Help removing fender flares


Tylerb01

New Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Atlanta
I just purchased a 1998 Jeep wrangler.
I am in the process of removing the old fender flares. Many of the bolts continue to spin and not back out.
Any suggestions on removing these bolts would be helpful.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
62,417
Location
Florence, AZ
You need to reach your hand up inside the wheel well and hold the plastic backing plate that they screw into. That's how you get the bolts to come out.

Those little backing plates aren't attached to the body, so they will just spin freely unless you hold them down with your hand while you use your other hand to loosen the bolt.
 

PCO6

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
1,469
Location
Newmarket, Ontario
^^^ What Chris said. I used small Channelocks to grab the plastic nuts. It was easier on my fingers. Some were easy, some weren't.
 

Cornbread

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
408
Location
Southern Indiana
There are a few that are screwed into metal nutserts (I believe they are some of the screws located lower on the flares), I used a needle-nosed vice grips to keep them from spinning. A couple of them on the rear are completely enclosed by the body. Hopefully they don't spin for you but if they do, you'll have to drill them out.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
62,417
Location
Florence, AZ
So I need to remove inner fender to access the plastic nuts on the back?

It makes it much easier if you remove them, yes.

I didn't remove mine though, I just pulled them back out of the way, which was barely enough to get my arm up in there and hold the plastic piece so it didn't spin. I wore thick gloves, as those things can do a number on your hands.
 

01CuHed

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
142
Location
South/Southwest
I remember having to remove some nut-serts on the fender wheel guards while doing this job on my 2001 Sport. As others have stated above some come out easily while some can test your nerves. Ha!
 

MountaineerTom

LJ Enthusiast, Retired USAF Weapons Loader
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
3,346
Location
Sumter, SC
Nutserts - 3 behind each front tire. 2 in front of each rear tire. 1 behind each rear tire.

Screws and plastic nuts for the rest.
 
  • Like
Reactions: -T.

LukesfirstJeep

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
995
Location
Central PA
I fought for hours to get my flares off. When I reinstalled, I used SS metric bolts and fender washers. Most of my nutserts were usable, but I didn't trust them. I had another occasion to remove my fender flares and it went much quicker.
 

danof76

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
318
Location
San Antonio, TX
When I did my flares I used a small wrench, I think 10mm, and stuck it in place to remove the bolts. The whole job, removal and installation of new ones, was a royal PITA that took me way longer than I imagined. To this day I'm not 100% satisfied with how the new flares fit but I haven't worked up the gumption to sure them up yet (and I ought to be able to).

I can't imagine how much more annoying it would be if any of the actual bolts were stuck.
 

RussTJ

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Messages
497
Location
Bridgewater, MA, USA
I was replacing a fender and tried to take the flare off to paint it. The fender was on my work bench and I still couldn’t get some of the nutserts off. I’m planning on painting the flares and will have to mask off the Jeep when I do it. Good luck.
 

SgtMajor138

Long-time Jeeper
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2018
Messages
63
Location
Glasgow, KY
I fought for hours to get my flares off. When I reinstalled, I used SS metric bolts and fender washers. Most of my nutserts were usable, but I didn't trust them. I had another occasion to remove my fender flares and it went much quicker.
I just removed mine last week from my 98 Wrangler and it was not fun at all. I felt like I had gone into battle and the Jeep won (see attached picture)!

I have all 4 off and am getting ready to install some different flares (still OEM). ALL of the nutserts spun at removal and 3 of them even pulled completely out. My question is, what did you replace them with and is there a way to keep the plastic "nuts" from spinning on the rest of the fasteners?

I am about to the point of pop rivets and grind them off if I need to replace in the future. :)

83547
 

Cornbread

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
408
Location
Southern Indiana
I just removed mine last week from my 98 Wrangler and it was not fun at all. I felt like I had gone into battle and the Jeep won (see attached picture)!

I have all 4 off and am getting ready to install some different flares (still OEM). ALL of the nutserts spun at removal and 3 of them even pulled completely out. My question is, what did you replace them with and is there a way to keep the plastic "nuts" from spinning on the rest of the fasteners?

I am about to the point of pop rivets and grind them off if I need to replace in the future. :)

I used rivets, actually worked quite well and looked clean. I had to drill the nutserts out anyways so the rivets would be easier to drill out than nutserts in the future. Note: I only did this to the nutserts on the rear that you have no access to. The front I replaced with nutserts, just use antiseize on the screw threads and you shouldn't ever have the issue again.
 

TJ Starting

Wind tunnel abomination
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
508
Location
South Texas
What about the three on the front fender extensions. The front most one came out easy and is accessible from the back. The other two that are just spinning don't seem to be accessible. Any suggestions besides drilling?
20190731_194835.jpg

And excuse the cattle waste.
 

Rage Pirate

New Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
20
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
There are a few that are screwed into metal nutserts (I believe they are some of the screws located lower on the flares), I used a needle-nosed vice grips to keep them from spinning. A couple of them on the rear are completely enclosed by the body. Hopefully they don't spin for you but if they do, you'll have to drill them out.
What size are threads on the nutserts on the small flares on the side? (
the flat flares vs. the ones that surround the tire) I need to replace a couple of bolts...
 

DSMITH

New Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Summerville, SC
Took my son's off a few months ago to paint flares. Videos made it look easy - it was a PITA - front came off OK, rear got painted on the Jeep. Holding the backside clips with pliers helped, but not much room inside the flare to get screws out. The rear, left on the Jeep, were painted by taping, sliding note cards between the flare and body, more taping, and holding a piece of sheet metal as I painted - turned out fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blondie70

Viking Jeeper

2A Supporter
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
2,567
Location
Jacksonville FL
Once you have done it a time or two, removing the flares is not so bad. The rears are absolutely harder than the front due to the plastic nuts inside the plastic inner fender. I prefer to remove them and inspect for rusty nutserts.

IMG_5464.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: madcanvis