2013 Toyota 4Runner, Equipt Edition Build


Ha, that's funny. I bought one last month as well for almost all the same reasons. (Minus business marketing) I got the sr5 however as the dealers in my area could not get a trail for six weeks. Given that I was doing a lift and new wheels and tires all I lost was the locker and the cool body styling. The first thing I did was drive it to the tire store for new kicks, then took it on a 600 mile off road trip though Big Bend. So far we are really happy. Lift is next with a big Colorado trip planned this summer.

My only gripe so far is the lack of a 12v constant hot outlet. I'm going to have to change that soon, I got tired of having to start the car to charge stuff. On the flipside I LOVED the party mode around the campsite. Here is a pic pulling the offroading trailer. image.jpg
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Oh and BTW you mentioned your trailer and mpg. I got 15.2 mpg pulling my modified and loaded m416 with four mtb bikes. Not too bad. It's the only time I have been on the hwy so I have no idea what kind of mpg it gets otherwise. :sombrero:


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Thanks for all the comments guys. I am pondering blacking out the emblems too. No turbo, but rumor is there will be a super charger coming out at some point. I'll be on that list.

I took the truck out to the SoCal Desert Rendevous event over the weekend. Towed the Chaser like a dream. I think I was in the 16-17 mpg range with a loaded trailer. I am very happy with that.

2013-03-16 19.03.50.jpg



I'm very curious to see what's going to get done to this vehicle. There are so many options, but none of them truly stand out in the overland community. I hope this build stays grounded, in the sense that the vehicle remains a daily driver with the bare essentials needed and that can simply be loaded really quick.

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Wiffleball Batter
I wasn't too crazy about the 5th gen styling, but Toyota sure got the Trail Editions right. Good luck with the build!
Same here. I still cringe a little when I see a stock 5th gen. After a while I realized what it was - the factory tires are too small for the body. Not sure why Toyota does that, maybe they figure if a lot of folks are going to swap the wheels and tires out anyway, there's no point in putting more expensive tires on in the first place, or maybe the smaller tires help them achieve the CAFE fuel economy standards they need to meet. But for whatever reason, 5th gens with stock wheels look a little odd to me - as I said over on the T4R.org web site, they kind of look like a hippo on roller skates. :D

But with a decent set of slightly oversized tires, they look great, especially with that long roof rack and the blacked out grille and bumpers.

Of course, I'm envious of the T-case lever, since I'm stuck with a stupid dial.

My only gripe so far is the lack of a 12v constant hot outlet. I'm going to have to change that soon, I got tired of having to start the car to charge stuff.
On the 3rd and 4th gen 4runners, it's a 15 minute (max) operation to make the 12v outlets hot all the time. It took me a little longer because the instructions I was following didn't mention having to unbolt and pull down the fuse block (the relay you need to jump is on the BACK of the fuse block, not the front) but once I got that figured out it was a piece of cake.

One thing to note - on my 4th gen, the jumper mod worked to put constant power to the 12v "power" outlets front and rear - but the cigarette lighter was still only powered when the ignition was on. Wierd, but true. Not sure if the 5th is like that or not.

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Suspension Lift and Tires

Suspension Lift and Tires

Well, a little less than a thousand miles on the 4 Runner (965 actually) and the modifications begin. The first real alteration to the vehicle for me was to address the clearance of the vehicle and the tires necessary for our type of travel. Last weekend we traveled out to the 2013 SoCal Desert Rendevous, on stock suspension and pulling our Chaser. The stock system rode quite well, but is seemed a little soft to me. It leaned in the corners and dipped a little when braking hard. Also, the trailer dropped the back of bit. For my tastes, it is just too low. This is not new news when it come to stock suspension. They are designed to ride nice, period.

The Lift

So what to do about it. My goals were to add clearance, add driving performance, add load management, and most of all add dependability to the truck suspension. I decided to go with Ole Man Emu. I have used OME of several of my vehicles, including my 100 Series, with tremendous success. OME builds their componentry to be used on exactly the kind of vehicle I am building here. A vehicle that will carry a significant load on harsh terrain for long periods of time and not breakdown, period. There are a myriad of options out there, mild to wild, and some excellent companies to choose from. But I go with what I know. I have beat the hell out of OME and it has never failed me. I am also trying to not over-modify the suspension or drivetrain on the truck. Toyota is well built on its own, and the more aftermarket components that get involved the further you end up from the engineered intent of the original components and their capabilities. And hence more opportunities for issues far from home. I am going to try to keep it simple clean and tight on this one.

