Jeep Wrangler Tire Carrier Test - 4WD HardwarePosted in How To: Wheels Tires on July 20, 2007
Model number(s): 360698
Price As Tested: $549.99
Material (Bumper): 3/16-inch wall 2x5 steel tubing
Material (Carrier): 3/16-inch wall 1x2 and 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch steel tube
Latch Type: proprietary lever-style latch
Hinge Type: tapered roller bearing
Hinge Hold Open: Yes, automatic
Recovery Points: No
Receiver Hitch: Yes, not for towing
Hi Lift Mount: No
Frame Tie In: Yes
Max Tire Rating: 35-inch
Available Optional Items: none
Finish: textured powder coat
Instruction Rating (1-5 high): 4
Installation Notes: If it wasn't for the fact that we had problems on most of our test Jeeps with most of the straps that tie into the bottom of the frame, we'd be thinking maybe it was us. However, with this carrier, again we had to file out the holes in the bottom of the bumper to get the bolts into the frame without cross threading.
Tools Needed: simple hand tools, rat tail file
Usage Rating: 5
Usage Notes: This is a one-handed carrier to open. Closing will require a second hand for unlatching of the hold-open, but nothing more. We were worried about the unique universal type bolt pattern at first (see pictures). However, after the tire was torqued down the first time, each subsequent removal went easily. When the tire is tightened down all the way, the little clips tighten against they bolts and help to keep them from moving. The latch setup is nice, the way it pulls the swing arm tight to the bumper. Also, this was the second bumper/tire carrier that arrived to us with no damage, thanks to the way it was packed.
Rattle Rating (1-5 [being rattle the least]): 5(with CJ tailgate), 4(with TJ or YJ tailgate)
Vibration Rating (1-5 [5 being vibrated none at all]): 2 (with CJ tailgate),4 (with TJ or YJ tailgate)
Rattle and Vibration Notes: We had vibrations on our CJ-tailgated YJ, but even when swapped over to a TJ or YJ with the stock tailgate, we still ended up with vibrations, just less of them. However, then we got swing arm smacking the back of the tailgate occasionally, which resulted in rattling.
Perceived Durability Rating (1-5 high): 3
Perceived Durability Notes: The narrowness of the carrier, coupled with the 1 inch spindle in single shear configuration worries us. Also, the sleeves for the mounting bolts while welded on the front of the bumper and the back of the mounting plate, aren't welded to the back of the bumper, providing a place for water to sneak in and rust it out. Also, the sheet metal clips (similar to what you'd find on brake drum lug studs from the factory) have shown to be flimsy in the past, but if you don't change bolt patterns that often you might not experience any problems.