CarTrimHome’s New TRD Pro Style Grill and “Raptor” Lights for 2010-2013 4Runner – Complete Install Guide and Review
Today, I’d like to tell you about another addition to my rig that does absolutely nothing for performance, but I think it looks awesome. I am talking about the 2-piece front bumper grille replacement with LED lights for the v1 5th Gen 4Runner (2010-2013). If you are not familiar with CarTrimHome, they carry a ton of cosmetic upgrades for the 4Runner. From what I have seen so far, the quality, fit, and finish are very good.
I drive a 2011 4Runner Trail Edition that I purchased used in July of 2018 with only 58,000 miles on it. I have 105,000 on it now and it has been a perfect vehicle without any problems. You may notice the skid plates in the photos and I covered the installation in a previous article about the 4xInnovations full skid plate package.
Why would you want a new grill?
My 2011 is considered an early 5th Generation 4Runner (2010-2013) and Toyota did not offer the TRD Pro trim level until 2014. I really like the look of the front grille with no logo and “TOYOTA” spelled out, plus I wanted to get rid of some chrome and I have been planning on adding raptor lights as well. This product satisfied all three desires and the lights being “built-in” to the grill makes for a really nice look and allows you to have three lights instead of four.
Find it Online:
- 2-Piece Front Bumper Grille with LED Lights (2010 – 2013): Check Price
CarTrimHome.com has a lot of products that fit the 4Runner, the prices are significantly less than a comparable product from the dealer, and from what I can see, the quality seems very good.
The grille insert is made of injection-molded plastic and the light housings are molded into the grill and pre-wired with an included harness. The “TOYOTA” lettering is included but is not pre-installed. The letters appear to be made of dense plastic and are a metallic gray which appears to be a little bit lighter than the Toyota metallic gray paint on my 4Runner.
The grill does not come with the lettering attached and it is important to take your time with the placement; the 3M tape does not allow for easy removal if you make a mistake in positioning.
Step 1. Clean Grill Surface
The first step was to ensure I had a clean surface.
Step 2. Test-Fit Letters
After wiping down the surface with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, I laid out and test-fitted the letters. Each letter had two small positioning tabs on the back and the T, Y, and A were no problem at all to position. The O, however, was a bit trickier as it seemed that it fit in two different orientations, so you have to be very careful to test fit it correctly and then lay it out under the grill exactly how you want to place it.
Step 3. Remove Backing Tape and Place First “T”
The backing tape can be very difficult to grab without pulling the tape off of the letter, so be patient. If you don’t have long-enough fingernails, a pair of tweezers might help. Some people have advised me to only pull off a little bit and then pull the rest after the letter is positioned, but that did not seem to work for me, so I pulled it all of and then was very careful.
Step 4. Add Second “T” and Tape Horizontal Placement Line
After the first T was in place, I decided to place the second T so that I could use the tops of the T’s to align the other letters.
After the second T was placed, I used some blue painter’s tape to form a straight edge between the T’s that I could use to place all the other letters. Using this, the rest of the placements went very smoothly and I am happy with how the final letters turned out.
Step 5. Remove Front Bumper
The first step in the installation is to remove the factory upper grill.
I had seen several videos of this process for the 2014+ 4Runner and I assumed it would be the same for my 2011. I removed the clips holding the upper cover between the radiator and the front grill and then removed the clips holding the upper grill to the frame.
Based on the videos for the 2014+, I assumed that I would be able to pull the upper grill off. After many attempts, I worried that I was going to break something and decided that I was just going to have to bite the bullet and remove the entire front bumper cover (not a terrible job and one I had done before when I installed my Apex Overland KDSS compatible recovery points).
If you haven’t done this before, I would recommend watching a couple of videos on the process so you will know what to expect and won’t break anything. The following video was a good reference for me:
I removed the 10mm bolts (about 12 of them total), disconnected the fog lights and DRL/turn signals, and then proceeded to unclip the cover. About ten minutes after deciding to remove the bumper cover, it was off and laying on the grass in my yard.
