Rant: Spare tire hoist and secondary latch..

Well, I had my first experience with changing the spare on my '04 Avalanche while out hunting the other day. Muddy and snowy oil lease road, about 60
miles off the main highway. Front tire sidewall sliced through something big and sharp, went flat right away. Stopped and looked at the damage. Temp was about 20 F, cold , windy and about 3 inches of snow. Single lane narrow gravel lease road with clay base and sharp sides, with small trees 3 feet from each side of the truck.Got into the coveralls I keep in truck. Loosened off the lugs on front, got hydraulic jack out and put it on flat part of shovel so it didn't sink down in mud too much. Got the jack handles and assembled the winding rod to drop/release the spare. Tire drops 6 inches or so, and the cable just comes down without the tire. OK....secondary release not releasing. Wind it up to top, repeat a couple of times. No go. Put the jack under spare on center of release mechanism and jack up to top.....will not release. Drop, spray with WD40, repeat procedure several times. Nothing. Can't turn around, no room. No cell reception. 5 year old daughter with me too. No one else around. Had to reverse about 2 miles down the road with the flat, chewed up the rim badly, then drive another mile or so to an oil well site where I can get my tow chain and rope out and link it round the top of spare around the cable release latch and the other end around a big pillar in the ground. This dropped the spare, and tore off the lower part of the spare retainer. Bent the unit up top too. 1 cold and wet hour later we were good to go. Not impressed. It didn't have ice in it, just siezed up from corrosion and would not release the scondary latch. Needed pliers in a vise at home to make it work. This is a really bad design. I was lucky I was able to drive the vehicle out and lucky to have a chain and tow rope in the vehicle to rip it out. The spare stays in the box from now on in winter and hunting or offroading. No box mount option unless I want to drive around without the box covers one either. I check the function of the spare release yearly, and it worked fine back in April. Rant over....still a bad design.
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wrote:

I'm not familiar with the "secondary" release design. My last truck just had the cable winch. What's the point of the secondary release?
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To prevent the spare from dropping in case the cable rusts through or breaks. Usually it releases when you unwind the cable. You can see the secondary latch on the right hand picture on 5-105 of the 2009 manual and how to release it on 5-112. The exact same system is used today. http://www.chevrolet.com/assets/pdf/owners/manuals/2009/2009_chevrolet_silverado_owners.pdf Forums say to kick and beat at it to release if it does what happened to me. I can tell you that after spending an hour under the vehicle in mud and snow doing this, as well as prying with a shovel for 15 min that it doesn't work. Tried driving forward for a while to see if the weight of the tire would help too.
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Also, if your last truck had the cable release, it had the secondary mechanism and it worked properly. Consider yourself lucky. Avalanche and Chevy truck forums are full of horror stories like mine.....as I found out upon return.
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spare, at least the stem is facing down. I guess it pays to lower it once and a while. You know you are going to need it at the worst possible time...

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wrote:

It was an 89 S-10. It only had the cable. I suppose this new secondary thing is a safety feature but what a pain. The way the owners manual reads, if you have to jack it out because it won't release you will probably have to buy a new winch system.
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