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Discussion Starter #1
There are a few Tacoma writeups with pics, but a Taco bed is different from a Tundra bed. The desertrides.com writeup is a little easier to follow, so I started with their process in mind and fired up the grinder...

Day One- Taking it all off!

The stock bedsides need to be destructively removed from the truck, so if you start this, you're committed to finishing. Removal is low on the PITA scale but is time-consuming.

Tools: 4.5" grinder, sawzall, hammer+chisel, pliers, phillips & flat screwdriver, 10mm & 12mm sockets, 12mm wrench, torx bit (I forget what size, get a set if you dont already have one since there are torx bolts all over the truck). Youll need several cutoff/grinding wheels and at least one flap wheel (medium grit). A drill is necessary if you want to be clean with the spot welds, with a center punch, a 1/8 bit for a pilot and a 3/8 bit to take out the weld. A hacksaw is also good, for spots where the grinder won't fit and the sawzall is too much.

Remove the bumper. If you're stock, take a phillips screwdriver to the license plate lights, push them forward and out, separate from the wiring and set aside. Pull the license plate and pop the center section of plastic off the bumper to release the wires. Pull the rearmost and center of three bolts on either side of the bumper, holding the bumper to the frame. These are 12mm diameter bolts with a 12mm head. Leave the forwardmost bolt in place, but loose. The bumper should settle, but should not fall. Check for wires, and remove...one person can easily remove the stock bumper since the forwardmost of the three bolts are in a slot, not a hole, open to the front, and the bumper is resting on the rear of the frame if the other two bolts are removed.

Remove the tailgate. Two torx bolts (visible) each side, one 12mm bolt (shielded) in the back of the angled piece that holds the tailgate to the rotating assembly. Leave the support cables attached to the tailgate, just free them from the bed. Set the tailgate aside, dont remove the latches or anything else from the bed.

The rear of the truck should look something like this. I trimmed the bedsides earlier, but it's pretty much the same thing.

Remove the taillights. Each light has two 10mm bolts securing the light to the bed. They are the only 10mm bolts in that area, everything else is large torx and associated with the tailgate. Look under the bedsides for the wiring connectors, pull the connectors and secure the wiring out of the way.

Remove any plastic you or someone else might want later, like the side moulding or forward corner protectors.

Now the rear of the truck should look like this.

Grab a shield (goggles or glasses aren't really enough for this, I tried) and fire up the sawzall. Make the first cut at the bottom of the taillight opening, then a cut upward from the top of the taillight opening, and a third cut all the way forward to within a couple inches of the front of the bed. These cuts can be done with any tool you want. I used the grinder on the first side, then since I knew what was in there I was able to use the sawzall and really drop the time. Aim the blade of the sawzall so it's roughly parallel to the curve at the top of the bedside, and stay on the flat but to the very outside of the rail. The blade will miss the stake pockets and the inner rail this way, but if you straighten the foot flat against the rail the blade will either hit a stake pocket or the inner bedside and youll either bend the blade or destroy something you'll want later.

Your initial cuts will look something like this.

The bedside will be hanging from the front, the wheel well and two spot welds inside the taillight mounting hole. Use a small pilot hole and then drill out the spot weld with the 3/8 bit. If you want to save the sheetmetal for something else (tubbing the wheel wells, new fender liners, etc), secure the back of the bedside (have someone support it or use a zip tie through one of the spot welds you just drilled out) and cut the wheel well from under the bed. Stay as close to the edge as possible. Then cut the front of the bed, and the skin will drop free.

The truck should look like this. The initial front cut is actually a few inches to the rear of the forward edge of the bed. Here's a better view.

Next clean up the spot welds at the back, near where the tailgate attaches. There are two at the bottom, one above and one below each spur for the tailgate. There are two or three more at the top...

TO BE CONTINUED...

truck is all skinned, looks real clean, too tired to type more now...more tomorrow after i install the bedsides...see gallery for more pics...gotta rest cuz i feel like this

-sean
 

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This is probably a stupid question but what is the benefit of fiberglass over the stock sheet metal besides the weight difference?
 

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This is probably a stupid question but what is the benefit of fiberglass over the stock sheet metal besides the weight difference?
Well most of the time it is for more clearance of big tires, Or since my truck has long travel and MUCH more travel then stock my tires actually ruined the stock sheet metal. Fiberglass flares out much more.

BUT nowadays these kids (Like I'm not one:rolleyes: ) are putting glass on their stock trucks just to look cool even though it just looks stupid. Not saying that Devin does not need it he probably does, just talking about the trendy ones in their body lifted pavement pounders.

