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Old 11-16-2015, 05:33 PM   #1
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ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issues!

This one goes out to all of you Aluminess afficianados:
Anyone out there ever recall having difficulty installing the Aluminess rear tire carrier on their Ford SMB in conjunction with the OEM factory *step bumper* ?

To wit:
My Ford OEM rear step bumper has 3 mounting studs per side (that push through the van's rear frame extensions and secure with a 3 separate nuts per side.)

However:
The used (and in great shape) Aluminess Tire Carrier I've recently picked up has only 2 bolt holes where it mates to the back of the bumper. (The two that are there DO line up properly with 2 of the 3 bolts on the bumper.) So it looks like this:



I *did* call Aluminess (they were super cool, btw) and when I explained my issue, they told me I've got one of their "older" tire carriers, that they had originally designed to work with the "Slim/Non-step" rear bumpers (which apparently only have two mounting studs per side.) They told me to go ahead and drill a third hole on the carrier to allow it to fit/mount against the back of my step bumper's 3-stud arrangement. This all made good sense.

But --- now that I've done that.......

it *still* doesn't seem like this tire rack wants to play nice with the step bumper. Even with the step bumper (and the tire rack) dropped as low in height as they can possibly be mounted on the rear of the van (bumper bolts *all the way down* at the bottom of the slotted holes in the van's rear frame extensions) --- the tire carrier still sits too high to allow for installation to complete. --- (the upper securing strap that should attach to the top of the rear door hinge pin is still approximately 3/4" too high to do so.)

Wondered if anyone else had to make a custom "s-bended" upper support strap to get their tire carrier to work with a step bumper, or if something is seriously eluding me here. I just don't see how the tire rack could be positioned any lower, at least not without cutting away part of the top of the bumper. (Which would be ridiculously complicated and look pretty awful.) It appears that the rear step bumper will have to sit *super low* and still there will be a need to use a jerry-rigged arrangement to secure the top of the tire carrier to the rear door hinge pin.

Thanks in advance for any guidance (or friendly ridiculing) you can lend my way.
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:56 PM   #2
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

I had to cut my bumper, but it's not a Ford bumper so I can't help much. It's an older Reunel. Anyway, I'm pretty sure my carrier is an older one too and it already had some holes added. All that said, and not being much help other than to agree, I was pretty surprised how badly it fit. Eventually I made mine happy after cutting up my bumper.

Good luck!

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Old 11-16-2015, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
I had to cut my bumper, but it's not a Ford bumper so I can't help much. It's an older Reunel. Anyway, I'm pretty sure my carrier is an older one too and it already had some holes added. All that said, and not being much help other than to agree, I was pretty surprised how badly it fit. Eventually I made mine happy after cutting up my bumper.

Good luck!

Thanks for chiming in! Knowing that at least *one* other person had some significant mounting issues with their tire carrier (and still succeeded regardless) is worth quite a bit (in terms of added motivational horsepower)

I've been waffling in my thinking between:
1) renewing my attack on getting this one installed with the step bumper (more drilling.....grinding.....bending of support strap......locating longer hinge pin bolt.....etc.....),
2) switching to a supposedly directly-compatible non-step bumper (pick a nice used one up at Fam Vans or Craigslist for cheap),
or
3) selling this one and buying a brand-new one (the rep at Aluminess said that the newer ones have three holes, and are built slightly differently to install cleanly with the OEM factory step bumpers.)

Hmmmm. For the price of these things (and the universal nature of Ford bumpers between 1992 and 2014), I'd have really hoped these things were better sorted out to "fit right" straight out of the box....
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:08 PM   #4
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

I have a '95 Ford van with an Aluminess tire carrier that had a 'slim' bumper that I replaced with a step bumper a few months back. My carrier has two holes, my van and bumpers have four holes but only two are used. I remember having to fiddle with the fitting on the original 'slim' bumper but not on the step bumper.

Not sure if that helps or hinders you but if you are going to drill new holes in anything I would drill them in the steel on the van or bumper rather than the Aluminum.
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:49 PM   #5
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by witoke
I have a '95 Ford van with an Aluminess tire carrier that had a 'slim' bumper that I replaced with a step bumper a few months back. My carrier has two holes, my van and bumpers have four holes but only two are used. I remember having to fiddle with the fitting on the original 'slim' bumper but not on the step bumper.

Not sure if that helps or hinders you but if you are going to drill new holes in anything I would drill them in the steel on the van or bumper rather than the Aluminum.
Thanks for sharing witoke.

FWIW, the Aluminess rep said that if I visited their shop in Santee, they'd happily help me modify (drill/grind) the rack, and install it as well....and they made it sound like there would be no structural issues with enlarging (slotting them lower) the existing stud holes (or adding a third)....as, in their words, the "weight-bearing capacity" of the tire carrier is done entirely by the carrier resting on top of the bumper itself. (The 2 (or 3) holes merely help locate it left/right on the bumper (along with the strap on top that secures to the rear door upper hinge pin.)

