Toyota 4Runner Performance Upgrades

Toyota’s 4Runner is one of the most well-known and flexible vehicles on the road today. The 4Runner is prepared to tackle anything, as it’s tougher than beef jerky and has two locking differentials, rides like a 17th-century hay wagon, and a cast-iron skillet engine that’s ready to climb Moab from the start.

There is, however, a huge aftermarket for customized 4Runner parts. Some people prefer to customize their 4Runner to fit their usage scenario and preferences, leading to a large accessories market. Here are the finest modifications and enhancements that you can make to any Toyota 4Runner. Let’s get started.

 

Toyota 4runner Performance Upgrades

Check out the list of Toyota 4Runner Performance Upgrades

 

About the Toyota 4Runner

Toyota’s 4Runner is a compact to mid-size sport utility vehicle that has been manufactured by and for Toyota since 1984.

The legendary 4X4 off-road capability, robust body-on-frame design, and proven V6 engine performance combine to produce a ride that’s tough enough for the trails yet smooth enough for the city. With a 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity (when properly equipped), the iconic Toyota 4Runner aids you in transporting your largest toys on your weekend excursion.

The inside of the Toyota 4Runner is both spacious and well-appointed, with plenty of space for your people to relax in and travel in style. An optional sliding rear cargo deck allows you quick access to your stuff since each journey has its own set of needs. With the optional Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation system, you’ll be able to bring technology along on every excursion. The Toyota 4Runner can handle any roadblock that gets in your way so that you may have a great time without breaking the bank.

Toyota 4Runner Cold Air Intake Upgrades

The stock 4Runner intakes are fantastic, but adding aftermarket intakes and air filters makes it simpler to get the air where it belongs. A good TRD intake from the factory can be optioned on modern 4Runners, although aFe and K&N make excellent air intakes that increase airflow and add more intake roar under load.

K&N makes intakes for every 4Runner model, so whether you have a first-generation or third-generation 4Runner, you’ll be able to use one.

In all honesty, an air filter/ intake is a simple fix that doesn’t require much work. K&N produces excellent products and their filters are washable, so you won’t have to throw it away when it becomes filthy.

Installing an intake on a 4Runner is quite simple; the most challenging part is reconnecting the wiring for the mass airflow sensors and throttle body. Aftermarket intakes also enable you to exchange the air filter, providing cooler air and improved performance.

K&N 63-9034 Cold Air Intake Kit


K&N 63-9034 Cold Air Intake Kit
The K&N AirCharger 63-9034 air intake system replaces your vehicle's restrictive factory air filter and air intake housing. K&N intakes are designed to dramatically reduce intake restriction as they smooth and straighten air flow. This allows your vehicle's engine to inhale a larger amount of air than the factory air filter assembly. More air means more usable power and acceleration throughout the engine's RPM range. The 63-9034 air intake comes with a chrome topped K&N high-flow air filter and a heat shield that installs into the previous air box space. This allows cooler, denser air to be directed through a custom molded intake tube into the engine's throttle body for a guaranteed power gain. The oversized air filter can be used for up to 100,000 miles before servicing is needed depending on driving conditions. This air intake is relatively easy to install requiring only a screwdriver, pliers, socket set and several wrenches. This air intake cannot be sold in California. It is not legal for use in California or other states adopting California emission standards.
Technical Specifications:
for 2010-2019 Toyota 4Runner
4.0L V6
63 Series Aircharger Kits
Lasts up to 100,000 miles before service is required (depending on driving conditions)
Replaces entire factory air intake system
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
10-Year/Million Mile Limited Warranty
Stainless Steel / Cotton Gauze
Guaranteed horsepower gain
Free-flowing high density polyethylene tube

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Genuine Toyota Parts PTR03-89100 TRD 4R Fj Air Intake


Genuine Toyota Parts PTR03-89100 TRD 4R Fj Air Intake
The dyno-tested TRD cold air intake system creates more horsepower and torque by bringing cooler, denser air to the engine. The cold air intake features a low-restriction air filter in a special molded filter housing with an embossed aluminum top. It also incorporates a vacuum indicator that automatically indicates when the filter should be serviced. Note: This intake system is to be sold as a dealer-installed or over-the-the counter option after retail sale of the vehicle. The TRD Performance Intake may not be sold to the customer at the same time as the new vehicle and may not be financed together with the new vehicle. WARRANTY INFORMATION: TRD products are warranted for 12 months from the date of installation or the balance of the new car warranty in force at the date of installation, whichever is greater, when installed by an authorized Toyota dealer.
Technical Specifications:
for 2012 Toyota 4Runner
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

