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Old 11-05-2022, 09:43 PM #1
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T4r.Chris Build Thread

Hello all! I’m Chris and I own a 2005 4Runner SR5 4WD. I wanted to share this build thread as this forum has been a great way for me to learn about my truck, and I’m hoping I can help some people out too. It was long overdue but I’m finally able to make a post.

I purchased my 4Runner in 2019 from my Dad, who was the second owner of the vehicle. At the time it was his daily driver that I’d be converting to mine. The vehicle was already lifted with Bilstein 5100’s, which are still on the vehicle today, along with 32ish” tires on Level 8 wheels. I was always fascinated with Toyota’s and wanted to get into off-roading, I figured this would be the best start.



The picture above is where it began the day I got her. Immediately I began turning it into my own. While the picture above doesn’t show it the headlights were cloudy, those were quickly swapped out. I completed the Map light mod in the A-Pillar using one of the methods on this forum. I swapped all of the interior lights with LED’s and installed some stick on window visors. New K&N filters were installed for intake and cabin air.

Next was some LED tail lights. For some odd reason these were a total pain in the butt and took a lot of finessing electronically to work. I found the LED conversion harness had a few non-secure points causing intermittent contact. After the adjusting the contacts all went well.



After some fresh Plastidip on the grille along with yellow tint on the fog lights it really began coming together, she sat like this for a minute while I planned the build. I did install an OwlCam DashCam for security, simply plugs in the OBD port and you tuck the wire up to the dash. I also am fond of detailing cars, after a full paint correction it really shined.



Next came a reverse camera. At this time I really wanted to have a “modernized” old 4Runner. And so I began adding the little things to make this thing easier to daily drive! Adding a camera to these is a severe pain in the butt, take your time, work carefully and eventually you will be okay. The camera works well with my Pioneer Radio. I installed a Broadway Mirror (Panoramic) and a 5th Gen 4Runner TRD Shift Knob. I also installed a dual USB port which fit perfectly in a blank switch spot.



Next came some lighting. Through research I found Cali Raised LED/Off-road. Not only were the prices great but there were a lot of people swearing by their products in the reviews. Install was very easy and I also used Cali Raised OEM style switches which fit perfectly in the spots in the dash.



Next came my first camping trip with the 4Runner in Summer of 2020. I installed a CB radio along with a magnetic cobra antenna the morning of, and it worked really well, even hearing construction workers from miles away. But this was my first test with the vehicle to find it’s weaknesses and what can be improved. My girlfriend and I share 4 dogs, 2 German Shepard’s, a Pitbull, and a small mixed poodle. (Quite the diversity haha) Between loading the dogs comfortably and packing our gear we found the Large 4Runner to not be so large anymore. Many changes would come in the future after learning from this trip.



The first thing learned was obvious, I need more space. I always enjoyed the look of roof baskets and found for my needs it would work better then a flat rack. I purchased a Rola Roof Rack off of Amazon, along with the extension. I live in New Mexico and thankfully rust is not an issue. However based off of reviews people advised this rack can rust. I took some precautionary steps, like coating the inside of the rack with a silicon lubricant prior to sealing it all together with RTV. I also upgraded the hardware to all Stainless Steel. 2 years later and it’s still in great shape. Somehow it still fit in my garage but I didn’t like how it fit on the roof. Thankfully 4xInnovations creates a low-profile mounting bracket for the rack which fits in the stock roof rails. At its lowest setting it looked great! But touched the roof… After some careful bending of the cross bars it fit great and could hold a lot of weight before touching the roof.





Some Cali Raised ditch lights were installed, these things are fantastic at night! Also a few stickers later everything began coming together… I had 33” BFG KO2’s installed as the Nitto’s on the vehicle weren’t working so well any longer. I also installed a tow hitch receiver that allows me to have a shackle in the rear.



I was getting bored of the front of the 4Runner’s PlastiDipped grille so a change was necessary. At the time there wasn’t much for grille options and I knew I wanted the TOYOTA spelt out in the front. Thankfully I found this grille through an Etsy seller, after a week it was installed and I liked the look of it.



But I grew out of that grille quickly when I found SRQ released the TRD Pro styled grille for the early 4th Gens. After a quick install I was loving the way the front looked. But I found the rear of the vehicle to be lacking in the style department.



