Carbon Fiber Front and Rear Stone Guards / Mud Flaps Review

Discussion in 'Vendor Review: PartsRack' started by FrgMstr, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Guest

    I bought a set of front and back stone guards for my 2005 SRT-10 from John at PartsRack this last week. Shipping was prompt, price was astronomical :) (but I knew that going in), and customer service was very solid. At no time did he attempt to touch me inappropriately. Even when I asked about a more economical guard materials I was given an alternative but chose to go the expensive route....because I thought they would look effin cool. And I was sort of right. I mean from a utility standpoint, I could have fabbed my own out of HDPE on a CNC machine but there is no way they would have looked like John's do.

    A bit of back story. I am a very new Viper owner. Just put new wheels and rims on the Viper and soon as I drove the new Kumho XS tires across a parking lot when it was about 55F outside I could hear the debris flying forcefully into the side sills and rear fenders. I plan to drive the car a lot of hard miles the next couple months so I decided that a full set of 4 mud flaps / stone guards were needed. Honestly, I am not sold on the "look" overall, but I am a utilitarian sort of guy so I know these have their place.

    Showing the car for the first time to a gear-head buddy friend of mine tonight, he stated, after asking, that he actually never noticed these on the car, which I will mark heavily positive.

    On to the parts.

    Guards came in packed very well. You could shake the box and hear no movement. Kinda like a lap dancer, but in very very good shape. I like that...anyway. Parts were wrapped in tissue paper (which seemed sorta girly, but I still appreciated it) then wrapped in small bubble wrap, then wrapped again in big bubble wrap, around the entire 4 parts. 10 out of 10 on packaging.

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    There are screws included that you will need to fasten these on. You get 7 when you need only 6, (7 is always better than 6...ask your wife) so an extra is always a good thing. These fasteners are taped on the end of the packaging on the guards. If you miss these and throw these away, you are an idiot, and probably should not be working on the car on this most simplest of projects anyway.

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    Here is a front guard in all its glory. Finish on these things was above and beyond my expectation. That said, this is the first "real" carbon fiber part I have ever held in my hand. It felt like very smooth machined titanium...which I have held in my hand before. Should you wish not to install this on your Viper, you have will now have a very handy and light weight blunt force trauma weapon.

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    Here is a picture that represents the finish on these parts. It is for lack of a better word, effin beautiful.

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    One of the rear guards did have some odd looking residue left on it. The picture is after I wiped off all I could. I don't know much about carbon fiber, but you this will soon be covered with a screw and road filth so I did not much care. If it comes apart right there, well, I got pictures buddy, and a good lawyer! :crazy2:

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    I had a full set of comparison pictures, then I realized that all you bastards know what a Viper looks like without mud flaps, so I ditched those pictures and went right to the finish.

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    And one artsy picture to finish off with.....

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    Should you want to see bigger resolution pictures you can hit this directory and click through them. Actual car pictures start with picture #6.

    Installation:

    Putting the things on was not hard at all, but it was not as easy as I thought either. I am sure your mileage may vary.

    Fronts: I jacked the car up and turned the wheels to give me room to work.

    The fronts were harder to install than the rears.....well the drivers front was harder to install than the all the other combined. Using the longer supplied screws, I was still having a hard time getting the screws started. I ended up getting an awl to pull the holes into better alignment. At one point I truly thought that I was not going to get the bottom screw started, but after enough "awl-ing" and enough force applied on the fender liner I got it started. Once started all was a breeze. The other front went on fine.

    Backs: I jacked the car up for the back installation as well, but I would have been better off getting off my lazy ass and pulling the tires...but I am effin lazy, so I did not. Now you probably know a "stubby" screw driver is a tool you need, but in the case of the backs, I did better using a 18 inch long screw driver for the middle screw. Again, your mileage may vary.

