Aiden James Customs (AJC) Sliding Cargo Deck Delete & Rear Platform Offers Endless Mounting Solutions
If you go camping a lot or have larger bulkier items you like to bring with you on trips, you’ve likely realized that those things love to fall or slide all over the place once you hit the trail.
If you are planning for permanent installs of gear items such as fridges, storage boxes, tool bags, drawer systems, etc. – you’ll want a place to mount them or strap them down to. The problem with the 5th gen 4Runner is that it lacks much-needed tie-down points in the cargo area. The 4Runner only comes with two factory tie-down points in the rear and two factory tie-down points in the front (just behind the seats).
The Aiden James Customs platform takes care of all of these problems by providing a universal mounting plate where you can essentially mount to any point you want.
Aiden James Customs makes a few versions of their gear plate. One version mounts directly on top of the cargo slide tray, another version is a system designed to delete the cargo slide tray (picture here) and the last version is designed for 3rd row 4Runners or models without a cargo tray.
Find it online:
- Cargo Tray Compatible Gear Plate: Check Price
Cargo Plate Accessories:
- US Cargo Control L-Track Rails (combo kit): Check Price
- US Cargo Control L-Track Solo Anchor Points: Check Price
- L-Track Single Anchors: Check Price
- Tie-Down Anchors: Check Price
- Hardware for plate (1/4-20 x 1-1/2″): Check Price
- Perfect Bungee by BihlerFlex: Check Price
Who is Aiden James Customs?
Aiden James Customs is a small business company located in Southern California. Scott Fisher, the owner, has been working on Toyota vehicles for the majority of his life and went on to open his shop. Aiden James Customs produces everything from lighting options to rear platforms.
Why Aiden James Customs?
There are plenty of options on the market for rear platforms now. The main reason I went with Aiden James Customs is because of being a small business. Being a small business owner, myself, it’s important to keep money with those companies, but even more so, now, with the times we are in.
The other reason is simply the fact that Aiden James Customs produces quality products. Their lighting products are tough to beat and have been proven. The rear platform was no different and mounting it required no cutting or tough angles such as other options on the market.
Why a Rear Platform?
A rear platform isn’t necessary for everyone, nor is it required if you off-road or overland. However, it sure makes your life a lot easier when needing to tie down items or install larger items. The main reason I went with a rear platform was that I needed a way to mount a drawer system but also a fridge slider.
In the past, I simply used my factory rear sliding deck to put my fridge on and slide it out. The issue with this was that my fridge, a SnoMaster CL56D, was too tall and I couldn’t open the front door fully.
This was because the sliding deck that comes factory with the 5th Gen 4Runner sits roughly 6” higher than a rear platform does.
By installing a platform, I could eliminate the issue of not being able to fully open my rear fridge door. More importantly, I would be able to also install a fridge slide which would allow me to slide the fridge out much further than I could on the factory deck.
Additionally, I was able to mount a half-drawer system to keep my recovery gear and other essential needs while wheeling with me at all times in a space where they wouldn’t flop around.
Tools and Materials
- Aiden James Custom Rear Platform
- Sound deadening
- Sound deadening tool (optional)
- Flathead (multi-use) screwdriver
- Plastic pry/trim tools
- Torx head T20
- Metric Socket Set
Remove Upper Deck
While we have covered the installation for other versions of the Aiden James Customs rear platform, the rear cargo deck delete is a little bit different as you must remove the rear deck and install new brackets in order for this to work. This isn’t hard but requires a little more time than those without a sliding deck.
You want to first start by taking your plastic pry tool to remove the two panels on the top of the platform. There is one on each side, and you want to use the tool to pry from the upper section (facing the front of the vehicle). The lower section of those panels is hooked in and is harder to remove without breaking. Of course, if you plan on throwing this away you can take them off however you wish.
Once those panels are removed, you will see (x4) 12mm bolts which all need to be removed. After they are removed, you can pull off the upper plate of the sliding deck. It can be a little stubborn and will require a bit of wiggling back and forth to get off but it will come off.
Remove Sliding Deck Supports
There are various bolts that will need to be undone for the supports and rails to be removed from the rear of the 5th Gen 4Runner. The very first thing needed is to remove the small bucket behind the rear seats.
I’m not sure what the official name is for this piece, but it’s easy to find as it’s only held in by two tie-down points. If you look closely you can see which way you want to pick the plastic piece covering the tie downs. Once this is removed, you’ll expose the 10mm bolt. After removing the two 10mm bolts, the bucket will simply pop loose and expose the bracket that it was covering.
Now you can begin to remove the rails and supports.
There are two 14mm bolts towards the front section of the vehicle (where you just removed the bucket). There are also four other bolts on a crossbar between the two rails, but these don’t need to be removed unless you feel like doing so.
Additionally, at the opposite end, you have two more 14mm bolts that hold the other end in place (facing the hatch). With those four total bolts removed, you can simply pull out the rails and supports. However, I recommend taking apart the other eight bolts (12mm) if you want to make storing or tossing the rear sliding deck easier.
Install New Brackets
The rear brackets facing directly behind the seats are too tall and will need to be replaced in order to fit the Aiden James Customs platform in the rear of the vehicle. Not only are they too tall, but they also are angled out in order to accommodate the sliding deck.
They are held in by two 10mm per bracket. Make sure you keep these 10mm bolts; you will be reusing them when you install the brackets that come with the kit.
When you install the new brackets, it’s important to remember to have the arrow on the brackets facing the seats and not that hatch. There is a visible arrow on top so you shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out which direction is what.
Remove the carpet in the back trunk space.
