Here are four clever spare tire solutions from fellow truck campers that could keep you rolling. Looking to beat deflation? Here are a few spare ideas.
One of the most overlooked challenges with truck campers can be where to put a spare tire. Even worse, far too many of us have no plan in the event of flat tire while truck camping.
What follows are some good answers to the first challenge. For inspiration on how to change a spare while truck camping, check out one of the flat out best reader responses from 2017; Spare Stories.
1. Custom Spare Tire Holder Using Rear Hitch
Submitted by: Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
We upgraded our Ford F350 tires from the stock 16-inch Load Range E to 19.5-inch Load Range G. We were very excited about the added safety this provided while carrying our heavy Chalet truck camper.
However, the 19.5-inch tires are just large enough to not fit in the standard spare tire spot between the back two wheels. Still wanting to carry a spare, I built a custom rear hitch carrier that fits under the back overhang of our camper.
First I did a lot of careful measurements to determine the exact dropdown receiver needed (4-inches for our truck and camper). This, coupled with the thickness of the new 19.5-inch tires, would leave me with a nice 1/2-inch gap between the tire and the underside of the camper.
Next, I fabricated the holder out of three pieces of 2-inch by 2-inch by 1/4-inch wall aluminum tubing screwed together. Then I added two holes that lined up with the lug nut holes and attached the rim with the tire using heavy-duty thumb screws.
The spare tire carrier came out great! The tire can be removed with the camper in place, and also allows me to decouple the truck from the camper with ease. Having the tire in an easy to remove location is great because – when you need the spare – you’re usually on the side of the road.
It took me about eight hours to complete this modification and cost me about $200. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is hard.
2. Swing-Out Spare Tire Holder
Submitted by: Joe Ferraro, GMC Sierra 3500, 2010 Outfitter
I wanted to move the spare tire out from under the truck. I plan on going with 35-inch tires and the larger tire will not fit under the bed. By moving the spare out onto a rack, it also gives me a great place to mount an air compressor. The rack provides a place to carry a fuel can and my Hi-Lift jack.
I used the receiver hitch to carry most of the weight, and I added a second receiver to the driver’s side of the hitch to stabilize the rack. I designed the rack and had a fabricator build it. The rack is removable. It has worked out better than I thought it would.
It took me 20 hours to complete and cost $1,000. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is hard.
3. Front Hitch Mounted Spare Tire
Submitted by: Jim Goodrich, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2008 Lance 1191
We upgraded to 19.5-inch wheels and run 225-70 19.5 F or G-load tires. They are heavy at around 140 pounds each.
With our camper overhanging the rear bumper, we can’t get to the access port to lower the tire down. We have to lift the camper off the truck, which may or may not be easy when you have a flat tire.
Because of the weight of the spare, it can’t go on the roof of the camper. We decided to mount the second spare on the nose of a front trailer hitch.
The tire is mounted on a Roadmaster tire carrier. After releasing the lock, the tire can easily be swung laterally to the ground where we unbolt it from the carrier.
The only issue is that the engine will heat up more than normal when pulling up a grade. Usually turning off the air conditioning and/or slowing down a little does the trick.
This unit would work mounted on the rear hitch if we add a 4-foot hitch extension, but I don’t like the extra weight that far back. We have a side entry, so it wouldn’t interfere if we mounted on the rear.
For those with rear-entry campers, I think you could clear the door by swinging the tire to the ground, which is easy to do with the Roadmaster carrier.
Important Note: The Roadmaster carrier was designed for “RV wheels”. Truck wheels may not mount because of the depth of the wheel offset. The good news is that Roadmaster makes an adapter for the mount to compensate for this. The adapter is item #195225-95 and comes at a $279 USD additional cost.
4. Second Spare Tire On Flatbed Truck
Submitted by: Stephen O’Neal, 2013 Chevy 3500 HD, 2011 Alaskan
Since my travel plans included haul roads, I needed to carry a second mounted spare, but where?
I had a 4-foot by 8-foot flatbed deck extension that carried the entry stairs on the driver’s side, and storage for one spare underneath. The spare was accessible from the driver’s side. The only location left was on top on the deck, but that was my access to the camper and the Thetford cassette.
Since I already had a bicycle rack, the best option was to have my welder attach a 1-foot section of angle iron with two-wheel studs and lock nuts.
I mounted the tire and snugged up two inexpensive metal chocks on the deck, traced their outline, removed the tire, and mounted the chocks with two bolts each.
The rack holds the tire vertically and the deck holds its weight. The chocks stabilize the tire and stop any movement.
My two spares are rotated to the front along with an alignment every 4,500 miles. All tires, including the duallies, are rebalanced at that time. 15,000 miles later. The new spare tire mount is holding up well.
It took me 1.5 hours to complete and cost $25. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is moderate to hard depending on whether you do the welding part yourself.
More TCM reader ideas for carrying along a spare tire are in Flats Happen: Truck Camper Spare Stories. Mike Brandl also talks about how he brings along a super single spare in The Pros and Cons of Super Singles.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.