Remove priceless End Caps?

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#1
So it seems, from what I've read on this forum, that the nearly pristine end caps on my rear bumper are nearly priceless. I need to re-finish that bumper since the paint is chipping in a few spots, there is rust on the inside (the only real rust on the entire Jeep), and the guy who stored it for me for the past 20 years re-painted the bumper himself and didn't do a very good job.

I removed the bumper yesterday, but when I started to remove the end caps, the entire stud bolt that appears to be embedded in the plastic started spinning (3 of them anyway) when I turned the nut. Only one nut came loose. And that was after soaking for awhile in something like Knock'er Loose. The studs started to unscrew and the caps became loose, but I don't want to completely remove those studs and not be able to get them back in...so I screwed them back in after loosening them just a couple of turns.

Has anyone dealt with that same issue? Will those studs unscrew to release the end caps and screw back into the plastic?

I was hoping to have the bumper powder coated white, but that requires heating which would most likely melt the end caps. My other option is mask those valuable end caps off and have the bumper re-painted.

The 20-year-babysitter also attached a trailer hitch to the bumper...and not the frame. At some point, enough torque was put on that hitch to slant the bumper down. When I removed it yesterday, I discovered that there appears to be enough adjustment in the brackets to level the bumper again. If necessary, I may need to shim out the bottom bracket bolt (probably less than 1/8") where it attaches to the cross member.
 

barrys

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
East Norriton
State
PA
#2
While it will not be original, a member on here offers aluminum "replacements" that have gotta the thumbs up from many members on here. Just do search for endcaps and you should find it. He just started offering them in the last 6 months so you do not have to go back to far looking.
Sorry this does not help answer your original question.
 

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#3
While it will not be original, a member on here offers aluminum "replacements" that have gotta the thumbs up from many members on here. Just do search for endcaps and you should find it. He just started offering them in the last 6 months so you do not have to go back to far looking.
Sorry this does not help answer your original question.
Thanks! I found them and sent a PM. If they are still available, I may go ahead and remove the plastic ones and replace them with aluminum if I'm unable to get them back on.
 

jerseyjeeps

Crazy about AMC Jeeps
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Landing
State
NJ
#4
The threaded part of the end cap is a carriage bolt embedded in the mold, and loves to spin like you describe, even on southwest jeeps. I have used various methods to rescue end caps from extremely rusty Northeast bumpers, including dremil wheels, nut splitters, grinders, vice grips, soaking the entire bumper end, etc. The first method I try is careful application of medium sized vice grips with light pressure set. They just fit in the cavity on a 45 degree angle. I have pics of some of these endeavors / methods over the years but nothing handy on my phone. I may have the end cap internals picture tho from a cap in many pieces, ill check.. The vice grip trick has worked for me 85 percent of the time tho I can say on the good not so rusty ones like yours and doesn't damage the cap, it makes marks from the teeth of the vicegrips a bit from the teeth but only on the inside where you cant see it. Also then I recommend a standard lock washer and SS nut to put them back on, instead of the regular steel nylon lock nut.
 

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#5
hmmm...ok...so there is a bolt head on the end opposite the nut? I wonder why it appeared to be un-threading itself from the end cap. I'll try the vice grip trick in the next few days. Thanks!
 

jerseyjeeps

Crazy about AMC Jeeps
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Landing
State
NJ
#6
There is a carriage bolt imbedded in there , which has a round head and will spin within the plastic. On a brittle cap, it will also start cracking the plastic and possibly cracking the outside. It took me a while to dig up a pic but here is what I am trying to show, the stud on the left has had vice grips applied and you you can see the pinch in the plastic that was made. This cap was already cracked but needed to come off the bumper shown to the right. The one stud was ok but the one on the left needed the vice grip trick. You can see lots of PB blaster residue on that stud as well.

 

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#7
Thanks...I sprayed more PB Blaster on the nuts/bolts yesterday. I'll try the vise grip trick later today or tomorrow...had to buy a smaller pair of vise grips when I went to town yesterday. If successful, I'll clean up the bolts and get new nuts. I'd prefer to have the bumper powder coated white than painted...though I guess painted would be more in keeping with the "original" theme. I also plan to make a tracing or template of the grip tape on the top of the bumper so that I can replace that if necessary. One side is in perfect shape, but the outside of the driver's side is worn down quite a bit.
 

Polarfire

Jeep Aficionado
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Columbia
State
MO
#8
There are also replacement Jeep Special Equipment stickers for the bumper available to replace the original.
 

jtaufik

Basic User
City
Jakarta
State
ID
#13
Thanks...I sprayed more PB Blaster on the nuts/bolts yesterday. I'll try the vise grip trick later today or tomorrow...had to buy a smaller pair of vise grips when I went to town yesterday. If successful, I'll clean up the bolts and get new nuts. I'd prefer to have the bumper powder coated white than painted...though I guess painted would be more in keeping with the "original" theme. I also plan to make a tracing or template of the grip tape on the top of the bumper so that I can replace that if necessary. One side is in perfect shape, but the outside of the driver's side is worn down quite a bit.
Frank, could you please share with me dimension of the grip tape when you are done with the template? Will do the same thing for my ongoing Scrambler project. Thanks


Sent from my iPad
 

jerseyjeeps

Crazy about AMC Jeeps
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Landing
State
NJ
#14
Skateboard Deck Tape is a dead ringer for the as-new style tape on these bumpers by the way :cheers:
 

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#15
Frank, could you please share with me dimension of the grip tape when you are done with the template? Will do the same thing for my ongoing Scrambler project. Thanks
Hope this helps. I saw the 2" grip tape at the hardware store yesterday...just have to round off the corners and cut one end at an angle.

 

Kim Dawson

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Molalla
State
Or
#18
I think, as I said in your PM, that if you grind or use a cut off blade on the opposite sides of the nut, that you can remove the nuts being careful not to heat up the studs. Use a wet rag to cool off the plastic and or the stud so it doesn't melt the plastic. Even if you take a little off of the threads, the nuts will hold after chasing the threads. Just like some parking brake cables have threaded studs attached to them and those studs are flat on both sides so you can hold them from turning while tightening/adjusting the nut. So even if you grind a little farther than needed, the nuts will still hold. You might even be able to add an extra washer or two and use more of the upper threads on the studs.
 

jerseyjeeps

Crazy about AMC Jeeps
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Landing
State
NJ
#19
Well darn...the vise grip trick did not work on any of the 3 frozen nuts.
How much pressure did you use? It takes a good amount and u crush the plastic around the stud which is ok. However next would be a dremil and followed by a nut splitter or a common screw driver turned sideways you have a nice cut with the dremil small cut wheel.

Having fun yet ? [emoji6]
 

Moabite

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Moab
State
UT
#20
I put as much force as possible with the only vise grips I could fit into that small space. I may see if I can fit a larger pair in. Not sure I want to try cutting the nuts. At this point, I'm leaning toward masking the end caps off really well and painting the bumper myself after rust removal and treatment.
 
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