Using Hitch Extender with Kuat NV Bike Rack to Clear Spare Tire on 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Question:

can i run a extension to clear rear mounted spare? 2007 jeep wrangler 4 door

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Expert Reply:

When an extender is used, we typically advise that the tongue weight capacity of the receiver is decreased by 50 percent. In many cases, 50 percent of the original tongue weight capacity will be sufficient to carry the rack and the bikes placed on it.

Due the the relatively heavy weight and long length of the Kuat # NV22G-NA22G, Kuat states that using an extender is not recommended. When you use an extender, not only are you increasing the distance between the load and the receiver which increases the leverage applied to the receiver, but the fact that there will be an extra connection point between the rack and the extender will allow more bounce. This bounce further compounds the leverage applied to the receiver. If too much leverage is applied, the receiver or bike rack can fail, possibly resulting in the rack being detached from the vehicle.

The Wrangler's ride quality has improved somewhat over the years, not as rough as my old CJ5 did, but the ride is certainly more harsh than a typical SUV, which would further increase the bounce, causing additional leverage and stress to be placed on the receiver. For these reasons, I would not recommend using that rack with an extender.

Your best bet would be to use a rack that has a shank long enough to clear the spare tire. To determine the necessary clearance, measure rearward from the hitch pin hole in the receiver until you clear the spare tire. The easy way to do this is to have a friend hold a flat piece of lumber like a 2x4 flush up against the rear face of the spare tire. The distance between the hitch pin hole and the piece of lumber will be the absolute minimum clearance needed. With stock spare tires, we installed a hitch on a Wrangler Unlimited and found the clearance distance to be 12 inches. You would then choose a rack whose shank is longer than the minimum clearance needed.

The Swagman XTC-4, part # S64665 is a 4 bike platform-style rack that has a shank that measures 12-3/4 inches long.

expert reply by:
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Mike L

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