Toyota 4Runner Off-Road

The Toyota 4Runner stands as a testament to rugged reliability and off-road prowess, captivating enthusiasts with its formidable capabilities straight from the factory floor. With specifications boasting 9.6 inches of ground clearance, advanced 4WD systems with a locking rear differential, and the availability of aftermarket lift kits up to 3 inches, the 4Runner has cemented its place as a top choice for off-road adventures. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the essential upgrades and modifications that transform the 4Runner into an even more formidable off-road machine.

Product Disclaimer (**Warning**)

While this article provides recommendations on quality parts and accessories to upgrade your Toyota 4Runner into an elite off-road rig, please note that none of the links provided are affiliated or sponsored in any way. All product links serve as helpful references, but do your own additional research to determine what best suits your specific needs and budget.
Parts selection comes down to your personal preferences and desired off-road capabilities. Make informed decisions based on product specs and reviews. Thoroughly vet brands and shops before making purchases. Professional installation is also highly advised for certain upgrades to ensure safety and reliability.
The product suggestions in this guide are based on my personal knowledge and experience within the off-road community. However, SUV Extreme does not specifically endorse or guarantee any linked brands or parts. Conduct due diligence to select components that will get your 4Runner trail-ready while meeting your individual risk tolerance.
Use this article as an informative starting point as you transform your Toyota 4Runner into your dream rig. But always double check details and determine the best options for YOUR ultimate adventure-mobile! Exercise caution and upgrade responsibly.


Dialed Suspension for Off-Road Use

The foundation of any capable off-road vehicle lies in its suspension system. While the 4Runner comes equipped with a capable setup out of the box, enhancing it can significantly elevate its performance on challenging terrain.

Before Lifting Your Toyota 4runner Consider This Problem Of Axel Alignment

The suspension forms the basis of any capable off-roader. While stock 4Runners perform admirably off-road, upgrades here make a world of difference:

Lift Kits: Consider options like the Icon, Dobinsons, or Bilstein 3-inch lift kits paired with remote reservoir shocks for improved damping and a smoother ride over rough trails.

toyota 4runner icon lift

Adjustable Upper Control Arms: Brands like Total Chaos offer adjustable upper control arms to maintain proper alignment, ensuring optimal performance ($600).

Toyota 4Runner Adjustable Upper Control Arms

Enhanced Flexibility: Invest in locking sway bar disconnects and tubular steel bump stops to increase articulation and handle obstacles with ease.

Toyota 4Runner locking sway bar disconnects.

Articulation: Upgrading to heavy-duty tubular bump stops and installing locking sway bar disconnects enables the suspension to fully flex, increasing wheel travel for improved traction.

Tough Armor for Trail Protection

Front and Rear Bumpers

Opting for heavy-duty aftermarket bumpers is crucial both for protection and maximizing clearance. Quality steel bumpers from brands like Shrockworks, CBI, ARB, and Addicted Offroad provide unmatched approach and departure angles for tackling steep obstacles.

Key features to look for:

  • Integrated skid plates shield crucial components like oil pans, transfer cases, and front differentials from boulders and debris. Prevents punctures or leaks.
  • Robust recovery points rated for 12,000-30,000 lbs allow you to securely attach winch lines, straps, and shackles when rigging self-recoveries.
  • Many feature pre-installed LED auxiliary lights or lightbars to brightly illuminate the trail at night. Warn, Rigid, and Baja Designs are top choices.
  • Hoop/stinger designs like the CBI rear bumper (linked below) provide clearance around tow hitches and spare tires while protecting tail lights from damage.

Specific bumper recommendations:

Front – Shrockworks Standard Front Bumper ($1,275)

  • Steep approach angle for clearing obstacles
  • Integrated skid protects front axles/steering

Rear – CBI Rear Bumper w/ Tire Carrier ($1,695)

 CBI Rear Bumper w/ Tire Carrier
  • Swings away for total tailgate access
  • Carries full-size spares up to 37”

Rock Sliders: Protect Your 4Runner’s Vulnerable Areas

Rock sliders are essential protection upgrades for off-road 4Runers, shielding the vulnerable side rocker panels and underside of doors from damage on rocky trails. Quality rock sliders are typically constructed from sturdy steel or aluminum and mount securely along the length of the vehicle’s rocker panels using existing body mount locations.

