Fiberglass bedsides are essentially the equivalent of fiberglass fenders for the rear of your truck. As we discussed in our previous post, installing fiberglass fenders and bedsides on the Toyota Tacoma is a popular decision amongst the off-road crowd for a number of different reasons.
Why Fiberglass Bedsides?
Primarily, fiberglass bedsides are useful for gaining tire clearance without having to raise your pickup truck quite so high. Fiberglass bedsides, such as those manufactured by Hannemann Fiberglass Inc., offer a much larger opening underneath that allows for greater suspension travel and larger tire sizes without having to worry too much about rubbing. They also offer more aggressive flaring, which can provide coverage for an oversized tire or aggressive wheel offset that can come in handy when dealing with state regulations concerning vehicle safety. Fiberglass is lighter than steel, which is often a consideration when trying to build a low mass, well-balanced off-road rig, and fiberglass doesn’t rust so you don’t have to worry about it getting soaked in salt during the winter months.
Hannemann Fiberglass offers three different lengths for its Toyota Tacoma fiberglass bedsides: short bed for 1995 to 2003 trucks and 2005 and up trucks, and 5-foot for 2005 and up trucks. Pricing starts at $275 and tops out at $300 per side, and all three lengths offer a 4-inch “bulge” of flaring. Installation typically requires drilling holes to fit factory mounting bolts, and given that you will have to remove the existing steel bedsides you might have some cutting to do, depending on how you choose to modify your stock setup. These additional steps make installing fiberglass bedsides more involved than the simpler front fender swap we described in the other post, and it also makes it difficult to return to stock once the bedsides are on. Make sure you know what you are getting into before making this type of major modification.
Downsides to Fiberglass Bedsides
There are a number of things to consider before deciding whether fiberglass bedsides are right for you. All of the caveats associated with fiberglass front fenders still apply: they are not as strong as steel, they could crack or shatter on impact instead of dent, and you might not get the uniformity of thickness that you would expect from a steel replacement part. Fiberglass bedsides also bring the question of cargo into the picture. Given that the material is not as strong as steel, if you plan on regularly carrying a heavy load in your Tacoma then you might want to make sure you can secure your gear so that it won’t slam into the sides of your truck bed while in transit.
Hannemann Fiberglass bedsides for the Toyota Tacoma are a relatively inexpensive way to either replace rusted out stock steel bedsides or add an extra degree of off-road versatility to your pickup. They also add an attractive off-road look to go with their many practical features, which makes them popular for show trucks as well as dedicated trail rigs.