Portal Axles & Gear Reduction Boxes For The Toyota 4Runner & Tacoma – Buyer’s Guide

74Weld Portal Axles On 3rd Gen Tacoma With Billet Lower Control Arm

74Weld Vs. Werewolf – What To Consider Before You Buy

Rarely does a product make such a profound impact in the off-road space, offering a wide variety of advantages that quite literally change the game for wheeling technical terrain. Portal axles offer impressive off-road performance, and they’re now available for the 4Runner and Tacoma.

This product delivers an almost unimaginable boost in ground clearance. In addition, it also provides a much-needed gear reduction at the hub, a reduction in stress on the drivetrain components, and the freedom to mount larger tires with minimal trimming on the firewall and fenders. To top it off, portal axles ship to your door as a 100% bolt-on product that you can install in your driveway.

Before we jump into the features and benefits, let’s look at the details of a portal axle and how a gear reduction box works.

What Is A Portal Axle?

74 Weld Reduction Gear Box Versus Re-Gearing

A “portal axle”, is often referred to as a “reduction box”. It typically comprises an upright that replaces your spindle and a housing that holds gears, roller bearings, and an output axle shaft.

The roller bearings are pressed into a machined or cast housing and are mated to a series of gears which allows for tight and precise rotation. Both the input gear and the output gear have internal machined splines to mate up to the CV axle (on the input side) and wheel bearing (on the output side) via a short axle shaft.

The concept is similar for the rear, however, the portal axle utilizes a longer axle shaft that mates to your pinion gear.

The upright and the housing bolt together creating one sealed unit or “axle housing” – similar to a differential. As such, the portal axle is then filled with gear oil to help keep everything running smoothly.

On the outside (wheel side) of the housing, a short-length axle shaft mated to the output gear protrudes above the surface of the box. That is then mated to the splines on the inside of the wheel bearing & hub assembly.

On the inside (shock side), there is an opening on the upright for the CV axle splines to mate up with the splines on the inside diameter of the input gear. With the CV axle sealed through the upright and mated to the splines on the input gear inside the reduction box, the housing is then filled with oil and all of the gears work in tandem. This turns the wheel bearing, hub assembly, and ultimately, your tires.

In simple terms, the CV axle slides into the top input gear of the portal axle. From there the input gear spins two idler gears that work together to spin the output gear. The output gear has a short axle shaft that spins the wheeling bearing assembly eventually turning the wheels and tires.

What Are The Benefits?

74Weld Ground Clearance CV Angles Billet Lower Control Arms Portal Axles

Portals have a wide variety of features and benefits, however, we will cover that in an upcoming post. For now, let’s just look at the top benefits that reduction boxes provide.  

1. Increased Ground Clearance

The number one benefit of a portal axle is ground clearance. Because of the reduction box design, portal axles provide a significant increase in ground clearance compared to IFS and even straight axles.

Increased ground clearance is arguably one of the most important factors for avoiding obstacles or navigating rough terrain. The lowest part of a truck is usually the rear differential or skid plates and these are the first to get hung up on a rock, snow bank, or other obstacles.

The more usable ground clearance you have, the less likely you are to get hung up – the concept is simple. This is why we all want bigger tires (other than looks and increased traction). However, this usually comes in very small increments of roughly .5″ for every 1″ tire size. For example, let’s say you’re running 32″ tires that yield 11″ of ground clearance. If you increase that tire size up to 35″ you might yield around 12.5″ of ground clearance.

On the other hand, let’s say you run 37″ tires and portal axles. That would put you at a massive 17.4″ of ground clearance. There is no other modification that provides this much ground clearance. Not tires alone, not straight axles, not long travel.

2. Gear Reduction

Another key feature of a portal axle is gear reduction, which is why it’s referred to as a “reduction box”. As power is transmitted from the transmission to the reduction box, it passes through a series of gears. This results in a reduction of the rotational speed of the wheel.

This reduction in speed allows for greater torque at the wheel, making it easier to tackle steep inclines or difficult obstacles – with more control. The actual amount of reduction or “output gear ratio” will depend on the gear package in the box. 74Weld, for example, offers a 1.22 (22% reduction). If you want to determine your final output ratio, just multiply 1.22 X whatever gear ratio is in your differential.

For the factory 4Runner 3.73 gear ratio, we would just multiply 1.22 (74Weld reduction) X 3.73 (factory gear ratio) which would come out to a 4.55 gear ratio.

3. Drivetrain Stress Reduction

Portal axles reduce transmission and general drivetrain stress through the gear reduction in the box. The gears lower the rotational speed of the wheels, making it easier for the drivetrain to deliver power. By doing so, portal axles alleviate the strain on the transmission, differential, and other drivetrain components. That in turn, extends their lifespan, enhances durability, and improves overall efficiency.

4. Larger Tires

Because the reduction box pushes the wheel bearing and hub assembly down around 4-5″, this now opens up a much larger gap between the top of your tire and the bottom of your fender/flare.

