Step By Step TRD Cold Air Intake Installation on 4Runner
This is a step by step guide and installation for the CAI on the 5th Generation 4Runner.
There was a lot of comments on the forums talking about the CAI not being compatible on the 4Runner. The TRD Intake does fit on the 2014-current 4Runner.
The whole process from start to finish took about 2.5-3 hours, and this was with two people. If you are doing this on your own, I would say you would be looking at 4 hours. The only difficult part about installing the CAI was the wiring.
Separating the wires and rerouting them along the loom was really the only detailed part of this whole process and even that was pretty easy.
- TRD CAI: Check Today’sPrice
- For the complete part list: Parts Details
- 2017-2018 Intake: 2017-2018 4Runner Intake
- Pedal Commander Throttle Response Controller: Check Price
Step 1 – Pop off the Plastic Engine Cover with T logo
There are a few plugs that the cover snaps into, just gently pop them off all the way around. I think there were about 5 of them.
Step 2 – Remove Brackets & Screws
This may be the most time intensive part of the install. Removing the bulky, clunky portion of the air box requires removing all brackets and screws noted and circled below.
Step 3 – Remove Air Box Brackets
There are a total of thee brackets that are attached to the lower and upper air box. Grab a screwdriver and pop them off.
Step 4 – Remove Upper Air Box
Once the upper airbox clamps are off, you can remove the OEM upper airbox.
Step 5 – Unscrew/Mount Lower Air Box
Remove the lower airbox by unscrewing the lower screws and one bracket on the outside of the box.
Step 6 – Pull Out Lower Air Box
Make sure to tuck all your wires connected to the lower/upper airbox in a secure location. You will need to reuse these wires again to line the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor).
Step 7 – Electrical Wire Separation
This portion is the most “complicated” of the install process. I say “Complicated” because it’s really not that hard. It just takes a bit of patience.
Step 7A – Electrical Wire Separation & Tape
- Remove all the electrical tape from the MAF hub
- Use a razor blade or sharp knife to slice open the connection tape
- Be careful to not slice into any wires
- Once sliced open, remove the excessive electrical tape
- Start separating MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) wires from other wires
- Pull MAF wires down to the bottom where they draw from
CAI Install – Step 7B – Electrical Wire Separation, Split loom & Tape
- Separate the MAF wires from bundled wires and loom completely
- Make sure to bunch up both sections of wires and keep it tight
- Wrap electrical tape around each section of wires
- Re-loom both sections of wire
- Loom sections looking clean and tight
- Wrap loom with electrical tape and seal up
Step 8 – THE INTAKE INSTALL
Step 9 – Inserting Both Male Connections into Coupler
Inserting both of the male connections into the TRD intake coupler. This part takes some muscle grease. You don’t want to use any chemicals to help with pressing in the male connections because you don’t want any chemicals running through your engine. So keep the grease, lube and even WD-40 off the table and use your good ol’ muscle grease. Pictured here, you can see the pressure needed to push these male connections in.
Step 10 – Inserting Intake Coupler #1
Position the TRD intake coupler with male connections facing the cab so you can connect the OEM tubing.
Step 11 – Remove Plastic Piece from Tubing
Remove the plastic OEM tubing.
Step 12 – Attach Tubing to Coupler
Attach the new male connection to the OEM tubing.
Step 13 – Remove OEM Tubing & Insert New Tubing
Remove the OEM tubing & insert new tubing (Provided by TRD in the TRD Intake Kit) back onto the OEM part.
Step 14- Connect Tubing and Zip Tie Tubing
Connect tubing to the additional male piece of the coupler and zip tie.
Step 15 – Insert Airflow Accelerator
Insert the Airflow Accelerator into the open hole where the upper/lower airbox was located.
Step 16 – Remove & Save OEM Grommets from Lower Airbox
Step 17 – Insert OEM Grommets into new Lower Airbox
Step 18 – Install and Mount New Lower Airbox
Using the OEM screws, screw the new TRD Intake lower airbox back down to the body.
Step 19 – Drop in Air Filter & Attach New Box Clamps
Place the TRD Intake Air Filer into the lower airbox and attach new TRD Intake clamps.
Step 20 – Add Grommet & Filter Minder
NOTE: Don’t forget to add the grommet before adding the upper airbox down.
