It has been over 6 months since my last
update and the 4Runner is still chugging along with 314000 miles on
Been doing some light off-roading and a lot of weekend errands in
the 4Runner and as far as the shocks go they were worth the price of
admission. With the shock upgrade the 4Runner may be our best
riding car, besting my 2010 328i Coupe when it comes to handling the
pavement bumps. The shocks really cleaned up the body roll so the
4Runner feels very smooth and controlled on-road. Off-road the
shocks soak up the bumps very well and have virtually
eliminated any hint of the suspension bottoming out at moderate
speeds to high speeds. I would honestly say the driver runs out of
skill before the truck runs out of suspension which is what you want
in an upgrade like this.
The next upgrade was a complete set of
lower skid plates from Savage Off-Road. Our 4Runner was
missing all the stock skid plates making the radiator a juicy target
for rocks so this is a long overdue upgrade.
After brushing on some gloss black
rustoleum paint we installed the skid plates starting from the back
and moving forward. The only issues to note were needing to
remove a few of the brackets hanging off the stock transfer case to
clear the rear skid plate. We also had some difficulty getting the
slots on the front skid plate to line up with the factory cross
member holes. I ended up having to leave one bolt out.
Overall I feel a lot better about taking the 4Runner off-road
now that the radiator, steering rack, steering hoses, oil pan,
transmission pan and transfer case are shielded.
The next project was a light duty roof
rack. After a lot of research and weighing build vs. buy I ended up
purchasing this universal
Rola cargo basket from E-trailer.com for two reasons. Reason
number one was cost: at $184.95 shipped to my door this rack was
easily the most economical solution out there. Reason number
two was the option to easily extend the rack another 18" if desired
this off the shelf extension. The base rack itself measures 52"
long x 40.5" wide x 6" deep, ships as two pieces which slide
together and is rated for 130lbs. The optional extension
installs in the middle of the two base components. These dimensions
set it perfectly over the 4Runners stock roof rails side to side and
between the sunroof and rear gate front to rear. If you have
no sunroof or cut a 2 bars you could have the extension overhang the
factory sunroof if desired.
Rola basket comes with mounting brackets which allow you to clamp
the basket to the factory cross bars. MY 4Runner didn't come
with the factory cross bars and I didn't want the cargo basket
mounted that high anyway so a different solution was in order. After
some mock up work I determined I wanted the basket approximately 1"
above the roof.
My mounting bracket solution came from
Channel adapter set #CH100 includes 4 of the above mounting
brackets and hardware to interface with the cargo channel on the
roof of the 4Runner. The link is to Amazon but they can also be
found on E-bay for roughly $50 for a set of 4.
These brackets line up pretty close to
the lower bar of the cargo basket so they will work with a few
The stock angle on the bracket is
roughly 60 degrees. I cut the welds almost all the way thru
and bent the bracket so it is 90 degrees to the table. Next I
trimmed off the top of the bracket so the overall height is 1".
Next, I welded a piece of 1 x 1 steel
angle to the top of the Surco bracket to create a ledge for the
basket to sit on. The angle was positioned with the vertical
face on the inside for appearance. Either way the piece of angle
fully supports the weight of the basket and prevents the basket from
moving side to side so I just needed to add some hose clamps to hold
the basket down. This setup allows you to install 8 clamps,
one on each side of each bracket. To make them look cleaner I
installed some black shrink tubing over the exposed section of the
The finished product is low and rock
solid for a budget of under $250.