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Unread 05-04-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
Netpackrat
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Bumper/Swingout/Fuel carriers

I finally finished my rear bumper setup this week, and thought I would post some pics. I'm only running 31" tires, and have no plans to go bigger, so you wouldn't think this is even necessary, but I still managed to wear out my factory tailgate hinges last year, and I wasn't real impressed with the beefiness of the Kentrol replacements I installed. Also, I regularly go places where I actually need to carry a jerry can or two of fuel to get home, and while I have a good roof rack, that's not really a good long term solution. So, the following is my solution to those problems.

Since the size and shape of the jerry can holders would determine the configuration of the tire carrier, I built those first. A couple years ago when I heard they were being banned, I bought several of the NATO style cans manufactured by Wedco. After the ban, I have seen cans identical to mine selling for $150-$175 in new condition on ebay. I'm not planning on carrying them unless I am actually on a trip where I need them, but at that price they are essentially irreplaceable to me, I decided to build something that will keep them out of sight, and out of the weather, rather than just something that will hold them. I also bought one of the US made Blitz metal cans, so I could be sure that whatever I built would hold both styles if necessary. This is what I came up with:





They are made of 16 gauge steel, reinforced with 1/8" x 3/4" bar at the mouths. Ordered, but not installed in this picture are some lockable latches from MSC Industrial Supply.

For the bumper itself, I used a piece of 2"x4" x1/4" rectangular tubing that was left over from a buddy's trailer project. I would have rather used 3/16", but I'll accept a little bit of a weight penalty in exchange for free steel. It's pretty much your basic bumper, with channel steel for the mounting points, and 3/16" x2" flat as additional mounting to the holes on the bottom of the frame. I installed frame tie ins from A to Z so my ailing and cracked/rewelded (multiple times) rear crossmember is now just along for the ride. Recovery points are 1/2" plate drilled to accept 1" shackles, same as on my front M.O.R.E. bumper. I chose not to notch the bumper for the 2" hitch receiver, since it doesn't hang below the gas tank skid anyway, and after I install a 2" suspension lift this summer, it will be at just about the right height for towing a small trailer. It also made installing the lighting plug easier.





The tire carrier is made up of 2" x 1/8" wall square tubing, and swings on a hinge from Jeeptubes.com. The latch is a De-Sta-Co 344, and the mounting plate for the wheel is from A to Z. As installed, the weight is supported at both ends when the carrier is latched. The diagonal bracing is made of smaller tubing because I didn't see the need to use the full 2" size there, and it allowed more space for the fuel carriers.



This is what I came up with for a hold-open device. That's a left over piece of 4130 tubing from my airplane project, and a 5/16" bolt that I found in a bin, and welded to part of an eye bolt. Turns out I should have used at least a 3/8" bolt, because this one is easy to bend, but at least it is easy to straighten the same way (it will eventually break). I bought a grade 8 bolt that I am going to try, to see if it will hold up any better. I hope I don't have to weld a bigger piece of tubing on there for a larger diameter bolt.

I'll post the installed pictures in the next reply.

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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
Netpackrat
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Here is the bumper and tire carrier installed, minus the fuel can boxes. I sandblasted everything, painted with POR-15, and then coated them with Herculiner. If I lived in a drier climate, I would have preferred a nice gloss powder coat, but up here any rock chip will mean rust, and the bedliner is the only coating I have found that has a significant resistance to the chips. It's ugly, but it means that my bumpers and other exterior equipment will look better for longer. I'll eventually get rust anyway, but between the POR-15 and Herculiner, and spraying any wear points and hardware down with LPS, I can at least keep it at bay for a few years. I almost went to the expense of stainless steel for the fuel can boxes, but I wasn't sure how well they were going to work out, so I only bought plain mild steel. I'll probably wish I had sprung for the stainless after a few years.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Fuel boxes installed, and I've also changed to my summer tires in this picture. This gives a fairly good view of the latches I used, which are attached with solid steel rivets, driven with my 3x aircraft rivet gun. The latches are a 1/2 turn, wing handle arrangement that applies compound leverage, and will accept a padlock. The wing handle folds flat when latched.





