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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

This is my first post. I'm planning a road trip to alaska and want to carry a full sized spare tire mounted to my 2" hitch. I need something that folds down and out of the way so that I can still access the back hatch & tailgate when needed. I have reviewed the threads that address this issue and they all seem to result in expensive customized/fabricated solutions. The problem is, I don't want to spend hundreds of $$ just to carry a spare tire, so I have I have been brainstorming another possible solution.

I am thinking I could mount the full sized spare on the UNDERSIDE of a fold-up hitch mounted cargo carrier basket. I would then fold the cargo basket up while driving, which would keep the tire from dragging the ground. Then when I stop & want to access the back hatch or tailgate, I would fold the carrier basket back down.

Here is a cargo carrier I have found that may work, and it's only $59 (economical). And it would obviously have other uses when not being used as a fold-down tire carrier (practical)!http://www.discountramps.com/folding-cargo-carrier.htm

Of course the license plate would have to be moved and various tire mounting hardware used.

Has anybody ever tried something like this? Comments/suggestions welcome.

Lynn
 

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Hi all,

This is my first post. I'm planning a road trip to alaska and want to carry a full sized spare tire mounted to my 2" hitch. I need something that folds down and out of the way so that I can still access the back hatch & tailgate when needed. I have reviewed the threads that address this issue and they all seem to result in expensive customized/fabricated solutions. The problem is, I don't want to spend hundreds of $$ just to carry a spare tire, so I have I have been brainstorming another possible solution.

I am thinking I could mount the full sized spare on the UNDERSIDE of a fold-up hitch mounted cargo carrier basket. I would then fold the cargo basket up while driving, which would keep the tire from dragging the ground. Then when I stop & want to access the back hatch or tailgate, I would fold the carrier basket back down.

Here is a cargo carrier I have found that may work, and it's only $59 (economical). And it would obviously have other uses when not being used as a fold-down tire carrier (practical)!http://www.discountramps.com/folding-cargo-carrier.htm

Of course the license plate would have to be moved and various tire mounting hardware used.

Has anybody ever tried something like this? Comments/suggestions welcome.

Lynn
First, hello and Welcome!

We have a carrier almost exactly like that one...
Consider just putting the spare on the carrier, and carrying it like it is...that way you don't have to fold it up or down, and the tailgate will still open.

We have a large plastic cargo box that we carry on ours for long road trips. It allows us to carry alot of the things that we are taking for the trip, but not needed on the actual trip (large suitcase etc). That way we only have a couple of small over night bags in the vehicle with us, and the essentials.
Makes for a much more comfortable ride, when you don't have to worry about moving things around to get at a cooler or put a seat back to snooze...

There is enough room between the carrier/box an the rear of the vehicle to open the rear window and get at anything we need in the back without having to disconnect or move anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Buttermilk. Yeah, I have looked at that one. It would be perfect, if only it would fold down. I just can't do without access to the back of my "Ellie" while on the road. I'll be sleeping on my platform bed with gear stored underneath so I need to be able to lay the tailgate down to access that space.

I would store the tire inside but it just takes up too much precious cargo space under the platform.

I have put in a request to a local steel fabricator to see if they could modify the Curt tire carrier to make it fold down for a reasonable price. Haven't heard back yet.

I think I'll go out today and see if I can find a low cost fold-up cargo carrier locally so I can test it out as a tire carrier. Maybe Wal-Mart has one that I could return if it doesn't work. I really want to keep my total investment under $100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First, hello and Welcome!

We have a carrier almost exactly like that one...
Consider just putting the spare on the carrier, and carrying it like it is...that way you don't have to fold it up or down, and the tailgate will still open....

