The Ultimate Guide to S13 Overfenders
Wanna fit those pimp rims to your S13? Then your gonna need to get you a set of overfenders. Our guide tells you everything you need to know about S13 overfenders.
JDM Nissan and S13 enthusiasts have many reasons behind their passion of these cars. One of the biggest reasons fans love about the S13 are the looks, especially when it is tricked out with some sweet aero.
Another key factor behind the S13’s popularity is the relative ease with which it can be modified with new parts.
Every new part had a role in creating the overall effect of the outer aesthetic, as well as some adding a key performance element that is crucial to success. While there are many parts that enthusiasts like to add, perhaps one of the most visible are the overfenders.
In this article, we’ll be discussing all-things overfender: what they are, what they do, what kinds are available and more.
Let’s start by filling in some background on this key piece of aero.
What are overfenders?
Overfenders are also commonly known as fender flares (especially when applied to trucks or SUVs). They are a kind of extended wheel arch that are designed to not only enhance the aesthetic of a vehicle’s wheel arches, but also to provide a proper housing for enlarged wheels.
Track rats know that you need different widths and compounds of tires to suit the specific kind of driving you are doing.
Sometimes it means having wider wheels, that under normal fenders, these tires would stick out of the sides.
It is, in fact, often a legal requirement that your overfenders are able to cover the tire completely. This is because expose tires moving at most speeds will throw up dirt and debris, and part of the fender’s job is to protect against that.
So, no matter what critics say about fender flares just being for show, they are actually performing a very important function.
General Overfender Types
Outside of the exciting overfender types available for the S13 chassis models (see further below), there are broadly speaking four types of fender flares available on the market:
- OE style – these give an upgraded look, and can be used to hide rush or damage; they don’t differ wildly from the factory-issue fender that you would see at the dealership.
- Street style – sizes can vary, but these are typically smaller than the OE style fenders; often designed with a sleeker and more subtle aesthetic than others.
- Pocket/Bolt style – these create an industrial “heavy-duty” look with the exposed bolts and bulky outer appearance
- Extended style – the extended overfenders give the same scale as the pocket/bolt style, but without that extreme rugged and bulky appearance; sleeker, smoother design for those looking for a refined look.
Overfenders for the Nissan S13
You’ll be pleased to know that just as there seems to be a fender for every pickup, SUV and other car out there, the S13 chassis, too, has many styles available.
Each style offers a different look and feel; some are striking and dynamic, others sleek and stylish, while others are edgy and unique.
Below are some of the top choices available to S13 fans, but please note that there are many more great aero brands, too.
You’ll also find links to example products available for purchase:
Origin Lab is a Japanese company and one of the top names in overfenders. They produce four types of front fender, and a special type called Tatakidashi, in sizes from 20mm to 75mm. One of the top qualities of Origin overfenders is their durability.
These things are built to last! Having said that, they are far from cumbersome or heavy, so you won’t be sacrificing speed or agility when you install them.
What’s more, you won’t have to break the bank on these big-brand overfenders, since they typically range from $325 to $400 per front/rear set. These will fit both the hatchback and coupe model.
Below are some examples and links to available Origin overfenders.
- Origin Lab Front Overfenders – 20mm Dual Vent for 180SX
- Origin Lab Front Overfenders – 20mm Single Vent for 180SX
- Origin Lab Front Overfenders – 40mm for 180SX
- Origin Lab Front Overfenders Type 3 – 55mm for 180SX
- Origin Lab Front Overfenders Type 4 – 75mm for 180SX
- Origin Lab Rear Overfenders Type 2 – 50mm for Silvia
- Origin Lab Rear Overfenders Type 4 – 75mm for 180SX
- Origin Lab Rear Overfenders Tatakidashi – 30mm for 180SX
- Origin Lab Rear Overfenders Tatakidashi – 50mm for 180SX
Car Modify Wonder Glare
This company was founded by D1 Grand Prix driver Takashi Haruyama. Inside knowledge from the company’s founder means that these parts are imbued with the spirit and expertise of real drifting veterans.
They are exceedingly well-built and durable, which is reflected in a somewhat higher buying price of around $500 per front/rear set. Below are some examples and links:
- Car Modify Wonder Glare GT Front Overfenders – 50mm for 180SX
- Car Modify Wonder Glare GT Rear Overfenders – 50mm for 180SX
Arguably the sleekest, most expansive and visually striking style on the S13 overfender market, the D-Max front and rear overfenders will set you back somewhere between $375 and $425 per front/rear set.
Below are some further examples of their products with links:
- D-Max 180SX 25mm Front Overfenders
- D-Max 180SX D1 Spec 40mm Front Overfenders
- D-Max Silvia 25mm Front Overfenders
- D-Max Silvia 50mm Rear Overfenders
- D-Max 180SX 50mm Rear Overfenders
Besides the bigger names, there are some great parts to look out for, such as the Chargespeed 50mm overfenders, suitable for both coupe and hatchback. Many users report that Chargespeed-supplied overfenders are very easy to prep and install compared to many, with a great wrap around the taillights.
Another one to look for is the VIS Drift X (30mm), also fitting both S13 coupe and hatchback, with good lines that will follow your window and trunk and give a good wrap around the lights.
