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Photon (The Light Hunter) Build Thread

Discussion in '5th Gen Builds (2010-2024)' started by Photon_Chaser, Feb 11, 2024.

  1. Feb 11, 2024 at 12:15 PM
    #1
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    I *should have* started this build thread more than a year ago, as time permits of course as there's much to catch up on.


    Preface: The main theme behind this build is to add functionality, some creature comforts and added vehicle protection while keeping the overall weight minimized as much as possible (I also do a great deal of terrestrial and astro photography so anything to do with light had to be a part of this 4Runner's name.)

    Fortunately there are quite a number of aftermarket solutions for each section of this build and it was a matter of sifting through numerous web pages, catalogs, user reviews and a few Overland events that helped guide me in making these choices here...and as we all know to well that meant many hours (evenings) spent sitting, clicking, scrolling, taking notes, comparing and making the best possible (informed) choices that we can.

    New.jpg

    The platform: 2021 4Runner TRD Pro. Purchased second hand at a local dealer during the post covid chip shortage madness that further drove prices into the stratosphere. While some may argue about “you’d do better with your money by buying an Off Road model or…”, my choice was predicated upon a number of things as follows:

    Why the TRD Pro: I’ve done my share of rock crawling in a modified CJ5 (The Rubicon, Sierra Trek to name two trails here on the west coast) enough that I’ve had my fill for the time being. So in terms of trail class that I prefer to run nowadays I would say those would be n the realm of 1 to 5 on the 1-10 scale. Which, when I started trail riding in the late 80’s and well after the two years of craziness in the CJ5 (we called it the Black Widow btw) I rather enjoy what is now called Overlanding but in my youth we simply just called it riding in the dirt. So, the TRD Pro meets all of my requirements in terms of what I needed in a platform along with a few (admittedly) unnecessary add-ons without needing to resort to full on modifications from the start. As this build thread continues we will find out if my choice is validated.

    Additionally, this particular trim level’s suspension was a big plus in my situation. Having previously owned a 2000 3rd Gen which I drove just about everywhere along the eastern Sierras. It was bone stock its entire life and it never faltered, never bouldered with it though so keep that in mind (I talking like class 6 and above) for over 380,000 miles. But for anyone familiar with trails like Sherwood Road and other logging roads in Northern California and into Oregon, Flats and dunes in the Nevada Desert to the east, Red Cloud and Castle in the Sonoran Desert region to the south and places in between, all of which were the type of trails that I’ve traveled in that 3rd Gen and will travel with this 5th gen. All I needed to figure out was how to add just a modest amount of lift (mainly to level out that annoying front rake angle) as well as to possibly add some ‘stiffness’ to the front end cause I hated the nose dive of the Limited and Off Road models that I rented to try out.

    Speaking of suspension and from an historical aspect, here are pics of my 3rd Gen’s front axles taken about a week before I said goodbye to it. Honest, those are all of the original components after all those miles.

    3rdGenFrontLeft.jpg
    3rdGenFrontRight.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
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  2. Feb 11, 2024 at 12:28 PM
    #2
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Back in May/July of 2023 I was focusing upon internal storage seeing as how the rooftop ‘basket rack’ was really of no use to me for a couple of reasons:

    1. Not being a full length roof rack meant that I couldn’t readily fit the full compliment of cargo boxes, recovery gear additional camping gear and water/fuel tanks up top.

    2. Did I mention that it’s not a full length rooftop rack? And, the tubes used in its design does not conform to any industry friendly mounting solutions. The crossmembers alone weren’t t-slotted and were of an ovalish cross-section meaning there wasn’t much in the way of available cargo mounting solutions that I liked aside from a few cargo boxes by Tule, etc. I had a Thule on my old T4R and while it was nice to have something for storage on top it didn’t make sense to try and use it on this 5th Gen’s basket rack. I wanted to dig a little deeper in my research into what options I have available for a replacement roof rack system.

    So, internal Molle panels and maybe a shelf seemed like a possible storage solution route for starters. I can easily reconfigure a molle setup to my specific needs for a variety of purposes such as for camping, fishing, imaging (astrophotography), etc. I eventually bought a set from Rago but only after I had installed these (they are actually fairly well made) I discovered that there was no provision to also utilize my cargo cover for those times the truck wasn’t fully kitted out for a trip. So, I got on my computer and started designing a possible solution. As it turns out it just wasn’t possible without making a serious mod to the Rago Panels, which I really did not want to do! Down about $400 and biting into that descent price that I ended up paying for the T4R.

    I looked through my notes and found this one (victory 4x4) that had some very interesting design attributes so I took a deeper look at all the info that I could find both here and via other on-line sources. Et voila! The Victory 4x4 molle panels had the correct design that was needed to be able to engage the cargo cover in the side panel notches by the hatch, all that was needed was a way to incorporate the cargo cover’s spring-loaded front end…which fits into these side panel sockets while also providing the lower front support for the molle panels. I figured out a neat solution that is not only robust enough to carry what weight the panels themselves could handle but is literally invisible with the cargo cover installed.


    VictoryMolleInstallfull.jpg
    Now to get back on the computer and design some molle panel mounting solutions for what's coming next.

    TBC...

    Edit: I forgot to mention one small detail with regards to this installation and now having the ability to utilize the factory Tonneau cover. The cover's rear wings that slides into the side panels need additional clearance around the bottom rear molle panel mounting arms (yellow arrow).

    VictoryMolleInstallleftside.jpg

    Here you can see an approximate cut line using a Dremel cutoff disk. Maybe more like another 1/16" is needed and the final result.
    disk_measurement.jpg cutdone.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
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  3. Feb 11, 2024 at 12:36 PM
    #3
    VTECMoonWalker

    VTECMoonWalker New Member

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    Those molle panels look good, do they use all existing holes ?