Step 21 – Remove OEM MAF (Mass Airflow) Sensor
Unscrew the OEM MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) from the old airflow section.
Step 22 – Install OEM MAF (Mass Airflow) Sensor on Air Inlet Tube
Screw down the MAF onto your new TRD Intake inlet tubing.
Important Note: Use Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 from Loctite Adhesives to screw down the MAF. This just prevents from accidental loosening.
Am about to do this mod on my ’18 ORP and found this pdf with complete kit contents and full step by step install with pics by TOYOTA. Between this and your write up, should be a piece of cake. Thank you!
Thanks to Matt ⬇️ https://www.urdusa.com/urd-maf-sensor-extension-harness-new-style-maf/ down below, never had to cut into their loom and separate. Clicked in like a charm
Installed without issue on my 2022 4runner TRD Pro. Used the cable from URD. Took 40mins.
Has a CAI come out for the 2020+ ORP yet. Last time I checked with the dealership, there’s nothing on the market. Additionally, the MF exhaust, anybody with some feedback on that with a CAI installed? And what’s the additional side tube on the muffler, a resonance chamber?
If anyone is looking to do this and not wanting to possibly cut their wires, URD has a MAF extension for $35. This can save you some time and your worries. I have this installed on my 19′ T4R Pro with TRD intake. https://www.urdusa.com/urd-maf-sensor-extension-harness-new-style-maf/
If anyone else is purchasing their TRD intake in pieces (replacement parts) like I did. It will not come with the split loom or vacuum hose 5/32 you can get this at a local auto store. Also another tip for the coupler with the nipple fittings just let it sit in some hot water (NOT BOILING) and the nipple fittings will go in much easier, insert the bigger fitting first. Hope this helps some of you wanting to do this mod.
Be sure to buy the 1/8″ nipple fitting too!
Damn, that looks helpful.
Thanks for the install, with this and Toyota instruction it was a quick one. Just installed it on my 13 SR5, even though they couldn’t guarantee fit. Only difference was a different bolt hole in the bottom of the lower airbox. Mine was on the outside of the airbox and the TRD is inside the box. Luckily there was already a threaded hole in the fender.
I love this filter bought my 2017 sr5 4×4 4runner because i wanted to mod it I dont know why everybody says its a 4 hour job took me 30 mins but thats because im handy with tools but dont over think it. Had fun installing it the car does not feel sluggish anymore and it roars nicely when I’m revving up hills and freeways love it. Been with it 5 months now and yes I live in california so for me this was one of the few options they allow here,but very satisfied with the results comes with a sweet dust indicator to let you know when to clean the filter and believe me for someone who is constantly in the desert it is nice still hasnt shown signs of needing to be cleaned out so thats a positive it does have a bit of a whistle when revving but honestly i dont mind the trade off is great you barely hear it with the windows down anyway and with the radio on I forget its there my mpg rn is about 14 to 13 but thats mostly city driving on freeways and trips i get 18 to 20. I dont have peadal commander or the exaust system but been thinking about getting one or the other anybody have both?
Is the TRD CAI compatible with the a 2017 SR5 4 Runner?
@Gabriel, I have the TRD CAI on my 2017 SR5. No issues. I used the KandN filter. It is a really snung fit and it took a lot of my strength to get it in properly. But it definitely fits.
Has anyone installed on a 2020 TRD Pro? I’d assume it fits.
Would anyone know if this would fit a 2020 sr5?
I just installed it on my TRD off-road premium tonight! The 2 to 4 hour time estimate is way too much. If I hadn’t dropped the one of the steel inserts for the grommets on the air box and had to take off the TRD bash guard to get them I would’ve been done in an hour. The hardest part isn’t doing the MAF sensor wiring but getting the damn couplers to mate up.
FYI, for the coupler that is on the intake, the one with the two Barb’s that have to be inserted into it, start your sink on hot and let water run over it for a bit. This makes the rubber or whatever loosen up and it’s easier to get them in.
Now, I just took a short drive and noticed no appreciable difference. I can’t even hear it whistle. My main hope is to get a MPG or two better than performance.
