Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two Spare Tires

I finally have a second spare tire.  I'll explain in a separate post why I have two.  Now I can resume driving the very remote trails that I enjoy.  

I shopped for a very long time to find a wheel.  Toyota changed the OEM wheels on LCs in 2016, to include a change in offset value.  This made it harder.  In the past, it's been easy to find some "take offs" for sale on eBay.  Since Toyota had just changed the wheels for LC in 2016, there have been very few OEM wheels listed on eBay.  I was ready to gamble and just buy a steel wheel meant for the Tundra or Sequoia.  The offset differs by 4 mm ... in the wrong direction.  So worst case they'd interfere with the brake calipers and be useless to me.  But then I saw a new listing for an OEM "refurbished" wheel and I bought it.  Be careful when buying a "refurbished" wheel.  It might have been in an accident and your shop may not be able to balance it.  Mine appears to be fine.  I've already had another Cooper Discoverer A/T3 (275/70R18) mounted.

My immediate goal is to decide how to stow the 2nd spare.

Here are some of my options:

a. Carry the spare on a roof rack.  This is very popular.  I don't want to do this for 2 reasons.  First, I really don't want to raise or lower a 90 lb tire to/from a roof rack.  My back would probably "go out" for good if I did that.  Second, the car wouldn't fit into my garage with a roof rack, even if it was empty.

b. Carry the spare on a rear bumper fitted carrier.  This is also very popular.  Many LC owners install steel bumpers and there are several carriers available for a rear steel bumper.  My problem is that the car wouldn't fit into my garage with a steel rear bumper, even if it was empty.

c. Carry the spare on a hitch mounted carrier.  I have been seriously considering this option.  I like the looks of the new Wilco Off-Road Hitchgate Solo carrier. I saw it in person this past spring at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ.  Any hitch mounted carrier will require me to relocate the license plate and lamp, in order to remain legal in California.  This adds extra installation/removal time for each trip.  Problem is, with it installed the car is too long to fit into my garage.

d. Carry the spare inside the car, in the cargo area.  I have been seriously considering this option.  I can lay the tire on the rear cargo deck and cover it with a tarp to prevent it from soiling the rest of my cargo.  

e. Carry the spare inside the car, in the cargo area, below a custom designed shelf.  I have been seriously considering this option.  Placing the spare below a shelf lets me keep it away from much of my cargo.  Also, I can design the shelf so that it will provide a flat deck for sleeping by matching the height of the folded 2nd row seats.  I already have a conceptual design.  I can bolt the shelf to the floor using the bolts that secured the 3rd row seats that I removed.  The shelf can help keep the spare in place, so it doesn't hop around (and onto other things) when I drive over rugged terrain.

The choice would be much harder if I had a larger garage.  But I have what I have.

For the time being, I'll do option (d) and continue my design for a custom shelf (option (e)).

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