    Srry, at work don't have time to fully read if it states that
     
  4. Feb 11, 2024 at 12:47 PM
    #4
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    No worries, work comes first (but in the context of anything 4Runner related sometimes takes (understandably) a co-pilot seat :D)

    But yes, of the two Molle panel sets that I've worked with they both utilize the same mounting locations based upon the overhead (clothing) hangers, the aft panel bolt (hidden behind a pressed in cover at the aft cargo cover slot) and the forward rear cargo panel bolt location (hidden behind a small press-fit cover plate)

    This is the forward Molle panel mount location that utilizes the panel mount bolt hole, its in the socket for the cargo cover itself.
    fore_mount.jpg

    This is the aft mounting location, opps I meant its behind the slot where the cargo cover slides into...its the factory cargo net hook location.
    aft_mount.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  5. Feb 11, 2024 at 1:24 PM
    #5
    VTECMoonWalker

    VTECMoonWalker New Member

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    Awesome sir, thank you for that, may have to get a set, put some of my bag gear on those, and open up more free space in my bags, pics are just so you know what I'm talking about, my apologies not trying to jack the thread I promise lol68754.jpg
    And now, an extra gallon of water strapped by the fire extinguisher
    78043.jpg
     
  6. Feb 11, 2024 at 1:29 PM
    #6
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    July 2023 - A busy month juggling multiple mod necessities.


    I had two big trips planned for late summer and needed to get not just storage figured out but an air system installed and possibly a DC distribution system as well. But first back to the Molle panels and a preliminary design goal...

    Recovery_Molle_Panel.jpg

    It was easy enough to design up threaded retainer clips to be able to mount up panel accessories, it was more challenging designing up mounts for several reasons. I decided to tackle the easier one of three…these retainers will be getting pressed in threaded heat inserts.

    molle_mount_inserts.jpg


    • Air hoses - Yup, I already had made the extensions for the Wifey system so coiling up those hoses for storage was a design point, since these hoses are polyurethane based and stiff as all hell there really wasn't any other way to store them other than coiled up.
    • Air gauge - Hmm, use a magnet(s)?, just velcro it in place? Modify/use a pegboard hook? There are many design possibilities to work with here. Of course I chose to take the more difficult (but fun) approach and designed up a ‘cup’ style, knowing anything I mount to the Molle panels will be subjected to some ‘fun’ jostling around…and I wanted to ensure that anything mounted to those panels were as robust and secure as possible.
    • Who doesn’t travel without coffee or the means to make some on the trail? Probably my number one camp kit component, this Jetboil Java kit is, as a good friend says, “the Shizzle!”
    Jetboil_Java.jpg

    The test-fit check-out.
    Left_Panel_Config.jpg

    BTW, the right side panel is reserved for emergency supplies...
    emergency_Molle_panel.jpg

    Okay, it’s time to focus, open up the hood and take a gander at the air system install/mod…

    *Side note: So a good buddy of mine still has a fascination with Legos (so do I, kinda) and said, "so, instead of threaded connections to mount those attachments and considering that you're designing them to be readily re-configurable, why not try and take a Lego approach to installing them?"

    Hmmmm...
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  7. Feb 11, 2024 at 1:35 PM
    #7
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Not hijacking (unless you plan on typing my build for me then you're approved to add in your take on things here :D)

    I'm pretty sure you can achieve the same install, only, you'd need to design up and build the Molle Panel mount adapters that I did...or you can ask me to print up and send you my design to save time/frustration ;)
     
  8. Feb 11, 2024 at 3:40 PM
    #8
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    July 2023 (cont.) Mod number something - Actually this is more about the precursor work needed to be done in preparation for installing an air compressor in the engine bay than the actual install itself.

    I initially selected a Rago mount but quickly ran into a concern, in my circumstance, when mocking up the install location:
    • The installation location readily denies access to the secondary relay/fuse box (you know the one that has the DRL relay in it). It's there in this pic but completely covered up under the mounting plate on the fender well.
    • The Wifey mounting add-on tab overlaps the main fuse box (and I do not want to deny access to that). The only way to access the box after installation would require complete disassembly of the compressor from the mounting plate before needing to remove the actual mounting plate.
    Rago_Compressor_Test_Fit.jpg

    It really saddens me that I couldn't locate the compressor here but, thinking ahead to the future mods that I want to accomplish under the hood I opted to temporarily locate the compressor over by the passenger side firewall. And, I was able to utilize the Rago mount there with a small modification to the vertical support bracket and main mounting plate.

    Here's a computer model that I generated to show how I rotated the vertical mounting post and lopped off the extended wing on the main plate.

    Air_System.png

    The lopped off section...
    lopped.jpg

    And the mounting hole location on the fender well.
    mounting_hole.jpg

    Fitting the modified bracket
    Air_System.jpg

    And here is the complete assembly installed in the passenger side area in front of the firewall.
    ARB_Install.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2024
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  9. Feb 11, 2024 at 4:01 PM
    #9
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Jumping back to January 2023 - Funny how one can forget the little things…

    Going back through my phone’s photo album I realized that one of the first mods that I did do on this 4Runner was to modify the rear hatch lighting. I do a lot of Astrophotography work/hobby and being a nighttime activity I needed to not only have more available light for setting up gear than what the rear hatch incandescents supply (didn’t want to go the updated LED route just yet) and being a tinkerer, I took a length of Red LED COB, slapped the strip onto the rear hatch interior and wired it to one of the hatch lights. Easy-peasy...

    Rear_Hatch_Nightlight.jpg

    While on the subject of lighting (did I mention that I was simultaneously juggling multiple mod choices?), I wanted to see firsthand about this Six-Shooter Trigger that I've seen a number of write ups about it. Okay, kinda cool, yes there is no wiring needed between the control switch assembly and the main control box...however, the switch assembly needed to be powered (by wires or battery?) The latter being what was chosen in its design and is a big no for me. Time to look at other options but I really did not want to drop the big coins on two other options, which, are great products but I'm sure I could possibly find another possibility and use my electronics knowledge to sift through possible candidate systems. I've been wrong before despite this but at least I can make the best informed determination (and either suffer the consequences or celebrate victory.)

    Six_Shooter_Trigger.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2024
  10. Feb 11, 2024 at 6:32 PM
    #10
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    August 2023 - The third? mod…umm, more like an upgrade really.