There is enough room between the carrier/box an the rear of the vehicle to open the rear window and get at anything we need in the back without having to disconnect or move anything.
Good to know it has enough clearance with stuff mounted on top the the cargo carrier to give access to the back hatch. But, I actually need to be able to lower the tailgate as well, so I can access the area under the bed from the back. That's why I'm considering mounting the tire underneath the carrier and folding it up while driving, and then back down only when I need access. Does your's fold up? If so, do you think the pin that holds the carrier in the upright position is strong enough to hold added weight, like a tire (about 50 lbs.)?
 

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One other option is to mount the tire on the roof (check Ramblerdan's site in his signature), if that doesn't work for you, they do make tilt down spare carriers fairly inexpensively.
 

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Good to know it has enough clearance with stuff mounted on top the the cargo carrier to give access to the back hatch. But, I actually need to be able to lower the tailgate as well, so I can access the area under the bed from the back. That's why I'm considering mounting the tire underneath the carrier and folding it up while driving, and then back down only when I need access. Does your's fold up? If so, do you think the pin that holds the carrier in the upright position is strong enough to hold added weight, like a tire (about 50 lbs.)?
Mine doesn't fold up ( bolts to the carrier frame) but it does extend. When we first got it, it was on the farthest out bolt holes, but we found that after loading it up, it hung down a bit too far for my liking (it's rated for 350 lbs, and I'm sure we were a 'bit' over that) so I pulled it in closer. The tailgate came down and cleared the rack with about an inch to spare at first, but after I moved it I couldn't open the gate all the way...no bigger for us, but not for you.
So this design might work for you, since you are not loading it up that much, and you can still open the tailgate...
I'll have to see if I can get some pics off the wife's apple when I get home...

The other option, as suggest above is a roof carrier....only becomes a real pain if you 'have' to get the spare down

btw...what's wrong with the mini spare where it is?
I know many ppl like to carry a full size spare...but in 6 years, I've only had to use it once, while out locally, and it only had to be on until I found the next garage...
 

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Several years ago there were pictures on this forum of an Element in Alaska with a spare tire and cargo box on a hitch platform. While driving the gravel Dalton Hwy, a rock apparently bounced off the box or spare, and broke the hatch glass. The owner then had to complete the long drive on dusty gravel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I want to carry a full sized spare because I'm going to be driving many many miles in remote areas with lots of pot holes (sometimes gravel roads) of Alaska & northern Canada. The donut spare that comes with the Element just wouldn't be adequate if I have a problem hundreds of miles away from a repair shop. It's too risky in this situation to rely on it. Normally it works just fine for my traveling needs.

Also, I've considered a rooftop tire option but then I'm back to the expense of buying a roof rack & carrier $$$. (I will be driving about 8,000 - 9,000 miles total on this trip!) Having something on the roof would also result in higher gas costs! I am looking for the less expensive yet functional way to carry a full sized spare tire, while camping in my Ellement. :)

The least expensive hitch mounted, fold-down, full sized tire carrier that I have found is custom made by CBI and ran $250 several years ago. Too expensive in my opinion. If someone knows of a lower cost option, please let me know. I've been all over the internet looking and I can't find any so that's why I started this thread. Hoping to tap the collective wisdom of my fellow Ellement Owners.

I may be driving the Dalton Highway as well so I sure hope I don't experience the broken rear window too! :shock:
 

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My approach to the spare tire issue (and remote gravel roads) was to build a sleeping platform that was high enough (about 9") to cover a full size spare bolted to a rear seat mounting bracket. The platform is 4' long, and combines with the lowered front seats to make a full length sleeping area.

I replaced the spare tire well cover with a wood one, that gives me access to tools stored there.

On longer trips I still use a roof top box (Thule Sidekick), mostly holding lightweight, low value camping gear.

I have not needed to use the spare yet. Once I got a puncture from a chainsaw file, but repaired the tire on the spot with a plug kit and air compressor. In several other cases I've just left the screw or nail in place, add air, and keeping an eye on the air pressure, until I could get it repaired.

If you don't need the rear seats, I think the inside spare storage is best. It keeps the tire low and centered, where it will have lease effect on handling.
 

