Hey JCC, I have been really thinking about getting the Hitchgate Solo lately. For those with the set up, what are some of the pros and cons you have experienced? I read through another thread regarding the hitch mount tire carriers already, but would like additional information too if possible.
I got one recently and have used it around town and on a 5 day trail trip. My opinion:
- Well made. I just don't see this breaking, ever.
- Once it's mounted it's very solid. It will not not come lose even on the most evil or trails. The mounting system is somewhat tricky to get it mounted "just right", and I regard my installation as "permanent". taking it off and on for each trip would be a major pain in the rear area. I didn't intend to do that anyway, so it's just an observation.
- It - obviously! - allows you to fill the cargo space with stuff without having to consider how to get to the spare tire if getting a flat mid-trail...
- It frees us the spare wheel well for other useful stuff. I'm using mine for a deep cycle battery for my fridge, a compressor for re-airing the tires, some tools and stuff and - soon - a fresh water tank. All heavy stuff that I can put at a very low center of gravity.
- It does make accessing the hatch a little more cumbersome. But less than you probably think.
- It also moves quite some weigh way out back. With all the stuff I'll be mounting permanently in the spare wheel well, plus a roof top tent, it more than cancels the gains I got with the HS lift. I'd say, fitting stiffer springs is pretty much a must if you plan to go where it's bumpy (and what's the point of the tire carrier if you don't?!! :wink
. I certainly will.
- Mine didn't come with 12mm bolts, only 14mm. The reseller contacted Wilco who sent the hardware, no problem. I don't know if this was just a fluke (the instructionw say it comes with both 12mm and 14mm hardware), but to avoid delays you may want to make a point at the time of ordering that you need the 12mm mounting hardware.
- The holes in the mounting plate are just on the limit for the KL wheel bolt spacing. I had to modify the main mounting bracket so it would mount in the lowest position without interfering with the weld seams. And still, the bolts can't be completely straight; the have to be pointed slightly inward.
- The mounting hardware doesn't come with nuts and washers to allow mounting all the bolts permanently; their system is to hang the tire to the main mounting bolt and then fit loose bolts and nuts for the remaining holes. Which makes it more cumbersome on the trail. A trip to the hardware store fixed that.
- You will need to relocate the licence plate. Wilco has a kit, but I didn't like the look or the price so I made my own. In that regard, remember to also make arrangements for license plate lights! I'll be hard wiring mine later this year; for now I've just plugged it into the trainer harness.
- The swing mechanism doesn't come with a system to ensure it doesn't swing back at you when open. I've found that to be much less of a problem that I anticipated - not once has it swung back at me, or into something else. But I'll eventually be modifying mine with some king of latch system to ensure 100% against mishaps, especially when parked on a slope.
What reverse camera image do you see with the Hitchgate Solo attached? Does the tire block the view 100%? Or the reverse camera would still be somewhat functional?
I don't have the factory camera so I can't speak to this specifically. What I can say is that you still have some visibility to the sides in the rear view mirror. And I will be putting in an after marked camera and hook it up to the uConnect radio via the Customtronix harness when I get some time in the fall.
I see that Wilco sells that hi-lift jack/ rotopax attachment mount for the Hitchgate Solo as well, any experience? Thanks!
It looks very cool, and I almost went for it. I think you may have to go for the dual Rotopax mount; I don't think the space to the hatch is sufficient for the single mount version. Which is good - I want my center of gravity as optimal as I can get it and I sure wouldn't mind if if it was 1 1/2" closer to the hatch.
The main reason I didn't go for it has nothing to do with Wilco. The instructions for the Rotopax cans say to check and equalize the pressure daily if you have significant altitude or air pressure changes, and that just ticked me off the concept. I plan to make my own mount to fit a 5 gallon metal jerrycan instead.
OK, this got a little longer than I intended, but hopefully someone finds it useful. I just snapped a few pictures of my current setup (with temporary license plate wiring) also.