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-   -   How to: Change fender flares when flare bolts just spin... Here is the right way (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f210/how-to-change-fender-flares-when-flare-bolts-just-spin-here-is-the-right-way-76986.html)

dan188 01-22-2011 06:19 PM

How to: Change fender flares when flare bolts just spin... Here is the right way
 
Hi guys,

After struggling with my fender flares all day I thought I'd do a quick write up to save everyone else some time and frustration so you don't run into the same mistakes I made.

My project today was to put Rubicon flares on my TJ. It wouldn't pass inspection with stock flares because in PA the tires have to be covered and my 33's were sticking out a few inches. The Rubicon flares are 1" wider than stock so they were perfect... so, heres the problem I ran into... when I tried to unbolt my flares, almost every bolt just spun. This is because the thread-serts in the tub/body were all broken loose. To solve the problem I got out the grinder and easily ground the heads off the bolts. Once the heads were gone the flares came off and the thread-serts all fell into the tub. Now I had to figure out a way to get the new flares on the jeep and this is where I hit trouble.

At first I went to Napa to buy a tool to put new thread-serts in. They didn't have one, and the guy said that you can only get that tool at body shop supply stores and it was approx. $200... ok fine, I thought. I couldn't think of any other solutions and the guy there suggested I use rivets. I didn't want to use rivets but I thought, "oh well it's the only choice I have"... Once I got home with some rivets I realized that there was no way in hell I was getting the rivet gun under the flares... ok, now I was pissed off and had no idea what to do... this is where I finally found out the right way to fix the problem.

I went to the local hardware store and the guy introduced me to well-nuts.
Well Nuts For Signicade, Plasticade Signs - Neoplex

these little beauties are rubber grommets with brass thread inserts in them, so you put the grommet in the body and stick a bolt through it. As you tighten the bolt, the rubber flares out making it impossible to pull the grommet out. It is similar to a rivet or molly screw but it is really a nice tight fit. It worked perfectly. Now all of my flares are held very securely with these well-nuts. I just had to pass this on to everyone because if I knew to go straight to the well-nuts I would have saved myself a ton of time. I hope this helps... I meant to take some pictures, but it was 11 degrees outside today and I did the whole job without gloves. So, I was hurrying to get done instead of take pictures, haha.

Dan

vekrause 01-22-2011 06:27 PM

Thanks! I think I used something similar from the Home Depot to mount my front license plate to the bumper. Pretty sure I would've forgot about them when I go to paint the fender flares.

willysmb 01-22-2011 06:33 PM

Dan,
Wellnuts are great arent they! ive used them before with good results,they lock up pretty tight.My hardware store also carries nutcerts or thread certs made out of aluminum.All you need to set them is longer bolt that fits the nutcert thread, and some kind of steel spacer,even a larger nut.YOU drill the hole,pop the cert in,shoulder out,place the oversize nut on the bolt,and thread it in the cert.Tighten it up and it will expand and lock itself in.But I actually like the wellnuts better,they wont rust or corrode....

dan188 01-22-2011 06:44 PM

Willys- thanks for the tip about the nutcerts. I thought there was something like that but the guy at Napa had me convinced that I was wrong. But like you said, the well-nuts are great since they won't rust!

Joshpeb2 01-22-2011 07:41 PM

Harbor freight sells a tool to install the "nutcerts" that you mentioned only they call them something else. Cant think of the name though. There is also something called a "rivnut" . It kinda pops into place like a rivet but it's threaded on the inside.

drl650 01-22-2011 07:52 PM

Thanks for sharing. My last set of Fender flares for my dad's TJ came with self tapping bolts I used them over 3 years ago and all is good. I just got a new set of 6.5" flares for my Rubi which I will replace next week. I will definatly try these out. :D

Dewry636 01-22-2011 10:25 PM

Good idea! They use them on my sportbike. I just wasn't sure where to get them... besides a kawasaki dealer, which would cost a fortune.

Atthehop 01-23-2011 06:18 AM

Great find. I saved the link for future references.

Tarby 01-23-2011 08:37 PM

Here is something you might want to try instead of using bolt on hardware. I work at a body shop. The best thing to re-attach fender flares on any vehicle is to use Auveco retainers (the plastic push-pins used on vehicles to fasten plastics to them). I got rid of all my nuts and bolt fasteners and plastic blocks the screws mount to for holding the flares to the fender and use the push pins. They hold strong using the right size, and do not rust or corrode in the body of your jeep. They also allow the flares to cleanly come off in the event of being snagged in some tight trails, rather than pulling through the mount holes and ruining your flares. You just pin them back on. JKs are the worst for their flares, especially the rears...they are plastic riveted to the wheel liner and they will rip the mount holes out. Here is a link and you can see what I am talking about...best thing I ever did to my jeep flares, hands down...
Auto Body Retainers: Shop and Save Online

drl650 03-02-2011 04:21 PM

Great Idea which ones did you use? They have a few choices. Thanks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tarby (Post 1009521)
Here is something you might want to try instead of using bolt on hardware. I work at a body shop. The best thing to re-attach fender flares on any vehicle is to use Auveco retainers (the plastic push-pins used on vehicles to fasten plastics to them). I got rid of all my nuts and bolt fasteners and plastic blocks the screws mount to for holding the flares to the fender and use the push pins. They hold strong using the right size, and do not rust or corrode in the body of your jeep. They also allow the flares to cleanly come off in the event of being snagged in some tight trails, rather than pulling through the mount holes and ruining your flares. You just pin them back on. JKs are the worst for their flares, especially the rears...they are plastic riveted to the wheel liner and they will rip the mount holes out. Here is a link and you can see what I am talking about...best thing I ever did to my jeep flares, hands down...
Auto Body Retainers: Shop and Save Online