    Eibach_Install.jpg
    In planning for the future of adding a bumper upgrade and potentially a winch, a suspension mod without needing to resort to replacing the entire suspension system seemed an implausible feat. I wasn’t going to go with spacers just to increase lift and replacing the Fox Suspension to me was an unjustified expense. Just before I bought this T4R, Eibach announced a spring upgrade solution [https://eibach.com/product-releases/2021-2022-toyota-4runner-trd-pro] that mainly addressed the front rake angle of the 2021 model. Perfect timing! So, I bought a set and installed them. Not only was the forward rake virtually eliminated altogether but the new springs added a much needed upgrade to the suspension’s total load capacity. A good 50 to 75 lbs minimum at the corners to be more specific. Front was now +1.4 inches taller and the rear was around 1.1” after the upgrade. This alone plays into my future plans for any additional rooftop cargo items. Keep in mind that the factory front ‘collision bar’ and its attachments weighs around 50 pounds, or so I’ve read here and there. So, 100 pounds (modest amount of added capacity by the new springs) + 50 pounds for the old collision bar gets me into the realm of being able to add up to that much more weight up front without causing any pronounced suspension droop. Now I'm roughly a good 175 and sitting on the front bumper the droop is like a half inch. I like where this is going…


    I know, I forgot to plan out the before and after shots so these will have to do. The before and after...you can (kinda) see the improvement in the rake angle.

    Before.jpg
    After.jpg

    *Update 2-12-24 I've now driven on these springs a total over 8,000 miles and can honestly say that this spring upgrade was a really good decision. The overall ride quality has improved as has the nosedive on hard braking, which was also markedly improved. I think Eibach hit the mark in biasing the Fox Shocks upwards just enough yet maintained general operation within the shock bypass zone. What this means is that the shock travel has a bit more range in the compression direction in that zone. Much better bump absorption on the trails!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  11. Feb 12, 2024 at 8:12 PM
    #11
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    August 2023 (cont.), Mod 3.5 - New shoes.

    The same day that I installed the Eibach springs I decided (with a pending front end alignment) to go ahead and swap out the Bridgestone Dueler H/Ts.

    BridgestoneHT.jpg

    The Bridgestones themselves are fine tires for a daily but they are really just general purpose tires (M+S not 3PMS) with inadequate tread blocking for the trails that I'll be traveling upon so...having run Mickey Thompsons on the Black Widow I went with what tire company that I have had prior experience with for an off-road tire and these Baja Boss A/T's were perfect for my needs. Having been out for a couple of years now the many reviews and field reports that I've read about the Baja Boss A/T's have given this particular tire model really good marks in all of the tire performance categories. That coupled with a respectable treadwear warranty and most importantly the 3PMS rating gave me the confidence in choosing this tire.

    MTBajaBossAT.jpg

    As of this date (02-12-24) I have now driven close to 8,000 miles on these tires. Never a balancing issue either when new or the just recent tire inspection/rotation (part of Photon's 40K mile service) where the tech measured the tread depth at 14/32 fronts and 13/32 rears. Brand new they measured just about 18/32 so while this amount of treadwear doesn't appear to project out to the touted 50,000 mile range one must keep in mind that for over half of that 8000 miles were driven in my rig fully loaded, crossing through unincorporated Nevada highway (75 mph limit) and Idaho where the speed limit is an insane 80 MPH...and people were still passing us there like we were loaded down tractor-trailer rigs!! Anyone who knows what happens to treadwear in tires of this size/mass at those sustained speeds and in the heat of the summer will get my point here. I'm certain that in terms of treadlife that these tires will make the 50,000 mile mark -- sans doing 75-80 mph that is.

    And as far as driving in rain, snow and ice? Just fantastic. Coming back from the Nevada-Utah border along I-93 towards Caliente with the outlying zone of Hurricane Hilary all around us, we had several areas where it was just a total downpour (you know the kind of downpour where if you just *think* about getting out of the truck you were already drenched!). We hit several pockets like this, sheets of water covering the entire roadbed and not once did the tires even hint at the treads lifting off the roadway (we were doing a good 70 MPH in that area). I've made a couple subsequent winter drives up into the Sierras since, the last trip was just about two weeks ago. Drove through some gnarly storms (FUN!), flagged right on through chain controls :D) and rode through a couple of easy trails to test out the tire traction in the snow and ice. Again, fantastic experience.

    At this point I need to add that on another trip heading south just out of Reno, NV along I580/395 the roadway was a messy snow-slush with smooth 2"-3" thick smooth ice blobs scattered here and there. If anything makes for the craziest-harshest traction test I can't think of anything better. While I did reduce my traveling speed down into the low 40's (many other locals were probably doing closer to the mid 50s) the combination of the extra 'soft' suspension travel (see my earlier post about the springset results) coupled with these tire's capabilities I could not detect any loss of traction.

    I'm ready for more winter fun, hopefully in another week from now when the next storm comes in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  12. Feb 13, 2024 at 2:40 PM
    #12
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    August 2023, Adding a Dashcam.

    There are many choices here and I had a specific set of requirements:
    • I've seen the results of many 'HD' cams out there (Vantrue, Garmin, Nextbase...) and I was not impressed at the image quality.
    • Must be able to monitor both front and rear.
    • Must have high storage memory card capability.
    • Parking monitor mode.
    • Impact/event file (protected) storage.
    • Wifi link capable.
    • Respectable low-light performance.
    Ok, so there are a number of potential candidates and ultimately I decided to go with the Thinkware U1000. The setup I purchased came with the main (forward view) camera unit, a 2K remote camera (rear view) and a forward facing motion detecting radar unit. The installation was fairly straightforward, required two power connections (one feed from the switched circuit e.g., ignition and the other to a constant on circuit to power the dash cam's parking mode feature.
    Thinkware.jpg

    Cable routing was not bad at all and I was able to mount the rear camera inside and just above the rear window.
    Thinkware_Rear.jpg

    The main camera body and radar unit tucked in between the windshield and rear view mirror, straddling the mirror.
    Thinkware_Front_Interior.jpg

    And from the outside you can see the system is barely visible.
    Thinkare_Front_Exterior.jpg

    Edit: I figured out YouTube so here are the actual video files downloaded from the memory card.

