Time to work on the tire carrier! This was actually quite a bit more work than I anticipated.
Trying to mock-up the approximate location & angle of where I wanted the tire to be. Although I'm using one of my actual 4 35" MT/Rs to mock it up, my real spare is only a 33" tire unfortunately...
First issue to overcome: spindle sleeve sat quite a bit higher off the top deck of the bumper than I was expecting. I shoulda done some more measurements before welding it in but oh well, we'll make it work.
Couple angled cuts on the horizontal band saw and bam, main beam is 1/2" off the deck.
Tire carrier starting to take shape. Note the holes where the angled pieces will go so I can pass electrical wiring up through the tire mount plate through the center hole of the wheel.
So after starting at this for a really long time, I decided I didn't like my first attempt at this. The tire was too far out from the tailgate for my liking and I wanted a bit more angle.
So back to the angle grinder. Chopped off the mount and re-welded everything. I also chopped the excess off the top of the center post. Much happier with not only the angle but also my welding job.
Nice & tight to the tailgate and a bit more aggressive angle, looks nice
Onto the latching mechanism. I actually was a little short on steel across the bumper so I had to graft some more on. No biggie.
I got a super nice quality De-Sta-Co 331-R latch off amazon for like $32 bucks. Definitely worth it. I especially like the redundant locking mechanism. It would have been nice to get it in stainless but it was about double the cost.
The latch catch & resting pad. The key here is to get the location & heights of everything just right so that the swing arm rests on the pad just barely when closed, and so the latch pulls in a downward motion against the pad so that you have support from the pads in both the horizontal AND vertical axes. This prevents stress oscillations in the spindle and ensures that it only gets loaded in 1 direction & prevents vibration.
Note the downward angle of the latch u-bolt
License plate brackets. Easy peasy! This is why we hold onto boxes of small steel scrap pieces for ages...
With the actual 33" spare on. I'm now pretty sad that it's a crappy looking old white rim with a crappy old small tire...
But I'm happy with how it's turned out so far! Lots of little details left... Swing out hold open pin, lighting & electrical, then the finish welding, grinding, sanding & paint work