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AFE Power 54-76009 Momentum GT Pro 5R Cold Air Intake System


AFE Power 54-76009 Momentum GT Pro 5R Cold Air Intake System
The next generation of air intakes is here! aFe Momentum GT Pro 5R air intake systems use the most up-to-date engineering tools and techniques to provide you with the perfect blend of power and protection. Their one-piece sealed housing with an auxiliary air scoop is designed to eliminate the use of multiple housings and ensure the coolest air intake charge available. A urethane plug is also included for those cold-weather applications where you want to block off the auxiliary air scoop. These systems feature premium stainless steel T-bolt clamps and a 2-ply, reinforced silicone coupler at the throttle body for increased strength and durability. They also include a 5-layer washable and reusable Pro 5R air filter. Experience maximum horsepower gains, huge low-end towing power, increased torque, and a throaty, mean growl for your performance machine with the Momentum GT Pro 5R air intake systems from aFe.
Technical Specifications:
for Toyota 4Runner / FJ Cruiser
Polyethylene / Cotton gauze
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
+24 lbs
+24 HP
Sight window for easy filter inspection
39% Increased Flow

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Upgrades for Toyota 4Runner Headers

After a catback exhaust, headers are ideal for increasing engine air flow out of the system, resulting in lower backpressure, cooler exhaust temperatures, and more time spent cleaning your rims. Flowtech and Summit Racing provide high-quality headers with distinct features.

Our engine has headers to allow 4Runner to expel gases from the cylinders. The purpose of headers is to reduce backpressure in the manifold. Each cylinder now has its own exhaust pipe rather than sharing a common manifold.

After you’ve installed headers, your next steps will be to install high-flow catalytic converters, muffler deletes, and TRD exhaust tips.

The greater the flowing set of headers, the more power you receive and the greater airflow is accessible, allowing you to go offroad longer without having to worry about engine temperatures increasing.

Doug Thorley Headers THY-515-LS-C


Doug Thorley Headers THY-515-LS-C
Backed by 40-plus years of knowledge and experience, Thorley headers are designed to outflow your stock exhaust manifolds. These headers increase gas mileage and give your engine more horsepower across the entire rpm range. Their design configuration builds the most power across the rpm range, which is great for everything from street/strip performance, to towing, to steep grades. To make these headers last, Thorley made them out of durable 14-gauge mild steel with 3/8 in. thick flanges and 5/16 in. collector rings or 13 gauge stainless steel with ½ in. thick flanges and topped them off with a good looking, nickel chrome plated finish or a high temperature ceramic coating. To prevent leaks, these headers have an O-ring welded into the flange, in addition to the high-temperature gasket provided. Unless otherwise noted, these headers are designed to fit the vehicle as it came from the manufacturer. This includes components like cylinder heads, chassis, steering, motor mounts, body mounts and bushings, etc. If your vehicle is using aftermarket components, parts from other applications, or custom altered parts, then it is the installer's responsibility to verify fitment.
Technical Specifications:
for Toyota 4Runner / Hilux / Land Cruiser Prado / Toyota FJ Cruiser / Toyota Tacoma / Toyota Tundra
4.0L V6
T-304 Stainless Steel
Long tube one-piece
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
Doug Thorley Lifetime Limited Warranty
Completely Bolt In – No Cutting or Welding
Higher Performance Sound

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JBA 2035S-3 Headers Cat4ward Headers


JBA 2035S-3 Headers Cat4ward Headers
Increase your horsepower and torque with JBA Cat4ward headers! They are designed with 3/8 in. thick laser-cut flanges, mandrel-bent primary tubes, and feature JBA's patented Firecone merge collectors. They're available in either steel or 409 stainless steel and are offered in a chrome plated or high-temperature silver ceramic finish for most applications. JBA includes premium-quality mounting hardware and instructions for the installation and, unless otherwise noted, these headers are designed to fit the vehicle as it came from the manufacturer. This would include components such as cylinder heads, chassis, steering, motor mounts, body mounts, bushings, etc. If aftermarket components, parts from other applications, or custom-altered parts are used on your vehicle, it is the installer's responsibility to verify fitment.
Technical Specifications:
for Toyota 4Runner
409 stainless steel
4.0L
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
Made from high-quality materials for ultimate durability
Right for your vehicle and lifestyle
Manufactured to meet or exceed strict quality requirements

