Feature Friday: Top 5 Favorite 5th Gen 4Runner Mods for Overlanding & Off-roading

black trail edition 4runner c4 dual swing icon alloysPictured: Ryan Gibbons (@gibburnz) 2011 Trail Edition

What are our Top 5 4Runner Mods for Offroading and Overlanding? Here are 12 example 4Runner set-ups and what their owners like most about their builds

This Weeks Topic: Top 5 4Runner Mods

We asked the community what their top 5 mods were and here are their submissions. 

I am super pumped about this week’s Feature Friday! Every week, we typically hone in on a specific category like wheels/tires, bumpers, roof racks, etc. We ask owners what brand they are running and why they like that particular setup. This week is a little bit different in the sense that we didn’t ask about a specific item; rather, we wanted to know what 5 must-have mods owners love most for their Toyota 4Runner.

I’m not going to lie, I was really surprised by a lot of the submissions we received. As you read, you’ll find a large variety of items for a range of reasons rather than, “Oh I like my suspension, wheels, and tires cuz it looks badass“. Nope. Function over looks… and I love that!

I enjoyed writing this week’s Feature Friday because like I said, it seemed to showcase functionality over flashy/useless mods that really aren’t all that important at the end of the day on the trail. By asking owners what their must-have mods are, it opens the eyes for a fresh new 4Runner owner; more specifically, mods that are worth spending their money on right away over some items they may have thought they needed, but didn’t. You can budget for the really important and needed items, and once those are secured, move toward the more “flashy” and less needed items.

Enjoy guys!

1. Ryan Lau (@4runnersaurus) 2021 TRD ORP

2021 4Runner TRD Off -Road with SCS Wheels, Yokohama Geolandar MT Tires

Ryan’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Southern Style Off-Road Rock Sliders
  2. Stealth Custom Series Ray10 17X9 -38mm Offset Wheels
  3. Yokohama Geolandar MT Tires
  4. CBI Off-Road Fab Front Skid Plate
  5. Pelican Vault rifle case mounted on the roof

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

My build is fairly simple and modest. I don’t have extravagant mods such as a full roof rack or expensive lighting. What my rig is to me is a family hauler first, and weekend warrior to explore our PNW forests second.

The best mod I’ve done would have to be my rock sliders because my family would not be able to get in and out of a lifted rig without them. A close second is definitely my wheel and tires setup; they turn heads and have always given me the confidence and traction to tackle any terrain.

My roof-mounted storage case allows me to keep all of my recovery gear separate from family-related load-out in the trunk. That was something that I learned the hard way when I ran out of space quickly on a road trip.

Overall, my favorite part about my setup is that I had such a solid platform to start with. The 4Runner’s reliability is legendary and I have the utmost confidence that my rig will get myself and my family where we need to go. I know the engine will turn over every time I go to start it up, and that’s invaluable in the era of modern, tech-laden vehicles.

2. Ryan Gibbons (@gibburnz) 2011 Trail Edition

Black Trail Edition OG 5th Gen 4Runner with Gobi Roof Rack & ROAM Vagabond RTT

Ryan’s Top 5 Mods

  1. C4 Dual Swing Rear Bumper
  2. Gobi Roof Rack
  3. ROAM Vagabond RTT
  4. ARB Dual Compressor
  5. Smittybilt X20 Winch

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

First and foremost, my C4 dual swing rear bumper was my favorite mod I did on my previous 4Runner. Of all the things I did, this piece added so much necessary functionality. Having the Hi-Lift, MaxTrax and full-size spare easily reachable was awesome. The Baja Sports I had wired to a switch was great for those highway tailgaters!

Secondly, I’d say the Gobi Rack. Mounting things to the rack freed up space elsewhere on the rig. Plus, it was way better mounting the RTT to the top vs. the OEM roof rack.

Third, and not necessarily a 4Runner specific mod, was the ROAM Vagabond RTT. My fiancé and I overland a lot and there’s nothing better than camping off the ground.

The fourth was the ARB dual compressor (for obvious reasons).

Fifth was the Smittybilt X20 winch. It’s gotten me out of some tight jams for sure!

Well, I’m ashamed to admit I no longer own this 4Runner. However, when we owned it, it was more than ideal for overlanding. We were always able to hop in the truck and go wherever we wanted at a moment’s notice. We’ve made so many formidable memories camping and overlanding in hard-to-reach places, all because the truck was built to get off the grid. While it could crawl and hang with the best of them, it was purpose-built to get off the grid with many creature comforts!

