5th Gen Mods

Dobinsons Lift Options, Nittos & Level 8 Wheels

Updated 3/23/20 / Read Time: 5 mins

Dobinsons 3" Lift Kit, Terra Grapplers & Level 8 Wheels

Dobinsons Lift Kit Options for the 5th Gen 4Runner and a few other mods – A follow-up on the $3K Build

I recently sent an email asking the trail4r.com crew for advice on what to do with a stock 2017 4Runner SR5 and a $3,000 budget. My goal was to build a clean-looking, daily driver ready for mild off-roading on camping, hunting, and fishing adventures. Brenan responded with a very helpful and detailed blog post outlining his thoughts on key mods that wouldn’t break the bank.

Here is what Brenan recommended:

  • Icon or King Extended Travel Coilovers ($1200)
  • Rear Springs – Dobinsons ($225)
  • Rear Shocks – Dobinsons ($230)
  • All Terrain Tires 285/75/17 ($160-$220 a tire)
  • Intake or Catback Exhaust (~$500)

I considered his recommendations, did some additional research, and set off to build my 4Runner.

Dobinsons Lift for the 5th Gen 4Runner

Dobinsons Lift for the 5th Gen 4Runner

After much research and weighing pros and cons on many suspension options, I went with a Dobinsons suspension system. This Dobinsons coilovers and rear springs provided about 2.5 inches of lift and a much-improved ride. It is slightly stiffer than stock (in a good way) and minimized the annoying nosedive when braking. Customer service was top-notch. The image above was taken soon after the install. Since then, the suspension has settled a little, and the rake is not super noticeable, but there is a slight rake for sure. When I spoke with Mike at Dobinsons, he said this setup would be close to level with a very slight rake. I am happy with the way it looks, it is just important to note.

Dobinsons 2.5″ Lift Kit (depending on additional weight added to the vehicle)

  • Dobinsons Front Coils (C59-302R)
  • Dobinsons Front Struts (GS59-700) – Total 2.5” Front
  • Dobinsons Rear Coils (C59-505R)
  • Dobinsons Rear Shocks (GS59-701) – Total 2” Rear
  • Diff Drop Optional

Total cost with shipping and installation at a local shop – $1,200

Dobinsons 3/2″ Lift Kit Option (optional 3″ long travel rear for non-KDSS vehicles available too)

  • Dobinsons Front Coils (C59-300) light load
  • Dobinsons Front Struts (GS59-574) – Total 3″ Front
  • Dobinsons Rear Coils (C59-325)
  • Dobinsons Rear Shocks (GS59-701) – Total 2″
  • Diff Drop and UCA’s Recommended

Front Coil Options

What’s cool about Dobinsons is they can build a kit specific to your needs. If you give Mike a call, he can walk you through everything you need to achieve your goals. If you are looking for a 1-3″ kit, they can make it happen.

If you have KDSS, they offer various coil options that account for the KDSS lean. On the 5th Gen 4Runner, there is a passenger side KDSS lean and it has to be accounted for somewhere (spacer or adjustment). If you are not looking to spend the money on adjustable coilovers, choosing Dobinsons is a great option because their front passenger coils are 5mm taller and rears are 15mm taller than the driver side coils, to correct for a lean that usually happens with 2″ or more of lift on KDSS vehicles.

Front Struts

You have the 2″ option (GS59-700) which I used here paired with the C59-302R front coils. This is a 0-2.5″ lift strut. Then you have the 3″ lift option (GS59-574) which is recommended to use with a 2″ coil such as the C59-314 med/heavy load 2″ coils which will also give you a little more travel. From what I have heard, the GS59-574 struts have softer valving than the 700 series. With softer valving, your ride will not be as stiff, even though you’ve lifted so much.

Rear Spring Options

Dobinsons also offers a wide variety of rear spring options depending on your intended goals. Take into consideration the goal of your build. If you have plans of installing a rear bumper with a swingout, drawer system with a fridge, loaded roof rack, or packing heavy loads in the rear often, you will want a heavy load rate spring.

There are a wide variety of rear springs to choose from in just about every weight class. From 200lbs of weight to 1,200lbs of constant weight, there is a spring that Dobinsons can match to your build goals.

Rear Shocks

You have a few simple options. The GS59-701 suits 0-2″ lift. The GS59-705 suits 0-2″ lift with softer valving. Then you have the GS59-575 which suits 3″ lift for true long travel at 28.75″ total length! Bump stops are usually recommended here but it depends on your setup.

