my bud and i replaced my skid on my 98 earlier this week. the red clip is the whole deal.... we struggled with it too... finally used a very small flat blade screw driver and jimmied at it until a few grains of grit that had become embedded in the clip and the housing. the grit had worked its way into the slide mechanism over 13 years and fused it all pretty tight.... it needed to be worked in a awkward position too. it came apart after a few minutes... but it is a PITA....
becareful with the fuel pump locking ring, its plastic. dont use a drift and hammmer or what not, if you break it its not real cheap, they do sell a tool for it. GenRight Off Road Part GST-1001 - Fuel Pump Lock Ring Tool not saying you have to buy this tool but might be cheaper than breaking the ring and trying to buy a new one
I think you should be fine taping it. Not ideal obviously, but it may prove hard to find a replacement.
That locknut is a frickin' bear to get off. Not to mention, once it is actually off it is a PIA to get back on because it doesn't want to line up with the grooves. Cheap PIA design. To get it off, tap the ridges on the locknut portion with a hammer and large prybar. Something that has some weight to it. Be careful obviously, but that should have enough weight to move it after some tapping. I found using a screw driver to tap with a hammer didn't work because it didn't have enough weight and width to turn the lock nut. With regards to getting the locknut back on, that strapwrench will actually come in handy. Just keep at it man. It is just generally a PIA process.
1999 Jeep Wrangler SE 2.5 (Jasper Re-Built) - Dozer Orange
2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 3.2 (Supercharged) - Black