Simply put, portal axles allow you to easily mount a larger tire without tubbing your firewall in order to gain the most possible clearance. Depending on size, you may still need to make adjustments; firewall trimming, fender trimming, pinch seam adjustments, and body mounts. Regardless, what is possible with portals in terms of tire size is not typically possible with factory IFS suspension and major modifications to your inner fender well.

Now that we know about the features, benefits, and how a portal axle works, let’s dive into a quick history lesson.

Early Gear-Driven Reduction Boxes

Portal Axle History & Original Design

Portal axles have a deep history so we’re going to try and make this quick.

The first iteration of a traditional “portal axle” concept was invented by a farmer named Monroe Robert Grier looking for more ground clearance and increased torque. It was very rudimentary in nature and was driven by chains, not gear packages as we see in modern portal boxes today. The history dates back to the 1900s.

Fast forward a few decades into the 1930s and Ferdinand Porsche, the mind behind the Porsche we know and love today, developed a military Volkswagen Kübelwagen (Type 82) based on the VW beetle. However, it didn’t meet the German army’s specific requirements. Those requirements were simple; a low-end speed for holding the same pace as the marching army in addition to better off-road performance.

Ferdinand Porsche took this feedback and implemented a set of the first gear-driven reduction boxes on somewhat of a modern-day vehicle. The implementation of a gear-driven portal-hub design increased ground clearance, enhancing the Kübelwagen’s off-road capabilities all while addressing the low-end speed in the standard Beetle-based design.

Into the 1950s, Porsche continued use of the portal boxes in the 597 Jagdwagen, and Volkswagen began use in Type 2 vans.

Tractors & Unimogs

Old School Unimog Farm Truck With Portal Axles

Portal axles and reduction boxes didn’t come without their downsides, though. They also didn’t make sense for many platforms at the time. A few factors were involved; a lack of speed due to the gear reduction, gear whine due to the straight-cut gears rather than bevel-cut gears, additional weight, an increase in positive (+) scrub radius, and increased regular maintenance.

Essentially, these axles were slow, loud, and added extensive unsprung weight. While it wasn’t the best fit for a daily driver at the time, it still made sense for some platforms. Agricultural vehicles such as the UDLX and the AgriJeep were among the first platforms to offer a universal farm-to-street concept. They adopted the use of portal axles and also had the ability to keep up with “street vehicles” in traffic.

As the years went on, portal axles and reduction boxes were utilized on Unimogs such as the Halflinger, Pinzgauer, and the Volvo C303. Then, to smaller off-road focused platforms such as the Toyota Mega Cruiser, Mercedes-Benz G500 4×42, the AM General HMMWV, and yes, the Hummer H1.

In the last few decades, portal axles and reduction boxes have grown in popularity within the off-road crowd. Today, we’ve seen everything from DIY Unimong portals, your everyday UTV portals, portal axles on 911s, the Mercedes’s 4×42 family of portal-equipped builds, and countless other portal axle and reduction boxes on Land Rovers, Suzuki Jimnys, and Jeeps.

Well, the time has come my fellow Toyota friends.

We now have a couple options for the 5th Gen 4Runner and the 2nd/3rd Gen Tacoma.

74Weld Vs. Werewolf

74Weld Vs. Werewolf Portal Axles - What's The Difference

There are not many portal axles on the market available for Toyotas. However, we do have a couple of options for the 4Runner, Tacoma, and other Toyota platforms. For the sake of this article, let’s keep it centered on the 4Runner and Tacoma, as those are the two most popular late-model off-road Toyota platforms in the US market.

The two companies that currently offer a bolt-on portal axle are 74Weld and Werewolf. Let’s take a deeper look at both companies, see what they offer, and how they’re different so that you can determine which is the best option for your needs.

In the sections below, let’s look at each company and the details of each portal box. Finally, let’s compare them to understand what it all means.

Let’s consider these points:

  • Price
  • Lift Height & Ground Clearance
  • Tire Size
  • Gear Ratio
  • Material & Weight
  • Wheel Offset & Scrub

74Weld

74Weld Portal Axles On Tacoma With 37" Tire, Baja Designs & GFC Camper

Pictured: 74Weld Portal Axles On 37″ BFG KM3s with +35 offset Method Wheels

74Weld is located in the USA and manufactures its portal box in the city of El Cajon, just outside of San Diego, CA. Quinn, the owner of 74Weld has an extensive background in engineering and aerospace manufacturing.

Not only do they design/manufacture portal boxes but they engineer products in-house for the US Government border control, Boeing, and even NASA, to name a few. Quinn clearly has the engineering and manufacturing pedigree, but also an off-road racing passion that dates back to the days when and where KOH was founded.

These two very specific backgrounds have led to the creation of 74Weld Portals. Quinn has taken everything he has learned in aerospace manufacturing and brought it to the off-road market through his new division; 74Weld Portal Axles.