Key features to look for in rock sliders:

  • Thick 3/16″ steel or 1/4″ aluminum construction to absorb impacts without damage
  • Powdercoated or aluminum finishes for durability and corrosion resistance
  • Integrated step plates to provide a stepping surface when accessing roof racks
  • Mounting plates and hardware for secure attachment to body mount locations
  • Brands like White Knuckle and CBI offer quality options

Here are some specific rock slider recommendations for the Toyota 4Runner:

White Knuckle Sliders – $715 Constructed from 3/16″ steel for durability. Includes integrated steps and mounting hardware.

CBI Offroad Rock Sliders – $599 Feature a modular design allowing for removal of steps if desired. Powder-coated finish resists corrosion.

Skid Plates: Shield Vital Underbody Components

4Runner skid plates provide an impenetrable barrier between vulnerable underbody components and debris/obstacles on the trail. Components like oil pans, transfer cases, and differentials can sustain catastrophic damage without proper protection.

Essential skid plates to consider installing:

  • Front differential and suspension skid plate: Prevents punctures to differential housing and damage to suspension components
  • Fuel tank skid plate: Guards the fuel tank from obstacles that could cause leaks/fires
  • Transmission pan skid plate: Shields the fragile transmission pan from impacts
  • Transfer case skid plate: Protects the transfer case from debris and enhances ground clearance

Reputable brands like CBI, Ricochet Offroad, and All-Pro offer durable skid options to keep vital 4Runner components safe from harm. Investing in comprehensive underside armor should be a top priority before hitting the trails!

Here are some specific Skid Plates recommendations for the Toyota 4Runner:

CBI Skid Plate Protection

Ricochet Offroad Skid Plate Set – $1,300 Includes transmission, front differential, gas tank, and transfer case skid plates. Made from 3/16″ aluminum plate.

CBI Skid System (Full Body Protection) – $1,399 Powder-coated steel plates shield front diff, gas tank, transfer case, and suspension components.

All-Pro Front Skid Plate – $359 Constructed from 1/4″ steel for maximum frontal protection. Designed for easy installation.

Advanced Electrical Systems & Lighting

Advanced Electrical Systems & Lighting Upgrading the electrical system is crucial for powering auxiliary off-road accessories and lighting equipment in your 4Runner. Here are some key upgrades:

Dual Battery Setup

Install an additional AGM auxiliary battery connected via an isolator that charges when the engine runs but provides backup power when the engine is off. Pair it with at least a 200 amp high output alternator to manage the increased load.

Cost: $500+

Solar Power System

Add solar panels to your roof rack/tent along with an MPPT controller and AGM batteries to enable multi-day dry camping off-grid. Renogy makes complete plug-and-play kits.

Cost for 400W system: $900

Light Bars and Pods

Equip KE Lighting’s 50” E-Series Pro light bar for maximum trail visibility, plus Rigid Industries SR-M Pro spot/flood combo pod lights for optimal spread. Control with wireless remote switches.

Cost: $1,400


Trusted brands like Warn offer weatherproof electric winches up to 12,000 lb. capacity, enabling self-recovery when stuck. Make sure to use wireless remote control for safety.

Recovery Gear & Storage Upgrades

Being prepared with robust recovery gear and efficient storage is vital when heading off-road in your 4Runner. This equipment enables you to tackle tough situations and carry necessary tools/supplies during multi-day overlanding trips.

Recovery Gear

  • Winches: Trusted electric winches like the Warn Zeon 12-S (12,000 lb. capacity) deliver pulling power for solo recovery when stuck. Make sure it is wireless remote compatible. Cost: $900+
  • Traction Boards: Maxtrax or T-Max boards provide increased grip in mud/sand by placing under drive wheels when stuck. Made of durable lightweight plastic. $299
  • Tree Straps: High-strength straps like those offered by Factor 55 allow you to attach your winch line to trees safely without causing damage. $60+
  • Snatch Blocks: These pulley blocks effectively double the pulling force of your winch, very useful in recovery situations. Affordable option from Smittybilt. $130
  • ARB High Lift Jack: The gold standard in farm jack recovery tools for 4×4 thanks to their versatility and lifting power. $150+

Storage Upgrades (As per your needs prices are only estimations)

  • Bed Drawers: Roll-out truck bed drawers from Decked allow organized storage for tools, recovery boards, and camping gear with heavy-duty construction. $1549+
  • Roof Top Tents: Get off the ground and sleep above your 4Runner in a hardy, spacious rooftop tent from brands like Tuff Stuff. Great for overlanding trips. $1200+
  • Fridge Freezers: ARB’s rugged portable fridge/freezers powered by 12V or 110V keep food/drinks ice cold in your 4Runner for days off-grid. 45L capacity. $1055

The Ultimate in Performance

The Ultimate in Performance Take your 4Runner’s off-road performance to the next level with these upgrades:

Supercharger Kit

Boost horsepower over 50% with a CARB-legal Magnuson TVS 1900 supercharger kit. Delivers 500+ HP for insane power delivery off-road.

