4+PLUS Tire/Cooler Carrier Install- FJ40

DomSmith

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Thought I'd post up a thread on the install of a 4+PLUS Tire/Cooler carrier from Man-A-Fre since I couldn't find anything on MUD about it. And since it doesn't come with instructions...

I was looking for a cooler carrier for my '73 FJ40 and after searching MUD and a few of the vendors I decided that fabbing one up was out of my skill range. Although I want to use the welder more often and earn some skills, this was too big a project for me. Besides I didn't want my insurance to have to pay for damages from my rack falling off the back at 70MPH. So I decided on the 4+PLUS.

What the rig looked like before with stock tire carrier and bumperettes..
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DomSmith

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I decided to drive up to Man-A-Fre to check out the carrier in person before I bought it since the cost $925 was pretty high. As it turned out, I didn't good a lot of great info from them, but I did save a TON on shipping because it's one very heavy item(s).

It's well packaged with the small parts and the rack in a few boxes and the large parts wrapped in bubble wrap. They made it home fine in the back of the cruiser (120 miles or so) but I'm not certain how well protected they would be during shipping.

The largest parts were the rear bumper and the two swing out sections. There were misc. parts in the boxes that I had to figure out how it all went together...
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DomSmith

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I started by removing quite a few of the small items that I knew would have to go...

-Rear tire latch
-bumperettes
-hitch

and...

-license plate holder and lamp

I also suspected that I would have to remove the rear backup light, but after all was said and done it cleared the rear tire.
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DomSmith

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After the little stuff was removed I took off the spare tire and worked on removing the tire carrier. I was worried about switching the tire to the other side but realized it would give me better visibility when looking back over the passengers side. The drivers side is a bit of a blind spot anyways so it didn't affect my vision on that side at all.
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DomSmith

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Once everything was removed I lined up the bumper and leveled it to be sure it was even on both sides. I already had a hitch mounted before so the 4 holes at the center of the frame member would accept the 1/2" bolts. This made it pretty easy to loosely bolt the bumper in place...


score the holes for drilling...


and clamp it in place to drill a few holes before removing the bumper to drill the rest. I used a 9/16 bit to give me a little wiggle room for the 1/2" bolts...
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DomSmith

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Once the bumper was mounted I had to decide whether to grease up the bushings or not (no directions) so I went right to the horses mouth and posted up on MUD.

https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=171595

Thanks IDave, Poser, and Ian for the replies. There's a small groove in each of the slots that I packed with grease as well as the inner lining. After lubing with high pressure Moly Grease the posts slid right in...
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DomSmith

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After lubing the inside of the metal collars I slid them in place with a slight tapping from underneath. One went on really easily and the other did not. I had to pull it off and file down a small groove that had developed when trying to get it on the first time. Once installed though I snugged 'em down and assured that they swung freely...
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DomSmith

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Now I had to figure out what all the small parts were and where they went...

As it turned out, the rear latch was pretty simple. Screw in the long eye bolt and adjust the nut to allow for proper tension...

Photo #1-

1. Eye bolt

2. Bump stop that I adjusted by using a different nut than the teflon nut supplied

3. Teflon nut that I didn't use.

Photo #2- latch assembled

Photo #3- Underside bump stop on cooler swing arm
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DomSmith

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Next I installed the tire carrier piece that actually holds the tire. It slid onto the tire carrier swing out arm very easily and mine is mounted as far forward as it will go for a 33" tire and it still clears the stock 73 backup light. I really had to crank down on the mounting nut and bolt to tighten it. A breaker bar was the only way I could get enough torque on it to keep it from wiggling around. I suppose another option would be to tighten it up with some thin rubber in the slot, but I didn't have any handy.
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DomSmith

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The other swing out arm supports the removable cooler rack. From what I've read this newer model (MAF-1045) is raised up a bit from the previous model (MAF-1046) and won't hit so much when wheeling. I have a few buddies with the older model and they have the same complaint. We'll see how this works out.

I attached the six bolts to hold the cooler rack....

I have not installed the high-lift jack mount yet because mine is mounted behind the rear jump seat and helps keep sticky fingers from grabbing things I have stuffed behind my doors.
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DomSmith

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Here's the final install pics. I've only had it on for about a week but I do have a few observations:

1. Although it's quite heavy I don't feel anything different when driving. We'll have to see after wheeling it a bit.

2. Aside from the lack of instructions, the install was pretty straight forward.

3. No clunks or rattles so far even when hitting large dips in the road at high speed. Ok maybe not "high" speed, but you get the idea.

4. The rear pin/latch is taking a little getting used to. I was able to open one door without messing with the tire before but now it takes some effort to get into the rear doors. A bit better for keeping my stuff mine I suppose.

5. I haven't mounted a license plate light yet. I want to find something easy that I don't have to drill anything for. I'm considering using a flat piece of metal to bolt to the two small holes on the top of the cooler rack and then attach a Hella license light or fit the stock one.

6. Now the reverse light is covered so I need to find a good brand of aux light to bolt to the rear frame member so I can see!

Otherwise that's it!
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Hugh Heifer

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This is a great thread. These how to type threads are the best and should be in FAQ. These threads make dauntaing tasks appear simple. Thanks. I plan on getting one of these for my '71 once it is back on the road and one for my wifes ground up - if they still make them in the year 2025!
 
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This write-up is great. Why didn't you post it one week earlier so I could follow it?!?!?!? :D

All of the above tips from DomSmith are spot-on. A few more thoughts on this tire carrier:

- MAF shipped it to me in NC from CA in a huge cardboard box strapped to a wooden pallet...shipping cost isn't cheap at about 1/4 of the price of the carrier...no damage to the carrier...and they will deliver directly to your door

- Hi-Lift setup isn't too hard to figure out...just experiement a bit and it will make sense

- MAF makes a license plate light setup...even uses a stock Toyota 4-Runner light casing I think...a little pricey ($40 I think???) and really should be included at the price of this set-up...I'm not planning to run license lights unless I can find a cheap/reasonable solution

- consider adding auxilary back up lights as visibility out the back will now be limited (especially at night)

- an Igloo Marine 36 quart cooler fits perfectly...Igloo even makes some stainless tie down straps that I'm going to incorporate into the carrer...if MAF made the cooler rack <1" wider and <1" deeper, it would hold the Igloo Marine 50 quart 5 Day Cooler (which does a much better job of retaining ice)

After looking at a lot of carrier designs, this one is well thought out and very stout. Very satisfied with the purchase, but still taking grief from the spousal unit for spending so much on a "tire carrier". But the cooler holder earns some brownie points back...

I'll post some pics of mine this weekend with close-ups of the Hi-Lift mount so it makes sense to everyone.
 
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