They started with trophy trucks and Ultra-4 series vehicles for durability and proof of concept, and have since moved their race-winning tech to a bolt-on mass-market application. Many of the top Ultra-4 cars run their boxes including names such as the Geiser Brothers, Jason Scherer, Loren Healy, and Vaughn Gittin Jr.

74Weld 

The Details

  • Price: $20,000
  • Shipping: $250
  • Increased Ground Clearance: 3.9″
  • Increased Track Width: 3.5”
  • Gear Ratio: 1:1.22
  • Material: Aluminum Housing & Steel Gears
  • Weight: 56lbs Front / 47lbs Rear
  • Total Weight: 206lbs
  • ABS Compatible: YES
  • Front Brakes: OEM 4Runner Disc or Upgrade to Powerbrake/Wilwood BBK
  • Rear Brakes: Disc Conversion – Wilwood Caliper & Rotor + Integrated Mechanical Parking Brake
  • Preferred Wheel Offset: +25mm – +35mm
  • Bolt Pattern: 6X139.7
  • Recommended Tire Size: 37″
  • Minimum Wheel Size: 17″
  • Country of Origin: USA

Werewolf

Werewolf Portal Axles On 3rd Gen Tacoma Overland Build

Pictured: Werewolf Portal Axles on 40″ STT Pros with +0 offset Method Wheels

Werewolf is based out of Ukraine. The gears are cut in Ukraine and the portals are said to be manufactured in Germany (unconfirmed). Their Toyota portal axle was announced in 2021 and offers gear reduction boxes for a wide variety of Toyota applications including many Land Cruisers, FJ Cruisers, Tacoma, Prado, 4Runner, Jeep JK, Land Rover Defenders, Mercedes G Wagons, and more.

I first heard of Werewolf back in 2022 and was immediately interested in a set. I reached out and spoke with Vadim, the owner, through the What’s App language translator for over a year and asked a ton of questions. Although he was helpful, there was definitely a language barrier in understanding what I was buying and what the future support would look like if I had problems.

Thankfully now, there are a couple of Werewolf dealers in the states that you can call and talk to if you have questions. I have linked WolfWorx below, a dealer in Arizona.

WolfWorx Portal Boxes

The Details

  • Price: $16,500
  • Shipping: Free Through WolfWorx Portals
  • Increased Ground Clearance: 5.19″
  • Increased Track Width: 4.5”
  • Gear Ratio: 1:1.35
  • Material: Cast Iron Housing & Steel Gears
  • Weight: 106lbs Front / 78lbs Rear
  • Total Weight: 368lbs
  • ABS Compatible: YES
  • Front Brakes: Factory Brakes Re-Used
  • Rear Brakes: Disc Conversion (GM Branded) with Mechanical Parking Brake
  • Preferred Wheel Offset: +60mm
  • Bolt Pattern: 6X139.7
  • Recommended Tire Size: 38″
  • Minimum Wheel Size: 17″
  • Country of Origin: Ukraine

Price

Werewolf Portal Axles C4 Bumper Overland Build

74Weld is sitting at $20k + $250 shipping and Werewolf is at $16,500 plus free shipping in the top 48 states if you go through WolfWorx Portal Boxes.

Werewolf is shipping out of Ukraine, so lead times might be longer compared to 74Weld but that obviously depends on stock quantities on hand per each dealer here in the States. So, it’s best to call each company and get shipping quotes at the time of order.

If you plan on running larger tires (37″+) you should consider the price of upgrading your steering rack and tie rods as well. 74Weld has a billet steering rack and tie-rod package in the works for the 4Runner and Tacoma while Werewolf does not. Regardless of in-house options, there are many rack and pinion upgrade options in addition to stronger tie-rods options on the market available for the 4Runner and Tacoma.

You’ll also have the cost of a very specific offset wheel. 74Weld recommends a +25mm to +35mm wheel offset which KMC, Method, Fuel, and others offer. Werewolf, on the other hand, recommends a +60mm offset, which only they sell and it’s $2000/per wheel. Add another $8000 to Werewolf if you opt for the recommended wheels.

Lift Height & Ground Clearance

Straight Axle Vs. Portal Axle

Pictured: 74Weld on Portals with 37″ tires on Factory Axles vs. Dana 60 Front Axle on a 4th Gen 4Runner with 43″ tires

Any portal axle is going to offer impressive ground clearance so how do you choose which one is right for you? 74Weld offers a 3.9″ lift while Werewolf offers a 5.1″ lift.

A stock 5th Gen 4Runner has 9.6″ of ground clearance with factory tires (32″). Since ground clearance is usually provided by tire size/height, let’s look at the ground clearance outcomes with portals plus larger tires. For every 1″ tire size you go up, you’re gaining roughly .5″ of ground clearance depending on lug depth, and PSI.