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Advance Adapters 717054-NP SlickFit Headers


Advance Adapters 717054-NP SlickFit Headers
If you've recently converted to a V8 engine, then you'll appreciate how easy it is to install Advance Adapters SlickFit headers. Designed just for V8 conversions, the headers feature 16-gauge steel tubing and 3/8 in. header flanges. Unless otherwise noted, they are designed to fit the vehicle as it came from the manufacturer. This includes components like cylinder heads, chassis, steering, motor mounts, body mounts and bushings, etc. If your vehicle is using aftermarket components, parts from other applications, or custom altered parts, then it is the installer's responsibility to verify fitment. Special warning regarding Advance Adapters painted headers only. The paint on these headers is not designed as a final finish; it is designed to protect the headers after the manufacturing process and during shipping. This paint will not withstand the high heat associated with engine break-in, nor will it withstand the heat cycles associated with any type of driving. It is recommended that this protective coating be stripped, and a high heat paint or coating designed for use on headers be applied.
Technical Specifications:
for Toyota 4Runner
Slip fit
Stainless Steel
1 5/8 in.
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Cons
Right for your vehicle and lifestyle
Designed to deliver trouble-free, consistent performance

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Toyota 4Runner Cat Back Exhaust Upgrade

The Toyota 4Runner is one of the most popular SUV on the market today. It’s robust, adaptable, and elegant, to say the least. When compared to other competitors like the Jeep Wrangler, this remains a superior choice.

You may also repair your car and improve it. How? Simply. By adding performance modifications such as a catalytic converter. While the 4Runner’s OEM exhaust system is adequate, what the market has to offer is far superior. Aftermarket exhaust systems increase horsepower and torque production, as well as make your SUV look better.

If you’re searching for the finest Toyota 4Runner exhaust system to keep your SUV cooler and more powerful, we’ve compiled a list of options below. They are the greatest exhaust systems for Toyota 4Runners, and they will undoubtedly provide you with one hell of a ride.

aFe Power MACH Force-Xp 2-1/2" to 3" 304 Stainless Steel Cat-Back Exhaust System


aFe Power MACH Force-Xp 2-1/2
aFe Mach Force XP exhaust systems are constructed of mandrel-bent stainless steel and come complete with free-flowing muffler(s), OE-style bayonet hangers, flanges, and band clamps, plus all hardware necessary for a hassle-free installation. Offered in single, dual, or quad muffler configurations, their smooth curves and large diameter tubes help reduce restriction and keep exhaust gas flowing smoothly for increased horsepower and torque. Available in cat-back, axle-back, and downpipe-back designs, almost all Mach Force XP exhausts are direct bolt-on systems that require no cutting or drilling and include all necessary hardware for a hassle-free installation. Most also include wrinkle-black powdercoated or polished 304 stainless steel tip(s) with a laser-cut stainless steel aFe power badge. Select models have carbon fiber tips with CNC-machined laser-etched inserts.
Technical Specifications:
Toyota 4Runner V6 4.0L (2010-2019)
Available with 409 or 304 stainless tubing
Single inlet/Single outlet
Includes 4" x 12" Polished Resonated Stainless Steel Tip
Fit a variety of light trucks and cars, including European models
Hi-Tuck design of specific models provide extra ground clearance when using an aftermarket suspension kit
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
Leak-free 360 degree sealing
Straight-through, free-flowing stainless steel mufflers absorb high-pitch tones producing powerful sound
Bayonet tips hold hanger bushings in place for an OE-style fit

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Flowmaster 717805 FlowFX Cat-Back Exhaust System


