1st Gen Tundra Flippac - Novice Build Advice


New member
Occasionally lurker, totally uninformed off-roader, extra novice modder. Finally looking at spending some real money on a new-to-me '03 Tundra, Limited Access Cab 4x4 with 110k miles, and so, turning to the crowd here for advice.

What I want to use the truck for:
I'm a mountain biker primarily (9 bikes and counting, but hike or backpack wilderness areas) so my default trip is drive to some place awesome, have a giant human-powered adventure, then drive to the next awesome spot. TODAY, 90% of my miles are on the road, 9% are on dirt roads, and 1% real 4x4 roads. My main goal with a rig is to be able to get to more remote trailheads, do some of the real 4x4 passes in the Rockies (Engineer, Ophir), and of course we want to boondock camp away from RVers.

The truck is also my "daily" but realistically I bike to work 60% of the time.

Current Issues:
  • We bring bikes on every trip. Theft, bad weather, and low clearance of most racks makes us keep bikes inside the Flippac most of the time. It eats space and doesn't play nice with plans for kitchen or drawer system.
  • Tires are bald(ing?). Winter is coming.
  • Shocks are blown.
  • Stock vehicles are boring.
Mandatory (excluded from budget) upgrades I've already done:
  • Dual Battery - ML-ACR w/ 2x Odyssey's
  • Dometic CFX50 fridge
  • Flippac (bought it 10 years ago and swapped it onto this truck)
  • Head unit - Kenwood DDX6703S
  • Heated Seats
Big Upgrades:
  1. Rear Bumper with swing away. We think mounting a rack on the swing away will lift it high enough to 4x4 it, we can use an RV travel bag in bad weather (w/additional brake lights), and we can make room inside if theft is a big enough concern.
  2. Tires (BFG All terrains - 265/70r17 with no lift, 285/70r17 with lift). Potentially wheels? Not sure if the stock ones are truly limiting, sounds like backspacing might be the issue with going bigger.
  3. Armor? Sliders seem obvious, ~$500 from Brute Force... but not sure about skid plates for Tundras. Skid Row?
  4. Lift? With blown shocks, seems like a great time to make an upgrade... but Bilstein 5100s and add-a-leaf priced at $1800 installed and Toytec BOSS with SPCs priced at $2800, installed.
  5. Front Bumper? Winch? We usually travel solo, but we also shy away from more difficult 4x4 trails... no idea how necessary either will be.
  6. Interior Build out with a way of keeping bikes inside.
I priced out tires, wheels, BOSS lift, sliders, front/rear bumpers at $8400, and I was hoping to keep the whole thing under $6k. Any suggestions? Bite the bullet? Do it in phases? Bring bikes another way?

Thanks in advance!


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I would nix the bumpers and winch to get yourself back under budget. If you have survived this many years without one, there is no rush. I doubt you will want to wheel too hard with expensive bicycles hanging off the back anyway.
That truck has 110k, have you already caught up on preventative maintenance such as timing belt, coolant flush, all fluids, etc.?

The nice suspension and fresh fluids will give you a plush ride and the maintenance will keep it reliable. Bumpers are cool, but they are also heavy and will have zero benefits on your 90% pavement mileage.

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New member
I would nix the bumpers and winch to get yourself back under budget. If you have survived this many years without one, there is no rush.
Agree, I see low benefits relative to the cost of a front bumper and winch. However, the rear bumper with swing-away and high mounted bikes outside instead of inside basically increases our living/storage area by 30-40%. And yes, truck is caught up on fluids and maintained well besides the shocks and tires.

It seems like most people with Flippac’s, 4wc’s, or other pop-tops all store bikes outside... so I haven’t seen any great examples of interior storage. Sprinters store bikes inside, but in a way that wouldn’t be compatible with a Flippac or space efficient. Maybe if there was a way to do all interior storage efficiently, I could skip the bumpers? Seems like windoors and a drawer system would be mandatory, maybe even a ladder for the Flippac instead of going through the inside.


Expedition Leader
Go to "pick and pull" and get a Sequoia front sway bar and use a set of Tundra double cab end links (they are longer). You will notice a big difference in your handling.

Also, if 2wd has been working for you all these years, ditch the lift, bumpers, and winch. Worry about them later.
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New member
Definitely will do on the sway bar and end links. I’m also trying to get some center console things too, so I need to find a good donor.

If a lift and a winch won’t be super helpful, I’d still be interested in a rear bumper to get a high clearance, swing away bike rack... just an expensive way to do it.