74Weld: 

  • 3.9″ Lift + 32″ Factory Tires = 13.5″ of ground clearance
  • 3.9″ Lift + 35″ Tires = 15″
  • 3.9″ Lift + 37″ Tires = 16″
  • 3.9″ Lift + 38″ Tires = 16.5″
  • 3.9″ Lift + 40″ Tires = 17.5″

Werewolf:

  • 5.1″ Lift + 32″ Factory Tires = 14.7″
  • 5.1″ Lift + 35″ Tires = 16.2″
  • 5.1″ Lift + 37″ Tires = 17.2″
  • 5.1″ Lift + 38″ Tires = 17.7″
  • 5.1″ Lift + 40″ Tires = 18.7″

On the surface, a larger lift might seem like the better option. However, the taller you go, the more your COG (center of gravity) is affected. For most off-road builds, the goal is to keep the center of gravity as low as possible while also fitting the largest possible tire without negatively impacting the drivetrain, and suspension components.

With the 3.9″ portal lift, you can run anything from 35″ – 40″ tires and still keep that center of gravity somewhat low (comparatively speaking) while looking proportionate. With 5.1″ of lift, 35″ – 36″ tires might look a little small and disproportionate. Finally, with 5.1″ of lift, a 38″ – 42″ tire size range would look more proportionate.

Tire Size

74Weld Portal Axles on 5th Gen 4Runner

74Weld Portal Axles on 5th Gen 4Runner, Yokohama X-MTs 37X12.5R17 and KMC Impact Beadlocks +25mm Offset 

Let’s be very realistic and say that anything over a 35″ tire puts a noticeable increased stress load on your transmission and drivetrain components. However, when paired with a reduction box, that 35″ tire might actually be the “safest” bet you can make.

With a reduction box and 35″ tires, you would have an incredibly capable rig. Not only would that combination be capable off-road for increased ground clearance but the overall stress load on the drivetrain would be very minimal because the majority of that stress is handled by the gears in the reduction box.

At the 35″ tire size, you could bolt on a reduction box, and be done (no suspension component upgrades, no rack and pinion, done). You also wouldn’t need to worry as much about bending tie-rods or blowing steering racks compared to say, a 37″ tire. It’s still possible, but the likelihood of broken parts is lower with smaller tires.

Now, let’s be honest… Most of us want to run the largest tire size that portals allow. One could most certainly argue that a 35″ tire is the largest tire size you should run if you don’t want to risk breaking any factory suspension components. But what about 36″ – 37″ tires? At what tire size am I putting my factory suspension components at risk? That all depends on how hard you wheel.

At the 36″ – 37″ tire size, you don’t “need” to upgrade your steering rack and tie-rods but I would recommend it. 74Weld wheeled their 3rd Gen Tacoma on portals through the Rubicon with a factory steering rack & tie-rods and walked out unscathed. You can get away with running a 36″ – 37″ tire on the factory steering components with portals and yes, run the Rubicon – just know that even at that size, you’re still risking a bent tie-rod and/or a blown steering rack depending on your experience.

I believe this range of tires is the perfect “set it and forget it” size if you’re willing to push/risk your factory steering.

Now let’s dream a little… If your goal is to turn 38″ – 40″+ tires, know you’re treading into new territories; upgraded steering is 100% recommended. That’s in addition to upgraded drivelines, links, stronger CVs, larger rear axle housing, larger braking systems, custom fabrication, and probably more.

Can you run 38″+ tires with a reduction box on factory steering and drivetrain components? Technically, yes. Is it recommended? I would argue no. Not only does this tire size range warrant the need for aftermarket drivetrain, and steering upgrades but now we start to get into power upgrades.

The 3.6L V6 Toyota 4Runner and the 2.7-liter inline-4 found on the Tacoma both have no business powering this size tire size range. Can you turn 38″+ tires with these “powerplants”? Yes. Is it recommended? Again, I would argue no.

If you’re considering this tire size, you should strongly consider a supercharger to help with performance – in addition to all the other drivetrain and steering upgrades we mentioned. If you thought portals were expensive on the surface – start going up in tire size and you can start approaching the $60k+ range all in. That’s not including the rig.

The point here is that portal axles alone do not fix all the issues that come with larger tires. Do portals give you insane ground clearance, help to fit larger tires, and reduce stress on drivetrain components? Yes, but only to a certain extent.

Every steering and drivetrain component has its breaking point so knowing when to stop at a certain tire size is incredibly important here.

Gear Ratio

74Weld Vs. Werewolf Gear Ratios Comparison

74Weld has a 1.22 (22%) gear reduction and Werewolf has a 1.35 (35%) gear reduction. How does that affect the gear ratio when combined with the ring and pinion gear ratio? How do you calculate the output ratio? Let’s take a look.

74Weld offers a 1.22 so we multiply 1.22 X whatever gear ratio is found in the ring and pinion gear. For the factory 4Runner 3.73 gear ratio, we would just multiply 1.22 (74Weld reduction) X 3.73 (ring and pinion ratio) which would come out to a 4.55 output gear ratio. Let’s take a look at some common gear ratios below and see what the outcome would be.

