Step by Step RCI Off-Road Front Skid Plate (KDSS Specific) Installation on 5th Generation Toyota 4Runner
Simply put, skid plates help protect many undercarriage parts of your truck. If you start beating up your factory skid plates you can expect more than just skid damage. Weak factory skids can lead to structural damage, and other critical working parts like hydraulic lines, gas tanks, radiators, and much more.
Do your truck a favor and protect it with a set of aluminum or steel skid plates.
This is going to be a multi-step process of installing a full set of skid plates on the 5th Gen 4Runner.
If you are looking to see what the installation process is going to take for a full set of skid plates, then start here. Our goal to install literally every skid plate possible on the 5th Gen. We will be updating this post as time goes on.
RCI Off-Road makes a “Full-Set” of skid plates and that includes a Front skid, Transmission skid, and T-Case skid. For most drivers, this should offer plenty of protection but we are going the extra mile here.
Just remember to order the KDSS version if you are running KDSS.
If you order the non-KDSS version for a KDSS truck, the plate won’t even mount up because the KDSS sway bar will be in the way.
Jump to another installation:
This is not going to cover the complete guide to skid plates or why you should install a front skid plate in detail.
If you are looking for that information, head over to our complete overview on 4Runner skid plates page where you will find pretty much everything you need to know about skid plates for the 5th Gen.
RCI Front Skid Plate Specs
- Full Set: Check Today’s Price
- Front Skid Plate: Check Price
- Material Options: 3/16” Steel or 1/4” 5052 Aluminum Alloy
- Powder Coat Options: Black powder coat or bare metal
- 3/16” Steel: 40lbs
- Aluminum: 20lbs
Front Skid Plate Installation
Installing the front skid plates are very straight forward. Complete Installation of the new front skid plate took under one hour while installing the first five skid plates mentioned in the list above, took just over six hours.
We did need to modify our C4 Fab rock sliders in order for the lower link skids to fit so that’s what took us a little longer.
Depending on what skid plates you install, you may need to modify your rock sliders in order for different skids to fit.
In our install example, we are using all RCI Off-Road skid plates.
Step 1: Jack Truck & place on stands or blocks
Lift the front of your 4Runner with a floor jack, and place front tires on ramps, blocks or jack stands.
Do not use front cross members as a jack in point, this may interfere with the skid plate installation.
We jacked our truck up and we used a set of homemade wood blocks (jack stand risers) for trucks with higher lift kits.
Actually, Tyler from My Off Road Radio made them just for Jimmy.
Step 2: Remove Factory Skid Plates
Remove OEM skid plate or any other aftermarket skid plate currently installed.
You can discard or save any factory hardware or spacers provided by any other aftermarket kit. On our TRD pro skid plate, we had to use a few spacers in order to get the correct fitment.
You can set the spacers and factory hardware to the side.
Note these factory mounting points as the RCI skid plates will bolt to the same location.
Step 3: Lift RCI Skid Plate into place & mount center bolts
Using two people, lift the RCI skid plates into place and loosely install the 40mm bolts with washers into the center mounting holes (the holes with the skid plate risers).
If you do not have a second person to help you can use a floor jack to securely left of the front skid plate into place.
Step 4: Mount the rear bolts
Once the RCI skid plate is self-supported, install the remaining 40mm bolts with washers.
Install the half-inch nylon spacers on top of the skid plate and then thread the bolts through and into place.
Adjust the plates with the bolts are near as possible to the center of the mounting holes.
Step 5A (Front Bolts): Coming from the factory skid plate
If you are installing your RCI skid plates with factory skids mounted, you will have a simple plug-n-play kit.
Because we previously installed the TRD skid plate, we removed the factory frame tube mount spacer brackets (pictured above).
If you are installing the RCI Off-Road front skid plate with factory skid plates currently installed, you will retain use of these spacer brackets and it will be a very easy plug-n-play bolt-on install.
Step 5B (Front Bolts): Coming from an aftermarket or TRD skid plate
If you do not have the tube mount and bracket mentioned previously, the front of the RCI skid plate will sit about 1″ away from the recommended mounting point on the cross member.
The recommended factory mounting point per the instructions is to mount to that tube mount bracket, so with the bracket gone, you need to add a spacer of your own.
Instead of mounting this bolt to a bracket, there is a hole that goes straight through the cross-member. This allows you to slide the bolt all the way through and secure nut on top.
We found an extra set of nuts, bolts, and spacers provided from our previous skid plate install. This was damn near a perfect fit.
If you don’t have anything laying around, go to ACE Hardware or Home Depot and find any 1″ spacer and if it’s not perfect, you may need to add washers to make up a 1/8″ or so difference.
Step 6: Installing transmission skid plate?
If you are installing the transmission plate supplied from RCI Off-Road in addition to the front skid plate, you will need to leave approximately a 1/2″ of rear bolts unthreaded to allow the transmission skid plate to slide and lock into place.
Step 7: Check the fitment
Check the skid plate fitment and clearances around all parts and proceed to fully tighten all bolts with a 13mm wrench to OEM torque specifications.
In our case, 23ft lbs.
On these front RCI skid plates, they feature an oil filter access port, check and ensure these bolts are tight.
Proceed to the transmission skid plate install page.