AnzoUSA Sequential Taillights Step-By-Step Install & Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner
Ever heard of AnzoUSA?
If so, you know they make aftermarket headlights, taillights, auxiliary lights, etc. and until recently, hadn’t dabbled into the 5th Gen 4Runner world too much. In fact, the market for non-OEM taillights has been fairly limited and for those companies who do make them, they come at a fairly hefty price tag. That’s not to say they’re not worth it, but on the list of mods to our 4Runner, the budget for decorative/non-wheeling/non-functional stuff is also limited.
Now, there are cheaper options to help dress up the appearance of your taillights. Earlier this year, we wrote about Lamin-X Taillight Blackout Film. At roughly $15, that’s not a bad option.
You could also look at Unique Style Racing’s blacked-out tail light option, which emulates the 14+ updated LED taillights cutting out a good majority of the chrome. At roughly $300, that’s also a decent option.
However, there are other options out there that maintain the stock lens but have a more unique look and style. Kustom54 Lighting and HID Retrofit make sets starting at roughly $800. The option we found that had both a unique style and price-wise didn’t brake (see what I did there?) the bank was AnzoUSA.
Price & Product
AnzoUSA makes three different styles for their 2014 – 2020 taillights:
- Chrome Housing, Clear Lens, Red Light Bar w/Sequential Signals: Check Price
- Black Housing, Clear Lens, Red Light Bar w/Sequential Signals: Check Price
- Black Housing, Smoked Lens, Red Light Bar w/Sequential Signals: Check Price
Since our 4Runner is mainly black (body, rims, armor, etc.), we went with the black housing and smoked lens option.
All in, you’re looking at 15 – 20 minutes max to swap out your taillights. The process is simple and tools-wise, you don’t need much…
Tools & Materials
- Panel Remover (or a flathead screwdriver): Check Price
- 10mm socket wrench w/an extension
Step 1. Remove Plastic Panels
Start by opening your trunk and removing the rear plastic panels closest to each taillight.
Using your plastic panel remover (or flathead), remove the plastic panels to expose the wiring harness and bolts holding in the taillight assembly.
Step 2. Disconnect Wiring Harness & Remove (2) Mounting Nuts
The wiring harness is at the center of the taillight and contains a small tab. Push in the small tab and lightly pull on the harness; this should free the wiring harness from the taillight.
Next, using your 10mm socket wrench, slowly remove the nuts holding the taillight to the body of your 4Runner.
Note: Make sure to take your time with this step as the nuts are small and can easily fall into the depths of the body. We used the wrench to loosen the bolts and removed them by hand.
Step 3. Remove Taillights
With the bolts removed and wiring harness disconnected, you can now remove the taillight. This is an optional step, but if you’re weird like we are, now is a good time to clean the space where your new taillight will be mounted… our rig was filthy during this installation.
Step 4. Swap Out Wiring Harnesses
The AnzoUSA lights did not come with installation instructions, but it was pretty straightforward to swap these out. What we didn’t realize is that this kit requires you to swap the wiring harness from the old lights and onto the new lights.
First, you’ll want to remove the adhesive foam molding covering the wiring harness from each taillight. Place somewhere away from dust, leaves, debris, etc., as it is slightly adhesive.
Next, remove the wiring harness from the original taillights.
Following the yellow arrows from top to bottom…
- Twist out the orange turn signal bulb (top)
- Remove the wiring harness connector from the mounting clip
- Remove the LED brake light harness (middle)
- Remove the wiring loom from the clip
- Twist out the white reverse bulb (bottom)
Step 5. Remove Orange Turn Signal Bulb
Now, remove the orange turn signal bulb completely (you won’t need this bulb for any further installation steps).
Step 6. Disconnect Taillight Harness
Moving your now disconnected tail light harness from the old taillight, connect the green/yellow and black wire harness from the new taillight into the turn signal bulb harness. This wiring harness powers the sequential turn signals.
Twist the sequential harness into the top turn signal bulb mount and reconnect all of the wiring harness connection points. Once complete, place the foam harness cover back over the taillight wiring harness assembly.
Step 7. Mount New Lights to Body
It’s important to note that the sequential turn signal “brain” may be pushed into the side of your taillight housing. We were stupid, didn’t realize this wasn’t permanently mounted and tried 5 times to mount the light. Then we realized this needs to be removed, fished through one of the openings and double-sided tape mounted to somewhere behind the panel. Our idiotic mistakes are to your gain!
That said, remove the loosely placed sequential brain from the side of the taillight housing, but don’t remove the double-sided tape cover just yet. When mounting the lights back into place, take into account that while only two nuts keep the light connected, there are a few tabs on the body that the lights slide into. Just take your time with this step, no need to rush it. Fish the light wiring harness through the larger of the two openings and the sequential brain through the smaller upper portion.
Hand-twist the nuts into the taillight bolts and tighten down with your 10mm socket wrench. Don’t overtighten as you could easily break the bolt.
Remove the red double-sided tape cover and place it somewhere inside the body. You could take the extra step by using rubbing alcohol on the desired spot before mounting (we didn’t).
Connect the one and only wiring harness powering your taillights, repeat this process on the other side, and boom, you’re good to go! Have a friend jump into the driver’s seat, put the emergency brake on, and ask them to run through all the taillight functions while you sit back and enjoy a cold beer for your backbreaking, grueling, 20-minutes worth of “hardcore modding”.
At the end of the day, we were pleasantly surprised by the look, feel and performance of the new AnzoUSA sequential taillights. The smoked lens really gives off a stealthy vibe, the red bars within the taillights themselves are bright but not gaudy, and the sequential are flat out sweet!
If we had one bit of feedback, it would be on the color of the sequential themselves; they still retain the slightly yellow (likely DOT-required) color and we would have preferred more of a white LED look. Besides that, this is an awesome set of taillights at an incredibly reasonable price.