Project Trucks What do you do when you need something that doesn't exist? Build it!
That's exactly the situation we were in when it came to covering our '04 4Runner's augmented track width. The recent addition of a Currie 9-Inch rearend came with a ton of advantages, documented in 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine's February 2011 issue. If there was a downside, it was that the wheels garishly protruded from the body. Protruding wheels made the 'Runner a cop magnet, and they were also responsible for a wasted rearview mirror when a rock flung out of the tread and shattered it. We needed bedsides-quickly.
After exploring a few options, we decided that modifying a set of '05-and-newer fiberglass Tacoma bedsides was the way to go. Fiberwerx was willing to supply the Tacoma bedsides, knowing that they would be cut and modified to fit the 4Runner. Installation was going to be tricky, and it would require chopping and modifying the sheet metal as well as the fiberglass. Yours truly likes to do his own work, but this project was over my head. Besides, it was gonna be gut-wrenching to cut up my own 4Runner; all the more reason to watch and learn while someone else did the cutting. That "someone" turned out to be the crew at Desolate Motorsports. Desolate's Greg Gilbert, Matt Carter, and Danny McKenna are veterans of many, many off-road fiberglass installations, and the crew is also experienced working on hot rods. This proved a perfect combination for treading the uncharted waters ahead.
Broken down, the fiberglass metamorphosis project comprised three main foci: cutting and re-shaping the fiberglass, tubbing the sheetmetal, and mounting the fiberglass over the sheetmetal. The passenger's side was completed first, and then the driver's side was done using the passenger's side as a pattern. Follow the photos and captions and we'll explain.