The Toyota 4Runner was originally introduced in 1984 as a spinoff of the Japanese version, the Hilux Surf. In its infancy, the 4Runner was basically a Toyota pickup with a fiberglass shell over the bed. Over the years and five major redesigns, the current model 4Runner really only shares one major facet from its original design: the name. Today, the 4Runner can be classified as a mid-size SUV available in several trim packages and engine choices. This widely popular vehicle is mostly served to the general public as a stylish commuter with some leg room and storage space for getting the kids to soccer practice and loading groceries.
For 2014 model years, Toyota released an optional TRD Pro Series package to appeal to the offroading community. And while this package has some styling cues and basic upgrades to better outfit this 4Runner for very mild offroad use, it still leaves plenty to be desired for most that would have interest in a TRD model.
In our latest Zero 2 Hero build, we took one of these docile 2014 4Runners that could easily blend in with the crowd, and transformed it with some easy to install upgrades for a better appearance and suspension prowess. At the center of this build is an ICON Vehicle Dynamics Stage 1 Suspension System. While this kit may be dubbed a Stage 1, it by no means compares in any regard to a typical “lift” one would find at your local tire store. At the front, the vehicle gains some altitude from a set of ICON’s custom valved 2.5 adjustable coilovers. These are not only responsible for raising the front end for additional ground and tire clearance, but also deliver an astounding difference in ride quality, both on and offroad. To assist with proper axle movement in the front, a simple pair of sway bar drop brackets are slid in between the mounting points of the factory sway bar.
In the rear, the theme of altitude and ride quality is continued with a pair of ICON’s own custom wound 2” coil springs and 2.0 shocks. The coils lift the vehicle 2” over factory to provide a level stance when paired with the front adjustable coilovers. Further, these coils completely complement the V.S. 2.0 Aluminum shocks that ICON has precisely tuned for the weight and articulation of the 4Runner.
To finish off the suspension, we opted to add in a set of Camburg’s Performance Balljoint Upper Control Arms. When lifting nearly any vehicle, it is imperative to add additional caster for correct steering geometry. The best way to do this is by replacing the upper arms, plus these arms will also deliver increased wheel travel to better mate with the ICON front coilovers. Many may wonder why we opted for an upper arm that reused the factory balljoint, as opposed to a uniball style arm. The answer was simple on this build. This specific 4Runner is going to see considerably more pavement than trail, and uniballs, while being notable stronger than balljoints, can have a tendency to being noisy and sticky if not properly lubed on a regular basis. This coupled with the fact that this generation of 4Runners received substantially stronger balljoints than previous years, we felt that these arms were the right choice for this particular vehicle.
Finally, you can’t go to the dance if you’re not wearing the right shoes. A set of BFGoodrich All Terrain tires were wrapped on four ATX black simulated beadlock wheels to give this Toyota the appearance and aptitude of trail use, even when picking up the kids from soccer.