If you want a good gear ratio to tire size chart, check this out.

74Weld: 

  • 1.22″ X 4Runner Auto Trans 3.73 = 4.55
  • 1.22″ X Tacoma Auto Trans 3.91 = 4.77 (74Weld shop truck example on 37″ tires)
  • 1.22″ X Tacoma Manual Trans 4.30 = 5.24
  • 1.22″ X 4.56 = 5.56
  • 1.22″ X 4.88 = 5.95
  • 1.22″ X 5.29 = 6.45

Werewolf:

  • 1.35″ X 4Runner Auto Trans 3.73 = 5.03
  • 1.35″ X Tacoma Auto Trans 3.91 = 5.27
  • 1.35″ X Tacoma Manual Trans 4.30 = 5.80
  • 1.35″ X 4.56 = 6.15
  • 1.35″ X 4.88 = 6.58
  • 1.35″ X 5.29 = 7.14

As you can tell, the gear ratios on the Werewolf side are much lower (numerically higher) due to their 35% reduction vs. the 74Weld 22% reduction. This is neither a good nor bad thing on the surface. Your preferred output ratio really depends on your gear set combined with your desired tire size.

For 35″ – 36″ tires 74Weld has better ratios when paired with the factory differential gears. With Werewolf, 35″ – 36″ tires wouldn’t make sense with any of those output ratios on factory gears.

Now let’s jump up in the tire size range. Werewolf offers close-to-perfect gear ratios when combined with factory differential gears on the 4Runner and Tacoma for a range of 37″ – 39″ tires.

Here is where things get tricky and there is a fine line between factory gears + gear reduction + tire size. These are merely suggestions below. Don’t take the below statements as “absolute”. I would consider calling 74Weld and/or Werewolf directly to better understand the optimal gear ratio for your preferred tire size in conjunction with their reduction.

  • 74Weld + 4Runner & Tacoma Auto Trans: If you want to run 37″ – 39″ tires, you would need to re-gear down from 3.73s (4Runner) or 3.91s (Tacoma) to 4.56s. This would put you at 5.56s after the 22% reduction. If you plan on going to the 40″ tire size, you should consider re-gearing down to 4.88s which would put you at 5.95s after a 22% reduction.
  • 74Weld + Tacoma Manual Trans: The factory 4.30s on the manual trans equates to a 5.24 after the 22% reduction. This is a very nice output ratio for 37″ – 38″ tires.
  • Werewolf + 4Runner & Tacoma Auto Trans: If you want to run 37″ – 38″ tires, the 3.73s would be 5.03s after a 35% reduction and the 3.91s would be 5.27s. The 5.27 ratio would be better suited for 37″ tires whereas the 5.03s would be better suited for 36″ tires.
  • Werewolf + Tacoma Manual Trans: The factory 4.30s on the manual trans equates to a 5.80 after the 35% reduction. This is a very low output and would be best suited for 38″-39″ tires.

If you’re running factory gearing, Werewolf makes more sense in some ratio scenarios.

If you’re already running 4.56, 4.88, or 5.29 gears, then 74Weld makes more sense as the output ratios start to align with preferred tire sizes around 37″ – 39″.

There are so many variables here. It’s hard to pinpoint every single scenario possible. Maybe a post for another day.

Material & Weight

74Weld Portal Axle Reduction Box

Anything that’s not leaning on your suspension is considered unsprung weight.

This includes your axles, brakes, wheel bearings & hub assembly, and your wheels/tires. However, wheels/tires fall into the unsprung rotational weight category. All that said, portal axles are part of that unsprung weight.

The less unsprung weight you have, the more effective the suspension will be at “stabilizing” your rig on uneven roads. The end goal for most off-road builds is to reduce the unsprung weight as much as possible. That’s why the weight of tires, wheels, and axles all go into consideration when putting a build together.

There are also arguments for more unsprung weight in extreme wheeling scenarios. Unsprung weight can keep the tires down/planted in extreme climbs such as 45+ degrees. Also this technically lowers your center of gravity but this is dependent on where the bulk of the weight is.

74Weld Vs. Werewolf Weight

The 74Weld portals are made of 7075 billet aluminum knuckles, 6061 billet aluminum boxes, 8620 gear packages, and 4340 hardened through shafts. The 74Weld front boxes weigh a total of 56 lbs per corner and the rears are only 47.3 lbs – 206 lbs total.

Werewolf portals are made of cast iron steel and weigh in at a whopping 106 lbs per corner in the front and 78 lbs in the rear – 368 lbs total!

Weight is a very important factor to consider when looking at each brand. 74Weld is 162 lbs lighter than Werewolf.

Wheel Offset & Scrub

Track Width & Scrub Radius With Portals

Pictured: 74Weld Portals with 40″ Toyo M/Ts with Factory Length Dirt King UCAs and LCAs.

