No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

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No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by Herbie » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:10 am

Ok, I think its generally agreed upon that the dutch doors aren't up to taking the weight of a heavier AT tire and wheel, not to mention all the fitment issues. While I dream about a nice swing-away carrier that isn't a pain to use every day (I'm in/out of the dutch doors all the time), I think it might be time to just accept that I'll have to use the stock spare location and shoe-horn in a bigger spare. That said, I'd still like to make use of that space on the back. All of these aftermarket spare tire holders seem to assume that you can hang at least SOME weight on the dutch doors. So how much is "safe"?

I'm thinking that I'd like to build mounts to put a pair of NATO jerry cans on the back of my van, one on each lower door. A little math tells me that each can will hold 33.89lbs of fuel, and my cans weigh about 8.5lbs empty, so I'm looking at just under 43lbs per door.

According to Tirerack, the tires on my van now (came when bought van used) weigh 25lbs each and I have to figure my OEM 16" wheels weigh at least 18lbs since they don't appear to be made to be particularly light. Would a "normal" full-size spare be safe on a dutch-door mount?

So what to the experts think? If I either adapt one of the aftermarket spare tire rigs and add an aluminum jerry can holder or build my own, assuming either solution contains all the normal backing plates, is a door mounted solution up to the challenge of 43lbs going down a trail?
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:54 pm

A jerry can on each door will be no problem. Peter put a spare 325/65/R15 BFG on his left door. The barn doors use the same hinges as the dutch doors.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by T.Low » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:21 pm

Sorry, Mike: the whole rear bumper thing was too much for my limited RAM...I've shelved the idea for a while. But with thoughts of Baja approaching, my borther in law is onboard and we may come up a Aluminess-like bumper with dual spare tire swing outs and Gerry Can holders. I've always wanted a swing out mount for my mountain bike tray as well.

We'll keep posted.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by Herbie » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:15 pm

T.Low wrote:Sorry, Mike: the whole rear bumper thing was too much for my limited RAM...I've shelved the idea for a while. But with thoughts of Baja approaching, my borther in law is onboard and we may come up a Aluminess-like bumper with dual spare tire swing outs and Gerry Can holders. I've always wanted a swing out mount for my mountain bike tray as well.

We'll keep posted.
Please do, but for me the devil will be in the details.

Swing-away wise, I have access to a big CNC machine and a guy who's handy with a TIG who owes me a couple of favors, so I could probably get something fabbed without major wallet pain, but I'm worried about daily use of a swing-away being a PITA. Since the 'stro is becoming my daily driver/grocery getting/baby hauler, I really don't think I want to have to go through this procedure 2-3 times everyday:
1) Unlatch swing away, be sure it stops on a detent so as not to hit other parked cars*
2) Open upper dutch door*
3) Open right dutch door*+
4) Load stroller/groceries/etc. into back
5) close right dutch door+
6) close upper dutch door
7) re-latch and secure swing away

*And do all of these steps with groceries or baby in-hand, etc.
+ I only need to open the right door for our (folded) jog stroller.

I can usually get away with opening just the top hatch, but the fact that even a moderate spare tire won't clear the rear hatch unless it swings away means that I'd be using the swing away EVERY DAY. Unless the latch is super easy and can be secured without inserting pins, etc. then it just won't work on a daily driver vehicle.

As much as I think getting my spare out from under the van would be better for offroading (easier access should I have a problem on-trail, especially if its a REAR tire problem), and as much as I would love to fit a water tank in that location instead, I think I'm leaning towards just leaving the spare there and putting the jerry cans directly onto the doors so that I can open/close the doors normally without any extra steps.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by 9dawgs » Tue May 18, 2010 12:11 am

Hmmm, I like the way this is heading. As for the spare on the door. I'm not sure there's an easy solution for the dutch doors. My spare is mounted to my barn door and it has been for going on 4yrs now with no problems. But with the dutch doors it will be impossible to overcome the rear window without a swingaway of some type. I think the doors will handle the weight just fine. But if you're privy to a TIG welder and CNC then why not fab up an awesome roof rack with a spare tire mount on it? Sort of Baja style but flatter. That way you can use a larger spare without the fitment problems you would encounter trying to locate it under the rear. If you need to access it on the trail there are removable steps you can hang on your tire to get to it like this one on Amazon (Tire Step ATD10305).

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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by ihatemybike » Tue May 18, 2010 2:29 am

What about a front bumper spare mount? I know I've seen pics on the forum before where this was done.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by Herbie » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:41 pm

Just an update to this thread, and a question.

I'm about ready to move forward on building a Fuel Can rack for my rear door. I've been doing a lot of scheming, and I think I have found a way to hang the weight of the rack directly off the hinge pins, rather than off of the door material. This leaves me feeling pretty confident that the weight of a single can of fuel, no problem.

However, looking at how I want to lay stuff out on the back of my van, I've come to the conclusion I'd prefer to have two cans on the left door, leaving the right side free for other things. Which leads me to my question: Just how much weight should I be able to hang off those hinges? I just scored a pair of Adventure Trailer jerry can holders for a great price. The problem is that the can holders are steel and heavy by themselves, so the weight of a holder, can, and fuel is ~61lbs. Thus two cans is 122lbs!

