Fender/Front quarter panel replacement advice
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  1. #1
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    Fender/Front quarter panel replacement advice

    I damaged the front quarter panel / fender of my Passat and am trying to decide what to do. See below for a pic. Replacing it myself seems like it could be straight forward. It appears to be bolted on. A new part from carpartswholesale.com is surprisingly cheap at $32. The problem is painting it to match the rest of the car.
    I got an estimate at a body shop (located in Pasadena, CA in case is matters) and it comes to over $1400 and more than half of that is painting and blending. The estimator says that could go up if there is damage beneath the panel that is not visible until they take it apart. My insurance agent says it does not make sense to claim it at $1400 since my deductible is $1000 and my rates will go up.

    Two questions: 1. Is replacing it myself feasible? Maybe with an already painted part from a junkyard?
    2. What is behind the panel? I looked in the side turn signal hole and see some plastic ducts.


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  3. #2
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    I think you should get a second opinion on the paint, that's stupidly expensive.

    I happen to know a few people in my area who do paint and body, but they don't charge that much.

    Junkyard swap is the best bet, but with paint "variances" it might not be a perfect match.

  4. #3
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    That's incredibly high for ONE fender.

    I jacked up the rolling of my fenders (see this thread) and had to put it into a prof body shop. Got BOTH fenders fixed, resprayed, blended. I also got paintless dent removal, front bumper respray and trunk respray...and THAT came to $1400.

    Not sure about what's involved with removing and replacing it, but I know you need another body shop. Shoot...take the part to a body shop, have them do it (warranty on labor) and then paint.

  5. #4
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    I went to another shop today and got an estimate of just over $1000. About $425 is painting.

    I'm leaning towards doing a junk yard part swap myself. Obviously, the paint match won't be perfect but I'm hoping it won't be too obvious.

    I found a set of generic instructions in a Popular Mechanics article.
    Anyone have some more info on how to remove and replace the fender? Do I need to remove the headlight and/or bumper?

    Any tips on finding a suitable part at a junkyard? Should I just call a bunch of them and ask?

  6. #5
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    just try to get a same color fender from the junkyard and replace it yourself.

    It is just a number of bolts that needs to be removed and it will costs you no more than 250.00.

    otherwise you can go with a new taiwanese replacement fender for under 50 bucks.

    I say JUST DO IT

  7. #6
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    contact www.oempl.us they can get hold of nearly anything with ease and ship it out to you. you will have to call them up though. it will not be on their website.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by corradog60stage4 View Post
    just try to get a same color fender from the junkyard and replace it yourself.
    I am looking for junkyards in the Los Angeles area that might have it now.

    Quote Originally Posted by corradog60stage4 View Post
    otherwise you can go with a new taiwanese replacement fender for under 50 bucks.
    The $32.19 part from carpartswholesale.com is probably one of these. It is CAPA certified. Any comment on the quality or how well it will fit? Can I have it painted at a paint shop before installing it?

  9. #8
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    The check engine light came on today but the car otherwise runs fine. Is there something behind the fender that could cause a check engine light to come on?

    Possibly related... I've noticed that there used to be a short (few seconds) but very quiet motor actuation whine just after I started the car when the engine is cold. Now, it lasts much longer.

  10. #9
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    Can't you just buy the $32.19 fender and have a shop use OEM paint? It should cost about $200 to paint.

    I had my lowers painted for about $300 and it was almost a perfect paint match (I think the flex agent messed with color a tiny bit). They just bought the OEM paint from dealer.

    Another shop quoted $300 to paint my whole rear bumper, and they're the best shop in my hometown. The prices you mentioned sound crazy for such a small piece... x2.

    Quote Originally Posted by pfong View Post
    The check engine light came on
    Get the codes read at autozone for free and post them.

  11. #10
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    I went to Autozone and they said they don't do code reading anymore. I tried to get a better look at what's behind the panel, but there doesn't seem to be a way short of removing the wheel well liner and maybe the fender.
    Since I'll need to borrow a friend's driveway / garage to work on the fender, I'd rather not need to take it off and reinstall it multiple times.

