Feature Friday: Why Did You Re-Gear? – Let’s Hear What These 4 Builds Have to Say

5th Gen 4Runner w/ Long Travel & 37" Tires

Regearing Your 5th Gen 4Runner For Larger Tires: Benefits Overview

This Week’s Topic: Regearing Your 5th Gen 4Runner

We’re back with a brand new Feature Friday! Last week, we highlighted UCAs for the 5th Gen 4Runner. This week, we want to highlight the benefits of regearing your vehicle.

Regearing your 4Runner might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple if you know of a good differential shop. Running larger tires on a 4Runner without re-gearing will result in low and high-end torque loss, increased strain on the drivetrain, more inaccurate readings on the speedometer and odometer (versus having regeared), and decreased fuel efficiency.

5th Gen 4Runner 4.88 Nitro Gears

Installing a lower gear ratio when running larger tires is beneficial for:

  1. Increasing torque for better off-road performance
  2. Enhancing traction on challenging terrains
  3. Providing improved control at slower speeds
  4. Reducing strain on the drivetrain components
  5. Potential fuel efficiency improvements

A lower gear ratio (higher numerical value) compensates for larger tires and provides optimal performance for both on and off-road terrains. Lower gears improve engine power delivery by multiplying torque, which means more power is transmitted to the wheels thus putting less strain on the engine. When running larger tires, a lower gear ratio keeps the engine operating within its optimal power range given you’re in the preferred range of gear ratio to tire size.

Products mentioned in this post:

In today’s post, we asked a few 4Runner owners why they re-geared.

Do you want to be featured in a future Feature Friday? We want readers to get inspired by a variety of rigs/products. Submit your build to get featured. Each week, we cover a different topic, and we would love to feature your rig in our next post!

What Gears Are Available For The 5th Gen 4Runner?

Changing Rear Differential Fluid 5th Gen 4Runner

A stock 5th Gen 4Runner has 3.73 gears. However, to our knowledge, there are only two gear options available on the market for 4Runner owners looking to regear.

These options include:

  • 4.56
  • 4.88

You’ll need to consider your specific needs and driving requirements before selecting a gear ratio. As you work your way down the list above, the larger ratios are suited for heavier loads. In today’s post, we’ll see why each of these owners decided to install 4.88 gears on their 4Runners.

For quick reference, 4.88s are what most owners would choose.

1. Tim Curley (@milk.wagon)

5th Gen 4Runner with 4.88 ARB Gears and Air Lockers

Your Setup 

  • ARB 4.88 Gears
  • ARB Air Lockers

Tell Us About Why You Regeared?

After running 37″ tires on the stock gears of my 5th Gen 4Runner for about a year, I was sick of how punchy it was off-road and how sluggish it was on the road.

The guys at East Coast Gear Supply recommended the ARB gears and also offered their own lifetime warranty on the gears. This was such a great deal that I couldn’t pass up on and knew that it was time to invest in a new gear setup.

The difference both on and off-road is stunning. There is much more throttle control while wheeling and it feels like a regular SUV on the road again.

2. Daniel Mejia (@madpews)

Long Travel 5th Gen 4Runner with Nitro 4.88 Gears

Your Setup 

  • Nitro Gears 4.88 Gears

Tell Us About Why You Regeared?

Regearing is one of the most needed upgrades when going up to a bigger tire size, you will gain your power back!

When I switched from 35s to 37s, I decided to regear. This helped alleviate my 4Runner’s sluggish performance. Regearing also helps keep your RPMs low and with that, you will gain more MPGs.

You will also notice the effect of regearing right away when going up hills. It especially helps when you need that extra torque to get over obstacles while off-roading.

If you decide to regear, I recommend finding out what’s the best ratio for your build and also adding a locker if you don’t have one. This will make all the difference in the driving experience and off-road performance.

3. Cecil Sebastian (@trd_grey_mamba_)

5th Gen 4Runner with Nitro 4.88 Gears

Your Setup 

  • Nitro Gears 4.88 Gears

Tell Us About Why You Regeared?

I went with a local shop called Premier West Gears which specializes in regearing trucks. After doing some research, I decided that the Nitro Gears’ 4.88 gears were the best option for me.

After installing 35″ Nitto Trail Grappler tires, regearing definitely helped out with the throttle response. The rig doesn’t feel like a slug anymore. Even after I installed a steel bumper, the performance remained great.

I highly recommend regearing if you’ve added any significant weight to your truck.

4. Brenan Greene (@Trail4R)

Re-Geared 5th Gen 4Runner - Why?

Your Setup 

  • Nitro Gears 4.88 Gears

Tell Us About Why You Regeared?

When you run 35″ tires on a 5th Gen 4Runner it’s almost mandatory to re-gear. The factory 3.73 gears are designed for roughly a 30″ and you can get away without re-gearing up to a 33″ tire, however even that’s debatable. If you are looking to run bigger tires, you will see much better performance with a lower set of gears. Lower gearing (higher numerical value) will provide better fuel efficiency and better performance both on and off-road. After re-gearing, you will notice more control (lower RPMs) when off-roading/crawling in addition to faster (on par with tire size) on-road performance in general.

There is no “one size fits all” application either. For example, just because you’re running 35″ tires, doesn’t mean you should run 4.88 gears, it just means that’s what I choose for my specific build and how I typically use the truck. If you are unsure of which gear ratio is best for you, call a few shops and start asking them questions about the best gear ratio for how you use your rig on a daily basis. Shops like RSG Off-Road in Colorado and StellarBuilt in Sacramento are both very knowledgeable shops when it comes to re-gearing. Good luck!

Final Thoughts

4.56 Gears by East Coast Gear Supply for the 5th Gen 4Runner

And that wraps up this week’s Feature Friday!

Hopefully, we were able to showcase the main benefits of regearing and hear a few 4Runner owners’ firsthand experiences.

Next week, we’ll be covering front-end lighting setups, stay tuned!

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10 months ago

Premier West Gear also did my 4:88s on my 2020. No crazy tire change; I run 285/70/17 KO2s with the stock rims (I put my $$$$ elsewhere since the rims are great..and new to me then). My rig is 5440lbs with a full fuel tank, no gear, so when I load up she’s a pig with a full camp kitchen, 14 gal RV water tank, RTT, recovery gear, etc. The gears have definitely helped with the sluggishness and the uphill “crawlability” is remarkable. The only down side (that I’ve noticed) is using 4LO downhill for slowing/saving brakes; it’s great until you really need to slow down or stop and those gears just want to make the rig continue to move forward and downward. Something to watch out for!

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