GTR Carbide Sequential Headlights: The New Kid On The Block Came To Play With The Big Brands: Install & Review Plus Comparison to Factory LED Low Beams
In the aftermarket headlight market, there are a couple of major players that are usually everyone’s go-to. If you want something a little more unique, the GTR Carbide headlights for the 5th Gen 4Runner may just be for you. With a design aesthetic that leans slightly more towards the likes of Lexus, you’ll be sure to stand out. They have plenty of light output, and are definitely a worthy upgrade to any halogen headlights or LED drop-in options.
Find It Online:
- (2014-2020 4Runner) GTR Carbide Amber or Clear Side Marker (YotaMafia.com): Check Price
- (2014-2020 4Runner) GTR Carbide Clear Side Marker (Amazon.com): Check Price
- (2014-2020 4Runner) GTR Carbide Amber Side Marker (Amazon.com): Check Price
- (2021+ 4Runner) GTR Carbide Clear Side Marker (Amazon.com): Check Price
Who Is GTR?
GTR is a subsidiary company of Morimoto Lighting (one of the aforementioned major players in the headlight game). So, even though their name may not be as well known, they are no stranger to producing quality lighting products.
After installing the GTR Carbide headlights, I can say that their build quality feels on par with the factory housings that they replaced. Their price points seem to target the moderate budget crowd, slotted in the middle of the price range for aftermarket lighting.
What Are The GTR Carbide Headlights?
The GTR Carbide Headlights are a direct competitor to the likes of the Alpharex Luxx LED headlights in terms of price point and light output.
They feature full LED lighting and are plug-and-play for any 5th Gen 4Runner. For 2021+ model years with factory LED low or high beams, an additional wire harness adapter is needed. However, that holds true for every aftermarket headlight option that is currently available.
There is a solid white LED DRL that is very bright, which is a major improvement over the dim halogen bulb that you get from the factory. The DRL dims a bit when the low beams are activated, which is a nice detail. This same strip of LED lighting doubles as a sequential amber turn or hazard signal, which adds that extra bit of flair to an already unique-looking headlight.
The main lights of the housing comprise 3 projector beams. The outer two are used for the low beams, while the innermost third projector is used for the high beams.
The side marker is available in both amber and clear variants. However, only the former is SAE/DOT compliant. Regardless of the reflector color, there is still an amber LED used for the actual side marker light.
Overall, the GTR Carbide headlight has a very upscale aesthetic to them. They’re slightly less aggressive-looking and more Lexus-esque in my opinion; which isn’t a bad thing.
GTR Carbides Vs. Factory LED Headlights
Pictured Above: Left: GTR Carbide Low-Beam & Right: Factory LED Low-Beam
I have a 2021 TRD Offroad-premium, so I will be comparing these against the factory LED low beams that I had. I’ve seen anecdotes online that suggest the GTR Carbide headlights are not quite as bright as the factory LEDs. However, when compared with the naked eye, their output is more than adequate. It doesn’t seem significantly worse than the factory lights and more importantly, has just as clean a beam cutoff pattern.
In my opinion, the marginal drop in light output is worth the gain of a true DRL. The physical headlight fitment to the body is spot on with the factory ones, with identifying gaps and tolerances.
Headlight installation is easiest with a second set of hands to avoid scuffing either the headlight housings or your paint. However, it is manageable as a solo job so long as you are very careful.
For supplemental installation directions from GTR: GTR Carbide Headlight Installation Guide
- 10mm Socket/Ratchet Wrench
- Long Reach Philips Head Screwdriver
- 8mm Wrench
- Flat Head Screwdriver
Step 1. Remove Front Engine Cover
There are 13 retention clips that need to be removed and can be done by pressing in the center of each one. The middle retention clip can be removed by using a flathead screwdriver to pop it out.
Step 2. Remove Upper Front Grille Retention Clips
In order to pull the upper grille back just enough to remove the headlights, you’ll need to remove six retention clips. There are two on the top of the upper grille and four on the lower portion of it.
If you still have it, there is also one 10mm bolt in the top center of the grille that needs to be removed as well.
Step 3. Remove Bumper Cover
Some people fully remove the front bumper cover for headlight installations. I found that as long as I unclipped it, there was enough room to wiggle out the headlights without fully removing the bumper cover.
There are 3 screws along the front of the inner wheel well that need to be removed. Next, pull the top portion of the bumper cover that is inside the wheel well back and out over the plastic retention nub. The rest of the bumper cover that is under the headlight can be gently pulled away. You will hear popping sounds which are normal, these are just the plastic retention clips disengaging.
Step 4. Remove 4 Screws That Hold The Headlight In Place
There are two screws at the top of the headlight, one is hidden under the weather stripping along the front fender.
There is one screw that is directly behind the upper front grille. I found it easiest to gently pull that back and use a long-reach Philips head screwdriver to remove the screw.
The last screw is actually a bolt behind the side of the bumper cover, use a 10mm socket to remove it.
Step 5. Unplug 4 Wire Harnesses
Start by unplugging the low and high beam wire hardnesses.
Once you are able to partially pull the headlight housing away from the body, you will be able to unplug the remaining two wire harnesses for the side marker and turn signal.
Step 6. Remove Old Headlight
With all four wire harnesses and screws removed, you can begin wiggling out the headlight housing. This is where the second set of hands can be extremely helpful.
Step 7. Transfer Headlight Bracket
There is a stability bracket that needs to be transferred from the old headlight housing to the new one. There are three Philips Head screws on the bottom that will need to be removed and transferred along with the bracket.
Step 8. Connect GTR Carbide Wire Harnesses
The GTR Carbide housing is plug-and-play with all of the factory wire harnesses. You will need to remove the amber turn signal bulb and its plug to connect this harness to the new headlights.
To connect the DRL fuse tap, remove the “INJ” fuse in your engine relay box and replace it with the supplied harness. The relay box cover will close over the harness wires.
Next, connect the harness adapters to each headlight housing.
Note For 2021+ Models:
If you have a 2021+ model year with factory LED headlights, you will need to use the available wire harness adapter in order for the low beams to function.
At this time, the DRL harness is also not compatible because Toyota has relocated the “INJ” fuse where there isn’t enough vertical clearance for the relay box cover to close.
Step 9. Test Functionality
Before fully reinstalling the new headlights, ensure that all of the lighting functions work properly.
Step 10. Install GTR Carbide Headlights
Reinstall the new headlights with the four mounting screws that were removed earlier.
Step 11. Adjust Headlights As Necessary
There are two adjustment screws for vertical and horizontal beam alignment. The upper screw is used for vertical adjustment while the lower one is for horizontal adjustment. You can either use a flat head screwdriver or an 8mm wrench to make these adjustments.
The GTR Carbide headlights are an excellent upgrade option in my opinion. I couldn’t quite justify the cost of a pair of Morimoto XB headlights, and I wanted something a little less factory-looking than the Alpharex Luxx’s.
These headlights appear to be an excellent value option for those who are more budget-minded.
That does not imply, however, that you are making any major sacrifices with the GTR Carbides. You still get excellent light output, a true DRL, and sequential LEDs. Best of all, light adjustments are easy and you’ll get a much cleaner beam cutoff than dropping LED bulbs into housings that aren’t designed for them.
Overall, I am very happy with these and am excited to test them out on more night drives in the near future!