5th Gen Mods, Roof Racks

Blackout 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack – Removing and Painting 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

Updated 12/18/20 / Read Time: 5 mins

Removing and Painting 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

Blacking Out The Roof Rails With Plasti Dip on the 5th Gen 4Runner

If you are looking to blackout your rack, you have a few options. You can remove the roof rack and paint the rails or you can remove the rack and Plasti-Dip the roof rails. In this post, we will be blacking out the roof rails with Plasti-Dip.

With this mod alongside the blackout emblem kit, you will have a solid look. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

This simple modification was the last piece on my 4Runner Trail that I needed to blackout. Although it’s a bit time consuming with the multiple coats of Plasti-Dip and drying time, it really is an easy mod.

I chose to use Plasti-Dip on mine, although you have many other options including; paint, vinyl wrap, and powder coating. This is all your preference but at $10 a can for Plasti-Dip, I figured I would do this quick and easy and down the road do something a bit more permanent if the Plasti-Dip doesn’t hold up.

You will need to purchase a set of plastic trim removal tools from your local auto shop. These will be used to remove the black end caps. While you can use a flat head screwdriver, you run the risk of breaking the tabs. These can be expensive to replace and for only $10 they are well worth it.

Items needed:

Step 1: Pry Front Section of Roof Rack End-Caps With Plastic Pry Tools

Plastic Trim Removal Tools - 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

First, start by placing your trim removal tools towards the center of your 4Runner (flat edge of end cap). You want to start with the end closest to the rail. I found that tapping the end of the tool with my palm was enough pressure to get the first end popped up. This will take a bit of figuring out to get them off which is the reason that these trim removal tools are a necessity. Using a screwdriver will likely result in cracked plastic on this piece.

Step 2: Pry Rear Section of Roof Rack End-Caps With Plastic Pry Tools

Remove 4Runner Roof Rack End-Caps

Once the first end is popped up then you can start working towards the second tab. I found that sliding the trim tool from the opened end towards the other end was the best way to get the end cap popped up. Again this may take a little playing around with to get it to finally pop.

After both of the outside tabs have been popped off, you will then need to push the end caps up. The trim removal tools are not required for this step. Shown above are the 4 tabs that you need to get popped off.

Step 3: Remove End-Cap Cover and Set Aside

Remove 4Runner End-Cap Cover and Set Aside

Once you have the 4 tabs popped and free from the end cap assembly, you can remove the end-cap cover. After you have the end-cap removed, you can move onto unbolting the roof rack.

Step 4: Remove 2 12mm End-Cap Bolts and Set Aside

Step 4: Remove 2 12mm End-Cap Bolts and Set Aside

Next, remove the 2 12 mm bolts. These bolts have Red Threadlocker and might take a bit of elbow grease at first. I used a ½ inch socket wrench and had no issues getting this to budge. Follow this same process for the 3 remaining end caps and bolts.

Step 5: Remove Factory Roof Rack

Step 5: Remove Factory Roof Rack

The rack is now ready to be removed from the vehicle. This is much easier to do with 2 people and just needs to be picked up and removed.

Step 5: Prepping Plasti-Dip for Rack

Step 5: Apply Plasti-Dip to 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

Once the roof rack is removed, you want to create an area to paint. You can use old newspaper, an old sheet or literally anything else you do not care about. Once you have your area prepped, you can move to applying the Plasti-Dip.

Step 6: Apply Plasti-Dip to Roof Rack

Step 5: Apply Plasti-Dip to 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

Once you have the 4Runner roof rack removed, you can move on to painting. In this case, I used plasti-dip since I had a can laying around. Make sure to clean off the rails and dry first. If you have never used plasti-dip there are multiple videos out there showing you how to apply it. It is very easy and forgiving stuff.

How to Use Plasti-Dip?

Keep spray gun 10-12 inches away from surface, applying wet overlapping coats. Allow 10 -30 minutes dry time (dry to the touch) before applying additional coats. A minimum of 5 coats is recommended for best performance and easy removal.

I painted this in 2 phases and started with the bottom and inside of the rack. To properly apply the Plasti-Dip, start with 2 light coats seen above, then follow with by 5 heavy coats.

