Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buick Rendezvous Spare Tire Carrier Fix.

PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT!!! This is an alternative to replacing a broken spare tire winch on your vehicle. If you feel the need to make snide remarks, be warned this blog is moderated and your comment will NEVER see the light of day. I will BLOCK YOU!

For anyone who's ever owned a GM "U" body van or crossover, you will have a problem with spare tire winch. This isn't a matter of "if" but "when" and that "when" is usually sooner than later. In the best of circumstances, these winches are a pain to use and hauling a dirty spare tire out from underneath won't make your day better. You'll still have to put the full sized spare inside the cargo area if you own a Rendezvous or later model Aztek. This is because the aluminum rear suspension will get in the way. Usually, there's a D ring in the cargo area to mount these, along with a hook and nut molded into the cover for the jack and lug wrench. These are more than adequate for holding a full sized spare, but not the doughnut if the spare tire winch breaks. This is because the bolt will protrude through the narrower spare, snagging on anything and everything, not to mention injuring anyone getting in the vicinity of same.

Newer cars forego the spare tire and pack a pump and tire sealant. This isn't a bad idea if you're careful, have towing coverage and if and only if the tire carcass is still intact.. From my experience, a flat tire isn't the only reason you need to swap out a wheel on the side of the road. I've damaged a wheel striking a curb. No amount of tire slime will fix a bent wheel or injured sidewall.

As always, there is inherent danger in any modifications to a car or truck. Vehicles are crashed tested in their original equipment configuration and thus conform to federal safety standards in same. Any modifications, no matter how subtle, can cause injury, death or property damage. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to insure that all work done to their vehicle will not cause or further an unsafe condition thereof. Do this and any other modifications to yours at your own risk. I have no control over the quality, or lack thereof of your work. Even the original equipment spare tire carrier can expose you to liability if it fails, and this is why most remove or simply don't use them.

The fix is simply a revision to the method of securing a full sized spare in the car after changing out a flat tire. You'll need a 5/16" threaded hook, the OE nut from your cover, or a wing nut and fender washer if not available. You'll also need some dense polystyrene or similar foam about 2 to 2 1/2" thick to go under the doughnut over the carpeting (you could also make this spacer out of wood, rubber or plastic, but it has to fit under the tire and support its weight). If you're using a full sized tire (not a bad idea) then a mat will work. Cut a 2" hole in the center of whatever you're using. This goes over the D ring I told you about. That 5/16 threaded hook will have standard thread, while that nut that came with the car will have metric thread. You can have this tapped out to accept the standard thread without too much issue. If not, you can opt for a fender washer and wing nut and put the threaded part through one of the lug holes on your wheel. Put your foam to fit over the D ring, and use the hook end of the threaded hook on the D ring. Center the tire over it install your nut on top of the foam. If the threaded part sticks over the spare, mark and trim with a hacksaw and file or grind off the burrs. The Idea of the foam is to protect the carpet and allow you some room to get the full sized tire in there in a pinch by removing the foam.

If you really want to get fancy, you can find or make a spare tire cover out of some carpeting and a piece of plywood to fit over the spare and clean up the cargo area. Obviously. if you have a tray or third seat, this fix isn't likely to work. You'll have to bite the bullet and buy the faulty GM tire winch, take the risk of driving without the spare, get rid of the car (preferred), or find your own creative solution to this problem. I can't think of everything, but at least this gives you pause to find an alternative to buy dealer only parts. The manufacturers charge more than enough for a car or truck that barely outlives the payment book and then turn around and charge ridiculous amounts for their parts that seldom last. Instead of close to $200 for this winch, the parts I used cost me less than $10, minus the snazzy cover (which I don't have). Maranatha!

1 comment:

wally said...

Do you have any images of this "fix", please? Thanks!