Bigger Tires on 4Runner? (Cutting & Trimming)

 In 5th Gen Mods, Maintenance

Common Cutting & Trimming on a 5th Gen 4Runner

Fitting Bigger Tires on 5th Gen 4Runner

Ideas on what to cut, chop and remove to fit bigger tires on your 5th Gen 4Runner (34″ Tires)

We are talking about: 

  • Trimming the 4Runner Body
  • Trimming Plastic Valance Caps (Rocker Panel End-Caps)
  • Body Mount Chop (BMC)
  • Remove Splash Guards (Rear Fender Trimming)
  • Push in Fender Liners
  • Trimming 4Runner Fender Liners

Recently, we wrote an overview of wheel size. In that post, we slightly explained what the largest tire size was, that you can fit on a stock 4Runner. We also talked about going a step further with bigger tires and lift kits and leveling kits.

In this post, we covered tire size, tire specs, wheel sizes and how they work with tire sizes, and much more.

Bigger tires with a lift kit or leveling kit?

If you are looking to swap out your factory 31″ tires with 33″ or 34″ tires, this overview is for you. We have the 285/75R17’s (33.8″) on our 2014 TEP and had lots trimming to prevent rubbing.

To run 34’s on your 4Runner, you need at least a 3″ suspension lift and even with that, you will need to do serious trimming to your 4Runner’s body, plastic valance caps, body mount, and the splash guards.

We wouldn’t trust 2″ leveling kit or 2″ suspension kit with 34’s. They are pretty big compared to factory tires.

We have trimmed the 4Runner’s body, plastic valance caps, body mount chop, removed both splash guards (rear wheel well liners) and pushed up the front plastic portion of the wheel well liners. And, it was still rubbing. The main problem you are going to see is with the front fender liners, they need to be cut and pushed back quite a bit.

Every time we go out, we have done a little more trimming each time.

Eventually, we are going to throw some strut shims up front .25″ stacked on both sides. And, then install a new 3″ overland spring in the read to replace our icon stage 2 suspension lift 2″ spring. This should help give us clearance but at the end of the day will likley cause more rubbing somewhere else.

Trimming 4Runner Body

Body Mount Chop + Trimming 4Runner Body?

This is a pretty interesting mod. One of the first mods that had us rethinking this whole goal. We have to trim the actual 4Runner body. Anyway, we did it and it was not that big of a deal. Just get it over with. You will be much happier with 34″ tires than that missing piece of 4Runner.

Trimming the 4Runner body is important for a couple reasons. To start, if you do not trim your 4Runner’s body, you will have an unproportioned look on the wheel well. Also, not trimming your 4Runner’s body will eventually lead to slight rubbing when your wheels are at full flex and wheel lock (when your tires are fully turned, driver or passenger).

Trimming Plastic Valance Caps (Rocker Panel Caps)

Rocker Panel Caps After – And, they were still Rubbing at flex

4Runner Body Mount Chop - Valance Caps

You will need to trim your plastic valance caps. Some people call them Rocker Panel Caps, and some people call them valance caps. Either way, you will need to trim these pieces of plastic that interfere with your larger tires.

This took a few attempts to get right. We started small and then ended up cutting as much off as we could, without being able to notice the cuts from the outside.

Body Mount Chop (BMC)

Body Mount Chop - Driver

This one goes without saying. You will absolutely need to chop your body mounts. Toyota extends the housing around the body mounts into the wheel well quite a bit. Most of this housing is just wasted space. You can take quite a bit of this housing off and give yourself plenty of extra space in the wheel well.

Companies like Metal Tech 4×4 have body mount chop kits, but any reputable 4×4 shop should be able to cut them apart and then cap them. If you don’t know how to weld, then you should probably take this to a shop that can do it for you. The cost is pretty cheap ($100-$200), and any good shop should have a body mount chop done in a couple hours.

Remove Splash Guards (Rear Fender Trimming)

Yeah, it doesn’t look good, does it? So, this was my first lesson in letting someone else chop my body mounts. If you see the Sawzall marks just above the body mounts, that was a clumsy guy, who will never touch this 4Runner again. Not a very big deal, just pretty annoying. Everything else is about how it will look after some serious trimming.

