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How To Level A 4Runner Trunk For Less Than $40

I love to sleep in my car. It's the most convenient way to spend a night or two away from home, often far away from civilization, often biking or skiing.

With my Subaru Outback, I could simply put the seats down and sleep on a foam pad. Easy! However, I just switched to a Toyota 4Runner and there was a problem. The bed isn't flat! 

4Runners (gen5) have this nasty angled part in the middle, with a 1.5" difference between the trunk section and where the seats fold down. So I set out to make it flat.

My Design Criteria

  • Cheep. This can be done for less than $40.
  • Easy to make, easy to remove.
  • No modifications to the vehicle itself.
  • Can be done without access to a workshop.

Here is the result!

It takes up only 1.5" of vertical trunk space and doesn't need to be adjusted when you put your seats up.

How To Build It

What's needed:

  • 4x8' Plywood Sheet 3/4 inch thick. $20
  • Outdoor Carpet (or rubber mat if you don't have a staple gun) $15
  • Staple Gun (optional)

Step 1: Cut The Plywood

This design takes a single sheet of plywood (4'x8'x3/4") and cuts it into 2 sheets which are stacked on top of each other to make a 1.5" tall surface. Because the shape we want to fill has an angle on one side, the top piece is cut 2" inches longer to fill the angled gap. See the images below.

How it sits in the bed:

This only takes 3 cuts to complete, and your local Home Depot or Lowes will do it for you if you ask nicely!

Step 2: Secure The Top and Bottom Sheets Together

I simply screwed them together with a few 1 1/4" screws. 

Step 3: Carpet The Top Layer

I laid the structure upside down on top of an outdoor carpet. Pulled the carpet around all sides to the back, and stapled it in place. This way all the seams and staples are on the bottom.

(If you don't have a staple gun, and don't care about seeing the plywood when your trunk is open. simply put a rubber entryway mat over your sheets and cut it to size, Lowes sells 4'x6' foot mats which are large enough for $19.)

Step 4: Slide It In Place


I wanted to share this design because it is the simplest and least expensive one I could find, which doesn't really require any tools. Let me know if you build one!

Pink House White Walls (song)

Until tonight, I haven't written any music in years. Unfortunately, time to write music is one of the first things forgone when I get busy. Writing music is absolutely something I want to do more often and greatly enjoy doing.

The song is called Pink House White Walls, and it's on Soundcloud here.

The lyrics are:

Can you begin to see through the trees?
Fire light by the sea.
Then I start to see a Pink House (with) White Walls.
Can it be home?

Weeds are growing on the drive.
Vines snake on the brick.
I hold your hand,
as we go inside.

There is no fires light,
no not inside.
I begin to pull away,
the walls and break aside.

This is not right.
Because In my mind,
we’re side by side
(in our) Pink House (with) White Walls.

What is Measured and Watched


I first read this quote a few years back and it is something that I think about regularly.

There is, however, an important caveat. Deciding on what is measured and watched is just as important. Tracking the wrong metric and optimizing for the success of that metric can be catastrophic.

A big part of starting blogging is that it forces me to formalize the things that I am thinking about. Lately, I have been thinking about tracking different personal metrics over a long period of time. The first one I want to track is my happiness.

The happiness tracker is a simple piece of software that I wrote in about an hour this evening. All it does is remind me at the end of each day to answer the question "How happy were you today? (1-10)". Happiness, I decided, is an excellent metric to optimize for.

My answer to that daily question lives here:

Eventually, I hope to show the data in a clearer format and potentially ask other questions to myself every day. Or even use this same mechanism to help stay on track for yearly goals

For now, I am just going to track daily happiness. Today was a great day, I spent most of the day relaxing with some close friends I have known for over 5 years. 8/10