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+1 on tire repair kit too, belt and suspenders approach.
The site i ran across the hitch tire mount was one of our banner ads. I wish I could remember which one. As for dusty travels... You are bringing duct tape and garbage bags, correct?

Good Luck and Good Journeys
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My approach to the spare tire issue (and remote gravel roads) was to build a sleeping platform that was high enough (about 9") to cover a full size spare bolted to a rear seat mounting bracket. The platform is 4' long, and combines with the lowered front seats to make a full length sleeping area.

If you don't need the rear seats, I think the inside spare storage is best. It keeps the tire low and centered, where it will have lease effect on handling.
I've seen your set up. Very nice! I have a sleeping platform and the tire will fit under it. I was just concerned about the lost cargo space. That would be the best option with center of gravity. Too bad it won't fit nicely in the existing spare wheel well. I will store it inside, and just deal with the lost space, if I can't come up with an affordable solution on the hitch.

Been searching locally for a 48" fold up cargo basket to try my idea. Not having any luck yet.
 

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I found that, in the spare well, a full size tire stuck out about 5". I have some pictures of such a test fit on my pbase gallery. So in theory the volume loss is not that large. But making good use of the space will take some ingenuity.

With my setup I can still fit 2 8gal Rubbermaid boxes under the back end of the platform, plus a space for tarp poles. Access to storage under the front end of the platform is more awkward. Beside the spare, I have a soft cooler, that holds water bottles.

It's at night, when set up for camping, that the storage space is tightest. Then I have to make use of every nook and cranny around the dash, with some over flow in waterproof boxes or bags outside the car.
 

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I don't suppose you've thought of using the upright from a regular $40 fold down bicycle carrier and a couple of long bolts? Just leave off the parts you don't need and make sure you get one that the tailgate will clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I found that, in the spare well, a full size tire stuck out about 5". I have some pictures of such a test fit on my pbase gallery. So in theory the volume loss is not that large. But making good use of the space will take some ingenuity.

With my setup I can still fit 2 8gal Rubbermaid boxes under the back end of the platform, plus a space for tarp poles. Access to storage under the front end of the platform is more awkward. Beside the spare, I have a soft cooler, that holds water bottles.

It's at night, when set up for camping, that the storage space is tightest. Then I have to make use of every nook and cranny around the dash, with some over flow in waterproof boxes or bags outside the car.
I saw your pic with the tire in the well. Yes, using the space above it would take some ingenuity. Space is very tight while camping. I'm in the process of creating a separate platform over the passenger seat for the dog and I keep wondering...how & where is everything going to fit when it's time to sleep??

I don't suppose you've thought of using the upright from a regular $40 fold down bicycle carrier and a couple of long bolts? Just leave off the parts you don't need and make sure you get one that the tailgate will clear.
Hmmmm....I'm glad you brought up the bike carrier! I've wondered about it but have never examined any to see if they might work. I will do that. Do you know where I would find such a $40 deal?
 

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Hmmmm....I'm glad you brought up the bike carrier! I've wondered about it but have never examined any to see if they might work. I will do that. Do you know where I would find such a $40 deal?
I see one cheaper than that at Harbor Freight but whether or not it clears the tailgate I'm not sure. I bought a nice 2" mount at Walmart for $49 last summer for a vacation I never got to go on (sob!) but they don't list it online now. I'd check Ebay or similar for a used one, giving bonus points to the 2" mounts instead of the smaller ones.

Mine included a bolt that fastens the rack solidly to the hitch so there's no irritating wobble - which would be easy enough to add to any of the others that don't come with it. It's just a size smaller diameter bolt than your usual hitch pin with a sleeve stuck on the end so it presses the bike mount against the side of the hitch when it's tightened. Pick up the bolt and sleeve at any good hardware store. The trick is to drill another hole through the bike rack that's smaller than the original one so the sleeve has something to push against.
 

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