Some people are never satisfied. Take the owner of this Toyota 4 Runner. Long known for their off-road capabilities, a 4 Runner is a pretty darn nice ride as it came from the factory. But, they knew that the Toyota had more in it if they did a little adding to sections that needed the better than stock treatment.
This Runner was enhanced so the owner could tool around hills and maybe even look into some “overland” type events. This build wasn’t going to be a hard core pre-runner but one that emphasized taking a good truck and making it much more capable but without breaking the bank. Luckily, they live near a 4 Wheel Parts store.
From the Icon suspension upgrades, Pro Comp wheels and tires to the Rigid lights, this truck was built with off the shelf items that can be had through 4 Wheel Parts. This build took place mainly at the Riverside, CA. store, but all of the pieces used are available from any 4 Wheel Parts location.
Personally, we love the overlanding idea, but we still want to it at a fast clip. This Toyota isn’t a race truck, but it should be a ton of fun on powerline roads and easy trails. Follow along and see how an owner with visions of camping under the stars plans to get there with a good truck that’s been made better.
The brand new 4 Runner first went to Magnaflow to get one of their cat-back systems.
Made from stainless steel, the Magnaflow Cat Back Exhaust System (PN 15145) system is easily installed and the Magnaflow crew had it on in very little time.
Up and out of the way, the system will not be in the way of any rocks or bushes when off-road.
The polished tip is welded to the pipe, so there’s no worry of a clamp coming loose.
The next step is to install the Icon Vehicle Dynamics front and rear suspension systems. This is their Stage 3 system (PN#K53063T), but the parts can be had as a collection of kits that Icon offers.
The first step is to remove the stock anti-sway bar.
Next, the upper arm is removed.
With the bushings lubed up, they are installed into the new Icon upper arms.
The Icon Tubular UCA (PN#58451) upper control arm is installed. It’s made from 1026 DOM seamless tubing and equipped with a PTFE lined 1-inch Uniball joint for increased travel and smooth action.
It’s then attached to the stock spindle.
Icon offers a 2.5 extended travel coil-over shock (PN#58647) for the 4 Runner. It’s adjustable, equipped with a 5/8-inch PTFE line spherical bearin ad equipped with a chrome-silicon spring.
This sway-bar relocation pad comes with the shocks, and positions the sway bar to work with the extended travel shocks.
The stock anti-sway bar is re-installed.
Once the brake line relocation bracket is on, the job is done.
Thanks to the adjustable collar on the Icon 2.5 shocks, the ride height will be easy to tune. It will be done once the truck is done and back on the ground.
The stock Toyota rear suspension is capable from the factory, but not as capable as need be, so it’s next on the modification list.
With the truck securely braced, the stock shocks are removed.
After lowering the rearend sufficiently, the stock springs are removed.
The stock lower trailing are is removed.
Made from 1026 DOM steel, the Icon Tubular Steel Lower Link Kit (PN 54000T) is adjustable, longer than stock and increases rearend articulation.
Icon’s 2-inch Rear Coil Spring Kit (PN 52700) increases ride height allowing for larger wheels/tires and are guaranteed for life not to sag.
Designed to work with the new springs are the Icon 2.0 Aluminum Series (PN 56505) mono-tube shocks. These are installed.
The stock track bar is re-installed and this job is now done.
Available as a kit or individually, the Icon rear suspension system adds enough space for the soon to be mounted 33-inch Pro Comp tires.
Featuring FK rod ends, the Icon lower trailing arms are built to last and increases suspension travel over the stock units.
Measuring out to 33-inches, the new Pro Comp A/T Sport tires will work perfectly with the new suspension mods.
The stock air pressure sensors are installed onto the new satin black 17-inch Pro Comp Series 61 Cognito wheels.
An orange pinstripe was added to the wheels to give them a nice flair.
The Pro Comp Cognito Wheels and A/T Sport tires combine to give the Runner good off road ability and look great too.
Next on the list of upgrades is the N-Fab Modular Aluminum Roof Rack. Able to hold 125lbs., the N-Fab unit (PN T102MRF) has multiple mounting points for light pods and comes with a textured matte black powder coat finish.