Personally I think the stock sheet metal looks much better but my tires wasted mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
in my case, the fiberglass hides the body lift better than the stock bedsides :devil:.

it's for tire coverage and clearance. long travel kits usually lengthen the axle, and if you bump the front width youll probably want to bump the rear, and then youll need wider fenders to stay legal (and protect the rest of the body), and glass is probably easier+more effective in the long run than pulling or really wide flares, plus it's the only option if you cage the bed aside from very carefully skinning the floppy, weak, heavy sheetmetal off the bed and tying it to the cage. also, if youre going offroad you probably want larger tires, which probably dont fit the stock plastic-lined/formed wheel wells but will fit a modified wheel well and trimmed fiberglass.

the weight difference...yeah...dunno how easy it is to see in the photo but with the cap (80#, maybe), tailgate (maybe 40-50#), bumper (80-90#) and sheetmetal off, the rear springs are so unloaded that the rear is easily sitting 3" higher than normal. honestly i dont think there's much difference in weight, the difference will be more if youre running without a gate and with a very simple tube bumper. The glass doesnt weigh much less than the steel i removed, maybe 10-20#, totally negligable.

i'm doing this for clearance based on looks (if that makes sense) and space. the 35s were already rubbing the wheel wells, and i plan on running 37s in the near term, 39s after the sas, so the choices were either trim back the sheetmetal or go glass. without the flares, the truck is flat and imho not visually appealing, not to mention the mounting flares for the holes would need to be filled and painted, or the wheel well opening cut back (but there's only about 1/2"-1" of material to the integrated sheetmetal liner), and the bedside is still permanently attatched which means i get to invest in a ding king or wear the damage, worry about rust, eventually go flatbed, woody or something equally unappealing. i wouldnt do any of those things, ever, because i bought a good looking truck with a functional bed that people look at and say "that's a nice truck!", vs people recently saying "wtf were you thinking?" with reference to the open holes, ratline and rear trimming that the truck has shown for the past week prior to the glass install. with the glass, i can leave it on for an easy trip or easily take it off for an expedition (provided i have a place to leave it, like a trailer, cabin, hotel room, etc) or a day in the rocks, and the way the truck is being built i doubt i'll be taking it off much...the rear is trimmed for clearance, the bumper will protect the rear corners, the tires will extend just past the fender, and the sliders protect the front of the bedsides. if/when i cage the rear, i can dovetail the glass and never take it off, and stay more or less street legal. i can trim enough material to fit a michelin xs if i wanted to and still have a clean look, or run a 37" tire and have a truck that looks, well, "right" for lack of a better word.

it's easy to cut and repair, if it turns out i need more clearance i can always trim with a hand saw, air saw or even work it back with a flap wheel, and never worry about rust. if i smack it with a rock, it's flexible enough that it wont dent like steel, and can be repaired and repainted...or if it gets completely trashed, i can get a new one and bolt it on. now that i know what to trim on the glass, installation will be a lot easier (i'll find out tonight when i hang the driver's side).

there is a lot more space between the bedside and bed, and now it's accessable...there is room in the rear for a battery tray on each side (adequately protected and linked to the frame), and a compressor on the passenger side corresponding to the position of the fuel door on the left. over the tires, there's room for a pair of...whatever. possibly water tanks, or water bags or something. the stock sheetmetal will make great wheel well liner, once it's coated with spray-on bedliner, or rhino for real protection, and will support the side of the glass as well as create a protected space once it's tied to the bed and the glass.

it also looks better at the mall :devil:.

-sean
 

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Good deal!! Thanks for shedding some light on the subject. Good luck with the project!! What are you running for gears? Will you go with a steeper gear with the 37's?
 

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it's easy to cut and repair, if it turns out i need more clearance i can always trim with a hand saw, air saw or even work it back with a flap wheel, and never worry about rust. if i smack it with a rock, it's flexible enough that it wont dent like steel, and can be repaired and repainted...or if it gets completely trashed, i can get a new one and bolt it on. now that i know what to trim on the glass, installation will be a lot easier (i'll find out tonight when i hang the driver's side).
This is a big benefit. The glass is ALOT more forgiving then the sheet metal. I have hit mnine on everything and all I do is run some fine sand paper over it to get the chunks out and it looks perfect again. It flex's more then you would think and I have repaired cracks and holes and you would not be able to tell where.
 

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That looks sweet !!!!!!