3. Clinton Saephan (@amg_t4r) 2016 Trail Edition

5th Gen 4Runner with Califabrication 3-Link Rear Kit Suspension, Nguyen Works Rear Bumper, & Raceline Beadlock Monster Wheels

Clinton’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Front Total Chaos +2 Long Travel Suspension
  2. Front ARB Air Locker
  3. Rear Califabrication 3-link Kit Suspension
  4. Nguyen Works Rear Bumper
  5. Raceline Beadlock Monster Wheels

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

The first, and best mod, would have to be the Total Chaos LT. With how much better ride quality you get on the trails than stock and how much travel you get, it’s just crazy.

My front ARB air lockers would be the second-best mod I’ve done and it never lets me down, especially when I’m in a bad situation, it always comes through.

My third best mod would have to be the Califabrication 3-link kit suspension. With how much travel that I get (16”-18” of travel) my rear tires always stay planted on the ground when I’m rock crawling.

Nguyen Works rear tube bumper is my fourth-best mod because it looks great and it has the most clearance of any rear bumper on the market. It has so much clearance that It rarely kisses any boulders.

Last but not least, the Raceline Monster beadlocks 17×9.5 -32 offset with 4” backspace would be my fifth best mod. This wheel not only looks good but gives my 4Runner a nice stance and performs well, especially since I’m able to drop to single-digit air pressure, and how much traction I can get is outstanding.

4. Mitch Caldwell (@mcald18) 2016 Trail Premium

MGM 5th Gen 4Runner with Onboard Air (Smittybilt 2781) & Sherpa Crestone Roof Rack

Mitch’s Top 5 Mods

  1. DIY Drawer system
  2. Onboard Air (Smittybilt 2781) & DIY Dual inflator/deflator
  3. Dobinsons Suspension / Cooper Rugged Treks (285/70/17)
  4. Sherpa Crestone Roof Rack
  5. DIY Pressure Shower

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

My current setup allows me to get out in nature for the weekend with ease and convenience but does not suffer when it is time to return to the pavement for the workweek. It isn’t overbuilt but rather built with purpose.

Each mod came after using the vehicle for some time so I could better hone in on what was really needed. These things, working together, have sculpted a utilitarian vehicle that is perfect for my lifestyle.

5. Derrik Bustos (@djbustos) 2016 Limited

White Limited 4Runner with AlphaRex Nova Series, Toyo Open Country AT3s, Gobi Stealth Roof Rack

Derrik’s Top 5 Mods

  1. AlphaRex Nova Series headlights
  2. Lasfit LED switchback fog lights
  3. RIGd Ultraswing
  4. Toyo Open Country AT3s
  5. Gobi Stealth roof rack

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I’m totally a man of convenience. I’ve got the creature comforts of a luxury vehicle with great off-road capabilities to access amazing hiking and camping areas.

I’ve modified my 4Runner to be great for tailgating with the RIGd Ultraswing (the table is clutch!). And the 4Runner is also amazing for hauling people and gear using the Gobi roof rack to keep gear up top and maintain a comfortable cabin.

6. Mike Williams (@bonebroke_pro) 2015 TRD Pro

5th Gen 4Runner with RIGd Ultraswing, Ironman 4x4 Awning, Snorkel with Sy-Klone Precleaner

Mike’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Fox 2.5/2.0 Suspension
  2. Gobi Roof rack and ladder
  3. Stealth Custom Series 17×9 Ray 10s
  4. RIGd Ultraswing
  5. Snorkel Upgrade Sy-Klone Precleaner

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

The Fox Suspension has made a world of difference in how the 4Runner handles the desert environments. Whether it’s moderate crawling or running through sandy washes, it’s eaten up everything I’ve thrown at it. It’s definitely stiffer than the stock suspension but comfortable on the street/highway.

The Sy-Klone is also a game-changer for dusty trails. Using the stock airbox and the standard snorkel head led to a lot of ingested dirt which has decreased significantly since replacing them with the pre-cleaner.

7. Ruby Villalobos (@bitchinbetty4r) 2019 SR5

5th Gen 4Runner with Coastal Offroad Low Profile Rear Bumper & ARB Awning

Ruby’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Kenwood DMX1057DR Excelon 10.1
  2. Coastal Offroad 5th Gen 4Runner Low Profile Rear Bumper
  3. SSO Armor Front Bumper, Sliders, High-Clearance
  4. ARB 2500×2500 Touring Awning
  5. Nitto Ridge Grapplers All-Season Radial Tire – LT275/70R18 E

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

Before we committed to changing out the OEM radio unit, I did check out other people’s setups. Knowing we go off-roading, this radio unit has the CarPlay feature that my OEM radio didn’t. A bonus is the size of the screen! I can view the Gaia GPS mapping app during trail runs in basically an iPad view, which I did see a few people had mounted for their maps.

Having the Coastal Off-Road heavy-duty rear bumper has definitely saved our rear on the trails! It’s sturdy and has held up well so far. The awning has helped cool us down many days and evenings! It is a good size and has held up well to different weather situations. The new Nittos make a huge difference from my previous tires in noise, and grip on and off the trails. So far, have had no issues, and they have held up well to the various types of terrain we have in AZ!

