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Old 08-26-2015, 08:55 PM   #1
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Installing BAL Hide-A-Spare on a Mini Lite

I bought a BAL Hide-A-Spare, model #28217 (for 70-75” RV frames). Got it on Amazon. Here’s my experience installing it. The instructions are not all that great. This will take a few posts for all the pics I took.

Pic #1: As it came out of the box.

Pic #2: The only bolts it came with are the ones to hold the spare to the mounting plate between the tubes. I called BAL and they said they don’t supply bolts to bolt it to the RV frame “because we don’t know what your frame looks like.” Seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. No mention of this in the Amazon ad. I bought four sets of 5/16 x 1-1/4” bolts with a flat washer, a lock washer and a nut. I could have used ¾” bolts, as the RV frame is only about 1/8” thick, but they had me worried and figured, “better too long than too short.”

Pic #3: You have disconnect the hinge side mounting plate from the tubes and reconnect it in a vertical postion. It’s attached in a manner that allows it to ship flat. No mention of this in the instructions.

Pic #4: There are 3 holes in the mounting plate and 2 bolts. The spacing between the holes is not identical. You have to pick the 2 holes that match the spacing of your spare. (Of course, it was the last of the 3 option I tried that fit!)

Pic #5: Here’s the spare mounted front down. I thought this would allow me to check air without having to drop it down. See Pic #6.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:56 PM   #2
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Pic #6: This shows you how much space I have to get to the air valve –not a lot. So after I got it all done, I think it would be better mounted face up, then drop it to check the air. (But I haven’t flipped it yet.)

Pic #7: The frame of the device consists of an inner tube and an outer tube. When you drop it down, you can slide it out from under the trailer. These little do-dah’s keep the inner tube from coming fully out of the outer tube. Only problem is that if you get this far, you’ll have to crawl under the RV to push these back in so you can slide the spare back.

Pic #8: Here’s the hinge side mounting plate bolted to the RV frame. I forgot to check behind the frame and hit my wiring, but fortunately, it didn’t hurt it any.

Pic #9: Here’s the mounting plate on the curb side bolted to the RV frame. I had to use a lower set of holes because my propane line ran behind the upper set. (Good thing I did the other side first – I’d have run a drill right into the propane line!!!!)

Pic #10: Here’s the curb side all hooked up. The locking knob has a cotter-pin like device that goes into a hole on the bottom so it can’t unscrew itself. You could run a lock into the hole instead if you were worried about theft. Or just install a bolt and nut. (This would make it basically the same at the bumper-mounted spare tire holder. Everything on those is just bolts/nuts.)
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:57 PM   #3
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Pic #11: I shot some black primer/paint on the bolts.

Pic #12: I was able to put the spare tire cover back on the tire, so hopefully it stays a bit cleaner.
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1988 Coleman Sequoia - popup (1987-2009) - outlasted 3 Dodge Grand Caravans!
2012 Roo19 - hybrid (2012-2015)

2016 Mini Lite 2503S - tt (2015 - ???)
2011 Traverse LT, 3.6L, FWD
2009 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab, 5.3L, 4x4, 3.73
2016 Silverado 2500HD Dbl Cab, 6.0L 4x4, 4.10
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:21 PM   #4
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Very nice write up and pictures.

I bought a hide-a-spare a couple of years ago, as I wanted two spare tires. One on the bumper and one 'out of the way until needed'. My assembly came with no attaching bolts or screws and no bolts to hold the tire on. To hold it to the frame, I used 6 large metal screws on each side. drilled a slightly smaller pilot hole and then screwed them in tight.
As for the tire under the unit, I have no cover on it and it still looks brand new, with no road debris or mud any where.

It is your unit, but I would suggest to at least put in one more bolt on each side or put in a couple of heavy duty metal screws.

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Old 08-26-2015, 09:26 PM   #5
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I think I should be OK.

In THEORY, the flange of the frame takes the weight. The bolts just keep the mounting plates from coming away from the web. So they're not really weight-bearing, nor will
they see any shear stress.

But I'll keep an eye on it.

Is your tire face down or face up? Any thoughts there?
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2016 Mini Lite 2503S - tt (2015 - ???)
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2009 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab, 5.3L, 4x4, 3.73
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:40 PM   #6
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Very cool. I just saw this the other day and was thinking of getting one. Quality is good? I saw them for about $100 or so.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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Quality seems good. Brother Les can probably say better as he's had his for a few years.
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1988 Coleman Sequoia - popup (1987-2009) - outlasted 3 Dodge Grand Caravans!
2012 Roo19 - hybrid (2012-2015)

2016 Mini Lite 2503S - tt (2015 - ???)
2011 Traverse LT, 3.6L, FWD
2009 Silverado 1500 Ext Cab, 5.3L, 4x4, 3.73
2016 Silverado 2500HD Dbl Cab, 6.0L 4x4, 4.10
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:53 PM   #8
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Looks to me like it would be better to have the tubes slide thru the inner bracket rather than telescope or take the buttons off completely if there isn't room for sliding tubes. Don't think I'll be installing one in the near future.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
I think I should be OK.

In THEORY, the flange of the frame takes the weight. The bolts just keep the mounting plates from coming away from the web. So they're not really weight-bearing, nor will
they see any shear stress.

But I'll keep an eye on it.

Is your tire face down or face up? Any thoughts there?

The flange does take the weight. I have checked my metal screws and a couple have backed out a little and I re tightened them. Even resting on the flange there maybe a slight side to side movement. There are three different styles of attaching side plates of Hide a spare. One is flat and does not have the built in lip for trailers that have flat beams and no flanges, so if anyone orders one, make sure that it is correct for your unit. (my first one sent to me was wrong and would not fit).

I have mine mounted with the stem facing up to the under belly. I think less chance of debris hitting it than if it was facing down. The 'clip pin' takes a little maneuvering to get off, but I think that it is good to 'drop' the tire to the ground and check it to make sure the tire pressure and complete assembly is fine and working good at home than 'on the road'.

As for the quality, it is fine. No mounting bolts/screws came with it, so I have to 'figure' out what I wanted to use. There is some surface rust starting along the edges, but no black paint is peeling, no big deal. I need to take a wire brush to it and spray some kind of black metal paint on it and it will be fine.

I have mine mounted to where it is under the Fresh water tank drain and breather hose. Just a slight more protection to where the hoses will not get caught onto something. It is mounted in front of the first axle (brush guard ). I have a very high base camper so there is no worry of the tire framing getting close to the ground and hitting anything. If you have a low frame unit, this setup may not work.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by doc73 View Post
Very cool. I just saw this the other day and was thinking of getting one. Quality is good? I saw them for about $100 or so.

I am a CW member. I went to the nearest store and they ordered it for me to be sent to their store at no shipping cost. I asked if it could be shipped directly to me at no cost shipping and he said sure.
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