I'm starting to think even with the weight directly on the hinge, that's just too much mass to be bouncing down the road. I'm right, aren't I?

Bummer.

I have a junkyard tire rack I'm ready to modify to put the load on the hinges, looks like it'll work great with minimal work, but if I have to put one can on each door, then I'll need a second, and the chances of finding a match are near zero, so it means fabbing up a pair of new racks... ugh.
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1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:27 am

That is a lot of weight. No idea how much they can hold.
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2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

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Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by brokenwrench » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:25 am

I made a mount off my trailer hitch, I welded two extra receivers on, right and left, I made a tire mount with an old front spindle and i have made tools boxes, small dump box, hoist that all attach to trailer hitch.

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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by loopie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:26 am

Just gonna throw this out there...how about a rack that is attached to the upper hatch. Re-spec the struts for the new weight and you would have an overhead swingaway that'll lift with a single finger... :-k

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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by arlon » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:35 pm

I was considering adding a receiver hitch tube to my existing hitch but offset to one side. I could then make a simple spare holder and set it out far enough for the window to clear and also be able to mount a jerry can behind it with most of the weight on the bumper step. If I get rearended they at least have to go through the spare to get to the gas can. I also almost never use the left door so I don't mind covering it up.

I do have the full size spare under the van and it fit in there perfectly but I would like to have a second spare after my last flat tire experience. I would only slip it into a receiver when I was heading out for a weekend. It wouldn't have to live on my van.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by Herbie » Mon May 12, 2014 8:33 pm

OK, I have actual progress to report. I figured I'd do this outside my build thread, since there's enough info here that might be useful to the general population. It's still in-progress, so check back for more updates.

After spending a TON of time scheming and taking measurements, as well as gauging how I actually USE my van and what I really need to carry, I've come to the following conclusions:
  • I'm actually fine keeping the spare in the stock location. The larger tires I'm running still fit underneath, and the chances I'll get so badly stuck while needing to access the spare are slim enough that I'll risk it. I also found a way to mount a water tank inside the van, so I don't need that area for that.
  • I really need to be able to carry at least 5 gallons of extra fuel, preferably NOT on the roof rack. (Van is top-heavy enough with the lift, pop top, solar panels on the roof, etc.)
  • I would also like to get the propane tank off the roof. Won't carry it inside the van, can't find a reasonably priced RV tank that will fit under, so I'm sticking with my 5lb tank.
  • A custom swing-out bumper just isn't in the budget this year or next.
  • As much as I want to keep the ability to swing the dutch doors through the full 180° arc, the solution I have for mounting stuff to the door hinges just won't let that happen, therefore I'm resigned to only hanging stuff on ONE side. That way I can keep the other door swinging all the way out.
  • 10 gallons of fuel would be great, but starts to get impractical if I add up the weight of the fuel (31lbs), the can (~7lbs), and my extra-heavy-duty 10g steel jerry can holders.
So given all that, I decided to just get off the fence and build a simple rack to hold one jerry can rack, my propane tank, and (as a bonus), probably a Trasharoo.

So, the beginning of the build:
I started with a $5 junkyard tire rack that looked a lot like this, only more rusty, and the tire holder was bent out of shape.
Image

To my horror, I realized I don't have a full picture of the rack before I started modifying it, but here's the manufacturer's label.
Image

Step one was to tack in a reinforcing strip close to the vertical pieces so that I could keep the spacing rigid when I did the bigger cuts.
Image

Top of the image is one of the original hangers, post-removal. These fit over the big external hinges on older vans - Ford or Dodge, I think, and the long bolt passed behind the hinge and sort of held the carrier to the hinges. My system would be similar but much more compact. New hangers started with layout fluid on a couple of clean bars of 1" x 1/4" cold-rolled 1018 steel. Hot-roll would have worked, but the nice square edges and clean surface made doing the layout and holding some tight tolerances on assembly much easier.
Image

The hardest part of this whole project was removing the door pins. The most common method I see mentioned is to put a thin hacksaw blade between the hinges and cut the pins, then drive them out later. I really didn't want to do this, especially since I was keeping the doors and body-side of the hinges. I just wanted the pins out. From my perspective, this is the best way to remove the rear door hinge pins. Minimal hammering required, (and none hard) so minimized risk of body damage. No bumper removal required. Only change is I might put some cardboard between the door and the tool...
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Here's the magic: 1 6" C-clamp, my smallest 1/4" socket (to push up on the tapered end of the pin), a 5/8" socket (goes over the head of the pin), and the extension tube from my bottle jack to provide additional leverage for the c-clamp. Note that I did BEND an identical c-clamp out of parallel early in this process while I experimented with different things to push up on the pin. Not sure if it was a bum unit, or some of my other attempted setups allowed too much flex and caused things to get out of square. In either case, the key to making this workseems to be to keep everything as short/rigid as possible and lined up vertically. Use your smallest socket, and the most rigid C-clamp you can get in there. A small ball-joint press frame might also work, if you can rig it to work with the sockets.
Image

