5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Electrical, Gear, Install, Overland, Reviews

Rear Window MOLLE Panels for the 5th Gen 4Runner – Introducing the Finn Fab Power Grids

Updated 5/25/21 / Read Time: 10 mins

Rear Window MOLLE Panels 5th Gen 4Runner

Rear Window MOLLE Panels With Blue Sea Systems Accessory Panels for the 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner

With all of the rear window MOLLE panels out there, which brand do you choose for your 5th Gen 4Runner?

I have personally installed four different brands of MOLLE panels over the last six years and have a firm grasp on what makes a high-quality panel at this point. From Orange Boxx Fabrication to Rago Fabrication and Cali Raised Off-Road to Victory 4×4, I have seen many of the MOLLE panels on the market. Up until now, everything has been pretty consistent in terms of innovation and design style.

Finn Fab, however, has completely changed the game when it comes to a MOLLE panel mounting system for the 5th generation 4Runner. The Finn Fab panel features an integrated slot specifically for a Blue Sea Systems power panel along with built-in holes for 5/16″ rivet nut inserts. Up until now, no other company has integrated something this useful into a MOLLE panel.

Find it online: 

Why Switch from Rago to Finn Fab?

Rear Window MOLLE Panels 5th Gen 4Runner

The reason I made the switch from a Rago Fabrication to Finn Fab was the integrated Blue Sea Systems Panel so I didn’t need to modify my rear fender well to accommodate extra power. That, plus the included and well-designed rivet nuts, sealed the deal.

Finally, after many times threading and unthreading the spacer bolts on the Rago panel, they stripped out—making them unusable…more on that later, and why I think Rago currently has a pretty bad design.

Built-in Power, Better Hardware & Better Mounting System

MOLLE Panel Power Grids (New for 2021)

Finn Fab Power Grids get their name by the cut-out in the passenger side panel for a Blue Seas accessory panel (models 4365, or 4366). These are the only rear window MOLLE panels that allow you to directly bolt on an accessory panel without drilling into your 4Runner. The Blue Sea accessory panels on the power grids can be toggled off/on (anytime-hot) making it easy to run a fridge and many other accessories.

Another standout feature of the Finn Fab Power Grids is the round holes for the provided aluminum rivet nuts (threaded at 5/16″x18). Each set comes with 20 rivet nuts.

This rivet nut feature is incredibly helpful because it allows you to bolt any accessory directly to your panel without having to remove the panel from its mounting positions. With traditional MOLLE panels on the market, you have to remove the panel to reach around the backside to mount accessories. Which, as most of you with MOLLE panels know, is quite the process.

The 5/16″ rivet nuts provided are also rated for more weight than other mounting solutions such as #8 or even #10 hardware commonly found or sourced from Home Depot.

All of their MOLLE panels are powder-coated black. No drilling is required and the system bolts directly to factory locations. Keep in mind that the Finn Fab MOLLE panels do not work with the third-row seat belt.

Finn Fab Vs. Rago Fabrication Spacer Bolts

Finn Fab Vs. Rago Fab Hardware Issues

Plain and simple, Finn Fab has a better hardware system and so do most companies for that matter.

Rago Fabrication has spacers with threaded rods on both sides. If you are threading and unthreading the spacer constantly to access the backside of the panel to mount accessories (which you need to do with this design), then this will cause the threads to strip or come loose over time. Because there are individual rods threaded into both sides of the spacer, this causes the spacer to become loose from the rods thus leaving a threaded rod stuck in your 4Runner… ask me how I know.

Basically, when you loosen a spacer to access the backside of the panel, you risk unthreading the whole spacer from the threaded rod that’s threading into the 4Runner—which is not the design intention. This results in a threaded rod stuck in your 4Runner which has to be removed somehow. We used a pair of vice grips to grip the end of the rod which destroyed our threads making the entire MOLLE panel unusable. Basically, it’s a faulty design.

The Rago Fab product is not meant to be taken on and off (and they say this in their videos), however, you need to remove the panel to mount accessories. I didn’t know there was anything really wrong with my Rago panel until I saw the Finn Fab panel.

