Bed Stiffeners - Help for install

Seeking recommendations on anyone in Missoula area who would be reasonably priced for installing a set of bed stiffeners. I have neither the tools or the know-how, but the shop I asked (J&K Customs) estimated $325, which seemed steep. The set I ordered is an “internal” install housed in the tail light area so they don’t protrude into the bed, so slightly more complicated. Thanks for any guidance folks can offer, I’m a total newbie trying to figure out the ropes!

Hey Alex!

These are super easy to install. Did you already order them?

Hey Hunter! They are on backorder, but I should have them hopefully in 4-6 weeks. I don’t feel at all qualified to be drilling holes in my truck, so I thought I should find someone who knows what they’re doing, but I’d love to not pay $300 for it!

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If you bought hunter a beer and odi a bully stick, hunter aould probably show you how to install/help you


here’s the instruction. seems quite straight forward! I have faith in you!

but quick question what makes you decide to get the internal mounts instead of easier options such as:


Beer and bully sticks are a bargain!! I’m a damn good baker, so I’ll sweeten the payment with a favorite dessert if that will seal the deal?!

I appreciate the vote of confidence @ws6616! I have a custom built drawer system that all of the typical bed stiffeners would interfere with. I put the cart ahead of the horse on that one since I didn’t even know what bed stiffeners were at that point!

Hey Alex if you shoot me a text I would be more than happy to help out. I have the tools necessary as well.


Wouldn’t a custom built drawer system be sufficient in and of itself to stiffen the bed (depending on how tight it fits to the sides)? If the drawers aren’t attached to the bed sides in any way I suppose they wouldn’t help the sides from deforming outward, but I think GFC states the topper itself helps strengthen the rear of the bed. Maybe securing the bed sides to the drawers would be another option. I went the bed stiffener route just because it seemed an easy and relatively inexpensive upgrade (and the ones inside the bed provide additional tie down options) but when I researched it I realized there are plenty of people who use their trucks a lot harder than I ever will that contend it isn’t necessary at all. I’m not an engineer and haven’t owned my Tacoma/GFC for long enough to claim any great degree of personal knowledge, so just more of a question to consider. (and I certainly don’t want to get in the way of some forum member getting a beer and a choice dessert!!!)

Thank you for throwing out that question as to whether the drawers themselves act as enough of a brace - hadn’t considered that! Will do further research!

I don’t know the answer, but if it is a mixed debate if they are required at all then having drawers probably tips the scale further in the not needed direction. Fortunately there are lots of folks on this forum with a lot more experience than I have! Good luck!

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ah. i see. sometimes that happens!
just read through the instructions and see if it makes sense for you.

also have some spare tools because sometimes you will want to throw tools while doing it. (that is definitely NOT why I find sockets here and there at the shop :joy:)

drawers are tied down to the bed and while help with holding the bed together and reduce the amount of flex and stress the composite bed experiences, they are in no match to stiffeners since you still have a C-channel. This is in comparison to NO GFC.

With the GFC, now you basically have a box in the bed area instead of a C-channel that help distribute the stress and is structurally stronger. So with GFC it definitely helps and should be fine for most guys. One example: C-channel frame trucks experience more twisting and frame deformation than box frame trucks, and therefore require reinforcements.

Now, ALL truck beds are C-channel shaped. However, only taco beds are made of composite and not metal (steel/ aluminum/ whatnot) and therefore, are more prone to splitting or deformation than the beds from Ram, Ford, or Chevy. Technically, the best course of action for those without GFC is to install bed stiffeners (which is what I tell all of my customers who take their trucks offroad). But with GFC, most people can get away with not running stiffeners (including me… no one makes stiffeners for Ram 1500 Rebel… the TRX ones don’t fit :disappointed_relieved:)

For regular taco guys with GFC y’all are fine without stiffeners (I mean, unless you are going to be installing long travel and attempt Baja 1000 or any of those desert races). But it’s better to be safe than sorry and stiffeners are way easier to deal with than a split bed with your camper/ topper on it.

Hope that helps!

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@ws6616 I feel like if this were a school assignment you did all the work to compile the research and then let me copy the cliff notes version!! My take away is that adding the stiffeners is not necessary/may be overkill, but could still be a good idea as extra insurance for protecting the integrity of the bed’s structure. Thank you so much for the guidance! I think a new community of awesome humans may be the best GFC accessory there is, really appreciate you all jumping in to help a stranger!


hahahaha thank you!
I’m a tech/ outfitter (I work for a shop that does a lot of offroad/ overlanding builds) and I was on the trail almost every weekend in 2020, then I start to do more long range expeditions and more high speed desert runs after in 2021. I’ve seen a thing or two gone wrong lol
In our trail/ overlanding group few of the guys have engineering background (mechanical and electrical) and they were able to explain technical things to me in everyday English that I can understand (I’m never good at math so can’t really study engineering with all the calculations and mathematics involved). Basically I copied their homework and then rephrased it :joy:

But anyways my goal is always to help the community out so more people can avoid bad things from happening. To me, helping strangers understand the “why and how” is always better than simple answers of “yes it works or no you don’t need it”. I want to give out free information so users can make their own informed decision.


@ws6616 I’m sure I will have many other questions the deeper into this I go, will keep you in mind as a very helpful resource!! Is your shop based in MT?

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shop i work for is in socal.

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Have you ever see a bed issue on the trail or in the shop?

not yet but that’s probably because all the taco customers who wheel often/ hard all have bed stiffeners installed.

I don’t necessarily agree with that assumption and would say it’s much more common in these echo chamber forums than in the real world.

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