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

 In 5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Install, Off-Road, TRD

Fender Liner Push Back & Trimming on 4Runner

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

The TRD skid is not the only option for KDSS. There are many other fabrication companies and manufacturers that make perfect fit options for KDSS. I personally wanted to see how difficult it was to mount the TRD skid on our 4Runner with KDSS.

Check Out the TRD Skid Plate

Tools Used for Cutting Skid Plate

TRD Skid Plate without KDSS?

If you are an SR5 owner, 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. You can do it by yourself, though. It might just be a littel more difficult to line up the bolts.

TRD Skid Plate with KDSS?

In this post, 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 4Runner with KDSS 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. In my opinion, I would rather have this look than the U shaped cutouts some owners have. Again, to each their own on this part of cutting the 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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Shane
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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?

Zak
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Zak

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

Jason
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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?

Jean-Philippe
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Jean-Philippe

5th Gen 4Runner W/ KDSS –> About the support braces that need to be removed. I’m always been grateful for those who take a minute to write problem/solution online, so I’ll take some of my time to do so. I just finished installing the OME skid plate. Cutting & installation went well, cheers to this post. *Note: this post doesn’t mentioned the bolt tread that as to be cleaned/slightly adjust. Please make SURE you read this: http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-gen-t4rs/239833-if-you-have-trd-skid-plate-read.html About the support braces that need to be removed, it is mentioned up here in the comments that they are meant to hold… Read more »

Blake
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Blake

Totally correct on everything, though I have to say, after removing the braces, they don’t seem nearly as “heavy duty” as the trd skid plate. The braces feel like hollow tubing. The skid plate is one solid piece of metal. After cutting one side using the same “design” as Brenan (which for me, turned out to be the easiest way to cut, I went through 4 metal jigsaw blades because of the rounded corners) one piece just happened to fall off after finishing the cut and that small piece landed on my wife’s booted foot. She wasn’t too pleased, even… Read more »

Amyn Shurafa
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Amyn Shurafa

Great help here was able to cut it within mms of the sway bar and fit on the first shot! However I am wondering when offroading and the KDSS engages and retracts the sway bar it seems like it will get even closer to the skid plate. Seems like a good bit more needs to be cut that what has been shown. I am powder coating the whole skid plate so I was planning on removing and refinishing anyways but it is something to take into account. Has anyone else encountered any contact between the sway bar and TRD skid… Read more »

Mark S.
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Mark S.

Recently just did this to my TRD off road and chose to cut straight lines instead of the U option. To be in the safe side I left the support brackets in and got 60 mm screws for the front 2 bolts. At first glance it doesn’t look like there is any running occurring, diffidently something I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Jean-Philippe
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Jean-Philippe

Hi Mark,

Just to be clear, do you mean that you installed the TRD skid plate to your 4runner Trail Edition?

Using 60 mm screws for the front 2 bolts was enough to give room for the support brackets to be left in place? I’m very surprised, I’ll check it out real soon.

Thanks

Jean-Philippe
Guest
Jean-Philippe

*4Runner trail Edition with KDSS

J. Parr
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J. Parr

Hi Jean-Philippe,
Was curious about the 60mm question… have you installed skid over support brackets???
Thanks,
Jess

john t forth
Guest
john t forth

ALOHA,
I was wondering if anyone verified “using 60 mm screws for the front two bolts”
or not? I am referring to the comments on September 29 and October 31st.

Mahalo

Danyo
Guest
Danyo

Installed on 2016 SR5 with member brace with no issues. Tried it without and fitment was fine as well. Left braces on as instructions did not state to remove.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

Ok, the 60mm bolt fix is NOT real. The radiator support brackets curve downwards, and longer front screws do nothing to fix this. The skid won’t even move into position without removing them. The rear screws can’t even seat with that brackets installed, much less the front.

Maybe someone without KDSS was sent the wrong screws and used 60mm screws as replacements?

Again, confirming that using 10mm-1.25x60mm screws do not mitigate the need to remove the radiator supports.

J. Parr
Guest
J. Parr

Thanks for the input. I ended up going with newest model from CBI. Looks amazing/ super stout & fits with kdss. Had to remove brackets & 2 factory skids, but super easy process to install. Used the bolts from braces.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Brenan – thank you so much for all of this information – great work! I ordered the TRD skid plate for my 2018 off road premium before I realized it was not compatible with KDSS. I plan to make the modifications you suggested – the TRD skid plate makes more sense than all the parts it replaces. I’m still a little concerned about removing the radiator braces – however it does look like they really provide little if any support for the radiator. Before I start cutting the skid plate – do you have any more updates/information? Any insight to… Read more »

Michael
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Michael

Thanks Brenan.

Travis Baird
Guest
Travis Baird

Great article. Increbile site. I have been looking at skids for weeks and weeks, without finding a clear leader. I had not thought about putting the TRD skid on the 2014 TEP with KDSS I own, and I think the skid plate sets have been grabbing my attention. I am extremely intrigued by this, as the metal cutting seems tricky. Brenan is the play to take it to a shop and cut all the way down on the edges to account for the travel of the components? Would an updated dotted line pic of the original pic be possible? Your… Read more »

Travis
Guest
Travis

Awesome. Thanks, Brenan. I’ve already added the skid plate to my amazon 4Runner wishlist. Thanks for the link.

geoff rowan
Guest
geoff rowan

HI, thanks for the article and info. I installed the TRD skid plate on my 2018 TRD Pro using your cut down guidelines. Initially I left a small lip on the edges. The sway bar has been contacting this lip and I have been progressively trimming it down. It is down to less than 1/4 inch in height and now I’m getting the front bolt head of the where the sway bar is attached (driver side) gouging into the flat surface of the skid plate. Looks to be only a few millimetres deep right now. All this to say hat… Read more »

Geoff Rowan
Guest
Geoff Rowan

Sorry, had a couple of beers that night…… 2018 TRD Off Road, not a Pro. Lol

J. Parr
Guest
J. Parr

TRD Pros don’t have kdss. I had same problem. Between the cutting and then the rubbing… and looking like every other 5th gen here in Colorado… I went with new version CBI skid. (aluminum) Almost went with RCi but liked the look of cbi over RCI with kdss. Super stout/ easy install, so sick! Honestly, Wish I wouldn’t have wasted the $ on the TRD. Good ole hindsight!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Thanks for all the great 4Runner info. I followed all your instructions (I have a TRD ORP with KDSS); cut my new TRD Skid plate (a little more than you show in your photos); but has anyone else had this issue? I started the two front bolts; but I’ll be damned if I can get the rear two bolts to line up with the threads; I can get the drivers side threaded; but on the passenger side the bolt is at an angle and there’s no way to get it to thread; it’s that far off. I think I”ll pull… Read more »

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

That shouldn’t happen. Did you leave all of the other bolts very loose? I installed my front bolts first, and they only caught a few threads, then I lined up the rear and tightened everything down. Two of the holes on the skid are slotted to allow some wiggle room during the install. Don’t forget to run a tap through those rear holes. Makes the install much easier. You can also reuse the OEM rear bolts just fine. They are chamfered a bit to help get them started.

Karl
Guest
Karl

Hi Brenan,

I just bought the TRD skid for my 2016 Trail. I’ve been reading about employing a tap at the rear end of the plate. Is this recommended for all installations? I haven’t seen any specific instructions for it, except this thread here.

Also, I don’t have a jack so I was hoping to use the street curb as my only method of gaining enough clearance to lift the front end securely for the install which I’m planning for this weekend.

A reply would be appreciated. Advance thanks,

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