5th Gen Mods, Install, Overland, Roof Racks

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars and Accessories for Factory Rack Side Rails

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LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars and Accessories for Factory Rack Side Rails

If you’re looking to add crossbars to the factory side rails of your 5th Gen 4Runner, increase the number/functionality of your existing crossbars, and use the same crossbars to potentially upgrade to a full rack later, North Carolina based LFD Off Road is the place to start shopping. Your cart should contain some of their ruggedized crossbars.

LFD’s parent company is an industrial machinery manufacturer that has been in business for over 50 years. With a staff that includes many Toyota off road enthusiasts, LFD Off Road designs and manufactures all of their products in-house, using CNC bending equipment, laser cutters, and robotic welding.

Options & Find it Online:

Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen – Steel with Powder Coat
Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen – Aluminum with Powder Coat
Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen – Stainless Steel Raw
Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen – Stainless Steel with Powder Coat
Wind Fairing – Steel
Wind Fairing – Aluminum
Hi-Lift Mount
Hi-Lift Jack HL485 48″ All Cast

Tools Needed for Installation

  • Automobile trim removal tool (only one needed, but this is a nice set)
  • 3/8 ratchet and 5mm hex bit socket (optional, but preferred)
  • 14mm combination wrench and 14mm socket (for optional accessories)

Features

When I received the crossbars from LFD Off Road, I was impressed before I even unpacked the contents from the large box that they came in. The crossbars and fairing were contained in custom foam “racks”, all hardware was contained in labeled zipper bags, easy to follow instructions were enclosed, and everything was surrounded by bagged, expanding foam.

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

I chose powder coated steel crossbars, since I live in an area where corrosion due to salted roads or air is not a concern. LFD also offers the crossbars in powder coated aluminum, raw stainless steel, and powder coated stainless steel.

The older version of the LFD crossbars has evenly spaced holes that ran the length, which meant that fasteners could only be placed at certain locations. The current crossbars have a number of long slots in them, which provide almost infinite fastener placement.

Compared to OEM crossbars, the LFD crossbars sit above the side rails. This allows for carrying larger items, like sheets of plywood and rooftop tents. Eye bolts or rings can be added to the rails, for ease of use with tie-down straps and hooks.

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

LFD Off Road crossbars don’t have to be purchased in sets or pairs. Buy any quantity that you need – two to replace the OEM crossbars, or five to create more of a platform on top of your 4Runner.

With the purchase of available LFD Off Road side rails, the same crossbars that were used with the OEM side rails can be used to create a 3/4 or 7/8 length rack. As LFD says, their roof racks offer you an option no other rack does – the ability to upgrade over time!

Remove the OEM Crossbars

If your 4Runner came equipped with the factory crossbars, you’ll need to take the OEM crossbars out of the side rails. Skip Step 4 below if your 4Runner does not have Toyota crossbars installed.

1. Use a trim removal tool to remove each of the black plastic “caps” from the rear-most end of each of the factory side rails. Gently insert the trim removal tool between the rubber at the base and the cap at two places, approximately 1.5″ from each end of the cap. Pry outward, which will the cap to pop up at the spot where the underlying clip is. Do not use the vehicle body for leverage, as this is not necessary, and it is very easy to cause damage to the sheet metal below each of the caps. 

2. Pivot the caps toward the opposite side, to take them completely off.

3. Remove the tubular rubber insert from inside the track of the crossbar. This can be done with fingers, or gently with a pair of needle nose pliers.

4. Loosen the knobs at each end of the crossbar, and slide it out of the side rails, towards the rear of the vehicle. Do this for both crossbars.

5. Re-attach the black plastic caps at each corner of the side rails by first placing them under the inside edge of the plastic bracket, at an angle so that the tabs on the cap are captured by base of the plastic bracket. Push down on the top of the cap, until they snap in place on the outside edge of the plastic bracket. Give each cap a firm tug, to ensure that is securely attached.

6. Reinstall the tubular rubber inserts into the rear-most end of each side rail, by pushing them into the track with your fingers, in the opposite manner as Step 3 above.

Install the Crossbars

1. Put a large blanket or towels on the roof, to protect it from scratches.

2. Place the crossbars on the roof, between the side rails, in the approximate locations that they’ll be attached to the side rails.

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

3. Each crossbar includes a zippered bag full of washers, T-slot nuts, and stainless steel button head bolts. I found that installation of the crossbars was made easier by pre-assembling each bolt with a lock washer, flat washer, and t-slot nut threaded on until the threads of the bolt were just below flush with the bottom of the nut. Doing this allows for inserting the t-slot nut through the slot in the side rail, while holding onto the bolt, and positioning it into place where it goes on the crossbar.

4. Use the included 5mm hex key or a 5mm hex socket and ratchet to attach each end of each crossbar to the side rails. I suggest only lightly tightening the bolts, so that the rails can be moved around, until exact placement is decided upon. Repeat this process for each crossbar. When tightening the bolts, check to ensure that the T-slot nut has rotated into place behind the surface of the slot in the side rail. The highlighted example in the photo below shows a T-slot nut that has not rotated. In this scenario, the nut will not fasten the crossbar to the side rail.

5. With the five crossbar setup that I opted for, the front and rear most crossbars were placed just in front of the side rail caps, and then evenly spaced with 9.25″ between each crossbar.