Voila'! You can see the problem - the pins are splined, so once seated in the hinge they are really "in there". When these finally come loose, they "POP" with a pretty loud bang. After this point, some light tapping with a pin punch and a small hammer was all that was needed to get the top pin out. I've had the pins in and out a number of times now doing test fittings (partially seated, not to the splines), and I've used two different methods to get the bottom pin out without removing the bumper.
Image

First, I used a slightly undersized pin and a c-clamp to press the pin out (deep socket needed at the end of this. Second, and easier, was to use the flat bar part of this pin-removal tool set to drive the pin up from the head. Note that this "tool" is basically some bar stock with a notch in it. Once the pin is pushed up past the splines, this is enough to tap it the rest of the way upwards, and you can keep the hammer head well away from the body.
Image

Here's my new over-hinge tacked up and trial-fit. Using slightly undersized 21/64ths punch from my transfer punch set as a temporary pin since the lack of splines and a head made it very easy to just drive through for repeated fittings. The nominal OD of the hinge pins is .342", or close to 11/32".
Image

I got busy and didn't take many photos, so here we are several changes later. I removed the bent and rusty mounting plate that served to hold a tire, then cut the "U" bend and added 7" of extra 1" tubing in the middle to stretch it to the width of the Astro door. The bottom over-hinge has been tacked in place to the rack, and I've got the upper hinge held with a clamp while I align pins in everything. I was able to remove the pins and tack the hinges on the workbench, which was a relief, as I didn't fancy doing even tack welding near the van. I tried to shroud everything in my single welding blanket and realized the chances of showering the van in slag was too high...
Image

After the main hoop was tacked and re-fitted, I cut up and re-purposed the original mounting plate as well. This was originally "Z" shaped and attached to the outside of the van door with two big bolts right through the door skin. Ugly, and a bit too permanent for my tastes (says the guy who cut the roof off a perfectly good van). Eventually, I may be able to afford a full swing-away bumper so I don't want to put any big holes in things if I can avoid it. This simple angle piece will let me keep the holes on the side of the door instead. These really just keep the hanger moving with the door - the hinges should take all the weight.
Image

A little parts-bin engineering solves the hinge pin problem. These have the same OD, but are 4.1" long to allow for the extra 1/2"+ that I've added with my over-hinge brackets. For the record, these are Dorman/Help! brand part# 38407
Image

Next up is to tack in a couple more bits to let me mount my jerry can holder and order the ($$) propane tank bracket. I've already gone through and finished the welds in most spots, so once everything else is welded in place I'll give it a final grind and wire brush then prime and paint.

Stay tuned!
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Fri May 16, 2014 11:22 am

Looking great so far! The finished product will be an awesome addition!
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by Herbie » Thu May 29, 2014 7:00 pm

OK, here's the wrap-up on this project.

First, a correction. Here's the correct replacement door pin, Dorman Part#38400:
Image

This pin has the correct length and includes matched bushings. I wanted to include the bushings since my training tells me hard-on-soft is better than hard-on-hard, but in this instance, it may not matter.

Image
The rack getting a final coat in my high-tech "spray booth"

Image
Starting the final alignment of the over-hinges and pins.

Image
Checking things with pins 90% inserted before driving them home.

Image
And we're locked in, now. I had to take a big swallow of my pride before posting these, as it reveals some of my worst welds. Still getting the new welder figured out at this point. Most subsequent welds didn't look this bad, but they should hold, so what the hell.

Image
And driving in the bottom pin. Needed to use a pin punch to get to this one, not much clearance in there for a hammer.

Image
My Adventure Trailers Jerry Can holder bolts to the rack w/ stainless hardware. AT propane bracket bolts to the can holder.

Image
Image
And there we are.

Image
Fully loaded, the door-check will just hold the door open, even on my VERY slanted driveway, but it's close. Any more weight, and I'll need either a door-stop, or to park somewhere more level!

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I feel pretty confident about how this locates the weight on the hinges, especially when the door is closed - it feels very solid. I even experimented with standing on the rack to be able to reach the roof rack. So far, it looks like I may not need a rear ladder now!

Image
Had a small miscalculation on the clearance for attaching at the side of the door - the shape of the right hand door makes it easy to clear the lower screws, but it's tight on the upper hole. Probably don't need three fasteners since the weight is on the hinges, but I wanted to seal the hole I drilled so I put a pop-rivet in there. Nice and low profile.

Image
Part of this design was to also have a place to mount my Trasharoo trash carrier. This is why the rack sits relatively "high" on the door and the fuel cans "hang" down below the rack.

Image
The upper bar of the rack also takes the straps of the Trasharoo. If I mounted everything low on the door, the Trasharoo would sag down below the bumper.
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: No spare tire on my dutch doors, what about fuel cans?

Post by T.Low » Thu May 29, 2014 8:35 pm

Awesome, Mike.

Set up a kit for OverlandVans to sell, and start collecting your royalties. I'd be the first order. =D>
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