Here’s Why You Need Eye Bolts in Your Hatch For The 5th Gen 4Runner
It’s amazing what you can find on the plethora of 4Runner forums and message boards out there.
That said, I have to admit that I had absolutely no interest in joining any of them. Truth be told, I am a bit of a Luddite.
That all changed when about a week into owning my rig while driving home from work one fine day, I attempted to use my rear window washer and nothing happened. I pulled the truck over to the side of the road and twisted the tip of the windshield wiper lever again… nothing. I quickly launched into the usual theatrics: “always me… ALWAYS ME!” I shouted. “Of course I got the one truck on the lot with the defective rear windshield wiper.”
I was about to call my Mom to cry about it when I decided to give the Google machine a try first. My search returned a few results and I clicked the first one that said something along the lines of “help! My 4Runner’s rear wiper is broken.”
The very first answer to the original poster’s query suggested that he make sure the rear window was rolled all the way up.
Bingo. Apparently, the rear window thing is a pretty common mishap.
In any case, this led me to the 4Runner Forum which got me digging even more.
Eye Bolts For The Hatch From Rear Window Mishaps
On a later date, I was amazed to find out that someone else actually had another obscure problem like me.
This guy had tried to fashion a fishing rod mounting system along with the ceiling of his rig, only to run into the same pesky barrier I had when I attempted to DIY my own rod/ceiling system.
While you can attach a bungee cord or a length of rope to the grab handles above the front and rear doors for supporting some fishing rods, when you get to the back hatch area of the rig there are only the little coat hanger hooks – which are quite useless.
The angle these coat hangers are mounted on combined with the fact that they are open on the top – to allow for stuff like, you know, hanging coats – prohibits you from attaching anything with any level of horizontal pull whatsoever. Quite the conundrum, and amazingly another common problem shared with a fellow 4Runner owner out there.
That person who originally posted – received a bunch of replies with a few options.
Here are a few of those options.
The Two-Dollar ‘Eye Bolt Replacement Modification”
Indeed, there are entire threads dedicated to the various mods people have installed into their rear hatch coat hanger slots, from rifle/shotgun holders to 5/8″ D ring and 3/4″ clip swaps. All of this is to accommodate us with some additional ceiling cargo space.
None of the solutions I found on the forums suited my exact needs. I had just received a ceiling cargo net and I now needed something that would offer multidirectional support and connectivity points. Enter necessity – the mother of invention – and the simple, two dollar ‘eye bolt replacement modification’ for ceiling cargo space.
Why ceiling cargo space?
This net has a multitude of uses. You can find many of these DIY parts on Amazon or the company Raingler makes ceiling cargo space nets that quite plug and play. The downside of Raingler is the price. They are likely high quality but extremely expensive for what you can DIY.
There is also another well-known company that makes these attic storage systems; Blue Ridge Overland gear. You can see the overview that Trevor wrote on that ceiling storage attic here. Like Raingler – they are plug and play but far more affordable.
These nets are great for fleet work trucks, SUVs, cargo vans, off-road, overland, and general gear storage use. These ceiling nets, barrier nets, and cargo area nets can be accessorized with grab handles, dog accessories, tie-downs, and much more. The options for customizing something in your ceiling cargo space are endless.
Once you swap out those coat hangers for eye bolts you will have turned a fairly useless piece of plastic into a versatile tie-down point for anything you want, especially a cargo net.
I have a bungee stretched from one to the other to hold up one end of my fishing rods. I also hang a lantern from the bungee when truck camping, and hang socks or gloves to dry when needed.
4Runner Ceiling/Attic Cargo Nets
- Eye Bolts & Rings
- Storage Nets
- Cinch Straps
- 10mm Socket or Wrench
- Knife (optional)
All these materials can be found in the fasteners’ aisle at Home Depot, Lowes or Online. There is also a cool little YouTube video of a guy rigging one up for super cheap.
You can set this up any way you want but the idea is to mount it one of two main ways.
- Use the rear coat hooks + the rear seat grab handles
- Use the rear coat hooks + the C-Pilar mount points.
We are going to show you the rear cargo hooks. You can decide for yourself whether you want to mount the net to the rear seat grab handles or use the rear coat hooks + the C-Pilar mount points.
Step 1. Remove OEM Coat Hangers
The first step for this install is to remove the existing coat hangers using a 10mm socket or wrench. I had to open the little plastic door that hinges on the bottom of the hanger in order to get to the bolt.
Step 2. Cut Cover Completely Off Hanger
Once I removed the coat hangers from the door, I used a blade to cut the door completely off of the hanger. The OEM hangers can be purchased online if I ever need to replace them.
Step 3. Secure Nut Onto Eye Bolt & Reinstall Coat Hanger
I then screwed a nut about one inch onto the eye bolt threads. Then I simply put the OEM coat hanger back in place and screwed the eye bolt into the original factory hole. I turned it for about an inch and then tightened the nut down over the OEM hanger to keep it in its original place on the wall.
I chose to keep the eyebolt turned to three and nine O`clock, but it can be tightened down to any angle that works for your needs.
Step 4. Attach Large Carabiner & Cargo Net Clip To Tie-Downs (Optional)
Once the new tie-downs were installed, I used them for the ‘rod mod,’ to attach a large carabiner clip that holds my finger tape for surfcasting, to attach my ceiling cargo net, and to satiate my weird obsession with having a bunch of additional carabiners on hand for no particular reason at all.
Note: Be sure to look for eye bolts and not eye hooks. The hooks have a point and a coarse thread and are designed for tapping into walls and such. The bolts have a flat end and fine threads and are designed to use with any nuts that may be needed.
This is just a super useful swap-out for anyone who enjoys the utilitarian aspects of owning a 4Runner.
You could take my word for it, or you could check out similar mods shared on the forums and open your mind to the possibilities.