I decided I really like the look of the spoiler from the later years of the 4th Gen, known as the “hump spoiler”. I had ordered one and with help from my dad we got it painted and installed. This 4Runner didn’t come from the factory with a spoiler so it took some careful measurements to get it right. Shortly after I came to the conclusion that with the roof rack it may be difficult to reach items on the rear of the roof rack. After some research I settled on the Victory 4x4 Hatch Ladder. The install was fairly easy and allowed me to help my problem of NEEDING MORE SPACE. A shovel mount and RotoPax mount would come later.



Next were some goodies to free some space. As mentioned above I invested in a Krazy Beaver Shovel with locking Rhino Rack mount and a RotoPax with locking mount. With how it’s designed taking off the RotoPax to use the ladder takes no effort at all. I also got an IronMax4x4 awning, with a GZilla fabrication bar mount. The awning and mount were really well made. I did want the light for the awning to be hardwired and temporarily ran it down the side of the windshield. I eventually plan to run power to the roof just don’t wanna drill the roof of it haha.

The girlfriend and I decided to take the 4Runner to one of the National Forests in our state for lunch to test all the equipment. All of the new equipment stayed solid, and that awning proved to be a game changer. The Rhino Rack shovel mount isn’t meant to be vertically holding it, but has not slipped or failed me once.



Wiring was my next dilemma. I didn’t mind the OEM style switches for a couple of things, however between the light bar, ditch lights, awning light, rock lights, and CB radio I needed to clean the wiring up. I ordered an AuxBeam 8 switch panel off of Amazon after hearing great reviews for the price. Wiring was extremely easy and it has worked very well. The switch panel was mounted above the map light using Velcro tape, it has proved very secure. I also ordered a PowerTray setup, but have yet to install it. That is coming soon once I get around to it!

It wasn’t mentioned but a lot of off-roading trips were done while I had this truck. Definitely the most fun vehicle I’ve ever owned that gets me anywhere!



Again on a mission to save some space I ordered the Victory4x4 rear window molle panel. along with molle pouches on Amazon. My thoughts were to move all my necessary recovery supplies in molle pouches, along with placing my tow strap elsewhere to free up space on the “ground” of the 4Runner. The install was a breeze and works great at saving space!



Of course I had to do some performance mods to the vehicle, nothing crazy but enough to ensure she runs the best she can. I received a “Speed Pedal” for Christmas a couple of years ago, in a sense a Pedal Commander. It made a substantially better difference in driving this thing, made me realize how much of a regear it needs. I also installed a JLC Oil Catch Can on the vehicle, definitely has pulled quite a bit of oil since I’ve had it on the vehicle. I also installed an ARB Differential Breather for the rear differential. The kit made it easy, but the plastic hose it comes with sucks, I ended up getting some vacuum line from a local parts store that was much easier to use. It mounted very easily under the hood with double sided tape, definitely nice to not drill into the vehicle more.

Another camping trip was done in the great mountains in Taos, New Mexico. The morning of, I decided to swap my hatch struts with upgraded ones recommended by Victory 4x4 for the ladder and gear. I now have a hatch that will hold itself up even with all the weight! I got around to putting in my Weathertec Mats for all four seats and the rear, definitely kept the carpet clean even after having everything mud covered. The roof rack proved to be great, I loaded up a majority of the light items on the roof along with fire wood. I used ratchet straps and a net to secure the items and it all stayed put even after 7+ hours of driving. This drive was also made better by some Desert Does It SeatJackers for the front seat, I felt much more supported by our terrible seats plus they look cool haha!



Suspension was next. The vehicle was noticeably bouncier with the added weight in the vehicle when camping, and often “wandered” on the freeway. Astonishingly I found a set of Total Chaos Fabrication UCA’s for our vehicles on Craigslist. After ensuring they were straight and in good shape I purchased them for $450. Thankfully it was from another lifted Yota guy who swore by them. Shortly after buying them I replaced the UniBalls, stickers, and Poly bushings, they were looking great. While I was at it I also ordered some Moog grease-able lower ball joints, Energy suspension sway bar poly bushings, Overland Custom Designs Sway Bar links, and SuperSpring’s SumoSpring Rear Bump Stop. What a huge install day!!! Installing them took some time, pain, and a lot of effort. The lower ball joint proved to be the hardest. Looking through all of the service records I couldn’t find anything pointing to them ever being replaced. With the lift it was just extra security of replacing them and knowing it was a quality product. I never replaced ball joints but my Dad and I were able to get them on in a weekend. I got it aligned, and after some back and forth will the alignment shop please please please be sure they ADD caster to the front suspension when doing UCA’s. The vehicle with these tires will be inoperable without ADDING caster. After a couple attempts the vehicle’s specs were all great and it rode perfectly. But let me tell you it rides plush now! I still have the same Bilstein’s on the vehicle, which are now over 5 years old. But they are still great. Eventually I’ll do a coilover setup on the vehicle, I think it was Old Man Emu who released a new coilover system that looks great.



