Bigger is Better!
Tire upgrades, it’s the most common modifications Jeep JK owners do and rightly so. New tires and rims can completely change the look and offroad performance of the Jeep JK for the better. The offroad tire market is a literal candy store of aftermarket performance tires with hundreds of great options to satisfy every niche of the 4×4 world. Driven by the offroad communities “bigger is better” maxim on tire size, the Jeep owner soon heads down that endless trail of Jeep upgrades looking for that perfect setup. It’s not long before your Jeep is lifted and on go a new set of bigger, badder tires and rims. The Jeep looks great and you’re gonna be turning heads waving with pride to your fellow Jeepers. Then comes the installation of the spare tire, the signature badge mounted on the back of every Jeep. You come to find that your heavier, over-sized spare tire isn’t going to just mount up to your stock spare tire carrier without some sort of modification, a spacer of some kind to raise the tire and offset it out a little more to clear the stock mounting location.
Problems with the Stock Jeep JK Tire Carrier
That’s where we were with the addition of a full set of 35″ Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 Mud Terrain Tires to Project Rubicon X. We definitely needed to do something with the tire carrier to fit our new 35″ mud tire spare back there. But there was a problem with the stock carrier. The backspacing of our new tire on the rim was greater than the stock tire and the tire was taller as well. It just wasn’t going to fit. We could have bought a fairly cheap adapter but the real problem is the stock Jeep JK tire carrier is a light weight, light duty cast aluminum component that is attached to the center of the rear door. It literally weighs just 5 lbs! Under the stresses of a larger spare tire these have been known to crack. Additionally all of the weight of the spare tire hangs from the door and on the door’s own hinges, which can lead to door sag and mis-alignment over time. Adding a larger, heavier spare tire to the Jeep JK’s stock tire carrier is just asking for trouble down the road and we didn’t want to deal with problems down the road. Furthermore, we had plans to carry additional offroad gear like a Hi-Lift Jack and an aftermarket rear tire carrier is a great platform to mount common offroad recover tools and supplies.
A Better Jeep JK Tire Carrier
We really loved what Maximus-3 had engineered for the Rubicon X’s Mopar front off-road bumper. Our post install impressions of their upgrades to the Rubicon 10A, X and Hard Rock front bumper and how it had brought Project X’s appearance to a whole new level of sophistication made us some happy Jeepers. You can read more about that project here: Maximus-3 Classic Hoop, Winch Mount, D-Ring Loops, Hook Anchor & Light Brackets. When we learned that Maximus-3 also designed and built a complete bolt on Rear Tire Carrier that was engineered to take the weight of the spare tire off of the door and transfer it over to the body we were intrigued.
As we said earlier, we wanted more than just a stronger platform for our larger, heavier spare tire. We also wanted a place to mount some offroad gear, a permanent mounting location for some offroad lights and a good spot to mount our Firestik CB Antenna. Their JK Modular Tire Carrier Sport Package accommodated our list of requirements plus it’s designed to accept a multitude of Maximus-3 accessory add-ons including several more we wanted to add later into the project. Here’s a list of what the Maximus-3 rear tire carrier offers as accessory add-ons: Hi-Lift Jack Mount, Jack Shovel Mount/Clamps, Side Shovel Mount, Side Rotopax Mount, High Double Pax Mount, Side NATO/USGI Jerry Can Holder, Center High Mount Work Light Bracket, Backup Camera/ Bracket, Side LED Backup Light Bracket, Side LED Backup Light, Center Accessories Mast/Stem. The fact that the Maximus-3 Tire Carrier is a bolt-on was a big plus to us because we really didn’t want to hack into our JK and make any major modifications. Additionally we really wanted to maintain the Rubicon X appearance though this project. The Maximus-3 JK Modular Tire Carrier Sport Package made the most sense for our plan so we got one on order. We weren’t in the least disappointed.
First Impressions of the Maximus-3 JK Modular Tire Carrier Sport Package
There’s nothing like new Jeep parts at the front door. We immediately began unpacking the array of parts, which took a little while. Every component was thoroughly wrapped and packaged. We took some care using the razor blade as not to damage the powder-coat finish. But once we got everything unwrapped and laid out, we were more than excited. Our previous project with a Maximus-3 product had us admiring the design and engineering but this tire carrier and it’s components were unquestionably more elaborate and detailed than we had expected. Aside from the appearance of the tire carrier and it’s laser cut components just flat out looking awesome with precision assembly, quality welds and black powder coating, everything is heavy duty. The bent tubing tire carrier itself with the accessory mounting platform and adjustable spare tire mount was definitely designed to handle a heavy spare tire. The thick walled steel Hinge Brackets that will be mounted to the body look like they were built to handle a heavy load. Even the Tie Rod Linkage looked like it was made to handle more than it’s purpose in this kit.
Installing the Maximus-3 Tire Carrier Sport Package
We’ll get into more detail later in our final review of the tire carrier in this article series. Next up we want to get right into the installation and show you how easy it is to install this high quality, bolt-on tire carrier and with the Maximus-3 carrier installed, we will finally be able to mount up our 35″ Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 on Project Rubicon X.