Repair or replace aftermarket tire carrier

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Elder Statesman
Supporting Vendor
Apr 14, 2004
73 degrees at 6AM. Gonna be a hot one. Came in early (before heading to the warehouse for more board up/cleanup ) to test drive a customer's rig I just did a DB conversion on. He asked me to weld up a crack I found in the framework of his tire carrier. So I go to open up the latch...and it's broken. Some kind of hoop style affair that loops over a second bracket. Not familiar to me.

All I can think of is 'if this thing broke without even having a spare tire on it, boy am I glad I haven't worked on it!'

So now I'm wondering if you guys think this rack can even be made safe, or if he should just cut his losses and move on to a better rack. Tubing is 1.25 square, intended to support a 35 inch spare (said 35 inch tire is currently sitting in my shop waiting to be mountd to this rack.)

Where latch should be:
What's left of the loop/ hoop thing looks to be 1/4x20, which certainly doesn't SOUND adequate for a tire carrier. And since it apparantly snapped off on the threaded part, it was less than 1/4x20 there.

Paging @lcwizard

I note that all the weight rests on that one upper tab at the top of the pic. Tire carrier needs an assist to slide on to the tab...and that's without the weight of a spare!
Here's the mount for the spare:
Looks like a de-sta-co latch. THey make them in different grades, and they are widely used on the rear bumpers that Luke makes from 4x4 labs on the 80 series rigs. I would upgrade that to a stronger latch and never look back.

looks like a 374 is the heaviest. I would also tell you to get one with a locking mechanism. Sections/MClamps/S5_MC-PAL.pdf

As for the rest of the tire carrier, it usually falls on the spindle strength.
I'm not an engineer, but I have made a couple of tire carrier bumpers that have made it through the Rubicon. Everything about that carrier is too small/lightweight. The latch is not adequate. The tubing diameter is too small and the wall thickness is too thin. And the booger welds holding it together seem awfully suspect. There is no way I'd put an 80 lb tire and wheel on there. That's just asking for trouble. It would be bad enough having it fail on a trail ride, but it would be catastrophic if it failed on the freeway. Quite honestly, your best advice (and to CYA) to your customer should be to replace it.
I agree. It looks homebrewed to me which is OK if done well. The Da-sta-co latches are everywhere and generally are excellent/well made. That one was just too small for the job.

Just have your customer get one of @lcwizard 's great 40 bumpers and never look back.
At this point I think it's time for a talk with the owner. At minimum the replacement of an approximate $10 part to fix the latch. If it's not a strong enough latch then the cost of a whole new latch or a new replacement carrier altogether. If there are concerns as to the strength of the carrier as long as you've made those clear to him then it's his decision on where to go from here.
I'd order the one that Luke Porter uses uses on his bumpers. The latch portion is welded onto the bumper and is beefy as hell. It's the "Gibraltar" version. It's rated at 7500 pounds.


I'd also add a support under the lower tube on the gate to support the whole thing while closed.

Thanks for the input guys. I spoke with the owner of the rig this evening and informed him of the broken latch. He was very understanding. Makes me wonder if he saw this thread?
Long ago I was a driver of a 12 person van pool from the East Bay into San Francisco. Driving home on I80, I once saw a spare tire with a piece of tire carrier attached bouncing like a ping pong ball down my lane. It bounced in front of me and went 30 feet over my van and bounced again and disappeared. No fatalities were reported on the news that night. It makes me a little leery about tire carriers. Check your carrier regularly for cracks and loose fasteners.
Mark, have been so busy the last week I haven't had time to get "MUDdy". I saw you had some sort of fire. Really bad news. At our age it
a real consideration to rebuild or just go 4 wheeling forever. Honestly, I don't know which direction I'd go. Ten years ago it would have been
As to the clamps, Destaco, Carr Lane, Gilbralter, Valtra, all the same, different color handles. I used that style back in the 90's but broke everything up to the 2000 lb size. The 4000 and 7500 lb unit are sufficient but overall they are ~10" long each. I switched to the double cam
that I use because with the latch style I need one per arm so besides the bulk of two 10" latches there was the added cost of another latch that needed passing on. With the double cam I have two possible failure points, one is the 1/2" bolt in tension, The other is the 3/8 pin in shear.
!/2" tensile , grade 5 is ~17,000lbs a 3:1 safety factor of 5600 lbs. The shear on the 3/8 pin is ~8000 lbs. We use poly bumpstops to absorb
frequency vibration that would be normally transmitted metal to metal to slow fatigue to the latch components. Like body mounts on the truck any softer material will help. If car companies didn't use isolators ( body mounts) the needles on your gauges would probably fall off in a year .

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