This is where the truck sits for now. If anyone has some comments or questions please ask! Again I’m making this forum to show others what can be done, along with providing some help on things I’ve done. More will be coming soon and I’m glad I can share with you all!


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2005 4Runner SR5 - Build Thread- https://www.toyota-4runner.org/4th-g...ld-thread.html

Last edited by T4r.Chris; 11-05-2022 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 11-06-2022, 12:44 PM #2
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Great looking 4Runner! Looking forward to the things to come!


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Old 11-06-2022, 01:37 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napalm View Post
Great looking 4Runner! Looking forward to the things to come!


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Thank you very much, it is greatly appreciated!


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Old 11-10-2022, 01:36 PM #4
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A couple days ago I got around to installing some CaliRaised Off-road/LED bolt on Trail Edition Rock Sliders (What a mouthful!). I got the rock sliders from their Black Friday deal which took 15% off. Surprisingly they were shipped and at my door like 4 days later.

When I received them they were in good shape, no damage other then a couple scuffs which could always be painted over if they bugged me. And the packaging was super simple but worked well at protecting the sliders and powdercoat. The hardware was 8.8 M8 bolts and it all felt really high quality, each slider weighed something like 40lbs after all was told.



I purchased the ďTrail EditionĒ slider as I wanted something that would tuck more against the body. I thought it was going to be a lot more aggressively tucked but honestly I like the subtle-ness. I also got the option with the ďKick-OutĒ which is the wider part of the slider. With New Mexico trails literally changing with the weather itís nice having this option as getting through the rocks here can be a tight squeeze in this thing. Its also a nice step if needing to access anything on the roof rack too.

Install was a breeze. Taking off the original steps was only six bolts which came off easily. I ďpreppedĒ the frame by wiping it down with a low diluted degreaser and water mix. It made me truly appreciate living in the Southwest USA, the frame looked almost brand new after wiping it down.



The way these sliders mounted were fairly straightforward, but the passenger side was a little more complex to put on. The drivers side mount actually fit in between the gas tank skid and frame (pictured above to the right). But the passenger side required a couple bolt and clamps to go onto the backside of the frame since there was no skid or holes to bolt into.

After all was said and done I am happy with the sliders!! They look sleek and fit like a glove. My girlfriend is happy cause they can still be used as a step even though itís tucked more against the body.





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Old 12-27-2022, 07:38 PM #5
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T4r.Chris Build Thread

After some new Christmas Gifts and tools I got around to installing the Power Tray!

My prior setup used a bracket that I think came with the AuxBeam 8 Switch Panel I have. It worked fine and I was even able to mount my rock light controller on it to. However I hated the look, and honestly seeing the wires underneath always bugged me.




I ordered this PowerTray in June, received it in October (manufacturer issues). I wasnít in a rush so it didnít bug me. I went with their ďblankĒ option. They sell some with pre-made cutouts for S-Pod systems, ARB compressors and more. I liked my AuxBeam and paying $70 for a piece of aluminum I wanted it to be perfect for my application.

First thing first is unplug the AuxBeam from the battery and undo all of the wiring. I labeled all my pre-existing connections by name and polarity to ensure an easy re-install. I completely removed the AuxBeam panel from the vehicle and set it aside. I picked up a 60 Amp circuit breaker from Napa that I planned to use. Great safety measure just in case the already installed safety measures inside of the AuxBeam controller fail.



Next thing I did was mock up the PowerTray inside of the vehicle. I read somewhere the 4th Gen 4R PowerTray may have clearance issues with the hood strut, however it closed fine with no contact. The PowerTray bolts to pre-existing threaded holes along the driverís side engine bay. It has a leg that you bolt to the main tray that goes to a hole on the fender/wheel well.





One thing I did notice when checking fitment is the hood strut does take up about an inch of space on the PowerTray when the hood is shut. Using a flathead I marked a line on the edge to ensure I donít put something there later.

