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Built not bought

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT

My wife’s Prius was in need of a front license plate mount. Not wanting to harm the bumper of such a fine automobile, I decided to use a tow hook mounted plate holder.

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Usually these are $20 on Amazon and they can be found for almost any application. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any that would fit a Gen 2 Prius, so I decided to get creative.

Here’s the tow hook on the car.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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Once I knew where the “top” of the tow hook was, I got a strip of 1/8” steel and set to work.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT

Those welds look fine right? I mean it just has to hold a license plate! Screw it, time for paint.

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First some grinding and primer. I used some leftover white wheel paint and finished it with 3 coats of clear.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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I let it dry overnight, and was ready to pop it on the car and be done.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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Well, crap.

Remember what I said about my welds being “good enough”? Well, they weren’t. It’s been a while since I’ve used the welder, so I was a bit out of practice. The problem was I had set my wire speed too fast. There wasn’t enough time for me to get enough heat into the weld and it never penetrated the plate.

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On the next attempt I dialed the wire speed way back and got much stronger results.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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I decided to just use some truck bed liner spray instead of trying to make it look nice. It actually came out ok after some grinding.

Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT
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It fits pretty well and it’s hella strong. In a pinch you you’ll probably tow the car with it.

The offset made it so the plate was just barely touching the bumper when it was fully screwed in. I just backed it out one full turn and now it’s perfect. I’m not worried about it moving around, there’s plenty of friction on the threads.

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Illustration for article titled Built not bought
Photo: RBT

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