xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The 4Runner Evader Build ~ The Prepared Guy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The 4Runner Evader Build

The 4Runner Evader is our build project for PrepperCon and Prepper Talk Radio, formerly PrepperCon radio.  The purpose of the build is to demonstrate that most any everyday suv, truck, Jeep, etc. can be utilized as a bug out vehicle.  There is not always a need to acquire a surplus military or carburated vehicle or for that purpose.  With some relatively simple modifications your mostly stock daily driver can become much more capable off road with better handling and increase its load capacity at the same time.  

The PrepperCon 4 Runner Evader is also one of our mobile billboards as I frequently drive along Utah's Wasatch Front, and occasionally into some of the smaller rural towns that I love so much!

It can be difficult to justify a second, or third, vehicle that just sits around waiting for the end of the world as we know it.  That is why I have one vehicle that serves multiple purposes.  The vehicle that I drive everyday is a 2005 Toyota 4 Runner V8.  The reason I choose the 4 Runner is because of Toyota's legendary reliability and quality as well as off road capability.  It's pretty cool looking too!  I have owned other Toyota's and have loved them as well.  

We are calling this rig the "Evader" because we intend to use this vehicle not only for when the time comes to bug-out but also for community response.  One of the most important and possibly overlooked essential qualities a bug-out vehicle should have is the ability to travel quickly and quietly, even over rough terrain, even with a heavy load, in order to avoid and evade gangs, looters and marauders who would want to take the supplies we will be carrying.  

When traveling through a dangerous place the best case scenario is to be so quiet and quick that we are already out of harms way before we are even noticed.

The Toyota 4 Runner suspension utilizes an independent suspension up front and a solid axle in the rear.  The independent front suspension is ideal for bumpy roads, as each wheel moves up and down independent of the other.  This allows for a more comfortable ride than a solid axle and provides for better control at higher speeds.  The solid rear axle provides more articulation than the independent front suspension.  This helps to keep the tires on the ground when going over larger obstacles at low speeds.  So, the 4 Runner is a great all around performer both on the wide open desert roads as well as mountain roads that may require climbing over obstacles like large rocks.  Or even urban/suburban environments that may necessitate crossing over fallen telephone poles or other debris.

The 4 Runner also uses traction control to keep the wheels from spinning and losing traction.  This 4 Runner is the V8 model.  This traction control utilizes the breaking system to transfer power away from the spinning wheel.  This is a reliable system that minimizes the chances of breakage.  The increased horsepower and torque of the V8 allows for towing of heavier loads as well as better acceleration when loaded up than the V6 engine.  Because the exhaust remains in stock configuration it is very quiet.  

In order to increase the 4 Runners capabilities we have outfitted it with a premium suspension system.  ICON Vehicle Dynamics custom builds systems for specific vehicles.  We chose the Stage 5 system.  This system includes much larger diameter shocks than the stock size.  The shocks we choose also have external reservoirs that hold additional oil that circulates through the shock.  This helps to keep the shock cool and allows it to work properly even over extended periods of time traveling over rough surfaces.

The front shocks are what are known as "coilovers".  The shock body and the springs are combined something like a strut.  These coilover springs have increased load capacity as well as increased travel length and are adjustable to provide up to 3" of lift.  The stage 5 kit also includes replacement upper control arms for the front independent suspension which are stronger than the stock arms and allow for more up and down travel.
 The rear springs were replaced with dual rate 3" lift springs.  The dual rate gives a softer normal ride but as they compress become stiffer to handle heavy loads or more aggressive driving.  The rear shocks are also replaced with large diameter (2.5") shock with reservoirs like the front.  We also replaced the stock rubber bump stops with hydraulic bump stops.  This upgrade provides for a softer landing in the case of bottoming out which will help to keep the vehicle under control and prevent damage.          

Perhaps the biggest single advantage that this suspension gives the Evader is the ability to absorb large bumps at high speeds that would otherwise damage a stock vehicle.  There's no need to even slow down for speed bumps, deep cross gutters or railroad crossing.  I thoroughly enjoy taking people for rides and watch them as they curl up and prepare for the impact of a large bump they would typically slow down to a crawl for.  And then experience their surprise and wonder at how soft and smooth it actually was.  This stiffer suspension also allows the 4 Runner to handle maneuvers on pavement much better than the soft stock suspension and gives it a very "sporty" feel.

Now, don't think that this, or any other similar suspension system is going to turn your rig into a Trophy Truck.  Maybe you've seen the YouTube clip where the Ford Raptor owner launches his truck off a jump only to crater it on the other side, deploying the air bags, flattening the tires and tweaking the frame and body of the entire truck.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKQdlXvbWSU  Don't do this!

Check out this video I threw together from one afternoon in the desert.  More videos to come.  Subscribe to the PrepperCon TV YouTube channel and the Prepper Talk Radio YouTube channel to be notified when new videos are uploaded.

As you can see by the decal on the front quarter panel of the 4Runner the build was done by Low Range Off Road.  They are located in my area and are authorized dealers of the ICON Vehicle Dynamics systems.  They will have the build video uploaded to their YouTube channel in the near future.

You don't have to install the Stage 5 kit to dramatically increase your vehicles abilities.  Simply installing the Stage 1 kit will make a tremendous difference.  Then you could add more components from there if you feel the need.  The Stage 1 kit includes the front coilovers, rear 2.0 shocks, 2" lift springs and sway bar drop brackets.

I have also installed a Warn M8000 winch in a multimount using a hidden receiver made by CBI off road in Idaho,  A Power Tank is mounted in the back for airing up tires and Rocky-Road Super Sliders replaced the running boards.  Future upgrades will include a Rhino Rack roof rack, RotoPax gas and water containers and much more. 

I am very particular about tires.  The BFG AT has been my go-to tire for over a decade.  These new AT KO2 tires are fantastic!  They are one of the few street legal tires with a 3 ply sidewall.  The new design and tread pattern looks awesome too.  They are the best all around tire for me.  I spend a lot of time on the freeway so I need a tire that is relatively quiet but also one that is really tough.  


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The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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