During the Advance Design truck era, 1947-1955, most all spare tire assemblies were under the bed. Though not always convenient, this kept the extra tire away from the bed box and out of the way.
With encouragement to provide a more easy to reach spare tire, General Motors began offering a side mount unit in 1953. This continued, as an option, even through the later years of the GM step bed trucks.
This new option was added at the factory (not by the dealer) and included a steel frame attached to the left bed side. On the 1/2 ton, not the longer bed 3/4 ton, it was necessary to also have the rear fender with an indention at its front. This indention allowed the tire to be away from the cab and fit parallel to the bedside.
The indention on the 1/2 ton left fender was made no larger than necessary to allow for the mounting of the 6.00 x 16″ original tire. This spacing is so close that the current replacement 6.50 x 16″eplacement tire will sometimes not fit without touching either the cab or fender indention. This contact of the tire against the metal body and fender is not acceptable. The rubbing of a larger tire against the body or fender results in a squeaking noise and finally will wear through the paint. To prevent this, using a 6.00×16 tire may be necessary.
After the 1953 introductory year, it was discovered, the weight of the tire and mount could cause bed side and front bed panel separation (metal fatigue) on rough terrain. Therefore, in 1954 with the introduction of a redesigned stepbed, a small factory bracket was included with the spare tire option. This better held the left front of the bed side to the front bed panel.
An additional item of interest is found in the 1954 Chevrolet truck factory assembly manual. Due to the extra pounds of the added side spare tire and carrier weight, GM added a spacer (left side only) below the rear spring assembly. This helped keep the bed level even though the truck weighed more on the left. See the following Tire Carrier Instructions sheets.
Bedside Bracket (above)
Bedside Bracket Top (above)
Bedside Bracket in Place (above)
Rear Spring spacers for 1954-1959 side mount (above)
We also have two PDF files showing details of the side mounted wheel carrier.