Install of the Borla Cat-Back Exhaust System on my 2013 4Runner Trail
Article by Jeff from Minnesota – See his build here: 2013 MGM 4Runner Trail
The decision to put a cat-back exhaust system on my 2013 4Runner Trail was a tough one. As of the summer of 2017, the 5th generation 4Runners lack significant performance upgrades to bring the stock 270hp and 278lb-ft of torque up to an acceptable level, particularly for those of us who tow trailers and add weight in off-road parts. A 4Runner supercharger does not exist, though one is currently in the works by Magnuson.
Sprint boosters and performance electronics, like those offered by Underdog Racing Development (URD), manipulate the existing power to “feel” more powerful but have questionable true increases in power.
Headers are a challenge to put on, to say the least, involving tight spaces and welding to the catalytic converter; that combined with the possibility of throwing codes and failing emissions is a bit of turn-off. Cold Air Intake, however, has been shown to give slight gains; approximately 10hp according to dyno testing by TRD (TRD Intake Install here). Similarly, there have been approximate 10hp gains noted with cat-back exhaust systems.
Thus we are left with the question: which one to pick? With relatively equivocal gains in hp, Gibson, Magnaflow, and Borla are all vehicle specific. After reading a ton of forum posts and reviews I settled on Borla, as it seemed to have a “growl” but didn’t seem to annoy people with incessant droning at highway speeds.
Where you can buy the Borla?
A very solid all-around exhaust for the 5th Gen 4Runner, you will not be disappointed in this purchase at all. This might be the best 5th Gen 4Runner exhaust out.
Installation of the Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust
- You accept the responsibility of your Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System install. I and Trail4Runner.com are not responsible, nor liable for any injuries or mistakes. Make sure you have read the formal documentation that comes with the Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System and agree with the terms.
- Low to moderate (can be done by a handy do-it-yourself type)
Total Installation Time
- 1.5-2 Hours
Tools Needed for Installation
- 3/8” Drive Ratchet or impact driver
- 3/8” Drive Extension, 3 inches
- Torque wrench
- 15mm socket
- Pry Bar
- Sawzall with metal blade (Just in case)
- Hand protection (shop gloves)
- Eyewear (protect the eyes, debris will fall during this)
- Rust penetrant
Check your parts
Unpack your new Borla Cat-Back Exhaust System and check the parts. If something is missing, don’t take your old exhaust off. Often you will need to cut bolts or piping to remove the original system, so once you start, you are committed. Make sure you have all parts to install your Borla Cat-Back Exhaust System!
There are only three:
- Muffler assembly
- Tail pipe assembly
- Accuseal Clamp
Step #1 – Remove Original Exhaust: Prep the Original System for Removal
Remove the spare tire before you start to have better access to the exhaust system. Consult the manual that comes with our vehicle for removal of your spare tire. After struggling with it in place for a bit I took the time to drop the spare and that made a world of difference.
I lubricated all of the hangers and rubber isolators with WD40 with the expectation that I would need to slide off the original tailpipe and muffler assembly. As you can see in the image below, my old system, despite low mileage, was quite corroded from the Minnesota winter salting.
Pro Tip – Spray all bolts with rust penetrant to facilitate loosening.
Step #2 – Unbolt the Tailpipe from the Muffler Assembly
Now, the instructions from Borla tell you to “unbolt the two bolts on the front flange behind the rear axel.” If you can do that, great. Use the 15mm socket and get it done. Unfortunately, real life kicked in for me and this is what those bolts looked like with Midwest corrosion.
Step #3 – Cut the Tailpipe free if Corrosion/Welding prevent unbolting [optional]
I think it was a combination of spot welding and rust. Nevertheless, the socket did not seat and the bolt dissolved when I applied pressure. At that point in time, I used a 20volt Dewalt cordless sawzall to cut the exhaust piping behind the muffler and in front of the flange by the rear axel.
Step #4 – Remove cut or unbolted Tailpipe
I then removed the rear tailpipe from the hangers and removed the rear tailpipe. This is a pretty simple process. Once everything is unbolted, just pull off the tailpipe parts out. This is where removing the spare tire comes in handy. If you do not remove the spare tire, it will be very tight when trying to remove the OEM tailpipe.
Step #5 – Unbolt and remove Muffler Assembly
My buddy held the original muffler into position to avoid it plummeting to the floor as I began the process of removal. I removed these two bolts in front of the muffler (they attach to the piping for the catalytic converter, etc.) and then backed the muffler assembly out of the hangers to remove it. If you do not have a second hand or a freind with you, you can always use a lift jack to keep your OEM exhaust system in place.
Pro Tip – These bolts were barely in the condition to be removed after a fair amount of penetrant. I would suggest getting a replacement pair just in case you need to cut them also.
Step #6 – Install Borla Exhaust Muffler Assembly
Installing New Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System
Install the new Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System assembly by placing the hangers through the rubber isolators. The same bolts you removed earlier (above) can be placed back in to bolt the new muffler on.
Step #7 – Install Borla Tailpipe
Sliding the clamp over the tail pipe assembly, arc the tailpipe over the rear axle, slide onto the muffler, slide the tailpipe hangers into place on the rubber isolators, then tighten the clamp. Sorry for the image above, this is a picture from several months after the exhaust install.
Step #8 – Tighten Accuseal Clamp
After checking the position and clearance of the system use a torque wrench to tighten to 33-35 ft.lb. of torque. The Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System comes with a set of instructions that will tell you the exact torque. If you do not have a torque wrench, go buy one. You can find them for around $40-$100, you will use it again in the future if you are working on your 5th Gen 4Runner. You need a torque wrench for literally everything.
Step #9 – Check for Leaks
Check for exhaust system leaks or strange sounds after starting the vehicle. Note these mentally and turn off the car. Wait for things to cool down before making adjustments to your new Borla Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System in order to avoid injury.
Step #10 – Enjoy your new sound
Pro Tip 1 – Heat shield for the spare tire
I began to notice, at the end of my 15-minute drive home from work. Intense rattling. After inspecting the vehicle I realized that as the tailpipe arcs over the rear axle, it comes in close proximity to the heat shield for the spare tire. While this has plenty of clearance at rest, the tailpipe does expand with heat, and thus was coming within the vibratory distance of the heat shield. I simply bent the heat shield away and that completely solved the problem.
Pro Tip 2 – Close proximity of the tailpipe to the bumper
While it was not a problem for my 2013 Trail, many people have commented on the close proximity of the tailpipe to the bumper on SR5 and Limited 5th Generation 4Runners. This may require hanger adjustment or trimming, though the consensus is that it is an easy fix.
Decide for yourself
Ultimately the type of exhaust you want is a combination of performance and sound. This fit my needs/wants, spot on. I remember thinking many times “If I could only HEAR IT on my rig.” As such, I recorded the stock exhaust at startup, then at 2/3/4K rpms, then acceleration to cruise at 50mph in the cab, then uphill in the cab.
Feel free to check it out on youtube: