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Old 05-19-2022, 04:04 AM   #1
jxnbbl
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BAL Hide-a-spare - mounting

After last months tire experience, I've replaced all my tires and now have 2 spares. The original plan was to just have it in the bed of the truck but after reading I decided to mount it under the trailer with a BAL Hide-a-spare. I bought the one for a covered underbelly.

First if you have been looking at this RVPlus is the place to go since they "only" charge $30-35 shipping and keeps the cost down beating every one else.

The question - it does not come with mounting hardware - going to town to buy things tomorrow. From the exterior view, the trailer does not have an I Beam frame so tube or "C" (?).

Instructions link

So it mentions:

pre drill for bolts (minimum of 2 bolts
5/16” diameter X proper length required-not included) and you can also use self-tapping screws for extra support.


I'll determine the proper length...the diagram looks like it has 6 holes per support bracket. Question - recommendations? 2 bolt + 2 self tap screws each side...fillerup with 6 bolts? Although I can't believe I'm saying this...Ive never drilled into a vehicle frame any pre/post prep of these holes/bolts like undercoating, etc
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Old 05-19-2022, 05:02 AM   #2
bsmith0404
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It’s been a few years, but I don’t believe mine came with hardware. I just used self tapping screws. The brackets are designed to fit into the I beam of the frame so the hardware just needs to keep the bracket against the I beam, the I beam carries the weight. No special prep needed for drilling the holes, just center punch like anything else. I think I just drilled 1/8” holes to make it easier for the self tapping screws to go through. If I remember correctly, I used 1” x 1/4 screws. Only thing you have to do is make sure there isn’t any wiring or anything running down the backside.
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Old 05-19-2022, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsmith0404 View Post
... The brackets are designed to fit into the I beam of the frame so the hardware just needs to keep the bracket against the I beam, the I beam carries the weight. ...

That's primarily why I added this into the forum for our trailer it isn't an I-Beam where most pics/videos show an I Beam. Although this supports a rectangular tube and C beam I realize that the bolts/screws will bear the weight.


Have a note into the company...but haven't heard back.


thanks
Jay
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Old 05-19-2022, 01:09 PM   #4
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Didn’t sell Bullets where I worked, but we did have Passport which is basically the same thing. I thought the larger Bullet/Passport had a Z frame which is basically half of an I beam. The BAL should still mount the same way, over the bottom lip up against the beam face.
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Old 05-19-2022, 02:49 PM   #5
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I'm not too crazy about self drilling self tapping screws. I would want at least 2 stainless steel bolts with stainless washers and stainless nylock nuts on each side. Then use the self drilling screws on any left over holes.
Drilling into the frame might be easy, or not, depending on the metallurgy and the heat treat of the frame.
I would have a good drill, maybe 1/2" and a strong nut driver for the self drilling. Might even plan on a floor jack to keep pressure on the drill, and oil to spray on the bit to drill through the frame.
Keep us updated.
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:00 PM   #6
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I don't know how you guys do it, but on a previous travel trailer I added 2 extra scissor jacks in the middle of the camper. Everything I read said to use the self-tapping screws that were included with the new jacks (Bal). So I tired. I busted several knuckles, pinched a few fingers, and used 4 letter words that no person should ever hear. I couldn't do it. So, I tried drilling. I started with the drill size recommended for the "self tapping screws" and the drill wouldn't even start. I had to start with a very small drill bit. And I broke several of them. Then after getting the first hole, I'd try the self-tapping screws again, and the frame steal was just too tough. It actually ruined a couple of the screws. So, I drilled slightly bigger holes, then bigger, then bigger until I had a hole almost the same size as the screws. Then with all the muster I could, with electric drill and sockets to assist, I was finally able to get those "self-tapping" screws through the hole.

Ever since, I've been more than miffed when someone says, just use self-tapping screws on the trailer frame! Um? use a good drill and spare the knuckles and finger tips!
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:31 PM   #7
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The Bullet line converted to NORCO "huck bolt frames" a couple years ago. Those frames are a "different beast" and nothing like a conventional I-beam, C-beam or box frame. Fortunately, BAL makes the NORCO frame and the Hide-a-spare, so they should be able to advise you on how to properly mount that spare holder on your frame. With the recent cracks around some huck bolts in the NORCO frames, I'd be concerned with just "hammering some self tapping screws into the frame"... It might be "perfectly OK per the engineers" but then BAL may have some specific instructions on how to proceed....

I'd see what BAL has to say BOTH from the frame customer support and from the BAL hide-a-spare customer support before I started a project that puts permanent holes in my frame.... YMMV
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchmensport View Post
I don't know how you guys do it, but on a previous travel trailer I added 2 extra scissor jacks in the middle of the camper. Everything I read said to use the self-tapping screws that were included with the new jacks (Bal). So I tired. I busted several knuckles, pinched a few fingers, and used 4 letter words that no person should ever hear. I couldn't do it. So, I tried drilling. I started with the drill size recommended for the "self tapping screws" and the drill wouldn't even start. I had to start with a very small drill bit. And I broke several of them. Then after getting the first hole, I'd try the self-tapping screws again, and the frame steal was just too tough. It actually ruined a couple of the screws. So, I drilled slightly bigger holes, then bigger, then bigger until I had a hole almost the same size as the screws. Then with all the muster I could, with electric drill and sockets to assist, I was finally able to get those "self-tapping" screws through the hole.

Ever since, I've been more than miffed when someone says, just use self-tapping screws on the trailer frame! Um? use a good drill and spare the knuckles and finger tips!
I use a 1/4” drive impact gun (20V Bauer). Been doing it for over 10 years and yeah sometimes it seems like an all day chore to get 1 in. I have been known to use 2 screws sometimes to get through the frame.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
I use a 1/4” drive impact gun (20V Bauer). Been doing it for over 10 years and yeah sometimes it seems like an all day chore to get 1 in. I have been known to use 2 screws sometimes to get through the frame.
Same here. Every now and then a screw will get messed up when going through the frame, but a second one usually makes it through.
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Old 05-20-2022, 10:14 AM   #10
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Just heard back from BAL support...

Both of our models work with an I-Beam or a tube, or C or Z frame. It does not have to rest on the horizontal lip to support the tire. That is just the nature of the beast on an I-Beam application. No matter the install, two grade 5 bolts thru each bracket is required. The length determined by the width of the vertical service. If it is a tube frame, the bolts will need to run completely thru the tube. It can not be installed only with self tapping screws.
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Old 06-05-2022, 07:15 AM   #11
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If I remember correctly, my BAL kit did come with bolts and washers and nuts, not self tapping screws. The hardest part of the entire installation was drilling through the I-beam. Not hard, just time consuming. Use a center punch first. It's also best done with a super sharp bit, on slower speeds. And constantly removing the bit to reoil the tip. It's important to use cutting oil or even 3 in 1 oil. Slow and easy with a little pressure for best results.
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Old 06-09-2022, 07:22 AM   #12
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Update - installed (almost). After opening the box I found that mine did NOT have the mounting hardware but a number of the 'spacers', bolts and lock nuts were missing. These were just loose in the box and looks like they worked their way out of 'seams' during shipping.

Having said that I mounted it pretty easily with 2 bolts each side as well as 3-4 self tapping screws (on each side I left one self tapping screw out as it encroached on some of the frame fasteners and didn't want to compromise).

Everything LERD stated was great - center punch - oil on the drill bit and patience.

Off to the hardware store to complete assembly.

Thanks
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