In addition to sway bar and end links, is there a good set of shocks that would improve washboard roads and 4x trails? I’ve been focused on 5100s, 6112/5160s or similar, but those are all lift focused.
I would lean towards the 6112 over the boss if it's the 2.0 version. Just my opinion. I have a few buddy's that went through the boss fairly quick before leaking issues. Even the OME nitro charger would be an upgrade and tough as nails.
not sure what bumpers you are looking at, but Brute Force Fab makes nice stuff for our tucks. Not sure of you are in the Frist Gen Tundra page on Facebook. But lots of guys on there are running them. There is a guy lhansonphotography on Instagram. I think he has Brute Force bumpers and does lots of bike hauling all over the place. If you haven't done lower ball joints I would get those in there too. They are an OEM only part for us.
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I had a T100 with the same size bed as your Tundra, and a FlipPac. I think the Tundra may have more storage behind the front seats, and certainly better access, since the T100 was an XtraCab without the extra AccessCab doors. We kept the bikes inside all the time ... with the the sleeping area overhead and some careful packaging, we never felt the need for a bike rack. Now we have a 5’ bed Tacoma ... and a hitch bike rack ... and it’s a lot tighter. But the bike rack is a hassle; security, bed access, bikes getting covered with road grime.

Otherwise our 1Up rack has been OK for clearance and withstanding mild off-pavement use. If we keep the current truck and add a popup or tilt up camper, we’d probably also add a swingout receiver to use with the 1Up But then the rack hangs even further out, with CG and clearance issues. But for a bed as big as the Tundra, I’d prefer keeping the bikes inside (wheels removed) and stick with stock bumpers front and rear as well.
What about a small enclosed trailer? Like a 4X6 or 5X8. Would be able to get some gear out of the truck to free up some space too. Usually they can be found for under $1500.

With only 1% of you going truly offroad. There is no need for a bumpers, winch, skidplates, and sliders. Waste of money and your payload will take a hit. Would take that savings and buy another bike...or lots of fuel for trips.
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New member
I had 5100's all the way around on mine and they rode good. Nothing spectacular, but for the price they did well.
Did you also have it lifted with the 5100s? Small lift without UCAs seems like a great price to performance ratio.

I would lean towards the 6112 over the boss if it's the 2.0 version.
Sweet, thanks! Good to know about the FB page, I’ll look it up. I’ve seen lhanson’s page here on expedition portal, so I’ve seen the build... definitely good inspiration.

I had a T100 with the same size bed as your Tundra, and a FlipPac.
Nice! I had a T100 too, for 12 years, 9 with the Flippac. I got a Tundra for a passenger airbag, stronger motor, and ABS. We have a 1up rack, which is totally a hassle but built well, and we have a RockyMounts Backstage with the built in swing away, but it hangs awfully low and it wobbles. Both have theft/weather issues. Part of me wonders if I could save the bumper $$ and just design a custom swingaway bike rack for the factory hitch... maximize clearance, design it to work with a weatherproof cover?

What about a small enclosed trailer?
We think a small trailer (maybe a Casita or an Aline) would be good if/when offspring happens, but until then... we should just carry less stuff. I worked at a trailer shop for years, and I loathe driving with a trailer, especially small ones.

All in all, I figured there would be more builds out there with bikes integrated. BUT I am super glad I'm getting honest, save-your-money feedback. Here's a couple inspiration images, including a built out interior we thought we could design for the back. I do want to try more wheeling... but I also secretly love the idea of being able to keep bikes inside IF there was a super good way to do it AND stay organized. I often wish for the impossible, but maybe there's a creative idea out there that would make it work.

Two images courtesy of @thetrailgypsies, but looks pretty cantilevered off the back for both setups - I was thinking about doing the second setup, bikes lower down.


image (1).png

Organized inside from @jonburtt: this is what we thought we could build out IF we took the bikes out of the inside... we're pretty OCD, so this is really appealing, well worth the effort, cost, and weight (but I would build it lighter than goosegear). No ideas how to pull this off with bikes inside and a way to climb into the flippac from the back of the camper.

image (2).png
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I don’t think you can get the bikes inside and still do any type of build up of the interior. I have a Flippac on an 03 Tacoma with the 5’ bed and we are using every bit of space for storage. For the bikes, I went with a Saris tire mounted carrier. It’s a tray style mount, so you don’t have to remove the wheels and it keeps them at a good height.


I have a hitch rack...great for short day trips. But like the bike on the inside for longer ones. The eddy that forms behind the vehicle covers them with grime. I know they are mountain bikes and are supposed to get dirty, feel it shortens the life of components. That and I like to start the ride with a clean bike.

In fact the last ride I did...knew there was long dusty washboard road to get to the trail head...tossed it in the bed of the truck instead of using the rack.


New member
I don’t think you can get the bikes inside and still do any type of build up of the interior.
Yep, after the last 2 week road trip/explosion of food/gear/bikes in the back (even without the dog) I was convinced we needed to have something similar to your setup. This discussion is definitely stirring up the pot. And the tundra is bigger, for sure... $1800 saved on a bumper would go a long way towards a fancy interior build out. I had thought I could do a slide system like this, needs 40" of clearance and I'd be able to fit that: https://faroutride.com/slide-out-bike-rack/


New member
In fact the last ride I did...knew there was long dusty washboard road to get to the trail head...tossed it in the bed of the truck instead of using the rack.
Agree, do this all the time. I have a thrown together rack salvaged from Thule rack parts that holds bikes upright inside in case I take more than one. Plus no need for a lock. And in Colorado we can head to Moab for a fun weekend of bikes in January - April but drive through snow and rain for a couple hours on the way there. Road salt on bikes seems like burning money.