GMC truck spare tire secondary latch-CRAP

GMC Truck owners- warning !
More GM innovative KRAP to deal with:
Does your truck have a spare tire SECONDARY LATCH SYSTEM in addition to the cable winch?
If so, you need to keep it maintained by spraying penetrating oil onto and into that latch box-along with forcing grease into it EVERY 6 MONTHS- or you'll find yourself on some lonely road with a flat and unable to remove the spare tire.
The latch system is open to dirt and road salt. It will quickly rust and will not release the tire when activated..
You can see the extent of the problem by just searching words: GMC ; truck ; secondary spare tire ; latch
and see what others say: @#@#%*
Of course, don't expect GM to slop a gob of grease on the unit as it leaves the factory. They need to keep their dealers' repair shops busy. Don't expect your tire dealer, who sees this problem regularly, to take a half minute to slop any oil or grease on it either .
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I've got news for you.....greasing it, maintaining it and checking that it will actually lower twice a year is no guarantee. A chunk of grader blade or culvert ripped out the front sidewall on my '04 Z71 Avalanche when I was 100 miles from anywhere on an snow covered oil lease road in -5 temperature with my 5 year old daughter last November. Secondary latch would not release. It worked and was lubed 3 months back (as in I completely lowered and removed the spare...not just checked that it moved down a bit). 2 hours under the truck, jacking the center of the spare tire, prying, trying everything, etc. Nada. I had to drive in reverse on the flat aluminum rim for over 2 miles to get to an area where there was something I could use my tow rope and cables to hook around the spare tire hoist and rip it off the chassis so I could change the front tire and get going again. The lease road was gravel with saplings only 1-2" thick and no way to turn around. Never again. It has lived in the box since. Another fellow sufferer told me he now carries a giant 18" adjustable crescent wrench to grasp the "ears" of the holder and bend them down to let the tire drop. The first time it happened to him was at 2 AM doing an oilfield compressor startup in Saskatchewan in the middle of nowhere. He had tools galore but nothing would release it. Had to call someone out at 4 AM for a 2 hour drive to bring an angle grinder and generator to grind off the lower release lug. I will get another spare tire hoist assembly and put it back up under the truck, simply because an Avalanche doesn't have the box space for a vertical mount and it takes up too much room lying flat. However, the spare will come off and go back in the box from September to April as well as anytime I plan on offroading, fishing or hunting during the summer. I also always carry a 3 ton hydraulic jack, two shovels and a chunk of 16"x16" flat metal plate for jacking, amongst other things. It didn't help get the secondary latch released either. So yes, it sucks.
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Augustus wrote:

I have replaced a lot of the undermounted winches on just about every make out there. You want a fun one take a look at the Dodge Caravans. Even when the winch works it's a PIA to get the spare out if you have a flat.
The winch on my Blazer is currently rusted in place. Not sure if I'm going to replace it OR come up with a different external mount. I have a swing away from a 2 door that might work.
--
Steve W.
(\___/)
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I would think that a huge gob off grease around those holding claws or whatever you call them that releases the tire would last six months. I had the cable cut and the secondary latch removed. Now I'm going to drill 2 holes into the frame cross-over piece that the winch is mounted on and put two long bolts through the lug nut holes in the tire to hold it securely.
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You would think so and if the vehicle primarily stayed on paved surfaces you may well be correct. But these vehicles aren't just Escalades and Denalis that never get off pavement or never get "severe" use, which is basically normal use for any work truck. The same latch system is used on every single GM truck and SUV line and has been for many years. Many of these vehicles spend hours every day on gravel, clay and mud roads in the other job in temperatures from 100 to -40 along with road salt, and everything else that goes along with it. Most of us who work and drive in these conditions know how to adequately grease the secondary latch release. It still will fail to release, usually at the worst possible time and place. It's the secondary latch release that's the problem, not the hoist design itself. When you have to access your spare with two bolts hanging down through the spare tire lug holes from the frame crossover, what do you do when they're rusted, corroded, frozen and will not turn? How are you going to get a wrench on the top of the bolt to turn them? I would weld a long bolt to the x-member and use a single lug nut as a failsafe, greased up. The hoist will support the tire, the secondary latch is just to prevent it falling off, not to hold it up.
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I'll probably use two fully threaded bolts with a lock washer and nut at the top to hold it there. Then just keep the bottom nut well maintained- greased and oiled. Maybe Permatex it. If I can't get the 2 long bolts in from the top, I'll feed the bolt in through the tire lug holes and Permatex the nuts at the top. In any case, there's enough room to get a box wrench onto the top nuts. A gob of grease up there is pretty much isolated so salt and water can't get up there to make things difficult.
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