1994 RWD Single Cab Toyota Pickup Build

Interesting lightweight option. Probably not super durable.

Looks like Dee Zee actually offers a custom fit rubber mat for my truck. I searched for this for quite a while and saw it was out of stock everywhere. For the price this is probably the least-hassle item I can get.

The page states that the shipping weight is 36 pounds - that seems lightweight to me.

Edit: I ordered a Dee Zee 86501. Summit Racing had it for $120 shipped. This is too affordable for me to mess with anything else. A single sheet of ABS or HDPE would approach that price. I’ll report back with my experiences.

I think I’m going to do a temporary tailgate cover in plywood to prototype what I want there.

GFC Brake Light Install

Today, I finally wired the brake light on the GFC. Some notes for other Toyota owners:

There are two passthroughs behind the brake light. One goes to the bed, one to the chassis. There might be other ways out of this space too. I was just pleased to find these:

I usually don’t use wire-piercing connectors (I’d rather cut, solder, and heatshrink/seal) but I decided to use the connectors that came included with the GFC. They worked out fine.

The bottom wire of the topmost light bulb is the brake light. It’s green and red/pink on my harness. Ground is the white and black wire.

Wires on the bed side enter at the rear. These will eventually be cleaned up.

1994 Toyota Pickup Truck Lighting Upgrade

Before I got the GFC, I upgraded all the lights on the truck. First, I replaced the old stock headlights, which were literally falling apart when I took them out.

After doing a ton of research, I decided on the TruckLite 27450C to replace my 5x7 headlights. I did not want to take a chance on cheap China stuff when it came to headlights. It’s my understanding that these lights are at least “assembled in the USA”. I read somewhere that this is the same company that designed the LED lights on the HUMVEE so at least they have some experience making tough stuff. A huge factor in choosing these lamps was that they did not require any adapter harness for the weird Toyota headlight wiring - a complete plug and play install.

I’m very happy with these headlights. They’re a huge upgrade over the originals, so much so that I can’t imagine being without them. They’ve had no issues. And they look really cool in my opinion.

Regarding the brake lights, running lights, and backup lights, I also wanted an upgrade to LED and brighter, more visible lights in general. However I did not want to use ballast resistors to make them work. It took a bit of digging, but I found this Novita EP35 relay to replace the stock relay. This was a huge win because it’s a drop in replacement, but also it can drive BOTH incandescent and LED lights if needed. With the Novita installed, I was able to replace all the lamps with LEDs at my leisure. I ordered the Novita from Autozone, BTW.

Screenshot 2023-03-12 at 13-41-00 Novita Turn Signal_Hazard Warning Flasher EP35

After testing out three different styles of lights, I ended up selecting these lights for all the replacements (brake, backup, running):

I would highly recommend this style of light to anyone with an 85-94 pickup. The difference in visibility is huge and the backup light portion really changed the game for me.

Backup Camera Install

Today I worked on a prototype/test install of a backup camera.

People in SoCal drive very aggressively and don’t pay a lot of attention. Even with the window option, I simply don’t have the field of view to safely back out of a parking spot. I’ve had several close calls in parking lots since installing the GFC. I figured a backup cam was a lot cheaper than an accident (fingers crossed).

I had the following requirements:

  • Wireless connection to monitor so I don’t have to run a video cable to the cab
  • Wired power connection so it’s not dependent on a solar cell or lithium battery
  • Smallish screen so it will fit in my dash
  • Widest practical FOV

I found the Boscam K7 which looked like it met all these requirements. I paid $120 but today it’s on sale for $89, which is about right in my opinion. Here’s a quick look at my first try at installing this thing - lots of details need to be cleaned up! Does anyone have any ideas about how to bring the wiring inside the topper?

Ended up mounting the screen over the cupholder and the drivers-side vent. Not sure I’m going to like this long term, but I’m going to drive around with it like this for a while and see how it goes.


Installed the Dee Zee 86501 bed mat tonight.

What a pleasure. Unrolled it, dropped it in place, and it was perfect. I was so damn satisfied that I almost fell asleep on the spot. :wink:

Also, it’s 37 pounds, about what was claimed.


Bought an Aeronaut Hoverquilt based on the feedback & discussion here. It was a big expense for me, but quality sleep is a top priority. Can’t wait to test.

To add to the positive feedback, I made a mistake when ordering and their customer service was next level. I really appreciated their kind and straightforward handling. I am not a person that likes a lot of brands and badges or reps for companies online. There are no sponsored posts in this thread. But standout service and thoughtful design like I have seen from Aeronaut and GFC is deserving of every last post and recommendation.


I really really love the quilt. It stuffs super small and is still warm. But, one thing that I found is this…
If you use the quilt on top of other bedding, it tends to wander significantly during the night. I would sometimes wake up partially uncovered. I added buttons to my other bedding to utilize the integrated button loops on the quilt. They work great and the quilt stays in place perfectly without worries all night.



