5th Gen Mods, DIY, Install, Lighting, Reviews

Cali Raised Low Profile Ditch Light Brackets with Baja Designs Squadron Sports

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Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4RunnerIntroducing the Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets

Ditch lights, while not completely necessary, do provide some really valuable lighting on the trail or even in utility situations like setting up camp after dark.

There are many options out there for both brackets and lights themselves.

We’ve talked about another combo of bracket and lights before and also reviewed Cali Raised LED Ditch pods awhile back too.

When looking around at the options for my 5th Gen, I was interested in keeping the lights as low to the hood as possible.

Some might prefer theirs higher up for more downward angling possibilities and maybe less hood reflection, but for me, I preferred the low-profile option.  After some searching, I came across the Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets.

For the LED lights themselves, I went with the Baja Squadron Sports with Spot/Flood lenses.

I already have the Baja Designs Squadron Spots in my Fogs, so I went ahead and kept with the kitted out consistency using the Baja Designs for Ditch position as well.

The Setup

Understanding Lighting Zones

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

To better understand how Ditch Lights can be used, we can briefly dust-up on Lighting Zones.

Baja Designs has put together some great charts explaining various lighting zones and correlates to their various products and lens options.

Depending on what product you choose and how you angle the pods, Ditch Lights are usually going to provide coverage in Zones 1-4.

Most will probably use ditch lights for extra coverage in Zone 2 (Cornering), Zone 4 (Spot) or Zone 3 (Driving/Combo).

I initially plan on using mine to provide coverage somewhere between Zone 2 and Zone 4.

With the Baja Designs Squadron pods, you can purchase various interchangeable lenses to change your coverage pattern if what you thought you wanted isn’t what you needed.

The Complete LED Ditch Lighting Brackets Package

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Cali Raised LED Ditch Brackets Overview: 

  • Very Easy to Install
  • Install time required, approximately 10 minutes
  • CNC cut and precision bent
  • Powder coated in a semi-gloss black texture
  • Compatible with most LED pods
  • Engineered and Manufactured in the USA

Let’s Install the Cali Raised LED Low-Low-Profile Brackets

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Tools Needed

  • Socket Wrench
  • 12mm Socket
  • 13mm Socket

The product came packaged well and a video installation tutorial is found on the Cali Raised LED YouTube channel.

Included in the package are two brackets, two 13mm bolts, and matching nuts.

The included bolts and nuts are provided by Cali Raised because OEM hardware that comes with most LED pods likely will be too large/long to clear plastic windshield trim once the Low Profile Ditch brackets are installed.

In other words, these brackets are so low that shorter bolts are usually needed to mount your pods than your LED Pods will come with.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only loosen and remove your hood mount bolts one-at-a-time!!!  If you loosen both bolts at the same, you will risk your hood slipping out of alignment.  Only loosen one bolt at-a-time so that the second bolt retains your hood alignment.

STEP 1 (OPTIONAL): Measure Gap From Hood To Fender

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

I took a moment to first measure the gap distance between the hood and fender down by my headlight.

I did this just in the event that my hood did slip out of alignment, I would know roughly what size gap was between the hood/fender from the factory.

Turns out, the gap is roughly  3mm down near the headlight.

STEP 2: Remove Top Hood Bracket Bolt

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Pop the hood and starting on the driver’s side, use a 12mm socket to remove the top hood bracket bolt.

The lower bolt will keep your hood attached and should retain its alignment.

STEP 3: Tighten on “D” Ditch Bracket

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Using the factory hood bolt, fit the Ditch Bracket marked “D” (for driver’s side) and tighten into place about 80-90% tight.

Leave the bolt barely loose enough so that the bracket can be twisted into place with the second hood mount bolt…but tighten it enough to hold the hood’s alignment when you remove the second hood bracket bolt.

CAUTION:  If you leave this first bolt too loose, your hood can slip out of alignment when you start loosening the 2nd bolt.

STEP 4: Remove Lower Hood Bracket Bolt

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Remove the lower hood mount bracket bolt, twist the ditch bracket so that all holes now align.

Now tighten BOTH hood bracket bolts fully tight.


  • Close your hood carefully making sure that the ditch brackets clear everything properly.
  • Check the hood’s alignment to make sure it’s still okay before moving on the passenger side.
  • If the alignment is okay, proceed to the passenger side.
  • If it’s not, try fixing the alignment on the driver’s side before moving onto the passenger side to keep the margin for error smaller.

STEP 5: Repeat Steps 2-4 For Passenger Side

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

Repeat Steps 2-4 for the passenger side bracket and recheck hood alignment once more.

Passenger side bracket is marked with a “P.”

Once complete, check hood alignment again and make sure that passenger side bracket clears properly with hood down.

The Low Profile Verdict

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

These ditch brackets are LOW!

I was very pleased with the overall quality of the product, ease of installation, and the final result.

The look of low profile ditch lights is very clean.

Although I haven’t tested it, I believe a snorkel should easily clear the brackets/lights just fine.

I found that the base of ditch light brackets sits just only 3/8” above the hood.  Very impressive if you are trying to keep things low to the hood and as clean as possible!

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets + Baja Designs Squadrons

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

After mounting the Squadrons with the Baja Designs provided bracket mount and the Cali Raised LED provided 13mm bolts/nuts, the clearances are great and the overall low-profile look is perfect.

These pods sit super low giving a very integrated OEM feel between the lights and the lines of the truck.

There’s also very little visibility restrictions when driving because these are so low.

With hood up, there is still plenty of clearance between the pod and windshield.

I measured the clearance to be about 5/8” which is plenty of room with no real risk of the pods contacting the windshield.

Final Thoughts… Woah, That’s Low!

Cali Raised LED Low Profile Ditch Brackets - 5th Gen 4Runner

The Cali Raised LED Low Profile Brackets are as advertised… LOW!

These are a great solution for a super clean and OEM type feel on the 5th Gen 4Runner.

Get yourself some today and try them out!

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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