    Front Camera (4K)
    https://youtu.be/VMsYgYc9Xxs

    Rear Camera (2K)
    https://youtu.be/Yn5_MzVhxTo
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2024
  13. Feb 13, 2024 at 3:35 PM
    #13
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Mid August 2023 - Second road trip and some new gear for Photon.

    I had an opportunity to go meet up with a few buddies (from two other states) for some fun out in the southern Utah area. En-route I planned to visit an outfitter in the Reno area for a new roof rack system and some additional gear. First things first, removing the TRD Pro 'basket' (which I was able to sell later on for $400).

    Photon is topless!
    topless.jpg

    Then came an overnight layover in Reno, stopping in to visit the folks at Rack2Roam for a Slimline II rack, some cargo box gear and to possibly get an awning system (a necessity for camping out in the desert!)

    It turns out my timing wasn't quite right as the folks at Rack2Roam were backlogged with appointments on day 1 of my layover so I did the rack install myself, in the hotel parking lot no less and planned to return the next day for everything else needed to outfit Photon. Took me just under 2 hours because of the way I had to assemble the parts on the roof (fully assembled I did not want to risk lifting it up by myself and damaging Photon's paint!). And, it happened to be one of the hottest damn days in Nevada to boot so I took my time...probably could have done this in the cool comfort of a garage in (easily) under an hour.
    SlimelineII_install.jpg

    The next day I returned to the outfitters after having researched into a number of offerings by companies such as 23Zero (Peregrin 270), Rhino Rack (Batwing), Roofnest (Litewing) and a smaller-sized offering by Alu Cab. I went with what Rack2Roam had waiting for me, the Deltawing XTR-71 270 degree awning by Ironman. One of the main points that sold me on this awning is the fact that despite the more than adequate shelter size the entire awning assembly weighs a mere 44 lbs. This is in contrast to others coming in around the low to mid 50 pound range...thats around two gallons of reserve fuel! And, the weight savings alone meets my overall build goals of keeping things as lightweight as possible. Side note, I got an additional discount on everything so the cost was more than competitive to all other offerings out there.

    Unfortunately as for cargo box availability, I was only able to pick up a single Roam 83L but have plans to return later this winter season to get two more boxes to complete the outfitting when Roam's production gets caught up with their backlog. But one box was sufficient for now.

    Photon getting outfitted
    Getting_fitted.jpgTrailhead.jpg


    One the road and an overnight along the eastern Sierra range to try out the new gear, oh look a summertime squal is coming. Initial awning deployment took all of less than a minute a bonus when the rains really hit when I got to my campsite.

    Quick lunch stop and a deployment test.
    Awning_Deployed.jpg

    campsite.jpg
     
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  14. Feb 16, 2024 at 7:24 PM
    #14
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    September/October 2023 - Preparing For Future Projects


    I’ve aquired quite a few skills in my life that have helped me in completing many different types of projects. Fabricating things out of metal I’ve been limited to assembling pieces using either adhesives or fasteners of some kind. Now I’m not totally oblivious to welding in general, I even learned how to do emergency welding out on a trail with nothing more than a couple of car batteries and some coat hangar wire but what I really need to learn is the GTAW process. The welds that this process produces are oh so beautiful. So, I enrolled in a welding class at my local community college to learn the basics covering TIG, MIG, Brazing and cutting (plasma and oxy-acetylene.)

    Welding Workstation
    October_2023_TIG_Welding_Workstation.jpg

    Going at it.
    Oct_2023_Tig_Welding.jpg

    First lesson was on Autogenous welding, where you don't use any filler material. Steel was the base metal used for the first few lessons.
    Autogenous_Steel.jpg

    I have to admit that simple autogenous welds are seemingly, to me, a lot easier than just tacking up parts!
    October_2023_Tacking_up.jpg

    Working through most of the weld 'positions', we had to fabricate a box out of 1" x 3" plate material. You had to practice on all of the weld positions, you were not allowed to turn, flip or otherwise position the box to weld in the most comfortable manner possible.
    October_2023_Build_a_box.jpg


    Now came a new material, Stainless Steel! Started getting the hang of tacking and welding seams, getting the temperature just right so that you don't cook the material was another story!
    My instructor said based on the color that I got the temperature good enough (rainbows and that golden-bronze color.) 'Dimes' are starting to appear more uniform too.
    October_2023_Welding_Stainless.jpg


    Towards the end of the semester we were finally introduced to Aluminum. This material is much more difficult to weld than the other steel alloys we've worked with so far! At least I got the temperature close, didn't burn through and I only zapped my electrodes a couple of times! Aesthetically not that great but mechanically the welds will be good enough for project work on Photon!
    October_2023_Welding_Aluminum.jpg

    This will take some time to get good enough at and I’m looking forward to being able to create mods for Photon with this skill. First mods/projects for Photon include some bracketry that I'm designing up.
     