    The owner's manual seems to indicate that the "malfunction indicator light" is emissions controls related. Is there any problem with driving the car for now?

    I did find on the Autozone website some semi-specific instructions for replacing the fender though.

  12. #11
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    A friend of mine has a OBDII scanner and we scanned the codes today. It comes up as P0411, something about incorrect flow in the secondary air injection system. We cleared the code. I'll see if it comes back.
    Could this be related to the fender damage? Perhaps a hose or something got dislodged?

  13. #12
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    not likely. the one way air check valve (kombi valve?) that seperates teh exhaust gasses from the air pushed through by the SAIP (to reignite the exhaust waste & remaining fuel) is broken. get this fixed soon before your SAIP it toasted, literally.

  14. #13
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    After a lot of searching and calling I could not find a junkyard fender in silver locally or that could be shipped to me. So I ended up getting a new no-oem one pre painted from D & H Auto Parts. I knew the color match won't be perfect but it's much cheaper and easier than going paint shop.

    I managed to install it last weekend with only a few bumps in the road.

    You can see the upper right corner by the A-pillar is a little bumpy. Somehow that corner was bent too far inward and I had to unbend it to make it fit. I don't think it was shipping damage since the paint appears to have been applied with the bend. D&H has given me a partial refund and is sending some touch up paint.

    When I got the fender off, I discovered that I had sheared off some kind of vacuum tank (part no 8D0 131 541 C) from its mounts and a hose connection to it. I remounted the tank with a M6 bolt but I'm afraid now I won't be able to remove it in the future since I cannot easily hold the bolt from the back with the fender installed. The hose was reconnected with some glue and a hose joiner. Hopefully, this will fix the P0411 code.


    The main problem now is that I can't figure out how the liner at the back of the fender (in front of the door jamb) fits and how to put it back.

    Which of the two images above shows the side that should face forward? Which way is up?


    Tips for others who want to replace their fenders:
    1. You'll need to unbolt half the front bumper to detach the bracket shown below from the fender. This requires removing the grill. I could not figure out how to release the tabs holding the grill on and ended up breaking one tab.

    2. When jacking up the car and placing the jack stand (s), keep in mind you'll need to remove the black plastic thing running along the bottom edge of the side of the car.
    3. The connectors (see below) holding the screws that hold the wheel well liner to the fender cannot be removed with out destroying them. I ended up getting them out of the old fender but had to glue to them to the new one. This is where an OEM fender from the junkyard would be better. Anyone know the part number for these things?

  15. #14
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    hey thanks for the pictures, but was wondering if you have any more detailed DIY instructions. I'm thinking about doing a junk yard swap to my driver side fender, and was wondering how difficult it would be to take off the fender at the junk yard, then replace at home.

    thanks.

  16. #15
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    Not that tough. I did mine a year ago. I would remove the front wheel after taking all the typical precautions and jacking the car, remove the inner liner, remove the bolts at the top of the fender inside the engine compartment, those inside the front of the drivers door compartment, the one under the lower black skirt mold trim that runs the length of the car under the doors, and those that connect the front bumper skin to the fender. Pay attention to where you remove them from, re-installation is reverse, and finally snug up all the bolts enough to hold the fender in place so you can align the fender to the body.

    That is the Readers Digest version.

    Good luck.

  17. #16
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    Check your vacuum lines to the combi valve and those at the rear center of the manifold if it is a V6. Also be certain all the tubes to the valve cover, TB, and I believe the PVC valve are connected and not split. (They tend to get brittle over time). Be very careful as these can cost $$$ to replace. Finally, check the Combi Valves as suggested. I had to replace one that somehow was damaged. It sucked, but once done it solved the problem and saved the pump.

  18. #17
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    fellg, you forgot the put the inner liner back step just like I did.
    So, far I have not noticed any problem with not having the inner liner installed.

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