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mark52 11-21-2011 01:02 AM

Bestop Highrock Tire Carrier Install
I got the bestop tire carrier because i wanted to be able to easily get into the back of our LJ Jeep. The tire carrier works with your existing tailgate. As you open your tailgate, The tire carrier swings out with it. After installing it, most of the weight of the spare tire and rim are on the roll bar instead of the tailgate.
The instructions rate the install difficulty at 3 out of 4. If all the supplied parts would have worked, I think it would have been more like 2 out of 4. I did have to go to the hardware store because some of the supplied parts did not work.
I would rate the carrier at about an 8 out of 10 i guess. It rattled a little when i first drove the jeep. After tightening it down that went away. The tire wobbles a little when i close the tailgate, but i may be able to tighten it down.
I used the following WF thread for some advice on the install:
On the right is the supplied jack nut that came with the kit (I forgot to include the flimsy jack nut wrench). It didn't work. At the hardware store they didn't have any jack nuts but they actually had something better. On the left is a blind nut. This thing worked like a charm in the 2 locations I had to put them.
This is the blind nut installation. The blind nut goes into the hole, the blind nut tool goes over the blind nut. You then insert the bolt into the tool and blind nut.Next, you carefully hold on to the tool with some vice grips while turning the bolt with a socket wrench. A decent amount of pressure has to be applied while doing this. Tighten it until its snug then carefully tap off the tool.
And there you have it - a blind nut ready for a bolt. Please note that the scratches you see on the paint are from trying to install the supplied jack nut. the jack nut tool would not hold the jack nut in place so i got the bright idea of trying to hold on to the jack nut with a pair of needle nose pliers:facepalm:. My advice - go purchase a couple quality jack nuts or blind nuts and make sure you drill a hole just bigger than the nut.
I took the advice from another WF post on doing one hole at a time. Center punch, drill a small pilot hole, then drill the full size hole. Install the bolt, then go to the next hole and center punch it. take out the bolt and repeat the process. This insures that you get the holes in the right place.
Even after carefully drilling all the holes, They still didn't want to line up with the bar that attaches to the roll bar:facepalm:. Its almost impossible to get these to line up perfectly the first time. Some people in other posts redrilled there holes in the tub a little bigger. I decided to do the following:
I grinded off about 1/16" off of the bar lowering it that much. I really don't think that this compromised the strength of the bar at all and it ended up matching right up to the holes.
The support bar after install. As you can see the part that i grinded down is strengthened by a perpendicular part of the bar.

After install:cool:

When tailgate is closed, The tire comes in close to the Jeep
When tailgate is open, the tire swings out away from the tailgate.

All in all this was a pretty easy install as long as you are able to think outside the box when something isn't working or if holes don't line up. I did end up having to drill 4 holes into the tub and 2 into the tailgate. I hated doing that but this will be permanent. Its only been a couple of days now but so far we're happy with the tire carrier. I'll probably add a post here in a couple of weeks after I've had a chance to mess with it. Hope this helps anyone thinking about buying this tire carrier. Oh yea, I bought it from 4 Wheel Parts for $304.99 before tax.

N1IRB 11-21-2011 01:19 AM

Nice. :thumb:
Thanks for the report. Been eyeing this but have not pulled the trigger yet myself.

village idiot 11-21-2011 09:02 AM

I've been running one of these for a full season, carrying a 33" spare. Works well, no issues.

TXST8tj 11-21-2011 09:52 AM

I have installed a few of these carriers. I do agree, the supplied 'jack nut' system is a PITA. Before I installed the second one, I called Bestop and had them send me a few spare nuts and 'tools'. The tool doesn't last long and the nuts can crap out before they are installed.
I found that the main problem with what they supply is the bolt you use to tighten the nut (compress it) is too short. I ended up picking up a slightly longer bolt to get that part done. Once it's compressed, you can use the supplied nut.

The tip on drilling one hole at a time is the only way to go with this tire carrier.

My experience with this system is from an install perspective only, but it seems to be tough. It's not my favorite design, but it works. I would like to install an Or-Fab carrier for someone as I think that is a better designed tub-mounted system.

s3nt3nc3d 11-21-2011 02:57 PM

Mine is still working well too!

Jerry Bransford 11-21-2011 03:03 PM

Nice writeup! And yep, those nuts that Bestop supplies aren't the best for this particular job, you switched to a much better type that will hold up far better.

TXST8tj 11-21-2011 06:33 PM

Mark, for future reference, what hardware store did you pick up that nut system you got? I meant to ask eariler.

TJDave 11-21-2011 07:32 PM

^ That blind nut is cool. I wish I would of known about those when I installed mine. The jack nuts are a PITA and almost worthless. I destroyed one, and finally made the second supplied jack nut (for the third brake light bracket) to work. I just threw a 2" led in a modified centercap for a third brake light.

Other than having to buy better hardware, I'm happy with my Bestop Carrier.

mark52 11-22-2011 12:00 AM


Originally Posted by TXST8tj (Post 1762123)
Mark, for future reference, what hardware store did you pick up that nut system you got? I meant to ask eariler.

After OSH didn't have them I went to a local hardware store here in Fresno called Fresno Ag. They actually have a lot of specialty stuff. I think they are affiliated with True Value Hardware.

mark52 12-05-2011 10:35 PM

Well, Its been a couple of weeks now and I'd say that I'm pretty happy with the tire carrier. The day after installing it I heard a rattling coming from the tire carrier but it ended up being the flag holder that I made rubbing against the carrier. After adjusting that a little and giving one more tightening of the bolts, all the rattling went away. The spare tire and wheel that I have on it weigh 80.5 Lbs so when the tail gate closes the whole jeep shakes a little but that's no big deal. I would rate my happiness for this tire carrier at a 9 out of 10. The tubing and welding on the carrier seem to be high quality so why doesn't Bestop also include high quality bolts and jack nuts/blind nuts?

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