2013 Toyota 4Runner, Equipt Edition Build


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2013 Toyota 4Runner, Equipt Edition Build

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Starting Point

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Equipt purchased a 2013 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition in February of 2013. I am Paul May, owner of Equipt, and after much deliberation I decided it was finally time to shake things up a little.

For more than a decade I have driven a 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series. I built that vehicle up to be a world capable expedition truck. It was the company show vehicle and my pride and joy. When I let it go it had 270K miles on it, and I would have had no worries at all about getting in it tomorrow and driving around the globe. An absolutely exceptional truck. I will miss it deeply. It was time for a change. I had taken the 100 as far as I could. So now we have a new platform to build on.

Why? Why a 4Runner, with all the capable platform out there? There are a lot of levels to consider here. Capability, capacity, comfort, economics, marketability, and more. I have several decades of exploring behind me now, and from that I have learned quite a bit. It has narrowed my focus on what is important to me in a vehicle. And the 5th Generation 4Runner fit that bill. Is it the be all end all vehicle? Nope. Too many subjective variables to narrow that to one vehicle. But it does check off quite a few boxes.

I really liked the size of the 100 Series. Spacious enough to carry everything, and I did. I weighed the vehicle without my camping gear in it at 6980 lbs. The we add gas, people, food, water, clothing etc. It handled it well, but that is too heavy for that size truck. So this time around I wanted to go a bit lighter and leaner. Something with a bit better fuel economy but still able to carry the gear I want. We will still have the usual suspects: protection, rack, RTT, fridge, dual batteries, etc. But hopefully the end result will be a bit more nimble and capable.

Capability: The Trail Edition platform comes stock with a bunch of weapons in its arsenal. It starts with the 1GR-FE Dual VVT-i V6 engine that generates 270 hp and 278 ft lbs of torque. A 5 speed automatic, hooked to a 2WD/4WD transfer case. It has a factory electric rear locker, A-Trac traction system, KDSS sway bar control, and Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select, and a few other goodies. It is an incredibly capable vehicle in stock form.

Capacity: The 4Runner measures 75.8" wide and 189.9" long, with a wheel base of 109.8". That is 3/4" narrower and 2-1/2" shorter than my 100 Series was, and the wheelbase is 2-1/2" shorter. Fine by me. The wheel base sweetspot for most trails in the southwest is 110". Check! The interior cargo space behind the front seats in the 4Runner is 88.8 cu. ft., 6 cu.ft. less than my 100. That is livable. Less, but not much. the 4Runner has a stock GVWR of 6300 lbs. That allows for 1550 lbs of capacity before any modification. That is actually quite good.

Comfort: When you spend as much time as I do behind the steering wheel of a vehicle, comfort goes a long way. I must be getting a bit soft as I head down the other side of the hill, but that's ok. Creature comforts are key. First of all, I fit in this truck. I am 6'4", varied weight depending on the season, and I don't fit in everything. The 5th Gen 4Runner has plenty of space for a big guy. Very close to the 100 inside. More like an 80 Series with leg room. It has all the latest do dads for sight, sound, temp, nav, bluetooth, yada yada. But the one thing, well two things, I haven't figured out is why they build this billy goat and leave out leather and seat heaters. Don't knock seat heaters til you try them. The SR5 and the Limited both offer these options, but not the Trail. We're going to fix that. :O) The ride of the 4Runner, honestly seems acceptable, and the ride height is a bit low. We're going to fix that too. :OP

Economics: With all the toys on my 100 Series, I was lucky to get 11 mpg and 10 pulling my AT Chaser. I simply chose to live in oblivion about this. Once you give up hope, you feel a lot better. With the new platform I am going to try to improve these numbers. The stock Trail boasts 22 mpg highway and 15 mpg city. I have been stuck in town since I bought it, and can attest that it does get 15 or a bit better mpg bumbling around. We'll see how it does after a few modifications. If I can keep it to around 15 mpg on the highway after all the toys, that would be a 50% increase in travel economy. I would be ecstatic about that. And I would imagine that my maintenance costs on a new truck vs. a 14 year old 270K highly modified tank might be less as well. Time will tell on that.

Marketing: I am sure you guys have already figured this out, but I run a company selling rather nice vehicle expedition equipment. Surprise! The vehicle I drive is our largest marketing platform. The 100 Series did an outstanding job of this. And as popular as that platform is, there are only so many of them. 55,000 sold from 2000 to 2007. Couldn't find the numbers for 98/99 right off, but you get the general point. And the 200 Series has sold just over 12,000 since 2008. The 5th Gen 4Runner sells over 40,000 a year, 140,000 since 2010. The platform reaches a much larger market. We have seen some incredible JK Wrangler builds, and the Tacoma is quite well known. Several other platforms have seen great work as well. But we haven't seen much done in our little niche with the 5th Gen 4Runner Trail. I am not saying I am the first to do anything on this platform. Far from it. In fact a lot of my decisions will be based on the guys out there paving the way in other forums and venues. I thank them in advance for their pioneering. What I want to show with this truck is that going bigger isn't always necessary. Been there, and I am trying to learn from it. I honestly believe this truck can be a great expeditionary platform.

