5th Gen 4Runner TRD Skid Plate Install KDSS

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

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)

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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Showing 17 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!

      • Blake

        I just installed this myself and yeah, you do need to remove those braces, however, the bolts you remove to take the braces off is also where you bolt the skid plate into place. So in essence, the skid plate becomes the new brace which is probably actually stronger than the original.

  • 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.

  • 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 the radiator framing. I agree but after taking a good look at their curved shape, I believe(I’m no expert) they mainly and most importantly 1.Hold up the framing(same one for the radiator) on which the recovery hooks are mounted / 2. protect the swing central bar of the KDSS

    One would say that the new OME skid plate will offer the longitudinal and vertical strength that the removed braces was giving. Yes, but looking at the structural size of the braces, the plate will offer lower rate, that’s for sure.

    So, final words to my beliving;
    1. The radiator framing is wayyy strong enough to be hold without the braces
    2. The recovery hooks will have less ‘safe working load’ , which I’ll keep in mind while using them
    3. The KDSS central bar will be protected by the plate instead of the braces
    4. Even so I would suggest going for other options(that I haven’t looked), I’m still satisfied with the plate + it looks bad with the TRD letters and the plate being painted with black pick-up bed liner paint

    • 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 that piece was very solid. 🙂

  • 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 plate? Hope this helps the next guy to make sure they have a better gap than I did on the first shot!

    A jigsaw is great however in my shop, I taped a guideline then used a cutting wheel to cut about 1/4-1/2 way through the metal to give my sawzall a followed guide to make a perfect cut. Sawzall went right through like butter!

    Also for strength consider the TRD skid plate is much stronger than the KDSS plate that has been replaced. It will hold everything a lot better than you think even tho not as good as the structural braces that have been removed.

    Happy modding to the future guys!

  • 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

      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.


      • Jean-Philippe

        *4Runner trail Edition with KDSS

        • J. Parr

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

  • john t forth

    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.


  • 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.

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