On some of the other forums and YouTube videos, it seems like the very step these people say is to remove the negative battery lead on the battery. Is this necessary? Also, it seems like the going solution to some of the whistling noise made, is to “plug” a couple holes in the lower housing with silicone? I dont see this step in this tutorial, just curious if your thoughts on this?
The hole in the air box is a water drain I believe. It comes with a snap in plug if you want to plug it up. But I didn’t bother with it, as the airbox will still draw 99.9% of it’s air from the passenger side wheel well.
So I got this and installation wasn’t too difficult. The problem I’m having is that I can’t seem to clamp the air box shut with the TRD air filter. I put the stock paper filter in and that was a tight fit too. Guess I’ll just run that for now.
The TRD performance filter has a thicker gasket, and your will have some showing when the lid is secured.
Ordered the intake during the TRD 40th Anniversary sale (40% off MSRP) and installed it last night on my ’18 TRD ORP. My question is what are people doing to secure the wire bundle that was attached to the airbox and the air tubes. The bracket that was there to support the back of the air tubes will fit in the rear hole on the head, so I might just bolt it up and ziptie the wire bundle there. But if anyone has some pics of what they did to tidy up the wiring, I’d appreciate it.
I just installed the TRD CAI on my ’16 Trail. Took about 2 hours. The tubing is a tight fit, but with some playing around and muscle it goes together fine. It does look much better than the stock set-up and I noticed it sounds better. Will see about any increase in mileage, I’m guessing not much,if any, but a cool add-on.
Not really heavy on the pedal, maybe just a tad 🙂 I just installed the MF exhaust today after I posted for the first time. Drove for about an hour and was very happy to see the MPGs climb from 15.9 to 18.4 and still climbing. I’m thinking the CAI works best in conjunction with the exhaust and it’s more efficient then just having one or the other.
Hello! Really appreciate all the good info on your site. I’m new to the 4Runner world and just purchased my first 2017 4Runner Off-road Premium and love it. I have been slowly upgrading step by step. I have run into an issue I wanted to run by you. Installed the new TRD CAI and all went well. It looks good and runs great…however, I actually lost just over 1 mpg after install and driving for a couple months. I was hitting avg 17.3 mpg. Now it sits squarely at 15.9 mpg. Is there something I could have done wrong? Could the new filter have to much oil on it? I’m getting ready to install the magna flow exhaust and hope this helps.
Are you heavy on the gas pedal? Do you find yourself gunning it sometimes to hear the intake working? If so, that may have something to do with it. I noticed my MPGs went down as well, and I attribute that to the sound VROOOM.
If you look at step 18 that bolt in the left corner was longer so I added 3 3/8″ (M10) grade 5 flat washers to fill the space and get the proper torque. I used part# PTR03-89100 as suggested here so I was a little confused but it’s working great and loving it. I bought mine from a local dealer (Cyber Monday) and I installed it using the great write up’s on here. According to my local dealer (Roseville) it’s all legal and does not void warranty. Hope this helps….
I just installed the TRD CAI on my 2019 TRD ORP followed instructions in the box and after reading everything here (THANKS!) the only issue I had and forgive me if I missed this but in step 18 reinstalling the Lower Airbox on that exact same bolt in the picture it was now longer and left a space so I used 3 3/8″ (M10) grade 5 flat washers to fill the space and get the proper torque. Happy to provide pictures. Thanks again really enjoying the new setup.
Now you’re making me paranoid I need to pull filter and verify. I don’t remember noticing any gapping on lower airbox. Bolts torqued up nice and snug. I installed on a ’19 TRD Off-Road.
Also since I’ve seen some people asking, dunno if helps but…I was getting ~16-17mpg when I drove off the lot and for a couple weeks on my 100mi commute. Now averaging 18 or so. Can get up to 20 if I can stay under 80mph but screw that…woohoo TX130
Flip side is seems like I burn a lot more fuel when I stomp on it and get my rev’s up over 4k than before I installed. Sounds so good though.
Matt, Matt here,
Was hoping you can show me what you meant by the bolt length difference. I plan to do the CAI on my 19 TRD OR as well. Do you know if this voids any warranty by Toyota ( sorry if asked/answered already)?
Does the OEM MAF sensor need to be re-tuned with the TRD CAI? It seems as though it would only be turned for stock airflow?
Just installed the TRD intake on my 2019 4Runner and it fits just like all the previous years.