Finn Fab on the other hand used a single bolt that slides through a spacer. This system is easier to install/uninstall and you don’t risk potentially stripping or destroying your MOLLE panel if you actually do end up uninstalling the product; for example, if you want to mount something, sell the system, etc.

Installation Instructions

Finn Fab Installation Instructions

Part list:

  • Power Grid Panels (x2)
  • Mounting brackets (x2)
  • 3″ spacers with 2 100mm socket head bolts and flat washer (x2)
  • 2″ spacers with 2 70 mm socket head bolts and flat washer (x2)
  • 20mm M6 socket bolts
  • m6 flat washers (x8)
  • m6 nyloc nuts (x4)

Install Overview

Finn Fab MOLLE Panels

There are 3 mounting locations for each grid. For the mounting location closest to the front of the 4Runner, remove the plastic cover and remove the 10mm bolt behind the cover. The rear mounting location uses the cargo hook. Turn it counter-clockwise to remove. The top mounting location for the grid uses the clothes hook located on the headliner. Remove this hook (save the bolt, this will be reused).

Step 1. Mount Bracket to Panel

Mount Bracket to Panel

Install mounting bracket behind grid with the 20mm bolts, flat washers, and nyloc nuts. Snug up very lightly—you will want to be able to adjust this before tightening snug.

Step 2. Hang Grid by 10mm Bolt

Hang the grid by 10mm Bolt

Hang the grid by screwing in by hand the bolt you saved from the headliner. Leave this loose.

Step 3. Insert Bolt & 3″ Spacer (front of 4Runner)

Insert Bolt & 3" Spacer (front of 4Runner)

Insert the 100mm bolt and flat washer through the mounting location closest to the front of the 4Runner while going through the long spacer behind the grid. Hand screw the bolt to where it grabs and leave it loose.

Step 4. Insert Bolt & 2″ Spacer (rear of 4Runner)

Insert Bolt & 2" Spacer (rear of 4Runner)

Repeat this for the rear location using the shorter bolt and shorter spacer.

Step 5. Full Tighten Bottom Spacer Bolts

Full Tighten Bottom Spacer Bolts

Align the grid to where you like it and tighten the two bottom bolts.

Step 6. Tighten Headliner Bolt

Tighten Headliner Bolt

Remove the headliner bolt again, and lean the grid out just enough to tighten the nyloc nuts. Once they are tight, lean the grid in again and bolt in the headliner bolt snug.

DIY Tool for Rivet Nuts

DIY Tool for Rivet NutsDIY Tool for Rivet Nuts

There are many ways to install rivet nuts, however, one of the most common and easiest DIY ways is to slide a bolt (5/16″) through a larger-diameter (3/8″ or 7/16″) nut and use the pressure of the larger nut against the rivet nut to sink the rivet nut against its the surface mounting plate. See the images for reference. Here is a video that demonstrates how to insert rivet nuts without a special tool.

Special Tool for Rivet Nuts

Special Tool for Rivet Nuts

We have an Astro Pneumatic Tool (part number: ADN38 XL) which is a Rivet Nut Drill Adapter Kit and features a 3/8″ adapter. If you do order this tool make sure you get the ADN38 XL, not the ADN14 – the 38 features larger mandrels than the ADN14.

The Astro Rivet Nut Tool allows you to quickly and efficiently install rivet nuts, back to back without much strain at all. If you plan on installing many rivet nuts for years to come, it’s a worthy investment. If not, maybe go with the DIY tool, although, the DIY tool can be pretty stressful on the wrist.

Blue Sea Power Panel

Blue Sea 4365 Accessory Panel

The Finn Fab Power grids come with a cut-out for Blue Seas Power Panel 4365, Blue Sea 4366, or you can customize your own using the Blue Sea Panel: Acc H2O 3 Socket Blank.

Face Plates:

Accessories: 

Blue Sea Accessory Power Panel Install

Blue Sea Accessory Power Panel Install

Tools and Materials

Step 1. Run Power From Battery To Cargo Area

Run Power From Battery To Cargo Area

We are going to start this install assuming you have already run power from the battery to the cargo area. If you need assistance on running power from the front to the back of your 4Runner, there are many resources here on Trail4R.com. Our post on sound deadening does a good job of showing how to remove all the plastics. For attaching power to the battery, we are using the fuse block on our DIY switch panel.

