the road that I remember would rub the fenders EVERY time. So I got my buddy in the car with me and we went over each of the spots I could remember. I tried my hardest to get the fenders to rub even taking a corner at 45mph with a passenger, but… nothing. It’s been 2 days since the roll and I’m happy to report it hasn’t rubbed even once. So yes it was a success but it was A LOT more work than I anticipated. I broke each fender into two separate days. My hands are blistered, I probably dedicated a good 4-6 hours to each fender. With a friend if you’re prepared you could do the entire rear in about 3-4 hours. I would give this a difficulty of 7 out of 10 just do the intensive physical labor involved. By doing it your self you can save a lot of money and gain experience, but you will lose time and indefinitely endure some frustration and maybe some hand blisters!

Source: DOB2009

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