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Old 03-20-2014, 11:19 AM   #1
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What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

I recently rebuilt my original (95) SMB spare tire carrier. It is not a swing arm/Aluminess type. It is a square tube A-frame which has a simple angle iron piece with two bolts through the body on the right side and 2 long bolts through the thick steel hinge plates an inch or two inside the driver's side rear door hinges. I made mine significantly stronger with bigger tubing and angle, used grade 5 and 8 hardware, and put a 10" angle plate inside the RIGHT side of the door on the backside of the bolts to keep from stressing the sheet metal. I just finished a 1000 mile trip with a 33" spare and a Trasharoo full of stuff on it and it did great. So here's the question. Is this a weaker design than the current SMB design? I think nowadays SMB just does the Aluminess swing arm spare rack, either the type on the Aluminess bumper or the type that bolts under the stock bumper. I know there have been many threads on adding longer pins to the rear door hinges and hanging it there, but I already had the holes in my rear door from the original carrier. Has anyone had this type fail? I have pretty good use of my left rear door, it's 2/3 open before the tire hits the left tail light.



I spaced my lug studs where the tire almost rests on the step bumper, so if it's ever pulled down/hit, etc. it will hopefully rest on it and just bend the frame a bit before it causes much damage.



Mine seems to look great and work great, so I'm just curious if there's a problem with them since I never see them anymore. I plan to make the same A-frame for my right side if I don't hear any negatives I haven't thought of. On the right I will hang my generator/storage box, which will probably be a bit heavier, so that's another reason I'm a little hesitant. However, I did the same generator box on my last van and it was fine.




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Old 03-20-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

No problem...if it holds.

I'd love to see some more photos of how the bolts attach to/through the door.

I've been going back and forth on doing one, although I'm restricted in that my ladder is on that door. But I might sacrifice it. I had also thought about essentially making a little pad for the tire to rest on. I did that on a Tracker I built up, which had a spare tire mount on the door. I added a much bigger spare, probably close to this size, and it just rested on the bumper. I added a web tie down since the weak spot would then be the bounce UP. It has held up so far for the new owner, even though he often leaves the tie off. And the door is almost twice as wide as your van door and hasn't sagged yet.

For storage I mounted a vertical bar out from the rear receiver and up by the hinge of the passenger door, and attached rocket boxes to it with weld on gate hinges:



If you're like me, you use that passenger door much more often. And the way it latches is different, isn't it (my van's not here right now)? It might be that the big stress is when the doors are open.

Keep us posted.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:39 PM   #3
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

Oh, BTW, I saw one of these in Death Valley. It's a Sprinter conversion but it has a killer fold down spare mounted at the driver rear door. One guy was using his as a step; another had a BBQ setup on it.

They are apparently options; love to see about buying one and making a mount. Didn't get a chance to closely examine them but look like trailer hitch type mounting would do. Anyone seen these elsewhere?

(the thing I'm talking about is sorta lower right)

http://www.leisurevans.com/freespiritss ... tml#anchor

RoadTrek apparently also offers something like this, and there was a guy DBA Ezee Lift that made an arm with a cable to a spring that assisted the lift. See here: http://roadtrek190popular.blogspot.com/ ... -lift.html

Apparently out of business though, and from what little I could see from the Roadtrek one it uses a different mechanism.

I realize you've got your tire sorted, but might work for a box as well.
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

I've seen that hitch/tire carrier setup on a Roadtrek Sprinter (I think). Looked like a nice setup.

My 98 Ford SMB has the same type of carrier as 86Scotty. I have smaller tires (225/16) and it works just fine. I like being able to open the left rear door without worrying about unlatching the carrier separately.

I've noticed a common problem with these is that you end up with a broken taillight on the driver's side when the door opens too far. When I bought my van the taillight was broken, and looking through the previous owner's receipts I saw at least one other taillight purchase. I've since broken mine twice, before I finally got fed up and redrilled/respaced the mounting bolts for the wheel to the carrier. Haven't had a problem since.

I like the idea of adding a support plate inside the door. Will have to look into doing that.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

Mine had a strap to prevent that, but I moved my new spare, which is bigger, to the right anyway and have not reconnected the strap, yet. I'll just be careful for now. I couldn't believe how far to the left SMB put the OEM tire. Mine is a couple inches to the right, which gives me more door swing even with the bigger tire. I'll snap some closer pics of the right side mount and angle support tomorrow if I think to.

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Old 04-11-2014, 11:31 AM   #6
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

How did you get the inside skin of the door to mount the support plate?i tried to pull mine to mount some speakers and even with actual trim tools i could not pull the panel with out breaking the tabs.

Sorry if this is a little of topic, but i am thinking of mounting my spare like this. Where did you get the bracket?
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #7
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesc
How did you get the inside skin of the door to mount the support plate?i tried to pull mine to mount some speakers and even with actual trim tools i could not pull the panel with out breaking the tabs.

Sorry if this is a little of topic, but i am thinking of mounting my spare like this. Where did you get the bracket?
No problem, I'm assuming you have a 97 or newer van with factory rear windows? If so, if there is OEM plastic trim around the windows, just pull REALLY hard on the top half of the door trim which surrounds the windows. It will come loose and shouldn't break any clips but I have had it happen. Once you get one off you will understand. There are no screws or other connectors on the top half of the door trim unless someone has added screws, which should be pretty obvious. For the bottom half, you will need to unscrew any visible screws, including the bolts on the grab handles. Some vans seem to have screws on the bottom half, some don't. Anyway, after any screws and grab handle bolts have been removed, pull the door panel up. It slides up about an inch and will then come off. The speakers are NOT connected to the door panel unless someone has modified your van.

As for the spare rack and inner support, I built it. The inner support bar is just a 6" long piece of 1" angle iron. The rest of the rack was built out of scrap steel and 1/25" square tubing. I'll try to get some more pics soon but I will have to remove my door panel again to do so.

Hope that helps

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Old 04-12-2014, 01:23 PM   #8
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Re: What's wrong with my Spare Tire carrier?

Thank you. I have a 2004 van with stock rear windows. sounds like the lower trim on your doors is held on with keyhole style clips. Mine was just the ribbed push pegs. The problem is they are pushed through the plywood panel and then covered with pleather. Might be something the previous owned did. I am certain at least one of the doors has been replaced. Usually I can pop this style of pin with trim tools, but not These! Oh well, I'm sure I will get it back together looking alright.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:56 AM   #9
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Hey 86Scotty I know this is an old thread but I am in need of a little guidance on tire carriers. I put on a set of 285 70 17" tires and need to upgrade my spare and don't think it will fit under the van in the OEM carrier. So I see you made a door mounted tire carrier and I wondered how it held up for you my concern is the weight of the spare hanging on the door and hinges? My van is a 2wd and most of my use will be highway with light off road use I was trying to stay away from having to do the swing arm setup(Aluminuness) style. Thanks for any input.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:49 AM   #10
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That carrier, or one exactly like it, was made and installed by Sportsmobile. Keep in mind I'm talking about my older A-frame one, my van has an Aluminess carrier on it now. The one in the pics above is an exact copy of the rusted one that was on my van when I bought it. Sportsmobile used to do the A-frame style and it works fine. I don't know if they stopped doing it for weight reasons or just because Aluminess came up with a better alternative. Anyway, it works fine and is really simple to make if you can weld. I made a matching one for my right door for my generator box. I would NOT recommend this if you are offroading a lot because I have seen my rear door sag a bit when the van is articulated pretty good but for normal road driving I think you'd be fine.

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