By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Having a spare tire with your RV is a great thing — provided the tire is small enough for you to safely handle. But not every RV comes with a place to carry a spare —apparently some manufacturers think you should sleep with your spare. We’ve been asked, “How do you mount a spare tire carrier?” For RVs with a 4-inch-square tube bumper (which means a whole lot of travel trailers and fifth wheels) the project is an easy one. We did it in less than 10 minutes — that means the average RVer could probably do it in five!
Many RV dealers and part stores can sell you a new bumper-mounted carrier. For a quite a few dollars less, we picked one up from a surplus RV peddler on eBay for less than $23 (including shipping). This typical carrier is formed from square metal tube and flat plate, and mounts on your bumper with u-bolts.
We had a completely “clear” bumper, free of other objects, so we were wide open on choices of where to mount the carrier. Keeping the spare out of the way of taillights is obvious, but there are other considerations. We plan on mounting our wind-powered electrical generator tower on the right side of the bumper soon. And maybe this is just psychological, but keeping the tire away from the left side of the bumper has more appeal to our family tire changer — something about staying as far away from speeding semitrucks while parked in the break-down lane enters into the picture. Whaddayaknow — We wound up with our carrier dead center on the bumper.
Set the tire carrier on location on the bumper. Ours had a welded tab that sits atop of the square bumper, which made installation much easier. Slip one of the u-bolts through from the back of the bumper and through the mounting plate. Be sure to install a lock washer before sticking the nut in place, as vibration will surely loosen that nut without it. We found it easy with one nut in place to then install the second u-bolt, then the balance of the lock washers and nuts. Torque all the mounting nuts firmly.
For our carrier, two studs hold the tire on board. Place the spare tire with the inside of the wheel toward the trailer, running the top stud through a stud hole in the rim. Lock down the mounting nut — the lower stud of the carrier should be roughly centered in the center hole of the rim. Place the holding plate between the rim and lug nut over the stud, and after a good torque, your spare tire should stick with you through thick, thin, and potholed roads.
[Editor: Similar bumper-mounted tire carriers are available at Amazon.]
photos, R&T DeMaris