August 25, 2019.
I've built a couple of storage platforms in the past - a slide-with-a-slide style platform for my 1st gen Tacoma, and a fridge-slide style for my 3rd Gen 4Runner - so when a buddy of mine asked for help building one for his 5th Gen 4Runner, I was happy to help.
The goal was relatively simple for this build - a simple platform with some L-track to secure loads, and a way to level out the back of the 4Runner to sleep at night. No fridge slide (yet), but the ability to add it in the future. And, lastly - two slide-out tables to provide room to make lunch, or set various items on when stopped.
We got started as with any woodworking project - by purchasing the necessary materials. Not much needed for this project - just a single 5'x5' sheet of ¾" Baltic birch plywood, and three pieces of L-track. And of course some screws and glue to secure everything together.
Next was breaking down the plywood into the requisite components. We used a combination of the Makita Track Saw and table saw for this operation, quickly breaking the plywood down to the requisite dimensions, the main platform being 43" wide and 40" deep. We also took a couple minutes to glue up the bottom supports that would hold it 2¼" off the floor, so the glue would have a bit of time to set up before we attached them to the underside of the platform
From there, it was time to cut some dados and rabbits on the platform - the dados to accept the L-track that would be used to secure loads, and the rabbit along the leading edge of the underside to allowing it to sit further forward, for a flatter, more continuous sleeping platform.
Machining of the platform was nearly done at this point, the only thing left to do was drilling a couple holes and countersinks for the M6x1.0 70mm that will secure the platform into the existing tie-down locations. Then, a 1/8th inch roundover eased all the edges for a nicer feel when moving the platform around.
By this point, the glue on the three runners we'd glued up at the beginning was set up enough that we could attach them to the bottom of the platform. These runners raise the top of the platform up approximately 2", so that it's level with the rear seats when they are folded down.
To keep things clean, we secured them through the dados we'd cut for the L-track, making sure that the screws wouldn't interfere with the holes for the L-track itself, which we attached next - the alignment of the supports now adding extra meat for the L-track screws to bite into.
The platform at this point - if it was going to be used only for storage and sleeping - could be done, but we decided that a pull out shelf would be a nice addition, and would use some of the "wasted" space below the platform to boot!
So, we measured the width between the runners and whipped out a shelf on the table saw, as well as some runners that would keep it aligned as it was pulled in and out via a finger-sized recess routed into the bottom of the shelf.
And with that, construction was complete and it was time for a test fit. Platform and securing bolts in hand, we headed out to the 4Runner where we removed the two front cargo loops (and their associated bolts) so that our bolts could take their place.
It fit great! And it was functional to boot - much more so than the standard configuration of the storage area of a 5th gen 4Runner. The tie-down rails of course allow for many more ways to store bins and boxes in the back, and the fact that the area is now flat for sleeping is a huge plus.
Of course, not everyone may need a flat area for sleeping - a RTT or ground tent may fit that bill. In that case, the platform supports can easily be made taller, drawers added below the platform for even more storage. Or a simple drawer-slide system can be added to the top of the platform for a fridge, as I did for my 3rd gen 4Runner.
And the great thing is that it's all just wood - so it's easy to tweak over time should you ever decide to change things up a bit as your camping style evolves.
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Interested in Your Own Storage Platform?
5th gen 4Runner Storage platforms are for sale! Made from 3/4" Baltic birch plywood, they are strong enough to support just about anything you throw at them, whether it be a full load of gear, a fridge, or even a couple of people sleeping in the back of the truck.
Several configurations are available to suit your own camping needs, and I'm happy to consider customization's at your request. More info available at adventuretaco.com/store/5th-gen-4Runner-Storage-Platform/.
Basic platform - $350 + shipping*
- 3/4" baltic birch plywood platform 2¼" above the existing rear storage floor (aligned with folded down rear seats).
- Two (2) L-tracks, one along each side to secure loads.
- One pull-out shelf, approximately 18" wide.
* local pick-up available and recommended as shipping of this large platform is expensive. Shipped platforms require partial assembly and come with screws, detailed instructions, and all necessary holes pre-drilled. Only a screwdriver is required for assembly. Shipping can result in the scuffing of a platform, which is cosmetic only - it will still function perfectly (and it's going to get banged up in your truck if you use it anyway).
- Second pull-out shelf. $50
- Third L-track in center of platform. $75
- Fridge drawer/slide to fit your fridge. $100 (Note: moves second (included) L-track to center of platform)
- Taller platform supports to allow gear storage below the platform. $35-$50
- Paint - clear polyurethane on the top and sides of the platform, as well as any pull-out shelves. $100