Yes, you have to put it together, but N-Fab supplies a very detailed and photo-laden instruction manual, so it’s not that hard to do.
With the stock cross bars removed, the N-Fab mounts slide into the stock rails as the unit actually uses the main rails of the stock roof rack as its mounting points.
The N-Fab unit is set into place and secured using the supplied hardware.
A host of Rigid Industries LED’s will be placed onto the F-Fab roof rack. These D-Series / Diffused Pair – Hybrid, Diffused (PN 20251) Dually light pods will be mounted to the rear of the rack.
A Rigid LED SR-Series 30–inch Combo Hybrid, Spot/Flood Combo with amber backlight (PN 93032) light bar will be mounted at the front of the roof rack. Actually the owner wanted it to be mounted in the front of the rack, so the 4 Wheel Parts crew cut a hole in it and bolted it together. The smaller unit will go into the Southern Style front bumper.
The D-Series pods are mounted to the rack.
The wiring is ganged and run down to inside the interior. The wiring will be run behind the upholstery and to the sPod electrical center.
The result is an attractive rack that provides a perfect place for a spare. Note that the LED pods are not actually in the cargo space as they’re protected by the rear brace.
Note how the 30-inch Radiance LED light bar has been placed into the front of the n-Fab unit.
The 4 Runner needed some off-road protection so a set of N-Fab RKR Rails (PN T104RKR4R) is the next job. This owner went for the optional steps too.
By bolting right to the stock mounts, the tough N-Fab units are easily installed and as strong as the stock mounts allow.
The optional RKR Rails Detachable Steps (PN JPTS32) steps easily bolt up.
Form and function as the rails keep rocks from dinging the rocker panels, the steps allow for an easy enter and exit and the textured black finish matches the roof rack, so they look good too.
Speaking of protection, the Southern Style OffRoad Slimline Hybrid Front Bumper is a beast, and it came with the optional Black Powder coat, Hoop, Light window and Winch window, so it’s ready to do it all.
And for when things don’t go right, a Smittybilt XRC 9.5k Gen2 Winch will be installed into the Southern Style OffRoad bumper. The XRC (PN 98495) features a Synthetic Line and Aluminum Fairlead.
The stock grille cladding is removed.
A section of material is removed to allow for the new SSO Slimline front bumper to fit.
The cladding is on and the SSO unit is fit checked.
Once the fit is called good, the Smittybilt XRC winch and its fairlead are bolted up.
Now heavy, it takes 2 guys to lift the SSO unit into place and get it bolted up. That’s why the fit check was done without the winch in place.
Fitting perfectly and allowing for all of the other pieces to be seamlessly added on, the Southern Style OffRoad front bumper really improves the front of the Runner both aesthetically as well as from a protection aspect.
Rigid makes these cool little lights they call their A-Series lights, they are great for tight spaces and underneath the fender wells. These are the Low Power in Natural White (PN 48202), but high power units and other colors are available.
One light was installed per wheel well, and they easily screw into the heavy plastic inner wells.
With all the lights being installed, it was deemed necessary to add an sPod Universal 8 Circuit SE (Special Edition) System (PN 8-700-TS-UNI) electrical system. The SPod unit comes with a control module that features a touchscreen while all the mechanicals are located beneath the hood. With a maximum 100-amp capacity the sPOD unit is a Solid-State fully programmable digital CAN-Bus controlled system that can have OEM vehicle specific simple installation hardware.
The stock fuse box is right next to the battery, and the sPod system fit right on top of it with plenty of room to drop the hood.
As the various electrical leads are run to the box and only one lead is run into the cab, the sPod system makes wiring up lights easy and better too. And with the power this unit can handle, that means lockers and other electrical pieces can be wired in too and everything operated with the one screen.
The small touchscreen control panel was mounted out of way but within easy reach.
A set of Roadwire leather seat covers replaced the stock cloth units. See the following story for how they were installed.
This is how the new Toyota 4 Runner looked when it showed up at the Riverside CA 4-Wheel Parts store.
Now fully enhanced and dirt ready, this 4 Runner is ready to give this owner years of fun and adventure.
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688