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1978 Ford Bronco Ranger XLT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the general consensus on the 1978-1979 factory swing out spare tire carrier? I seem to hear a lot about how running a 33-35 inch tire on it can cause warpage of the body panels or maybe the carrier itself. Do folks typically go with an aftermarket bumper mounted carrier or reinforce the factory one somehow?
 

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78 Custom 460 NP435 NP205 Sniper EFI HyperSpark Ignition 4.56 Gears Front/Rear Grizzly Lockers
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3,441 Posts
I think most people that equip large tires eventually go with an aftermarket rear bumper with an integrated spare carrier or fab one themselves.

If you don't do any off roading, you could probably get away with a larger tire on the factory carrier. The reason people suggest not putting a large tire on the factory carrier is that over time the added weight could push and pull on the passenger rear quarter panel. That and it could pull the portion where it latches onto the tailgate out of the tailgate.

Having said all that, I have a 35" MT tire on my factory carrier and haven't noticed any damage yet, but I honestly haven't put a ton of miles on my Bronco since having it. That and I'm not worried too much about how my Bronco looks.


35" Spare on the carrier.







Bronco I found in the JY where the latch on the tailgate had broken. This is a possibility with running a large spare tire.





In the end, if or when I get a new rear bumper for my 78, I will definitely get a spare carrier built into it. It'd be much sturdier and secure in my opinion.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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I ran with a 100 pound 35 on my 94 for years without a single issue. No hardcore off-roading.

Now on my 85, which has the exact carrier you have, i have a 37 that weighs about 100lbs too. In moab I thrashed on it fairly good. The only issue that arose was the radiused plate that the tire sits on bent down about 30°. No stress to the mounts. The later model carrier doesn't use this same type of spare tire mounting, instead using 3 wheel studs to bolt it to the carrier.
 

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As far as the later models - I think the reason people talk about a heavier spare on the carrier damaging the truck is because the factory didn't exactly put a lot of welds on the tailgate panel itself. On my 95, there were TWO spot welds on the LH side holding the tailgate outer shell on and ONE on the RH. These broke - causing the outer tailgate panel to shift / move and broke the thin tabs that connect the tailgate structure. After getting it welded up - it's ROCK solid and I wouldn't hesitate using a properly bolted down factory carrier with a larger tire combo.

165762


165763


Besides - if you have larger than stock tires, most people run aluminum rims. I'd bet that the factory wheel + factory tire is not that much lighter than a modern 33 or 35 with a modern aluminum rim.
 

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1979 Ranger XLT 400m T18
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So the consensus here is I should slap a 35" spare on it and see if it breaks anything??
Yep. Go for it! I've got a 33 on mine and it'll be years before I can afford a $2k bumper with carrier or learn to weld and build my own.
 

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I am picking up a factory carrier for my 83 tomorrow, I might end up plating the inside of the fender and putting some bars in behind the tail light to reinforce it if there is too much flex.
 
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