First a bit of review of our $3K JK Project and where we have been. We installed a lift, wheel spacers, and 35″ tires on the Jeep and our next step is getting the 35″ spare mounted properly to the back of the Jeep. A 35″ may fit on the stock carrier depending on the wheel but without a spacer the stock wheel like we are using will not fit.
We were never a fan of the spacers on the stock tire carrier. They tend to move the tire out and up which increases leverage on the carrier which can cause the aluminum to crack and worse cause excess stress on the tailgate. It’s been commonly known that this stress on the tailgate can cause the welds to separate.
We chose to avoid all of the woes and go for a brilliant and elegant solution. Rather than a bulky aftermarket bumper with its own swing out tire carrier or a carrier that has a complex hinge setup we chose the Teraflex HD Hinged Carrier.
The simple design of this is what makes it stand out. The hinge replaces the factory hinges with a heavy duty cast aluminum hinge that drastically increases the strength and removes most of the load from the tailgate. It installs pretty easily and looks great. In addition to the hinge we added a Teraflex Adjustable Tire Mount – more on that later.
Start with the stock tire carrier, open the tail gate and remove the screws holding the tail light to the carrier. Unplug the wiring from the light and set the light aside. Close the tailgate.
Remove the stock carrier. Place something in the bottom of the tailgate on the hinge side to keep the tailgate in place when the factory hinges are removed. We used a few scrap pieces of wood. Don’t open the tailgate from here.
Remove the plastic covers and remove the bolts from the tailgate. Remove the torx bolts from the hinge and remove the hinges. Additionally remove the passenger side rubber tire bumper from the tailgate.
You will notice that the area below the hinges isn’t painted, it’s a good opportunity to put some paint on here to slow the onset of rust. Clean the mount surface before installation to remove and road grime or mud.
Install the outer hinge bolts loosely and close the hinge to line it up with the tailgate using a carrier bolt. Tighten the outer bolts to hold the hinge in place and remove the carrier bolt to open the hinge. Install the inner torx bolts. Use the Teraflex provided wrench to tighten.
Close the hinge and loosely install all the bolts, ensure everything is lined up and tighten the outer hinge bolts. Leave the carrier bolts loose since they will be coming out. Test the tailgate operation to see that there is no binding or misalignment.
If you are reusing the stock tire carrier it’s time to reinstall. Since we are using the Teraflex adjustable mount it’s time to move to the next part.
Next, Part 2: Adjustable Tire Carrier