You also need to determine what wheels you’re going to buy. Because 74Weld and Werewolf portals are +3.5″ and +4.5″ wider per side, respectively, you need to carefully consider the wheel offset you run. Before we get to wheel options, let’s look at how this has a direct impact on scrub radius.

Scrub Radius

The more “positive” scrub radius you have, the more it negatively impacts steering, braking, and acceleration performance. It really impacts steering more than anything, though.

Scrub puts additional load on the vehicle and makes it feel “heavier” while on the pavement. However, it can make your vehicle feel more planted at higher speeds in the dirt. Have you ever noticed when you are off-road on a steep incline (waterfall scenario) and you move the wheel, the whole vehicle wants to shift even though you are not rolling forward? That is scrub looking to push/shift the vehicle. The more positive (+) scrub you have, the more you’ll shift during these scenarios. 

Scrub radius is the distance between the imaginary contact patch created by the angle from your upright (click here to view a visual representation). Draw a line through the upper and lower ball joints and project that to the ground. Now, determine where the center of the contact patch is of the tire. The lateral difference between these two points is referred to as scrub radius. 

Both boxes have a positive scrub radius, however, Werewolf features roughly +1″ more scrub.

Wheel Offset

74Weld recommends an offset between +25mm to +35mm. Werewolf recommends their in-house +60mm wheel to accommodate their massive 4.5″ wider per side spec. If you don’t like the design of the Werewolf wheel or don’t want to pay the $2000/per wheel price tag, then you need to look elsewhere.

After searching high and low for +25mm to +35mm off-road wheels, there are plenty of options in this offset range; KMC, Method, Fuel, Vision, Raceline, TrailReady, and Innov8 to name a few. That said, good luck trying to find many other +60mm wheel designs with popular off-road wheel brands in the States.

FAQs

YouTube Video from StellarBuilt – 74Weld X StellarBuilt X Trail4R

Do the straight cut gears whine? 

I personally test drove the 74Weld Tacoma on 37s and hit about 75MPH. I also hit upwards of 5000RPMs as well. I did not hear any gear whine through any MPH range or RPM range.

What does the maintenance look like? 

Oil change every 3000 miles. On average you’re looking at $50 per oil change. 74Weld makes changes incredibly simple. Breather ports built in on the top and drain plugs on the bottom.

Are they KDSS compatible? 

Yes. 74Weld is KDSS compatible.

How is the stress load on ball joints? 

After a year of testing a set of portals on factory ball joints, there have been no reported problems. If you’re concerned about factory ball joints, just upgrade to a uniball UCA.

Are portals compatible with RCLT? 

Yes. both 74Weld and Werewolf are RCLT compatible.

Are there are any videos on Portals for the 4Runner? 

Check out the StellarBuilt YouTube video on 74Weld Portal Axles for the 4Runner (Part 1). More on the portals coming in part 2.

We will continue to update the FAQ section as questions arise. 

Final Thoughts

Front and Rear Portal Axles on Tacoma

Making the jump to portal axles for your Toyota Tacoma or 4Runner is a big decision. Not only are they expensive but they’re also potentially going on your daily driver. On one hand, you have 74Weld. On the other, Werewolf – so what’s best for you?

There are so many factors that go into choosing either brand of portal axles. What gears are you currently running? What tire size and lift height do you want to run? Do you want to run a brand with local USA support or dealer/overseas support? Do you want something race-tested/proven or does that not matter?

What Should You Run?

74 Weld Portal Axles on 2023 SR5 Premium 5th Gen 4Runner

If you’re looking to fit the largest possible tire size and gain an extreme amount of lift, Werewolf might be for you. Werewolf offers a larger lift height and more ground clearance over 74Weld.

On the other hand, 74Weld offers a better scrub radius spec and a lower-weight portal box. This equates to less unsprung weight at each corner in addition to the better COG spec. With the +3.5 wider per side spec, 74Weld features a narrower track width. This narrower stance is better for tighter trails and has more wheel options in the market.

Both are great options, but it really comes down to your preferred build spec and how you intend on wheeling your 4Runner or Tacoma.

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Kent Sparks Price
Kent Sparks Price
5 months ago
  • Brenan, you do such a thorough job in your write ups, photos, comparisons, install instructions, etc.!!! You take a very unbiased look at things and allow your readers and followers to come to your own conclusions.
  • I’d also like to shout out Quinn from 74 Weld who I’m speaking with on a potential purchase. He is fantastic on the customer service and responsiveness front.
  • One of the challenges I’m trying to think through and or ideally find a solution longer term is: I’ve already regeared to 4.56, run 34″ tires, will go to a 35″ minimum going with 74 weld portals. I’m on the East Coast so I travel West for a lot of my wheeling, Overlanding, visiting family in Montana, etc. So highway speeds and RPMs with the lower gearing which will be further lowered by going with a portal is my challenge. I haven’t found anyone that offers any type of a lower 5th gear or overdrive. Taco box is great for significantly reducing your gearing but it’s just not the thing to look for lower final drive ratio for highway driving. Not really what are rigs were designed for.
  • Trans ratios on the 5th gen are:
  • 1st gear ratio: 3.52
  • 2nd gear ratio: 2.042
  • 3rd gear ratio: 1.4
  • 4th gear ratio: 1.0
  • 5th gear ratio: 0.716

There is a wonderful simple calculator I found that I’ve predicted the impact of going to the 74 Weld portals on top of the regearing I’ve already done + going to a taller tire and importantly for me the impact on RPMs at different MPHs.