Flowmaster 717805 FlowFX Cat-Back Exhaust System
Flowmaster FlowFX exhaust systems are a "sound" choice for your vehicle. Delivering a moderately aggressive tone, they're built with bright 409S stainless steel tubing, and FlowFX straight-through mufflers with large cores for maximum performance and a deep sound. Many systems also include 304 stainless steel tips finished in a black ceramic coat or polished, and embossed with the Flowmaster logo. Flowmaster FlowFX exhaust systems are designed for ease-of-installation, and include all necessary parts, hardware, and detailed instructions. Choose the style, pipe size, muffler quantity and configuration for best fitment on your vehicle.
Technical Specifications:
for 2010-2020 Toyota 4Runner
304 stainless steel / 409 stainless steel
FlowFX straight-through performance muffler offers a deep powerful sound
4.0L
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
Large 3.50-inch black ceramic coated stainless steel tip for rugged looks
409 Stainless Steel construction for extra durability and improved long-term corrosion resistance

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Borla 140379 Touring Cat-Back Exhaust Systems


Borla 140379 Touring Cat-Back Exhaust Systems
Borla realizes that every driver has their own preference for the volume and character of their exhaust sound. So, if you're not happy with your factory exhaust's sound and performance, upgrade to Borla Touring cat-back exhaust systems. Made from the finest austenitic stainless steel for durability, these Touring cat-backs (and rear axle-backs) deliver more of everything! They offer increased exhaust velocity for added power and driving excitement, along with that distinctive Borla Sound of Power that's respected by motoring enthusiasts everywhere. More than a hundred configurations are available—find the model designed for your vehicle.
Technical Specifications:
for Toyota 4Runner
304 stainless steel
4.0L
Exhausts features patented, straight-through and multi-core technology to unleash hidden horsepower
Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Pros
Turbo Muffler Style
Rolled edge
Ultra-smooth mandrel bends ensure maximum flow and power

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Drivetrain Upgrades

Toyota 4runner Performance Upgrades
The next stage of a diesel engine’s evolution is after the engine and suspension upgrades, when it comes to transferring power to the ground. Suspension and superchargers with all of their bells and whistles won’t do you any good if you’re 30 miles off the road with a busted axle or a leaking transmission cooler.

Here are some of the most popular aftermarket drivetrain components, such as axles, gearing, and coolers. Let’s get this party started.

Engine/Transmission Coolers

No matter what sort of wheeling you do, if you are driving more seriously than on a fire road on a regular basis, upgrading components such as radiators, oil, and transmission coolers is a must. Engines and transmissions generate heat; if it builds up too much, it can lead to costly and time-consuming problems.

Jegs is always your pal when it comes to saving money on automotive components. It doesn’t matter what sort of part you need for your 4Runner; Jegs will most certainly have it and it will be a bargain.

Some 4Runners have oil coolers from the factory, but they all include transmission coolers. The included cooler is effective, but an improved transmission cooler will almost certainly be required if you want to engage in more serious off-roading.

Oil coolers, too, require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. It is possible to drive without an oil cooler, but off-roading puts greater strain on the entire drivetrain, so it is well worth the money.

Axles/Gearing

After that, more significant changes include gearboxes, differentials, and transmissions. Toyota 4Runners are well-equipped from the factory; however, additional might be required on occasion. When it comes to adding performance to your 4Runner while offroading, stronger axles and shorter gear ratios are a fantastic start.

Once you start going offroad, stronger axles, splines and shafts are better. They’re even better once you start upgrading axles on a drag car because the rear end may eventually burst.

The Power Tune simply plugs into the OBD port of your vehicle. It then safely optimizes the ignition spark advance, air to fuel ratios and transmission shifting for the ultimate horsepower and torque gains. This results in increased throttle response, low end torque and acceleration!

However, you don’t need to upgrade axles if your 4Runner is going to remain completely stock. However, when you get into offroading further, you should definitely upgrade the axles. 4Wheel Parts does carry upgraded axle parts for each generation of 4Runner 1984 through 2021.

In terms of brakes, the 4WD (four-wheel drive) truck SUV uses disc brakes all around. They come in a variety of sizes and mount on the front axle or rear axles. They’re smaller and intended to fit most differentials, such as the Dana 30 and 44. In general, the more splines on your axle, the more abuse it can take before repairs are required, and coupled with a Dana 60 differential, axle failure will be a thing of the past.

Once you install aftermarket axles on your vehicle, you’re no longer cruising around the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s well worth the effort and money.

