2017 4Runner Pro Build



Well after years of wanting a Tacoma to trick out, I picked up a 4Runner. I've realized several things about my needs and goals which lead to the change. First, I'm still in the process of figuring out what kind of trips I like to take - whether it's the "overland" style, moving camp every day or more of a base camp style where I find a nice remote place to base out of and go on day trips from there. This second trip style is what my dad and I did growing up but I do want to drive some of the routes found around the US so I have some learning to do there. Also, my wife and I don't have kids at the moment but intend to in the next few years so that will play a part in the decision.

Second, our current house only has a 2 car garage and I'm not about to start keeping a vehicle outside. We live in Oklahoma where high winds and hail are fairly common, so we're limited to 2 vehicles until we move. Of course this means that my adventure truck has to double as a daily driver so I'll need to keep stock handling and fuel economy at the forefront of my modifications.

Third, like I mentioned we live in Oklahoma so most large tracts of public land (rockies, appalacians, etc) are a fair highway drive away. More reason to maintain good on road characteristics.

Last, several of my outdoor hobbies are pretty gear heavy. It's not uncommon for me to bring 2-3 large duffels so I need to maintain space in the cargo area - aka no crazy built in drawer system that takes up the whole back.

So...with this in mind I decided to make the following decisions:

Pro vs other trims: The purpose of this truck is to help me get out and enjoy the outdoors. It's not a project truck that I want to spend most of my time tinkering on. Is the Pro suspension the best in the world? Nope. But I anticipate it will be fine for my purposes. The truck also comes with decent tires, the locker and electronic traction goodies so I'm free to just get out and start using it rather than feeling like I need to upgrade right out of the gate.

For now we camp in a ground tent. The runner won't fit in our garage with a rooftop and that's ok with me.

Any mods that occupy the main rear cargo area will be temporary. The truck came with the gear slider so that's one less thing to buy.

The overall build will be fairly low key. If you're here to watch the next ultimate overland build then go ahead and move along...sorry! Mods will be primarily made out of necessity and weight will be a primary concern. Last, I happen to think that 4runners look pretty awesome so I won't be doing much to change that.

Planned mods as of this date:

Rear seat covers and dog restraints. In the past the dogs have had free range of the back seats but I'd like to protect the nice 4runner ones.
Radio: I've got my ham license and would like my wife to be able to track me via apers.
Winch: planning some sort of a low profile mount, I have no desire to replace the whole bumper
Tie downs on the slide out: I do intend to have a fridge at some point but for now I just need a way to secure gear bags in case of a wreck. I don't intend to install a gear divider simply so I can retain the ability to put the seats down and have the room to sleep or for gear.


Allrighty, trip #1 is down. This was not a typical off road trip though I did spend some time on dirt/unimproved roads to get to my training location. Trip was about 600 miles and I got an opportunity to get the truck into 4wd and mess around with the terrain select. Gear load was about 200lbs on the way there and 100 on the way back, all packed in soft bags/duffles in the cargo compartment. I could definately feel the weight back there but the truck drove well - overall a great experience. That said, it did confirm my desire for seat covers. The seats are nice and comfy and I don't want to wreck them with dirty pants, knife clip in my rear pockets, etc. Also the dogs will eventually be allowed in the back seat. Weatherteks came with the truck and were greatly appreciated.


Beach Bum
These 5th Gens (4Runners in general) are easily impacted by added weight. You may find the need for heavier springs in short order. They do exceptionally well off-road in stock form and our 2018 Pro has been to Big Bend, Hidden Falls, and PINS without a care in the world. Throw some sliders on and maybe some 275's and it'll do most anything you want outside of major rock crawling. The stock TRD Pro skid plate is easily mangled so be prepared to replace that at some point. I camp inside of mine when running solo and I have left out a drawer system as well for the same reasons as you and opted for Pelican cases on the rack instead.

Recommended books for Overlanding

Crossing the Congo: Over Land and Water in a Hard Place
by Mike Martin, Chloe Baker, Charlie Hatch-Barnwell
From $30
Lone Rider
by speth Beard
From $16.39


These 5th Gens (4Runners in general) are easily impacted by added weight. You may find the need for heavier springs in short order.

Good to know, thanks - I've enjoyed reading about your build and thought processes.

I've definitely come to the conclusion that I don't like the functionality of the stock tube steps - they look cool but stick too far out so they will ultimately be replaced.
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