Rear spare tire carrier - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum



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Go Back   Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum > 2002 - 2009 TrailBlazer/Envoy Tech > 02-09 General Tech Q&A > Off-Road

Off-Road For suspension, wheel, and tire questions DIRECTLY related to Off-Roading.

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  #1  
Old 11-04-2007, 12:43 PM
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AlekG AlekG is offline
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Rear spare tire carrier

During the planning of my expedition to Colorado, I realized it would be a very smart idea to have 2 spare tires. This was also prompted by the fact that I already had one full size Mickey Thompson sitting around since I bought the set, never had a need to use it.

So I decided to buy another brand new tire, put the 2 new ones on the rear, and use the 2 used ones as spares. One was going on the Surco Safari roof rack, and the other one was supposed to be fitted at the rear bumper somehow.

Right about that time, this product started selling:



The HitchGate from TireGate.

However, as is usually the case, there was nowhere locally I could get this product, and getting it from the US would cost way too much in terms of shipping. So I came up with an alternative solution (almost as good) that uses three independent products, cobbled together:



The first item is the Curt spare tire mount, purchased from The Roadie. The second item is the Surco fold up rack adapter, and finally a Hitch-Coupling tightener. Both purchased from FastTrackRacks.

First order of business was to cut the part of the spare tire mount that slides into the hitch receiver (red line):



Next was to measure and drill two holes up from the red line, this is where the center bolt of the Surco fold up adapter would go through. The holes have to be big enought to fit the stainless steel sleeve that comes with the Surco. This sleeve is what allows it to pivot nicely. Here's a couple of pictures of it just before drilling the holes:



The next three modifications would depend on the user and what kind of rims/tires they have (I have the 33x11.5 Baja MTZs)

- I drilled 2 holes into the part that slides into the hitch receiver to adjust how far out the whole assembly sits. The tire needs to be out far enough to clear the rear wiper. As luck would have it, the tire sits low enough so that I can open the top window and access the rear without lowering the Curt. This is OK to grab lighter things from the back, but for anything heavier such as coolers, or large suitcases, the spare needs to be lowered.

- I had 2 pieces of 1/4" thick 2" wide square tube cut and bolted them to the face plate of the Curt. This was needed to push the wheel outwards and allow the tire to clear the back of the Surco assembly. I used grade 8 bolts for this and ultimately had them welded on as well so that I do not need to fumble with the bolts when putting the wheel on and taking it off.

- And finally, I had to cut about 1/2 an inch off the metal tab that sticks out at the back of the Surco. The tire was not completely clearing this when I would raise and lower the Curt.

All exposed metal was sprayed with black anti-rust paint. So far I have not had to grease anything but that is yet to be seen this winter. I think I will try some graphite lubricant spray first and see how that goes. I have used it before in hitch locks and it works great. Speaking of hitch locks, I ended up using two:
- one at the actual hitch receiver
- and one to replace the pin that holds the Curt upright (didn't want some yahoo in a parking lot pulling it to see what would happen)

In discussions with The Roadie, he warned me about the Curt rattling inside the hitch receiver, and that all products he tried did not do anything (except for his TireGate which has a real solid system to clamp it). I ended up trying the clamp from FastTrackRacks (see picture above) as I was purchasing the Surco from them as well. Note: the clamp I got looks a little different from their picture.

The clamp uses a U-Bolt that is almost exactly 2 inches inside width so fits very snugly over the hitch receiver. The metal piece then gets tightened up against the hitch reciever on one side and the Surco on the other. This is a very good product and locks everything into place extremely well. I have had absolutely no rattling since it was installed. Very happy with this product.

So here are some pictures of the whole assembly in action. Unfortunately I don't have any with the rear window open or the spare down and the hatch up. But I will try to take some this afternoon and post them later.





So far I am very happy with what I put together and it worked well on the expedition. The spare is a bit heavy to lower and raise, but workable. Plus when I camped out for the one night on the other side of Medano Pass, it was handy to leave the spare lowered and use it as a makeshift table (you can kind of see it lowered in the picture).

