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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Situation:
I needed a way to haul 4 snowboards in the winter (wakeboards, wake surf boards in the summer) and 4 people.

Problem:
With the 3” lift and 295 Nittos my FJ only clears the upper garage door frame by about ¼”. This meant that roof rack mounted ski/board racks were not an option without having to remove them every time I wanted to park in my garage (which is every night). With my luck I’d forget once and rip them off at some point. Additionally, it’s cumbersome to have to stand on the rear bumper or running boards to load/unload them with wet surfaces and wet boots. I looked at several of the bike carrier mounted racks, but didn’t like the way the boards were held in place or how far back they stuck out. I have about 3 ft between my spare tire and my work bench when my FJ is backed into the garage.

Solution:
Using the same mounting concept as the THULE Spare Me (and Yakima Spare Time) spare tire mounted bike carriers, I built a snowboard / wakeboard rack for the spare tire using aluminum flat bar, Thule mounting brackets, and some used wakeboard racks from eBay.

Pics:












Parts used:

Thule mounting plate from Spare Me series bike racks (part sku 7533532 )
It’s possible that a piece of square steel bar stock drilled and tapped at both ends could be used instead (to save $40+) by mounting it directly to the pre-drilled hole in the steel spare tire carrier using a strong bolt and washer on the back side.



Thule short mounting bracket from the Spare Me rack (part sku 7521425001 )



Thule Spare Me locking knob w/ keys (part no 753190804 )
This part could be replaced with a long bolt of the same thread and would save another $16 on the project. I preferred to pay the $16 to have the peace of mind that someone would not walk off with my rack and/or boards.



I ordered these parts directly from Thule, and after them sending the wrong parts and having inaccurate pricing on their website I had $45 total in these parts with a discount on shipping and the mounting bracket. Etrailer.com has the same parts cheaper than Thule I notices though.

2 complete used wakeboard racks from eBay: $80 shipped
These were pretty rough, chrome plating was peeling off the aluminum, several bolts were stripped from the original owner attempting to disassemble which also caused deep gouges in the surface. PlastiDip to the rescue…

48”x 3” x ½” aluminum flat bar from Amazon: $20 shipped w/ Prime
I cut this down to about 33” to match the diameter of my spare tire.
It came with a milled finish, so I sanded a polished it a bit to smooth out the cut ends and get it match the wheels a little better.



2 cans of plastidip from Lowes: $12 (1 can would do, but I layered it thick in attempt to hide the gouges and flake marks in the chrome).

½” and ¾” foam pipe insulation from Lowes: about $1-2 per 6ft.
This narrows the gap between the tines of the wakeboard racks to accommodate the thinner snowboards.

Total investment: about $160 compared to $200+ for Yakima FatCats or Thule’s higher end racks.

Comments:
Total fabrication included cutting the flat bar to length with a jigsaw, sanding and polishing it, then drilling 11 holes (1 for the locking knob, 2 for the female mounting bracket, and 4 to mount each rack to the flat bar…. Not overly difficult by any means.

I was worried that the narrow distance between left & right tines would allow boards to rotate in the racks and fall out, but after a couple hours at freeway speeds the foam and bungees are holding the boards securely.

Aesthetically, I would prefer to have the racks mounted at both ends of the aluminum flat bar such that the black racks are over the black tire and the aluminum bar is over the aluminum wheel. But form follows function and I wanted the brake lights and license plate to be unobstructed and did not want the bolt heads digging into the sidewalls (too lazy to counter sink them).

Overall Pros/Cons
Pros:
-No problem fitting in the garage height or length-wise even with boards on the rack.
-Super convenient to load/unload boards into the rack.
-Doesn’t affect the rear door opening.
-Locking knob secures the rack to the truck to prevent theft.
-Can lock boards to the spare with a cable lock if needed.
-Rack doubles for wakeboards in the summer.
-Brake lights and license plate still 100% visible.
-Can easily swap the Thule Spare Me bike and this rack with just a few twists of the locking knob.
-Could fit 8 snowboards if you removed the foam and removed the bindings from 4 of the boards, but I’ve never needed to haul more boards than people.
-Won’t freeze up in harsh conditions like some of the standard ski/snow board racks do (been there, done that).
-Looks pretty cool (to me anyways).

Cons:
-Boards get dirtier behind the FJ vs above it, but it only takes me a minute or so to wipe it down when I get home.
-The bungees and foam hold the boards very well, but for longer trips I’ll prob use a lashing strap or cable lock as well for peace of mind.
-Can’t run a center cap on the spare. Not a huge issue, but looks a little unfinished in my opinion.
-Removing the spare in a flat tire situation requires removing the rack, but this only takes about 15 seconds by removing the locking knob only.
-For those with reverse cameras, I’m not sure if this will work without further modification.
 
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