How To Change Your Emblems to a Custom Color on the 5th Gen 4Runner
I’m very happy with the overall look of my TRD Pro 4Runner, but something that bothered me was the chrome Toyota emblem and 4RUNNER lettering on the rear hatch.
In my opinion, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Especially given the fact that the TRD Pro badges are all black, and the lettering of the “heritage” TOYOTA emblem on the front grill is dark gray.
The easy route would have been the addition of a blackout emblem kit, which is plastic “overlays” that stick on top of the factory emblems and lettering.
I decided to paint them a different color instead, especially since the handle panel on the Pros is black, and I wanted some contrast instead of black on black.
In this case, the color that I chose was a dark gray, which was close to the color of the lettering on the grill.
Items for this project:
- Blackout Emblem Kit
- Part number: 00012-R1640-01
- Available from Toyota dealers and/or a number of online sources
- Sell for ~$75-$100 – Check Price
- Buy “overlays” and not “replacements”
- Scotch-Brite Purpose Scouring Pads
- Available from Home Depot and at many other retailers.
- I prefer the 6×9″ pads and often cut them into two or three smaller pieces. Cutting them into smaller strips helps to fit into the inside curves of the emblems and lettering.
- Alcohol wipes
- Isopropyl alcohol wipes, found in the first aid section of most stores and pharmacies.
- Bottled isopropyl alcohol is an option when used with a lint-free cloth
- One can of Dupli-Color Engine Enamel Spray Paint, DE1651 Cast Coat Iron
- You don’t have to use this engine enamel I used (available in a wide variety of color options), but this tough paint and Dupli-Color is a quality product.
- I chose this color to match the front logo, but Dupli-Color makes aerosol touch up paints in factory colors, so you can match your body panels, or choose any other color that you like.
Front & Back View of Overlays
This is what the overlays look like on the front and backside.
Double-sided tape is used to adhere them to the factory emblem and lettering. The red backing is removed to expose the sticky, back side of the tape.
Lightly scuff all sides of each letter, to ensure the best paint adhesion. Don’t press too hard, and pay attention to the inside edges, outside edges, and curves.
Good preparation is key to the best paint jobs, so take your time with this step.
Paint Used for Painting Emblems
It has a little bit of metallic to it, is a good match to the letters on the grill, and one can is enough for the job.
Be sure to shake the paint well before using initially, and again before each coat, as well as use it on a day when temperatures are ~70-90 degrees and humidity is low.
DIY Cardboard “Risers” To Easily Paint Emblems
To make painting easy, and not have the overlays flat on a surface that their wet paint could stick to, I created some “risers” out of cardboard strips.
I cut small slits in a cardboard box, folded strips in half, and inserted them in pairs of slits.
The risers can be adjusted up, down, and sideways by moving one or both “legs” into or out of the slits.
This photo above depicts how I traced the emblem overlay, and cut slits/inserted risers in the right spots to, both, hold the emblem up, and to keep it from moving when the aerosol and paint is sprayed.
The SR5 Emblem Kit
The blackout emblem kit that I purchased came with a pair of SR5 emblem overlays.
Since I don’t have those emblems on my TRD Pro, I used them to test paint colors and practice painting technique.
Emblem Painting Setup For Toyota “T” Logo (Sombrero logo)
In the photo above, you can see the painting set up in action.
When painting emblems, shoot from side angles all the way around, to get the inside and outside edges/surfaces first.
Some paint will get on the top surface at the same time but spray the top surface last, to ensure even coverage everywhere.
I did two coats, with ~10 minutes drying time in between.
I suggest “clearing” the paint can with a test spray away from the part and before you start the second coat, to ensure it sprays nicely before you move to paint the part.
Setup For Lettering Painting
This photo shows a setup for letters. These are a little tricky because of all the inside edges.
Spray lightly to start with, using the same technique/suggestions that were mentioned above for painting the Toyota emblem.
Closeup of 4Runner Painted Lettering
A closeup of the “E”.
Note that there are three risers, positioned inside the edges of the overlay. This keeps it from moving when the paint and aerosol propellent hits it.
Before installing the new overlays, give the paint 24 hours to completely dry.
Install of Painted Emblem Overlays
Thoroughly clean and dry the chrome emblem and lettering, as well handle panel behind them.
I used alcohol wipes, which were lint free, and didn’t leave any residue.
To install the overlays, remove the red plastic backing from each piece, and place them over the factory emblem and lettering, one piece at a time.
If outside temperatures are cooler, I suggest warming up the chrome emblem and lettering with a hair dryer or heat gun on low.
Before and After Of Painted Emblem and Letters
In the photos above, you can see the before and after on the Toyota emblem and 4Runner lettering, while the image below shows the matching color of the heritage logo on the TRD Pro grill.