SWING OUT TIRE CARRIER TECH
by Johnny Lange
At times, building your own trail gear and protection can be quite a blast. Then, if you donít have the proper tools, it can be a real pain in the neck. This month I decided to re-do my original home-job tire carrier which I had constructed by using a Blazer tire carrier. It served itís purpose, but looked a little sloppy.
I did some initial research on some swing out tire carriers and discovered there is a grundle of them plastered all over the net. I looked at a good dozen and decided upon my which would look the best and work out the best.
Here I discovered that obtaining the hardware for the tire carrier and either be easy to find, or a real hurdle to overcome. I found a great bearing hinge that was extremely stout at ROCKLOGIC 4X4. The latch was another story. There are a few latches out there, but the one I wanted, a 90 degree, was a bear to find. I finally located a local company, Fastener Engineering, that could have one to me in a couple of days.
The needed tools-
Now, obviously, you will need a decent welder. But, donít sweat just yet. If you donít have access to a welder, but have some of the other cutting tools, go ahead and proceed and cut everything up and get it prepped. Finding someone to glue it all together for you will be a lot cheaper than having someone make the whole darn bumper for you.
Here is the following items I used:
Miller 175-220V Welder
Porter Cable Sawzall w/ Blu-Mol bi metal blades
Harbor Freight Grinder
Central Machinery tube notcher
Drill bits from hell
and my new handy dandy Drill Doctor 500 for sharpening all those drill bits from hell.
For the main bumper, I used 63" of a 3/16 2x4 rectangular tube. I used the 4" due to Utah Law that states a rear bumper must be at least 4" high. For the swing out carrier portion, I used 1/8 2X2 steel. I purchase my steel from Wasatch Steel in Salt Lake City.
Aside from the obvious metal needed, here are some other things you will want to add on to your custom cool bumper.
-Deluxe "Von & Carl" special bearing hinge - $45 www.rocklogic4x4.com
-Hard as hell to find 90 degree Toggle Pull Latch (rated at 1000 lbs) - $20 Fasteners Ex
-Two D-Ring mount tabs, $10 each, Rocklogic4x4
-Three wheel studs with nuts, $5 (or grade eight bolts will work) To hold tire on.
-2 D-Rings, ( I had a few already)
-2 LED sealed taillights with rubber housing - $40 Fleet Lite, SLC
Creating the carrier-
I first measured out the width I wanted the bumper. I wanted it just a tad wider than the body for protection and for the side protection beams as well. The 2x4 bumper was cut to 63" wide.
I then rested the raw bumper on my old bumper (which is for sale by the way) and measured out where it needed to be. I then marked off where I would be cutting the notch out for the hitch I would be later welding in. I also marked off where I would later be welding on the d-ring mounts and cool LED taillights.
After the bumper was cut, I cut off the ends at 45 degrees for a better look. I then used my pipe notcher hole saw and cut a hole where I would be installing and welding the Bearing Hinge.
From that point I measured out the how long the bottom tube should be from the bearing to the latching point. Just make sure it is long enough to clear your tailgate coming down.
Next, I centered the tall tube that the tire would be mounted to. Make sure you measure how your tire will mount once up there, you donít want to dragging the thing over rocks and it doesnít need to be higher than your roof.
Next, I cut the two support tubes that will be welded on each side the tire tube I just talked about.
I made sure they would be welded to the upper most portion of the tire tube for strength. I then cut each end at 45 degrees to fit.
The taillight installation-
Ok, hereís where I wished the misses would have placed a plasma cutter on the ol Christmas list to her lovely garage-mole husband. I marked off where I wanted to put these cool LED taillights and "thought" I could figure out some way to cut out the holes. After drilling a couple of holes here and there, and sawing a little of this and a little that, I threw in the white towel and decided I needed to be a little more patient and have them cut out by someone with the big tool.I dropped off the bumper at All Steel Fabrication in West Valley and they easily cut the light holes for a mere $10. Money so well spent and they were really cool to deal with.
Some other items?
Not that you need to, but I decided on adding a couple of extra features on my swing-out carrier. I made a arm that would extend out to the side for my license plate light. I also made a arm on the arm side that would securely hold my Hi-Lift jack since it rattles the hell out of my fillings mounted inside my cab currently.
You may want to add some tabs for lights, CB antennas, Dish Network Satellite, or anything else. Also, you could have another set of light holes plasmaíd out for reverse lights.
Zapping it together-
After I made sure everything was going to fit ok, I placed small tack welds all over the whole unit to make sure I liked where it all was going to end up. Once I checked it all out, I cranked up the welder and united all the seams with a nice stream of MIG.
Think your done? Nope, you have to make it look nice now. First off, spend some time using a wire wheel on a grinder and go over all your welds to remove any burrs and such.
Since the metal I bought was new, make sure you clean off the greasy coating on the steel before you paint, though this should have probably been done prior to welding.
Who says spray paint doesnít look good? Yes, it can, but the secret is in the following steps.
Donít rush it. Apply a few coats of decent primer, allow to dry in between coats. Make sure to use quality primer and paint. None of this budget .99 paint, I use Rust O Leum "Industrial".
After your primer has dried, apply many very light coats of your finishing paint. Donít rush it here! The more you spray on at one time, the crappier itís going to look as the drips will be very apparent. Take your time.
Now for the most frustrating part, you absolutely need to let the wet paint cure and dry for at least 24 hours before installing your cool new bumper. You will want to put it on right away, but take your time, it will look better in the end without your grubby little fingerprints all over it. :-)
About the Author
Johnny Lange is the Founder and President of the Wild Yoats Toyota 4x4 Association. As an avid four wheeler for over 16 years, Lange enjoys the outdoors and has quite the hobby of collecting, modifying, and preserving Toyota 4x4's. Some would say he is quite sick in the head over Toyotas, but he still enjoys automobiles of all sorts.