The decision was made early, before we even purchased the Prado, that we would be installing bigger and better quality tyres than standard to suit the on and off road action that we wanted to do. We opted for bigger rolling diameter Mickey Thompson ATZ P3 which we had used on a previous vehicle. We previously found them to be an awesome durable tyre that provided us great confidence in all conditions.
The downside to this, was that the spare wheel on the rear door no longer fit within the rear wheel cover and even worse, came in contact with the rear door. The solution was simple. We looked around and decided on the common modification of installing a rear wheel spacer. We chose a reputable company and made the purchase. The spacer is a bracket made of thick steel that simply spaces the spare tyre about 25mm away from the rear door.
One afternoon, only a week or so out from our dream trip to Darwin and back Phill decided the time was right to install the bracket. This late decision led to a frustration that we have been living with since about mid way through our holiday trip from Alice Springs to Chambers Pillar.
The job was easy, pull all of the factory spare wheel carrier and brackets from the rear door and start the installation of the wheel carrier bracket. This is where things didn’t seem right….
The cutouts didn’t seem large enough. The surface that mounted to the rear door was not clearing an extrusion on the door where the pressed sheet metal on the door interfered with the mounting of the bracket. Given we only had a short amount of time before our trip and we needed the bracket on and the chunky new spare tyre fitted. Phill decided to space the bracket out further with thick galvanised washers between the door and the bracket which seemed to work.
An advantage of this spacer kit was the optional extra camp light which we think is pretty cool. This installation required a further supplied bracket to be bolted to the spacer. However, due to the need of electrical work which Phill was to complete even closer to our trip departure, the light bracket was installed but not the light just yet.
With the spare tyre installed, Patsy looked ready to conquer the world. She was no longer the car park warrior that most Prados seem to be.
Now going back to the issue we identified on the drive out from Alice to Chambers Pillar. We began to hear the most excruciating rattle come from the rear door. Upon returning to our camp at Alice, Phill pulled the whole bracket off and re installed it finding that it had been rubbing on the same pressed steel extrusion mentioned earlier with a fair amount of bull dust between the door and bracket. This repair, which included a clean and the application of tape, seemed short lived. We again found that after a short drive out to the gaps and gorges, the rattle developed once again. Phill developed an expert type of skill removing the bracket, he removed it a number more times on our trip including at the most amazing Mataranka. It was at this point Phill decided to complain to the manufacturer who gladly sent a new one out to home.
Once back at home, the new bracket was installed but a rattle is still present, probably part and parcel of owning a modified 4wd. This led to the decision to research a new rear bar consisting of a swing out wheel carrier and twin jerry can holder, mainly to carry extra water as Patsy seems to carry more than enough fuel in her twin fuel tanks. But more of that later. Stay tuned for our next update on our ‘rattling’ awesome adventure.