5th Gen 4Runner Mods (Part 1)
Where to Start with your 5th Gen 4Runner Mods (Part 1)
First thing’s first, when you get a new 4Runner, you want some mods. Where do you start?
There are hundreds of options when it comes to customizing your 4Runner. If you are looking for performance, you might want to look at an intake or exhaust system.
You can always go straight for an Icon or King suspension and pair it with a Total Chaos long-travel suspension.
After all, that’s all we really want right… a slightly lifted 2″- 4″ 4Runner with some all-terrain tires and a custom set of wheels.
We could all go broke in a day buying all the items we want to install. Most of us have a budget in mind we would like to consider before buying all these parts.
This post is about starting small and working our way up.
This is only my opinion and is not exactly how I modded my 2014 Trail, 2016 SR5, or 2016 Trail. You can start however you would like. I do think this is a good starting place for many owners, though.
The Basics on Mods (Small but Important)
- Rain Guards – Check Today’s Price
- Center Console Organizer – Check Today’s Price
- Floor Mats – Check Today’s Price
- Rear Cargo Mat – Check Today’s Price
- Blackout Emblem Kit – Check Price
- AJT Key Fob – Check Price
That should wrap up the initial “simple” set of mods. These are the basic interior and exterior mods that we would do before we actually start with the next-level performance and armor mods.
You can start in any order you want, but it is always nice to start small and work your way up. That way, you can get a feel for your 4Runner inside and out.
Once you are comfortable playing around with the little mods here and there, you can jump into the bigger installs, like roof racks, rock sliders, intakes, exhaust, bumpers and everything else.
What are your Goals?
I think the most important questions to ask yourself relate back to the end-goal.
What is your end goal?
And seriously think about this one for a minute. Take a look at the next 5-10 years of your 4Runner’s lifecycle.
- Where do you plan on driving?
- Do you have a 2wd or 4wd?
- Do you want 20″ wheels or 17″ wheels?
- Do you plan on light or deep exploring?
- Do you have a family or is it just you?
It’s easy for many drivers to think:
“I want 4″ of lift with +3″ long-travel, 35” tires, full front/rear bumpers, and a roof rack with RTT mounted. Then after all that, why not go with a Goose Gear drawer system loaded with camping and recovery gear. Finally, let’s add a Dometic or ARB fridge set up in the rear cargo area wired to a solar system running off a second onboard AGM battery.
Keep in mind, this all adds weight and can get pretty damn expensive. And, three years down the road you might realize you could have gone without this or that really expensive add-on or accessory.
My best advice is to buy what you need as the time comes. Buy it when you need it, not because it’s cool, trending or that’s what everyone else is buying.
In any case, here is where I would start.
Where to start with Mods?
- Mod #1 – Replace Running Boards with Bars or Sliders
- Mod #2 – Window Tint
- Mod #3 – Replace OEM Tires with AT (All Terrains)
- Mod #4 – Replace OEM Wheels
Wheels are completely subjective and likely the least functional part that goes into a build. The factory 17″ wheels Toyota supplies us with are actually very capable wheels, so you don’t “need” to replace your wheels. It’s all about personal preference and looks here.
We have a clean slate to work with this SR5, so here is my take on where to start with some basic, every day 4Runner upgrades.
Everyone is going to be a little bit different, so we would love to hear your comments at the bottom.
Mod #1 – Replace OEM Running Boards with Nerf Bars
I put this as the first item on the list for mods because the OEM running boards scream “soccer mom”. Even if you mod out any other area of your 4Runner and keep the running boards, it will still have that “basic” look.
There are a few options that come to mind for replacing the running boards with rock sliders or nerf bars. Check that post out for good ideas on sliders for the 5th gen.
If you plan on wheeling, skip the bars and just buy a set of high-quality rock sliders.
But, it is important to note that nerf bars are around $300 and good sliders are around $800 shipped and powder coated. Your budget should play a role in this one, but wheeling and off-roading with nerf bars are only going to go so far.
Best Options for Nerf Bars
Options for Rock Sliders
Mod #2 – Window Tint
Not really a “mod” but it sure does help the look of your 4Runner.
- Front Window: 50%
- Front Side Windows: 35%
- Rear Windows: 3% over factory 20%
The only thing I dislike about tinting the windows all the way around is looking in the rear-view.
If you go with 20% tint on the back window and all the way around, you will be fine. But, the 4Runner already comes with a factory window tint at 20%.
So, if you are going to add another layer of 20% tint film over the factory tint, you would be at 10%. I think that is how it works, correct me if I am wrong.
(Edit: MS) 20% tint means to let 20 percent of the light through. Putting 20% over 20% would be letting 4% of the light through ( 20% = 0.2 0.2 x 0.2 = .04 = 4% ) Thanks Steve for the addition to the article!
Mod #3 – Replace OEM Tires with AT (All Terrains)
- Wide Selection of Tires: (All Terrain Tires 17″ on Amazon)
If you can wait for the 40k-60k mile mark it takes to wear down the stock OEM tires, then wait until you run your tread down to 10-30%.. whatever you are comfortable with.
If you are impatient and want some beefier, more capable tires now, then do your research and find a set of All-Terrain Mud-Terrain tires that will stand out and perform under the harshest winter and off-road conditions.
Budget is always an item on the table, so I am going to break down my top selection of AT (All-Terrain) Tires by price range.
Based on the stock tire size: 265/70r17
$50-$100/ per tire (265/70r17)
I personally do not recommend anything under $100 when buying all-terrain tires. Either they will be made in China with some off-brand name or underperform when you need them the most. Try heading down to the next bracket.
$100-$200/ per tire (265/70r17)
A perfect range for anyone looking for a fresh set of all-terrain tires. Any worthwhile AT tire is going be in this range.
- Yokohama Geolandar A/T: $120 (Light tread depth)
- Firestone Destination A/T: $120-$150
- General Grabber A/T: $120-$170
- Nitto Terra Grapplers A/T: $150
- Toyo Open Country A/T: $150
- Cooper Discoverer A/T: $150
$200-$500/ per tire (265/70r17)
Stepping it up in this range of tires will get you some serious rubber, tread pattern options and tires that will push through anything you throw at them.
- BF Goodrich KO2 A/T: $250-$350
- Toyo Open Country A/T 2: $260
- Nitto Trail Grapplers A/T: $300
- Goodyear Duratrac A/T: $400+
- Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Off Road Tire A/T: $400+ – Top Choice
- Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac A/T: $400+
Mod #4 – Replace OEM Wheels
When it comes to wheels, the options are endless.
This is an exciting part when it comes to changing the look of your 4Runner. Most of the TRD pros are coming off the lot with the aftermarket TRD Wheels, which are awesome. The only problem with these wheels is that many drivers have them.
Throwing a set of TRD wheels on a stock SR5 would never be a bad thing, it’s just nice to know there are literally hundreds of options to choose from out there.
There are quite a few brands to choose from in this category.
Common Aftermarket Wheel Options (17×8.5 wheels & 17×7)
- TRD SEMA Wheels
- TRD Beadlock Wheels
- SCS wheels – stealthcustomseries.com
- Fuel Off-Road
- VTX Wheels
- kmcwheels.com XD Series
- Method Race Wheels
Or, just Amazon search 17×8.5 off-road wheels or 17×7 wheels depending on your tire
I could go on for hours about wheels. Another great place to check out wheel inspiration is throughout the forms.
I have never seen this list put together but I think it should help some of you out there looking for some actual websites and all product lines.
If you have any other wheel recommendations, please let us know in the comments below.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!