The splash guards and rear fender liner are located in the rear housing of the 4Runner wheel well. These look like your front fender liners. Some 4Runner’s might have the actual mud splash guards. If you have these mud splash guards, you should just take these off.

The inner fender liners on the rear wheel well are thick plastic pieces of plastic that prevent mud, dirt, and grime from hitting your inner body. But, the inner body of the 4Runner is well-protected how it is. So, removing these plastic pieces is not that big of a deal.

Push in Fender Liners & Trim

Squadron-R Fog Light Install Step #10 - Remove Fender Liner

Fender Liner Step #1 – Pushing the Fender Liners Back

The front fender liners will take quite a bit of adjusting. To start, you need to locate the hole that your 10mm bolt is going through your body and up into the fender liner. You want to take loosen that 10mm bolt and push back your fender liner as much as possible. Literally, push the fender liner towards the front-end of your 4Runner. Once you are not able to push any further, mark the spot on your fender liner with a white sharpie (or something you can see on black), through the h0le in your 4Runner body (where the two met).

After you have marked your spot, let the fender liner out again. Using a plastic drill bit, drill a hole in your marked spot. Use a bit that is less than the width of your 10mm bolt for your bolt to feed through and catch on. After you have the hole punched, tighten everything up.

Note: There are two bolts that go through the body and into the fender liner, You may need to drill two holes for both bolts that secure the body to the fender liner.

Fender Liner Step #2 – Cutting unwanted section from front well Liner

Trimming Front Fender Liner 5th Gen 4Runner

After you have your new spots located, and mounted, you should start driving around and see if it is rubbing. After doing this, our 34″ tires were still rubbing.

Steps for trimming your fender liners:

  • Back out of your driveway and lock your wheels passenger or driver, you will start to hear rubbing.
  • If your driveway doesn’t work, drive around and find a spot where your tires start rubbing.
  • As soon as you start to hear your tires rubbing, stop.
  • Get out and mark the location on the fender liner.
  • Pull back into your garage and cut off 1″ or more of that section.
  • Repeat these steps until you don’t hear rubbing anymore.

We had to cut off a good six inches of fender liner before we stopped hearing our tires rub. After dealing with a couple months of our tires rubbing, we then moved to another inch our Icon Stage 2 Suspension Lift.

Pinch Welds on 5th Gen 4Runner (Hammer or Bends or Cut?)

Pinch Welds on 5th Gen 4Runner (Hammer or Bends or Cut?)

It really depends on how bad your tires rub with this area. We thought we solved all our rubbing problems, but then we added the wheel spacers. After the spacers, we started rubbing more on the fender liners and these pinch welds.

There is one area of the pinch weld that sticks out a little further than the rest of pinch-weld area (top image circled). In the top image, you can see the portion that I “bent”. I just grabbed two pairs of vice grips/ clamps and peeled it back. If I am still rubbing at flex, I will probably go back in and bend both sides all the way back in towards each other or outside of each depending on how the tire is rolling past it. I would not slam this with a hammer or cut it off until I have to.

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Showing 27 comments
  • William

    On the side note, if you run 285/70/17, then you won’t have to worry about rubbing or body chop. Just run a 2 inch lift and it will be fine. Hope that helps decide when going for 285/70 or 285/75

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Yeah, even with the 285/70/17 tires, there are still a few guys out there that have rubbing on the front fender liner. It’s weird, some guys have issues with them and some don’t. It also depends on the tread pattern and exact tire size. Some 33″ tires are closer to 34″ tires. It really depends on the actual brand of tires and tread pattern at the 33″ sized tire. The 33″ tire size is a touchy subject, literally

      • Mtnmn

        Very accurate! I just put a 3″ lift on my 2017 ORP and have rubbing issues on the passenger-side body mount and driver-side fender with 33″ Cooper Discoverer STT Pros. They’re measured @ 33.03″ on a 8.5″ wheel, but im using stock 7.5″ with 1.25″ spacers. My alignment put the driver-side @ 3 degrees caster and the passenger at 3.8. It could be the extra caster, but I’m working to trim and clear as needed.

