TOYOTA 4Runner Overland Builds

Toyota 4Runner overland, the perfect basecamp vehicle build

The 5th gerneration Toyota 4Runner is one of the most built overland vehicles on the market for a few reasons; they are affordable and reliable, with several build options available. In the following paragraphs, we’ll go over all pros and cons of the vehicle to give you a good idea for your custom Toyota 4runner build. 

The 4Runner is an extremely capable rig that will last you for many years. Although this platform does have its cons, there are plenty of pros that we like and why we built one as a company vehicle. We’ll go through why we like the platform and sometimes steer our clients toward the GX460 and Land Cruiser 200 platforms.

Let’s start with the pros. With aftermarket parts and options available for your build, the Toyota 4Runner and the Toyota Tacoma have the most choices available for aftermarket options. In theory, less custom work is needed to build what you want, meaning you’ll have less invested in the finished product. 

Like any platform, there are quality and less desirable manufacturers with great marketing departments to keep them in business. Our job for our clients is to provide quality options and work within your budget to build your one-off rig. As a client, we’ll go through the entire build with you to ensure everything meets our standards for a true one-off.

Suspension: A well-equipped suspension is usually the starting point of our 4runner overland builds. The goal is to plan the suspension based on the final build layout and work backward. If you build in phases, it is important to think about your phase III or IV while working on phase I. This mindset will save you money in the long run and make you happier with the overall product. Every one of our builds will come with a quality issue-free suspension setup to retain a quality ride and provide a great off-road vehicle.

Front Bumper & Rear Bumper/Carrier, Sliders & Skid Plates: There are several front and rear bumpers options. It is important to keep weight in mind, and we do our best to install aluminum front bumpers and consider aluminum skid plates to keep weight down. Weight in the rear does not affect the vehicle as much, but you still need to be careful. A good set of sliders is recommended in our phase I builds, depending on the planned use of the build.

All rear carriers will have some give in the swing arms, but too much will cause instability in the vehicle, like a trailer walking on you. There are ways to mitigate this, and it is done with a quality rear carrier and a well put together suspension based on the weight of your overland vehicle.

DriveTrain: With the added weight and tire size, re-gear is highly recommended for this platform. Other options are an axle swap in the rear and a supercharger which suit most Toyota platforms very well.

Accessories: Exterior lighting can get out of hand quickly, and there are a few takeaways to keep in mind. Whether going with an LED light bar or an LP6 from Baja Designs, you don’t need several to get the job done. We do like to have forward and reverse lights down low, as well as rock lights for wheel placement and camp.

A roof rack and drawer system will provide adequate storage for the 5th gen 4runner builds. Remember the glaring payload issue with the drawer system as more weight is added. Remember that slats running north to south will have less wind noise for the roof rack than those running horizontally. Garage clearance is another thing to factor in, as there are 3 or 4 manufacturers that we like and will factor into the build for our clients.

In Summary, The 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner is a great platform to build on as long as you understand the GVWR constraints. These vehicles tend to feel overloaded quickly and get heavy rather quickly. To do it right, more weight means more modifications which means more to make it feel right.. That being said, it’s a great platform, and we build plenty of them.