Plastic welding is the best way I have found to repair cracked fenders on BIG RED ATC's.The process is simple and the repair is strong and sturdy. The repair may not look great cosmetically when done but it can be sanded smooth and plastic renew can be used to help improve appearance. The article below describes how the plastic welding is done, the plastic welder I use, and some before and after pictures. Also included are links in the article if you want some more in depth information.
Fixed up the cracked front and rear fenders on the BIG RED. I used a Urethane Supply Plastic Welder and it did a great job. I will use the fender renew later to give these fenders some shine. Here is a link to a review of the plastic welder I used. Urethane Supply Plastic Welder Review
Front fender busted up
Using duct tape to hold the fender together
use plastic welder to create a groove. Note that I drilled a hole at the end of the crack. This will help stop the crack from ever spreading further.
Use plastic weld filler in the groove
Do the same process on the outside. Nice and strong and after the plastic renew and sanding it will look better than a zip tie or pop rivet repair. See completed fender after Plastic Renew here
Finished result after Using plastic renew
Plastic welding is a way to heat up the plastic and filler rod to fuse two pieces of plastic together. I use this plastic welder to fix cracked atv fenders, dirt bike fenders, and other plastic pieces (dashboards, airboxes, etc.) The plastic welder is made by the urethane supply company. It comes with a heating iron, filler rods, and instructions. I bought the kit from Dennis Kirk for $49.99 about 6 years ago. Here is the good and bad.
- Easy to use
- Stronger bond as compared to other repair methods I have used in the past like epoxy and stitching
- Different color rods are supplied to match different color plastics
- Fast repair- The iron heats up quickly and the weld sets up in a few minutes
- Inexpensive – the price of new plastic is crazy this is a good alternative option
- Good step by step instructions provided
Replacement filler rods are readily available
- The iron cannot get into all spaces like certain curves and corners
- The repair may not look good when complete. I have found that the repair is difficult to get smooth. It can be sanded and blended but it takes some work. Don’t expect the fenders to look like new using this repair method.
- Smell – Melting the plastic with the iron smells terrible. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area
If you are like me doing many projects where you will run into vehicles needing plastic repair I recommend this tool because it will do a good job making cracked fender functional again. I have found many other uses for repairing plastic this besides fenders. I have had no issues with this tool. Again in my experience it takes a lot of work to get the repair to look good cosmetically but it will not look as good as new. If you have cracked fenders and want them to look new you may want to use the 49.99 towards new plastic. The plastic welder came in handy again to repair a taillight housing on a 1984 Honda BIG RED 200ES ATC. The housing was cracked badly and now it is solid and watertight. Nice and easy.
Some more pics of rear fenders off a 1985 Honda BIG RED 250ES that were repaired using plastic welding.
Like most things your plastic welding technique will improve over time. Not all fenders will be able to be repaired by plastic welding especially if pieces are missing or if there is large gaps. I hope this article provides some insight on plastic welding. As mentioned for me this is the best repair method I have found so far - better than drilling holes and using zip ties and string or using pop rivets.