Main Menu Vehicle Trails Mechanicals TJ/LJ Mods JK Mods Gallery
3rd brake light bracket

3rd Brake Light Bracket for 35" Tires

Part #: None

One of the issues with putting on larger tires is what will you do to mount the spare tire up. Well I decided to take a chance since I couldn't get a bumper before my Moab trip and go without. The spare tire will mount to the stock tire carrier if you remove the third brake light and the 5 rubber snubbers that are bolted to the tail gate and the body. Now this isn't necessarily the correct way to support a 35" tire, but it worked for me so far. The tire is partially supported by the bumper since I have a 1.25" body lift. I don't think you could do this with anything smaller than a 1" body lift. The tire also sits against the upper tailgate hinge. There isn't a lot of room for any other snubbers to be mounted. I will work out some idea on how to get some more support for the tire. I really don't want it moving around that much. The biggest issues is that 3rd brake light. What do I do with it. Well you could come up with some type of LED assembly or you could relocate your 3rd brake light up and more towards the center of the tire. The latter is what I chose to do. Nothing really elegant, but it works and is functional. I figured I needed to go up 2" and probably all the way back against the edge of the tailgate.

Additional Parts:
2" corner support brackets
1x1/8" flat steel
10-24x1/2" machine screws
10-24 Nylon lock nuts
8mx1.25 Nuts
8m lock washers
Tools Needed:
13mm Socket
Ratchet
4" Extension
Phillips screwdriver
Needle Nose Pliers
T-30 Torx screwdriver
3/8" Combination Wrench
13mm Combination Wrench

 

Removal and Installation of 3rd brake light bracket:
1. You will need to remove the brake light assembly.  You can see a pretty good shot of the factory spacers already installed on the third brake light. factory spacer for 31's
2. Open the tailgate and remove the plastic cover over the contacts with a Phillips screwdriver.  Make a note as to which colored wire is on top.  I don't think this really matters, but I wanted to put it back the same way.  
3. Now pull the contacts out of the clips that are on the wires.  Put these somewhere so that you don't lose them.  
4. Pull the rubber grommet out from the body.  I used a needle nose plies to squeeze it together and pull it out from the outside.  
5. Feed the wires through the tailgate.  
6. Remove the wire from the two clips on the third brake light.  You will need to stretch this wire out latter, so I just did this now. wire clipped in unclip wire
7.  Use a 13mm socket and extension to remove the bolts holding the third brake light assembly to the stock tire carrier. 4 bolts to remove removing the 4 bolts
8. Feed the wires between the tailgate and the stock tire carrier and set the third brake light aside.  
9.  Now I needed to fabricate my bracket.  I started by drilling a 5/16" hole in the lower hole of my 2" corner support brackets.  I removed the 2 outside upper tire carrier bolts with a 13mm socket and installed the brackets.
bracket test fitting side view front view
10. Since the stock brake light has some ribs on the bottom, I decided to cut a piece of 1" flat iron and mount it to the underside of the 2 brackets.  I simply drilled a 3/16" hole through the outer to screw holes of the brackets and bolted it with (2)  #10-24x1/2" bolts with nylon lock nuts.  Phillips screwdriver and 3/8" Wrench. bracket fabricated
11.  I then rested the stock brake light on the bracket assembly and marked the 2 bolt holes and the hole where the light cable goes through.  I didn't need a lot of clearance to feed the cable through, so I just notched the bar at that location.  I used a 5/16" drill bit to drill the 2 holes for the factory brake light bolts. drill new mount holes
12.  Then it was a simple matter of bolting the brake light up utilizing the 2 lock washers and nuts on the bottom of the factory screws.  I rerouted the wires down through the original opening and hooked them up. bolting the factory light back on front view new mount
 

 

Fitting up the spare tire.
After I removed the third brake light I decided to play around with trying to get the spare tire to fit.  I tried it a couple different ways and finally decided to remove the 5 snubbers and try again.  The snubbers require a T-30 Torx screwdriver to get to the torx bolts that are inside.
The bumper went onto the stock carrier fine.  It is supported by the rear bumper a little and rests against the upper tailgate latch.  I still need to see how this rides, I want to try and get a few more snubbers into steady this tire.
rear view side view no snubbers bottom view clearing bumper tailgate open
top view back view tailgate open another view clearing bumeper  
Oh if your concerned about the weight.  The stock MT/R with Moab weighs in at 76lbs.  The Dunlop that I bought weighs in at 88lbs with the Moab.  Not a big difference.  The tailgate still operates smoothly.  I will be watching this very carefully.

 

  N-m Ft. Lbs. In. Lbs.
Tire carrier to tailgate bolts 24 17 --

This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
All trademarked names & logos are property of their respective owners
This site is in no way associated with Daimler-Chrysler
Jeep is a registered trademark of Daimler-Chrysler