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hawairish

R50 Tire Carrier Mod: Let's settle this!

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So...I've read seemingly thousands of threads saying it's not worth the effort. The buzzword is "reinforcement" and the argument is that those with carriers have it, and those without don't. But where's the proof?

 

I think somewhere along the lines, retrofitting a WD21 carrier to another WD21 blurred into some bastard spin-off for an R50. We've seen the carnage that was done on that one guy's WD21 to make it work...and in that case, yeah, I probably would just but another WD21 with one if I really wanted it. But, it's known that there was a separate reinforcement piece on WD21s. I've seen zero indication on any Nissan parts diagrams.

 

What I really want is for someone with a tire carrier (or provisions for one) to prove that R50s are reinforced. This can be done in about 30 mins start-finish and just requires pulling some plastic clips and one panel. I believe in time-is-money, so if you want to earn a few bucks in the process, let me know. I'll even send you replacements for any clips you break.

 

Here are the upskirts shots for a non-carrier quarter panel. The circle areas are where the mounting points would be, and consequently where to look for any reinforcement.

 

Upper panel; the ridge leading up the circle is the tub for the taillight assembly:

 

IMG_3457.jpg

 

Lower panel; the circle is the area directly underneath the taillight tub.

 

IMG_3455.jpg

 

I'm dead-set on making this work. I have everything I need. But I've not convinced myself that any additional reinforcement is necessary or even used. And I'm totally cool with being proven wrong.

 

My plan is to use 10mm blind nuts. I have a tool for inserting them, and I've already been using it with positive results. I don't see a need for a backing plate, but perhaps a backing washer wouldn't hurt on the upper mounts. The lower corner of the quarter panel is "dense" from bends...it's curves give it a lot of structural strength, especially since it supports the cantilevered weight. The upper mount area has less bends, but just need to resist pulling. The curvature of the brackets also helps...all the bolts oppose each other.

 

If no one can do it by Saturday, I'll just head back to the junkyard and check for myself, but I love to save the trip if someone is willing to walk to their garage.

 

I could also use some really good closer-up pics showing the placement of the upper and lower hinges relative to the taillight and liftgate, as well as the latching/support hardware under the liftgate. Reference measurements would be great. It'd especially like to know the gap is between the bottom of the carrier tube and the flat part of the bumper so I can stack some stuff for mock-up.

 

I'd also love to make this into a build thread, since I know there are a lot of people who would love to make this work.

 

Anyone willing to settle this once and for all?

Edited by hawairish
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A buddy pointed out this thread with some particular notes from XPLORx4: http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/topic/33886-rear-tire-hitch-on-a-2000-model/?p=638606.

 

He notes it's not camera-accessible, but I can see the area on mine (the pics above). If something (anything) were there, part of it must be visible, even if were just the backs of the threaded holes. If any reinforcement exists, I'd have no reason to think it wouldn't exist for all threaded areas.

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You would be the man. If I'm not mistaken, theexbrit has your carrier now? That actually helps...a close-up of the threaded hole would give me an idea of metal thickness.

 

The sad part is that I could've confirmed this the other week when I pulled the carrier. I really wanted to. But, I felt I was about 5 mins from having a heat stroke, and getting those answers required climbing into the cargo area to pull the rods from inside to open the hatch. After folding down the seats, realized they didn't have any carpeting on them...climbing on sharp bare metal in a car that was easily 120°+ inside, while exhausted and out of water. :skull: Yeah, maybe next time.

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Nope, I found him one at a junkyard up I frequent, and shipped it to him. I've still got mine.

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Ah, right on. Well, keep us posted if you can pull the interior. Offer stands if you break any clips, though I might have to order them first!

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It's unlikely that any clips would be harmed in the removal of the right rear cargo panel, so I don't think you need to worry. :)

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I know...tell that to the previous owner, though...

 

I need to order up some other clips anyway for around the vehicle.

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I like you more every day Hawairish! Haha I too want to know this! But you will pretty much have to swap the trunks too if you want the oem look.

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i dont think you have to swap the trunks as the mounts were actually bolted on the rear bumper

Edited by deltaR50

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Aww shucks, CDN!

 

Yep, the latches and bumpstop are bolted to the body, not the liftgate. The bumper will need some rectangular cutouts, like so:

 

R50_Bumper_for_carrier.jpg

Those should be pretty easy to replicate. The metal behind it will receive some blind nuts (holes don't already exist, unfortunately), then everything will bolt up nicely.

 

The wiring pigtail for the "your-gate-is-open" idiot light is under the trim above the bumper cover, and it works. The problem is that it doesn't look like it fits the switches I have...or an Nissan door jamb switch, for that matter. It's the right cable though...I shorted it and a light in the lower left corner of the gauge cluster lit up with something resembling a 50" spare tire on a gate. I'd like to get a plug-in switch, but I'd have no issues soldering something up.

