Maximus-3 Build Package Thoughts and Analysis.
When we lifted Project Rubicon X and installed a full set of 35″ Mickey Thompson MTZ P3’s we had to do something about accommodating the new 35″ spare tire. There was no way we were going to trust our stock tire carrier with an extension when the weight of the new spare tire and wheel totaled nearly 100 lbs. The biggest issue we had with the stock tire carrier is the simple fact that it’s so thin and fragile.
This is the stock Jeep JK tire carrier. Weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs (seriously, we weighed it… 5 lbs), it’s case aluminum structure is just fine for a stock spare tire on a Jeep that never sees the trails. But once you add the additional weight of an over-sized, non-stock tire, you could be adding 25 to 30 lbs of weigh to your spare. Factor in the additional weight of an aftermarket wheel and a little offroading and you could one day be looking at structural failure of that stock tire carrier. Unfortunately this happens even under moderate offroading and slightly larger tires. Jeep seems to have anticipated the possibility of something happening to the tire carrier because they added a very thin steel bracket that connects the top two spare tire lug bolts to the upper bolts that hold the tire carrier to the door in what seems to be a structural backup in the event of failure. That’s good but who really wants to worry about it failing in the first place?
The most immediate issue we were dealing with after installing our LT315/70R17 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3’s was that the spare tire simply would not fit the stock tire carrier. The fact is, most over-sized tires will not fit on the stock spare tire carrier without an adapter because the stock carrier wasn’t designed for the additional height and width of larger tires. Several manufacturers market spare tire extension brackets, which raise and extend the position of the spare tire mount away from the vehicle allowing a larger spare tire to clear the bumper and the door. The main issue with these extension brackets is they only address the location of the spare tire and do nothing to strengthen the stock carrier. In fact these extension brackets actually add to the stresses placed on the stock spare tire carrier. Larger spare tires on the stock carrier also add to the stresses placed on the door hinges and can lead to premature hinge wear. We also wanted to add some accessories and the stock carrier offers zero options for anything. Not even a CB antenna. So with these points in mind, using the stock carrier with an extension was out of the question. We were in the market for a spare tire carrier.
Choosing our Tire Carrier
In our previous Rubicon X project we had looked to Maximus-3 out of Auburn Hills, Michigan to help us take our Rubicon’s Mopar Front Bumper to the next level with their Maximus-3 Classic Hoop, Winch Mount, D-Ring Loops, Hook Anchor & Light Brackets. With that installation we were thoroughly impressed with the quality and design so it made sense that we would be interested in their rear tire carrier. In our introduction of this project (Project Intro) we mentioned that we had known about Maximus-3 even before buying our Rubicon. But by shear luck we met up with one of the Maximus-3 engineers at the Bantam Heritage Jeep Festival in Butler PA last year and had a fantastic opportunity to check out their Rubicon X decked out with the best of engineering designs. That’s when we really got excited about Maximus-3.
Pictured above is the Maximus-3 JK Modular Tire Carrier Sport Package. We spent some time drooling all over this JK, talking to Joe who is one of the engineers at Maximus-3. He was very happy to show us around the JK and point out some engineering forethought that went into their products. We had seen a plethora of Maximus-3 pictures in the past couple of years but getting your hands on the product really speaks volumes of detail that you just can’t get out of a photo. For instance not until you actually swing the rear door with that Maximus-3 rear tire carrier installed you don’t realize how much weigh is unloaded from the door itself. With the new carrier installed the door is only linked to the tire carrier by a short, heavy duty, adjustable tie rod linkage arm. 100% of the spare tire weigh is unloaded from the door and you can really feel it opening and closing the door. Another immediate observation we saw was the substantial size and strength of the tubular tire carrier frame. We also really appreciated the variety of attachment options for accessories and how the engineers took advantage of as much available space as possible back behind the Jeep. Our first project with Maximus-3 was the Maximus-3 Classic Hoop, Winch Mount, D-Ring Loops, Hook Anchor & Light Brackets. Soon after we put the wraps on that project we were ready for tires and consequently the new tire carrier.
100% Bolt-on Installation was a breeze
Even with adequate documentation, you never quite know how easy or difficult an installation will be unless you’ve done it before. While it’s one thing to properly engineer an upgrade, it’s a whole different process to document the installation procedure. Ideally from the installers perspective, you want clear, step-by-step instructions so the install to go as easy as possible. The instructions from Maximus-3 were again like our Winch Mount install, very clear and accurate with plenty of photos and tips. Our install was accomplished in a couple of hours by one person pausing once in a while while we snapped photos and documented installation notes. During the install our biggest concern would have been the door alignment but Maximus-3 made that easy to deal with by never fully removing the rear door and mounting the hinges one at a time. The tire carrier has a tight and rattle-free operation thanks to an adjustable preloaded/tensioned tie rod and nylon stop block located where the tire carrier meets the door. The kit consists of minimal parts with the tie rod assembly pre-assembled simplifying the assembly and installation.
One huge advantage of this tire carrier is the fact that it is a 100% bolt-on installation. That means there was no cutting or drilling required, everything fit precisely to the factory door and hinges preserving the option to reverse the installation back to factory; although why anyone would want to revert back to the factory tire carrier is beyond me. Perhaps a good reason might be someone who wanted to sell their Jeep but wanted to keep such an awesome carrier for their next Jeep.
Below we are going to get into some of the highlights of Maximus-3 JK Modular Tire Carrier Sport Package.
If you want to know more about how the install went, you can read the details on the full install in this write-up and review here: How to Install the Maximus-3 JK Modular Tire Carrier.
You can also check out the install and review of the Maximus-3 Backup LED Light, which is a great addition to the Maximus-3 Tire Carrier.