Jeep Wrangler Tire Carrier Test - TomkenPosted in How To: Wheels Tires on July 20, 2007 Comment (0)
Model number(s): TMC-0104-TC (tire carrier), TMR-7198-B (bumper)
Price As Tested: $258.94 (tire carrier), $229.40 (bumper)
Material (Bumper): 1/8-inch wall 2x4 steel tube
Material (Carrier): 1/8-inch wall 2x4 steel tube base with 1/8-inch wall 2x3 steel tube upright
Latch Type: Pull action clamp
Hinge Type: Bolt and bushing
Hinge Hold Open: No
Recovery Points: Yes, posts to facilitate use of strap
Receiver Hitch: Yes
Hi Lift Mount: Optional
Frame Tie In: Yes, to bottom of frame rail
Max Tire Rating: 35-inch
Available Optional Items: Single and Dual Gerry can mounts, Rocky Rack, Brake Light Relocator, and Hi-Lift Jack mount.
Finish: Gloss Black Powder Coat
Instruction Rating (1-5 high): 2
Installation Notes: The instructions themselves were well-written and had some nice informative sketches of how things went together so that there was no doubt in our minds how it was supposed to go together. However, in our application, what was being described in the directions didn't happen. The holes in the bumper for the swing arm mount were too small for the included bolts, and we needed to drill them out. The bolt holes that located the upright to the horizontal didn't line up, and after some bending, pounding, filing, and grinding of the bottom of the upright, we got them to work. The new and improved latch didn't line up with its corresponding plate, and we needed to bend the latch so the bumper would close. The solid steel pins for the recovery strap is a neat idea, but one got smacked in with a 3-lb maul, and the other one, we filed the holes out before attempting to put it in. On the bright side, the holes into the rear crossmember lined up just fine.
Tools Needed: Simple hand tools, ball-peen hammer, 3lb maul, grinder, double cross cut file, rat tail file, drill, and a pair of locking pliers
Usage Rating: 3
Usage Notes: Once the bumper was on, it was fairly easy to use. It isn't a one-handed open and close however, thanks in large part to the latch we had to bend so it would, um, latch. The method for retaining the tire is unique, as well. It will hold basically any tire with a rim and a smallish center hole. This is due to a single stud (which accepts the lug nut you are used to, along with a bolt and plate. The down side is that if you run center caps, you need to remove them. The upside is that whatever your bolt pattern, or if you change bolt patterns, this bumper is ready for it. With our CJ-spec wheels, however, we were concerned about the size of the retaining plate. We never lost our wheel, but we never set the tire down on any obstacles either.
Rattle Rating (1-5 [being rattled the least]): 5
Vibration Rating (1-5 [5 being vibrated none at all]): 3
Rattle and Vibration Notes: It did vibrate, but it didn't rattle. At first. Like the other modular bumpers, the bolts worked loose, and needed to be re-tightened. After retightening, they never worked loose again, so it is possible that after the fight to get it assembled, we just weren't up to tightening bolts.
Perceived Durability Rating (1-5 high): 3
Perceived Durability Notes: Without a solid frame tie in, and a combination of just the strap to the bottom of the frame, the solid steel pin, and the torque that would be applied in rescue operations, the bumper probably won't be long for this world if you are snatching on it. Also, the 4 bolts holding the upright to the base with no lateral support are a concern. With everything assembled, by gripping the tire and moving it from driver to passenger side, we were able to get it to wiggle a bit. As noted, this didn't affect rattling, but we see this as a liability.