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How to Install Rugged Ridge Spartacus HD Tire Carrier Kit on your Wrangler

Installation Time

1 hours

Tools Required
  • T-20 Torx
  • T-50 Torx
  • Phillips Screw driver #2
  • Wire cutters/strippers/crimpers
  • Socket Wrench & Extension
  • 6mm hex key
  • 10mm, 13mm, & 19mm Sockets
  • 10mm & 19mm open end wrench or adjustable wrench
  • ¾” Deep Socket or Tire Iron from inside jeep
  • Locktite (red or blue)
  • Shims
  • Torque wrench
  • Electrical tape
  • Heat shrinking butt connectors & Lighter (optional)
Extreme Terrain
Shop Parts in this Guide

Read through the instructions completely prior to beginning this install. A second set of hands is helpful at times during this install.

Installation Instructions:

1. Remove your spare tire using the ¾” deep well socket or the factory tire iron. Remove the rubber bumper closest to the hinges.​

2. Open your tailgate and remove the 4 – T-20 Torx screws from the back of the Third brake light. Remove the cover. Push down on the tab and disconnect the plug from the back of the taillight. Carefully remove the wire from the carrier and hang it over the tailgate. I chose to remove the wires completely as I have a backup camera hanging in the way. To do this you will need to remove the black plastic cover (circled in yellow below) inside the tailgate and disconnect the grey plug it exposes, then remove the black thru-body grommet.

3. With your tailgate closed, remove the stock tire carrier by removing the 8 – 13mm bolts. (Circled above) Put to side. Remove the plastic hinge covers; up and towards the driver side for the tailgate covers & pry the top and bottom away from the hinge and push toward the passenger side for the hinge covers. Now place shims under the gate until they are tight. KEEP TAILGATE CLOSED FOR REMAINDER OF INSTALL.

4. Next you will remove your factory hinges by removing the 4 – 13mm bolts on the tail gate. Flip the hinges to the open position and remove the T-50 torx bolts holding the hinges to the body/tub.

5. Clean your tailgate. This would be a great time to wax your tailgate. You can also take this opportunity to paint under the hinges as I did if you would like. I caught the early signs of rust formation so I used wire brushes and 80 grit sanding block to remove the rust prior to painting over.

6. Time to mount your Rugged Ridge hinge. A second set of hands would make this easier. Hold the carrier in place and replace the factory T-50 torx hinge bolts; 2 outside, then open the hinge and replace the 4 inside. Apply Loctite to these bolts. Snug only, do not tighten down yet.

7. Now replace 4 – 13mm factory carrier bolts to help line up the carrier. Snug these in place but do not overtighten. With those snug, Tighten the outside T-50 torx hinge bolts.

8. With the outside Hinge T-50 torx bolts tight, remove the 4 – 13mm bolts you replaced in step 7 and open the hinge & tighten the inside 4 – T-50 Torx hinge bolts.

9. Now take your HD carrier out of the box and position it in place & thread in the 8 – 13mm Short carrier bolts (with washers) that came with it, starting with the 4 on the driver side. (1st pic). Use the 4 – 13mm hex bolts (with washers) that came with the hinge to secure the hinge to the tailgate. (2cnd pic). Locktite & Fully tighten all of these bolts! Tip: Get all of the bolts started by hand and tighten them evenly, small amounts at a time.

10. With the carrier and hinge completely tightened, you will now attach the lug plate to the carrier. Using a 19mm socket and 19mm wrench (or adjustable wrench) tighten the 4 – M12 bolts & Lock nuts almost entirely, allowing you to adjust the lug plate with some force.

11. Using the 6mm Hex Key, thread in the two set screws into the driver side of the lug plate. Mount your spare onto the lugs, and thread on the lugnuts. A second set of hands will help with this but it Is doable alone. Once you have your spare lugs snug, you will need to work the spare and the bracket until your tire makes contact with the driverside rubber bumper. Once that is achieved, tighten the set screws. I was able to reach the bottom set screw through my stock rims. If you have rims that prevent you from reaching through, you will have to “guess and check” until you have a desired positioning.

12. With your set screws tight, temporarily place the third brake light bracket in place on the carrier. Adjust the height according to the size of your spare. I was able to put some of the small 10mm bolts (without the locking nuts) in to keep it in place.

13. Now remove your spare and tighten the 4 – 19mm bolts on the Lug plate & the 4 – 10mm brake light bracket bolts (shown above) using your socket and wrench. Then take your third brake light harness and the black and white wires this kit comes with. You will need to tape back the mesh wire cover, and cut the black and white wires 6-8” from the connector. Then you will butt splice in the extra wire. I chose not to use the butt connectors the kit came with, instead I used heat-shrinking butt connectors I had on hand (available at most autoparts stores).

14. Now place the third brake light into the bracket and use the 4 – Phillips Head screws that the kit came with to tighten it into place. Then run the wire through the carrier and back through the tailgate. Reinsert the rubber grommet into the tailgate and reconnect the plug inside the tailgate. Replace the black plastic cover.

15. Reinstall your spare, torque lug nuts to 80lb/ft.

16. Enjoy!!