Heritage: I am a Toyota guy, actually a Land Cruiser guy. Another big surprise. This part played heavily on my mind as I considered what to go with. My dream would be a 76 Series Wagon with the 4.7 Turbo Diesel. Just how many of those do you think are driving around the US. A handful at best. I have driven a couple 70s long distance. It is fun, for the first couple thousand miles. They are a handful and I love them. An the 5th Gen 4Runner is actually connect in a way. The 5th Gen 4Runner is based on the Land Cruiser Prado 150 international platform. This platform follows the Land Cruiser Prado 120 platform, that follows the Land Cruiser Prado 90 platform, that follows the Land Cruiser 70 Series. Land Cruiser run deep in the 5th Generation truck. My fanaticism is still in tact. There are some differences from what I had and what I have, I won't deny that. The doors on the 4Runner don't have that tank like "thunk" when you close them like the 100 did. I wish it had that 5.7L engine in it too. And it is a lighter vehicle, by 845 lbs curb weight. But I am confident it is going to be a great vehicle, and a lot of fun to build.

I will be making some photo comparisons in this initial post, starting and current, so everyone can see how it transforms. I will also be posting weights with modifications, so we can see what happens with each change. Some mods are cosmetic and more will be functional. I will do my best to explain my reasoning for the changes too. If you have questions on the truck, or about anything else, please feel free to contact me here, by PM or by email.

So, here we go!


Suspension Lift and Tires
OME 3" Heavy Duty Lift
BFG All Terrain TA KO 285-70R17
3/20/13, 965 miles ODO

Leather Upholstery Swap
Katzkin Black Leather, 2 rows

Eezi-Awn K9 2.2M Roof Rack
3/27/13, 1065 miles ODO

Eezi-Awn Series 2000 2.5M Awning
4/1/13, 1200 miles ODO

National Luna Dual Battery System
Blue Sea Fuse Block, Hella Fridge Outlet
4/15/13, 2000 miles ODO

Eezi-Awn K9 Stainless Steel Table and Roof Rack Mount
4/22/13, 2400 miles ODO

Eezi-Awn XKLUSIV 1400 Roof Top Tent
5/5/13, 3200 miles ODO

Rear Hatch Build Out with
National Luna Weekender 50L Stainless Fridge
Tembo Tusk Fridge Slide with Cutting Board
Snow Peak IGT Shelf
Vertical Water Solution
5/13/13, 3800 miles ODO

Slee Steps
8/29/13, 8800 miles ODO

ARB Front Bumper, Warn Winch
9/25/13, 11,500 miles ODO

National Luna Fridge Base in Tembo Tusk slide
9/25/13 11,500 miles ODO

Falken Tire Swap
285-70R17 (set of 5)
9/25/13 11,500 miles ODO

Eezi-Awn K9 Roof Rack Accessories
Shovel, Axe, Hi Lift, Fuel, etc
11/11/13 13,000 miles ODO

Seat Heater Switches
11/19/13 13,200 miles ODO

Fuse/Relay Block and Dash Switches
3/3/14 23,000 miles ODO

Composite Drawers
3/14/14 24,000 miles ODO

2 Meter HAM Radio
3/21/14 24,500 miles ODO

Rims Powder Coated Black
5/9/14 26,500 miles ODO

ARB Compressor
6/2/14 27,500 miles ODO

Auxiliary Electrical Installed
6/5/14 28,000 miles ODO

Solar Panel Connection
6/6/14 28,000 miles ODO

Communications and Navigation
6/10/14 28,500 miles ODO


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Really looking forward to this buildout. IMO, a great vehicle platform! Comfortable, capable, reliable, with TONS of potential

My 2010 Limited is now sporting an ICON lift, 33" AT's, shrockworks front bumper, and Budbuilt skids and sliders.
Cant wait to see what accessories/comforts/innovations/products Equipt comes up with to make the Runner a true trail travel worthy vehicle.

I was consistently getting, in stock form, 17mpg city and 22mpg highway.


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Can't wait to see where you take this build Paul, we were THIS <> close to picking up a 5th gen, but decided on the GX 470 (yet another Prado based truck) instead. I'm not allowed to mod that one....yet ;)


Congratulations! Looking forward to the build as well. The 4runner is an excellent choice for an overland built vehicle! I have one as well and I love it.

Also smart business move on getting the 5th gen 4runner too!


Thanks Paul for walking through the rationale. A good choice regardless, but interesting to hear your views behind the decision. As for Leather seats, a local Toyota dealer has the same truck but with leather seats. I don't know if it has the seat heater though. It is a 2011 Trail Edition.

p nut

I wasn't too crazy about the 5th gen styling, but Toyota sure got the Trail Editions right. Good luck with the build!


Paul, thanks for explaining why you chose the vehicle you did. Helps others to see that there is no one "perfect" vehicle for all people but whne you take an honest look at what you want to get out of a truck, that one will be the right one for YOU. Looking forward to see where you take this truck.


lost on the mainland
Cant wait to see
Have a 2007 FJ bought new love it but at the same time with a 4 and 8 year old and a dog its getting really really tight for camping after selling our trailer
This seems like the best comprimise vehicle in size and such we are really looking at one now big time :)

Congrats and excited to see what you do :)


Looking forward to your build Paul. I'm looking at the 5th Gen 4 runner or an LR4. That OVRLND LR4 build is going sweet, would like to see what you do to the 4 runner.