I first want to say that your site here is awesome, it has given me a lot of ideas for my 4runner. I have read the articles on the TRD CAI, and what vehicles it has been installed on. I just wanted to get some more confirmation that the TRD CAI will fit on a 2018 TRD Pro. Thanks.
I just installed the TRD CAI on my 2018 TRD Pro without any issue. There were some slight changes on where to secure the wire vs the directions that came in the box, but dealing with that was simple and straight forward.
For all having trouble finding these in stock or on back order, my tech at the toyota shop by me hooked it up! You can order all of the parts separately, including the C.A.R.B. sticker in CA at once and get it in a day, if you buy the “kit” expect to wait a while. I literally ordered at 3pm on a Thursday and had everything Friday afternoon!
@Brennan,you not kidding about the pressure required to get the intake cloupler in. I spent hours just in that! I don’t think it makes a difference but I do not think you pushed enough of it though. I did not stop after first tapered end. I pushed it even over the next ring which is why it took hours. I did that to both the large and small OEM tube inserts. I did not think that the final look should have any part of the inserts exposed. So when I connected the hoses they sit flush to the intake cloupler. Thanks for providing the great illustrations and I used yours in conjunction with the instructions that came with the package.
Shaf, that doesn’t sound right brother. They pop right in and have a divider halfway down each tube. You put them in way too far.
Shaf, nice thanks. I will take a look and see how mine are positioned and how they are holding up.
Hi I was wondering if the dimensions are the same? I am getting a battery relocation kit and wanted to make sure my starter battery would fit over their still. Awesome article.
Three questions: 1) I believe this has been beat to death, but the amazon link for PTR03-89100 indicates “does not fit your vehicle” (2015 Trail Prem). From all I’ve read it should fit so I plan to proceed. 2) does the plastic logo engine cover fit back on after installation of the TRD intake or not necessary? and 3) what are the attachments to the OEM intake tube (visible in Step 2 photo) that are not on the TRD intake?
Bill, yeah you are good to go man. Yes, the engine cover does fit back over. I think you are referring to the resonator, you don’t need this.
Tried to get a CAI from my local dealer ($408) here in CO and they told me the closest ones were in TX and Toyota has them on backorder with “99” on order. They said it could mean a few things, 1) They are behind on production, 2) they found something wrong and are fixing it or 3) They are coming out with a new product. Either way, unless I order online Im not getting one anytime soon.
Experienced the same – I didn’t leverage my local dealerships (price) but ended up attempting to buy through 2 online shops – only to be told they were no longer in stock. Third time was a charm for me.
Regarding the lack of availability – I did inquire and was told that it’s not related to a recall, just a backorder from Toyota with no clear timeline at the present moment.
Just a heads up… for any California guys looking to installing one of these – I installed mine, I purchased it from a California and just received a California compliant sticker from the Toyota dealer for use on my intake. I can send a picture of the sticker if anyone is curious.
I am in CA and spoke with two local dealers who said the CAI part number is for 2010-11 and will void warranty on my 2015. Do you mind if I ask which CA dealer you spoke to?
We would love to see it. Shoot us an email!!
Blake – so the dealer provided the sticker to you? Did you have to buy from dealer? I would have no issue buying from dealer if they can provide this sticker as some SMOG shops are getting particularly picky even though it passes on the machine, they don’t pass with visual.
Sorry, I see the other post now (https://trail4runner.com/2017/01/28/trd-cold-air-intake-cai-5th-gen-4runner/) with it listed, awesome!
Just installed on my 2018 TRD Off-Road. Installation was pretty simple, there was nothing weird to move around or anything… it was just install and replace. The most time consuming is removing the wrap around the wiring and then rewrapping. On the grommets, I had a small screwdriver handle that fit in the rubber grommet hole and was able to push the metal insert out one end just enough that the other end became that much more “squishy” and that made it so much easier to remove from the old box and install in the new box. This took maybe an hour. The instructions on this page will work perfectly fine for a 2018. I took it for a quick spin afterwards and you can definitely tell the difference, at least for myself, I can. Hopefully I’ll be able to see some MPG gain besides it feeling a little more responsive.
What are the estimated gains from this mod? Does TRD give you details on how much HP this will generate?
