When you first buy a 4Runner, one of the first things you might be excited about is choosing a lift kit. My excitement overshadowed my research though and I ended up having to do it all over again. I hope you can learn from my mistakes in this article, and choose the best lift kit for your 4runner the first time.
The best 4runner lift kit will vary based on your priorities. Who you buy it from is important – choose a business with good customer service in terms of shipping and answering follow-up questions. In most cases, lifts with upgraded shocks from Bilstein, Fox, or Icon deliver the best quality.
What Lift Should I Put on My 4runner?
I chose a spacer lift kit right from the start but then decided to go to a local off-road company. They sold me a Rancho Quick lift kit which I should have asked more questions about – again my excitement and lack of knowledge made me a little trigger happy.
I knew I wanted to replace my shocks and coils but instead, this lift kit came with struts and shocks paired with my original stock coils. You will hear the saying “buy once, cry once“. Well, I learned the hard way!
Make sure to do plenty of research, and get 2-3 quotes on lift kits. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want the lift kit for looks?
- Do I want a cheap lift kit?
- Do I want to go off-roading?
There are many options for lift kits and you need to prepare yourself with the right information before making a decision. Spend the time to learn about every option available and decide what features are most important to you.
I finally changed my lift kit to the Bilstein 6112 / 5160 with SPC Upper Control Arms, and lastly Old Man Emu 2895E Rear Coils. I wanted a lift kit that I could still drive on regular roads, and go off-road with. I’m not talking about extreme rock crawling or mudding- I needed to find a happy medium.
This time around I chose to do the install by myself. I would work my day job and turn wrenches at night!
For more info on different types of lifts for the Toyota 4runner as well as some important things to consider when choosing a kit, check out this article:
Where To Buy The Best 4runner Lift Kit
When it comes to buying a lift kit you have many options. You can order online, buy a used lift kit, or buy a lift kit through a shop. It really depends on your budget. Are you going to install the lift kit or pay a shop?
Here are a few places to look for a lift kit for your 4runner online:
The first time around I paid a shop to do the work. This time around I had done enough research to install the lift kit myself. I researched every night for 4 months straight by surfing online and joining groups on Facebook. I read every article online about lifting your car. I made friends in the Toyota Facebook groups I joined and asked them questions.
I’ve noticed that Toyota 4Runner owners are like one big family and anyone will help you out. Granted, sometimes you may get a smart remark on a question like “will bigger tires fit my car if I don’t have a lift kit”. That’s because Google can provide that answer in 2 minutes or less.
I asked a friend if he knew someone I could speak to about ordering a new lift kit and he introduced me to the owner of a local shop. The owner did a great job of taking the time to answer all of my questions.
I ended up buying a lift kit from him two months later even though we talked numerous times beforehand. He was not greedy about selling me the lift kit from the first time I called him. He wanted me to be happy about the lift kit he had put together and really went above and beyond.
Any company that is willing to spend hours talking to you (and give you a quote) before you buy has what I consider great customer service. That’s the kind of company you’ll want to buy from.
You have so many options when it comes to buying lift kits that at the end of the day you need to find the one that’s going to make you happy. Everyone has their opinion on different companies where you can buy cheap lift kits to expensive ones – it’s all about your budget and what you are willing to spend.
Mistakes To Avoid When Ordering A Lift Kit
The biggest mistake to avoid when ordering a lift kit is not waiting until everything has been delivered to start tearing it apart! Make sure to make a list of the tools you will need and also what parts you have ordered. Lay every single part out to make sure everything has arrived in one piece!
I may have jumped the gun and took off my old lift kit first before realizing that some parts were missing. Hearing the UPS truck backing up in my driveway was like music to my ears until I opened the box and realized many parts were missing. Sometimes you just have to live and learn.
Also, when ordering a lift kit make sure to check out the company or supplier reviews. Ask questions about things like the dates that the lift kit can be delivered. If they cannot guarantee delivery dates, then find out what their cancellation policy is before placing your order. I do understand a lot of lift kits might be on backorder, and shipping has not been easy lately.
If you are going through a local off-road shop, when can they install your lift kit? Ask them what the process consists of. Not every company is Amazon Prime and will deliver your parts within a day or two!
If you decide to buy locally from an off-road shop, ask as many questions as you need to. Go home, take the quote they gave you, and research prices. Check the reviews from other people who may have bought the same lift kit. Knowledge is key!
Make sure to get 2-3 quotes from different companies both locally and online. Collect them all and compare each quote. Sales representatives follow the ABC method – “Always Be Closing”. My new method is ABR – “Always be Researching”.
What is the warranty on this lift kit? Can I use my car as a daily commuter? What size tires will it allow me to fit? Will this lift kit fit without additional modification? What other parts are needed? Do not be afraid to ask questions. This is your hard-earned money that you’re spending!
Can I Install A Lift Kit Myself?
With so many YouTube videos and instructions online, you can definitely put a lift kit on yourself. At the end of the day, you have to know your limits and you also have to be willing to learn new things. In my case, I have always been mechanically inclined – so I felt confident I could tackle the job.
Going into the build with a backup plan is your best bet. That backup plan might include having an experienced friend that can help you. Or you might need to get a mobile mechanic to come out and finish the job if you get stuck. Proper planning prevents poor performance!
I had just started a new job and lacked the confidence to put on my first lift kit myself. This time around I made sure I was ready to use a floor jack, and jack stands. If I hadn’t taken the time to research and watch videos, I would have not had the confidence I did going into it. Remember to always research and to take your time! Do not rush into things! We learn from our mistakes – hopefully, you can learn from mine!
4runner4lifeNovember 13, 2021 at 8:02 am
Hi, I like your wheels. Can you send me the model ?
Sean RNovember 14, 2021 at 12:14 am
Hey I could probably write another article about wheels! I first started out with 18”X 8.5” American Racing they did fit , but I was rubbing even with the first suspension Lift kit had. Then I wanted to get rid of wheel spacers. So I bought Pro Comp 17” wheels they were used with a -12 offset got them cheap and turns out they would only fit with the wheel spacers! So I followed Tims article exactly on how he bought his wheels.I made sure to get 17” and 0 Offset, and I don’t deal with rubbing anymore. I hope this helps take your time on ordering wheels!!
Sean RSeptember 25, 2021 at 8:35 pm
I just wanted to thank Tim for the opportunity to write this article! I also wanted to give Bilstein customer service a shout out for sending me some parts that were missing in the lift kit! Thank you! Canadian Gearhead has the best informal articles about Toyota 4 runners! The I Data Link Maestro Article helped me install my head unit! Thank You! Yours Truly Sean R