My 5th Gen 4Runner project


I have finally done enough things to my 4Runner to warrant a build thread I suppose. I've pulled a ton of info from this forum and others, so this will be my effort to share a little of my own experiences and ideas. It's mostly finished now so it's going to be more of a history of things I added.
This should start though, with a farewell to the '87 that the 5th gen replaced. The 22re had given up and I didn't have time to fix it. It was about time for an upgrade anyhow. This is the most recent picture of it though, the day I dropped it off at my buddies shop, after selling it to him. You'll be happy to know that it is currently in the shop receiving a new engine and should be back on the road shortly.

I found a 2010 Trail edition in Colorado Springs, with 30k on the clock in Mag Grey with Nav and backup camera. The dealer had just installed a 3" toytec ultimate and said they would pick me up from the Denver Airport...on my way home from Offshore. So I picked it up in Oct. '13

This was just fine for the winter, other than the tires, so I rolled with it until the following spring. Where I added a Shrockworks bumper and sliders on group buy
At that point I also splurged on some Vision X light cannons to put on the bumper.

Oh and somewhere in there came the Duratracs in 285/70 17, not really sure when though.
That summer I pretty much just went for it, and completed what I will call phase 1 because it wasn't until recently that I really did much else to the truck
I picked up a used Gobi stealth off the forums with an ARB awning attached and prewired for lights. Also, splurged and got an ARB simpson III Roof Tent that had only been slept in a couple times. Final addition to this round was a Zero Dark Lighting 40" curved bar which is still kickin it strong as ever almost 2 years later.

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Some sort of lost...
Nice looking 4Runner. Been thinking about one for my wife, but with the way the oil and gas industry is right now I'm not spending any more money for a while.


In that form we took it on many trips all over Colorado and Utah. I was temporarily staying in Denver with my girlfriend during my off time and all my Tools are in Houston. So I was somewhat limited on what I could really get into.
But we just moved down to Houston a couple months ago and having been reunited with my tools I entered into a second wave of mods to include:

Dual Battery
Fuse relay box constructed a year prior
Switch panel for lights
Spoiler mounted rear lights
Whynter fridge, with dedicated 10g circuit from Aux batt.
Interior LEDs
Warn winch off an old truck that wasn't being used.

I started with the extremely useful thread in the 12v section on expo
How to make a cheap isolated dual-battery setup for $50 - Expedition Portal

I had already made my own bussman fuse relay box, which is super easy if you have even the slightest DC inclinations.
I had also purchased a Cole Hersee intelligent solenoid, which I supplemented with wire and fuses from West Marine. (there happens to be one across the street from my house)
Coupled with my Wiring diagram that I drew up, I was ready to go.

A note on the flush mount LEDs pictured; I had initially intended for them to go in the bumper, however, the rear cross member is in the way, and there doesn't appear to be enough clearance, so I ended up just sticking with the spoiler mounts and the flush mounts are just sitting in my tool room. For now.
Anyway, first up was the Dual batt. I used factory holes and bolts to mount everything under the hood. I placed my Disconnect on the passenger side just behind the air box, and the Fuse/Relay box just below that. I even found some sweet terminal mounted fuses at West Marine, a little expensive, but super clean install and reduce the need for another length of wire and connectors.

For the aux battery mount, I used the Budbuilt battery tray. I think it was north of $100 but it bolts right in using existing holes and hardware, relocates the power steering reservoir, and is very well made. Bomber product for sure.

So with the Dual batteries all good to go, and the Auxiliary box in place, I set to running wires to the back of the truck. Now this is where my photo documentation skills failed me, but if you recall I installed my fuse/relay box on the passenger side of the truck intentionally. Reason being, there is a firewall penetrator right there, and it is a straight shot back to the passenger side or the cargo bay, where the existing outlets are, and where I intended to mount the fridge. Just made sense. So I only had to run one cable from the auxiliary box across the firewall to the drivers side for the switch wires, and one power wire for the light bar, since it's wires run down the driver side weather stripping. To the back I ran 4 12g wires and 1 duplex 10g. I only needed one 10g circuit and the 10g duplex is cheap. I also picked up a spare 12v outlet from west marine for the fridge circuit and installed it in the factory outlet panel.

I removed the spoiler, for some reason expecting the back side of it to be hollow...not the case. So out came the dremel. I cut access holes, initially just to backup the nuts for the mounting bolts, but then It occurred to me that it would be better to notch the spoiler and slip the bracket through from inside for a much more solid mount. Admittedly this took a little gusto, as you kind of have to get it right.

From here I moved onto the switch panel, of which I don't really have very many pictures, but it really isn't anything special. I totally ripped off the mounting spot from 10 other build threads. Primary difference is I only have the need for 3 switches right now. In the future I may have a 6 switch panel there if the need arises. Switches are from OTRATTW who have limitless options for graphics and labels.