The boxes are herculined inside and out to prevent metal on metal chafing, and there is a piece of 1/4" thick rubber mat on the bottom, and also a piece glued on the underside of the lid. When the lid is closed and latched, this holds the NATO cans tight so there can be no movement, and therefore there should be no rubbing anyway. If I want to carry one of the Blitz style cans, I have to lay an extra thickness of the 1/4" rubber on top in order for it to be held tight. Each box is attached in 4 places, with carriage bolts and nyloc nuts for additional theft prevention. I've checked and the nuts on the inside will not contact either style of can even if the cans shift, but I will still be coating them with some additional bedliner or silicon glue just in case.

I hope these pictures will be useful to somebody else who is building a bumper. I haven't seen any other jerry can holders like this yet. I thought about making another set and offering them for sale, but building these was pretty labor intensive, and I'm not sure that I could build them at a price anyone would be willing to pay, and not be giving my labor away. Maybe later on if I have room for a better sheet metal brake, and get a resistance spot welder (it's on my list, just not in the budget at this time) I will reconsider. Then there is the cost of shipping from Alaska to consider, for other than local sales. If anybody wants to build a set of these, you need a little less than half of a 4x8 sheet of steel assuming you make no major mistakes in layout or cutting. Later on I'm going to use some of the leftover steel to make a set of Tuffy-esque fender well boxes for my interior, but redesigned to take advantage of the fact that I am not planning to install the soft top ever again, and I don't want any additional speakers.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:34 PM   #4
RockMonster
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that bumper is sick! ive been thinking of building one myself as soon as i get a good mig welder and just looking for ideas. i think i might steel that jerry can idea from you and use it for tow straps ect.. any idea on how much this thing weighs? thanks for the post!
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:36 PM   #5
cajunfireman
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I like that. Will also make great extra storage when you dont have the cans with you. Looks good.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:47 PM   #6
Netpackrat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockMonster View Post
that bumper is sick! ive been thinking of building one myself as soon as i get a good mig welder and just looking for ideas. i think i might steel that jerry can idea from you and use it for tow straps ect.. any idea on how much this thing weighs? thanks for the post!
I'm not sure I want to know how much it weighs. I already have a MORE Rockproof front mounting a 10,500# Milemarker hydraulic winch, and after I get the Tera 2T lift (hand me down from my brother's Jeep) installed later this summer, I think it will be about right. I currently have 1-3/4" spacers in the front, and 1" spacers in the rear, which made sense when all I had in the back was an Olympic Rock Bumper.
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Unread 06-06-2010, 03:43 AM   #7
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Just a quick update, now that I have made a couple of trips out and back with the new bumper installed and carrying jerry cans. It works well (I still need to make the new hold open bolt, but the existing one hasn't broken yet), but I discovered something interesting about the fuel carriers on the last trip. Apparently, I built them tight enough, that if the fuel cans expand from the heat, I need to crack the seal a little to let the pressure out before removal. Otherwise, they can swell enough to prevent removal of the cans from the boxes. Just something else to keep in mind if anybody builds a set of these; maybe build in a little more slop than you think you need with the sides of the box.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 01:25 AM   #8
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Aaaand my awesome tire carrier assembly and my Jeep decided to part company last night on my way home. The axle/pivot pin broke right at the weld, but lots of good news to go with the bad. First, even though it broke off in the middle of a busy intersection, it didn't cause any accidents. Second, something in the rear view mirror happened to catch my eye, and I noted that it looked a lot like my tire carrier bouncing along the road. I was able to pull into a parking lot and get fairly close to the intersection, and by the time I hiked down the hill to it, somebody had pulled it out of the road. Helpfully, they pulled it to the side of the road that I was on, so I grabbed it and dragged it up the hill to where I had parked the Jeep (which was not fun).