I never thought a down quilt could be that much of a game changer for sleeping, but damn, it really is. Being warm and sleeping loose is so awesome, and to have that size of blanket (for my wife and I and our tiny dog) is luxurious. As close as it gets to sleeping at home.


Thank you for the tip. I’m going to see if I can manage implementing this before going out this weekend. I’m really lucky in that I have a full sewing setup in my prototyping shop so adding connection points should be straightforward.

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I also splurged a bit and decided to get one cause my previous sleeping bag was just so big and bulky and was a pain moving up and down. It was very comfy though. I’ve had 3 nights in the hover quilt and it’s been amazing. Kept me perfectly warm in 30-35 degree weather and I can leave it in the tent when I close it down. The size of it also compliments the GFC really well as opposed to other similar quilts. Overall, I think well worth the money.


Installed a 12mm thick pre-varnished baltic birch tailgate cover today. Put rivnuts in the tailgate so I can bolt it on and off.

Also had a solar panel fail today. I think the reputation on these flexible panels may be well deserved. But also added a cutoff switch and diodes today. Fingers crossed.


Thanks for all the love everyone! Let’s hook you up with some Aerostraps — and for you too @GFC706 @tbacon4758 and @weightshift. Shoot me a DM and I’ll toss some over to you to test out (free!)

These straps help keep your quilt in place - hook one clip to the loop, then run the strap under a mattress or whatever, then the other hook clips to the loop on the other side of your quilt. Then you can tighten or loosen however you’d like. I should probably do a video or something about it


Today, I put some effort into my panel height issue.

Because my truck is small, the panels were basically exactly at eye-socket level.

I had a great discussion with GFC Support (thanks, Cole!) . They gave me some good insight, and followed up repeatedly. A+.

Here’s the new bracket design, which moves the pivot 3.5mm higher, and 12mm toward the hinge. If I did it again, I would move the pivot 5mm higher for just a little more clearance.

Waterjet cut and marked:


Installed (panel now clears my head, locks can still catch my head)

I’m satisfied with this for now.


Still figuring out spots where I can “camp” in a sort of 40 mile radius around Los Angeles. Makes me wish I knew some real experienced folks bcause there are a lot of non-obvious forces at play. I’m all for quasi-legal stuff but you have to know what’s enforced and what’s not.

Anyway, went exploring last night, ended up taking a long peaceful nap on the side of Highway 1. The Hovernaut quilt made it very comfortable, and the height of the GFC really changes your view of the world. I really love the feeling that happens when you get the back door and side door(s) open.

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Flathead pass never fails to give great views.

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I saw how the new Yotas have bed rails or tracks or whatever they’re called. Often I want to tarp over the whole bed for concealment or just to quickly attach a bag or object somewhere. I’ve also always wanted to use L-track in a project so I bought some.

Best deal I could find was Mytee . I bought 6x 48" sections of the black track. The real aerospace stuff is built better and often has a taper/chamfer. I’ve seen it run between the ridges in the beds of trucks. I’m no expert.

The top of the bed on these old Toyotas is just two thin layers of metal spot welded together. To reinforce the back/under side I made large, 25mm square 4.8mm thick nuts on the waterjet from some scrap aluminum. Then I clamped the L-track in place, drilled the holes 1mm oversize and in-place, and attached it with lots of flat head M5 screws. Overall the whole thing took a couple hours and was very satisfying.


I think you should do a video @AERONAUT

I tested these on my last trip. I really like them for the bottom half of the quilt (I sleep with my feet at the narrow part of the wedge). With one strap on that side, I can still sneak my feet out the end if they need to cool off, but the quilt stayed put.

It’s weird, but the quilt has really given me some mental peace. I know I can camp in almost any SoCal weather and I will be in comfort. I normally like (really) heavy blankets, but now I really love how the hoverquilt is super light. It’s almost like having a blanket of nothing but warm, still air over your body. So far, I’ve always slept with the front windows wide open, and sometimes the cool cross breeze would be uncomfortable or wake me up. But with the hoverquilt, that’s not a problem anymore.

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Love this! Yeah we’ll crank out a video soon, that would be perfect to show folks. And also the other fun uses for those straps. I’ve used em for crampon and ice tool attachments on climbing adventures, lashing kayaks together, a ton of stuff in the truck…

Hey and I’m stoked the quilt is helping out so much! Thanks for sharing this!

Hey suspension experts!

On the California freeways, there are sections that make my truck porpoise (rock front-to-back) pretty badly. It’s the worst between 60 and 70MPH. Seems to be between 2-5hz, pretty rapid and pronounced. I can probably get a dashcam video. I don’t see other vehicles having problems.

I have airbags on the back, and I keep most of the load right behind the cab. Different pressure settings seem to help .The truck has brand new Bilsteins all the way around, I think Bilstein B6 4600s.

How would you approach this problem? What would you try?

This is a picture of one of those spots - cement with grooves and horizontal/sectional cuts about 20 feet apart.

Thanks for posting this. it was very helpful