So you are going to run 37's with the ifs and did you do a small BL ? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah, 37s with the ifs, but i dont like it and will swap to sfa asap. 35 is really the practical limit with the stock ifs due to clearance, and 37 is a lot of tire for the stock ifs.

i was joking about the body lift. i will never put a body lift on my truck.

there's about 2.5" of suspension lift in the back, and about 3.5" of coilover lift in the front, with manual hubs and uniball uppers. i'm turning the lift down in the front to 2.5" if i can with 37s, after trimming the front wheel well a little more...i could do it now with the 35s but gotta wait and fit the 37s. if i cant flex & turn proper then i'll be running mild stuff until i can get a proper axle in there.

oh yeah about the flexibility of glass...i had a piece of scrap from trimming the back of the quarterpanel that i was trying to bust in half so it would fit better in the scrap bucket...you can put about a 4" radius bend in the stuff and it'll just snap back in to place without damage. the paint will crack (at first i thought it was the fiber breaking) but the glass will be fine, and it took a lot of bend before the paint cracked--make sure you get decent paint that's elastic enough to flex with the glass. i did break the piece in half finally by folding it over and setting it on the ground and stepping on bend so it was flat :p... but even with close to a 1" radius bend in the glass (fibers beginning to break), it was still intact and would bounce back to its original shape.

-d67
 

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Personally I think the stock sheet metal looks much better but my tires wasted mine.
lol, Im surprised my front fenders never got ripped off or bent even more than they did :devil:

now I have too much clearance :clown:
 

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He's making things up, there are no pics because it never happened.
 

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I'm about to do front fenders and bedsides on my '02 access cab. Lots of companies to pick from. Is the installation for the various brands pretty much the same? I'm thinking of the way the new ones are attached--do they all require pretty much the same panel cuts from the original bed?
 

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I'm about to do front fenders and bedsides on my '02 access cab. Lots of companies to pick from. Is the installation for the various brands pretty much the same? I'm thinking of the way the new ones are attached--do they all require pretty much the same panel cuts from the original bed?
All bedsides are going to require extensive work to make them fit. They are not fun. With that said I actually like to fit poor fitting bedsides more than I like to fit poor fitting front fenders. There's a lot less to line up on the bedsides but there is a lot more cutting.

If you are lucky you can cut the old bedsides off and use the top bed rail to mount the fiberglass on. Chances are this will put you just a little too high to line up. At that point you have to fabricate a new bed rail or shelf to mount the fiberglass to. Plan on making bed supports before and after the wheel openings to keep that area from flailing around like a Broadway star. You have to find a way to mount the front vertical area where it meets by the cab and I've used some of the old bedsides to mount there and it can work fine. Beyond that you are kind of stuck with where the back mounts and it's just cutting, fitting, and screwing/riveting.
 

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Hey Karma. My sides and fenders arrived from Adv Fiberglass. Nicely made! I've never seen a vid of anyone doing a 1st Gen Tundra bedside. Lots of other trucks, but every one requires different metal cutting techniques. I'm sure the process is more dependent on the brand bed you are working on than the brand of the new bedside. I'm going to try to leave the rail for starters, but lots has to come off at the tail light and gate area to make things work. My gate already has little clearance so I'm going to have to strip as much of the side metal off as I can and just leave the supports inside the tail light opening. Looks like the rear will probably be the worst.

The new bedside has a nice wide (2") wrap around on the front. I hope to hide the bolts behind the cab, rather than on the side as I have seen some done. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to remove a little at a time, slowly, to make it work. Hard to put stuff back once it's cut LOL.
 

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Hey Karma. My sides and fenders arrived from Adv Fiberglass. Nicely made! I've never seen a vid of anyone doing a 1st Gen Tundra bedside. Lots of other trucks, but every one requires different metal cutting techniques. I'm sure the process is more dependent on the brand bed you are working on than the brand of the new bedside. I'm going to try to leave the rail for starters, but lots has to come off at the tail light and gate area to make things work. My gate already has little clearance so I'm going to have to strip as much of the side metal off as I can and just leave the supports inside the tail light opening. Looks like the rear will probably be the worst.

The new bedside has a nice wide (2") wrap around on the front. I hope to hide the bolts behind the cab, rather than on the side as I have seen some done. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to remove a little at a time, slowly, to make it work. Hard to put stuff back once it's cut LOL.
Excuse the thread resurrection. Post pictures of your bedsides when you get them done please. I may be heading that direction after I do my new rear shocks this summer. I doubt just cutting/pulling the bedsides are going to give me enough clearance.
 
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