To me, 4Runners are like LEGO sets for adults. There is a vast number of aftermarket parts available for just about everything you can think of. They have a proven track record as being excellent adventure rigs and have that Toyota reliability that isn’t found in many other vehicles.
Once we had our new 4Runner home, I started planning out what I wanted to do and the companies that had the goods to accomplish my plan. Below is the first in a planned few articles detailing what has already been done and what we plan to do with our 4Runner to make it usable to us both daily driver and as an adventure rig.
The Initial Plan
My initial plan had me doing a full build within a two-year timeframe. Pretty aggressive to me, especially considering the cost of doing everything. I also wanted to keep things as local to Michigan as possible. This proved to be tricky with some of the things I wanted to get. However, now that I’ve delayed some of it, I can work with Michigan local businesses to get what I want.
Once everything was planned, and parts were chosen, I set it aside for about a month to think it over. There were still some things I knew I was going to do right away, but the majority of it could wait until I felt I needed those items. My first run plan included the following items:
- Victory 4×4 Front Bumper
- Victory 4×4 Rear Swing Away Bumper
- Victory 4×4 Roof Rack
- Victory 4×4 Ladder
- Victory 4×4 Under Armor
- BFG KO2 Tires
- Method 702 Wheels
- Boss Strong 4Runner Storage Drawer
- Roof Top Tent
- Refrigerator and Slider
- Genesis Offroad Dual Battery System
- Vehicle Wrap
After laying everything out in a spreadsheet with cost, I started to decide what I would go with. That began to change the plan overall. This 4Runner still had to be my daily driver and get around town vehicle, so I started to wonder if having so much weight in bumpers and armor was going to be a good idea. I decided to go forward with a few things just to get started.
First on the list was a lift that made the 4Runner comfortable to drive and would still function off-road. I did not want to break the bank on a suspension, so it had to fall within my price range as well. I ended up going with a Toytec 3 inch Aluma Series Boss Suspension Kit. The only option I did not get with the kit was the heavy-duty springs, something I wish I had done from the start.
The rear of the 4Runner does sag down some when fully loaded as I found out. It doesn’t change how the vehicle drives too much, but it is noticeable, at least it was to me compared with how it drove unloaded. It wasn’t alarming or concerning, but it’s certainly something for me to keep in the back of my mind.
Wheels & Tires
After having Expedition Vehicle Outfitters install the lift, tires were next on my list. I did not plan on replacing the OEM wheel with an offset wheel, so just the tires were necessary. We ended up going with the tried and true BFG KO2. They’ve been a proven good off and on-road tire that works well in all circumstances.
I planned to get an offset wheel to push the wheels out a bit. In the end, I decided not to do this to save on potential wear and failure points. I also did not want to do a body mount chop at this point. I stayed with the OEM wheel and went with the largest tire size I could fit, which was a 285/70/17.
Internal Storage and Organization
The next major purchase was for some storage. Boss Strong Box had just released their single drawer 4Runner specific box, so I jumped on getting one. I also had a discount code to use for one via Fieldcraft Survival. This brought the price down to the point that was well below anything the competition could have offered. Short of building my own setup, which I am not prepared to do, this was the cheapest and best option to get me started.
I also picked up a Rago Fabrication center console panel set and an Expedition Essentials 4Runner specific mount. Both of these have been great to have. They both offer mounting options for all of the radios, phones, and tablets we end up using while out in the woods. Both are relatively easy installations, and I would highly recommend looking into them.
The last bit of expensive stuff was to determine what sort of paint protection I was going to go with. This might seem silly, but I still like my vehicle to look decent. Plus, scratches everywhere would drive me nuts, especially on a newer vehicle. The plan upfront was to go with a vehicle wrap of some sort. The problem with this one was the cost to do it and the likelihood that it would get ruined by tight forest trails.
After doing some research, I came across Go Off-Road Armor Tech. Their solution was a simple one that I had seen done with Jeeps in the past. GOAT offers magnetic panels that cover the side of the vehicle from front to back. And the cost was well under what a vehicle wrap would cost at just over $500 for a full set. I’ve got a short write-up and review on it. You can check that out here.
This is just the beginning of getting this 4Runner set up for adventure. I’ve still got some more items to hopefully knock off the list over winter and before Spring hits.