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Old 01-29-2021, 11:48 AM #1
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I made my own hitch mount spare tire carrier.

I've been sniffing around trying to get a spare tire carrier for my 4 runner. I think the Detours of Maine one is the nicest available, but I thought I could make mine fit a little bit better and also be a little cleaner looking.

*******************EDIT*******************
I was thinking about making FIVE more of these total. One is already spoken for. If you'd be interested, shoot me a DM.

In addition to my original design with the tight fitting installation, they would have a few new features like:
1) camera mount in the center of the wheel
2) higher mounted license plate
3) wiring tie tabs
4) secondary latch system which holds gate in "open" position
5) 2 stage wrinkle black powdercoating
6) stainless steel contact areas in places where the powdercoat could get damaged.

It could be available either centered or offset. I'd be interested to hear if the general desire would be for centered or offset design.
*******************EDIT*******************

There are some things I'd change if I did it again, though. I was just sort of winging it as I went. Usually I spend more time on the "planning" stage.

Here's a finished shot:



Here's how it went down.

First I bought an amazon hitch extender for like 20 bucks.

Then I cut and beveled some 2x4x1/4 wall rectangular tube:



Tacked them together:



Then finish welded, and chucked them in the mill and cut the ends to accept the pivot. Doing this after welding allowed me to ensure my arms would be perfectly parallel.



Then I turned a pivot shaft from some solid 2" round. I used 1.375 as diameter of pivot pin:



Next I welded on some tube to the end of the upper arm, then put it in the mill and bored it to eliminate any distortion from welding.

This is my second MIG welding project so don't judge my welds too harshly.



I didn't have any appropriate bushings laying around but I did have some Bronze and a lathe:



These pressed in nicely. Please ignore horrible welds.



Next I pulled my bumper cover, unbolted my receiver, and welded two tabs to it. There are a lot of different ways these hitch carriers lock on, but for me this was the easiest.



Next I started mocking things up on the truck:



One of the key things I wanted to do was keep the bars really tight to the bumper. Aftermarket ones to me all looked like farm equipment.



No pictures, but I machined a small block to bolt the locking clamp to. There is a bracket that hangs off the upper arm. This supports the wheel when it's closed and doubles as a tab for my clamp to lock down. It rests on a striker plate I welded to the lower arm. Both these parts are made from stainless steel because eventually the powdercoat will rub off. I also added a license plate holder and some stoppers to keep it from opening too far.

Here's a crappy shot of everything after it was all welded



Then I powdercoated it and it was ready to use. It's ROCK solid and functions exactly how I expected it to. Here are some more finished pics.

One of the things I wanted was for it to be offset (for future ladder placement) and as close to the hatch as reasonably possible.








So what would I change? A couple things:

1) Less offset. I think I could have moved the wheel about 3" to the left. I think it would just look a bit better aesthetically.

2) shorten the receiver a bit. This was just me being lazy. It will hurt departure angle.

3) make the bottom tube about 2" longer so I could have put my plate higher. It was either going to hang off the end of the tube or hang below. It's on a sturdy bracket but we will see if it snags on stuff on the trail. It doesn't hang lower than the hitch, though.

All said and done, not a bad way to spend a weekend and 100 bucks.

Last edited by ctnewman; 04-21-2021 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 01-29-2021, 11:59 AM #2
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That's pretty slick and looks good. Wish I had the skills to fab something like that up.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:06 PM #3
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I made my own hitch mount spare tire carrier.

Looks great. When can you make the changes and send one to me :-)
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:10 PM #4
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Looks good.

Do you have any weight estimates and how much time would you say you invested into this project from start to finish?

EDIT****

I missed the part where you said you did it over a weekend.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:15 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotaTRD View Post
Looks good.

Do you have any weight estimates and how much time would you say you invested into this project from start to finish?

EDIT****

I missed the part where you said you did it over a weekend.

It weighs around 60LB plus wheel.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:34 PM #6
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4) Back up camera kit in center of tire carrier (like the FJ’s have/had).

5) No offset option (center of rear hatch)

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Old 01-29-2021, 12:37 PM #7
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Oh man, it looks killer. Shoot me a price shipped to CA unpainted.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:37 PM #8
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BTW, I like it a lot
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Old 01-29-2021, 01:03 PM #9
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Great job. Any one can buy it of the shelf products and bolt on, so its always good to see creative, talented people making functional stuff.
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Old 01-29-2021, 01:45 PM #10
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So,

(1) I love the fact that you still have a functional hitch. Most of them I've looked at don't. I have to have a functional trailer hitch.

(2) How hard was it to move the camera?

(3) If you had a ladder on the driver's side (I do) would this interfere with that?

and lastly... what would you charge a brother for this rig, assuming you decided to make a vocation out of your hobby?
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:14 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobWheelerJr View Post
So,

(1) I love the fact that you still have a functional hitch. Most of them I've looked at don't. I have to have a functional trailer hitch.

(2) How hard was it to move the camera?

(3) If you had a ladder on the driver's side (I do) would this interfere with that?

and lastly... what would you charge a brother for this rig, assuming you decided to make a vocation out of your hobby?
1) Thanks. I felt similarly a lot of them have a 2" receiver but I don't think they can actually be used for towing.

2) I got an Aiden James Customs camera relocation kit. It's 125 bucks and takes about 60 minutes to install.

3) I keep thinking about that. I don't think there is any practical way for me to mass produce these. I'd have to charge more than anyone would pay, probably.
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:26 PM #12
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Best i have seen to date.
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:27 PM #13
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Wow! Skills! Only thing I'd want is for the spare to be lower to increase visibility out the back window, but I'm sure there's a reason it's located where it is.
Great job.
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:30 PM #14
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So structurally, you cannot tow with this one ?
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:35 PM #15
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Quote:
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So structurally, you cannot tow with this one ?
Mine? Definitely can tow with it. The tongue weight of the trailer will be reduced a bit, though.
A) because of the weight of the unit itself
B) because of increased moment because the hitch ball is further out.

On other "off the shelf" tire carriers there is a 2" receiver but it doesn't look stout. It looks like it's more for other "hitch mount" accessories.
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