    HuskyMike and djwantke like this.
  15. Feb 16, 2024 at 7:29 PM
    #15
    djwantke

    djwantke '16 white Trail Premium

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    Bought brand new 2016 After May 2021: -Approx 3" lift/level: Bilstein 5100's, OME 2884 590lb 3" front lift springs, SPC UCA's, ICON 158506 2" lift rear coils, diff drop -Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ LT285/70R17 Load E -Mickey Thompson Sidebiter ll 17x9, 0 offset, 5 backspace -Pro Comp black spline lugs ^installed by 4WheelParts^ -New brakes and rotors by brake shop -4-piece ARB skid kit -Smittybilt 2" nerf steps -MBRP black exhaust tip, chopped OEM -Drivers side OEM FJ oh shit handle -All blacked out emblems -Blacked out roof rails -4x WeatherTech window rain guards -OEM custom rear mud flap deletes -KICK BACK MUD FLAPS 12" WIDE - BLACK TOP AND BLACK WEIGHT -K&N Engine Air Filter *NOW FRAM EXTRA GUARD CA10835 -1797 LED tricolor fog bulbs Yellow 3000K White 6000K Blue 15000K 28W 4000LM -Armour paint lower rear bumper -Front bumper high stage high clearance cut -Fenders cut straight across, pink reservoir sprayed black -4Runner Lifestyle sequential fog fangs -4Runner Lifestyle smoked taillight decals -Pedal Commander -Rear passenger cargo mounted 120v truck tire pump -4x Spidertrax 1.25" black aluminum wheel spacers -Yota Twins Paracord Hatch Strap sand camo -Teton Workshop hard anodized matte black aluminum shift knob -Ditch flood lights 4 LED 20w 1400lm w/ OEM hood mounts on OEM style dash switch -Backup flood lights under bumper 6 LED 18w 1500lm on OEM style dash switch -Body Mount Chop; cut, weld, paint -Fender mount chop, re-weld, paint -Wheel well hammering, painting ^done by Arc One Industries^ -valance cap trim -Agency6 Black Shackle Block 2" US Certified 6061 T6 CNC machined aluminum -DRT fab universal hitch skid -ACDelco inner tie rods, outer tie rods, bellows -Full Dr. KDSS switch kit -March 31 Behind grille 13-1/4" 32 LED light bar + wide-angle, eagle-eye lens 6000lm on OEM style dash switch -RAA Powder coated steel roof rack cargo basket, 1" side rails, 64" x 39" x 6", 250lb limit -roof gas can, water can, shovel -PEAKTOW PTT0063 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier 51-1/2 x 17-1/2 x 4 inches 500 lbs. Capacity (trips only) -July/2023: purchased first needed SPC balljoint replacement kit - newly released, upgraded non-zerk sealed joints 25002 -July 15/2023: The Original Universal EZ Flares, 1". All four corners -Dec. 2023: removed bumper cover and crash bar, drilled frame, installed Apex Overland KDSS Recovery Points -Jan. 2024: SPC balljoint replacement kit - upgraded non-zerk sealed joint design 25002 -Feb. 3/ 2024: 4x KC Wire Hiders, for roof rack lighting Feb. 13/2024: New ditch lights, on new Rago Fabrication Extension brackets. 3inch Quad Row Amber Pods from LED-Club. 32W 3200Lm 16-LED Spot Beam. Replacing 3inch EVERGEAR clear lens ditch light pods w/ yellow lamix-x In progress: 4th, 5th, and 6th set of off road lights Electrical components and wiring purchased, not started -roof rack scene lighting - EVERGEAR ea. 1,350 lumens, 30w, 3-¾" round floods. Custom, side mounted w/ galvanized flat bar And -roof rack upper ditch lights - 3inch Quad Row Amber Pods from LED-Club. 32W 3200Lm 16-LED Spot Beam. Bar clamp mounted to front corners And -roof rack reverse amber pods / secondary hazard lights. 20W 2000Lm 2-LED Spot Beam. Bar clamp mounted to rear side And -roof rack F1 smoked chase light w/ lighting effects. Custom bolted to rear side -POR15 rust proofing line-up, 3-step process PAUSED until 70⁰ weather Bought, in the garage queue: -BlueFire 6-Circuit Fuse Block with LED Indicator & Protection Cover -Blue Sea Systems 100A Circuit Breaker w/ reset lever -Rust prevention •New can POR15, 2x Black Fluid Film, long spray nozzle attachments, 2x PB Surface Shield, 1x Chainwax •partially used POR15 Degreaser, Metal Prep Wanted - PerryParts or Wheelers bump stops, self fabricated limb risers (seasonal, removable), 1" body lift, powder coated center winch bumper w/ large bar (got no tss), rear steel bumper w/ tire carrier for an LT285 Kumho on steely, sliders, bolt on cat shields
    Great thread, nice build.
    You have a wife that helps you with 4Runner things!? And she's trusted near the engine bay.
    Lucky man :p
     
  16. Feb 16, 2024 at 9:59 PM
    #16
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Thanks! I've been enjoying your build thread as well!

    BTW: Wifey is the name of the air manifold/air port system (see Rago's website) or you can build one from parts from Amazon.

    Manifold Assembly
    Wifey_Manifold.jpg

    "Rago Air Mounts"
    Air_Mounts.jpg

    Mounts and Schrader Valves installed in wheel wells.
    Air_Mounts_2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2024
    djwantke[QUOTED] likes this.
  17. Feb 16, 2024 at 10:32 PM
    #17
    djwantke

