Currently running 31s with a 2" lift and have for the last 4 yrs. I've just bumped the lift up to 5" and the plan is to ultimately run 33s
I have had the spare mounted both on the roof (Mopar roof-top spare carrier) and on a rear swing away (Custom 4x4 fab rear bumper and carrier) at various times.
Here are my thoughts in the subject:
Regardless of your particular discipline, putting a great deal of weight up high is a bad idea for offoraders. It may not matter quite as much for overlanders as for rockcrawlers in the sense that when overlanding you don't really plan on getting involved in radically off-camber situations whereas in rockcrawling, it's pretty much a given. That having been said, any steps that one can take to minimise the amount of weight loaded up high is a good thing.
Now, when loading up for long trips you will inevitably have to load gear onto the roof, especially in an XJ where space is at a semi-premium. So why take up that valuable space with a spare when you can hang it off the back end?
From a more practical point of view: I'm 5'7" and the thought of wrestling a 70-ish lb 33" tire off of the roof of a lifted vehicle just does not appeal to me.
'95 XJ Sport 4-dr
4.0 HO - AW4 - NP231 - D30, Open - C8.25 29-Spline, OEM Trac-Loc - 4.10:1
5.5" bastard lift | JKS Quicker Discos & ACOS | RE DB's, UCAs & LCAs| 33x12.50-15 | 15x8x4.0BS Steelies | RuffStuff Diff Covers | AA SYE | Tom Woods dshaft | LeBaron hood vents | B&M Tranny cooler | 62mm bored TB | APN Header | Borla Cat-Back | C4x4 Fab Rear bumper & carrier | Stainless Braided Brake lines | ZJ Rear Discs
I know your point was to remove the spare from your rear cargo space, but I've focused on maintaining an Overland XJ with 31" tires for the exact reason that I can still fit the spare standing up in the rear. Placing on the roof opens up all the above mentioned issues with stability, sway and sucking down gas mileage and, just in my opinion, rear mounting options are (for the most part) way too expensive to justify how much it will screw with your visibility, access to the rear and weight distribution.
Now, if you're not going to have 31" tires at all then I think your best option is a rear mount.
I am super happy I moved the spare out of the cargo area. A 31" MT takes up a lot of space, but it is possible to do it in an XJ. 32-33 is possible in the stock location, but your seat will not close properly (fine if you dont have kids or rear seat passengers). I wont be putting mine back inside anytime soon. Only had the spare on the roof once... that sucked.
As for the Detours Knucklebone, I do not know what max tire size is possible? I would venture a guess a 33"? It is not junk I assure you. Mark @ Detours does a nice job on the fab and this includes a swing, anti rattle shim, positive latching system and adjustable head for backspace adjustment. It is a great option for people not running 44" boggers and needing a tire mounting option.
Not everyone can afford a $1500.00 rear bumper with a carrier or has the skills to make their own.
edit: I think that is a pic of one of the prototypes...
Red XJ's FTW
2000 Jeep XJ Classic. 2005 Jeep WK LTD 5.7L. 1992 M101 CDN2 1/4 ton project trailer, CVT Mt Hood RTT. 2009 Coachman 108ST Tent Trailer.
Follow on Twiter
l l ,[_____],
l---- L -lllllll-
Up top I got 2mpg less so if its dd, throw it in the back and roof rack can carry more I'm going to make a rear bumper
ive had my tire on the roof, and now have a swing away. anything bigger than a 31 and i would say dont bother with the roof its just too heavy to safely get it up and down. It also kind of depends how much you think you are going to use the spare, if you do a lot of city driving something like the hitch mounted option above would be nice, you can just hook it up when you need it. the swing away is the best permanent solution. in any case you are on the right path deciding to get that tire out of the trunk
I carry mine on the roof rack out of necessity, I can keep it in the back but in cases like today, with a canoe on the rack I needed it inside. saving the pennies for a detours tailbone system. I think a swing out carrier on the bumper is just the best way to go. frees up a lot of cargo space and you can fab up a place to mount jerry cans on the tire carrier, or a hi lift, shovel, ax, etc.
1999 XJ Cherokee Chili Pepper Red Daily Driven 325k miles to date.
1975 C10 Suburban 454/th400 (thinking about parting it out)
I used to have mine on the door of the wj. It wasn't bad at all up there. I mainly had some clearance issues and lost a ton of rack space. Handling was the same as it is now in the rear, and that's even without a rear sway bar.
I would not want to go back to the tire on tue roof, but it worked while I needed it.
Great info here, folks. Looks like the rear mount wins.
FishPOET, you have the exact rack I bought. I dunno what the company is, though, cos I bought it used from someone who also bought it used, and there's no name left on it. Did you buy it new? Do you know what kind it is?
irish1371, OR-Fab does not make a swing bracket for the XJ rear. I'm thinking I see a way to add one, though.
GregB, I have emailed with Mark at Detours, but in the end I will probably use a local fab shop like MarsFab to do the work. The receiver mount does not look like a good option for me - I actually don't have a receiver hitch on the back, and even if I did (which I do plan to) I would want to keep it "free" to use for recovery and/or actual towing.
I have to admit I was not fond of the tire on the roof plan, as a 5"2" female it's not exactly easy to manipulate ANY tire much less one up on the roof. However, very temporarily until I can afford to get a proper swingout fabricated, I may throw it up there for space reasons. It's not a daily driver, but it does tend to get called upon for the tough hauling jobs around the house, so space is important. I started this build with 32s, considered 33s briefly, but went back to 31s when I realized they would be easier to find replacements for out in the boonies. I'm not building this to climb vertical walls, just to take fun long trips through rougher country.
Black_ZJ, how did you extend the stock tire bracket? Love to see a pic if you have one.
98 XJ Sport, 4.0L, 4.5" RC, AX-15, NP231, HP D30/8.25, 31x10.5x15, plenty of stickers
"You never know you are in a prison unless you try the door." - Joe Bageant