JD Fabrication Lower Control Arm Pivot Kit On 5th Gen 4Runner – Review & Overview Of Benefits & Costs
If you want to clear larger tires, the JD Fabrication lower control arm pivot kit offers a killer solution.
As many know, 33″+ tires are notorious for rubbing on the firewall, fender well, and fender plastics. To remedy this, we typically resort to body mount chops and removing most factory wheel well plastics. Specifically, the mud flaps and inner fender liners.
Once you move up to 34″+ tires, you’ll also need to beat back the pinch seam. Depending on how large of a tire you go, you’ll need to beat the firewall with a sledgehammer or tub the firewall altogether to gain more clearance. In addition to this, you still have to modify the rocker panel caps and cut your fender flares and fender sheet metal.
Clearing bigger tires is quite the task, and not every job looks clean. You literally have to beat the shit out of your truck with a sledgehammer in order for the tires to clear.
This problem is inherently worse once you start running 0-offset or negative-offset wheels. When the factory scrub radius is changed to a positive scrub radius (the tire contact patch is pushed away from the kingpin angle), the tires start rubbing on the firewall even more.
So, how do we fix this age-old Toyota 4Runner/Tacoma problem? It’s simple: the JD Fabrication lower control arm (LCA) pivot kit.
Find It Online:
- 5th Gen 4Runner LCA Pivot Kit ($100 OFF w/ Coupon Code “trailtaco”): Check Price
Disclaimer: The JD Fab LCA pivot kit requires cutting off the factory lower control arm mounts so you can weld in their new pivots. This is not a bolt-on product. Installation is very straightforward, though. Look at our previous LCA pivot kit installation article if you want a reference.
The new pivots are much wider than the factory setup and allow for .25″ – 1″ of adjustability in the lower control arms (OEM or aftermarket) using the provided .25″ spacers. The main portion of the kit is a 1/4″ mild steel cradle with gussets welded to 1.5″ .188 OD tubing on each side.
There is a front .188 OD crossbar connected via a bolt and another gusset welded to the frame. This is all connected with their massive skid plate with a serviceable diff sump cover.
The icing on the cake is their custom-built cam bolts. They have adjustment spacers on the inside and tabs and lockout hardware on the outside to keep your alignment in spec through extreme abuse.
Tire Size Reference
This kit is for anyone looking to create “up to” 1″ additional clearance away from the firewall. This is an insane benefit that no other modification on the market offers. There are limits to every tire size, though. It’s important to note that this kit does not solve every tire size issue regarding clearance.
With this kit installed, you would fully clear a 33″ tire (285/70R17) at full lock with no modifications to the fender plastics or body mounts.
With 34″ (295/70R17) tires, you would need to make minor adjustments including mud flaps and, potentially, a body mount chop. That will depend on the exact size of your tire as some run true to size while others are smaller than the quoted 34″.
For example, in the 295/70R17 size, a BFG KO2 measures out to 33.3″ whereas a Yokohama Geolander M/T measures out to 33.5″. Some brands can measure into the 33.8″ range, though.
Around the 35″ size, you will likely have to chop the body mounts, beat back the pinch seam, trim your rocker caps, and lower fender flare corners. Depending on how much up-travel your suspension allows, you may need to remove the inner fender liner as well.
At this point, you will fully clear the firewall at full lock. However, you may still rub on the upper portion of the inner fender well at full bump. That will depend on travel, bump stops, and several other factors.
36″ – 37″ Tires
For these tires, you need to make all the same adjustments as the 35″, but add a body mount relocation and make adjustments to the upper firewall to clear the tires at full bump.
This kit provided the clearance needed for 37″ tires on our Tacoma and 4Runner.
With 37″ tires mounted on both my Tacoma and 4Runner – we fully clear the firewall at full lock in forward and reverse on the road. However, we still rub at full bump on the upper fender well when out on the trails.
Depending on shop location and skill, you’re looking at about 8-12 hours for labor and installation. Labor rates for fabrication like this can run anywhere from $100-$150/hr.
That said, some shops don’t charge the full rate or the full hourly when it starts to get into longer projects like this. For example, if the shop’s rate is $150 and they quote 12 hours, they might only charge 10 hours for the complete job. Most labor rates are meant to create a baseline standard so you may get a discount on the hours or hourly for bigger jobs. This all depends on the shop you choose.
This kit has been installed on our 2nd Gen Tacoma (read that post for a deeper look at the whole kit and installation process) for almost two years, and it’s been great.
After seeing how well this kit performs, we installed the kit on our 5th Gen 4Runner build with portal axles (pictured above). Stay tuned for more on this build.
The pivots’ strength has held up fine, as you would expect for the level of custom fabrication that goes into the process. With the number of gussets welded to the frame rail and the 1/4″ plate throughout, you can expect this kit to last the life of your rig. These LCA pivots are incredibly strong, and in the amount of consistent, rough abuse we have put this kit through (on our Tacoma), we haven’t seen any points of failure.
The camber/caster alignment has held strong for nearly two years and 6+ hard wheeling trips (on our Tacoma). In two years, we have only been to Stellar Built in Sacramento for one alignment because our toe spec was off a bit.
The custom Grade-8 alignment cams paired with their lockout plates are another huge reason we decided to run this kit on our 5th Gen 4Runner. The lockout plates help to keep the camber/caster spec set. After one day in the rocks, alignment specs can easily shift. With the JD Fabrication pivots, it’s one less thing we have to worry about.
All LCA pivot kits come with the main skid plate, which protects the front differential and surrounding components.
The skid plate can be optioned in either steel or aluminum, powder coated or bare steel. The skid features a diff sump and can be fully removed for servicing the front differential fluids.
The flat bottom plate bolts directly on the tubing welded to the frame rail and can be easily removed and re-mounted. JD Fabrication also offers a front skid plate (not pictured here) that connects to the tubing via a weld-on tab. That plate connects to the front cross member with the two factory tie-down points.
On each pivot, the JD Fabrication kit includes a gusset that connects to the tubing.
This gusset has a massive surface area and is slanted downward, acting as an offshoot skid plate to the main skid plate. This is another benefit to the kit, adding additional strength and protecting the lower control arm bushings and cam bolts.
Pictured Above: Lower control arms pushed forward 1″ with the 3 .25″ shims packed behind the lower control arms in the pivot.
With the provided spacers, you can run anywhere from .25″ up to 1″ of additional clearance from the firewall. JD Fab provides three spacers for each pivot that you can stack in front of or behind the lower control arms.
This gives you maximum adjustability for improved clearance. Again, unlike anything else out there on the market.
If you’re looking to run bigger tires or easily gain full clearance for 33″ tires, consider this kit for your build. It’s backed by a team that builds trophy trucks, Ultra4 cars, custom one-off builds, and much more.
JD Fabrication has been around for over three decades and has a ton of experience in the long-travel space. Go check out their website for a deeper look at their offering.
Let me know if you guys have any questions, happy to help.