Feature Friday: 8 Modified SR5 4Runners – Overland Ready Builds

Silver SR5 4Runner Overland Build

We Asked 8 SR5 Owners What Their Top 5 Mods Were On Their Overland & Off-Road Ready Rigs – Here’s What They Had To Say

This Week’s Topic: SR5 4Runners

Welcome back to another Feature Friday! If you missed last week’s FF, we asked owners what A/T Tires they were running on their 4Runners. This week we are stepping back from a specific topic like tires and focusing on the 4Runner itself, SR5 models in particular. 

The SR5 trim package was first offered in 1984 on the original 1st Gen 4Runner. At that time, it was deemed the premium trim level and included an upgraded interior: additional gauges, better fabrics, and a rear seat standard.

Today, the SR5 trim level finds itself at the bottom of the 4Runner’s current lineup. It lacks some luxury features of higher trim levels and to some, off-road performance.

Buyers who arrive at the 4Runner platform with the desire to off-road immediately gravitate towards the TRD Off-Road or even the TRD Pro trim levels. These models have an OEM rear locker, crawl control, MTS, ATRAC, and some OEM underbelly protection.

The SR5 however, features only the ATRAC system which is plenty capable off-road. For perspective, the most hard-core builds I have seen in the off-road/overland community have been SR5s! Despite being the base model, SR5 4Runners are still highly capable off-roaders.

Many buyers pick the SR5 over the off-road-ready TRD trims for one simple reason, money!

With the SR5 being significantly cheaper compared to other trims, that leaves money left over for additional modifications. Upgraded wheels, tires, suspension, and perhaps an air locker, are all that’s needed to make an SR5 unstoppable off-road. Let’s jump into what the owners below said their top 5 mods are for their SR5.

1. Rickson Go (@rick_vaporise_barcelona4runner) – 2018 SR5

Red SR5 4Runner with Baja Rack Roof Rack & Ladder, Red Wheels

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Freedom Off-Road U.S.A. Suspension Lift & UCAs
  2. Falken Wildpeak A/T3W Tires
  3. Baja Rack Roof Rack & Ladder
  4. XD Wheels Omega | 17X9 | -12 Offset
  5. PIAA LP570 Driving Lights & Diode Dynamics SS3 Sport Fog Lights

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

What I like about my setup is that it’s personalized to my taste and doesn’t copy any other build that I’ve seen. My build is simple, yet functional. The red XD wheels really make my rig stand out!

2. Eric Jackson (@gen5t4r_eric) – 2017 SR5 Premium

White SR5 4Runner Overland Build with Roofnest RTT and Baja Roof Rack

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Mega-LiFe Battery
  2. Rooftop Tent
  3. Rago MOLLE Panel
  4. King Shocks Suspension
  5. Solar Charging System

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

When I was looking for a 4Runner in 2017, I was looking for an SR5 Premium with no other options. I knew exactly how I wanted to build it. The moonroof is useless with a full roof rack and rooftop tent, and the third row wasn’t needed as I’m a solo driver 99% of the time. I opted for the Premium package because I was spoiled by the heated seats in my MK6 GTI and couldn’t live without them. I also like how modifying a 4Runner is like Legos for adults, you can build it the way you want!

Here is why I chose these as my top mods:

  • Rooftop Tent: This allows me to sleep above ground; no more looking for clean, flat spots to pitch a tent.
  • Rago MOLLE Panel: This allows me to mount my fuse block for more than 12v accessories, and mount my solar controller and ARB Single air pump.
  • King Shocks Suspension: Enables me to speed through whoops in the desert. In the future, I will be experimenting with adjusting the shim stacks and valving to better suit the weight on my rig and my driving style.
  • Solar System: This is the reason I don’t run dual batteries while running my fridge in the 4Runner 24/7. I can harness sunlight (even with overcast) to top off the car battery and not worry about killing it.

My build is now more like a boogielander – a capable overlander while maintaining creature comforts. Despite what people say about the SR5, it’s plenty capable off-road and I’ve yet to find myself in a situation where the standard ATRAC system couldn’t get me over an obstacle or un-stuck.

Sure, a rear locker would be nice, but I’ve yet to find myself in a situation where I really need one.

