5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate Install KDSS

 In 5th Gen 4Runner Mods, Aftermarket Install, Off-Road Accessories, T4R Accessories

5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate Install – With KDSS

5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate - With KDSS

5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate Install With KDSS Suspension (Cutting TRD Skid Plate to Fit KDSS)

First off, the TRD Skid Plate for the 5th Gen 4Runner is not the only skid plate option for KDSS. There are many other fabrication companies and manufacturers that make perfect fit options for 5th Gen 4Runners with KDSS. I personally just wanted to see how difficult it was to mount the TRD Skid Plate onto our 4Runner with the KDSS suspension.

Check Out the TRD Skid Plate

Tools Used for Cutting Skid Plate

TRD Skid Plate without KDSS?

If you are an SR5 owner, TRD Pro owner or Limited owner without KDSS suspension, then you are clear to grab this skid plate and bolt it on in about 30 minutes, TOPS, no cutting required.

Removing the factory skid plate takes a couple 10mm bolts and 12mm bolts and then off it comes in two separate pieces. Bolting it back on is pretty quick as well. It just takes a jack to lift into place or two people to throw it on and then bolt down with 14mm nuts.

TRD Skid Plate with KDSS?

In this post on the 5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate Install with KDSS suspension, we wanted to point out exactly what you need to do to chop and mount the TRD Skid Plate successfully. There are many different ways you can cut into the skid plate as we pointed out in a previous post.

Some people cut the TRD Skid Plate in a strict U shape on the driver side and cut in a very wide U shape on the passenger side. The choice in how you cut your TRD skid plate is entirely up to you. I personally did not like the U shape on either side and wanted to have cleaner lines on both sides of the skid plate going down.

TRD Skid Plate Protection (With KDSS and Without KDSS?)

If you are on some serious rocky terrain, here is something to consider. If you are getting close to a large rock in the middle of the road,  that is coming close to your KDSS suspension, the U shaped cut on the TRD skid plate is not going to protect anything.

Regardless, that large rock or obstacle is going to hit your KDSS suspension either way. The TRD skid plate does nothing to protect the KDSS suspension bars on either passenger or driver side. Let’s just hope you don’t get into that situation.

Let’s move onto the actual process of installing the TRD Skid Plate on your 5th Gen 4Runner With KDSS Suspension and cutting the TRD Skid Plate to fit KDSS.

Step 1: Remove Factory 4Runner Skid Plate

Big shout to the guys at Hunters 4×4 in Citrus Heights for chopping up the TRD Skid Plate. I took the 4Runner in to have them tune the stage 2 Icon suspension and the skid plate was in the back, so I thought I would have them chop it up. Seriously cool group of guys. going to have them drop on the BMC (Body Mount Chop) and trim the fenders for the new wheels and tires coming in.

Step 1: Remove Factory 4Runner Skid Plate

This is a quick and painless step. Start by removing the 10mm bolts and 12mm bolts that are holding your factory skid plates on. After that, you will have a somewhat free (lose) factory skid plate. There are two metal tabs that latch up into the frame that you need to pull out.

To pull the factory skid plate off, just bend the factory skid plate down towards the ground and pull towards the rear of the vehicle. The factory skid plate will come right off. There is a second plastic piece attached to the skid plate for extra protection. This piece will come off at the same time.

Throw away factory skid plate.

Step 2: Unbolt and Remove Support Brace

Step 2: Unbolt and Remove Support Brace

This support brace that goes around the KDSS might look like it is welded on. It is not. You will need to remove the support brace that the old factory skid plate was mounted to. If you do not remove the support brace, you will not be able to suck the TRD Skid Plate back up and into location, to bolt on. There is a bolt on each support brace that is holding them on. Save this OE hardware, you will be using this to mount back on the new TRD Skid Plate (KDSS ONLY). 

By removing these support braces, you have officially lost weight and your 4Runner might go 1mph faster on the freeway. Kidding but seriously, you don’t need them and they are extra weight. 

Step 3: How to cut TRD Skid Plate for KDSS

Step 3: How to cut TRD Skid Plate for KDSS

Like we said before, there are a few ways to cut your skid plate and it is all personal preference. We started with one line and then just ended up chopping the rest of it off. So, our end result in cutting the TRD Skid Plate for the KDSS looks something like the above image. This is obviously not exact and you will be the judge of how you want to cut your skid plate.

It looks much cleaner this way as a final skid plate when mounted on your 4Runner. In my opinion, I would rather have this look than the U shaped cutouts some other 5th Gen owners have. Again, to each their own on this part of cutting the TRD Skid Plate.

Step 4: Mounting TRD Skid Plate

Step 4: Mounting TRD Skid Plate

After you have made your cuts on the TRD Skid Plate for your KDSS and everything is looking good, you are ready to mount. If you have a jack, you may want to set the skid plate on a jack and jack it up into place. If you do not have a jack, use another person (one on each side) and align the TRD Skid Plate into place. Using provided spacers and hardware in the kit, bolt the top portion of the skid plate on. Using the OE hardware from unbolting support brace, bolt the rear portion of the skid plate down.

Step 5: Checking Clearance From Skid Plate to Frame

Step 5: Checking Clearance From Skid Plate to Frame

Checking the clearance on your skid plate is pretty important if you are running this skid plate. The TRD Skid Plate was not designed for KDSS. If you do not shave the top portion of the skid plate this is closest to your frame, you may touch. If you do not shave the top portion on your skid plate and it does touch the frame of your 4Runner, you may have an uneven skid plate.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Shane

    I have KDSS and was looking forward to doing this mod until I heard that the support braces also need to be removed. Now I’m not so sure. Toyota put them there for a good reason I would think, do you know why? Also I’m curious, does the Pro have them in it’s stock setup?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      We removed our KDSS brackets and everything is fine. Why exactly does Toyota put a lot of parts where they do? We will never know. I am not a Toyota Tech and don’t have incredible insight on this one. From what I remember those brackets link the front 4Runner frame to the radiator support. As we were looking at this, we noticed there were multiple supports all around the radiator support to protect the undercarriage (including the new skid plate) and protecting the radiator. Once we removed the support brackets, we saw no need to put them back, nor would they fit, as everything was clearly supported all the way around. Also, some parts on a 4Runner just go a little far. There are hundreds of rigs out there with much less than a support bracket, and they do just fine. I wouldn’t worry about it but to each their own!
      Let us know what you decide to do!

  • Zak

    What did you guys use to cut the TRD skid plate?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      We cut the plate at my buddies shop. He uses a JIg Saw to cut all odd shaped pieces of metal like this. He uses this Jig Saw at his shop but there are other cheaper options out there. The link is a bundle with blades that will cut through the powder-coated aluminum on the Skid Plate.

      • Zak

        Thanks man!

  • Jason

    Awesome post!
    Question in regards to this comment: “There are many other fabrication companies and manufacturers that make perfect fit options for 5th Gen 4Runners with KDSS.”
    Do you have a particular one you recommend? Will this one you recommend provide any better protection to my 5th gen KDSS 4Runner over the modified TRD Plate?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Yeah, good question. There are a few. All of these fit the KDSS:

      ARB Skid Plate
      Shrockworks Skid Plate
      Budbuilt Skidplates
      RCI Skid Plate
      Savage Off-Road Skid Plate

      There are a few more out there but this is a good start.

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