Project 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner: Part 1 – Suspension, Tires and Wheels


Nitto Trail Grappler with the new TRD wheels waiting their turn during the installation.

The Nitto Trail Grappler 295/70 R17 is Nitto’s newest blend of Terra Grappler on-road comfort with the off-road performance characteristics of the Mud-Grappler.  The 3-ply sidewall Trail Grappler has two different sidewall designs that can be selected when mounting the wheels.  The 295 size tire is quite beastly situated under the 5th generation 4Runner.  We initially opted for the 285/75 R17 but were met with an unavailability issue and thus chose the larger 295.  This tire does scrub both on the fender plastic (front) and the rear body mount.  We will be following Part 1 with an article illustrating the well-known body mount chop.  That aside, we have found the initial on-road performance to be quite good and the sound levels are dramatically lower than many of the other tires of similar tread style.  In fact, the combination of the ICON suspension and Nitto Tire is thrilling; it has me pushing the truck as if it were one of our performance cars.

This is the factory front coilover.  

The first thing that catches your eye on ICON’s front coilover shock is the relative thickness of the lower portion of the housing as well as the billet aluminum upper mount.  Additional strength is accompanied by increased suspension travel, adjustable ride height (0-3”), a chrome silicon spring, and a no-rust nitro-steel shaft.  Shall we run the list further?  This coilover features flutter stack compression valving, ?” PTFE-lined spherical bearing, 250 psi nitrogen-charged internal reservoir, and once you get a few more miles down the road it is fully rebuildable.

In the background and embroidered with the name it represents is the 2.5” CDC Valve.  An externally adjustable valve through 1 click increments, it restricts oil flow into the reservoir creating 10 levels of compression damping.  This feature provides for adaptation ranging from soft to firm to properly match the terrain of choice.  We are here to prove that offroading “ain’t just ‘bout big ‘ol tires.”  Ironically, we currently have a “big tire” scrubbing problem.

What would this factory upper control arm look like after going on an ICON Vehicle Dynamics diet of billet aluminum and 17-4 heat treated stainess (uniball and taper components)?  Let’s move on and find out.  
Beefed up, right?  Here are the ICON pinch housings that are also found on the aforementioned ICON billet aluminum trailing arms.  They allow for correction and modification of both caster and camber.  The 1” PTFE lined uniball builds in further strength, durability and, best-of-all, articulation.

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