AG
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2007, 06:55 PM
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Here are some pics I took late this afternoon. The first one is a close-up of the clamp. You can see how the very thick piece of metal is shaped (like a J) and how the U-bolt is tight against the Surco going into the hitch receiver.

The other three pictures are of the various states of open hatches and lowered spare carrier.





I also bought a license plate relocation adapter (with light) and mounted it to the side of the spare. However, it does not move the plate enough to the left so the right side of it, with the year sticker, is not visible. I'm going cut the llight part off and use it to hold the plate inside the spare tire, where it used to be. That way I can be 100% legal - visible and lit.

AG
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2007, 07:39 PM
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unkljon unkljon is offline
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That is one awesome write up!!

Question, instead of the fold-up rack adapter, would something like this work?

Just curious,, thanks for the great feedback, I see this in my near future...hopefully before my wheelin trip this friday night/sat morning to rausch..



Details:
http://www.masterbuilt.com/products_hhaccessories.htm
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2007, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by unkljon View Post
That is one awesome write up!!

Question, instead of the fold-up rack adapter, would something like this work?

Just curious,, thanks for the great feedback, I see this in my near future...hopefully before my wheelin trip this friday night/sat morning to rausch..
It looks to be a similar system as the Surco, but has the added benefit of the trailer hitch ball. However, I believe that the extrusion for the ball would block the tire from swinging down.

I should have taken a picture from the top when the spare is lowered. If you look at the picture of the clamp, imagine when the spare is down, the top of the tire (i.e. the inside of the wheel/tire) is actually sitting BELOW the upper lock.

With a basket, this is not an issue because when you lower the basket, the bottom of the basket always sits ABOVE the ball.

One last item to note, that Curt spare tire carrier has some THICK steel! It took me a good hour with a cut-off wheel to cut through all four sides.

AG
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2007, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlekG View Post
One last item to note, that Curt spare tire carrier has some THICK steel! It took me a good hour with a cut-off wheel to cut through all four sides.
Thanks for the write-up, and the testimonial about the clamp.

This is what I have at work to cut stuff like that. Turn it on, walk away, have coffee, come back when it shuts off. You need to work at a place with a goof-around power tool collection.

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  #6  
Old 11-04-2007, 10:51 PM
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that is somthing that im looking into getting, also with my spare tire winch busted and off i have a tone of room under my truck. I have the XL so its a big compartment under the, need to look into some kind of storage rack for under my truck for a tall jack, shovel,, stuff like that
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:09 PM
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Just some advice from when I sunk down to the frame in mud in Borrego after a wet winter: put water, spare parts, or a second battery under there. Never put recovery equipment there. Here's one time I got high-centered by sliding off into a rut. If the hilift is trapped under the back, you'll be digging a lot (with what?) to get to your shovel.

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Old 11-04-2007, 11:41 PM
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Yeah that is true, il have to think of somthing. i wounder how had it would be to design somekind of compartment under there and have acces through the back of my truck inside it. that would be cool but might weaken the body of the vehical.
Sorry about the
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2007, 02:52 PM
PAblzr PAblzr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlekG View Post
Here are some pics I took


AG

I see from your photos you have hard points extending thru your bumper cover to attach shackles. Just inboard of the reflectors on my impact bar is metal that acts as the bumper but it does not look strong enough/ thick enough/ supported enough to mount tow shackles to IMO. Did you cut thru this metal and go directly to the frame? Did you spread out the base of your shackle mount over more of the impact bar?
Details and pics please.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAblzr View Post

I see from your photos you have hard points extending thru your bumper cover to attach shackles. Just inboard of the reflectors on my impact bar is metal that acts as the bumper but it does not look strong enough/ thick enough/ supported enough to mount tow shackles to IMO. Did you cut thru this metal and go directly to the frame? Did you spread out the base of your shackle mount over more of the impact bar?
Details and pics please.
I used the following shackle mounts:



I don't have any pictures of the install with the plastic cover off, but here is one of Teebes' Trailblazer:



I was hoping they would tie the bolts into the trailer hitch cross tube somehow (under the relocation brackets from the body lift) as the hitch remains operational with the body lift.



But your observation is a good one so I will have to check up on that.

AG
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