G.I.JOE Repair 1980's Vintage-Rubber Band Replacement

About: I am a USMC Veteran and a Mechanic. I like fixing stuff, making stuff, and being outside.

I managed to hang onto several of the G.I.Joe action figures from my childhood long enough to pass them down to my son.  After sitting in storage for many years the rubber bands that hold them together were broken or rotted to the point that there was no tension left in them.  I have tried several different replacements for these rubber bands ultimately finding an automotive source that is a near perfect match to the originals.  The 5/8 inch O-rings used in many modern automotive air conditioning systems fits perfectly with just the right amount of tension to give these classic action figures new life without braking the hook off the leg bar.  I salvaged most of the O-rings that I used from a/c parts that needed replaced but O-rings can be purchased from any auto parts store or online in bulk for a cheap price.
During my trial and error process of replacing the rubber bands in the action figures I found two O-rings that I like to use.  The black neoprene O-rings with the 5/8 in outer diameter fit perfect like the original, so I used these for fixing the G.I.Joes that I passed on to my son.  The green O-rings with 5/8in inner diameter fit well with less tension than the black O-rings, I used the green O-rings for fixing the joes that went onto my shelf for display. 
I would not have put together this instructable if it were not for being inspired by a fun instructable I read by M.C.Langer  https://www.instructables.com/id/Fix-a-classic-GIJOE-figure-using-a-condom/

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Step 1: What You Will Need.

1980's vintage G.I.JOE action figure.
5/8 inch automotive O-rings. 
Small Philips screw driver.

Step 2: Disassembling

Remove the screw from the action figures back.  Separate the front and back halves of the torso.  If the rubber band is still intact remove it from the torso back post.  Remove the pelvis from the legs. 

Step 3: O-ring Replacement and Re-assemble

Install a 5/8in o-ring over the leg bar hook.  Work the o-ring through the pelvis, use the tipoff the screwdriver to help pull the o-ring through, until the pelvis is seated on the legs.  Position the o-ring over the torso backs post.  Place the arms and head in the torso back and put the torso front on.  If you have never repaired one of these guys before there is a degree of finesse required to put the torso together without an arm falling out.  Screw in the back screw and your Joes are fit for duty again.

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    4 Discussions


    1 year ago

    thanks for the help here , i have a great collection of GI Joe and i couldnt find a solution for the broken figures, there's a video on youtube too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRo5i_lxWNI&feature=youtu.be for anyone who wants to see how it's done

    the fixer upper

    2 years ago

    wow, am I glad I googled how to fix! My sons are grown and I had all this wonderful GI Joe, Star wars and Fisher Price stuff from the 70's and 80's lingering in my attic. I hauled all down and have been digging thru boxes the past few weeks to find parts to put back together - you know a wing dislodged from an airplane, stuff that's easy to knock off. Luckily most of the loose pieces were kept. I grew up with very few toys myself and when I was a busy mom I never had time to enjoy theirs but now I'm getting a kick out of restoring all. I took pity on those poor gi joe guys and am so happy that I can fix them. I've enjoyed mounting them on the stands I found (and probably did throw some away some over the years because I didn't know what they were). I've ordered the o'rings and will return and post when I have fixed all. I did get a big kick out of the guy who fixed with a condom - very impressed with his ingenuity.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks troopersmachine. That company you recommended on Amazon is top-notch. We ordered our o-rings and got them right away. Following your instructions, made the job easy. It's so cool to have the figures like new again.