Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover For 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma – Install & Review

3rd Gen Lunar Rock Tacoma With Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover For 2005-2023 Tacoma: A Solid Choice Between The Affordable & Premium Options – Install, Review & Overview

Today, we’ll be focusing on an installation and review for the Gator EFX hard fold tonneau cover. If you’re interested in the even more budget-friendly SFX model, be sure to check that one out my install and review here.

The EFX is a great mid-priced tonneau cover for the Tacoma. If you’re on the hunt for something that can give you more security for your truck bed while still allowing you good access, this is it!

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Overview

Overview of Everything Included with the Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneauu Cover

If you’re in the market for a reliable tonneau cover for your bed while maintaining a stylish appearance, the Gator EFX is a solid option. It is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum and EPDM rubber and is built to withstand daily wear and tear.

This hard-folding option can handle up to 300 lbs. of cargo, evenly distributed, and its powder-coated aluminum panels resist corrosion. Plus, it’s well-equipped to weather the elements with EPDM rubber seals and drain tubes preventing water intrusion into the bed, which is an absolute must for us living in the PNW.

In our search for tonneau covers, security was a top priority. Thanks to the hard-folding design and interior latches, this tonneau cover does the job. When you need more access to your bed, it can be easily folded over to open up the first 1/3 of it.

Installation Notes

Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover - Tools Needed For Install

Before you start, it’s crucial to lay out all the components and tools and verify you have everything needed to complete the installation. Once you’ve completed this step, you can begin preassembling the bolts. To achieve this, insert a washer into each of the six bolts. 

Tools Required:

  • Drill
  • Step Drill Bit (Not Pictured)
  • 13mm Socket
  • T30 Bit
  • Small Screwdriver or Flathead (Optional)

Step 1. Apply Weather Stripping

Weatherproofing Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

Start by weatherproofing your truck bed. The kit includes two small foam weatherproofing squares that you will attach to each end of the front of the bed.

Removing T30 Bolts For Bed Cover Installation

To do this, first, remove the five bolts located along the bar that’s attached to the bed. You can use a T30 bit to remove these bolts. After removing them, take the two foam blocks and firmly affix them to both ends of the bar. Once the foam blocks are securely in place, you can proceed to reattach the bar.

Step 2. Remove Tie Downs

Factory Bed Tie-Downs On 3rd Gen Tacoma

If your Tacoma came with the factory-installed tie-downs, you will need to remove them as they will interfere with the installation. They can be reinstalled once the installation is complete. 

Step 3. Attach Side Rails

Attached Side Rails For Gator Tonneau Cover

In this step, you will attach the side rails directly on top of the bed cap. This is the connection that secures both the bed and the tonneau cover together.

Hard Fold Tonneau Cover Installation 3rd Gen Tacoma

To begin, you will need to take out the black clips on both of the bed rails. Then, go ahead and slide the supplied plates into the bed rail.

Positioning Side Rails to Install the Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

After you’ve inserted the plates into the rail, the next step is to position the provided side rails.

Note: The rails are specific to each side, so ensure that the drain is oriented toward the front of the bed.

To correctly align these side rails with the bed, slide them to sit flush with the bed and lift the rubber seals so that they rest on top of the bed cap. You can gently lift them using a small screwdriver, a flathead tool, or a pry tool to get them properly seated.

Gator Bed Cover Installation Guide

After you’ve ensured that the rail is properly aligned, the next step is to adjust the plates. These plates should be positioned in a way that lines up with the hole on the bracket, allowing you to secure the side rail to the bed.

After aligning the plates and the bracket hole, take three pre-assembled bolts and use a 13mm socket to fasten them onto the rail and plates. Repeat this on the opposite side.

Step 4. Position Cover

Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover Installation On Toyota Tacoma

After successfully attaching the clamps to the side rails, the next step is to install the cover itself. To do this, start at the front of the bed and place the folded tonneau cover on top of it. Begin unfolding it one section at a time, making sure that the latches securely connect to the clamps and that it remains centered.

Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

Once you’ve secured the final latches, close the tailgate and ensure that the tonneau cover is securely fastened to the bed while maintaining its centered position.

Step 5. Secure Cover

Gator EFX Tonneau Cover Latches

After ensuring that the tonneau cover is both secure and centered, it’s time to proceed with attaching it to the bed rails. To do this, carefully unfold the tonneau cover, being mindful not to shift its position.

Hard Tonneau Bed Cover Install On Toyota Tacoma

Next, identify the black clamps equipped with a star knob. There will be four total clamps that are already pre-assembled.

Slide the carriage bolt into the track that is attached to the rail. While applying some pressure on the clamp, rotate the star knob clockwise to secure the tonneau cover onto the side rail. Then, you can move to the other side and repeat these steps. There will be two knobs on each side.

Step 6. Install Drain Tube

Instructions on Drilling Drain Hole in Tacoma Bed For Tonneau Cover

To complete the installation, it’s important to set up the drain tubes as per the instructions. It’s recommended to drill holes in the front corners of the bed, directly beneath where the drain tubes will be attached. Use a step drill bit to match the diameter of the drain tube.

Gator Tonneau Cover Drain Tube

Next, connect the tubes to the hole and the side rail. This will allow the water to drain out to the bottom of the truck as opposed to into the bed.

At the time of this article, we haven’t drilled these holes yet since we are in the process of testing another tonneau cover before deciding which one to keep. However, over the past three months since installing the tonneau cover, we haven’t observed a significant amount of water entering the bed.

First Impressions

Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover Review

Right off the bat, we loved this thing! Not only did it look super sleek, but it also felt incredibly sturdy.

One of the standout improvements we saw when comparing this one to our previous SFX model was the latches, as these are much more user friendly. To secure it, you simply pull down on the cord and lift the cover up. When you want to lock everything in place, all it takes is a gentle push on each section until you hear a click.

What’s also noteworthy is how seamlessly it blends with the bed. At first glance, you may not even notice it there. In contrast to our previous tonneau cover, which sat above the truck bed, this one fits snugly and flush.

Off-Road Durability

3rd Gen Tacoma Off-Roading with Gator EFX Hard Fold Tonneau Cover

We’ve put this tonneau cover through both mountain and beach environments. It has proven incredibly durable, with no issues even when exposed to dirt and saltwater.

We really like it for the easy maintenance. The solid top design simplifies cleaning – a quick scrub and pressure wash do the job. Plus, the sturdiness allows us to set some of our gear on top without worrying about damage or scratches.

Accessing items in the truck bed is a breeze; just a simple pull on the latches and a lift of the cover, and you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts

Gator Tonneau Cover Install & Review

Overall, we’re super impressed with the Gator EFX. It may be a bit more expensive, but the quality justifies it.

If you’re looking for a hard top tri-fold tonneau cover for your truck with an easy installation, this is a great option for you!

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