 

I would like to get the offset license plate holder, though. That will require drilling into the liftgate. The ones on the donor vehicles were beaten up for some reason.

 

I dropped off the carriers yesterday for powder coating. Probably doesn't make much sense to do so, since I've not even mocked things up. But I'm on a crunch for time because of some more work travels soon, and I'm confident I can make this work. I also dropped them off with my sliders so they can be matched in a gunmetal color. The sliders were starting to show some rust, and were only $25/ea...no brainer. Should be some sexy stuff.

Edited by hawairish

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I was referring to the lincense plate holder located in the centre vice offside on the equipped and non-equipped models. But looks like it's separate piece that can be added. Still need power to go to the license plate lights.

 

290c27993ea57b53c7bb8b69c9e2bedb.jpg

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Yep, the license holder is separate. And from what I can tell from parts diagrams, the lighting harness is the same/similar. Maybe some modifications on the wire length, but it should actually use the same pigtail. From the diagrams, the wiring isn't in place on the center holder if you have the tire carrier.

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Here we go.

 

19370110815_aaa929dc71_b.jpg

19370110175_e658223ac9_b.jpg

18747562534_6c5b6ef936_b.jpg

18749461243_17ed33f949_b.jpg

 

Inside the pocket area

 

19363982752_9f508782ef_b.jpg

White clip is a tail light locator

18747560914_2ff2ed856b_b.jpg

19183924919_04d9d3f699_b.jpg

19182524348_ce9c0298fc_b.jpg

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Lower support, looking toward the bottom of the pocket

 

19344007856_cf92d7c534_b.jpg

 

Rear D piller, looking into access hole.

 

19374157411_6a36f023be_b.jpg

18749456893_f32f7307dd_b.jpg

 

Lower swing away mount, closest to tailgate.

 

19344002916_a763f754b1_b.jpg

 

 

And i learned my clip and fastener lesson a long time ago, anytime i pull anything at a junkyard, i take just about every clip i can see. Shown is just what made its way into the box, its by no means, everything i have.

 

18749449923_12155fcb23_b.jpg

 

 

Also, i broke out my Gopro and took this video, i flimed it in 1440p at 48 FPS, but i guess YouTube doesn't like that, so its maxed out at 1080p,

 

 

Hope this all helps.

 

-Kyle

Edited by ferrariowner123

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DUDE: AWESOME. Seriously, thank you for doing all that!

 

So, there we have it: definitive proof that there is reinforcement. The reinforcement is what was preventing XPLORx4 from seeing or feeling the reinforcement.

 

I think the biggest expectation until now is that a separate piece like this existed, which did for the WD21:

 

pathfinder3bracket.jpg

 

Taken from: http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/topic/31825-spare-tire-carrier-install/

 

I remember green180's approach where he took a steel plate and create a rough shape that contoured the quarter panel, but it's clear now that it should have been tied into some interior metal.

 

I already have an unconventional solution, but I need to do some more research. Rather than try to replicate the shape with steel and working in confined spaces, I would think some sort of expanding/solidifying material would be a viable approach. Something like a structural foam, urethane, or resin that could be poured into the area and sets solid to fill the cavities behind the hinge areas and provide a solid structure that could be drilled or anchored into. Since it would be very difficult to create a sealed area in which to pour (except maybe the bottom area), I would plan to pour it into a bladder/bag and let it set while in place. It'd be very similar to those fillable packing foam systems, but with a more rigid material. I'll have to give this one more thought...

 

Again, thanks for the pics and vids...and great idea about collecting those clips!

Edited by hawairish

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We regularly use stuff called "chalk fast" for setting foundations on VERY HEAVY marine equipment. Diesel engines, gearboxes...etc.

Your bladder idea would be perfect with this. It's sets in about 24 hrs depending on temps.

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That seems like some really heavy duty stuff...do they sell it in soda-can sizes? :D

 

But that's the idea. There are some cast polyurethanes that have a very low expansion rate, which is probably desirable. I was thinking it'd be pretty easy to get some cardboard pieces in there to give it a rough shape and support a bladder.

 

I think this would work very well for the bottom mount, where the area just needs to resist compression For the top mount, I would need to find a way for it to either adhere to the quarter panel, or set around the mounting hardware somehow (the top area will want to pull out with the carrier open). I could probably tap into the material, or if pour around a bolt with a release agent, it would create a threaded hole perfectly...it wouldn't have to resist pull out forces...that's what the blind nut would be for. What I need is a sprayable, low viscosity, low expansion cast polyurethane.

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I think you are on the right track, but I think this might be easier and stronger. Once you have the holes drilled through the body so you can align things and mount the hinges, use a 1/8" piece of sheet steel that you roughly formed to the contour (hopefully contacting well in some places). Put them in place, mark them through the holes and install rivnuts or other captive threads into the steel. Put the steel in place and snug tight with the hinges in place. Mask off inside and epoxy around your rough backing plates, then mount carrier and torque to spec.