3. Aldrin Dumlao (@sago_t4r) – 2013 SR5 Premium

Early 5th Gen White 4Runner with Alpharex Headlights

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Eibach Pro-Truck Lift Kit | Stage 1
  2. Alpharex LUXX-Series Headlights
  3. Falken Wildpeak A/T3W Tires | 285/70R17
  4. 2010-2013 OEM Trail Wheels
  5. Accessorides Autostart

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

Who says you can’t bring the family offroading? Thanks to my 3rd-row seating, I am able to haul the entourage around with the capacity of a minivan without looking like a soccer mom. As a Filipino person, it’s always a good idea to have extra room for the team. There is a good chance they’ll tag along – at their own peril of course. (Haha).

As my first vehicle purchase, the stock appearance with 4WD and 3rd row already had me excited. However, upon meeting fellow 4Runner enthusiasts and spending some time offroad, I realized just how much more I can spruce up this baby!

I got the Eibach Pro Stage 1 kit to level out the rig, removed the factory roof rack and side steps, deleted the chrome, and bought some 2010-2013 OEM Trail wheels. Finally, I wrapped them with some 285/70R17 Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tires.

I recently upgraded the OEM reflector headlights to the Alpharex LUXX-series with the amber DRLs. Matching these with the lower bumper DRLs makes the 4Runner stand out from the other 5th gens.

Sure, she gets me to work and back. However, if I feel like veering off for a cool photo op on some rough terrain, she can handle it. She has both beauty and brawn, and I think it’s safe to say that I’m still not done!

4. Andrew Townsend (@drt.rnr) – 2017 SR5

SR5 4Runner with Icon Stage 1 Suspension with SPC UCAs and Snorkel

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Icon Stage 1 Suspension with SPC UCAs
  2. Alpha Foxtrot Design Roof Rack and Ladder
  3. LED Lighting From Baja Designs, Rigid Industries, and Cali Raised LED
  4. SDHQ Rock Sliders
  5. Alpha Foxtrot Designs Interior Storage Panels

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

I like how practical my rig is for everyday life and able to fit almost anything I need for camping or fun on the trails. The Icon suspension and SPC upper control arms made a huge difference in off-road performance and I couldn’t be more pleased with the setup. I also love how I am able to mount just about anything I need on my Alpha Foxtrot Design roof rack.

Lastly, it’s nice to sit up high on the road and feel safer rather than being in a small car like my last 2 vehicles were.

5. Taylor May (@meandering.may) – 2018 SR5

White SR5 4Runner With Old Man Emu BP-51 Suspension Kit In The Dunes

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Old Man Emu BP-51 Suspension Kit and Falken Wildpeak A/T3W Tires
  2. Peak to Peak Drawer System
  3. Expedition One Dual Swingout Bumper
  4. Rago Fabrication Rear Mounts
  5. Sherpa Equipment Co. Roof Rack

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

The thing I love most about this setup is that it’s simple and efficient! It’s enough to keep me out on the road for a couple of weeks at a time with minimal impact on my daily driving. Not all modifications have to be big or fancy, sometimes they just need to serve your needs and my top choices do just that!

Here is how I chose my top modifications:

  • Lift & tires because they go hand in hand. I’ve got an Old Man Emu BP-51 suspension kit and I just switched over to Falken Wildpeak A/T3Ws.
  • Peak to Peak drawer system provides easy organization and makes a huge difference.
  • Expedition One dual swingout bumper allows me to haul all the trail necessities (spare/gas/ladder/etc.).
  • Rago Fabrication rear mounts for clean/easy water access. I have a Rotopax with Joe’s Original Equipment water spout inside.
  • Sherpa Equipment Co. roof rack is awesome for trail lights and a rooftop tent! I have Diode Dynamics side lights and a GFC Superlite RTT.

6. Dom Cometa (@4runlbc) – 2020 SR5 Premium

Silver SR5 4Runner with Baja Design S8 20” Upper grill, Squadron Sport Fog Lights, Squadron Sport Ditch Lights, and S2 Sport Chase Lights

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Locked Offroad 2.5 DSC Coilover Suspension with Rear Bypass
  2. Baja Design S8 20” Upper Grille, Squadron Sport Fog Lights, Squadron Sport Ditch Lights, and S2 Sport Chase Lights
  3. Alpharex LUXX-Series Headlights | Jet Black
  4. Outgear Solution Low Key Bumper and Rock Sliders
  5. RIGd Supply Ultraswing

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

I grew up in a silver 3rd Gen 4Runner that my dad still daily drives so I’ve always had a thing for silver 4Runners. When I bought my 4Runner in February 2020, I only had plans to go on road trips with the family. However, on each trip, I would discover a new modification that would improve the overall experience.