    Now John put on the invoice that I should put the rear guard on loosely then start tightening from the top to the bottom. Well this did not work out for me at all. This left a huge gap between the bottom trailing edge of the fender and the guard even trying to hold it up flush. I did the bottom first, fastening it on very tightly while I forced the guard up to the fender making the fender take the shape of the guard. I am not a weak man. And carbon fiber does not bend, so if your fender is not the same shape as the guard, you will need to make this happen. Again, your mileage may vary. But starting at the bottom and making the fender take the shape of the guard then tightening to the top worked out well for me.

    The Bottom Line

    Where they stupidly expensive? Yes.

    Did I buy these anyway when I knew there were alternatives? Yes.

    Do they look 100X better than the alternatives? I have to think very much so.

    Will these guards provide the protection I want? I would have to say yes.

    I don't think these guards detract from the Viper, but I don't think they really add anything either. Standing back and looking at the Viper, I don't see a loss of lines or detail. I don't see big mud flaps on my damn Viper. When my gear head buddy said he did not notice these, that was the best thing I heard. I am not a "carbon fiber guy" and could care less about the "dress up" nature of these. (Yeah I see some of the nutty crap you guys put on your cars in carbon fiber and I appreciate it, because then I do not look so effin out of my mind standing next to you.) So again, I am glad they blend enough with the Viper to "not be seen." They are kinda like children now that I think about it. Good to clean the yard, but don't come talking to me!

    My concerns about these guards is, "How durable are they? Will they look like ass after getting road debris blasted for a few thousand miles? Will I feel a loss when I paint the carbon fiber with a rattle can in my garage? Is there anyone here dumb enough to buy them after I partially destroy these?" Dunno, but I guess time will tell.

    I am happy with my purchase and feel like I got what I paid for....well not really, but anyone that pays $600 for mud flaps probably deserves a certain amount of screwin'. And as long as my wife does not find out I spent 6 bills on mud flaps, I satisfied with the buy.

    Kudos to John at PartsRack.com for great customer service. You can buy your own stone guards here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  2. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    they look terrible. ive seen them in person on a black car and they kinda get hidden cause of the color but to me they look terrible.

    quality part though and im sure it will do its job. but mud flaps are for trucks
     
  3. Cincy2

    Cincy2 Viper Owner

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    FrgMstr,

    Great post. Thank you for taking the time. I have the fronts installed and will put on the rears this weekend. Chipped panels look terrible. The guards may not enhance the Viper look but they provide protection without detracting from the car's personality. That to me is a great compromise. PartsRack deserves credit for developing a functional product and taking the financial risk to pay for the tooling with very little assurance they would make back their investment. Small Business Owners are the bravest of the brave.

    Cincy
     
  4. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Guest

    I get where you are coming from, but I think you might be missing out on one of the themes here in my review. Once you get these on, you really do not see them. My fear was that the Viper would look like a Viper with mud flaps. Once you stop looking at the mud flaps and start looking at the entire Viper like everyone else is, the guards blend in and are not seen. Which is exactly what I wanted and a compromise I am willing to make for the protection. I think a week of driving with these Kumho tires and I would be ready for new paint if it were not for the guards.

    I think these are a great product, but surely not for everyone. :)
     
  5. JonB

    JonB Viper Owner

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    WOW ! I'm really appreciative of the objective and detailed product review, and the time you shared.

    I had to search to decipher who you are, and I do recall an important motivator: You DRIVE your car, and plan a long and scenic "Three Sisters" scenic event? {We have a 3-Sisters in Oregon, too) and want to protect the paint..... That should be a true test of durability..... As you noted, the tire-facing surfaces are flat-black, and easily touched up. Can even be 3-M taped, best done when NEW.

    Good luck, and much thanks KB......

    JonB~~~~:<~

    PS: Your theme indicates you might like BLACK emblems on the front fenders vs OE Silver? Also overpriced, but POPS off the fender and coordinates with Wheels, Lugs, Tires, Chipguards and Exhaust outlets. Form Not Function!
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  6. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    GREAT review, "FrgMstr" !!!