6. If you want to position the rear-most crossbar as far back as possible, remove the tubular rubber insert from inside the track of the crossbar. This can be done with fingers, or gently with a pair of needle nose pliers.

7. Stand back and admire your work!

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

Wind Fairing

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbars

After installing the crossbars, I did some road testing to see what wind noise might exist. In tests at speeds from 0-85 MPH, I was pleasantly surprised to find that wind noise from the cross bars was only mildly noticeable at speeds over 60 MPH. There was no high pitched or overly loud wind noise, just a light, sort of buffeting wind sound.

Once I installed the fairing, I heard only the hum of my tires. It definitely makes a difference.

With aluminum crossbars, more wind noise is possible if the bars are run empty, so LFD recommends keeping gear attached to the crossbars, or removing them if empty.

LFD Off Road offers wind fairings, made of steel or aluminum, that can be used to reduce wind noise. Installation is an easy, bolt-on affair, that takes only a few minutes.

Install the fairing

1. Prepare the fairing and hardware. Like the installation of the crossbars, the fairing is attached with button head bolts, washers, and t-slot nuts. Unlike the crossbar installation, a pre-assembled hardware “stack” won’t be used. Instead, the button head bolts must be dropped through holes in the top side of the fairing, through the crossbar, with washers and nuts being added from underneath.

2. Use the included 5mm hex key or a 5mm hex socket and ratchet to attach the fairing to the crossbar  in four places. The fairing is slotted to allow adjustment, but LFD recommends running it as close to the crossbar as possible, unless it interferes with gear on the crossbar. I recommend lightly tightening all fasteners to allow for positioning, prior to final tightening.

Accessories

LFD Off Road manufactures a number of accessories that can be used with their crossbars, including light mount/cargo stop brackets, Hi-Lift jack mounts, and accessory mounting plates.

I added a Hi-Lift mount to my crossbars. Installation was easy, and required only a 14mm wrench, 14mm socket, and a ratchet.

The LFD Hi-Lift mount consists of two main parts, that attach to/through any of the many holes in the “post” of a Hi-Lift or Hi-Lift style jack, and that are secured by large aluminum knobs. The mount also includes a jack handle retainer.

Prior to installing the Hi-Lift mount and jack, I did some measuring to determine where the crossbars needed to be, and what holes in the jack that the mounts had to be in, for everything to line up. I suggest doing this on the floor, rather than on the roof of your 4Runner.

Questions or comments? Leave them below!

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Jon
Jon
June 7, 2020 9:45 pm

I ordered these rails and I am excited on getting them.

I plan on installing a Plano box on top. What hardware do you suggest I should use to mount it?

Eric
Eric
April 24, 2020 9:51 pm

What is the height dimension of the crossbar, not including the mounting points? I have some clamp on accessories with a jaw height of about 1.5″ max.

Dale
Dale
March 3, 2020 2:50 pm

I’m curious if a Thule Force XT LX cargo box would attach to these crossbars without a problem. I wonder if they’re high enough? Would be nice to have a cargo box and bike or kayak. Plus the other configurations you could do.

Cra2
Cra2
May 7, 2020 7:55 am

Would like the article to detail the differences with the aluminum versions. The article mentions there could be a noise level difference. What about appearance, or weight capacity and “flex” allowing cargo box and such to scratch the roof? What about durability and corrosion differences?

Tommy Christopher
Tommy Christopher
May 10, 2020 5:04 am
Reply to  Dale

Dale,

DId you ever get your Thule Force XL mounted in these bars? Did it clear the shark fin antennae?

Thanks – Tommy

Dale
Dale
May 10, 2020 7:51 am

Hi Tommy, unfortunately I haven’t even had time to install the rack! I lack a garage currently and the weather has not been cooperative. I suspect it’ll be a month or so before I get the rack on. I will reply to this message once I am o that point.

Jeff L
Jeff L
February 22, 2020 7:11 pm

I just got my ’20 TRD Pro a month ago. I have learned a lot from this website. I installed my Shrockworks sliders from this website. I just traded my Pro rack fro some black rails so the LFD crossbars will be my next mod. Thank you for putting out great content. It has been very helpful so far.

Tanner H
Tanner H
February 17, 2020 4:43 pm

Thanks for the article– you have what I am ultimately going for: blacked out factory rails w/ LFD crossbars. How did you black out your factory rails? I want something that is going to last, so I’ve been looking at a couple options. Did you have to sandblast or scuff up your rails in some other way for the paint to stick?

Thanks!

T Mags
T Mags
February 7, 2020 5:26 pm

How much space is there between the roof and the bottom of the crossbars? I’m wanting to mount a Rhino Rack ski carrier and want to make sure the bottom bracket will fit. Thanks

T Mags
T Mags
February 7, 2020 5:28 pm
Reply to  T Mags

You answered my question. Thanks! These LFD crossbars are legit!

Tony Magnanelli
Tony Magnanelli
February 7, 2020 3:56 pm

How much space is between the roof and the bottom of the bars? I’d want to add a ski rack and wondering if the bottom of the bracket would fit.

Joe
Joe
February 4, 2020 3:27 pm

What is the weight capacity for the roof top storage? Can you use a 2-3 person tent up top with no bending/flexing?

C Fontenot
C Fontenot
January 24, 2020 10:06 am

Did you find adding the fairing reduced the wind noise at highway speed?

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