Our current setup is definitely custom – while there is always room for improvement and upgrades. What we have done so far has taken me and my family to areas not many people can go to. I do get stopped sometimes in the middle of the street for people to say my ride looks awesome! Next on the list will probably be upgrading lighting/switch panel set-up and undercarriage protection!

8. Aaron Hodgdon (@t4rheel.rnr) 2020 TRD Pro

5th Gen 4Runner with RRW Wheels & Aftermarket Aluminum Roof Rack

Aaron’s Top 5 Mods

  1. SD Off-Road MT power tray mount
  2. Switch Pros 9100
  3. Off-Grid Engineering Dual Battery Kit
  4. ARB Dual compressor
  5. Redarc BCDC Charger

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

The electrical components in your rig need to be able to take a beating, be accessed quickly, and most importantly, be reliable. This setup gives me the ability to organize and simplify the setup while providing multiple fail-safes so I know when I am far away from the garage or camping I will have power when I need it.

Derek (@sdoffroadmt) makes a great mount for the compressor/manifold, Switch Pros, and Blue Seas fuse/terminal blocks. I chose to spend the extra time sleeving and cutting the wires so everything fits perfectly and minimizes clutter. The off-grid engineering kit allowed me to install the secondary battery that is charged and managed by the RedArc BCDC charger.

9. Chris Skiles (@trd.jackalope) 2017 TRD ORP

MGM 5th Gen 4Runner with Gobi Roof Rack, Baja Designs LEDs, TRD Pro Grille

Chris’ Top 5 Mods

  1. Rago Fabrication Modular Storage Panels & Shelf
  2. Gobi Roof Rack
  3. Symmetry Symute Overland Trailer w/ Tuff Stuff Overland Alpha Rooftop Tent
  4. Toytec Boss Aluma Series 2.5 Lift
  5. Baja Designs Amber Squadron Sport Fogs, Ditch, and Rear Lights

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

Look, I think when most people think of their favorite mod, they immediately go to big lift, wheels, or tires. And I get it, lifting and beefing up your rig is probably the thing that makes the biggest difference in drive quality and overall appearance. But, I’m here to tell you that I’ve always been a firm believer in function first. So as much as I appreciate great aesthetics, I wanted mods that helped for functionality first. And that’s honestly what drove me to the third mod I did to my 4Runner — the Rago Fabrication Modular Storage Panels & Shelf.

I love to keep things organized. And when you’re taking a family of 4 out camping, 12 to 15 weekends a year (or taking longer extended overland trips), you know organization is king. That’s what drove me to the modular storage system from Rago. There’s just SO much organization and function to be had. The storage panels themselves are a godsend. That med kit that you need to leave in the car? Shove it on the MOLLE panel. Extra rope? Shovel? Hatchet? Tools? Shove it on the MOLLE panel. Hell, paper towel or toilet paper holder? MOLLE panel. It’s crazy the number of things you can attach and find space for in a seemingly unusable space in the back of your ride.

And then that brings us to the shelf. That’s where it starts to go next-level. I keep nothing but essentials on the top of my shelf, and can’t begin to explain how many times that’s been a lifesaver. Eno Hammocks, Two foldable chairs, blankets, bungees chords, a battery jumper, emergency kid clothes, and even a folding kid potty are always stored up top. And then to make it better, it’s been the ideal spot to put the rear dash cam, with a simple magnet sticker mount (back windows that can go down can create challenges!).

And that’s honestly just the tip of the iceberg. You can also attach things to the underside of the MOLLE shelf. Simply having a cage in the back has worked wonders when trying to tie down items in the back so they wouldn’t slide. Need somewhere to hang a nice coat? Done. And add a sliding cargo tray and things get even more organizational-friendly.

So sure, there are sexier mods out there for sure. But I can’t think of a mod on my vehicle that I’ve used more (or gotten more drooling over) than my Rago Modular Storage Panels and Shelf.

10. Samnang Vang (@thicc_4r) 2020 TRD OR

MGM 5th Gen 4Runner with RCI Sliders, RCI Roof Rack, Stealth Custom Series F5 Wheels

Samnang’s Top 5 Mods

  1. RCI Sliders + RCI Roof Rack
  2. Baja Designs Lights
  3. Stealth Customs Series F5 17×9 -38 Wheels
  4. NITTO Ridge Grappler 285/70/17
  5. JBA Red High Caster UCA

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I really like my RCI Sliders; they saved me from a bunch of “whoops” moments and protected my side from door dings in the parking lot. My sliders are painted with Steel-It paint. It makes touching up a breeze.

I really like the simple and clean angled look and looks awesome with my SCS F5 wheels. My next mods would be upgrading to larger tires and a full skid plate.

