Builds 1985 4Runner: 35s, No Lift

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Joined
Sep 29, 2014
Threads
11
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209
Location
Fayetteville, AR
The 4Runner needed new tires and a set of 35" KM2s were only $40 more than a set of 31s. So I made the logical choice and ordered the 35s and mounted them on some IFS 4Runner steelies I scored off of Craigslist with Spidertrax spacers.

I ended up trimming 2" from the wheel wells (which conveniently eliminated most of my rust), chopping out the rockers, and tubbing the firewall.

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Rocker chop... Not terribly difficult to do and allows rock sliders to be tucked up much higher.

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Rear trimming

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Firewall tubbing... Showing clearance at full lock, full stuff.

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Painted in Rust-Oleum satin almond that matches the aged Toyota paint surprisingly well. I can't wait till my Addicted Offroad bumper arrives and I can cut the ghetto pipe off.
 
Nice. I like how you trimmed the rear wheel wells. I had a body shop tell me they'd "rather not" try it since it's double-walled there. Still plan to have it done, though. Get ready for the "you should never run spacers" crowd to chime in. :rolleyes:
 
Why?? I run spacers front and back. Does it cause more stress on wheelbearings.... of course but so does wider than stock tires. A failed wheelbearings on front full floater is not catastrophic. Done get me wrong if I could afford a new diamond housing I wouldn’t need spacers; only in a perfect world.
 
Wheel spacers are only bad if you don't bother to maintain them. I've ran them and never had a problem. It's great to see a vehicle with 35s and no lift in this section. It's a nice looking truck as well.
 
Rockers look great! Any more details on how you did them? I've been considering it, but seemed fairly involved with the shape of the panels there. Did you just cut and butt weld a flat piece of sheet metal to the bottom? Or flange it? Want to do mine too? :grinpimp:
 
Rockers look great! Any more details on how you did them? I've been considering it, but seemed fairly involved with the shape of the panels there. Did you just cut and butt weld a flat piece of sheet metal to the bottom? Or flange it? Want to do mine too? :grinpimp:
Thanks. The rocker chop really didn't take long compared to the rest of the project; patching rust was the real time consumer. I'd say that a rocker chop could be done in a weekend or two depending on one's skill and degree of initiative.

I just cut along the ridge right under the door, then marked and cut cardboard templates that filled the gap, transferred that over to metal, and butt-welded that in. No flanging. Here a few pictures of the process that might show it a little better:

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My starting point... crusty

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Chop chop. It is tough to get the inside cut straight and level with the outer cut. I found it best to cut the inside a little low initially and come back to it once you have better access with the rocker panel removed.

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Since the lower two fender bolts are no longer existent, a new method is needed to secure the bottom of the fender. I made this little tab with a captured nut. Not as tidy as stock, but there can be no victory without sacrifice.

While I am posting pictures, I will throw in a couple that wouldn't fit into my initial post. Since the space previously designated to the ECU is now occupied by glorious 35" rubber, the ECU had to move. That means an over-complicated bracket/skidplate that protects my precious electrics from the feet of negligent passengers. Some CAD (Cardboard Aided Design), cutting, and bending in a vice later:
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I dig your turn signals, strong!:cheers:
For the record, it had the hideous, welded to body and frame, bumper when I bought it. I did the ziptie turn signals as a temporary fix... three years ago.:doh: I just ordered a bumper from Addicted Offroad with LED turn signals on Thanksgiving. Probably three years late.
 
Looks great! I'm a fan of low and clearanced.

It isn't the stress on the wheel bearings that is the problem with spacer as really shallow offset wheels do the same thing. It is the fatigue failure of the wheel spacers that is the problem. Search this whole forum, there's some scary stories posted here about them failing at speed.
Pic of a recent such failure from an early Bronco forum:
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It didn't work loose, it cracked from fatigue. Frequently checking the torque on the inner lug nuts wouldn't have prevented this failure. Fortunately this guy caught it in his driveway. If you really need to run spacers buy them made from steel or iron as the fatigue life of those two metals is far, far superior to aluminum.
 
You can also look on the forum for countless people running then without problems. For all we know those could've been cheaper ones or he over torque them and they cracked.
 
We also don't know what sort of service all of those who haven't yet had a problem have put theirs thru. Fatigue failure comes from a high number of load cycles. Like high speed cornering, not from really banging a tire into a rock. The tire won't survive enough of those bangs to make a huge difference, but frequently driving curvy mountain roads sure will. Every tire revolution with a cornering load on it is 6 such cycles, one at each stress riser built into the spacer.
I see it as a Scientific thing. One exception, one result contrary to the theory makes the theory fail. Viewed that way, running aluminum spacers is asking for them to fail. You just don't know when they're going to do it.

