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JonBertsch 09-26-2020 07:51 PM

Spare Tire Sheared off Alminess Swing Gate
Hi Folks,

I am out in Escalante, UT. I was 20 miles down the Hole in the Wall trail when my spare tire dropped off the back. I took a look and the bracket that holds the tire has sheared off the two tubes that extend out from the swing gate. It's a plate that is welded to the two tubes by contact. So just the rim of the tube is welded to the plate, there's no internal support from the tube itself.

I loaded the tire into the living area of my van and drove back to Escalante in the hopes that a shop there might be able to fit it. But the one shop is closed for the weekend.

Has this happened to others? The welds on the support frame seem tiny compared to the weight of the tire but this is an offroad setup so you'd think it would be strong.

I'm kinda stuck, is the shop likely to be able to fix it? Does anyone know a place that could even fix this in the area, like St. George, Cedar City?

I was trying to come up with some configurations with bolts and drilling holes to hold the tire but the bolts need to be big and strong.

Let me know if you know anywhere that might be able to fix. Otherwise I may have to start driving home with the tire in my sleeping space. Or get the shop to somehow attach it my penthouse roof.

Hate to think of this happening on the freeway. Could be ugly for someone behind one of us.

It's the old E350 (2014) aluminess setup with a bumper and two swing arms.



Cyrull 09-26-2020 09:10 PM

Can't help with finding a source for repairs but yes this has happened before. There are a couple threads showing cracks and bad welds from aluminess bumpers. I believe another person had the same issue as you. Whatever repair you do, it should be considered temporary and I would check it every time you stop or fill up for gas.

I would be contacting aluminess for a proper repair or replacement unit when you get home.

Best of luck

JonBertsch 09-26-2020 10:02 PM

Hi Cyrull,

Thanks for letting me know it has happened before. I'll contact Alminess on Monday. At least knowing have experienced this before give me hope that they will come to some decent remedy.
After more inspection of the tire carrier setup it looks like it'll be difficult to find a decent solution. I may opt for trying to strap the tire to the roof and limiting my off road expeditions.



boywonder 09-27-2020 09:37 AM

Jon: When the tire swingarm is latched, is there any vertical play/slop in the swingarm? Grab it with your hands and pull up....

Twoxentrix 09-27-2020 11:14 AM

Just curios for those that have had this issue (along with the cracks developing on some of the welds) if you also had the "Swing arm rest" installed?
*Aluminess description: "This accessory is designed for the older Aluminess Rear bumpers. It provides a rest for your swingarm in the closed position to take load off of your latch"

I can see how the "rest" keeps the swing arms from enduring a lot of the continual stress of weight & vibration/shaking. Just trying to determine if the 2 pairs I have installed have proven to be an added benefit ?
Have only read of two others this "detachment" has happened to (probably more out there i'm sure), but an obviously safety concern having the tire just drop - especially for an unsuspecting driver on your six.
May seem like a paranoid reaction, but I'm now considering a responsible measure in which I run a cable through the wheel and attaching to the bumper. Simply because i CAN envision the reaction/destruction/disaster that could take place with a 35" wheel bouncing off cars.

boywonder 09-27-2020 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by Twoxentrix (Post 282468)

I can see how the "rest" keeps the swing arms from enduring a lot of the continual stress of weight & vibration/shaking. Just trying to determine if the 2 pairs I have installed have proven to be an added benefit ?

IMO there is no question there is a benefit.....what you want is the swingarms to be loaded a bit (zero vertical slop) by those sloped delrin blocks to tighten everything up.

Without some loading all the joints of the swingarms are subjected to "velocity shock"...the freeplay allows movement....and this movement is arrested at the end of it's travel in a very short timespan causing the forces in the joints to be greatly multiplied.....resulting in failures.

Lots of failures occur this way..things wear....things get loose/sloppy...and the constant pounding of velocity shock destroys things quickly.

When the swingarms are tight much of the force loading is reduced/damped by the van's suspension.

JonBertsch 09-27-2020 02:34 PM

Hi Boywonder and Twoxentrix,

Yes there's a "stop" under the swing arm on the rear bumper. The arm doesn't move, or at most a 1mm but it seems pretty solid.

After looking at the whole system and thinking about if for a little while. It seems to me that the flat plate that is welded to the ends of the two tubes should have some pins that mate into ends of the tubes. Then the tubes will be taking some of the weight and supporting the load, rather than all of it being held together by the welds. That's how any number of things are put together to make the joints stronger. But I'm not an engineer or fabricator so I may be missing something.

I'm assuming that the local shop won't be able to weld the aluminum back together, but there's always hope. If not, I'm thinking of having them help me attach the whole wheel to the gate through the "spokes" with a couple of straps and then additionally wrapping the whole tire to the gate with a couple of extra straps N/S and E/W to reduce movement and sway on the spare. There's a hardware store in town so I expect I can get the necessary items there.

That's the best thing of can think of rather than having it inside the van and not tied down since I don't a way of securing it to the floor. That seems potentially more hazardous if I have to stop suddenly.

Thanks all for the responses.


1der 09-27-2020 10:02 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Some pics would be helpful when you get a chance but in the meantime I think this what you have (had :eek:). This is the old design with the two tubes projecting out from the swing arm to a mounting surface to which the triangular lug plate is attached with three flat head screws.

Attachment 36066

The new design provides for two resting bars at the bottom to help support the tire so the forces are not all taken on the lug attachment assembly. The older design really wanted the back of the tire itself to be in contact with the swing arm to minimize the vibration of a tire/wheel hanging out in mid air attached only by the plate with the three lugs.

Attachment 36067

Aluminess is usually pretty fair about stuff like this. Hopefully they get you taken care of.

Chinook 09-27-2020 11:48 PM

Wow, this could have been a life changing disaster in city traffic or going down the freeway at 75 mph. :eek:

boywonder 09-28-2020 08:56 AM

Jon: It can be weld repaired....that will smoke the powder coating (who cares at this point)...and the weld won't be as strong as original since it really needs to be re-heat-treated, which would require stripping the powder coating.

Some welders won't weld powder coated aluminum due to the nasty vapors/burning of the powder coat.

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