    djwantke '16 white Trail Premium

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    Bought brand new 2016 After May 2021: -Approx 3" lift/level: Bilstein 5100's, OME 2884 590lb 3" front lift springs, SPC UCA's, ICON 158506 2" lift rear coils, diff drop -Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ LT285/70R17 Load E -Mickey Thompson Sidebiter ll 17x9, 0 offset, 5 backspace -Pro Comp black spline lugs ^installed by 4WheelParts^ -New brakes and rotors by brake shop -4-piece ARB skid kit -Smittybilt 2" nerf steps -MBRP black exhaust tip, chopped OEM -Drivers side OEM FJ oh shit handle -All blacked out emblems -Blacked out roof rails -4x WeatherTech window rain guards -OEM custom rear mud flap deletes -KICK BACK MUD FLAPS 12" WIDE - BLACK TOP AND BLACK WEIGHT -K&N Engine Air Filter *NOW FRAM EXTRA GUARD CA10835 -1797 LED tricolor fog bulbs Yellow 3000K White 6000K Blue 15000K 28W 4000LM -Armour paint lower rear bumper -Front bumper high stage high clearance cut -Fenders cut straight across, pink reservoir sprayed black -4Runner Lifestyle sequential fog fangs -4Runner Lifestyle smoked taillight decals -Pedal Commander -Rear passenger cargo mounted 120v truck tire pump -4x Spidertrax 1.25" black aluminum wheel spacers -Yota Twins Paracord Hatch Strap sand camo -Teton Workshop hard anodized matte black aluminum shift knob -Ditch flood lights 4 LED 20w 1400lm w/ OEM hood mounts on OEM style dash switch -Backup flood lights under bumper 6 LED 18w 1500lm on OEM style dash switch -Body Mount Chop; cut, weld, paint -Fender mount chop, re-weld, paint -Wheel well hammering, painting ^done by Arc One Industries^ -valance cap trim -Agency6 Black Shackle Block 2" US Certified 6061 T6 CNC machined aluminum -DRT fab universal hitch skid -ACDelco inner tie rods, outer tie rods, bellows -Full Dr. KDSS switch kit -March 31 Behind grille 13-1/4" 32 LED light bar + wide-angle, eagle-eye lens 6000lm on OEM style dash switch -RAA Powder coated steel roof rack cargo basket, 1" side rails, 64" x 39" x 6", 250lb limit -roof gas can, water can, shovel -PEAKTOW PTT0063 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier 51-1/2 x 17-1/2 x 4 inches 500 lbs. Capacity (trips only) -July/2023: purchased first needed SPC balljoint replacement kit - newly released, upgraded non-zerk sealed joints 25002 -July 15/2023: The Original Universal EZ Flares, 1". All four corners -Dec. 2023: removed bumper cover and crash bar, drilled frame, installed Apex Overland KDSS Recovery Points -Jan. 2024: SPC balljoint replacement kit - upgraded non-zerk sealed joint design 25002 -Feb. 3/ 2024: 4x KC Wire Hiders, for roof rack lighting Feb. 13/2024: New ditch lights, on new Rago Fabrication Extension brackets. 3inch Quad Row Amber Pods from LED-Club. 32W 3200Lm 16-LED Spot Beam. Replacing 3inch EVERGEAR clear lens ditch light pods w/ yellow lamix-x In progress: 4th, 5th, and 6th set of off road lights Electrical components and wiring purchased, not started -roof rack scene lighting - EVERGEAR ea. 1,350 lumens, 30w, 3-¾" round floods. Custom, side mounted w/ galvanized flat bar And -roof rack upper ditch lights - 3inch Quad Row Amber Pods from LED-Club. 32W 3200Lm 16-LED Spot Beam. Bar clamp mounted to front corners And -roof rack reverse amber pods / secondary hazard lights. 20W 2000Lm 2-LED Spot Beam. Bar clamp mounted to rear side And -roof rack F1 smoked chase light w/ lighting effects. Custom bolted to rear side -POR15 rust proofing line-up, 3-step process PAUSED until 70⁰ weather Bought, in the garage queue: -BlueFire 6-Circuit Fuse Block with LED Indicator & Protection Cover -Blue Sea Systems 100A Circuit Breaker w/ reset lever -Rust prevention •New can POR15, 2x Black Fluid Film, long spray nozzle attachments, 2x PB Surface Shield, 1x Chainwax •partially used POR15 Degreaser, Metal Prep Wanted - PerryParts or Wheelers bump stops, self fabricated limb risers (seasonal, removable), 1" body lift, powder coated center winch bumper w/ large bar (got no tss), rear steel bumper w/ tire carrier for an LT285 Kumho on steely, sliders, bolt on cat shields
    Ahhh I understand now, LOL I was way off.

    tenor.png

    Of course you don't have a wife who works under the hood with you, only happens in my dreams too
     
  18. Feb 17, 2024 at 10:26 AM
    #18
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Naw, the misunderstanding was on my part, didn’t see the humor as I was too wrapped up writing the next post to this thread…all good!

    I would love to have a Mrs helping under the hood, alas I’m running solo.
     
  19. Feb 17, 2024 at 11:35 AM
    #19
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    October 2023 (cont.) - Adding Transmission Tunnel Molle Panels

    The number of things that I’m carrying on-board keeps growing and I need to begin thinking about storage and organization in the passenger areas. I’ve already stuffed the center console, glove box and door pockets which leaves only a handful of options. There are seat back organizers I could go with or just using plastic bins with snap-on lids, duffle bags...dividers for the glove box and center console are other options as well. What I could really make good use of are the sides of the transmission tunnel like others have done to mount an FRS/GMRS/CB radio, flashlights and other gear. There are several companies that produce nice Molle Panel solutions. But what the heck, since I already have another set of panels for the cargo area why not repurpose them for the center tunnel and more? I took some general measurements, broke out the small angle grinder and started cutting. I then used the brake press at the welding shop to make the contour bends in the panels, installed using 6mm rivnuts and fastened the panels into place, perfect!

    Center_Console_Molle_Panel_Top_View.jpg Center_Console_Molle_Panel_Profile_View.jpg

    I intentionally left enough of a gap between the panels and the transmission tunnel to be able to reach in behind to secure any velcro - whatevers...also, works as a handy map guide holder.
    Test fit checks out and I’ll be going back over the panels at some point to repaint them. Might stop by the local power coating shop to see what it might cost, would be more durable than rustoleum…
     
  20. Feb 17, 2024 at 1:00 PM
    #20
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    November 2023 - Electrical Mod #1

    Originally I was going to wire up a simple DC Distribution hub under the hood using the Bluesea System’s ST Blade Fuse Block but opted to go with the 8 channel Auxbeam AR-820 to save on bulk wiring through the firewall as well as adding a plethora of panel switches in a rapidly declining dashboard real estate. What I originally planned on doing quickly morphed as I put pen to paper and planned out future electrical mods. It all began as a simple two-component DC Distribution plate, Fuse Block and a single breaker…

    DC_Distribution_v1.jpg

    Thinking I was going to place this assembly in the spacing behind the radiator, passenger side and then realizing that after adding a main cutoff switch for a future winch install I also needed to add a separate breaker for the air compressor…couldn’t make it fit this location without causing access issues to the power steering reservoir and this whatchamacallit (evap pump?) sitting next to it.

    DC_Distribution_v1b.png

    Grrr, need to regroup on this...
     
