A while ago I bought a utility trailer to tow around my motorcycles, and the original goal for it was to be able to take them to remote places like Big Bend National Park, and ride them there without having to endure the long drive on the bikes themselves with minimal luggage. If I can tow the bikes there behind my F150 truck, we can bring with as much stuff as we want.
Having never towed a trailer before in my life, I started looking up information. I found that Ford states while towing, the back 2 wheels must be the same size, which is reasonable as it could damage the differential. But, I found that The F150 spare tire is not the same size as the OEM wheels. Its a real full wheel and tire, but its slightly smaller. Ford calls it as "Full-size dissimilar spare" which in my opinion is the dumbest thing in the world. How much money did they save doing this? Just give me a full size wheel!
The Full-size dissimilar spare should not be placed on the front axle as it can affect emergency braking, and when towing it can be on the rear axle. So, when you are towing, you technically have no spare wheel...
So, for $350 I found a set of 3 of OEM wheels and tires, and some of them had plenty of tread left
Thankfully, it fits under the truck with no problem
I ended up selling the worst scuffed wheel for $100 which brought the total cost to me at $250 for a full size spare and an additional spare rim, which is a great deal.
But, now I had an OEM wheel to store, as well as the original spare. I threw them in the corner of my yard and went about my life
Then, my wifes' car got a nail in the tire. The easiest thing to do was put the spare on and then take the wheel with a nail in to the tire shop, but the car she drives has an even smaller "Emergency Spare" that is HORRIBLE to drive on, and has a max speed of 50mph, and a max distance of 50 miles. To me, this is also stupid. We decided to try find a full spare wheel we could keep at home, as the spare wheel location in the car won't fit a full wheel. If she gets a flat she would call me anyway, so I could just grab the spare from home and bring it to her, and swap it. Now we can go on about our lives and fix the flat in our leisure.
In a similar deal to the F150 wheels, we found 3 OEM wheels identical to the ones on the car for just $250. 2 of the wheels are bit scuffed and have bad tires, but one is in great condition with a relatively new tire with plenty of tread
So that problem is solved. But the problem is, now I have 5 wheels to store... And 1 of them is intended to be a spare, so it should be kept somewhere its not too exposed to the elements. I tried selling the other wheels, but no one really wants them.
Keeping them in the garage on the floor wasn't an option, as they take up a lot of space
So, that's where I decided to get a tire rack. I looked online and you can buy steel tire racks for around $40 and up to hundreds of dollars. The problem is that the cheap ones didn't quite go as wide as I wanted, and they look extremely flimsy. There were many reviews of them bending, and even some of them failing and dropping the wheels. To me, this is a real problem as the location I have chosen to put the rack is directly above my truck...
So, I decided I could probably just build one out of scrap wood. After all, I have endless random 2x4's and other lumber laying around. If I was using all scrap wood, I decided to try and use up spare/mismatched fasteners too, which would drop the total cost to $0.
I put the tires on the ground and put some wood around them, and settled on a design for the bottom of the rack like this, so the tire will put its weight onto 2 different pieces of wood
I temporarily screwed it together and throw it up on the wall to test if my truck would fit, and it did. You can see how this space was completely wasted before.
Now I knew it fit, I mounted it with some spare lag bolts, and added a support to one side
The right corner was tough to get to, but I found some spare 4 inch GRK Structural screws I snuck in
Once it was all attached, I threw the tires up
But, I almost made a big mistake! I never realized quite how big the wheels are, and almost never cleared this joist. Luckily, it just fits
And here you can see it with my truck parked. Now the tires are completely out of the way
Hopefully it holds up. But even if it doesn't, it never really costed me anything...