Bed Stiffeners for (2nd Gen) Tacoma

I know this subject has been touched on quite a few times, but I wanted to share my experience. I did have a LEER topper for 3 year on this same '14 Taco DCLB, and didn’t have any intrusion issues. (I currently do not have a rack to add additional load, but do run a 270 degree awning that was on both the topper and GFC)

Now with the GFC (for almost 6 months), I get a tremendous amount of dirt intrusion, but that was no surprise. I sealed up the notorious front bed corners. Then I focused on the tailgate. Because of the slight diff. in bed lengths between 2nd and 3rd gens, the rear panel is far from ideal on the bottom lip sealing. However, that is a separate topic. I then noticed the gap difference top to bottom on my tailgate.

I get a gap of about .125" at the bottom and .300" at the top (same on both sides). Seems pretty significant, and this now makes me rethink my original thought of “well if I didn’t have an issue with my topper, I shouldn’t have an issue with the GFC”.

I would love to hear from other Tacoma owners that have their GFC without bed stiffeners that still have a constant gap top to bottom on their tailgate!?! (any gen) Otherwise, I hope this helps someone else in their build/planning.

Sorry, can’t help with the bed stiffeners, but would you mind sharing what you used to seal up the bed? Think it could be taken off down the line?

i used this (on my tail gate)


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For the tailgate I have only used some basic 3/8 thick EPDM weather seal on the vertical surfaces, but it doesn’t transition well towards the top. For the front corners, I used all purpose silicone caulk (clear hides better) and some backer rods. Pictures of the front corners are probably hard to get and really show much. If the camper has to be taken off, I would probably just strip/remove most of it and redo it. Don’t imagine that happening too often, at least for me.

Weatherstripe (very similar but might have been slightly different dimensions):

Rod Backer:

And actually, I think I saw post up those items for the tailgate on another thread, and I was going to go down that road too to improve my previous efforts…I have a long way to go to really get the sealing where I want it. (I almost titled this tread “bed stiffeners and sealing”, and my OP definitely is covering both :grinning:

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One thing to consider is that although the LEER might have been heavier than the GFC by itself, were you sleeping in an RTT on top of the canopy or inside the canopy? Adding the weight of two people sleeping in the GFC could add significantly more load to your bed rails, thus increasing the bowing of the sides. I installed my bed stiffeners before getting my GFC two years ago. I haven’t seen had drastic bowing of the sides, even though when I originally installed the bed stiffeners they did seem to pull the angle to 90 back from a slight outward bow.

Yeah, there was no RTT when I had the topper, so I think you are spot on. Definitely overlooked the added weight of occupants. That is interesting to hear your brackets pulled in your bed panels back to 90 even before you had add the GFC.