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From here I moved onto the winch install.

At this point I would like to make a brief interlude with a side story as it involves the origin of the winch.
When I was a kid my father had a '79 Chevy short bed pickup. It was silver and had a fleet side bed, but he called it Old Yeller, because in it's original form it had been Yellow, and a step side. He sold it in 2001 or 2 and immediately regretted it. He loved that truck and always talked about how much he wished he never sold it.
One day I was driving through Montrose, Co and I saw this sitting on the side of the road for sale.

Being that I owe everything in the world to my father, I couldn't pass the opportunity up. '79 step side with 75k original miles, fresh crate motor for a great price. It does however have about a 3-4 inch lift, with 35s, 4.56 gears and detroit lockers front and rear. Oh yea, and a warn 12k winch. Now My father has never had any interest in such things and has always expressed his feelings that tall trucks and big tires are "stupid". Fortunately I know how to turn a wrench and plan on returning it to stock for him as soon as we have the time.
For those interested in how it played out, we parked it on the side of the road with a For Sale sign on it that was basically just a happy birthday note to him and drove by. He of course noticed it and said "Hey look!!! That's just like old yeller and it's for sale, turn around quick!"
Tears ensued.
At any rate being that I bought him a truck, and he didn't want or need the winch anyway, he gave it to me. So the way I see it, I bought a really expensive winch that came with an awesome truck that was admittedly difficult to hand the keys over. That thing is so ************ and fun to drive.
One more next to the runner.

On to the winch install. I pulled the winch off Old Yeller. They had tac welded the bolts heads so I used the dremel to break the tacs, then just got new bolts. I have read that it isn't possible to mount a winch in the Shrockworks bumper without removing it, but I found it much easier to simply remove the grill and a couple brackets behind the grill, and drop the winch in from the top. Piece of cake really. The biggest obstacle was a low pressure power steering line which for some inexplicable reason takes the strangest route through the bumper area. A little persuading of the tubing this way and that, and the winch fits right in, no problem.
So again to correct some of the misinformation on this forum; Not only is it possible but extremely easy to install a winch in a Shrockworks bumper without removing it.

This shows the clearance between the hood latch mounting bracket, the nefarious power steering line, and the winch. Not an abundance of room to spare, but it does fit and the control module for this winch does not separate. One with a removable control module would be a breeze.

Next time you're sad, just plastidip some shackles

All done!

Loaded up and ready to go.

Just utilizing the factory cargo tray for now, but it's pretty flimsy.
All the work in this post occurred over the course of 3 days working solo. I think I could have been done quicker but I took my time with the tedious stuff as I wanted it to be dialed. It certainly isn't the cleanest, or most precise build, but it is extremely functional and at the end of the day, we are really more about getting out there in the rig and enjoying it for what it is built for.

A well earned beer at the end of this phase of the project. Don't hate, I've been feeling the creme ales lately.

At the end of all this we left out of Houston on a 10 day road trip back home to Colorado. That really is entirely another thread but here are some teasers.

Not sure when I will start the next phase of the build since winter is coming up and we tend to focus on skiing. But I'm not done yet. Phase 3 will be a full cargo system in the back, Camburg upper control arms in the front, Air compressor, and maybe some 4.56 gearing. The gears were at the forefront in Colorado with all the mountain driving, but now that we are down here in the flat lands of Texas, they have been back burnered. I would actually go as far as to say the truck is almost "quick" down here.

Till next time,

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It was brought to my attention over on the 4runner forum that my pictures weren't showing up. I fixed them so hopefully this is a little better.

Thanks for looking.


Nicely done! I'm just getting started with mine and it will follow a similar path as yours just not as quickly. 3 days? Damn!


Nicely done! I'm just getting started with mine and it will follow a similar path as yours just not as quickly. 3 days? Damn!
Oh, just the dual battery, Aux box, wiring, switches, rear lights and winch were done in three days. The bumper, s;iders, rack and tent took place over the course of a few months the previous year. Kind of seems to move in waves.

Awesome build. Really like the rear spoiler mounting

Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk
Thanks. I heard the spoiler cast a shadow with rack mounted rear facing lights, rendering them somewhat useless. So I came up with a way to mount them under the spoiler. Pretty stoked on the end result. Now if I could just figure a way to get the flush mounts in the bumper for better ground coverage I would be dialed.


Color me impressed. That is one fantastic looking 4Runner you have there. I'm a huge fan of the 5th gen as an overland/touring platform. Nice to see one being built up so nice.


New member
What size is your whynter fridge? I'm debating on the 45 vs the 63 for my 4Runner and it looks like yours fits perfect.