  21. Feb 17, 2024 at 1:07 PM
    #21
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Electrical Mod #1 - Part doh!

    It was quickly becoming a crazy game of musical chairs under the hood. This time, the plan is to keep the compressor in its temporary location by the passenger-side firewall and after having determined the final DC Distribution panel configuration, I ended up buying the Yota Expedition Blank Auxiliary Power Bracket. This bracket had the proper design elements (upturned fender wall mounting tab to easily access the mounting bolts and a drop down support that bolts to a threaded factory location!)

    Here is the Distribution Panel’s Auxbeam configuration.

    DC_Distribution_v3.png
    Auxbeam_Install_v4_ortho.png Auxbeam_Install_v4_top.png

    So out came the requisite hand tools and an afternoon of drilling and wiring. I used rivnuts (because I appreciate using blind fasteners compared to washers/nuts) to mount up all of the components to the plate then simply dropped the assembly into place, bolted it up and began running wires. Oh yeah, I also relocated the secondary relay/fuse box towards the firewall, you can see it in the top right corner of this image.

    Auxbeam_Install_Fit_Check.jpg


    Now one thing I didn’t think too much about ahead of time was whether there was ample clearance between the main cutoff switch and the hood’s gas strut…got lucky!



    Wiring in progress
    Wiring_in_progress.jpg

    And all wired up.
    All_Wired.jpg

    As for the control pad, I printed up a contoured mounting plate and installed the control pad in the nice spot next to the steering column...

    Auxbeam_Control_Pad_Install_v1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2024
  22. Feb 17, 2024 at 2:02 PM
    #22
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    In case anyone is interested in this install method with these very same components, I'm attaching a drill guide here for you to use.
     

    Attached Files:

  23. Feb 17, 2024 at 5:18 PM
    #23
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Addendum to the DC controller install.

    I had posted this in the "What have you done..." thread a short while ago, thought I should include it in this build thread.

    A short period of time had passed after I installed the Auxbeam system and it became evident that the location for the control pad was just out of arms reach, I needed to do a bit of a sit-up in order to reach the touch pad from a fully seated position. Thought about what other location(s) would be ideal so that I did not have to change my seating position (e.g., while driving) and the overhead console seemed like a good candidate. I went and modeled the contour between the console perimeter and the moonroof opening, there was enough room to place the touchpad there!

    Touchpad_Celiing_Mount.png

    All I needed to do was to re-route the touchpad's control cable up behind the dashboard, along the Drivers side A-Pillar and across to the overhead console. Thankfully, that control cable has adequate length to easily reach the new location.
    Overhead_touchpad_install_console.jpg

    Et Voila! Now I can simply reach up to operate the touchpad, don't even need to look, can figure out which button to press by braille...
    Overhead_touchpad_mount.jpg
     
    fiddy5000 likes this.
  24. Feb 20, 2024 at 9:42 PM
    #24
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    December 2023 - Improving the Map Lights

    So, awhile back I tried out a cheap set of Festoon 16-color LED bulbs as a way to get red lighting at night. Turns out the damn things would re-program themselves every time I started the engine…tossed em, also they also weren’t all that bright.
    wonky_leds.jpg

    I finally got a set of the MESO Customs Dual Color Map Lights, brilliant illumination both in the white and red spectrums. In fact, at night these lights are bright enough you almost do not need puddle lights.
    Meso_Map_Light.jpg

    These are definitely well designed lights, fits perfectly and the illumination these throw out is amazing!

    White.jpg Red.jpg

    Did I mention these throw out so much light that they actually work like puddle lights outside!
    Alt_Puddle.jpg
     
  25. Feb 20, 2024 at 9:49 PM
    #25
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    January 2024 - DRL Upgrade

    It pains me to admit but for the longest time I could not understand why the DRLs would not come on despite cycling the parking brake, checking the fuse and the DRL relay. Finally figured it out thanks to a random post about this setting in the head unit and got the circuit working. I decided I wanted to swap out the old 9006 halogens with these 3500K Auxbeam 50W, 8000 lumen LED bulbs.

    There shouldn't be any difficulty seeing Photon in inclement weather now!
    Auxbeam_9006_H10_012324.jpg Auxbeam_9006_H10_installed_012324.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2024
  26. Feb 21, 2024 at 7:28 PM
    #26
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    January 25, 2024 - Getting more organized, the Taco Garage Dash Mount

    Just adding a pointer to the "An invisible, solid and versatile mounting solution. The 5G 4Runner Dashtop Multi Mount (DMM)” thread where I posted up about my install experience. Just saying, this is definitely a well designed dashboard mounting solution as the fit was perfect and the install took about half an hour…and that’s with me never having taken the center console apart before!

    DM Frontside
    2_Taco_Garage_Dash_Mount_top_view_012524.jpg

    DM Backside
    3_Taco_Garage_Dash_Mount_bottom_view_012524.jpg


    Although your accessories will block the dash clock, if you remove them the mount’s top plate is virtually invisible.

    7_Taco_Garage_Dash_Mount_Install_final_2_012524.jpg


    There are six available locations for mounting up ball joints, here I’m only using the two outermost locations.
    8_Taco_Garage_Dash_Mount_install_final_012524.jpg

    This mod is done!
     
    Harringbr99 likes this.
  27. Feb 22, 2024 at 2:24 PM
    #27
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    February 10, 2024 - Musical Chairs Part Three - Windshield Fluid Reservoir Relocation

    So, before I can proceed forward with relocating the air compressor to its final location I need to make room for the assembly...in that little passenger side pocket next to the radiator, right where that windshield fluid fill pipe is! :frustrated: I thought I was going to relocate that fill pipe myself but considering how exposed the lower reservoir (and the even more delicate fluid pumps!) are I needed to address multiple issues here. Do I do the mod manually and hope that one of the aftermarket fluid pump ‘shields’ would be enough to protect them from a hard hit? If you ask me a shield is a good thing to have but it’s just another piece of metal that will bend…,and most likely crush into the fluid pumps anyway! You know, it’s like having a serious front bumper with tubular headlamp guards only to have a frontal impact drive those tubes into your headlamps (Don’t ask me how I know this!). Just more part to repair/replace, if it happens. I much rather just avoid any additional repair if at all possible.

