Spare Tire Flip
Of all the Rav modifications I've done, I fully expect this one to be the least appreciated, and the one that finally cements the idea that I am just plain nuts. Nobody in their right mind would do this - which made it an ideal project for me.
Since the day I purchased the Rav4EV and brought it home to check it all out, it bugged me that I had to lower the spare tire just to check the air pressure - the spare is carried stem-side up! My first fix was to run a hose from the stem of the spare to a remote stem that I mounted in my bumper. After buying and throwing away two of those $15 hoses that leaked (I since found a high-quality item that has not leaked in four years! Even though I now keep the spare up-side down, I also use a remote hose), I was determined to come up with a better fix. I had originally wanted to flip the spare tire over in its rack, but that turned out to be WAY too easy (and not so slick because of the way the rack was built - the steel wheel would hit the rack before the rubber tire. The metal rack would rub on painted metal, and nothing would sit properly). Well, I recently took delivery of a plasma cutter and a MIG welder, I'm even more dangerous than usual now...
Please note my caution on the rubber cracking as well. These spares are usually unseen until you need them - and when you do it may not be up to the task. :(
The factory rack has two straight bars that pass under the spare (shown upside-down
here) that would hit the steel wheel if used in this orientation. I'm
pointing to the factory location of the supporting bar (though that sectino
has already been cut out in this shot and just placed back for the picture). Oh,
and before you ask - yes I *do* wash my spare tire, thankyouverymuch.
So I bent some steel bar to clear the wheel, and welded it in place.
I cut out the original straight piece of bar, ground the welds and repainted.
See how easy it is to find the valve stem now?
OK, so I didn't match up the bends exactly to the radius of the wheel, but
considering this is never seen by anybody taller than 12 inches, I think I
can get away with it.
And now after five years, I find that many DEEP cracks have appeared in the factory tire. I recieved another spare assembly that has been in storage, and while the cracks are not as severe, they are still showing up. Tire is marked: T155/70D17 110M
Here is my original spare in June, 2008:
And here is the unit that has been in storage. Much better, but the cracking is still starting.