    • Ty

      100% false….this has been beaten to death on the forums. Not all rigs are the same, and tire and wheel size/offset/backspace etc. are all factors. I’m running 2.5” lift with Bilsteins, 285 Falken Wildpeaks, SCS Ray 10s, with high clearance fender chop, mud flap removed and still rubbing significantly on the body mount.

  • Jay

    I have BFG AT KO2s 285/70/17 on my 2012 4Runner trail with Icon stage 2 Suspension lift and it rubs. I trimmed away some access plastic in the front wheel wells but even so this weekend I got flexin and my front tire swallowed up my passenger side mud flap. Brrrrrraaaaappppp snap goes mudflap, lol. I did not see any rub marks on the frame however so I’m still hoping no body chop is needed.

  • Joe

    I just put 285/75r17 on my 5th gen 4runner. 3” suspension lift and body mount chop. Going to mod the fender liner, but as you pointed out in the rocker panel cap photo, mine rubs past that and onto the exposed metal. Any thoughts on solving this? Cutting it down to as close to th bolt possible? Great write ups though. Thanks!

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      I don’t have experience in cutting that piece of metal off yet. Let me take a look at that and get back you…

      • Kevin Brown

        I need info on this trim as well, about to mount 285/75/17s and I need my rig to be ready for it.

  • Paton

    I just ordered the readylift sst 3″/2″ kit for my 2017 4runner offroad. What kind of modifications will I need to fit 285/70/17 BFG AT KO2s? Also, is there an optimal wheel width and offset to maximize tire size on 17″ wheels? Thanks!

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Not much trimming for that set-up. Fender liners will likely need to be slightly pushed forward, and possible BMC. Wheel width typically should not exceed 9″ for that tire size. I would go with a 7-8″ wheel width but 8.5″-9″ will work. Again, I wouldn’t push 9″. For offset, it really depends on what wheel you decide on and what that company offers for offset options. I would look for -4 to -12(ish) depending on the look you are going for (the more -offset the wheel has, the further the wheel will sit outside the wheel well). For backspace, I would keep it around 4 to 4.875″ (The smaller the backspace, the more the wheel will sit outside the wheel well).

  • Jorge

    Hello, I just get all terrain Bfgoodrich ko2 285/75r17 and 3′ lift kid icon stage that you recommended. I will do the body mount chop but im wondering if I have to get wheel spacers also. any idea?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      You don’t need wheel spacers. Wheel spacers will cause more rubbing with that setup.

    • Nick

      Jorge, how did this work out for you? I am considering the same exact setup.

  • Nick Kaufman

    Before you did this mod, did you notice the rubbing while on-road driving or just off-road driving?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Both. Backing out of the driveway and reverse period, not even full lock it was rubbing hard. The 285/75R17s (33.8″) have taken some effort. I finally pulled off the rocker panel valance caps completely. I removed most of the inner fender liner on the front and rear of the wheel well. I bent the pinch welds back in as much as possible. I will eventually just cut those off. I cut the body of the 4Runner more in the front. I need to get some fiberglass fenders at some point. Now, I am figuring out how 315/70R17 (34.4″) or 35/12.50R17s (true 35″) will fit.

  • Syed

    I am running 275/70/17 BFG All Terrain KO2s on my ’16 4Runner Limited. It also has a ProComp 3″ level kit and am planning on adding SPC UCAs to correct the caster and alignment. However, I am experiencing some rubbing on full lock turns and reversing. So will getting a body mount chop (BMC) along with fender liner trimming resolve the rubbing issues completely? Is the BMC a tough mod to do? Do you think, if I take the vehicle to a good 4×4 shop would they know exactly what to do in terms of BMC and trimming so the rubbing issues are resolved? How expensive is this process and would it be really time consuming? Would appreciate some feedback. Thanks.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      For the BMC, you should grab the Metal Tech 4×4 BMC kit if you are taking it to a shop that doesn’t do BMCs often. The best thing to do is drive around your house and stop as soon as you hear rubbing, make a mental note and just see where everything is rubbing. From there, you can start to make your adjustments as needed. Everyone has a different situation. No one will have your exact set-up, or at least it is rare when someone has the same set-up. Drive, listen for rubbing, hop out and check it out, make a mental note, return to the garage and start cutting. That is as basic as it gets but you get the point.

