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 .
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
So yes, it sucks.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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