03-19-2015, 06:08 PM
5-Year WF Supporting Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Yazoo City, MS
All TJs have bolted-on fenders. Look at my Avatar photo where I have pulled them and the hood for replacement. The CJ/Wrangler vehicles have always been put together so that they can be take apart. This is one of the reasons so many love them; not only are they fun off-road vehicles, but they can be completely torn down and customized or repaired at home.
Good luck. I think your shopping for TJ fender take-offs from sellers who replaced them for things like Metalcloak or Poison Spyder fenders would be your best bet. The only differences between so-called "Sahara" fenders and all the others are the width and that they are painted. The Rubicon's are black plastic like all non-Sahara TJs, but are the widest.
Flares are not that hard to replace if you get the correct tools and such, especially if the fenders are off the vehicle.
If you buy a set of fenders the inside walls where stuff gets bolted on differ a bit, but mostly only in where holes are drilled. In other words, if you get a set, all your stuff should bolt on easily, and if some holes are missing you can simply drill one. (The AC evaporator on the SE model bolts to a completely different location and has a nutsert in the fender wall, but that would not affect you. This is just an example.)
So, you could purchase a right and left fender, then, if the flares are not to your liking you could transfer yours to the new fenders. You can have a shop paint the fenders to match the flares. Then you bolt them onto your Sahara. After that, you bolt on all your bits that need it. If you do this, take photos of everything first. The Air box is mounted with a weird, brass plate to prevent it from pulling through (I guess) and then a metal plate. All three have to go back on in the same order, so again, take pics.
Getting the fenders off and on is pretty easy, but the bottom couple of bolts against the tub are hard to get to. You have to be patient. Small hands and long arms can help.
I changed my flares and my fenders to replace trail-crunched ones. It took some time but the result made me really happy.
Fenders are not cheap, though, especially if you live up in the Rust Belt. Try craigslisting some in more southern or western areas that you are willing to drive to. Your chances of getting rust-free ones are greatly improved if they come from jeeps in these areas.
Best of luck!
EDIT: I forgot... You really want at least one helper when you remove and install fenders. They are sort of heavy, very awkward, and thin for their weight. You need assistance holding them exactly in alignment as you bolt them to the tub or they look funny. And when removing if you do it wrong you can bend them, too. Fishing them off of or over the shock towers also really needs four hands to make sure you do not scratch or bend them.
2003 Shale Green Metallic TJ Sport
2013 Black JK Sport S
A yellow bird with a yellow bill landed on my windowsill. You know the rest...