Both brands mentioned above list other items, too, if you’re looking for an alternative to Origin, Wonder Glare or D-Max.
The Circular Evolution of Overfenders
Back in 1970s Japan when drifting and its popularity were just starting to take off, overfenders had a very basic function. Since drifters were installing bigger and wider wheels for use on the touge, it means that bigger fenders were needed to house them.
This was how it all started.
As time went on, however, the pursuit of unique aesthetic led many to cut up their fenders and install fender flares as a way of augmenting the look. This was viewed as a fad akin to the “go-faster stripes” mentality of many a boy racer out there.
These days, however, the evolution seems to be moving somewhat full circle, with a rediscovery of function in the world of overfenders.
An increasing number of drivers are once again focusing not simply on how their overfenders look (though that remains an important consideration) but more on how well-crafted and fitted overfenders can help to enhance their performance during a drifting race.
How are they installed?
Once you’ve chosen and bought your front and rear overfenders, the next natural step would be to get them installed. You can always find a professional fitter to help you finish it, but as we all know, a fun part of the JDM S13 lifestyle is installing and fitting the modifications yourself.
It’s your car, after all. It’s hard to take pride in the work of others, and the car should ultimately reflect your own vision and needs.
Installation guide – Rear Overfenders
Please note that following this guide is entirely at your own risk. The 180sx Club is not responsible for any personal injury to you or to a third party and neither is it responsible for any damage done to your vehicle while attempting to follow this guide. The 180sx Club provide these workshop guides for experienced mechanics to use, if you are not confident that you have the correct skills then please take your vehicle to your favourite professional garage to complete the work.
Before you begin the work, you should prepare your workspace. If you’re working indoors, you should clear unnecessary gear and other items from around your car.
You need space to cut at the fenders, after all. You should also ensure your space is well ventilated and adequately lit. Things could get pretty hot during the fitting job.
If you’re working outdoors, you could use a pop-up car port or other tent-like covering to provide you with adequate shade for the duration of the work. You should also ensure the space around you is safe and clear of unrelated tools and other objects.
When you’re cutting, there will be sparks flying, so ensure you’re wearing proper safety gloves, sturdy footwear, noise excluders over your ears, and safety goggles/glasses (or a mask). Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
The first thing to decide is how to make your ‘first incision’ with the cutters. Some may want to play it timidly and cut a small amount above the existing arch, but since you’re going to be covering the area entirely with your new overfenders, you shouldn’t feel too concerned about cutting up a bit higher.
It’s important to be bold with the cutters. Remember, it’s your car, don’t be afraid. Nothing is beyond help if you make an error.
For those in need of a bit more precision, you can get the arch from your front fender and use it as a kind of stencil to trace a line around the rear arch, thus giving you a nice clean line along which to cut.
Click play on the video above for a demonstration of this method.
You can also draw the line by attaching a sharpie to one of a string, and the other end to the lug nut attachment as an anchor. From there you can draw the right shape out cleanly. Click here to see this method.
The next step is to combine the exposed lip with the outer arch using welding. After cutting off the first piece, you should clean up with the newly exposed lip with a grinder, and then make slits with the cutter. Use a hammer to bash these slits outward so they’re pointing out. You’ll then be (carefully) cutting these off.
After the excess metal is cut off, it’s time to weld. The welding step will give you the clean edge around the newly cut rim. This is the time to either go big or go home.
If you’re not up to the welding, then you need help from a professional, because this is the point where it’s genuinely a bit dangerous. Once the welding is finished, you can clean it up again with the grinder.
Next, we’re going to use some edge primer and undercoating to touch up. Use some tape to mark out an area around the parts you’re going to spray with the primer and undercoating. This will help clean it up properly before you start applying the overfender.
Place the panel up on the body for test fitting. You can use tape to hold it in place where you want. Once it’s fully in line and you’re happy with the way it looks, ensure one last time that it’s all in place, because the next step needs everything in the right location.
The next step is drilling holes for the rivets. Above is a video demonstration to show you where the rivet holes should go – including a stark reminder to use a high-quality and heavy-duty rivet gun to lock the overfender in place.
Once all the rivets have been placed and locked in, your overfender should be sitting pretty and looking fine.
Does your car really need overfenders?
This is an interesting question to wrap up our guide to S13 overfenders.
As we have said already, overfenders have a definite function to fulfil, but as to whether you strictly need them to be a good drifter, or just an S13 enthusiast, the answer is technically no.
If, however, you really want to enhance your S13’s looks, then using overfenders is a strong move. All things considered, they are a fairly inexpensive part, made even better value if you can install them yourself.
They do create that extra space you need for the larger wheels and tires for track days, too. Here are some other good reasons to think about overfenders for your S13:
- 1) They can be used to cover up any scuffs, abrasions or other damage. The overfenders place nicely over your car, covering any damage underneath, or even allowing you to cut away some of the damage or rusted/worn parts as you prepare for installation.
- 2) To add serious attitude to your drifting machine. Drifters don’t drive anything mass-produced or factory-made. The spirit of drifting is founded on individuality and personality. Given the great range of styles available in both front and rear overfenders, you can express your individual drifter self to the world with a simple installation.
In the end, owning an S13 is about building your dream car for you. The overfender is among the most striking modifications you can make to your S13, and is a key part of what can set you apart from other owners.