I removed the spare tire from the carrier, and stuck it in the back with the rear seat folded forward. Then I lifted the rest up to the roof rack and strapped it down. This took about all the strength that I had, and the outcome was in doubt at a couple of points. Made it home without further incident, and since I didn't need to go anywhere today, I didn't unload anything until tonight.

I didn't take any pictures, but it looks like the axle break had been in progress for some time. Only about 20% of it looked to be a fresh break. The intersection was pretty bumpy between the ice and the ruts, which was enough to finish it off. Beyond that, the damage was fairly limited... The latch for the swing out is mangled, of course, but it's catch on the bumper appears to be unharmed. The bottom 2" square tube is bent a little on the side where there is no triangulation, and a few of the stainless carriage bolts I used to attach the fuel can boxes were sheared off, and one of the mounting tabs for one of the boxes is bent. Beyond that, there appears to be no other real damage.

Most importantly to me, the boxes for the fuel cans came through in great shape. The lids still open and close perfectly, and a fuel can goes in and out easily. Maybe a little oilcanning, but I think most if not all of that was already there. Some scraped paint at a couple of the corners. Building those was the biggest pain in the *** of the whole project, so I am really glad they are okay.

I am not totally sure how to proceed with repairing the rest. Rebuilding the whole thing to use one of the thicker/stronger axle stubs has some appeal, but I am not sure that is necessarily the way to go. Right now, I am leaning towards welding a piece of tubing into the bumper as a socket for the new stub axle, which will eliminate any issues arising from welding directly to the axle, and also make it replaceable. Maybe replace it every couple of years and it should never get to the point where it will break again. This would also have the benefit of not needing to entirely reconstruct the swing out assembly. I will also be installing a short safety cable like I originally thought about doing, but never did.

Also, I am pretty sure I am done with using POR-15 on anything. The entire assembly was sandblasted, painted with POR-15, and then coated with herculiner. Tonight after separating the boxes from the carrier, I was able to peel it off in great big sheets starting at where the coating was scraped, leaving the bare exposed sandblast surface. What came off was actually a fair imitation of a thin vinyl/naugahyde.
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Unread 01-13-2014, 09:45 AM   #9
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Glad it didn't cause any accidents.

What brand/size spindle did you have on there that broke?

Any pictures of the break?
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Unread 01-13-2014, 03:30 PM   #10
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I haven't taken any pictures yet, maybe later. It was the standard 1" spindle that I bought in a kit from A to Z Fabrication. I would have figured it would be okay with a 31" tire and with the carrier supported at the latch end. Usually the fuel carriers are empty, but my Jeep does live kind of a hard life. I regularly drive a rutted/potholed 60 mile gravel road during the summer months, and the winter roads here can get pretty bumpy too.
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Unread 01-15-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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I would venture to guess that the 31" tire, can boxes, and full gas cans, far exceed the weight of a 37" tire. I use the AtoZ mega spindle with a 35x12.5 and it's held up great. I also use a T bolt to secure the arm closed.

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Unread 01-17-2014, 04:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I would venture to guess that the 31" tire, can boxes, and full gas cans, far exceed the weight of a 37" tire. I use the AtoZ mega spindle with a 35x12.5 and it's held up great. I also use a T bolt to secure the arm closed.
With the full gas cans, for sure. That's one of the reasons why I almost never carry them except if I am going on a trip where I will need them. Also, the tire has more leverage than it otherwise would because it is spaced back by the width of the boxes. Either way I have to do something different when I rebuild it. The thicker spindle is an option,but that would require rebuilding the entire swing out unit and I would prefer not to do that, but we'll see.

The T handle closure isn't practical because this is a daily driver, and I am in and out of the tailgate area all the time. On a dedicated trail rig it wouldn't really bother me as much.
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