Good question. After everything on the website about the Intake, I don’t think we have touched on specifics. For actual HP gains, you can expect anywhere from 4-10hp. Much of this depends on what else you are running on your 4Runner. If you are running a catback exhaust, the Intake will do better, increasing gains. Same goes for headers. If you are running headers, your intake will run much more efficient, push much more dense air, creating more hp gains. On average, I would say the gains are minimal (6hp on average maybe) but in a 4Runner, minimal can mean a world of difference.
I installed this on my ’17 TRD Pro, I am noticing a little bit of a whistle when throttling around 1800-2300 rpm. Have you noticed/heard of this and know a potential fix?
Yeah, that is normal. The Intake is supposed to do that. The intake whistle is totally normal. On the factory airbox, Toyota designed the box to decrease the amount of noise. The whistle has always been there, you just were not able to hear it until now. Now that there is less restriction on the airflow, the whistle is much more noticeable. As you throttle, you are opening the intake manifold for more airflow, as this opens it creates a little whistle. The bottom line is that the whistle is part of the factory intake manifold, not part of the TRD cold-air intake system, or even the factory air intake, for that matter. The whistle will always be there, an Intake just makes it more noiticable.
The local Toyota dealership said the TRD Cold Air Intake (PTR-03-8911) will not pass smog certification here in California, yet two other dealerships said “no problem.” Somebody else said save the stock one and change it out before inspection, which seems like too much work. The service guy said “it’s not that the engine itself wouldn’t pass, but that the part isn’t “certified,” or words to that effect, and it is because of this that it wouldn’t pass. Any help?
I just got off the phone with my local dealer after researching this CAI for awhile. Toyota will not install it (some dealers will…) but if something happens it may void your warranty. The reason is that the part is only listed for 2010-2011 4runners. That being said, it has be verified that it will fit and work fine. In addition, my local dealer had no issue ordering me the CARB sticker, he just would not install it and risk voiding my warranty. On another note…. it is not recommend to install a CAI if you go the Magnuson supercharger route. The dealer here that will install and warranty the supercharger said the CAI + Supercharger will cause your truck to light up like a christmas tree with check engine lights. Soooo, I may have a brand new CAI with CARB sticker for sale…..
Shell, I am having a tough time getting the CARB sticker and need it ASAP so that I can get my runner inspected. Curious what the name of your dealer is? Mine has not been getting back to me and I’m in a time crunch because my paper plates expired last month, but I can’t get my car inspected at the DMV to register it unless I have my CARB I believe (SMOG is already done). Please let me know if you have any info! Thanks!
I got mine from the parts department at Marina Del Rey Toyota (310) 439-9894. I spoke to Richard, he was very helpful. He was also the one that advised me not to install it because the part # only comes up as 2010-2011… And may void warranty. Let me know if you hear otherwise. Mine is still sitting in a box til I decide what to do. Hope this helps.
Yeah, so the TRD intake is a touchy subject these days. We tried to buy one on Amazon and Amazon wouldn’t ship it to us. I had to buy it from another online parts store and they said it was because of emission standards. In regards to getting your 4Runner smogged, I have not crossed that river yet. We really don’t have much input in the smog section. If anyone else does that is reading this, please drop a comment. I guess we will see what happens moving forward with California Emission standards. But, if you are in any other state, you don’t have to worry about it. Thank you, California!
I live in California and if this unit does not come with a CARB approved sticker from TRD then it will be an automatic visual fail. I’m sure it will pass but because it was not CARB approved the technician will automatically fail you no exceptions.
I just installed the TRD CAI on my 2018 TRD Off-Road. It was an easy install, looks great, and sound awesome. Great job on the instructions, I’ll be installing the Magnaflow exhaust later this week. Thanks for the DIY guides.
Rob did you use part# PTR03-89100 for your TRD Off-Road install?
I’m so excited to hear you installed it in a 2018 4runner TRD off road, I just got one since the pro was 4 month wait..so decided on the off road and I’m ordering this for my whip. I will post once installed maybe I will through a video also. …
Was the install just a remove and replace?did you have to do any cutting on any Sheetmetal.
Cal, I will reach out to Rob and see what the details were on this build/ install for the intake.
Awesome! Glad they are helping. Feel free to send us an image or two of the install so we can share with everyone. Thanks, Rob!