On the cap front, cleaning is extremely important. I cleaned both the rubber and body with an organic and inorganic solvent. Try paint thinner to loosen the glue and simple green to get the dirt.
I see you are in Connecticut, I am from RI so I could always take a Sunday trip if you are not to far West. Let me know if I can help. If I have the state right I'll drop you my email address.
The clips are a blind assembly, need to visualize the area and feel your around.