I think they're dangerous to both people in the truck and people driving around the truck. I don't think they should be outlawed, but I do think that people need to understand the risks to them and to others if they're going to use them. I do think that they have no place being on a street driven vehicle. One way or another you can get the tire to the same location without the spacers, so running them on the street is just being cheep. I've posted against them for years and people don't care, but I can't not say something. So I have and I'm done.
 
Small update... Tailgate swap, new bumper, and trip to Disney, OK.

I had nothing better to do between semesters, so I bought a pickup tailgate from Jim's Toyota Parts and swapped in onto the 4Runner. The pickup tailgate shaves roughly 4" off of the rear, and allows for stronger rear bumper mounting. It also weighs significantly less than the fat 4Runner tailgate.

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Cut line.

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At Disney.

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Addicted Offroad front bumper. No more ghetto pipe and ziptied blinkers for me. Winch should be here tomorrow.

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Poser Shot.
 
Why?? I run spacers front and back. Does it cause more stress on wheelbearings.... of course but so does wider than stock tires. A failed wheelbearings on front full floater is not catastrophic. Done get me wrong if I could afford a new diamond housing I wouldn’t need spacers; only in a perfect world.

I agree and I've run spacers for years with no issues as well. It's that I've been lectured to online as to why I'm an idiot for running spacers because they're just bad. You know, no evidence to the contrary just that the experts "know" they should never be used. Love your 4Runner!
 
I agree and I've run spacers for years with no issues as well. It's that I've been lectured to online as to why I'm an idiot for running spacers because they're just bad. You know, no evidence to the contrary just that the experts "know" they should never be used. Love your 4Runner!
Clearly you didn't read my post above with the picture of a fatigue cracked wheel spacer. Or any others enough to really understand what was being said. The advice goes against what you want to do, so you belittle the giver rather than acknowledging that there is a potential problem there and taking steps to address them in whatever mode best suits. How many people do you think who have posted "never had a problem" who then had a problem have gone back and admitted "hey, I had a problem"? Empirical evidence is notoriously unreliable.
 
Clearly you didn't read my post above with the picture of a fatigue cracked wheel spacer. Or any others enough to really understand what was being said. The advice goes against what you want to do, so you belittle the giver rather than acknowledging that there is a potential problem there and taking steps to address them in whatever mode best suits. How many people do you think who have posted "never had a problem" who then had a problem have gone back and admitted "hey, I had a problem"? Empirical evidence is notoriously unreliable.

Sure, wheel spacers do add another possible failure point. I was aware of that when I decided to run them. That is why I went with quality Spidertrax spacers. We have no idea what brand the spacer in your example is or how tight he had his nuts torqued.

In regards to your view that a part is not safe to use because some dude on the internet had a failure with a similar product once, consider that plenty of people have had lug studs shear on stock wheels with no spacers. One of many examples here: RTH: stuck in Primm, wheel lugs sheered off Does this mean that everyone's wheel studs are ticking time bombs? We should just stop driving altogether? Of course not. There is an inherent amount of risk in driving and the majority of the modifications we make to our trucks increase that risk. By using quality parts and keeping an eye on the condition of critical components, we can minimize the risk, but it is always there.
 
Sure, wheel spacers do add another possible failure point. I was aware of that when I decided to run them. That is why I went with quality Spidertrax spacers. We have no idea what brand the spacer in your example is or how tight he had his nuts torqued.

In regards to your view that a part is not safe to use because some dude on the internet had a failure with a similar product once, consider that plenty of people have had lug studs shear on stock wheels with no spacers. One of many examples here: RTH: stuck in Primm, wheel lugs sheered off Does this mean that everyone's wheel studs are ticking time bombs? We should just stop driving altogether? Of course not. There is an inherent amount of risk in driving and the majority of the modifications we make to our trucks increase that risk. By using quality parts and keeping an eye on the condition of critical components, we can minimize the risk, but it is always there.
You do understand that aluminum has a very finite fatigue life where mild steel essentially does not? In Fatigue Life calculations for an aluminum part the life span is usually set to 500,000 cycles and the part is designed such that it's weakest feature will last at least that long. 500,000 cycles with a 35" tire is 868 miles. Buy those spacers made from steel or iron and there would be no more risk than normal. It is the choice to use aluminum in a high cycle fatigue part that is the bad choice, not choosing to use spacers in general.

We sheared off the rear lug studs on the desert race truck in a race long ago. The wheels were brand new aluminum wheels and they compressed in use at the lug nut seats resulting in loose wheels. Once loose, failure was very predictable. I'd suggest that 90%+ of sheared wheel studs, when they all shear off at once, is the result of a wheel working loose or not being tightened correctly to start with.
 

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