For a detailed list on Dobinsons, check out this post on the Forum.

Additional Optional Parts

Dobinsons also offers totally silent front UCA’s for 3″+ lifts, front diff drop kit, front strut mounts, adjustable rear upper and lower trailing arms, adjustable rear panhard rod, front sway bar drop brackets, and rear adjustable sway bar links.

Nitto Terra Grapplers & Level 8 Tracker Wheels

Nitto Terra Grapplers & Level 8 Tracker Wheels 

Brenan suggested keeping the stock wheel to save money, which made sense logically, but I really wanted a specific look and I needed aftermarket wheels to get there. Here is where I ended up:

  • Level 8 Tracker Wheels in Black (17×8.5)
  • Nitto Terra Grappler G2 285/70 R17
  • Alignment

Total cost (mount, balance, and installation, minus rebates and sale of stock wheels and tires ($525) – $923

Nerf Bars and Rack

Because I have my kids and wife getting in and out of the rig, I needed some kind of steps/nerf bars. I decided full-on sliders were not necessary given the type of off-roading I plan on doing, not to mention budget concerns. I also wanted a very low profile roof rack for carrying various hunting and fishing equipment from time to time. Here’s where I ended up:

Total cost – $664

Other Miscellaneous Mods

To round-out my build and get the look I wanted, I blacked out the emblems and had the windows tinted.

Total cost – $513

For those keeping score at home, that is a total of exactly $3,300 in mods including tax, shipping, and installation. I know, I know. I overspent by $300. However, I came damn close.

Even though I didn’t go with many of Brenan’s recommendations after all was said and done, I ended up with the exact look and feel I wanted and couldn’t be happier with the build.

To each their own, right?

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January 7, 2020 9:51 am

How are the 285/70/17 Terra Grapplers? Do they rub on fender or mudflap? Do you like them? Fixing to go with Dobinson springs as I already have 5100’s. Thanks

March 30, 2019 6:35 pm

Awesome! Thanks for all the cool ideas on a budget build! I’m gonna follow this set up! I’ve been researching non stop and it is exhausting. People these days way overspend on things they use only 10% of the time! thanks again!

November 30, 2018 10:22 pm

BTW, Really glad I stumbled upon your build. My Mom uses her Trail Off-Road (with KDSS) for Grand Touring with 4-6 week long exploration overlanding in the West as she travels between KC & Seattle a couple times a year. We have been trying to keep low profile for wind resistance & mpg and we don’t need a hard core rig but a little lift would be perfect. Your suspension option seems very reasonable and I think we may follow suit. While I love the KDSS, I did not know about the lean so thanks for bringing that to my… Read more »

November 30, 2018 10:19 pm

Do you think it would be possible to mix the LFD crossbars with the stock. I already have 2 stock but was thinking about putting 2 LFDs in between then use the Stock for support but the LFDs for securing. Thanks in advance!

November 6, 2018 3:51 am

Great post.

I am thinking of purchasing 3 of the LFD Crossbars and was wondering if you are experiencing any wind noise when driving?

June 7, 2018 5:32 pm

Coming from an FJ with Radflo 2.5″ adjustable coilovers in the front and Radflo rear springs/shocks that I liked the ride and articulation. Just got my 4Runner about 2 weeks ago and have discovered Dobinson’s. Do you have any experience with Icon/Radflo/King/etc? If so, how does the ride compare? Lots of nose dive right now, so I’ve heard it stiffens it up, and I’m sure it’ll be fine, just not sure if it would be worth extra $ to get adj. coilovers that can be rebuilt if need be (or if I’d notice a difference in this setup from my… Read more »

October 17, 2018 9:30 pm
Reply to  Trip

Would I be able to run 285/70/17 KO2s on my stock sr5 wheels with this list?

Dobinsons 2.5″ Lift Kit (depending on additional weight added to the vehicle)

Dobinsons Front Coils (C59-302R)
Dobinsons Front Struts (GS59-700) – Total 2.5” Front
Dobinsons Rear Coils (C59-505R)
Dobinsons Rear Shocks (GS59-701) – Total 2” Rear

May 15, 2020 7:54 am
Reply to  DJ

Yes for sure. You might want to consider also UCAs, to get better alignment and avoid any rubbing.

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