Step 6. Detach Upper Grill
Once the cover is off, you have to detach the upper grill from the lower bumper cover. As soon as I started to detach the upper grill, it was immediately evident why I was having problems, the upper grille is attached with about 12 clips that were all hidden from view when it was on the truck and I had to use a flat-blade screwdriver to pry up the tab on each one to release the grill.
Pro-Tip: I would never have been able to safely pull the upper grill off without removing the bumper cover; I would have definitely broken something, so I’d advise you to remove the entire front bumper as well as part of this install.
Step 7. Remove Painted Trim from Grill
Once the upper grill was separated from the lower grill, the painted trim must be removed. I laid the grill face down on a terry cloth towel to make sure it did not get scratched and proceeded to detach it from the factory grill insert.
The painted cover is held on by twelve screws (there are actually sixteen screws on the upper grill, but two of them hold on the factory center mounting bracket and two are for the middle cross-member and you won’t need them for the new grill).
Once the screws are removed, there are two small tabs on the lower part of the painted cover and you will have to pry the tab up with your finger and then use a screwdriver blade inserted between the grill and the painted cover to pry the two pieces apart while you are bending up the tab (be careful not to break it). Once you release the two tabs, the cover just falls off.
Step 8. Attach Painted Grill to CarTrimHome Grill
The factory-painted cover fits on the new insert perfectly and is held on by twelve screws and two clips. I found it easiest to place the cover on the new insert and press the two lower tabs into place to hold it and then install the twelve screws, being very careful not to over-tighten them as it would be easy to strip the holes and you don’t want to do that.
The upper grill snaps onto the factory lower bumper cover using the same tab locations as the factory grill. Once you have them all lined up, simply press them into place until the tab snaps closed and you are done. I have to say that I already liked the new look.
Step 9. Mount New Grill and Bumper
Now the only thing left to do is to get it mounted. If you have done any previous mods to your front end, you are already familiar with the removal and re-installation process for the bumper cover. If you haven’t, there are many resources on YouTube that will walk you through the process and they do a better job of explaining it than I can do in this article. The video linked earlier is a great resource.
The new grill fits perfectly and looks great, but I still have to wire up the lights. The lights are only temporarily connected to the battery in the above photo to verify that they work before I bolt everything back in. I was debating whether to wire them up to the DRL circuit or to wire them to be on automatically whenever the truck is running. I ran a few checks and noticed that the DRL circuit turns off when the headlights are on and I wanted the new lights to be on all the time.
I decided it would be better to connect the lights to the accessory circuit so that they would turn on whenever the ignition was on. Running the wire into the cabin was fairly easy since I had recently installed some ditch lights and knew exactly where to run the wire through the firewall on the driver side and connected the power to an empty place in the fuse block above the driver’s side kick panel using a double-tap blade fuse adapter so it has its own 10 amp fuse.
What an improvement! I love the new front end and the raptor lights look amazing. I know that LEDs are supposed to last a really long time, but I do have a concern that if one of the LEDs stops working, I am kind of stuck because it is integrated into the grill, but I will trust that it will hold up and enjoy it while I can.
My ultimate goal was to make my 4Runner stand out a bit from the crowd. With the early 5th Generation and the stock grill, the only option you have for raptor lights is to do two on each side and I think it just looks better with three total. This is about the only way to achieve that because you have to get rid of the front emblem to have a place for the middle light. The new grill fit perfectly and everything clipped into place just like it was a factory part.
I absolutely love the new look and I am so glad that someone decided to pay attention to the early 5th Generation as it often seems like they are the red-headed stepchild of the 4Runner community. I personally really like the look of the early front end and I am really happy with this new addition. When I look back at how my 4Runner looked before the new grill, I can hardly believe the change.
The 4Runner looks so good with the TRD Pro style grill and I would definitely not want to go back. The factory grill looks so “plain jane” by comparison.