As part of my restoration of my Syncro T3 van, I wanted to sort the storage issue for the spare road wheel. My Syncro van now has 16” Mefro steel rims fitted with 216/65/16 tyres. I changed the wheels to Mefro 16” rims because I have install a larger disc brake kit on the front axle and I need a wheel design which had the clearance to suit the larger disc callipers. The previous owner of my van had the spare stowed in the rear over the engine hump on the left side of the vehicle. My long-term plan for the vehicle is to install a proper bed in the rear of the van, so the spare wheel needed to be re-located. Like most people I looked at using a spare wheel carrier mounted on the rear of the vehicle. So, I began researching the concept and looked at all the versions available. I then began to consider building my own wheel carrier. I even brought some of the steel to build the hinges with, sourcing the poly bushes to suit the hinges. It was then that I came across a thread on The Samba discussing the idea of fitting the road wheel up inside the original location, up under the front nose. Some might say so what, but remember this Syncro model came originally with 14” rims fitted with 185 or 195 wide tires. Now I began looking at the front nose storage – my Syncro came with the heavy “BBQ” style type wheel carrier and not the Clam-shell as standard T3’s come with. I call it a BBQ as is looks like something you could use as a BBQ and has a nice flat base, all made from good German plate steel. The BBQ unit hinges from the rear and is held up at the front by one single bolt. Radiator and heater hoses cross over this area where the spare would sit. Also in this space is the steering shaft which lies north /south over the top of the spare wheel location. I was keen to try and re-use this location to store the wheel for a few reasons: · VW in their design of the T3 managed to achieve a 50/50 weight distribution of the van, which greatly enhances road handling of any road vehicle. Using the front spare location would restore most of this benefit. · From a safety aspect, restoring the wheel to this location must improve the frontal collision/ impact tolerance of the vehicle. · Using a rear wheel carrier interferes with the opening of the rear hatch. · Placing the wheel on a wheel carrier adds to the vehicles total payload – weight of the carrier. Add to that, the added weight is hanging over the rear of the vehicle. So, I began study the requirements to fit the 16” rim inside the original location. As part of my investigation, I became aware of the steering shaft and just how close it lies in relation to the spare wheel. Here I made a metal bracket which covers the steering shaft, preventing the tire from rubbing on the shaft. My Syncro has a Subaru engine fitted by the previous owner. In the process of upgrading the engine, the coolant lines/pipes were also modified. Heavy 32mm Hydraulic rubber hose was installed from the engine and up to the front spare wheel location. This Hydraulic rubber hose is a great idea, almost indestructible and with no risk of corrosion or electrolysis. But on the down side the hose is heavy. The hose had been secured in location using lots of plastic cable ties. For me as a commercial/ industrial type plumber (use to working in plant rooms) this method of pipe securing was just screaming a big fat NO ! So, I bit the bullet and cut all of the cable ties and dropped the pipes out. The other aspect which bothered me was the fact that the two pipes crossed over each other, right where the main chassis cross member lies (frame which rear suspension trailing arm front secures to) This would have to be fixed also. The two smaller rubber heater hoses also needed proper installation and securing. It was when I pulled out the two heater hoses that I found one of the hose had been rubbing against the chassis and had worn a hole almost through the hose! Anyone who questions the need for proper pipe clipping and support should see this. Securing this heavy hose would need something substantial and lasting. Here I looked at using metal two-piece pipe clips compete with a welded nut to use M10 threaded rod, zinc plated and rubber sleeved. I used these clips making brackets to secure the clips to the chassis. When it came to secure the smaller heater hoses I used plastic pipe clips and insulated metal pipe clamps. In the area under the handbrake – over the top of the front differential it was difficult to gain a proper means of securing the heater hoses; they had been simply lying across this space -which is where the damage was done to the hose – rubbing on the chassis. To remedy this, I came up with the idea of a 2-piece pipe block/ clamp made from gluing 3x pieces of 19mm plywood together to make one thickness 57mm thick, with two 25mm holes drilled through the plywood. This plywood block I then cut in half – across both pipe holes, with a bolt securing hole in the centre to fix the clamp on to the chassis. Which I located above the front differential; securing both heater hoses in this clamp. The section of heater hose with the damage part I removed and replaced with a new section of hose. Making the spare wheel fit the front location. To make the wheel fit here I looked first at the two rear hinges holding the BBQ plate. The original design has the hinges upper most welded to the front suspension cross member. I de-welded these two hinges, flipped them over and re welded them facing down wards on the same cross member. Doing this dropped the rear of the BBQ plate by some 22mm or so. It also removed the hinges from the upper surface of the cross member. This created a smooth surface on the top of the cross member, which gives the spare wheel when inserted here a clear flat surface to sit. Then came a means of securing the spare. For this I made a simple bolted clamp, pulling the rim down on to the carrier base plate. I did this by installing a flat plate across the inside of the rim with two bolts through the rim and BBQ plate. With the tire completely deflated – removed the Schrader valve, the tire and rim can be tightened to the point where the rim is hard against the BBQ plate. Doing this reduces the total height of the wheel. It also stops the wheel from moving about inside the carrier. To complete this exercise, I installed 2x over-centre latches, one on each side of the BBQ plate. Plus, I also fitted some nylon cutting board where the two BBQ legs rub against the chassis. I may fit some of this to the rear legs as well. Carry a flat spare tire is no problem as I always carry a good 12 volt air compressor in the vehicle.