  • Rick

    This is an awesome thread. Did you have to install bump stops with the 285/75/17 for off-roading? I really want this tire size and am willing to make the necessary cuts, but want to crush nasty trails without doing damage. I’m looking at the ridge grappler in load c that is 33.8”, I have a 2017 TRDPro with icon stage 5, and a 1” Toytec body lift.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Rick, not currently running bump stops so not really “needed” for 285/75/17, but I will buy a set eventually.

  • Phillip

    I have a 2016 with a 3” suspension lift and have a set of 17 by 9 wheel with a -6mm off set can I fit a 285/70/17 bfg k02 A/T

  • chris


    I recently traded my 2012 taco with 3″ toytech suspension lift and was running 275/70/17R with no rubbing. Switch the taco with a 2018 5th Gen off road premium and kept the rims and tires. Have an extreme rubbing issue, what can be done to solve? 3″ lift.


  • Jack

    I just got my 2016 SR5. At the dealer they have a 2018 SR5 on the floor with black factory wheels and Wildpeak 265/70/17 and they said no lift was installed and no rub. I’m doing Daystar spacers and Bilstein 5100’s – the spacers are advertised to “Lift the front 2 1/2 Inches and the rear 1 1/2 inches.” I’m on the fence about what tire size I can use without trimming on OEM-sized/offset wheels?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      275/70/17 would likely clear, 285/70/17 would likely NOT clear. With 285/70/17, you would likely need to push your fender liner in a bit, maybe do a BMC (body mount chop). 275/70/17 (32.16″) or around there would be as high as you may be able to go without cutting/trimming. You never know though, every setup is different.

  • Alex M

    Hi guys,

    I got my hands on some BFG 305/65/17’s and I would like to use them because well….they were free…I will be installing the ICON stage 2 lift before that, and they will be mounted on stock SR5 2018 rims that I self customized…I am assuming BMC, fenders and valance caps will need attention and should work after that…or is 305/65/17 going to be way more work than just buying something smaller???

    Brenan…great site dude!!! keep it up, I have used your site as a reference for alot of my mod decisions.

  • Martin

    Here is what I have done so far.
    3″ Toytec Boss lift
    Front Swaybar Relocate Kit for Non-KDSS
    Diff drop.
    700lb Front Coil Overs
    200LB Constant Toytec Superflex Heavy Duty Rear Coils
    Total Chaos Uniball Upper Control Arms
    Toytec Rear Aluminum 2″ bump stops
    Toytec Boss Rear Shocks
    305/70/17 KM2 kept Trail Premium Wheels and it looks amazing.

    I have had very slight rubbing on my front mud flaps no body or inner fender rubbing. This issue I am having is that the tires look to inset. I am contemplating the spacers as I have no idea if rubbing will occur on my fender plastics. I am trying to avoid all plastic cutting if possible. Once I get to removing the front mud guards there shouldn’t be any rubbing at all.
    I do want the wider, more aggressive stance though.
    As i was typing this I ordered them from Amazon. Stay tuned for my results once they are on. I do wish there was a way to post my before and after pics. But if anyone has done a similar setup or the same let me know your results.

    P.S. I do have some pics of my 4r on my instagram but not sure it would be prudent to post a link here on Brenan’s site without his permission.

    • Martin

      Spacers are on. The rubbing increased on front mud flaps and ever so slightly on the front fender liner.
      To alleviate i went ahead and cut out the bubble area of front mud flaps, pushed fender liner back and did a slight cut to inner and fender plastics. You can’t see this from the side or front of the vehicle as the cuts was needed underneath.
      After the modifications were done there is absolutely no rubbing at full turn right or left going forward or back.
      I hope this will help anyone looking to add spacers with a similar setup. Very simple and followed the manufacturer recommendations on torque settings for all. No Shaking at any mph as some have complained about after spacers they experienced some wheel shake. Stance looks fantastic!
      Brenan, thanks for the site it is helpful in so many ways.

  • Brandon Boomershine

    With a 3″ ToyTec lift and optional UCA’s, mine clears 34×10.50 r17 BFG AT’s on the Sema Pro wheels with no rubbing at all once the mud flaps were removed.

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