DIY High Clearance Bumper Cut Mod on 5th Gen 4Runner – SSO High Clearance Bumper Cut Mod with C4 Fabrication Lo Pro
There are many options on the market for front bumpers for the 2014+ Toyota 4Runner.
Some prefer the hybrid look, such as the C4 Fabrication Lo Pro Bumper, while others prefer to go full steel with ones from makers like CBI Off Road.
But what happens when you want the clearance of a full steel, without the full weight of a steel bumper? Southern Style Off-Road (SSO) came up with an interesting modification. You can also see this on another post about front bumpers, but Southern Style Off-Road calls design their “Stage 2 High Clearance” front bumper.
You can go with most low profile front bumper though, it does not need to be SSO. Although SSO is the originator of the mod/design so you have to give credit where credit is due.
Low Profile Bumper Options
- C4 Fabrication
- Southern Style Off Road
- Relentless Fabrication
High Clearance Bumper Cut Details:
- Provides an even more aggressive look
- Allows closer approach angles
- Requires cutting of factory bumper
- More wind noise
- Possible stronger crosswinds
- Windshield washer reservoir exposed
Tools and Materials
- Exacto or Utility Knife
- Automotive Edge Trim (smooth finish)
- Automotive Edge Trim (textured finish)
- Heat Gun
- Zip Ties
- Option 1:
- Option 2:
Why would you want a Low Profile Bumper?
There are various versions on the market, but the two popular and better-made versions are the C4 Fabrication Lo Pro Bumper and the Southern Style Off-Road Slimline Bumper. Both allow you to run a hybrid, steel bumper which sits in the lower valance of the bumper on the 4Runner.
There are various options for these bumpers. Some owners buy them just for protection against dead center hits. Others get them for the ability to add up to a 30” LED Bar for night trail runs and or to cut through fog better on back country roads or off-road. Some owners also run the bumper for a hidden winch, which will assist in situations you may find yourself stuck or needing help up a section of trail.
While this cut was introduced by the Southern Style Off-Road company, it can be done with most other hybrid bumpers, as well as the stock bumper.
One important thing to note is Southern Style Off Road offers “wings” which bolt into the bottom section of their Slimline Bumper and provides protection to the bottom of the cuts made to the bumper, as well as some protection to where the fender liner is removed.
Bumper Cut Overview & Installation
The general directions from Southern Style Off Road are to measure 3” diagonally from where the bumper meets the fender, and 2-1/4” from the bottom of their bumper.
If you have the SSO bumper this part is pretty simple. However, if you do not, this is where you will need to be creative and find where you want to put your mark.
Measuring for Cuts
Because there are numerous bolts at the bottom for the stock bumper, as well as one that connects the C4 Fabrication Lo Pro Bumper to the stock bumper, you may want to cut differently. For the C4 Fabrication Lo Pro Bumper we chose to cut a little lower than what the SSO directions called for to allow the bumper to stay bolted at the bottom to the Lo Pro Bumper.
Once you decide where you want to mark it, run painters tape from the top mark to your bottom mark on both sides. We did this and made some small alterations to make sure it was going to look even on both sides, and be cut evenly as well.
Cutting the Bumper
Now the fun part begins. Start cutting. We used a Dremel saw, but you can technically use anything that will cut through plastic. It is important to note that some saws can cause the plastic/paint to melt/burn, so be sure to not use something too excessive.
After making sure both look the way you want, make any adjustments you may see, and then proceed to smooth out the rough edges made from the cut. We decided to curve the cut with the Lo Pro Bumper to make it blend more easily than without it.
Then we went ahead and added some automotive edge trim (smooth finish) to the sections that were cut to give it a clean look. While it’s up to you, we decided to go from the end of the mold in the bumper to the end of the cut, rather than including the mold, as the fender mold would look off not having its own.
What to do with the fender liner
The next decision was possibly the trickiest, though not hardest. What to do with the fender liner. With SSO their wings help protect what is in the fender well. You just trim the liner to fit with it. Unfortunately, with the C4 Fabrication bumper, that option wasn’t possible.
So what to do? Heat it up! Add some heat and reform it to the cut. Then like anything else after a modification, find a couple mounting spots, and cut holes in the fender liner and zip tie them up.
The harder part is the passenger side, as you have the windshield washer fluid reservoir to deal with. Ultimately we did the same as the driver side, but did have to cut a bit off to fit around the reservoir. It is important to note the reservoir will be exposed. The good part is, whether you have SSO or not, their washer fluid “skid” will work on your vehicle. If you don’t want to run this (it runs $50), you can easily paint it black which will help it blend in, but it will leave it exposed.
Final High Clearance + Low Profile Bumper
That’s it! You now have higher clearance to allow better approach angles while on the trail.
Though it isn’t as high as a true full steel bumper, this will without a doubt help you with those obstacles that always seem to have your front bumper scraping and breaking on.
It ultimately should allow you to run larger tires up front more easily.