    That said, I was really glad to have found the Washer Fluid relocation tank kit by Snowbound Customs. Turns out this is one VERY WELL designed and fabricated tank. Its capacity is slightly less than the factory tank at 2.75 quarts but plenty enough to do the job…sans a really serious mud boggin trail ride. Best part, I get rid of that fill tube!

    The aluminum welds are absolutely well done, aesthetically as well as mechanically (full penetration).
    1_tank.jpg 2_tank.jpg


    A very straightforward kit consisting of the tank itself, three (Ribbed-Flange) bolts, washers and a filtered-breather screw-on cap.
    3_tank.jpg


    Removing the factory tank was not fun as there’s a buried mounting bolt tucked up behind the tank (you can access it like I did through the front grille.
    hidden_bolt.jpg


    There are two other bolts are readily accessed through the passenger wheel well but first you gotta get past the damn (I later found out the part name!) Screw Grommets holding the fender liner in place.

    1_screw_grommet.jpg 2_screw_grommet.jpg
    T4R_Screw_Grommet.jpg

    Next I had to remove the passenger side air/debris shroud, easy right? Hell no! This shroud had to of been installed well before the front bumpers and headlight assembly were installed! I managed to carefully wiggle and pry it out with a slight twisting motion. BTW, this shroud is usually either cut or removed completely when doing an extreme clearance bumper mod.
    4_tank.jpg



    I’m just generalizing the rest of the install here but anyone can do these next steps without much difficulty:
    • Disconnect pump electrical connections.
    pump_electrical_connections.jpg

    • Remove pumps and grommets from factory tank, install grommets on new tank. When installing the pumps onto the new tank, thoroughly wet both the grommets and pump housings to aide in insertion!
    grommet_install.jpg

    • Pretty much follow steps 7 through 9 here. Snowbound Customs Fluid Relocation Installation Instructions.
    • Somewhat tight fit but there's still plenty of wiggle room. In my case, I needed to slot out the three mounting bolt locations downward by 1/4 inch so that the tank’s ’shelf’ would clear the A/C Heat Exchanger’s vibration isolator mount.
    isolator_clearance.jpg isolator_clearance_2.jpg

    • After installing and tightening the three tank mounting bolts, then just reverse steps 7 through 9 mentioned above.
    mounting_bolts_installed.jpg

    • Route and connect the pump electrical connections.
    • Fill tank and check for leaks.
    fill_tank.jpg
    • Button up Fender well.
    • Make a cutout on the Radiator Support Cover to more readily access the new tank’s fill cap.
    cutout_1.jpg cutout_2.jpg


    Done!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2024 at 3:07 PM
    raimieb likes this.
  28. Feb 22, 2024 at 2:33 PM
    #28
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    February 16, 2024 - More Hang-ups...Rear Molle Panel Fire Extinguisher Mount Rework

    When I originally mounted this extinguisher I was in a rush and did not properly size the mounting hole locations on the new Fire Extinguisher Mount, hence the angled look to the extinguisher.
    Old_Fire_Extinguishio_Mount.jpg

    The grid pattern on my molle panels are on 2” centers (measured horizontally) and the hole centers on this extinguisher mount is 5.51” (~ 140mm) so I needed to offset the inserts on my molle panel clips to accommodate. I also beefed up the clips to account for the extinguisher’s 4 lb weight.
    Molle_Panel_Mount_Clip_Std.png Molle_Panel_Mount_Clip_Offset.png
    Fire_Extinguisher_Mount_rework_021624.jpg Fire_Extinguisher_Mount_rework_2_021624.jpg

    I suppose I could add a teather for added security in the event of a hard collision but I’m sure the clips will handle the shear load just fine.

    Edit: Adding additional comment and images to illustrate the strength of and operation of this particular latch design.

    Side view #1 illustrates how the 'hose clamps' thread through the latch body, much like how molle clips work.
    Mount_2.jpg

    Side view #2 illustrates the size of the 'blade', latch pin hole and the 'hook' end.
    Mount_1.jpg

    Animation of a video clip showing how easy (one-handed) it is to operate the latch and retrieve the fire extinguisher.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2024 at 1:50 PM
  29. Feb 26, 2024 at 10:28 AM
    #29
    KeplerRunner

    KeplerRunner New Member

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    Hey there. Thanks for the detailed thread! Was fun to read through all you've done.

    I just got a molle panel from CaliRaised LED and want to get a fire extinguisher mounted up. I think I saw this mount (or one very similar) on Amazon. Does it feel secure with just the hose clamps holding it on? Probably gonna mount it horizontal like you have it.
     
    Photon_Chaser[OP] likes this.
  30. Feb 26, 2024 at 1:46 PM
    #30
    Photon_Chaser

    Photon_Chaser [OP] 42202 and counting…

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    Hi there!

    Thank you for the kudos, I hope what I post will help someone in their mod quest. I come after many others so most likely it's a rehash of what's already been done generally speaking, but who knows if I'm doing something a little bit differently...

    Um, your Amazon link points to a generalized 4Runner products page and not the mount that you are mentioning...so, I cannot comment about what you're referring to. I did however, update my extinguisher post with a few more illustrations showing how strong the extinguisher-side of the latch mechanism is attached via the hose clamps (supplied in the kit) and an animation showing how easy it is to operate the release latch. You can also see how robust this particular extinguisher mount is, the 'blade' is a good 1/4" (~ 6mm) thick and the release pin is in 'double shear' so it won't fail...I did the math and failure load of that pin-joint is well north of *10,000 lbf so the extinguisher isn't going anywhere!

    Please feel free to chime in anytime, hope this reply helps you decide your route forward!

    * Whoops, yeah I make errors from time to time and used material strength value for Steel and not Aluminum in my first failure load estimate, its the correct value now!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2024 at 2:05 PM
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