  • Remember if you use the calculator you need to put in the “transgear ratio” at .716 for the 5th and final gear and need to multiply your current gear ratio by 1.22 to account for the portal to get your new “effective or actual” gear ratio. Calculate RPM for Given Speed(MPH), Rear Gear Ratio, and Trans Gear Ratio (purperformance.com)
  • Net from a pure stock set up going to 35″ the 74 Weld portal 1.22 and my 4.56 gears that with the portal takes you to an effective 5.56 ratio, (as Brenan noted in the article) I gain 556 RPM at just at 60 mph. Anyone ever heard of a heard of a lower 5th gear swap or aftermarket overdrive solution for the 5th gens?

Brenan thanks again for all the great work you do for the Toyota community!!

@in_a_4runner
@in_a_4runner
5 months ago

What is the new MPG with these Portal Axels bolted on? Will love to see these prices come down, the regear parts & labor is much cheaper. Great Technology with these new Axels. Why do you spose it took forever for this to come here in USA & Why is this not main stream Mod like adding a suspension system or rear bumper?

Rob H
Rob H
4 months ago
Reply to  @in_a_4runner

The US likes what they like lol. Portals have been here since G Wagons have really but as far as broader use 74 Weld pushed that for vehicles while UTVs have had this mod for longer. Why did it take so long? Good question but even now people are just starting to hear about and understand these things. Price HAS come down but the broader the base and market capacity the less they should cost….

Mike
Mike
5 months ago

It would be interesting to compare the price of the portal upgrade to something like the Total Chaos +2 Long Travel with 4.88 regear. You’d be able to run 35s with an acceptable amount of body mods.

By the time you put it all together, I bet you might actually save a little with the Portals.

Thanks for the awesome write up.

Cheers
Mike

Brenan Greene
Brenan Greene
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

If you do it right, long travel can get more expensive than portals but you can also go in stages which is nice. A +2 TC long travel kit with all the suspension components + primary and secondary shocks is about $9000 (just for the front) – not including fabrication work for the double shear UCAs, secondary hoop shock mounts, cam tab gussets, body mount relocation, hydro bump stop mounts, and labor for rebuilding the CV joints and installing the kit. You can also upgrade almost every component on top of the TC uppers/lowers; tundra steering rack ($1800+) or land cruiser rack ($500+) with clevis ($200), double shear chromoly/stainless tie rod kit ($1000+), RCV axles ($2000+), Big Brake Kit ($2000+), fiberglass fenders ($700+ depending on platform), install/paint for the fenders, and more. However, you don’t “need” secondaries, so you can save money there. Factor in $2500 for labor for installing a basic LT kit with the fabrication and $5000+ on the high end depending on the quantity and complexity of parts. Regearing + install labor is about $2000-$2500 total depending on locker equipped or non locker.

Then you have the rear…

If we’re talking about the Tacoma, you have a ton of options; spring under/over, leaf hangers, HD leaf pack, shock towers, new 12″-16″ stroke shocks, bed cage, big brake kit, boxing the frame, etc. For the 4Runner, you should really go with a 3-link LT kit which is about $3000 for the kit and another $2500+ in labor for the geometry/fabrication work – not including shocks, or any other parts needed to really complete the rear end. It all adds up and fast.

You can spend anywhere from $15k on long travel to $50k+. I have about $30k into my long travel Tacoma so far and it’s not even done. I think a good budget for a complete long travel build would be around $20k-$30k depending on the platform and how far you take every upgrade possible. On the low end, you’re looking at $15k and on the high about $50k+.

Cal
Cal
5 months ago

Curious about oil temps in the portal box. Since there is such a small amount of oil in the housing, how hot do temps get? At what temperature does the oil start to affect the performance of the gears? Has there been any testing on either product for long road trips? It would be nice to take a trip from from California to Colorado where a 10+ hour drive is not uncommon… are oil temps not an issue for this duration? Do longer road trips warrant an oil change before that 3000-mile mark or no? Has any once tested a 10-hour drive on the freeway with these boxes?

