Up until recently I have been carrying my extra race slicks and rain tires in the back of my truck. Not too long ago I got a mid-rise ARE bed cap, which certainly made it easier to carry and secure all the track extras. But it was still a pain to crawl up into the bed to get wheels out, especially since I was loading them towards the front for better weight distribution. They were also taking up a lot of room in the Titan’s short 5.5′ bed.
I’d been wanting to get an aluminum trailer tire rack to match the aluminum open trailer. Unfortunately there isn’t anything off the shelf that would work, it would have to be completely custom. I’ve got a MIG welder, but no spool gun for welding aluminum. So I decided to go the simpler (and cheaper) route and build one out of steel.
I built the rack entirely out of 1.5×1.5″ square and 1×2″ tube, both in 14 ga wall thickness. I also wanted a better method to store the fuel jugs. Previously I was strapping them down individually to the tool box, which was time consuming to do and not very clean. The solution was a couple horizontal bars for the jugs to rest on, with another bar to capture them at the rear. The front of the jugs rest against the tool box. I welded on four small tie down rings to hook a ratchet strap into and run through the handles of the jugs. The jugs are raised off the trailer deck to provide room for the Warn winch located below.
Another feature of the rack is that it is completely removable from the trailer. The trailer came equipped with stake holders along the perimeter, used to hold 2×4″ wood. The “feet” of the rack go down into these stake holders to provide lateral and longitudinal support. Four J-bolts secure the rack to the trailer, which hook into the bottom of the stake holders.
To secure the wheels to the rack I went with the standard method of running a tube though the bores. To prevent damage to the wheels finish I used a piece of gray electrical PVC conduit as the outer portion of the tube. Inserted into the PVC pipe is a galvanized steel electrical conduit tube to provide strength. The two pieces are permanently boded together with black polyurethane sealant.
The tube slides through an oversized hole cut into a piece of plate steel which is secured to the rack using M8 nutserts and stainless bolts. I cut oblong holes into the plate to allow for adjusting the height of the tube for slightly different tire sizes. If necessary, a completely different end plate can be made and installed for much larger or smaller wheels/tires.
I drilled a hole through the tube on both ends of the tube to allow for installing a lock. I did it on both side in case one side is blocked by another trailer/truck in the paddock. This way I can remove the tube from either side.
I finished off the rack with a coat of Rustoleum red primer, followed by aluminum spray paint. I know I’ll have to go back and touch up several spots, especially where the tires rub the horizontal bar. Ideally I would like to get the entire thing powdercoated.
In the photos you can see cardboard between the wheels, which was a temporary solution to keep the wheel faces from rubbing each other while travelling. Since these photos were taken I have procured some corrugated plastic (same stuff used to make yard signs) to act as a cushion between the wheels.