A few of weeks ago, I installed AEV’s 4.5” DualSport SC Suspension System on my JKUR, along with 37” MTR/K tires. At the time, that was about all I could swing financially, so the spare tire issue had to wait. In addition, I wasn’t really settled on how I wanted to address that issue. Finally, I decided on the Teraflex Heavy Duty Hinged Carrier. And since I am running 37s, I added the adjustable mount to the kit.
Today was install day and going through the instructions included by Teraflex, there were some issues which in my opinion were not addressed clearly enough. So I wanted to post up some pictures and let others here benefit by my experience of installing the hinge and carrier kit.
The instructions Teraflex included were pretty thorough with a few exceptions. However, more pictures would have helped a lot. The whole install took me and my wife 3 hours start to finish, which is way too long I know, but it included a short trip to my storage unit about a mile away to get my spare tire, and also the added time of taking a lot of photos in anticipation of this thread. With a little clearer instructions (and no trip to storage) this could have been an easy hour to 1 1/2 hour job.
Here are the tools Teraflex recommends for the complete installation:
1. Torx 50 Driver
2. 12” extension
4. 13mm socket
5. Shop press for wheel studs
6. 13mm socket (Duplicate!)
8. 5/8” socket or wrench
9. 11/16” socket or wrench
10. 3/4” Socket or wrench
11. 10” ratchet extension
12. T20 torx driver
13. Angle grinder with cut-off wheel
14. 9/16” socket or wrench
Mine, all laid out:
Plus, my favorite tire removal tools:
1. My 8” extension was plenty for anything I encountered
2. I never touched the 9/16” or the 11/16” sockets. Don’t know why they were called for.
3. While Teraflex calls for a “5/8” socket or wrench,” you’ll want both -- one for the bolt and one for the nut on the bolts which clamp the carrier tube in place.
4. The video Teraflex produced showed an alternate method for installing the lug studs into the riser plate. In retrospect this would have been a better method than using the shop press. A 20 ton press will make a Pringle out of that plate. Ask me how I know.
5. If you don’t have a T50 torx bit, no worries, as Teraflex thoughtfully includes one in the kit.
6. I chose not to butcher my 3rd brake light as the Teraflex design calls for. I have another idea I’m going to try, but I’ll wait until I am actually able to see if it will work before I go into that.
7. Within the text of the instructions Teraflex calls for Red Thread-locker as well.
8. In the process of the installation, the hinges must be removed leaving the tailgate unattached except for the latch. Teraflex recommends blocking up the tailgate to support it while it is unattached to the body tub. After watching their video (which I discovered only after the installation) they don’t seem as concerned with maintaining the location of the tailgate as I was. Their blocks don’t even touch the tailgate. I was thinking that it should not move at all, so my approach was to purchase a package of wood shims at Lowe’s to fill the gap.
The shims are wedge shaped, as you can see, and allow adjustment of the total thickness as shown in the photos below. As I recall they're about $1.49 at Lowe's, but you should be able to get them at any lumber yard. Although the picture shows only one stack, you'll want a stack at each end of the tailgate. One pack was the perfect amount.
I’ll not try to reproduce the whole instruction set here, but instead will just walk through the process noting some things I ran into along the way.
Removing the factory tire, carrier, and 3rd brake light was straightforward. If you need help there, you don’t need to be considering this mod. Take it to someone who knows what they’re doing.
Removing the plastic covers on the factory hinges can be a little tricky. The two on the body side were a little difficult to get both sides to release at the same time. I used a small screwdriver to get some leverage in the tight side and it worked fine. On the tailgate side of the hinge, however, some caution is called for. The Teraflex instructions show the method for releasing those covers and it works great. Be careful, though, that you do not apply too much force during this process, as the cover will actually slide to the right, shearing of the catch which keeps it attached at the other end. Again, ask me how I know this.
In addition, this would be a good point to note that there are two rubber snubbers mounted to the tailgage. These snubbers rest against the OEM spare tire to kill vibration. Although the Teraflex instructions do not call for its removal, the right-hand (passenger side) one must be removed in order for the new HD Hinge to fit; they can’t occupy the same real estate. It’s a simple matter of just pulling it out of its hole. The left one should remain in place.
The body side of the tailgate hinges have 3 bolts on each hinge. One is outboard of the pivot, and two are inboard.
The pivot point on the Teraflex hinge is so beefy it is impossible to get a torx bit socket into the head of the bolt in a straight line with the bolt itself (see picture below). Fortunately, I had a thin extension and small diameter torx socket. If yours is larger, it will probably not work. This is probably the reason Teraflex has included a T50 wrench in the kit. I managed to make mine work with some judicious application of torque, but it would be easy to strip out the heads and then the fun really starts!
After attaching the HD Hinge to the body tub, the Teraflex instructions state, “14. Install one of the four factory 8mm bolts through the tire carrier and loosely into the factory hinge bracket threaded holes in the tailgate. 15. Ensure that all bolt holes in the tailgate align with the holes in the tire carrier. Hold the tire carrier in this position and tighten the bolt that attaches the carrier to the tailgate. The tire carrier is now properly positioned.” After watching the Teraflex video I realized that I had misinterpreted what those instructions were calling for. Fortunately for me, I ran into no difficulties as a result.
The video shows a bolt being threaded into one of the holes all the way to the left of the HD Hinge, which makes perfect sense from a leverage and location perspective. As I misinterpreted the instructions I installed one of the original hinge bolts into the hinge bolt hole location on the HD Hinge. These are far closer to the pivot and are therefore not as good for locating the tailgate and hinge relationship, but as I said, this posed me not difficulties.
The one aspect in which I believe my approach to this was better, is that the hinge bolts thread into a “floating” plate inside the tailgate. As a result, it is possible to get the HD Hinge attached in the correct location at the actual carrier mounting point, but still have difficulty starting the hinge bolts. For this reason, I started all four rather than just the one before I tightened the first one down. That way I knew they would be at least close when I got ready to reinstall the hinge bolts. This alternate method worked for me; I’m not saying the instructions given by Teraflex are wrong.
In their description of the final adjustment, the Teraflex instructions left me unsure as to how much contact the tire was intended to make with the HD Hinge. The short answer is (according to the tech I spoke with this afternoon), “None!” That seemed a little odd to me because it seemed that some contact would help to stabilize the tire and prevent excessive vibration, which over the long term will fatigue metal somewhere, and maybe in multiple places. According to the tech, you want the tire as close as you can get it to the HD Hinge (to reduce the leverage of the whole assembly on the tailgate), but not touching.
That’s about all the tech insight I can recall to offer. The pics that follow (in the next post) are just a few of the process and the finalized installation. I’m very happy with the installation, with the single exception that the tire and wheel assembly as mounted does seem to have excessive vibration when I bump it hard with my hand. I do not see any movement as I drive it though, so maybe it will be fine. I’m going to give it a fair shot to see.