 

Best of both worlds, a metal, threaded backing place that is perfectly contoured and held in place with epoxy filler, each making the other stronger.

Easy to do, form the sheet steel with a hammer and anvil, it doesn't have to be pretty, just the right basic shape...

 

B

 

Oh, I have a bore camera, but no R50 with mount points to investigate... :shrug:

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Yeah, I had something like that in mind, too. I've been passing some other ideas at TownDawg, guess I should've posted some up here.

 

But yes, I had something like that in mind, with some random bends/curls so that whatever resin/epoxy approach would have something to fill around and create an anchor.

 

Another one that crossed my mind was an external panel, similar to how some Jeeps have diamond plate covers for their quarter panel and taillight areas. There's no reason I have to reinforce inside the body, and this gives a little exterior armor...well, if I think I need it anyway. Would have to do it to the driver's side too to be cool.

 

Currently, my thought has been on drilling holes directly to the inner metal panel. The OE reinforcement essential ties the quarter panel to an inner layer of steel. If I use longer bolts, I can anchor to both layers of steel, and could easily reach the hardware from the back side. I'd still use blind nuts, at least on the quarter panel; I'd have to check the angles of the interior panel. This approach might negate the need for any filler for the upper mount. I'd still fill the lower mount cavity regardless, since it needs to resist compression.

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This project is real now.

 

IMG_3565.jpg

 

IMG_3573.jpg

 

IMG_3572.jpg

 

And then I ran into a problem...my g-d OE rim doesn't even fit!!

 

IMG_3570.jpg

 

So before I get to the wheel not fitting...

 

I didn't do any reinforcement, and don't plan to. I gave it three "oh please don't fail" moments where I hung onto the very end of the fully-opened carrier, feet off the ground. I weigh 240 lbs (unfortunately). Nothing bad happened. The truck just acknowledged my weight (and silently screamed, "now get off!").

 

I ended up using 10mm x 1.5 blind nuts with a bead of silicone adhesive on the shoulders before collapsing them.

 

Re-using the OE hinge pieces wasn't an option. Ended up creating sleeves from the broken bushings, got 5/8" bolts (hinge pin is 16mm), nylon washers, and a PTLN nut. Packed with silicone grease, it should be free of noise and maintenance (but can be taken apart if needed).

 

I need to get some sort of insulator between the brackets and the quarter panel. OE uses about a 1/16" adhesive-backed rubber pad and some presumably similar washers for each bolt. I could only get one set of the rubber pads (they're going on my buddy's carrier); the washers were like $3 ea (x8, no way). I bought some adhesive-backed neoprene sheet to cut something to shape...but it ended up being too thick to compress. I'm just going to get some rubber washers and be done with it.

 

I still need to remove the bumper, then drill and attach the latch and support parts. I made a template for drilling holes, so that should be pretty quick.

 

Now...about the wheel. I can't figure it out. I tried put it on at different angles, tipping it back to clear a lip at the top of the arch, lifting it up to clear the sides of the arches...it just doesn't fit through the center bore and will interfere with the top two wheel studs at any angle I try. OE wheels! I even tried it with the other carrier I have...same thing. Is there some trick I'm missing?

 

I'll get some better pictures in daylight.

Edited by hawairish

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So the reason the wheel doesn't fit is because the older Pathfinder wheels have a shorter center bore. The newer wheel's bore is about 2-3" taller, so it won't clear the lip meant to hook the wheel in place while tightening/loosening the lug nuts. I presume the bores to be the same diameter though...the fit on the current arch looks to be the same.

 

Here's a pic of the newer style carrier. Has the arch, doesn't have the lip, and is much shorter:

 

SPASKU321617_03.jpg

 

I will just end up cutting off about an 1" of the entire arch and plasti-dipping it.

 

Also, guess I never noticed, but the newer carriers don't center the wheel on the rear. I like the offset look, but the centered carrier has more frame space for mounting things.

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So am I reading this correctly, and that the only attachment points are the 4 blind nuts on the outside sheet metal? If so, and that actually holds, this project may be simple enough for me to attack as well.

 

Thanks,

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So am I reading this correctly, and that the only attachment points are the 4 blind nuts on the outside sheet metal? If so, and that actually holds, this project may be simple enough for me to attack as well.

 

Thanks,

 

There will end up being 15 blind nuts total:

 

4x 10mm for the upper mount

4x 10mm for the lower mount

6x 8mm for the three pieces on the bumper (latch, bumpstop, support bar)

1x 6mm for the door switch

 

These are OE bolt diameters, too (except maybe that 6mm...haven't checked...but it's not a structural item so it's unimportant).

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