Step 2. Pop Off Seat Recliner Cover + Feed Harness

Pop Off Seat Recliner Cover and Feed Harness

The seat recliner lever is surrounded by plastic housing. Using your plastic pry tool, you can pop this off. With the seat recliner plastic cover out, you can now feed your wiring harness through the bottom of the fender well plastic and fender well sheet metal. To keep our positive and negative leads together, we take them up with some green masking tape.

Step 3. Pull Harness w/ Long Needle Nose Pliers or Fisher Wire

Pull Harness with Long Needle Nose Pliers

Once you see the end of your wiring harness, you can pull it out with a pair of long needle-nose pliers.

Step 4. Insert Wire Fisher Through Cargo Access Point

Insert Wire Fisher Through Cargo Access Point

To get the wiring harness back into the cargo area, you want to use some kind of fisher tape. We used our 50 ft. Steel Fish Tape by Klien Tools. There is a small access port just to the left of where the threaded bolt threads into the body of the 4Runner. This is just large enough to fit two 12 gauge wires, anything larger wouldn’t fit. I recommend going off to the side so that your bolt won’t catch on the wire.

Step 5. Pull Wire Harness With Fisher Wire

Pull Wire Harness With Fisher Wire

Connect your wiring harness to your fisher tape and pull it through. This may take some patience. We were able to get our wiring harness just to the access port then grabbed the wire tips with our needle-nose pliers to fully pull out the harness.

Step 6. Configure Blue Sea Accessory Panel

Configure Blue Sea Accessory Panel

Since the Blue Sea Systems 4366 was on backorder, we decided to modify a Blue Sea Systems 4365 to become a 4366. We just ordered a generic voltmeter with two USB ports built-in. For the voltmeter to fit into the Blue Sea Systems accessory panel, we used a step bit to drill it out.

Step 7. Attach Panel to Finn Fab MOLLE Panel

Attach Blue Sea Accessory Panel to Finn Fab MOLLE Panel

Once your accessory panel is assembled, you can mount it on the panel.

Step 8. Test Panel Before Install (Wiring Overview)

Testing Blue Sea Accessory Panel Before Install

Before finally wiring everything into place, test the accessory panel just to make sure everything is working.

Step 9. Heatshrink Harness & Finish Up

Heat Shrink Harness and Finish Up

Once you know the accessory panel turns on and everything is working you can heat shrink the remaining harness and install the panel.

Step 10. Mount Finn Fab Panel

Finn Fab MOLLE Panel (New for 2021)

Final Thoughts

It’s refreshing to see that a company took the time to fix some of the most problematic areas with the most commonly purchased MOLLE panels on the market (hard-to-reach areas, mounting accessories, mounting hardware, integrated power, etc.).

And for those Rago fan boi’s out there (I was one too), I am only comparing Finn Fab to Rago Fabrication as a reference. We’re not necessarily talking down on Rago, Finn Fab just improved many areas of the MOLLE panel in general; the hardware being the main problem. Rago is the only company that uses the spacer with threaded rods on both ends. No one else uses this design, and for good reason—it doesn’t work well when installing/uninstalling panels to mount gear.

Rivet Nut Mounting System on molle panels

We’re excited to run a better design with the modular rivet nuts mounting system. With the Quickfist mounts, you can easily drive one bolt into the rivet nut and you’re done. No washers, spacers, nylocs, nothing. The easiest way to mount gear to a MOLLE panel…ever. Game Changer.

The Blue Sea Systems configurable power source is also pretty awesome. Now we have an additional cigarette lighter adapter 12vdc port, 4 USB ports, can monitor our batteries voltage, have an anytime-hot system, and can turn the whole unit on/off depending on our needs.

If you don’t want to spend the money on a Blue Sea Systems pre-built plate, there are plenty of cheaper or even DIY alternatives on Amazon to accomplish the same goal.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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Anthony
Anthony
10 days ago

Have you tried mounting Molly pouches to them? It looks like it would be a bit harder with the rivnut spaces.

