Tire Carrier continued:
A couple weekends ago the weather was dismal and rainy but I figured it wouldn't take long to finish up this project. As if.
Mount the newly painted hinges on the van. The picture is before they were adjusted.
Adjust the hinges and door so everything is lined up. Bring out the painted tire carrier and mount it onto the hinges. Or more accurately try to mount the carrier.
It won't fit. No matter how hard I tried.
Rain or no rain take the van door off and bring it into the garage. In trying to get the carrier to fit I managed to scrap some of the new paint off the hinge. You can see in the picture that the carrier's bottom hinge plate is now as much as 1/2" off alignment.
This used to fit perfect so I must have caused the carrier to distort while welding on the vertical braces. It's going to take more than a couple well placed hits with the hammer to straighten it out. Here I was all ready to celebrate another project finished so to say I was disappointed doesn't begin to cover it. I allotted myself a minute and a half for a pity party then after that started thinking about how to fix it.
Here's what I came up with. Used a angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to cut off the lower hinge block from each hinge plate on the carrier.
Each of the upper hinge blocks needed to have the holes slightly re-aligned. Used the drill for that. Hopefully this won't cause any looseness in the fit.
Looking on the bright side this gives me a chance to fix an earlier oversight. I'd forgotten to close off the open ends of the square tube where it meets the hinge plate. Cut out two metal rectangles and after using a wire wheel to remove the paint, welded one to each tube end. Cleaned up the weld later.
This is the lower hinge plate after I'd welded the lower hinge block back on but in a new alignment. You can see that the upper block is now about 1/2" away from the top of the door hinge. I considered adding an extension to close that gap but decide to just live with it. This gap will necessitate a new hinge pin but I already have that covered.
Here's the upper hinge plate. You can see that the plate is angling away from the hinge pin creating a gap. The hinge block I cut off isn't big enough to fill this gap so instead I made a new but this time I cut it from 1" square bar stock. Reduced the thickness to 3/4" and drilled out the hole for the hinge pin. The extra width allowed the hinge block to cross the gap and reach the hinge plate. Welded them together.
Put the door back on the van and see if the carrier will fit. It does.
The fit is good and solid.
Leave the door on the van and move the carrier back to the garage. Use a wire wheel to remove all the paint damaged by the welding. Instead of hooking up all the paint spraying equipment I'm going to use a paint brush to apply first the primer then the paint and finally the clearcoat. Not sure how the finish will look but going to find out.
I made the first set of hinge pins from tool steel which I find rusts pretty quickly when exposed to the elements. I ordered stainless steel rod
and used that to make the second set of hinge pins.
A few days later. The re-painting is done and the weather has improved. Install the carrier on the back of the van with the new stainless steel pins.
Fits and moves just right. The finish on the re-painted parts is not bad either.
The two mounting holes in the door are just slightly off from the holes in the right edge of the carrier. A few seconds work with the drill fixed that.
Attach the carrier to the door with 5/16" bolts. I added the metal plate to the inside of the door to help spread the load.
All bolted up and ready to go.
Now for the acid test. Mount the tire onto the carrier.
The tire weighs 79 lbs so it's not like I can lift and hold it in place while I fumble with bolts and nuts to secure it. I experimented around until I came up with a workable method.
Get the tire on the rear bumper and roll it into place in front of the carrier. Move the tire around until the left carrier mounting hole lines up with the tire hole at the "9:00" o'clock position. Push the bolt through from the front and hand tighten the nut on the back. The weight of the tire is on the bumper.
Using the 9:00 bolt as a pivot point, rotate the tire in a counter-clockwise direction. This will cause the right side of the tire to rise. Raise the tire until the hole opposite the 9:00 bolt lines up with the hole in the carrier at the "2:45" position. The pivot bolt supports enough of the tire weight that I can hold it in place with one hand while using my other hand to push the bolt through and hand tighten on the nut. With the tire supported by these two bolts add the remaining two bolts and hand tighten in place.
Now it gets difficult. I want to add a washer and lock washer to each bolt then "wrench" them tight. I didn't realize how hard this would be until I started trying to do it. Getting the washers on along with the nuts wasn't the problem. The problem was in trying to work a wench in the area between the back of the tire and the carrier. The four square tube supports I welded to the carrier are consistently in the way if you're trying to work a wrench on the nuts. It's not impossible just maddeningly difficult. I tried a succession of wrench types until I came up with this solution.
I took a 7/8" combination wrench from a cheap set I had and cut it in half. Take the box end "half" and ground smooth the cut edge for safety sake.
This was much easier to deal with. It's got enough length for leverage but not so long as to keep banging into the supports.
I'm using carriage bolts since I like their look but didn't have any problem with the heads turning as I tightened down on the nuts. Made slight adjustments to the tire position to center it up as I tightened it in place. With the tire in place I added the lock. If I'd known how hard it would be to work the nuts without my "special" wrench I might not bothered with the lock.
The lock tucks in behind the wheel.
OK. The tire is now mounted onto the back of the van. Do some checking. The door opens and closes without any problems. Has a nice solid feel to it. No wobble on the door when opened.
This is the clearance on the left side of the tire.
There is enough clearance between the tire tread and the edge of the right side rear door that the door can open and close with interference. Just don't get your hand in between the two as the door shuts.
Looking between the bottom of the tire and the top of the bumper there is about an inch of clearance as planned.
Measure the new door width. Notice the yellow broom handle.
I had previously calculated a 3" reduction in width. It comes to 3-1/2". Pretty close.
The yellow broom handle in the above picture is being used to keep the door wide open. There is a small swing arm on the door that both prevents the door from opening too far but also holds the door all the way open. I don't know what the official name for this part is but I'll call it the "door stop". In this picture you can see the door stop on the right rear door.
The left hand door's stop doesn't work anymore. In taking the door on and off so many times it somehow got twisted. I don't know if I'm going to try and fix it or just go get one from the junkyard. It will have to be modified to work with the doors new opening width. Beside the convenience factor of holding the door open more importantly is limiting how far open I can swing the door.
Here is the left door all the way open. You can see that the tire is pressing against the driver's side rear taillight assembly. I have no doubt that the door can be open far enough to crack the assembly. I'll have to be careful until the stop is replaced.
I'll take care of the stop at some other time so I'm going to call Spare Tire Carrier project finished.
One final note on the problem I had with the carrier. I've since been told that the distortion could have been prevented by using a jig when I was welding. Live and learn.