License Plate Bracket Ideas

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ODRotorHead
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License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by ODRotorHead » September 16th, 2023, 6:06 pm

A newbie-to-newbie share . . .

My MUTT didn’t come with brackets for license plates (my state requires both front and rear) so I looked around for different ideas that might work. Each of us has different priorities and requirements - competition judging, bushwhacking, applicable state laws, etc. - but my little truck is only used for Sunday afternoon drives to the Dairy Queen (my M35A2 takes up too many parking spaces) and occasional participation in parades. I wanted brackets that could be attached without permanent modification of the vehicle (no new holes), and I wanted to be able to fold the plates out of sight while keeping them securely attached to the vehicle.

I started with the front plate and found a commercially available bracket that allows the plate to be folded down and slid under the front bumper:

Front - Plate Out 002B.jpg



Front - Plate In 002B.jpg


I didn’t use any of the hardware that came with the bracket. I just drilled two new holes in the plate bracket and used the lifting shackle bracket bolts to mount it under the bumper.

Hide Away License Plate Bracket 003A.jpg

Hide Away License Plate Bracket 001.jpg


To make the whole thing work, to provide enough clearance for the plate to slide under, I had to replace the two lifting shackle bracket bolts on the driver’s side with slightly shorter bolts, and use jam nuts (lower profile) instead of standard hardware. Switching back to the original configuration is a simple matter of reinstalling the old hardware (stored in my spare parts cabinet).

When the plate is folded under, the bracket sticks out just a little, but very few non-MUTT people would ever notice it. This type of bracket wouldn’t survive very long banging around out in the woods, but for a leisurely drive to the Dairy Queen . . . no biggy da.

continued . . .
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ODRotorHead
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by ODRotorHead » September 16th, 2023, 6:16 pm

continued . . .

The rear bracket was a little more challenging and what I made up is just the first prototype, a “beta” that will require additional refinement. Same caveat as above, this thing will never stand up to hard use of the vehicle, but it might survive a short drive across a field - in the folded up position.


Back - Plate Out 002B.jpg


Back - Plate In 001B.jpg



In keeping with my self-imposed requirement to not modify the vehicle, I used the two rear frame rail drains to attach the upper bracket. The frame drains don’t align very closely, so I had to make a template to be sure I drilled the bracket in the right locations. I won’t go into it here, but I used 1/4" toggles to attach the upper bracket to the frame.


M151 License Bracket Parts 001A.jpg


Since this was just a proof-of-concept trial, I used scrap sheet metal and rusty bar stock I had stashed under my workbench. I keep a fair amount of common hardware on hand, so the only money that went into this project was for two neoprene fender washers and four small spring clips. I tried to keep the design as simple as possible, so I opted for friction joints rather than a shaft and a pair of springs.


M151 License Bracket Parts 004A.jpg


I apologize for the pink hue in the photos. Sunlight was filtered through the red umbrella on the deck and that was the result. Won't make that mistake again.

For the next version, I plan to use heavier sheet metal (I’ll have to borrow a brake) and include a tab at the top of the lower bracket so I can add a light for the plate. I may even try a solid steel rod, threaded on both ends, and two springs, in place of the friction washers.

State law in my little corner of this Great Republic includes the requirement, “Registration plates, including the numbers, letters and words, must always be plainly visible and legible.” Someone might argue that the plate, as the bracket is currently configured, is partially obscured by the pintle hook. No one has said anything to me yet, but if I get called on it, I’ll just make up a new upper bracket and move the whole assembly a few inches further aft.

One design element I failed to take into account is the arc radius of the spring clips. Given the 9mm length of the buttons, I should have elongated the holes about 1/32" to prevent binding. Next time.

Don’t know if this information will ever be of any use to anyone, but I know this is a creative and resourceful group and I’m hoping someone will come up with something even better. I’m very open to stealing other people’s good ideas!
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m3a1
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by m3a1 » September 16th, 2023, 8:05 pm

Very nice. Very tidy. I don't really think any case could be made about obstruction of the plate's view (30 years a cop). IMHO, you're already a credit to the g838.

Cheers,
TJ

kmam
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by kmam » September 18th, 2023, 3:59 pm

In Australia we are required to have illumination of the rear number plate. I made up the solution in the photo where the plate carrier is held by elastic straps to the wheel, two led lights are fitted and the wiring has a plug/socket thus enabling the assembly to be removed when the spare is needed.
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csmith
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by csmith » September 18th, 2023, 5:08 pm

GREAT IDEA, THANKS FOR SHARING!
1976 M151A2 4 Color Cammo Mutt, aquired August 09
1976 or 7? M151A2 "Miss Sandy" Driver, aquired May 2010
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Fond appreciation for the M151 Breed!!

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FoxMike
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by FoxMike » September 19th, 2023, 1:06 am

Really nice work rotorhead, thanks for sharing.
Mine is attached to the Y strap on the gas can. Luckily Wisconsin has OD military plates so it blends in well.
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1952 M38A1 sold.

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Cliffaliff
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by Cliffaliff » September 19th, 2023, 10:39 pm

I bought the magnetic plate holders the dealers use on their vehicles. But I added zip ties behind the plate so it will not fall off. So far so good!!
1977 M151 A2, Merdc grey desert camo.

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glcaines
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Re: License Plate Bracket Ideas

Unread post by glcaines » September 24th, 2023, 9:03 am

Cliffaliff wrote:
September 19th, 2023, 10:39 pm
I bought the magnetic plate holders the dealers use on their vehicles. But I added zip ties behind the plate so it will not fall off. So far so good!!
I did the same thing. The plate holders have a very strong plastic-covered magnet on them that holds very well and won't mar any finishes. I use these on all of my military vehicles and trailers. I've never had one fall off. Being in Georgia, I only needed one for the rear since there are no front plate requirements here. The other advantage is that you can simply lift off the plate when participating in parades, etc. and no drilling, etc. when mounting.
License Plate Holdeer 2.jpg
License Plate Holder 1.jpg
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