Chris K
Chris K
15 days ago

This is an awesome solution, I had already been looking at the Finn Fab because I’m not thrilled with my Rago panels and how difficult it is to mount things to them, this is yet another awesome addition that makes me want to get these

RTedder2
RTedder2
17 days ago

So I see on their website that they have a shelf that fits between these panels similar to Rago also. Any opinions on that? I’m looking for a whole system, and Rago was in the lead.

4runnerjonny
4runnerjonny
14 days ago
Reply to  RTedder2

My Rago panels and shelf are perfect. I installed them, mounted to them with no issue, and use them constantly. Id be very leary of what I see in these comments. Occasionally reviews on this site get overrun with fake comments from the company being reviewed

Chris K
Chris K
15 days ago
Reply to  RTedder2

After several bad experiences with Rago I would strongly recommend you to look for an alternative

RTedder2
RTedder2
11 days ago
Reply to  Chris K

I have a Rago dash mount on order now. Looks like I may hold off on the panels/ shelf for now.

Tom
Tom
17 days ago

For what its worth, I’m 6’4″ with hands the size of dinner plates and have never removed my Rago panels to install accessories. Not saying it isn’t a bit tricky, and not questioning the integrity of your review, just stating it is indeed possible without too much trouble. Not a Rago fanboy either (actually pretty pissed they don’t sell single panels anymore).

Otherwise, great review. Love the site, come here everyday. Have made many of my mod decisions based on info and reviews posted here.

Last edited 17 days ago by Tom
Ted
Ted
17 days ago

That’s a pretty questionable review. I have mounted axes, fire extinguishers, recovery straps, molle bags, etc on my Rago panels without removing them so I think it’s misleading for you to suggest that you need to remove them to mount accessories.

Further, a bit of lock tight on install prevents the spacer “issue” you suggest.

Finally, the Rago panels have a dedicated spot to mount a rock light which, given the crappy lighting in the cargo area, is far more useful than a spot to mount a Blue Sea (or ARB) power port which can be literally mounted a bunch of places in the cargo area.

I don’t know if there is free product involved here, but not a balanced review.

David
David
17 days ago
Reply to  Ted

I had to remove the two lower bolts on the panels almost every time I mounted something new. I still have my Rago panels and enjoy them very much but removing the lower hardware is in fact necessary to mount new items. Just curious, exactly how are you mounting gear? Maybe I am using the wrong hardware. Can you share your hardware setup here please? Thanks!

Ted
Ted
16 days ago
Reply to  David

Sure. I have an axe, shovel, and fire extinguisher mounted using quick fists. Put the #10 screw through, start threading the bolt on the back, and slip a wrench behind and use a screwdriver to tighten. Easy. I also have some Blue Ridge molle bags. Easy to run the straps through. Finally some Velcro straps to attach a few other things. None of that requires removal.

RTedder2
RTedder2
11 days ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

So, I’m “thinking out loud” here. Could a person drill all the way through the Rago mount and use a long bolt similar to the Finn Fab one? Instead of using the studs?

Ted
Ted
16 days ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

I’m retired. Not on anyone’s payroll. Just pointing out your mounting stuff does not require removal, as did Tom above.

Rago updated their design a while ago to have a rock light mount at the top, not what you did. Go look at their YouTube channel. There are tons of people that have done cargo area light mods and Rago provides a great place to mount lights. It’s worth calling out if you want to provide a balanced review. Far better than punching holes in roof lining, rear hatches, etc.

Mac
Mac
18 days ago

I switched my Rago panels out for these a while ago.. pretty much as soon as Finn Fab and YotaMafia released them, I jumped on them. The added 12v port in the back for charging both of my power stations was huge for me and my wife. Also the ability to monitor my battery anytime with the flip of the blue sea switch is pretty impressive, especially if I am running anything off my battery while the 4Runner is off. So glad I installed these. The rivet nuts are cool too but if you don’t have the special tool from Amazon for like $80, they can be a PITA to install. Yeah, the DIY tool is just nuts and bolts but its a process. After they are all on (I did every other one), its great but its a process getting there. Much better than the rago panel though, I agree with you there.

Last edited 18 days ago by Mac

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