    I would only add that the installation can be made much easier by using a tiny ratchet with a screwdriver insert instead of trying to use a stubby screwdriver...including NO need to raise car, no need to remove wheels/tires. I had posted this info in a previous thread, noting that the same general comments apply to the front guards:

    "Installation of these REAR fender well stone guards is pretty straightforward...starting with cleaning the area that will have the carbon fiber piece applied.

    Remove the three screws (on the rear, two screws are in the fender well, and the third is outside the well, on the bottom of the rear fascia )...then, as JonB recommends, hold the guard in place, then start with the top screw, then the middle screw, and finally the one on the bottom. As you work downward, a little gentle nudge may be required.

    To make this job EASY and FAST, use the following tool on the screws in the well (to avoid removing the tire/wheel)

    "Craftsman 5-Piece Reversible Ratchet Offset Screwdriver Set"...part number "9 41469"

    For the bottom screw, use a standard stubby Phillips head screwdriver...noting that a small awl may help line up this final screw hole.

    One car was on the ground, one on a lift...took about 10 minutes per guard on both cars counting unpacking these beauties and cleaning the area."

    As we all know, one Viper may vary slightly in its body specs...there the above mentioned small awl becomes a handy assistant.
     
  7. goldcup

    goldcup Viper Owner

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    Agree 100% that mud flaps are for trucks! But I drive my car and I'm also anal about paint undercarriage etc.. These look to work great and on a black car would probably blend right in. Now if you could get the chrome naked ladies!! If I pick up a black acr think I will invest in some of these
     
  8. Y2K10 SRT#39

    Y2K10 SRT#39 Viper Owner

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    +1 I'm going to install the rears this weekend as well, and it might dry off enough for a drive too!

    THANKS JONB!!

    PBR
     
  9. JonB

    JonB Viper Owner

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    BUMP for Goldcup
     
  10. MarcRoth

    MarcRoth Enthusiast

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    Not to piss on any one's parade But yesthey are cool and look great, But 3m clear shield does a fantastic job without the Viper Tax.. All four wheel opening's for around 30.00 installed...
     
  11. Viperless

    Viperless Viper Owner

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    Yet for some reason you just couldn't help yourself. :dunno:

    This is a part/vendor review in the SUPPORTING VENDOR REVIEW forum, not a request for cheap alternatives to the part being reviewed. :rolleyes:
     
  12. 01sapphirebob

    01sapphirebob Enthusiast

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    Great looking part. I just can't bring myself to put "mud flaps" on my Viper. NOT DISSING THE PRODUCT AT ALL. The CF would look sweet against my SSG vert though.
     
  13. JonB

    JonB Viper Owner

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    Personally, I do not mind if people debate the merits and costs of cosmetic choices. To each his own. I spend a lot of time on track, I drive on wet/damp roads, and I find the functionality is great at keeping my sills, fenders and even door-coves cleaner, and tire-turd protected on track. I like the flaps more than I like tire turds and abrasive damage. Vinyl still gets turdy and abraded.

    But I did NOT do this part for my needs! THREE CUSTOMERS asked us to develop the part. They have met with almost unanimously happy buyers, and spectators as well. Quality and functionalty are as promised. In fact, the Front / Rear / SRT / Coupe needs 6 molds. The mule-costs and initial buy-in have NOT yet tipped this project into the profit column.... [but very very close, THANKS.]

    Anecdote: TWS last week, there were 2 ACRs garaged side-by-side. One had used that "BLUE TAPE" to protect his front and rear. His garage-mate has the CF Chip-Guards. By day 2, the blue tape was blackening, shredded and flailing, and looked like "THE MUMMY" was unwrapping. They were ready to black-flag him. The CF guards were clean and protective. For the lifetime of the car.


    Thanks for the reviews of our Chip Guards. IN STOCK.
     
  14. MarcRoth

    MarcRoth Enthusiast

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    Viperless..... An opinion is as that ...
     

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