Rob H
Rob H
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal

Hello! Great question, probably the number 1 question I get. Much like Quinn’s great info below I have had my eye on this as well. I do not know what was used or where the measures were taken by 74Weld but I use a FLIR to find the hottest point on the portal and that’s what I recorded. I was not sure if the FLIR would correctly identify the temp or not so as a backup measure I shot the diff as well so I had a reference or differential (Not the axle type lol) between two like but different gear sets. I live in Tucson so all my driving has been in 100+ degrees it seems like. I took a 300 mile drive to camp in 112 degrees fully loaded, 75 mph constant, and climbed Mount Graham (10,725 ft elev,) and the highest temp was right off the freeway at 163 for the right rear portal while the diff read 189 on the “cover”. Fronts under no load will not be over 120 (highest seen) so I don’t test those anymore. I typically see a temp difference of 30 degrees less on the portal vs the diff cover. I drove straight through from Tucson to Loveland, CO for the Overland Expo. that was 950+ miles one way and had no temp issues when I checked at any point. I was so tired driving back that I decided to stop and change the gear oil in the rears (just crossed 3k miles on that oil) and was surprised that the oil seemed as clear as I’d ever seen and I think that was a function of just freeway driving with little start/stop action?

275 degrees is the typical heat threshold for synthetic gear lube. Whatever you run for lube make sure its high quality like Maxim or Amsoil from what I’ve found. Note that synthetic lube is hygroscopic (absorbs water) so a closed breather system is ideal for other reasons but especially for this lube.

Quinn is totally on point on material. Aluminum is far better at dissipating heat (3-4x) better than steel. I don’t have a thermocouple or other type of data logging equipment so my temps may not be comparable to the other info BUT that’s why I shoot the diff cover….
Happy Trails Cal!

-Rob H. (US Werewolf Rep)

Quinn Pultz
Quinn Pultz
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob H

Temp stickers…they are commonly used all over race cars. Example…at KOH 2023 Jason Scherer lead the entire race start to finish and was the first car to cross the line…his hurt motor ended up landing him in 2nd place overall by seconds. His portals hit 192 degrees on the temp stickers. IR is NOT a reliable way to measure due to its reflective nature and while its probably fine for what we are asking it to do, its not the best way to do it. Temp stickers that hold max temps are the way to go.

Last edited 5 months ago by Quinn Pultz
Rob H
Rob H
4 months ago
Reply to  Quinn Pultz

FLIR is exactly what you say when Quinn but if you use them regularly and understand how the 3 factors affect readings it can be great. Had to set it correctly and do surface prep for on the areas I check to insure good E value and mitigate R. Aluminum is tough to get good E readings in any surface condition but a few. There is at least one coating that very much makes IR viable for recording values but it’s not a tool conducive to our customers using with reliable results so I 100% like the temp stickers in those cases.

That’s also the reason i added thermal devices on each box where the FLIR indicates highest temp. We have used stickers before as well but I like the real-time of the sensors and ability to see the different areas with FLIR.

Quinn Pultz
Quinn Pultz
5 months ago
Reply to  Cal

We have done countless long trips. In fact a few years ago we did a 6 hr trip through Az ins the middle of summer where we clocked ambient temps at 115. We ran a consistent 80mph and hit a max temp of 176 degrees. The aluminum boxes act as a massive heat sink pulling heat out of the portal. This, coupled with straight but rolling gears ensures they never get hot. We have done dozens of trips to Utah, Az, northern CA and others. Heat is just not a concern for us

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

Very good writeup, I actually talked with Vadim about the Werewolf Portals and been following them for a cpl years or so.
Another feature that Werewolf offers with their Portals and wheels tho is their on board air and the capability to inflate/deflate and maintain air pressure in your tires on the go, available with the extra10k you’ll need to spend on the 5 rims.
So in all honesty it’s more like a 25-30k mod for either set once you factor in installation and tax.
Definitely not a cheap mod and geared to a niche market.

Rob H
Rob H
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

So I have to install the CTIS still on my truck (@Wind_chillin_taco) IG, but I’m doing one on a vehicle with the rims and portals…. I think this can work fine without the wheels but I’ll post more on that once I get the system installed… I’m on Methods right now. CTIS cost should go down in the future.

Jason
Jason
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Alex, yeah the CTIS kit they offer is cool but it’s just overkill for the money ($3000) considering you can just air up/down your tires with a MORRFlate in under 10 minuets for around $200 and move it from rig to rig. I think once more companies start producing that CTIS system it should drop down significantly in price.

Rob H
Rob H
4 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Price is $2000 and it WILL be going down in the future.

Quinn Pultz
Quinn Pultz
5 months ago
Reply to  Jason

I don’t see pricing dropping any time soon. We are working on a very nice system with Teleflow, but it is not going to be cheap by any means. I’m on that MORRFlate Bandwagon personally.

Antonio C M
Antonio C M
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I agree great write up and yeah with tax and everything definitely more like 25k to 30k when all said and done

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Antonio C M

If I were to live in a wheeling Mecca like Moab, I’d build my 4Runner into a recovery rig with the Werewolf Portals.
Tax deductible and would probably pay half their value with a few recoveries then hold at least half their value as take offs for resale.
Being able to go up to 37″ or even 40″ without lift or regear it’s already worth a big chunk of their initial cost.

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