Once again, Crawler Conceptz has impressed me with a well thought out, engineered, and solid system for your offroading needs. After running their Ultra Series JK Body Mounted Tire Carrier extensively on road and off road last year, I feel confident saying it is one of the best tire carrier solutions out there.
What comes with?
$599 buys a lot with Crawler:
Tailgate anchor plate
Heavy duty hinges
Tire carrier swing
Fully adjustable tire mount (accommodates up to 40” tire)
Center Wheel License Plate Bracket
Excellent Hardware for one hand operation and fine tune adjustments
High Lift Jack Mount
Key things to know:
According to the description on Crawler’s website, if you are mounting a stock wheel, you will need a spacer. Also, this install will require you to cut out the pin on your stock tailgate hinges.
Time for wrenching
The installation is pretty straight forward and the instructions are easy to follow. Basically, step on is pulling the stock mounting system off your tailgate. Personally, I would recommend holding onto your third brake light wiring harness and use that to solder on a new third brake light circuit. Once your tailgate is clear, bolt on the new anchor plate. To make the install nice and smooth, at this point, keep your tailgate closed and install one hinge at a time. Pull off one stock hinge, grind out the pin, attach it to the new Crawler Conceptz heavy duty hinge body mount, then reinstall on the body and tailgate. Repeat the procedure for the second hinge. This way, you don’t have to mess with balancing and aligning the tailgate to close properly.
Next, go ahead and take some measurements so the actual tire mounting surface can be installed. (This would also be a good time to install the high lift mount if you purchased it) Line up your tire swing and install the cam bolts. Note: grease is your friend here – the bushings fit tight! Now that the swing is on, go ahead and line up the carrier to the anchor plate on the tailgate. Install the adjustable polyurethane seat and the heim joint connector. This is important; without a tire on the carrier, make sure you like how the carrier swing and tailgate move together. Adjust the cam bolts on the hinges and the polyurethane seat on the tailgate anchor. Tighten up everything. This will serve as your “mark” for perfect alignment because once you install your spare, there could be slight sag.
Since you know where everything should line up, finish by installing the spare and attempt to operate the swing. If you observe that the carrier needs to “bump up” onto the tailgate plate, you can make fine tune adjustments on the hinge with the cam bolts. After those are made, tighten every down and finish up your install.
Another neat feature of this system is you can adjust the resistance of the swing. I am sure most people will prefer a near stock feel for the effort it takes to open the tailgate. I decided to over tighten the carrier swing cam hinge bolts and nylocks to massively increase the effort it takes to open…when I am all sorts of catty-wumpus on the trail, when I open my tailgate, it holds instead of constantly trying to close on me.
If you have done your install properly, you will have a solid and QUIET system to carry your spare. If you mount the high lift jack, get ready for some rattle. That’s not a Crawler issue, it’s just the jack body rattling on the jack shaft. Also, if you want to improve the function slightly, consider welding the jack mount to the carrier and using wheel studs on the high lift mount for the jack mount points. The welding will just help ruggedize the whole system. For those of you that actually use your Hi-Lift frequently, not having to use two wrenches to get your Hi-Lift off is a huge convenience. Using the studs will allow you to use lug nuts or wing nuts to keep your jack in place.