I've read where people say it's a pain to remove the flares for painting. Looking at my flares it seems like you just need to remove the small bolts on the inside and the flare should pull right off correct? What else is involved that makes them a pain to remove?
When I took mine off (tj) just to see how it looked it wasn't a big deal. The rear wheel well is held in by those really annoying plastic push pins. If I were you, just buy new ones and yank the old ones right out with no remorse. It took me probably ten minutes to get all 4 off for the first time.
One of the hardest things is holding the plastic nuts on the backside of both the front and rear flares. I found the easiest way was to use an open end wrench of the right size to grab them on the narrow side.
Removing the push pins that help hold the flares on usually destroys them. No big deal--get the universal push pins from the auto parts store for about $5 for a package of 6, or buy new ones from the dealer at $4.80 each.
I took my fronts off and masked the backs when I painted mine. There are plastic pieces behind the bolts on the top of the fronts and metal rivets down the sides. I got the screws out of the plastic pieces fine and had to reach inside with vice grips to hold the rivets to unbolt the sides. After all of that I looked at the backs and said screw that, masked them and it was fine. It saved me tons of time masking the backs. You can slide paper in between the flare and tub.
This was my first time so I was a little worried about overspray as you can see by the tons and tons of paper lol.
When I painted mine the first time I actually took the fender flares off. I'm not kidding when I tell you it took about an hour and half just for total removal. They're 8mm bolts, but reaching all of them SUCKS. Plus for the rear you have to remove the wheel wells, which are a pain to put back in. I understand you're afraid of painting your baby, but with a little prep work you'll be set and safe. I actually just repainted one of mine (spilled gas on it) and rather then remove the flare I masked and painted it.
I used more then this, more tarps to cover the tires and the floor. But I didn't go overboard with it. Before spraying I used a belt sander and a fine-grit sand paper to scuff it up then used some simple Krylon Fusion (knock off Vespar)
__________________ It's got a Willy's body, a Chevy engine, Ford axles, GM transmission, and Dodge steering components... it must be a Wrangler.
I'm not really into painting them on the jeep, I'm not worried about over spray but by taking them off I can make sure I sand and prep them well and I can paint the entire flare. I don't want to half ass it and have to do them again in a short time. I'm sure it will be fine to paint them on the jeep like some of you but I want to take them off, clean and prep them well. I'll go buy some extra plastic push pins, besides that it shouldn't be to difficult to take them off. One post says took hours and another said it took 10 minutes...hmmm