Next was figuring out where I wanted everything. I decided not to mount my rock light controller on the PowerTray as it really serves no function. I later mounted it underneath. I placed the circuit breaker and AuxBeam panel on the PowerTray, measured twice and drew some lines marking the controller itself and mounting holes. Using a center punch I prepared to screw into the panel.




I then began drilling with my new right angle drill I got for Christmas. I started with a small drill bit and worked up, spraying WD40 occasionally ensured a clean cut. When preparing for this project I reached out to PowerTrays on methods for cutting an oval ďwire cutoutĒ. This was my first time really doing anything like this and the folks over there were super helpful. They recommended a Uni-bit to make some holes and use a dremel/cutting wheel to connect the holes. I did just that and it truly worked like a dream. With WD40 it cut pretty quick for how thick it is.



With wiring and cut metal you want to ensure your edges are free of sharpness or anything that could snag the wire. I grabbed some sandpaper, and after a couple of minutes my cut edges were now very smooth.



Next thing next I mounted all the accessories to the tray and installed it on the car. Donít really know of an easier way but it was a pain in the butt mounting the plate and getting the wires up to the AuxBeam panel. Overall though I got it on and working. For a circuit breaker simply take your pre-existing power cable, measure the distance between your panel and breaker, cut your cable and add connections. Itíll go battery to circuit breaker, circuit breaker to panel. Testing it out worked great, I turned on all my accessories and pushed the button on the breaker, it killed the power to the controller and panel.





Overall a fun install and a great way to learn about cutting metal and making it into your own. The panel did end up with some scratches from all the cutting, being more careful and constantly cleaning your work bench will alleviate that. I eventually plan to add a compressor to the vehicle and left plenty of space to do so.


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Old 01-15-2023, 12:09 PM #6
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Yesterday was a day of repairsÖ Driving home from work on Friday I found the 4Runner to be overheating! It was odd as the temperature gauge was fluctuating pretty severely, going hot fairly fast but cooling itself back down. I never really had a problem with high temps before with this truck so this was new.

On the way home I took it through a car wash hoping to see the temps drop, but it only heated up more. I had turned the truck off to let it cool down while I vacuumed it, which helped, but it only got hot again.



I found the blasting the heater trick didnít quite work well and didnít make much of a difference. Nevertheless got it home. I hooked up my scanner and no new codes (Only codes I have are from a ďvery smallĒ EVAP leak coming from my oil catch can). But I was able to view live data and found my coolant temps in the 230-240ísÖ ouch. Quickly turned it off and began checking for the obvious. Coolant was still full, thankfully, serpentine belt appeared to be in okay condition, and only one very small apparent coolant leak coming from the back hose of the overflow tank. But no fresh coolant, it was just dried pink.

Next morning I went to Toyota and picked up a new thermostat/housing and radiator cap. Unfortunately they didnít have the little piece of hose. The hose was actually in fine shape, just looked like where it met with the radiator underneath the cap wasnít fitting the best. I resolved that with hose clamps for now.

I didnít take much pictures but replacing the thermostat was actually the easiest thing Iíve done to this vehicle. Remove the clamp from the lower radiator hose, remove the hose, take off the 3 10mm bolts holding the thermostat on, wipe everything down, repeat for the installation. Thermostat didnít appear in terrible shape but Iíll test it today with the boiling water trick, same with the radiator cap.





Got it all together and with the cap off was ready to start burping the system to see if any large bubbles couldíve been the culprit. Started the truck and heard the worst belt squeal Iíve heard in my life! After a quick inspection I found the belt was actually in bad shape and I didnít check it well enough at first. Got a new belt from Autozone, threw it on, and it worked.



Nevertheless I bled the system again with one of those cool funnel systems from Autozone which made the whole task easy (see pic below), made sure it was filled up with fresh Toyota Pink 50/50 and took it for a test drive to the grocery store. All went well and live temps stayed around 180, much better than the 230-240 earlier. Plus my heater felt like it was working way earlier and much better.




Could it have just been a bad beltÖ maybe. Radiator capÖ maybe. ThermostatÖ maybe. Regardless truck is in the 160,000 mile range and replacing those parts is just insurance at this point. I canít complain though, this truckís been good to me and the only thing Iíve ever replaced that was busted was an alternator.


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Old 01-18-2023, 08:02 PM #7
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Build It!

Nice choices. It is amazing that a 19 year old truck can still get accessories added and get out there.
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