11. Mando Hurtado (@voodoo_trdpro4r) 2019 TRD Pro

Voodoo Blue 5th Gen 4Runner with Dobinsons Snorkel

Mando’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Gobi Rack
  2. SSO Sliders
  3. Westcott Dual Swing Out
  4. Dobinsons Snorkel with Snorkel Upgrade
  5. Summit Off-Road Raptor Wheels

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

When adding “mods” to the Pro, I try to ensure everything has a purpose. My current setup plays a big part in my weekend adventures.

The Westcott Designs lift kit allowed me to add 285’s while keeping the stock suspension. Their Dual Swing Out makes camping easier; it’s multipurpose. The Gobi rack, SSO Sliders, Snorkel Upgrade, etc. The current setup helps me get out and explore more with family and friends

12. Sean Migone (@mig_rnr) 2020 TRD Pro

White 5th Gen 4Runner TRD Pro with C4 Fab Low Pro Front Bumper, BlackRhino Armory Rims w/ 33” Cooper EVO MTs

Sean’s Top 5 Mods

  1. C4 Fab Low Pro Front Bumper
  2. Black Rhino Armory Wheels w/ 33” Cooper EVO MT’s
  3. Odyssey Group 31 AGM BATTERY w/ R4T Terminals
  4. Westcott Designs Lift for Fox TRD Pro Suspension
  5. RiGd Supply Ultra Swing Hitch Carrier

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

C4 Fab LowPro Front Bumper – I absolutely love the look of this bumper, to begin with. I also love the idea that I can add a bullbar. I have my Smittybuilt X 20 winch added to it w/ a Factor 55 Flatlink and Fairlead as well as an Xtreme LED Lightbar. It also gives me two strong recovery points to add shackles to. My truck is a daily driver also so I didn’t want to go with a full-size bumper.

BlackRhino Amory wheels w/ 33” Cooper EVO MTs – This wheel and tire setup looks like it was made for my 4Runner. The gun gray color contrast with the super white paint job absolutely perfectly. These wheels look like they were built for an Abrams tank.

Odyssey Group 31 battery w/ R4T Terminals – The battery setup I chose is probably one of my top modifications. It allows me to run all of my lights, my winch, and all the other accessories I have added with the confidence of knowing that when I need to start my vehicle I won’t have a dead battery. It will also complement the dual battery system that I plan on installing in the future.

Wescott Designs Fox TRD Pro Lift Kit – This lift kit is a preload collar lift kit for the factory Fox TRD Pro lift that comes standard on my 4Runner. It still retains my factory ride quality and factory geometry. It does not affect my suspension travel and allows me to install the 33” Coopers w/o any rubbing. It’s the perfect solution to add just enough lift to the 4Runner until I decide to upgrade to a better suspension.

RiGd Sippy Ultra Swing Hitch Carrier – This hitch carrier allows me to carry a full-size spare, my Hi-Lift jack, and I also have a camp table added as a choice of accessories. Although, there are multiple available accessories. More importantly, this thing does not rattle at all while off-road. It feels like it’s part of the vehicle. I didn’t want to go with a full-size rear bumper yet, so this fits my needs perfectly.

In summary, it was pretty difficult to just pick 5 modifications for this Feature Friday. I have to say I love every single thing that I’ve added to my 4Runner until now. I tried to pick 5 of the most practical as well as visually satisfying modifications that I could.

13. Rovie Flores (@adobo4runner) 2020 TRD OR

5th Gen OR 4Runner with King Shocks & iKamper RTT

Rovie’s Top 5 Mods

  1. Wheels & Suspension – Kings 2.5” with Icons UCA / SCS Ray 10’s 17s -38
  2. Roof Rack – Prinsu with handles + Baja designs Rock lights
  3. Switch Pro 9100
  4. Bruteforce Rear bumper with dual swingout
  5. Custom Lightbar 20 SSC1’S pods from DIODE DYNAMICS

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I love how my rig is very versatile.

I used it for off-roading, camping, and even on family road trips, it’s very reliable.

Final Thoughts

Pictured: Chris Skiles (@trd.jackalope) 2017 TRD ORP

Well, I hope that these 13 examples helped you decide on mods you should be looking at for your 4Runner. In reality, there were 75 items (with some repeating) but we hope you gained some traction of which way you want to take your build… or just which items to purchase for your next trail ride.

Next week we are continuing the inspiration with AWNING SETUPS that guys/gals are running on their 4Runner (and why).

If you would like to be considered for next week’s Feature Friday, we will be showcasing the AWNING SETUPS that you have on your rig. We want to get inspired by a variety of rigs/products, submit your build for Feature Friday and you might get featured. If you would like to submit your build for next week, include your setup details and an awesome photo that shows it off.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Questions or Comments? x
()
x