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Trail-Ready Tundra, Part Three

Adding an ARE Shell, Bed Rug, and Topper Lift to Our Overland Project Toyota

Nov 27, 2019
If you've been following along, you know that we've made great strides in improving our 2014 Toyota Tundra Overland Project, which is a joint effort between Truckin and Fuel Offroad. Starting with a slightly used 2014, we got the suspension performance and stance right with a BDS upper arm and Fox coilover kit. We added 35-inch Fuel tires to the existing Fuel wheels (but we've got some custom Fuel wheels coming soon for the big reveal). Then we added ADD bumpers and steps filled with Rigid LED lighting. The drivability and improvements in the looks department is already paying dividends in the thumbs up and weekend fun departments.
This month we headed out to Fuller Truck Accessories in Fullerton, California, for a trifecta of awesome additions that will make this truck a whole lot more capable and family friendly out in the wild. We started this next phase of the build with ARE for one of their Z-model truck caps. Their caps come with all of the standard features like frameless glass, a carpeted interior, a third brake light, and flawless paint-matching. To match the inside of the shell to the bed floor, we ordered up a genuine Bed Rug to make things that much more cozy inside. And for our final trick, we reached out to Topper Lift for their Weekender Camper Package, which is comprised of two parts: a set of actuators that bolt from the bed floor and the bedrail to the shell, allowing it to raise the ARE cap up. There is also a skirt that fits in between the bed and shell when it's raised and a full tent that attaches to the back and transforms your truck bed into a travelling bunkhouse!
Check out the install below and make sure you check back next month as we get just a little closer to calling this project done. Be sure to check out the websites in the source box to see what is available for your truck, and head over to truckin.com to see our Tundra build in its entirety.
Photo 2/36   |   The Z-model truck cap from ARE features flush tinted glass, heavy-duty locks, a lighted and carpeted interior, and best of all it was ordered in white, which was perfectly matched to our 2014 Toyota Tundra. It arrives ready to bolt down. All you have to do is wire the lights.
Photo 3/36   |   You've seen us use Bed Rugs on a regular basis on any of our trucks that have a cap or tonneau. The reason is they are a very affordable way to dress up the bed floor and make them more comfortable. They will also take a beating and clean up with a hose.
Photo 4/36   |   We actually started with the Bed Rug because everything else will sit on top of it. The crew at Fuller Truck Accessories have done this install so many times that it was hard to keep up with them. The first step is to evenly disperse the hard side of the Velcro patches along the prestitched soft side of the Velcro.
Photo 5/36   |   A couple of minutes later we were ready to flip the Bed Rug inside out and drop it in the bed.
Photo 6/36   |   These things are always a precise fit, so getting it in place is literally as simple as dropping it in.
Photo 7/36   |   Now each section of backing is pulled off and stuck down systematically, starting with the right side of the bed floor.
Photo 8/36   |   With the floor pressed down into place, we moved on to the bulkhead next.
Photo 9/36   |   Then we worked our way toward the rear of the truck, tucking and sticking along the way.
Photo 10/36   |   Finally, the visible edges and tailgate are stuck down into place. And with that, we moved on to the next step.
Photo 11/36   |   The key to the Topper EZ Lift are these heavy-duty actuators. Otherwise, lifting the cap up off the bed isn't that easy! Although it requires a lot of feeding and securing of the wiring, it is all plug and play and very straightforward.
Photo 12/36   |   The Weekender Camper Package is the other half of the equation. One section seals off the area between the bed and the cab, and the other acts as tent and front door from the tailgate to the shell.
Photo 13/36   |   To gain access to where the wiring harnesses will run, both taillights were removed.
Photo 14/36   |   The harnesses that powers the third brake light and the interior lights on the shell is fed through a notch in the bed.
Photo 15/36   |   And while we were at it, we fed the power wires for the actuators through the same area.
Photo 16/36   |   The brake light harness was then tied into the taillight harness. The power wires continue forward along the frame, zip tied to an existing harness.
Photo 17/36   |   As per the directions, two wires tie in behind the kick panel, which let the power lock option on the truck control the rear hatch on the ARE cap.
Photo 18/36   |   Finally, power for both the ARE cap and the Topper EZ Lift were routed up to the factory battery and connected at the terminals.
Photo 19/36   |   With all the prep work behind us, it was time to actually set the ARE cap in place. A forklift and expert installers make it a lot easier.
Photo 20/36   |   Our first actuator was set into place to determine location.
Photo 21/36   |   The upper bracketry on the actuator is built to lock under and against the lip of the bed.
Photo 22/36   |   Once we determined the locations for the four actuators, we snugged up the two bolts locking the actuator in place.
Photo 23/36   |   Now we could mark the holes where the actuator will bolt to the cap.
Photo 24/36   |   With more help from the forklift, we raised the cap up and drilled our marked holes at each corner.
Photo 25/36   |   To spread the load and help strengthen up the area that will be lifted, the large, flat steel section bolts through the shell from below.
Photo 26/36   |   Next, we attached a foam seal to the entire bottom of the shell before we dropped the cap back down.
Photo 27/36   |   With the cap back down on the bedrails we adjusted and bolted the actuator brackets in place.
Photo 28/36   |   At this point, there was nothing left to do except hit the switch and watch the cap raise up. It moved smoothly and evenly from the very first try.
Photo 29/36   |   With the cap dropped back down, the finished product looked super clean on the inside. And the actuators take up a lot less space than we expected.
Photo 30/36   |   The actuator switch tucks out of the way on the actuator and is easily reachable while standing next to the tailgate.
Photo 31/36   |   With the cap all closed up, the final look of the truck could not be smoother. ARE's fit and finish were spot on.
Photo 32/36   |   We've come a long way with our Tundra, and the lift, wheels, tires, bumpers, steps, and cap are really helping us achieve the look we wanted. All we had left to do for this month was head to the beach and set up the Weekender Camper Package.
Photo 33/36   |   Thomas from Fuel Offroad did the honors by rolling out the front and side skirts, which Velcro into place on the ledge of the cap and under the bedrail.
Photo 34/36   |   The front section works like a standard tent, except the forth side connects to the truck.
Photo 35/36   |   We zipped and Velcroed the top section in place and called it done. The Topper EZ Lift is definitely a fun alternative to dragging a trailer behind you or sleeping on the ground.
Photo 36/36   |   And the amount of inside space is pretty impressive. We're excited to give this setup a try out in the wild. Check back next month because we still have a few tricks up our sleeves for this Tundra!

Sources

A.R.E. Accessories, LLC
Massillon, OH
800-649-4273
http://www.4are.com
Fuller Truck Accessories
Fullerton, CA
714-879-4481
http://www.fullertruck.com

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