Cost: $7,500 installed.

Long Travel Suspension Kit

Icon Vehicle Dynamics 3.0” lift kit upgrades suspension to long travel FOX 2.5 shocks with reservoirs and icon delta joints for extreme articulation off-road.

Cost: $3,500+ (Also Mentioned Above in Lift kits Section)

Front & Rear Diff Lockers

Differential lockers like ARB’s Air Lockers mechanically lock axles for 100% traction. Control on-demand via in-cab switches. Critical for hardcore rock crawling.

Cost $1,300 Front+Rear


The Toyota 4Runner is a versatile and capable off-road platform straight from the factory, but with the right upgrades and modifications, its potential is truly unleashed. Whether you’re navigating rocky trails, traversing sandy dunes, or conquering muddy terrain, these enhancements will elevate your 4Runner into the ultimate off-road machine. Dream big, explore further, and embark on unforgettable adventures with your customized Toyota 4Runner.

Cost Breakdown

Cheap Build (Basic Upgrades):

Lift Kit & Suspension:

  • 2″ budget boost lift spacer kit – $300
  • Extended shocks – $500

Armor & Protection:

  • Affordable steel front bumper – $400
  • Stock sliders/running boards – $0
  • DIY skid plates – $200


  • Auxiliary lights wiring – $100
  • Extra battery – $200

Recovery Gear:

  • Winch-compatible steel front bumper – $600
  • Tow straps/gloves/basic recovery – $200


  • Cargo nets/tiedowns – $100
  • Roof racks – $300


  • Upgrade stock tires to 31″-33″ A/T tires – $1200

Total Cheap Build: $4,100

Intermediate Build:

Lift Kit & Suspension:

  • Bilstein or Eibach 3” lift kit – $2,000
  • Extended reservoir shocks – $800

Armor & Protection:

  • Steel front/rear bumpers – $2,500
  • Rock sliders – $750
  • Ricochet skid plates – $1300


  • Upgraded alternator & extra battery – $600
  • Light bar + 4 pod lights – $1200

Recovery Gear:

  • 12,000 lb winch – $850
  • Max Trax, tree straps, shackles, gloves – $500


  • Decked bed drawers system – $1500
  • Rooftop tent – $1200


  • Upgrade to 33-35” all-terrain tires – $1600

Total Intermediate Build: $13,800

Elite Build (High-End Upgrades):

Lift Kit & Suspension:

  • Icon 3-4” lift kit – $3000
  • King remote reservoir shocks – $2000

Armor & Protection:

  • CBI full steel bumper set – $4000
  • CBI rock sliders – $1000
  • Ricochet full skid plate set – $1700


  • Dual battery setup + 200amp alternator – $1200
  • 52″ light bar + 8 LED pods – $2000

Recovery Gear:

  • Warn 16.5ti winch – $1500
  • Full recovery kit with traction boards – $1200


  • Decked weatherproof bed drawers – $2000
  • James Baroud foldout rooftop tent – $3500


  • Re-gear differentials for 37s – $2000
  • Upgrade to 37″ mud terrain tires – $3000

Total Elite Build: $29,100

Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

CategoryCheap BuildIntermediate BuildElite Build
Lift Kit & Suspension
– Lift Kit$300$2000$3000
– Extended Shocks$500$800$2000
Armor & Protection
– Front Bumper$400$2500$4000
– Rock Sliders$0$750$1000
– Skid Plates$200$1300$1700
– Wiring$100$0$0
– Extra Battery$200$600$1200
Recovery Gear
– Winch$600$850$1500
– Tow Straps$200$500$1200
– Cargo Accessories$100$0$0
– Roof Racks$300$0$0
– Tire Upgrade$1200$1600$3000

Also Check – Transforming Toyota Highlander into a Capable Off-Road Vehicle (My Toyota Highlander Off-Road Build)

Prices may vary depending on specific products, installation costs, and additional customizations, but this breakdown provides a realistic budget for creating the ultimate overland Toyota 4Runner. Embark on your journey with confidence and experience the thrill of off-road exploration like never before.

Popular Real Life Toyota 4runner off-road builds:

From Yota Xpedition
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From TFLoffroad
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