The finish line is in sight as we wrap up our 2022 Toyota 4Runner build with CSF. We’ve come a long way and have addressed nearly every aspect of our 5th-gen Lime Rush TRD Pro, from basic engine bolt-ons to serious off-road suspension and safety upgrades. You can review our progress here:
As we enter Part 6 and the final week before the rig’s official debut at the Pit+Paddock Cars & Coffee: Overland Edition presented by CSF, there are only a handful of items left on our to-do list, which include PowerStop brakes, Titan 7 wheels, Nitto tires, and custom rock sliders.
PowerStop Z36 Truck & Tow Brake Upgrade Kit
Brakes are often an overlooked upgrade when it comes to almost any vehicle. While you might not think of off-roading as taxing on a braking system, you’d be sadly mistaken. On top of needing to control our speed going down hills, we also need to consider all the additional weight we tacked on, such as our metal front bumper replacement. Throw in some oversized tires, and we’re looking at a much heavier rig for those stock brakes to slow down, which ultimately affects our stopping distances and safety.
While the 4Runner TRD Pro’s factory rotors aren’t terrible with a 13.3-inch front and 12.3-inch rear, there’s still room for improvement. Stepping up to a full big brake upgrade can cost upwards of $2,000, so we decided that the best solution would be an affordable aftermarket rotor and pad setup. We consulted our friends at PowerStop, and they recommended their Z36 Truck & Tow Performance brake kit.
The Z36 series kit comes with drilled/slotted rotors that provide extra cooling capacity by dissipating heat faster (via the drill holes) while keeping the pad surface clean, ensuring good contact with the pads for consistent performance (via the slots). In addition, the zinc plating on the rotors helps protect them from corrosion and rust. Paired with carbon fiber ceramic pads, the carefully engineered upgrade improves stopping power, reduces fade, and cuts down dust levels. PowerStop also includes new stainless steel shims and clips in their Z36 kit, which shields the brakes from corrosion and unwanted rattling.
Like most of the upgrades on our 4Runner build, the rotor and pad installation was completely painless. Since no major modifications are required, and the parts are built to OEM standard, it’s a simple swap. Note: Don’t forget to find a clear open road afterward to properly bed in the pad material onto the rotors. This will confirm you have the most optimum brake operation.
Titan 7 T-AK1 Wheels
Now for the moment that you’ve all been waiting for… the wheels! We chose to rock Titan 7’s new off-road wheels, the T-AK1 (“All Terrain Attack”) in Machine Black. All Titan 7 wheels are fully forged from 6061 aluminum using a state-of-the-art machining process and 10,000 tons of pressure. The forged construction means these 17×8.5-inch wheels are as light and as strong as possible, so we won’t be worrying about cracking or bending out on the trails – 20.6 lb each as opposed to the 25 lb wheels on the stock TRD Pro. While 4.4 pounds might not sound like much, every little bit helps to reduce our unsprung weight. Saving weight on the wheels means reducing rotating mass (the more mass, the harder our engine, suspension, and brakes have to work). The T-AK1s also feature bead seat knurling. This feature benefits us as it would reduce the risk of the tire slipping around the wheels and balance issues caused when exerting too much torque on the wheels and tires while climbing or descending steep obstacles.
Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires
The factory-equipped Nitto Terra Grapplers are fantastic, to begin with, but we wanted something a little more versatile than the OE all-terrains. Keeping our TRD Pro on brand, we stepped up to Nitto Ridge Grapplers, a hybrid mud-terrain and all-terrain tire. While we could have gone with something more extreme with a full-blown mud-terrain tire, they’re notoriously loud and uncomfortable on the road. The Ridge Grapplers blend all the necessary elements we were looking for to tackle our off-road adventures confidently while not giving us headaches while commuting to the office.
The team at RPM Offroad Garage explained the mount and balance process presented no issues. We checked ahead of time with Icon suspension to make sure there would be enough clearance for the 17×8.5-inch ET -8 wheels and 35×12.5R17 tires. The tires did present some fitment challenges when it came to the bodywork, but last week’s bumper viper cuts and body mount chop did the trick. We can turn from lock to lock throughout the suspension travel range.
Custom Rock Sliders
Extra protection when off-roading is never a bad idea, and we are taking every precaution to mitigate potential damage to our 4Runner. The function of rock sliders does just that. They bolt onto your frame and allow the center of your rig to slide over rocks instead of getting stuck or damaging the body. Rock sliders also serve a secondary purpose in the form of side steps.
Our custom rock sliders offer a unique look compared to most of the options on the market, which we’re quite stoked about. Installation was fairly easy as our fabricator ensured every spec and mounting point was spot on. The real test will come when we hit the trails, but we’re confident they’ll hold up great!
Less than a week to go, and we cannot wait to show you our final 4Runner TRD Pro build at CSF headquarters. We hope to see you there!