Originally Posted by Mariachi29
I am thinking of removing the undermount spare tire and installing a 20 gal water tank. Having taken a look at the mount for the spare it appears quite hefty, as if Ford intended it for frame rigidity. Before I go thru with cutting it out (Demo is easy
), does SMB just rip out the mount for the spare to install the under floor storage or do they reinforce the area with other cross bracing?
I'd put tank inside, but it takes up so much room and I don't have a furnace so when it is freezing outside it is inside too (Give or take a few degrees). My guess is on cold nights, it is the piping I would need to worry anyway? Is my logic all messed up here? What freezing issues have you had? On an average crisp spring/fall mountain night, it would have to get pretty cold to freeze 10-20 gallons of water.
I talked to the SMB folks in Austin and they said they just cut it out to install the box. I saw one cut out on the shop floor so the guy I was speaking with seemed to have some credibility.
Based on this, I cut mine out. It does look massive when it's in there but it cuts out pretty easily with a sawzall. The metal is pretty thin and soft compared to the frame. Cuts like butter. By comparison, when I got to close to the frame with the blade and started cutting through it, the saw would not really cut the frame, just scratched it. Once out, it's not that impressive looking.
One think to keep in mind, I've got a draw-tite class 3 hitch and a factory rear bumper. I suspect the hitch (more than the bumper) reinforces the two frame beams.
I've heard others (who can weld) add reinforcement.