Out with the old Rancho tire carrier and in with the new, or at least new to me OR-Fab tire can carrier. I couldn't find any pictures of this carrier with the Scepter military MFC fuel carriers, so I took a chance and it paid off. To start off with, this carrier is stout - I mean heavy duty and very heavy. I only plan on using it when I overland and will most certainly remove it otherwise. Too bad they don't have any plans for an aluminum model, because it is IHO the best tire can carrier on the market.
Did I say it was heavy? I didn't weigh it, but figure it has to be in the 40lb range for the swing out and another 8-10lbs for the brackets. Having dealt with weight sag during my travels, I decided to put my new Metalcloak suspension to the test to see if it is up to the task. Keep in mind my Jeep is very light. I have replaced everything except my rock rails for aluminum and do not have anything in the back. I have an oversize Tuffy drawer that I use when I travel, so I took the time to install it as well.
For a baseline, I have 6.5" of rear up travel travel in rock crawling attire (no doors, no top, no fender flares and no rear seat. Putting my full steel doors on, fenders and the empty the tire carrier sagged the rear suspension by 1/2". Next I installed my spare tire and the Tuffy box with recovery gear and tools, which dropped the rear another full inch! I was now looking at 5" of rear up travel. Last was to install the Scepter tanks. I travel with two (5) gallon tanks and another 5 gallons of water, which lowered the rear up travel to another 1/2" or 4.5" of up travel. So in summary, my 3.5" Metalcloak (realistically 4" for me) rear springs were sagging by (2) inches and I hadn't even packed the Jeep with camping gear. Luckily I kept a set of OME HD 996 rear springs, which are rated at 250 lbs/inch in anticipation of this problem. My rear shocks are out boarded, which makes swapping springs a breeze. Less than an hour later start to finish, I had my rear shocks swapped out. Just a note, but I did need to add a 1.75" coil spacer to make up for the difference in ride height. I may add another 1/2" depending on how much gear, which is not optimal for rock crawling, but acceptable for the type of overlanding I do. After my trip is over, I will remove the carrier and swap out the springs again. All in all, it's about a three hour preparation, including my safari racks, Tuffy box, springs and the carrier install, which I can live with.
Overall, the designers did a very good job with the packaging, fitment and the quality is great. Good welds, excellent backing plates and the latch closes very securely. I did change out the hardware for stainless, but only because I hate dealing with rusty bolts on aftermarket parts. Form and function is well thought out and it is stacked with additional features, e.g., a flange for a CB antennae, provisions for mounting a high lift jack and another tab for mounting a flag for areas that require one.
I plan on taking an overlanding trip to Ouachita National Forest over Memorial Day putting the carrier to its first test.