I remember one trip driving in the desert with stock headlights and no auxiliary lights. I quickly realized the importance of off-road lighting for safety and just being comfortable driving at night in the middle of nowhere.

If I had to pick a favorite modification in my setup, it would be the suspension. Right after buying my 4Runner, I took it out off-roading with the family and overestimated the stock suspension. I ended up buying an entry-level suspension that didn’t yield much improvement, other than being able to fit larger tires.

After installing my Locked Offroad Suspension, the ride has been smooth like butter. Most importantly, my wife and kids are much more comfortable.

7. Hailey Bouffiou (@hbuff_akrnr) – 2018 SR5

White SR5 4Runner with Viper Cut, Roof Rack, and Cali Raised LED Light Bar

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Cali Raised LED Light Bar
  2. Compustar ProT12 Remote Start with Drone Mobile
  3. Old Man Emu 3-Inch Lift
  4. HP Tuners by Overland Tailor Tune
  5. SCS Wraps Topographic Vinyl Wrap

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

Living in Alaska comes with certain needs for a vehicle, specifically, lighting and remote start. My Cali Raised LED light bar is frequently used and provides me with enough light to brighten up a dark trail or back road.

I’ve used remote start with the Drone Mobile app several times a day in the winter, as temperatures drop below freezing. When out and about, I can start my 4Runner up to three miles away and know that it is warm and ready to go when I arrive.

As far as vehicle performance, I love my 3-inch OME lift for the clearance it provides on the trail and the ability to fit larger tires. The HP Tune has totally changed my 4Runner’s drivability and gives it some get-up and go.

Performance, reliability, and essentials may be important, but my topographic vinyl wrap has to be my favorite modification so far. It makes my 4Runner stand out in a crowd full of white 4Runners and never fails to start a conversation or get spotted in the wild.

8. Josh Chehey (@stoic_overland) – 2020 SR5 Premium

Silver SR5 4Runner with Alu-Cab Gen 3.1 RTT

What Are Your Top 5 Mods?

  1. Alu-Cab Gen 3.1 RTT
  2. Alpha Foxtrot Design Ladder, Interior Storage, Dash Mount
  3. Fifteen52 Traverse HD Wheels
  4. Avid Offroad Sliders
  5. Yokohama M/T G003 Tires

What Do You Like About Your Setup?

I picked up my 4Runner last July after previously owning two Tacomas. The 4Runner has been perfect for both my girlfriend and me to drive and camp in. Its off-road capabilities and ride are excellent thanks to upgraded Bilstein shocks paired with Icon springs and UCA’s.

The Alu-Cab tent makes for a super easy setup and take-down at camp. That allows us more time to relax around the campfire. Overall, this has been my favorite vehicle that I’ve owned!

Final Thoughts

White SR5 4Runner with SCS Wraps Topographic Vinyl Hood Wrap and Black Method Racing Wheels

Didn’t I tell you that the SR5 is a super capable 4Runner trim? If you are in the market for a 4Runner and want to take it off-road, don’t limit yourself to the TRD trim levels. The SR5 model will make your dollar go further by saving you money for more modifications.

It may not have all of the cool off-road gadgets that its siblings do, but the combination of ATRAC, 4WD, upgraded tires, and suspension can do wonders. Thanks for reading everyone!

We want readers to get inspired by a variety of rigs/products. Submit your build for Feature Friday here to get featured. Next week we will be showcasing front bumper accessories and asking owners what items they have added to their front bumpers. 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!

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1 year ago

Great article! I love my SR5! Eibach Stage 1 lift, RCI Off-road full underbody skids, ARB dual air compressor, BF Goodrich KO2’s, and next is a roof rack and light bar. I’m looking into getting a rear locker and the article on the E-locker may have swayed me into getting one.

ATX Josh
ATX Josh
1 year ago

Just noticing that #5 mentions she has Falkens, but the photo provided shows BFGs. Still a great write up on SR5s!

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