Now, as for gearing, a Toyota 4Runner with stock suspensions has 3.73 gears in the front and rear differentials. 3.73 is sufficient as long as you don’t use bigger tires. Do so, and the truck’s overall gearing will be modified, resulting in a longer gear-ratio in practice.

Radial car tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers designed for All-Season use; provides exceptional grip for shorter braking distances on wet roads.

Bad for rock crawling, but good for highway driving. Because larger aftermarket wheels and tires are frequently added to modified vehicles, regearing is usually necessary.

A popular combination is 4.10 gearing with 28 inch tires. This provides more practical power at low speeds and faster acceleration, while allowing you to cruise at a reasonable speed without spinning the engine like a hamster wheel.

Where to get differential gear sets depends on your preferences. Yukon and Sierra Gears are regarded as some of the finest Toyota differential gearing manufacturers.

Tires/Wheels

The first modification you should undertake to your 4Runner is changing the tires and wheels. Even if you don’t change wheel and tire dimensions, a more aggressive tread pattern can help you get through the dirt, mud, and snow.

Compatible with Toyota Trucks SUVs: 2001-2021 Tacoma (6-Lug only), 2002-2022 4Runner, 2007-2014 FJ Cruiser, 1999-2006 Tundra, 2001-2007 Toyota Sequoia. Compatible with Lexus: 2003-2009 GX470, 2010-2021 GX460. Also compatible with 2013-2021 Ford Ranger (Requires 93.1mm to 106.1mm hubrings, not included in this listing).

You can run larger tires on stock wheels without much difficulty, but 33-inch and bigger sizes will require clearance of the wheel wells in order to fit. Wheel spacers can help somewhat with this, but you’ll run into potential wheel-bearing difficulties if you don’t.

Beadlock wheels are also an option for more demanding off-road excursions. These allow you to run lower tire pressure by effectively locking the tire bead to the rim, preventing it from deflating and losing air under deformation. On a base model 4Runner, stock wheel/tire combinations are 17-inch rims with a 31-inch tire.

When you start using bigger wheel and tire combinations, you’ll notice a significant increase in unsprung weight; this will eventually necessitate regearing the differentials, depending on the size of your chosen wheel and tire package.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Modifying My 4Runner Void my Warranty?

Strictly speaking, this only applies if you bought your 4Runner with a manufacturer's warranty. In that scenario, you may get away with roof boxes, fog lights, skid plates, and minor gear changes if you retain the stock diff and axles. Engine and suspension upgrades, on the other hand, will result in lengthy and unpleasant discussions with your insurance company if you take it to a dealer to have warranty work done.

What Generation of 4Runner is Best for Modifying?

You're looking for a 1985 4Runner, which is one of the original three-row Toyota 4Runners released. It's worth noting that you'll have to buy a mostly stock vehicle in order to legally drive on public roads in California. In this example, you'd want either the first, second or third generation 4Runners. These are old enough to have a large aftermarket parts market available, with only minor electronic problems and low prices. The newest generation of the Toyota 4Runner (known as T4) is one of the most popular vehicles in its category. There are three generations altogether, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The third-generation 4Runner is far superior to any other truck in its class if you intend on offroading and driving it regularly. All three versions, however, are extremely durable and will go offroad well beyond the point when you think you should return.

Should I Run a Supercharger on a Stock Engine?

It's all about how much extra power you require. On a completely stock engine, the Magnuson option raises the 4Runner's crankshaft horsepower to around 390 at 6 psi of boost. If you install a supercharger, make sure to include a larger radiator to keep the heat in check. The intercooler that comes with the 4Runner Supercharger Kit from Magnuson already has enough cooling capacity, but more cooling capacity never hurts.

Do I Need to Upgrade Brakes as Well?

If you add bigger wheels and tires while maintaining the same lift, you'll need greater brakes in order to stop your 4Runner safely. If you want to get better brakes, consider raising your 4Runner's suspension with larger wheels and tires, bash bars, skid plates, roof racks, and other accessories. A more aggressive pad and rotor combination will provide superior stopping power.

Conclusion

The article discusses some of the top modifications or improvements you may make to your Toyota 4Runner, regardless of manufacturer. Obviously, there are far too many to mention; instead, I’ve focused on a few of the most significant. We hope this is useful.

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