OME has several options for the 5th Gen 4Runner. Most of the options have to do with intended weight capacity. You can go with stock to +400 lbs, +400 to 800 lbs. or +800 & up. I chose to go with the heaviest capacity I could to start with. On the 100 Series, I went through 4 suspension systems before settling on the heavy set up it has. I figured I would just do this once on this truck. Here is the list of components in this system

4R Lift Components.JPG

OME 2899 Rear Coil Springs
OME 2887 Front Coil Springs
OME 60081 Nitro Charger Rear Shocks
OME 90010 Nitro Charger Front Struts
OME 661 Rear Shock Stone Guards
OME 95PF5 Trim Packer Spacer

4R on Hoist.JPG

Another one of the things I wanted to accomplish on this truck is to learn as much as I can about how the vehicle is put together. Not only is it a good idea in general, but it will become invaluable knowledge in the field if something were to happen. First hand understanding of the vehicle system might be the difference between getting home or not. So I chose to install this lift myself. I had a hand here and there from a couple guys at the shop, thank God. But for the most part it was me and the suspension having it out.

4R Dr Fr Lift Done.JPG

The front suspension was the more difficult of the two ends. Much more going on there. After disconnecting a handful of componentry and a 2+" torsion bar, and stretching things to their limit, we managed to get the front springs and struts put into place. OME recommends adding a 5mm spacer to the drivers side strut assembly to help compensate for drivers side weight variance and level the truck out. How they knew I was a big guy and compensation was necessary, I don't know. But I am glad they did. I got it all hooked back up and ready for tires.

4R Dr Rr Lift Done.JPG

The rear suspension went a lot quicker. We disconnected the KDSS torsion bar, disconnected the shocks, lowered the rear axle to remove the stock springs, and reversed the whole process to put the new items back in. A couple bruises and little bit of blood later and the suspension was in.

Spidertrax Spacers.JPG

The last step for me was to add 1-1/2" aluminum spacers to the front of the vehicle. When adding a lift to an IFS vehicle, the control arms lower and move inward some. It decreases the width of the drivetrain. To compensate for this narrowing, we put a couple Spidertrax spacers on the front. It brings the stance of the vehicle out to where it was before the lift. It makes in safer and it looks better.


Everyone has their take on this one. Some like to try new design concepts, others go on price. It might sound like a broken record, but I go with what I know. I chose BF Goodrich Radial All Terrain TA KO tires. I have Goodyear MTRs on my 40, and I have run Mud Terrains on other trucks. But to me the overall characteristics of the BFG All Terrain are the best out there. They are a D rating tire, so designed to handle a much heavier truck. And so mounted on a lighter truck they last an incredibly long time, usually over 60K miles. They aren't as loud as the mud terrains. Noise is friction, friction is resistance, resistance reduces efficiency and that means lower gas mileage. More tire surface on the ground means better control, on pavement and the southwestern US offroad surfaces. I used these tires in the jungles of Guatemala with chains on and off, and the worked just fine. With over 200K miles driven on BFG All Terrains, through every type of terrain in the southwest, Baja, mainland Mexico, Central America, and Canada I can think of 1 flat tire. They do their job, they do it well, and I don't have to think twice about them getting me back home.

The stock tires on the 5th Gen 4Runner Trail are a 265-70R17 Dunlop Grand Trek AT20. A decent tire, but not suitable for what we are going to do here. The are equivelant to a 31" height. I changed them out for a 285-70R17 size, D rating. This measures up at just under a 33". It helps fill the void created by the lift and will help us get over a lot more obstacles.

4R with Lift and Tires 3.jpg4R with Lift and Tires 7.jpg

I am really happy with out the lift and tires turned out. The products are top shelf and should not give me a lick of trouble. The weight capacity has increased and at least right now the ride is considerably stiffer. It handles very well, and I am sure the trailer will not budge the back end. It is now set to carry all the gear I plan to use, clear the obstacles I plan to go over, and handle it all with greatest of ease.



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looks good. Trail rims look so much better w/o the center caps. What mods are planned next?
We have a few things planned in the next couple week. A couple interior mods and then we head to the roof. Stay tuned.



First mods, and looks great. I expect it will drive better as well!

Paul, how much of a lift does this result in? I am a newbie when it comes to modifications so appreciate your updates. I expected first mod to be a lift and new tires -probably the only real weakness of the 4RTE (especially the tires).