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Old 06-17-2020, 01:37 PM #1
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Is there a way to improve 5th gens "feel" of the road?

The stock 5th gen has very poor steering feel of the road, so its relatively easy to accidentally sway into other lanes.

I LOVE the 4Runner, but its my biggest complaint of the vehicle as it really could be a safety issue. If this could somehow be improved, I would invest a lot in order to do so.

My understand it the height is factor that causes this, (and of course the engineering in all the linkages) and it may be impossible to really improve it.

But I thought i would ask those who might be mechanically inclines and know the intricacies of this stuff.
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:52 PM #2
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Sounds like a driver issue more than a car issue. Tires, alignment, and road condition all play into what you're experiencing. Never had an issue with the car tracking weird and feeling like I'm going to end up in another lane.

If you want to "invest a lot" just buy a different car that doesn't do that when you test drive it.
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:53 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_dixon View Post
The stock 5th gen has very poor steering feel of the road, so its relatively easy to accidentally sway into other lanes.

I LOVE the 4Runner, but its my biggest complaint of the vehicle as it really could be a safety issue. If this could somehow be improved, I would invest a lot in order to do so.

My understand it the height is factor that causes this, (and of course the engineering in all the linkages) and it may be impossible to really improve it.

But I thought i would ask those who might be mechanically inclines and know the intricacies of this stuff.
after market upper and lower control arms. i noticed an improvement after installing icon uppers, then later on dirt king lowers and noticed a more significant increase in steering feel (and weight). of course the most important part is a good alignment
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:08 PM #4
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sounds like you could use some more caster in your alignment. The strange thing about the 4runner is that the "factory spec" that is available to alignment technicians is +2.5 degrees. This is too low for this vehicle, and will cause it to wander all over the place. Many places will try to aim for the factory specs so that the out-of spec fields on their alignment printout will turn from red to green. They won't just aim for higher caster unless you specifically ask.

Most of us aim for 3.5 to 4 degrees of caster. This keeps it from feeling twitchy on the highway (requiring lots of inputs and corrections)

If you can't get a good alignment because of a lift, aftermarket upper control arms have additional caster built in to their geometry. This will make it easier to get the caster that we all like. If you're not lifted (or even if you are), and excellent technician will be able to get satisfactory results with the OEM UCAs.

The difference is night and day. Whenever I've driven a 4runner that isn't mine, it's back to that same old twitchy feeling.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:24 PM #5
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If the 4Runner is stock, get alignment and request 3.5 degrees caster. This improves self centering.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:24 PM #6
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If you are used to a 4 wheel independent suspension on a modern day SUV, a body on frame vehicle like the 4Runner with a solid rear axle and additional height will not feel nearly as in control. It shouldn't wander like that though unless it is windy.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:32 PM #7
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I felt that the handling improved after a tire chance to Falken Wildpeaks 265/70.

I felt that the handling improved even more after having the Eibach Pro Truck Kit installed. Still using the factory UCAs @ 2.8 degrees of caster.

No wobble, less cornering lean, no (or so much less that i can't notice it) brake dive.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:42 PM #8
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As other have said, upgrading suspension (including UCAs) should give you the stability you're looking for. I noticed a huge difference in stability, body roll, nose dive... driveability in general.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:57 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llDemonll View Post
Sounds like a driver issue more than a car issue. Tires, alignment, and road condition all play into what you're experiencing. Never had an issue with the car tracking weird and feeling like I'm going to end up in another lane.

If you want to "invest a lot" just buy a different car that doesn't do that when you test drive it.
H, I expected some answer like "there is no problem" but the issue isn't wandering. My 4runner drives straight as an arrow. I can even take my hands safety off the wheel momentarily and on a smooth highway it drives straight.

Its FEEL of the road - as in literally, you can feel the pull of the road on your steering wheel. If you want to see what feel "feels" like, go drive an Audi, BMW X3, Porsche or Volkswagon. Now that said, I would never expect to get to that level in a 4runner. Lol just seek improvement here. Here is the example, albeit dangerous to help explain feel. And even this might not help someone might be able to explain it better.....
At 60 MPH on an open road close your eyes. (although i dont recommend this). How long can you keep your eyes closed before you feel unsafe, or you don't know where you are in spacial perception? In a 4runner, since there is no road feel, its practically immediate. In contrast, in my Audi I could, in theory, close my eyes for 4-5 seconds and know where my car is in space on the lane for that duration. (only an insane person would go longer haha - its just an example folks!)
Not trying to get into a debate about this, you either know what i am talking about or dont. (Or have no experience yet with driving vehicles with perfect feel of the road) Any old racers in here? :-)


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Originally Posted by Smitty19TRD View Post
If the 4Runner is stock, get alignment and request 3.5 degrees caster. This improves self centering.
excellent. I will investigate this option on if impacts on what i am looking for. again, its not alignment or play in the wheel.

