It’s spring, so it must be tool review time. I think I wrote about a billion jack stands last spring. This year, it’s a fender roller by Parts Shop Max designed for low cars and cars with really short suspensions. Like Miatas!
(There might be a lot of swearing in this review. Cause this tool is a flaming piece of shit. Sorry Mom.)
What You Get in the Box
That’s it. That’s what comes in the box. The tool and a bunch of packing peanuts. Nothing else.
You don’t get:
- Any instructions!
- A packing list!
- Not even a receipt!
I looked at the tool and it looked back at me. It was covered in greasy packing peanuts. There was not even a plastic baggy around the roller. Nothing. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to clean styrofoam out of the gears.
Does It Work?
Let me state again how I had no instructions. I HAD NO INSTRUCTIONS. But this wasn’t my first rodeo. I’ve rolled 2 Miatas worth of fenders before. I used a hammer the first time and the famous Eastwood blue fender roller the second time.
A few words about the Eastwood roller. That was a good tool. I borrowed it from a local who has since moved away, otherwise I would have never bought this… thing. Anyways, the Eastwood was a strong tool. It worked fine. But on the Miata rear suspension, it was a challenge. The Eastwood tool was too tall for short aftermarket Miata rear shocks. I got it to work, but just barely. It was that “just barely” that inspired me to buy the Max roller.
So. I had used the Eastwood. The Eastwood roller does not require you to use all 4 lugnuts. You will read this fact many places on the internet. Using the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock lugnuts is enough. That is because the Eastwood roller puts the fulcrum on the top of the roller at the 12 o’clock position. The Max roller puts the fulcrum at the bottom, at 6 o’clock. So every bit of force this Max roller can produce goes to the bottom of the hub rather than being distributed around it like the Eastwood does.
I’m going somewhere with this. Really.
My Max fender roller came with the bending arm mounted to the hub pad via the lowest bolt hole. In the photo above, it is mounted with the highest bolt hole. Highest and Lowest refer to the overall length of that bending arm. One hole lets the arm start out an inch lower than the other hole.
One hole will eat a big fucking hole out of the threads in your lug stud. One hole will let the fender roller work as Parts Shop Max intended and not destroy your lug stud. Guess which hole I used at first?
What’s better. If you’ve got the bending arm mounted with that lug stud destroying bolt hole, you CANNOT get a lug nut onto the stud. There’s zero available threads to use. So… I didn’t put a nut on that lower stud the first time I used the fender roller. I only used the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock lugnuts.
Remember what I said about the tool putting all of its force on the bottom of the hub?
Yes. Not only did it take a nice bite out of Sharka’s lug stud, the roller bent itself in two while doing it. I tightened the bending arm against the fender and the mounting pad just started bending. By the time I noticed, it was bent away from flat by a good 10 mm. That, my friends, is the fuck-you on top of the massive crotch kicking that is the Parts Shop Max fender roller.
This could have all been solved with one badly-photocopied, minimal instruction sheet. Or even a piece of tape stuck to the side of the thing that said “USE ALL LUG NUTS”. Or something. Anything.
I was not worth that. I got greasy foam peanuts and a half hour party with a big hammer and my bench vise trying to figure out how to un-fuck my newly-purchased broken tool.
Is there an upside? Tell me there’s a happy ending!
Yes, I was able to fix the tool after nearly breaking it. The mounting pad is very very very very soft metal. I was able to hammer it mostly flat again and squish it flat with my bench vise. Then, I could get four lug nuts onto the mounting pad (with the bending arm removed) and completely flatten it against my hub.
I spent a good hour sitting on the cold garage floor with this flimsy bastard figuring out exactly what did what, how it should be put together, and how to use it without it self destructing. And afterward, I successfully rolled an entire Miata worth of fenders with it.
- The rolling cylinder is actually quite good. The material used is excellent. Very solid, yet not hard metal. It’s impressive.
- The bending arm has a lot of adjustability. No problems with short rear Miata shocks.
- I was able to fix it after breaking it.
DO NOT BUY THIS TOOL.
But if you do, here’s a few tips.
- Always secure the roller to your hub with ALL lug nuts!
- Make sure there is no distance between the mounting pad and the bending arm attachment point. This is the 6 o’clock hole. It is possible to have a slight angle between the bending arm and the mounting pad. Don’t let that happen. Make sure both are flat against each other.
- Make sure the roller isn’t rubbing any of your lug studs flat.
- Make sure the roller isn’t bending itself in half while you tighten the arm.
Do yourself a favor and buy the Eastwood roller instead. If you already have the Max roller, just throw it in the trash.