Thanks To Hannemann Fiberglass And Baja Bumpers, Our Taco Finally Looks Like A Prerunner
We've been feeling pretty good about the progress we've made on our project Tacoma. The Total Chaos long travel kit made a world of front-end difference, and the other mods we've made have helped to transform the truck into a capable desert runner. Still, the thing didn't look right. Some folks like sleepers, and they hide their vehicle's capabilities under stock-looking body panels. Not us-we wanted the Tacoma to look like a desert truck, and we also wanted more room in our fenderwells. And we wanted some trick bumpers, a skid plate, and a bed-mounted tire carrier. Yeah, we want a lot of things, but this time, we lucked out. Hannemann Fiberglass needed a quad-cab Tacoma in order to make some new molds, and Baja Bumpers had some new designs that they were eager to show the world. Here at OFF-ROAD headquarters, it's not often a plan comes together this easily, so we jumped on it immediately.
Before the 'glass went on, our Tacoma had serious tire-clearance issues. We knew we wanted to run nothing smaller than a 33-inch tire, and we didn't really want to hack into the stock fenderwells, so the fiberglass fenders and bedsides were the way to go. We also bolted on a fiberglass hood, and it wasn't until these new body parts were on that we realized we'd been able to drop a few pounds. These fiberglass goods are tough, but you can easily pick them up with one hand. We didn't take the time to weigh all of the stock metal body panels that were torn off the truck, but when we moved them out of the shop, there was no denying that they were heavier than the new fiberglass. We plan on jumping this Tacoma whenever we get the chance, and the less weight that the suspension needs to support, the better.
Unlike certain other vehicles that depend on the stock fenders for a substantial amount of rigidity and structural support, our Tacoma is well-suited to fiberglass front fenders, even though we don't yet have an engine cage. The bedsides, as well, integrate into the retained inner truck bed, so most of the structural integrity of the bed isn't compromised. The bedsides are made of thick, sturdy fiberglass-we stood on the top of them once they were on the truck (this probably isn't recommended, but it's good to know the bedsides aren't going to crack if the truck gets used like a truck).
The Tacoma looked half-mutated with full fiberglass and stock bumpers. Being that many of the prerunner-style bumpers we see are fabricated, we expected that we'd have to have them made. However, we came across BajaBumpers.com, a company that makes, sells, and ships ready-made, bolt-on prerunner-style bumpers for '95 to '04 Tacomas. They offer a few different options, one of which was a bed-mounted, removable slant tire carrier that integrates into the rear bumper. The bumpers look great, include mounting points for lights and other accessories, and come ready to be painted or powdercoated.
It took us more time to get the stock bumpers off than it did for us to get the Baja Bumpers on. When they were mounted and ready, we marveled at the transformation our Tacoma had undergone. Our truck now looked ready to take on Baja. Seriously, the Tacoma looks legit, and our tire clearance problems are a thing of the past. We now have a lighter truck, a place for the spare, and we'll be bolting on some lights soon. Our Taco's looks finally match its performance.