And suspension upgrades makes sense, i would love to test drive a nice test up. Thanks ALL!!
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:05 PM #10
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I would check the simple things before "investing a lot" .
1. Over-inflated tires can give you that "driving on marbles" feeling at HWY speeds.
2. Uneven tire pressures will affect handling--are all 4 tires inflated to the same pressure?
3. Mismatched tires with different tread patterns will affect handling.
4. Worn tires mixed with newer (more tread) will affect handling.
5. Check for loose lug nuts.
6. Jack up front end and check for excessive play-grab tire at top and bottom and try to wiggle it.

I'm sure there are other things. I'm cheap and would look for the inexpensive things first. BTW- I really don't notice any stability problems in my stock 2016 SR5.
P.S. Just saw you post above on "road feel". I don't think you will get the "road feel" in a 4Runner you get with a performance sedan with tuned suspension.

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Old 06-17-2020, 03:07 PM #11
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And even this might not help someone might be able to explain it better.....
Quoting myself, as i did a search and found people explaining it way more. ANd the analogy is way better than my terribly unsafe example. ;-)

hyundai - what is exactly steering feedback? - Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange

In auto parlance at the high end its called "Dynamic steering"
Dynamic steering varies the steering ratio by nearly 100 percent as a function of driving speed and the setting in the Audi drive select system in which it is integrated. Transitions are continuous and practically imperceptible.

This both makes the car feel more sporty at higher speeds and safer, while also making it easier to do things like parallel park or make a u-turn. Instead of trying to achieve the perfect balance of steering ratio and power steering assistance, these cars can vary it to give you the best of both worlds.

Hope that helps. Basically the 4Runner is poor at "steering feedback" and has no dynamic steering - this is what i want to improve as best I can for the near "perfect" vehicle
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:07 PM #12
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How long have you owned your 4Runner? Have you changed out the super soft Charmin shocks yet?

That's one of the first things I did and made a drastic improvement in road manners.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:09 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_dixon View Post
H, I expected some answer like "there is no problem" but the issue isn't wandering. My 4runner drives straight as an arrow. I can even take my hands safety off the wheel momentarily and on a smooth highway it drives straight.

Its FEEL of the road - as in literally, you can feel the pull of the road on your steering wheel. If you want to see what feel "feels" like, go drive an Audi, BMW X3, Porsche or Volkswagon. Now that said, I would never expect to get to that level in a 4runner. Lol just seek improvement here. Here is the example, albeit dangerous to help explain feel. And even this might not help someone might be able to explain it better.....
At 60 MPH on an open road close your eyes. (although i dont recommend this). How long can you keep your eyes closed before you feel unsafe, or you don't know where you are in spacial perception? In a 4runner, since there is no road feel, its practically immediate. In contrast, in my Audi I could, in theory, close my eyes for 4-5 seconds and know where my car is in space on the lane for that duration. (only an insane person would go longer haha - its just an example folks!)
Not trying to get into a debate about this, you either know what i am talking about or dont. (Or have no experience yet with driving vehicles with perfect feel of the road) Any old racers in here? :-)




excellent. I will investigate this option on if impacts on what i am looking for. again, its not alignment or play in the wheel.

And suspension upgrades makes sense, i would love to test drive a nice test up. Thanks ALL!!
You bought the wrong vehicle my friend. Your 5th gen is sitting on an ancient chassis with outdated technology. No suspension upgrade, tire choice or modification will change that. It's a pig of truck to drive on pavement and why Im surprised people buy and use this thing for daily use. Every time I drive my car Im reminded of this.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:34 PM #14
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Well my Audi (2001) is 16 years older than my truck and feels a lot better so I think its more engineering and components than tech. ;-) But yeah to have the priveladge of two vehicles would be great!
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:36 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMTAZ View Post
I felt that the handling improved after a tire chance to Falken Wildpeaks 265/70.

I felt that the handling improved even more after having the Eibach Pro Truck Kit installed. Still using the factory UCAs @ 2.8 degrees of caster.

No wobble, less cornering lean, no (or so much less that i can't notice it) brake dive.
Got the Falken's, now I need to do the Eibach kit. Next on my list!
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