Wait 10 minutes between coats for drying. (I took this time in between drying to wax my roof since it’s a little difficult to wax it with the rack on)

After the bottom and inside were done I flipped the rack over to get the top and side pieces. When applying Plasti-Dip, you want to make sure to cover all sides of the rack.

If you have the SR5 model you will have silver end caps instead of black like the Trail and TRD-Pro models. You can apply plasti-dip following the same method above.

Step 6: ReInstall Plasti-Dip Roof Rack

Step 6: ReInstall 5th Gen 4Runner Plasti-Dip Roof Rack

After the rack is plasti-dipped and ready to be installed back on, using two people reinstall the rack. Get the rack back up top, bolted on, and caps snapped back into place. On a side note, you may want to apply Blue Threadlocker to the bolts just to be safe.


Blackout 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack


Blackout Roof Rack Rails 5th Gen 4Runner Removing and Painting 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack

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April 27, 2020 6:40 am

What sheen black did you do? Matte or semi gloss? Also, I don’t have cross bars but looking to buy some Thule cross bars for ski racks and potentially a roof top box. Do you think plastic dip will hold up to the strap type Thule cross bars?

January 24, 2020 7:11 am

My 4Runner has silverish colored end caps on the rack I am assuming this Plasti-Dip will work on those in addition to the rails. I am assuming the rails are metal but I am guessing the covers over the mounting hardware are plastic

January 19, 2020 2:50 pm

Did you paint the cross bars too? I have the same model 4Runner SR5 5th gen. Thanks!

Ron Kramer
Ron Kramer
June 5, 2019 5:00 pm

Great post! Just bought the plasti-dip and looking to get started on my 2015 SR5. Had a question about your cross bars – – after using the plasti-dip were you still able to slide them up & down? What kind of cross bars are those? I need to buy some, but wanted to make sure I could still adjust after the plasti-dip, and I guess also need to make sure my Yakima will get enough clearance above the antenna to use those as opposed to the ones that sit on top of the rails. I think the ones you have… Read more »

Ron Kramer
Ron Kramer
June 6, 2019 6:45 am
Reply to  Kevin

Thanks, Kevin! I like the look of the stock rails too, only problem is I have a Yakima Rocketbox that will probably hit the antenna fin with the stock rails on. I saw another related thread on it.

Thanks again for the tips! Cheers.

Don Love
Don Love
February 9, 2019 1:01 pm

A paint can opener is the best thing ever for removing the end caps. It has the perfect little hook to get between the rubber seal and the end cap. After slipping it between the rubber and cap give it a tug and it will pop the tabs right out.

Don Love
Don Love
February 6, 2019 12:30 pm

Bolts are retorqued to 22-23 ft. Lbs. correct?

December 18, 2018 3:22 pm

Hey Kevin,

When you had the rails and crossbars off of the 4Runner, did you notice if the silver roof rails were aluminum? I’m cooking up a crazy idea and may get them anodized if they are indeed aluminum and not steel.

Great write-up, by the way. Plasti-dip is top notch stuff!

December 19, 2018 3:34 am
Reply to  Kevin

Post the results Roy when you are done!

December 6, 2018 6:53 am

How long did it take you do this start to finish?

Tony Ngo
Tony Ngo
November 21, 2018 9:52 pm

Ditto the notes above guys…Blacking out the rails is a great idea…..Silver is less to be desired for!

September 25, 2018 5:37 am

Has anyone used carbon fiber sheets to cover the silver rails?

September 26, 2018 1:52 pm
Reply to  Skip

I have not seen that done yet. I haven’t worked much with carbon fiber but I would think it would work if you can get it to wrap around the bars. Keep in mind if you have crossbars you will need to work around the track that’s on the inside of the bar.

September 13, 2018 9:56 pm

Just completed this project on my ’16 4Runner Trail and it looks awesome, thanks for the step-by-step!

September 12, 2018 2:13 pm

Thanks for the response, good looking truck you have. Any opinions on vinyl wrapping them? I’ve got a black ‘18 with XP Gunner package and the only think on the whole truck that is silver is the roof rails which drives me crazy.

September 11, 2018 8:41 pm

Any issues driving it through a car wash?

May 30, 2018 2:29 pm

Nice work! – can you post which rims you have?

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