Vanagon – swing away tire carrier – more on the latch

Ok, I know this conical latch idea of mine is flakey but bear with me. I got some things tacked up today to see what was what. First is the upright that will hold the spare tire. In my last post I said how I had to make an adjustment to get the upright close, but not too close, to the back of the van.  My solution was to cut and bend the upright to mirror the profile of the rear of the van. Here are some pics with the upright (not fully welded out yet) roughly in place. My swing away arm is just clamped to the stock bumper.


I think this might work.


Ok, on to the latch. I tacked welded a bit of U channel onto the upright and I also bored a hole for and tacked in the short section on alluvium tube that you saw in the previous post and that houses the female Delrin part of this cockamamy set up. Here is the latch assembly more or less assembled. But some notes of explanation needed. Of course the threaded rod has not been cut down to size yet, and that metal but you see right against the left most flange represents the back stop I have yet to weld to the bumper. the two flanges meeting (and I think I might slim them down a tad) are the male and female parts in tight congress.. on the right hand side of the box section upright you can just see a trimmed down nut on the threaded rod, the thread rod, then the hand wheel. See the collar in place inside the “cage”? I need to make a set screw for it. The collar does two things, keeps the hand wheel from falling out of the cage when it is unscrewed from the rod, and when the hand wheel is turned to unscrew from the rod the collar pressed against the cage and pushes the upright away from the back stop.

I really am not doing a good job of explaining this. You’ll have to wait for a video or something.


Face on view. Aren’t I a clever fellow making 5 holes in the hand wheel reflecting the five holes in the vanagon wheel? It’s this attention to useless details that distinguishes my crazy ideas from other crazy ideas. 🙂

(Here’s something educational.  Click on the pic to bring it up in a new tab, then zoom in on the tack weld on the left side of the fully visible seam.  You can just make out a hairline crack on the tack. This happens because the heat sink of the thick walled box section tubing draws heat away very quickly from the cooling puddle of the tack weld. To reduce the chance of this happening I should have warmed up the tubing, it was pretty well dead cold. )


Male and female separated. Time for a smoke.


I think I can weld out everything now, and trim down a few of the moving parts.

Update: 21/02/2014.

Dirk over on the IG16 syncro forum expressed some concern that the upright being made of aluminum would waggle back and forth like one of my dog’s tails. Any time a German engineer gives advice it behoves one to listen 🙂 . So today I welded up (not very well, i was rushing) the upright and tacked it to the swing arm, and I cut out a reinforcing piece to weld in (3/8″ thick 6061 stock).  I am almost positive now that things will be wedding night stiff  when finished.


  1. #1 by famillysyncro on February 20, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    Looks nice Alistair.
    I think I got it, but it seems there is a support/stopper missing to hold the conical delrin piece? Do I get it right?
    When I made mine, I was thinking about a screw to hold the swing but went against it because I wanted to make it tool less. I guess you did it when you added the crazy nice “handle”……


    • #2 by albell on February 20, 2014 - 8:37 pm

      Hi Jerome,

      Yes the hand wheel is instead of a wrench. My explanations about how I think the latch is going to work have been very poor. You’re going to have to wait until I get it all assembled, or maybe I’ll mock it up tomorrow. I have to pull the stock bumper and do more trial fitting with the new bumper anyway.

      I’m going to be trimming down parts of the latch, I left a few components over sized until I was sure of the fit etc.




      • #3 by famillysyncro on February 20, 2014 - 8:41 pm

        Not a problem Alistair, take your time. We trust you, we know it is going to work…..;-)
        I didn’t read too much, we are really busy as we are leaving for Lake Louise tomorrow morning and need to get everything ready.


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