This past Friday I finally got my new headlights I ordered off of eBay - the sun was already setting but I was too excited and went out to put them on the truck anyways. I installed the left one without any issues (other than a broken tab, but that's getting worked out with the seller), and when I went to swap out the right headlight I realized I had to replace my front bumper sooner than anticipated...
The bumper was bent up enough to hold the headlight in place, so I had to wait until the next morning to search the wrecking yards. I picked up a complete bumper assembly off a '96 in great condition for $200 even. Things were going all too easy during the swap though and I hit another roadblock - even though the '96 and '01 have the exact same bumper, the front two mounting brackets are slightly different. The end that bolts to the frame horns did not line up but the end that bolted to the bumper was the exact same, so I just figured I'd take off and use the brackets from my original bumper - easier said than done...
Tools required to remove bracket from bumper:
Socket wrench, silicone lube, pipe for added torque, more silicone lube, vice grips for when the carriage bolts became useless and just start spinning, more silicone lube, and eventually an angle grinder.
After this experience, I took a drive out to the hardware store and picked up some new nuts, bolts (hex, not carriage), and washers to reinstall the bumper to the brackets. Also, since I was going through all of this trouble, I decided to pick up a can of Krylon satin black spray paint to spruce up the top plastic piece on the new-to-me bumper and the custom mesh inserts. I think it made a huge difference in appearance and will be doing the mirrors, taillight covers, rear bumper plastic, door trim, and possibly the honeycomb grill as well.
Final product (the CARR steps were installed last weekend):
Those tires and rims were installed at the local CT between bringing home the bumper and getting back to the install, meaning I had to drive the truck through town looking like it did in the first picture