You will need to remove the carpeting as it is too tall and thick for the rear platform install. It’s rather easy to remove as there is only one section that is connected to the vehicle and that is under the bottom of the trimming where the hatch closes.
Simply pop your plastic pry tool underneath this and begin to pull up. These can be a bit rough so, if it’s the first time doing so, you might need to use extra force. It’s extremely hard to break these so don’t be afraid to use some muscle.
Once this piece is up, you’ll notice some white-looking clips. These keep the carpet locked in place. You will need to push away at the end closest to the rear seats while lifting up the upper section when it releases. This can be a bit tricky for those with large hands, just don’t lose your cool as they will come up. After that, it’s as simple as pulling it out.
Sound deadening is an optional option to do with this install, but I highly recommend doing so if you plan to not purchase the factory carpeting in the rear. Even if you do, this can still help kill extra noise so might be something you still want to consider.
If you haven’t installed sound deadening before it’s rather easy and simple, but I do recommend buying the small round tool they sell with the deadening. It’s cheap and it’ll make applying the sound deadening extremely easy.
Be careful as sound deadening can be sharp and easily cut you. I recommend using gloves while handling it, as well as scissors to cut it up. You don’t need to do double or triple layers here, but simply make sure the majority of the open metal is covered up.
I didn’t get too crazy with it, I just made sure to cover the majority of the metal and left it at that; and even without carpeting, I can confirm it is indeed much quieter than the OEM pieces.
Depending on your setup, you may need to install some custom holes for mounting items. The Aiden James Customs platform comes with plenty of mounting positions, especially for the bigger name companies, but like anything you can’t have every company or else your board will look like swiss cheese.
Because of this, I had to make custom holes for my fridge slider. This wasn’t hard to do, as it simply required drilling six holes, and installing six T-nuts. Aiden James Customs uses 1/4-20 T-nuts for his platform, but you can obviously use any size you want for yours. To keep everything the same, I choose to do what he did, but that is not necessary.
Aiden James Customs will install custom holes for you if necessary, but I couldn’t get the exact measurements I needed in time so I decided to do this step on my own.
Before you put the platform in, fix any wiring you may have back there.
If you have any kind of wiring for aftermarket options such as lights, air compressors, blue seas systems, etc., you may want to fix the wiring now (if applicable) or run the wiring now while you have the open area to do so.
I had already run wires underneath the “bucket” piece that sat behind the passenger seats, but because it was such a hassle to install, I decided not to do anything and leave it behind everything that would be bolted to the seat. I definitely went the lazy route, but if you’ve ever worked with the panels back there, you likely understand why I did this.
Installing the Platform
The platform is extremely easy to install and shouldn’t take you much if at all any more time. The Aiden James Customs logo faces the hatch in case you couldn’t tell, and you mount the holes up with the rear brackets.
It’s important to note that every vehicle is different and you might need to take a dead blow to the brackets to make them sit correctly with the wood. This isn’t always necessary, but this did happen with my install. A few very light taps moved the bracket over where I needed it and in went the bolts.
After those bolts are tightened down you will want to work on the front bolts. These can be a tad bit tricky as they are bolting down into a small bracket that sits under the plastic along the sides of the rear cargo area. Because the brackets are only bolted into the rear platform and nothing else you need it to sit even with the tie-down points. In other words, they should point directly at them, as straight as possible.
My trick to installing these was to have the bracket up in the air slightly, and loosely install the bracket below the platform, then slightly push them as they were below the plastic line.
Because these gaps are extremely small, a small thin flat head will make your life a bit easier.
As long as you can move the bracket with the flathead, you are good to go. The only thing to remember is, as you tighten, the bracket will want to move in the direction of tightening. Simply get the bracket as straight as possible to the tie-down point and hold your flathead on the side that the bracket will want to move as tightening occurs.
That’s all there is to it. The platform is installed and now ready for installs of anything you might have for it.
Depending on what you bought your rear platform for will determine what exactly you plan to install on it. For myself, I purchased a fridge slider to use with mine, as well as a single drawer system. As stated earlier I installed customs spots for my fridge slider so I went ahead and installed it now. You definitely could install one before installing the platform, but anything more would be too heavy to lift and install.
I had Overlander Wood Works create a single drawer system for the rear platform as well, and because he’s working to help Aiden James Customs have some systems for his platform, it was a quick and easy install.
You may want to install other options such as more tie-down points for boxes and chairs, or perhaps something completely unheard of.
I’ve used this platform for a few months now, and hit a couple of hundred miles of dirt in Death Valley with it and can say it is legit. The birch wood is strong as it should be and can handle all the weight put on it.
How strong is the plate?
One big complaint or worry that has been heard is that it’s really only mounted down by two bolts, ones that are only 10mm. I can confirm that this has not been an issue at all. Not only did Aiden James Customs test these out, but I sure put them to the test as well.
The drawer system by itself weighs roughly 30 lbs, which is the same for my fridge slider. With the added weight of recovery gear, as well as food for a week-long trip, I would estimate the fridge to have had roughly 120 lbs or so of weight, and around 100 for the recovery gear. With both slides being out at the same time, that’s a lot of stress on the wood and the two 10mm bolts, and neither budged nor slipped.
This was even after driving on the washboard roads at 40 mph+ for who knows how many hours—enough to knock anything loose to where they could cause issues when stressing the wood.
If you are looking for a way to mount more options to your 4Runner, especially things like fridges and platforms, the Aiden James Customs platform is a no-brainer. It’s a fraction of the cost of the competition, just as good of quality, and installs much simpler.