Front Wheel Holder

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We did not have the time to make it before leaving the USA. It was done later in Baja California, with the help of a local welding shop. We wanted it to be some kind of a bumper which would protect the front of the cabin and the engine. The idea was also to transfer up front some of the weight carried in the back of the truck.
Click on pictures to enlarge them.
We used 50x50 mm (2x2") steel square sections and added reinforcements in weaker areas which were welded on the inside. Such as for instance around the opening of receivers, a spot combining the stress incurred by a cantilevered beam with the weight of the wheel.
Two small plates are welded at the bottom to protect the tire from rubbing on the edge of these square sections.
The wheel holder matches with the two front recovery receivers. In case of a serious recovery situation, we can take down the rack to access these recovery points. Most of the times though, the front recovery point that came with the truck proves to be sufficient. In Baja for instance, it was enough to tow a local truck or a tourist RV stuck in the sand.
The welding team! Getting some work done as we travel is always a good opportunity to socialize with locals and share our dream come true with other adventure lovers. Left: the second spare wheel is held in place by a "U" bolt.
Back of the wheel shows the threaded stems of a "U" bolt, a spacer, flat and lock washers, two nuts and a padlock. We obtained this nice brown finish by treating the wheel holder and other surfaces as follows: it was washed with a 2% muriatic acid water solution, paper sanded, then rinsed and dried before being coated with two layers of varnish.