Your 4-stud step-bumper experience is definitely interesting -- now I'm wondering if the reason that the step-bumper I have is equipped with 3 studs per side (6 total) is because it's also intended for heavy-duty towing (has a hole in the middle of the step for mounting a hitch ball.)

Knowing now that there's 4-stud versions of the step bumper out there --- hmmmm. I'm curious now if they're actually *shaped and dimensioned differently* than the 6-stud version I've got (perhaps they're shorter in height/have bolts arranged differently up/down relative to their total height.) And thus "play better" with the Aluminess tire carrier.

Based on your success story, I'm gonna have to do a lunchtime trip over to Fam Vans in Fountain Valley and look at their stock of used bumpers. (and bring a tape measure to try to determine any possible differences between 4-stud and 6-stud step bumpers, if any differences exist.)
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

My 08 step has two bolts at a diagonal like your pic. Aluminess did add a large spacer between the bumper and the box carrier.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:40 PM   #7
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

had the exact same scenario weekend before last (3 hole step bumper). just drilled out the holder, the spacer, and had to go buy longer bolts/nuts.

the bumper did need to be at the bottom of its range to line up the hinge bracket, and even still, the swing out still sits a little high, but not so high that a washer didn't line it up enough to function without binding. plan to swap out for different hardware later and will dial that part in then. even if it means elongating the bumper holes.

i can get a few pix once it's light out again. just tell me what you wanna see.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:59 AM   #8
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by shenrie
had the exact same scenario weekend before last (3 hole step bumper). just drilled out the holder, the spacer, and had to go buy longer bolts/nuts.

the bumper did need to be at the bottom of its range to line up the hinge bracket, and even still, the swing out still sits a little high, but not so high that a washer didn't line it up enough to function without binding. plan to swap out for different hardware later and will dial that part in then. even if it means elongating the bumper holes.

i can get a few pix once it's light out again. just tell me what you wanna see.
Shenrie, thanks --- some pics would be great. I can think of a few direct views that would be really helpful to understand how your bumper/tire carrier combo interact successfully --- in particular....

1) a direct, "straight-in" rear view of the area where the bottom "lip" of the tire carrier frame "rests" on top of the step bumper's upper surface (where the upward-facing plastic "step pad" of the bumper actually contacts the underside of the tire carrier.) On my Aluminess tire carrier's frame, there's a solitary, substantial lock-nut that protrudes perhaps 1/2" from the bottom (it's the lower pivot bolt for the tire carrier's swing action) and it prevents the carrier's "lip" from "sitting square" on top of the bumper.

(I've now realized that this protruding locknut, alone, is responsible for *most* of the mounting alignment issues.....)

2) A straight-on rear view of the upper support strap/door hinge pin area to see how your strap/bolt/washer stackup looks.

3) Also -- maybe a nice side-view picture of the left, outboard-facing surface of the bumper (and tire carrier) as installed on your SMB to see how "low" the bumper sits visually in reference to the shaped "cove" in the van's body panel where it lines up against. Some kind of squared-up, straight-in view would be fantastic to help me understand the "height stagger" of your successful install.

Thanks tons!!!

***** I've been pondering the issue a bit more since you guys have replied, and I'm thinking a solid (and discreet) solution might be to drill a 1" hole in the top of the step bumper (through both the step pad and actual bumper metal) to allow the lower, protruding locknut on the tire carrier's underside to "poke through" --- and thus a) allow the full underside of the tire carrier to rest square on the top surface of the step bumper and b) drop the entire tire carrier lower by 1/2" to better align its support strap (at top) with the hinge-pin.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:14 AM   #9
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

straight back:



you can see the bolt protruding frumunda. this is definitely what is keeping the hinge bracket from being level. i will either drill a hole in the bumper to accommodate, or swap out hardware to something countersunk.

straight back on hinge:



i have a very thin washer on the swingout, and a very thick washer on my hinge. if you want a closer pic, just let me know.

side view:



again, this is the initial install. nothing has been modded since, but i will elongate holes or whatever i need to do to get it to sit properly. i think that one low hanging bolt like you said is the root of this evil. my bumper currently sits as low as the stock adjustment holes will allow.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:28 AM   #10
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Re: ME TOO -- Aluminess Rear Tire Carrier Installation Issue

Thanks!!!!
That low-hanging under-nut PITA is indeed a culprit ain't it.

This looks totally solvable (and without a cutting torch )

If you get it sorted out better anytime soon, would love to see your final solution. Thanks again for the immensely helpful pics.

TIME TO GET BACK AT IT!
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