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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2004 Ex that has been the designated vehicle in many self-support kayaking trips for three plus gear. The rear spare tire cover has started to bow upwards on the ends and no longer sits snug in the notch cut-outs so when you go over bumps it ends up making some annoying thumping noises as it moves up and down. I tried using some foam pads to tighten up the fit although the results were ineffective, So I just removed the whole cover and it actually makes the rear a little more useable space as nothing slides around anymore, and it has a couple more inches of space available for storage. It does have a little bit more road noise and the spare tire is now visible but I think that for now I will leave out the somewhat mishapen floor cover. Maybe I will get a light carpet liner to cover the tire in the meantime. Anyone else using the Element with the spare tire cover ?
 

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I vaguely recall some early threads about flexing of the spare tire cover. I think some solved it with some sort of padding between the spare and cover. But in the long run this was solved by correcting the placement of the spare and the foam blocks already installed on the cover. I don't recall more recent threads.

I have replaced my spare tire cover with a wood construction that is integrated with my sleeping platform (pictures in the pbase gallery in my sig). But this is with a full size spare under the platform, so the spare well now has tools and recovery gear.

But I can imagine leaving the cover at home, and replacing it with some combination of foam and tarps. Whether it works depends a lot on the nature of your cargo. It would be better for bags full of canoe gear than boxes that are meant to stack.

Most of the threads about alternative uses of the spare well have to do with placing boom boxes back there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's not a lack of support that is the issue, it's that the sides of the cover are bending upwards. They don't lay flat like the rest of the unit.
 

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I know what you're saying, but the ends won't just "curl up" or form an upward lip. The weight of the unit in the center is combined with the network of plastic supports underneath are creating that lip. You might flip it over and weight the center for a few days with maybe 10-15lbs. If you can do it when the car gets hot inside it should help it regain it's shape faster.

Then add support to the center and all should be good. A quick solution would be to use a few pieces or alum or steel "angle iron" from Lowe's and bolt them through the top to the underside of the panel. The 90* bend will lend support for future weight while the flat top will pull the edges back to flat.
 

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Sounds like the damage is done. Making it bow back the other way might work, but if not, the replacement cover (84521-SCV-A11ZA, $238 msrp) will need to be properly supported in the center to avoid the same problem returning.

Like Paulj, I fabbed a wood cover in place of the original. Plans here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I think the issue is that the oem cover doesnt really have a good support from the spare below and it sags after years of weight. I bought mine used so perhaps a piece or two of support had been removed ? I have had my cover laying upside down with weights on the middle section for the lasts couple weeks in hopes of making that piece true, however I doubt the results will be succesfull.
 

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Mine's a 2003 (built around May). There are 6 pieces of stiff foam in hollows of the underside which are meant to rest on the spare tire. The 3 toward the back end stick out further. If the spare tire is seated right, these blocks should rest on the tire, and keep it from sagging. (I could take a picture of the underside of the lid if would help.)

As I wrote before some early models had problems, either because the foam blocks were missing or the wrong size, or the spare wasn't positions quite right.

It is also possible that the previous owner abused it some way. Any evidence that the spare had been used? The fullsize flat tire does not fit in the well, so it has to be secured in place on top of the lid.

There was also talk in the early days of replacing the plastic lid with diamond plate. But I think the guy who was making those was asking too much to get much business.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No abuse, stock OEM unused tire. I think the rear cover is just not that sturdy over time and there is no real attachment points on the corners, its just "supposed" to lay flat and mine does not and seems to have also shrunk a bit. It is a little better after turning it upside down and putting some weight in the middle. Maybe when summer rolls around I will try the heat-up method.

So I do have a question, there was a curved piece of metal with a threaded screw hole in the tire well underneath the tire when I bought the car, although I cant remember if it was attached to anthing at the time. My jack and tire are fully secured so I have no idea what this piece of metal is actually for ?
 

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Your owners manual should show you how to use this. The spare tire is held in place with a large washer and plastic headed screw. This same screw is used to secure a full size flat tire in place, only this time on top of the plastic cover. There's hole in the cover (with a plastic filler). The part you mentioned has to be repositioned to do this. This part serves as an extension for the post that secures the spare.
 

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"metal curved piece" Inside apare housing

Hello:
I have the exact same question as AUGMATCH5... I bought a 2005 Elemet and inside the spare tire there is this "metal curved piece" described by Augmatch5..... Still have no idea what is the purpose... it can be secured either standing or on the side ( judging by the positioning on the pillar that screws the nut and wing holding the spare) .... in my case, this part was just inside loose as it 's missing the wing nut. I saw a video on how to locate the spare but the guy makes no reference to it.... I would post the pic, but I don't think I know how........Anyone has an idea, please?

2015-12-23.jpg
 

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suppose you had a flat tire and replaced the flat with the emergency spare located in that compartment. first thing you'll find is that you can't close the hatch over the spare because the service tire is taller than the emergency tire.
so you'll probably want something to anchor that service tire so it doesn't move around while driving. that curved piece is for that purpose. the owner's manual should provide all the details.
 
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