Cutting a Jeep Wrangler JK’s Pinch Seam

Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in Tech, Wrenching | No Comments

Rear tire clearance at the pinch seam is a common problem for lifted Jeeps running 35″ tall tires or larger.

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Tires are more likely to be damaged by the pinch seam while aired down. The solution is simple: cut off the offending metal. Not everyone needs to do this to their JK. While the Jeep is flexing and the rear tire is stuffed in the wheel-well, the tire generally goes up and back slightly. As you can see from my photo above, the pinch seam is making contact with my tire, so I have no choice.

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Cutting isn’t the only option. Some Jeepers choose the bend method. This entails taking a hammer and beating the crap out of it till it bends back and in. This method isn’t for me. I choose to cut! If you want/need to do this too, here’s the tools you’ll need and the steps to take to effectively trim your Jeep’s pinch seam.

Tools needed:

  • Safety glasses
  • Painters tape
  • Saws-all, grinder with a cut off wheel or cut-off tool
  • JB Weld (or similar epoxy)
  • Putty knife or stick (for epoxy application)
  • Metal file
  • Touch up paint

How to:

1. Plan your cut with painters tape. Remove the corner at a 45 degree angle by simply following the tape line with your cut-off tool of choice. There is a sweet spot where the metal comes together. If you cut too high you’ll expose a gap between the sheets of metal. If this happens don’t worry, just fill it with epoxy and paint it to stave-off rust.

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2. Cut off the corner. Take your time, this isn’t a race and putting metal back is not particularly easy. Be smart, use safety glasses and protective clothing. You can reduce the amount of paint correction you’ll need if you take you time and make one continuous cut. Eat a good breakfast, you want your hands steady, this isn’t the moment you want your blood sugar to take a dive.

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3. Use the metal file to knock down any sharp edges and clean up your cut.

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4. Mix epoxy and apply to the exposed corner. Take this opportunity to fill the gap if exposed. My passenger side didn’t need epoxy fill but my driver’s side did. Let the epoxy cure completely.

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5. Apply paint. I used quick dry touch-up paint that my local O-Reilly’s mixed to match my Jeep exactly.

6. Repeat these steps on the other side of the Jeep.

Here’s the material that I removed from the Jeep. Not a lot, but enough to keep the tires from rubbing.

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Ahhh, all is well.

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