Alright folks, I finally got around to installing my tire carrier. Special thanks to everyone in the R50 Tire Carrier Mod: Lets Settle This! post. I thoroughly went through that and studied everything in preparation for this.
Special tools I picked up include the following:
M10 Rivet Nut 95105A199 (hinges)
M10 bolts 91280A636 (hinge bolts)
M8 Rivet Nuts 95105A191 (lower latch)
Astro Rivet Nut Kit
Rivet Tool (lower hatch plate)
1.5 x 1.5" x 1/8" thick angle aluminum
First step was to mock up the carrier to get an idea of where the lower mounting hardware needed to be bolted.
Then I took off the bumper to check to see if there were the OEM cutout locations-
Indeed there were cutouts! I used a hot X-acto blade to easily trim out the holes.
At this point I wanted to get the lower latch hardware finished first so I can use it to hold the carrier while I do the hinge portion. I trimmed 1" off one side of the 1.5" angle aluminum, that way it can tuck under toward the vehicle a bit.
I tested the rivnuts, seem to work well!
I transferred my hardware marks from the metal bumper to my aluminum and used a step bit to drill out the holes, then finished them to the rivnut size of 13.5mm (17/32") using a hard-to-find bit. Both the M8 and M10 required the same hole size.
I drilled two small holes to temporarily rivet the aluminum to the vehicle, then used the holes I drilled in the aluminum to drill the holes in the bumper for the rivnuts.
The aluminum was then removed and the rivnuts were installed-
Then the aluminum went back on. The rivnuts have a washer-head that's larger than the hole, so when you put the aluminum back on it sandwiches the rivnut. I drilled out a bunch of holes and installed rivets to hold it in place. Took no time at all.
From here it was as simple as bolting on all the lower hardware. Note: unlike some, I did not have the swing gate door ajar sensor wiring left in the bumper.
Hinge time. I put some protective tape down and removed the inner plastic trim to get access to behind the vehicle skin-
With the carrier mounted up, locked into the lower latch, I marked out my hole locations. Using pilot holes, I started with the ones I could reach with the carrier closed. Lots of removing, testing, drilling, removing, looking, etc. Eventually I got enough holes in to start the rivnuts.
The most aft two holes on each hinge are in very difficult to reach locations, I opted to just rivnut those.
The side holes are accessable relatively easily from the inside so I fished nylocks with washers onto those.
Fully assembled! I have a license plate bracket + light combo in the mail. I think I'll use the rivnut gun again and mount it on the hatch to the driver's side of the tire carrier.
And of course, a tribute to the ruster that I pulled the carrier from:
Junkyard bonus stuff- Got these 5' long Yakima crossbars with mounts that work on the OEM Pathfinder rails. Here I am testing them on a junker:
Also scored me one of them fancy string dampers for the glove box.