Apex Overland’s Recovery Points Step-By-Step Install & Review For 5th Gen 4Runner
I’m new to the 4Runner game. I got mine within the last year and immediately caught the mod bug. I read everything and wanted it all.
I mostly blame Brenan and Trail4R.com, But much of the information I read also cautioned me to be selective and intentional about what to mod. I’m mostly interested in running trails, some moderate rock crawling and off-roading. My family isn’t really into camping so Overlanding is out of the question.
One of the decisions I’ve had to make is regarding recovery points as recovery is critical. The stock front end doesn’t have any official recovery points. The factory tie-down loops are just that: tie-downs for transport to the dealership and shouldn’t be used for recovery.
Front Recovery Point Options
The two options I’ve found so far are to add either:
- A Front Bumper
- Recovery Points
The front bumper option is super appealing to me and every option I found includes sturdy recovery points. Bumpers are really strong and are an additional level of armor. Also, you can add a winch.
Bonus: They look really cool! I especially like the low profile options available these days. Two very popular low profile bumpers are the SSO slimline and the C4 Lo-Pro. However, the bumper and winch can add significant weight to the front end and unnecessary weight is the enemy. Also, they ain’t cheap.
Adding Recovery Points
I discovered the other option when I ran across William’s ARB recovery point article and it got me thinking, “Do I really need a winch?” Traction recovery boards can help in many situations and a hi-lift jack combined with the appropriate straps and gear can even act as a winch in a pinch. I decided to give it a try, but which one?
The ARB recovery point was a bolt-on option that looked relatively simple and inexpensive to add, but there were a couple of drawbacks. Parts of the installation seemed unnecessarily complicated. Also, the kit only came with one recovery point and I liked the idea of having 2 for versatility.
Adding Recovery Points
I stumbled onto the Apex Overland option on some forums and decided to give them a try. It should be noted that they state that these recovery points do not fit KDSS equipped vehicles so keep that in mind. However, a new design will be released shortly that will accommodate 4Runners with KDSS. This article will focus on the non-KDSS design.
Who Is Apex Overland?
From there website:
Apex Overland is a veteran-owned, family-operated Overland and off-road adventure supply company and install shop based out of Greensboro, North Carolina. Apex Overland not only sells to and supports the Overlanding and off-road community, but we also have a deep-rooted passion about Overlanding and adventure lifestyle.
They regularly post quite a bit about what they’re doing in their shop on Facebook and there are lots of goodies to look through on their website so to give them a look.
What’s in the box?
- The Apex Overland Recovery Points: Check Price
- 13mm (M8) x2 bolts, with crush and flat washers x2
- 17mm (M10) x4 bolts, with crush and flat washers x2
- 19mm (M12) x2 bolts, with crush and flat washers x2
Tools Needed For Install
- Socket wrench with 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 17mm and 19mm sockets
- Torque wrench (18-72 ft-lbs range)
- M8 x2 fender washers (recommended)
- M10 fender washers (not recommended, but pictured anyway)
This installation is pretty simple, and can probably be done without raising your 4Runner, but I have long arms and wanted as much room as possible. Also, I learned partway through the install that removing the front skid plate (mine’s the factory one for now) gives you the necessary access to tighten the 17mm sway bar bolts. You could probably remove your front bumper to gain even more access, but it’s not necessary.
I also recommend buying a few larger diameter M8 fender washers to include in that joint. Pictures are included in Step 4 to show how I recommend using them and why.
Step 1. Raise Your 4Runner (Optional)
Safely raise the front end of your 4Runner, either with jack and stands or with ramps. I put mine up on stands.
Step 2. Remove Existing Hardware
The 12mm and 14mm sockets are for removing the existing M8 and M10 bolts in the upper bracket and the sway bar bracket. Also, the heavy stickers covering the M12 bolt holes on each side need to be removed.
All are highlighted above.
I recommend removing all hardware on both sides as the sway bar won’t move as needed to fit the recovery point if you don’t unbolt both brackets. That said, you could loosen one side to allow it to drop down and do one side at a time. Still, you shouldn’t torque everything down until both recovery points are installed.
Step 3. Put Recovery Point in Position + Install 19mm Bolt
When you slide the recovery point into position, make sure the upper bracket and the sway bar bracket are sufficiently out of the way.
Step 4. Install 13mm Bolt w/ Existing Bracket + Fender Washers
The image on the left shows the M8 bolt installed in the bracket. On the right is the M8 fastener on the other side with the washer configuration I recommend.
You’ll notice that the hole where this M8 bolt passes through is excessively oversized (presumably so that everything will fit). If I could make a recommendation to Apex Overland on their design, I’d have them reduce the size of this hole.
Step 5. Install 17 Mm Bolts + Sway Bar Bracket
Install the front M10 bolt and slide the sway bar bracket over the bolt head as shown. Then, insert the rear M10 bolt and hand tighten both such that they hold the bracket in place.
Step 6. Tighten + Torque
Begin to tighten all hardware. I tightened everything to snug so that it brought the recovery point flush before beginning to torque to spec.
Apex recommends torquing the M12 19mm bolt first to 72 ft-lbs followed by the two (x2) M10 17mm bolts to 40 ft-lbs. Last is the M8 13mm bolt to 18 ft-lbs.
The installation took 2.5 hours to do, but I was documenting everything and ran into a few avoidable snags that this how-to will hopefully help you avoid. Knowing what I know now, I’d say 1.5 hours is a reasonable expectation.
Was It Worth It?
Generally speaking, these look to be very solid and well attached. I have no issues using these for recovery, though like other recovery points, individual extreme lateral loading isn’t recommended.
I interacted with Jillian at Apex Overland about the rating for these and she said the product developer claims they’re rated for 20,000 lbs each. I have my reservations about that number, but based on my calculations, I am comfortable assuming that 20k lbs is a good break strength and since the vehicle load is ~¼ of that, there is plenty of safety factor. She also recommended using a bridle system during pulling to share the load between the 2 sides.
Additionally, a snatch block can be used to help in a winch situation.
How Does It Look?
As for the appearance, I’m very happy. I know that’s secondary to function, but let’s be real… it matters. They look nice and match the red TRD accents. I know it’s my fantasy book background coming out, but I’m reminded of a bloody fanged beast.