Wheel2Work 03-02-2011 04:53 PM

Now I am certain my old flares were stock!!! The majority of the fasteners were self-tapping screws that screwed into a plastic retainer on the back side of the fender. Hold them with pliers and remove the screws...

pslamp32 03-02-2011 05:07 PM

I'm not sure I understand the problem. I got my stock flares off in like 15 minutes. Just have to push the plastic wheel well out of the way so you can grab the plastic nuts by hand. This is for the rears. The fronts are simple since you can reach all the nuts easily (no wheel well).

CASS 03-02-2011 05:31 PM

wish you posted this a couple months ago lol, i went through hell trying to grt mine off and on

_Havok 03-02-2011 10:01 PM

great read. I just bought a 98 TJ and the fenders are rusting through, so that's my next purchase is flares, Thanks for sharing.

jgorm 03-03-2011 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pslamp32 (Post 1092793)
I'm not sure I understand the problem. I got my stock flares off in like 15 minutes. Just have to push the plastic wheel well out of the way so you can grab the plastic nuts by hand. This is for the rears. The fronts are simple since you can reach all the nuts easily (no wheel well).

That's what I did too.

h2obill 03-03-2011 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tarby (Post 1009521)
Here is something you might want to try instead of using bolt on hardware. I work at a body shop. The best thing to re-attach fender flares on any vehicle is to use Auveco retainers (the plastic push-pins used on vehicles to fasten plastics to them). I got rid of all my nuts and bolt fasteners and plastic blocks the screws mount to for holding the flares to the fender and use the push pins. They hold strong using the right size, and do not rust or corrode in the body of your jeep. They also allow the flares to cleanly come off in the event of being snagged in some tight trails, rather than pulling through the mount holes and ruining your flares. You just pin them back on. JKs are the worst for their flares, especially the rears...they are plastic riveted to the wheel liner and they will rip the mount holes out. Here is a link and you can see what I am talking about...best thing I ever did to my jeep flares, hands down...
Auto Body Retainers: Shop and Save Online

Those are what held on the ground effects for my old mustang. If/When I get wider flares I'll have to see how well the old ones come out.

SharkBait25 03-03-2011 02:54 PM

:include::whistling:

msowka 07-17-2012 10:32 PM

There are several bolts on the rear, front fenders and splash guards that screw in through a riveted thread (in some cases into an unaccessible body cavity :/ ). You must have been very lucky to have all these secure in the sheet metal, and didn't even notice the difference.

In my case 1/2 these rivets spun loosely in the sheet metal. I have been dremelling them off carefully not to scuff up the paint too bad. (wtf, could they really not thought better about these, spent an extra 25c on each hole at manufacturing?)

Thanks! For the walnuts idea.

While I'm under there I also plan to sand/rust-primer some spots that have had paint worked off them, nip the problem in the but.

ugadawg15 04-11-2013 05:32 PM

Hey Dan188, do you remember what size you used ?

viperx6x9x 04-11-2013 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pslamp32 (Post 1092793)
I'm not sure I understand the problem. I got my stock flares off in like 15 minutes. Just have to push the plastic wheel well out of the way so you can grab the plastic nuts by hand. This is for the rears. The fronts are simple since you can reach all the nuts easily (no wheel well).

I used this method too, only I just pulled the wheel well liner out. Grab a "door panel removel tool" from the parts store. Got mine for $7 at autozone. the liner is held in by the same plastic push pins you find in your door panels. It pops out in like 2 minutes tops. Then just hold those plastic nuts with your hands to keep em from spinning. Also using your hands reduces the chances of breaking them.

The front flares, as stated, don't have a liner in the way so they are easy to get your hands on.

No need to buy new stuff if you don't break the original hardware. :) Though I have been told those plastic nuts can get brittle with age and you may break them anyway on accident. I didn't have any problem with mine.

Spyder50 07-08-2013 06:51 PM

On my new used 1999 jeep TJ the fender flares had to be replaced. I went through all the same trials and tribulations getting the old ones off, after a couple attempts, I purchased a rivet nut gun from Amazon (less that $20) replaced all the self tapping screw and 5MM machine screws. Used 10-24 rivet nuts and 10-24 stainless button head socket screws. The reason for 10-24 screws is the threads are courser and less likely to strip out. The button head screws with washer would make the pocket type fender flares look very nice.

soniccj7 07-01-2014 10:30 AM

After grinding off two of the bolts I was trying to think of a good solution to put the flares back on. Never thought of well nuts, and they were all over my previous motorcycle.

Thanks for the tip!

ED


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