2017 #Hotel4Runner Build and Upgrades

Phew! It’s been a busy last few weeks!

A couple of weekends ago we were in Auburn, Maine with our friend Alexia to hang out a bit and go snowshoeing.

As you probably know by now, any chance we get to getaway we’ll take – and this was just the perfect opportunity we could not pass up.

We spent our time enjoying the super warm February temperatures (sarcasm intended), Playing with Alexia’s three dogs, and getting to eat at some new restaurants.

It was a great time.

The weather just isn’t our Friend

For us, back in our Southern Massachusetts apartment the weather and season is in the middle of a transition.

It can’t decide if it wants to be winter or spring, and the temperature ranges wildly from being in the teens to the 40s, 50s, and we even had a day that was 70 degrees!

When it goes from super cold, to warm, it makes planning adventures here challenging.

One day we get out the bikes, the next the snowshoes – We’re kinda more or less just waiting for the weather to improve and become more consistent.

Which is exactly why we’ve been spending so much time on getting our #Hotel4Runner upgraded and prepared for 2017.

We’re trying to plan a long weekend adventure each month from April through October, which will have us staying in our #Hotel4Runner for over 30 days this year!

That much time in the beast means we need to make some much-needed changes to accommodate the adventures ahead.

2017 Upgrades

If you’ve been following us on our journey to make our Toyota 4Runner an Overlanding beast, you know we’ve been planning, upgrading, and replanning a lot.

Here are some places to get caught up:

ICON Vehicle Dynamics Stage 2 Tubular Suspension Upgrade

Since our first adventure in our 4Runner, we knew we needed to upgrade the suspension. Typically we travel with a lot of weight, and the driving and road handling deteriorate quickly under a heavy load. Our strong BFG K02 Tire’s help a lot when it comes to improve the ride under weight, but it’s just time to get a stronger suspension in there.

We decided on ICON for their unmatched reliability, support, and reputation.

Our Stage 2 Tubular Kit brings in:

  • Front Coil Over Shocks
    This will not only give us a 2.5″ lift for greater body height when overcoming obstacles but will also not allow the front end to dip so much when breaking.
  • Front Upper Control Arms 
    The upper control arms allow for the truck to go back into factory alignment and better articulation when at full flex.
  • Rear Coils
    Much needed weight increase combined with a 3″ rear lift. This increases our payload capacity by 800 pounds.
  • Rear Shocks
    All that rear weight needs a better management system to avoid bottoming out and smoothing out the ride overall.

We purchased this kit from Toytec the first week of February, and we’re still waiting for them to send us the back ordered front coil over shocks. Hopefully, we’ll get it installed soon since we’ve already had to push back our install date once.

Dual Battery System

Honestly, because I love gadgets so much this upgrade is the one I’m most excited about.

We recently talked about designing a drawer system for the 4Runner that included built-in batteries, but that was before Off Grid Engineering helped us out with an amazing solution to fit a 100ah battery in our engine bay. (Which I thought was impossible.)

It involves moving the starter battery and to the popular auxiliary battery spot in the rear left of the engine bay, which now means I can fit a massive 100ah battery in the stock battery area. Of course, this also means beefing up the battery trays, wiring, etc which Off Grid Engineering completely takes care of.

I’ll be receiving my kit in about 2-3 weeks and will be doing a full install video/write up.

Upgrading our Front Runner Roof Rack

Back in April of last year when we custom fit a Full Length Front Runner roof rack, we had to go custom because they did not offer a full length solution yet. Well a year later they do now offer a full length solution, and the most amazing thing about Front Runner is that I do not have to buy a whole new rack, I just need to replace the brackets.

We wanted to replace the brackets for peace of mind, yes our custom solution would have worked fine, but if the manufacturer offers something legitly made for a specific application, how can you not upgrade to their recommended way of doing things. Now, any doubt will be gone and we’ll have full confidence in our rack.

The new brackets arrive this week, I’ll do a quick install update to show it’s progress.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Since we’ve been mostly stuck inside, I wanted to give a quick update for what we’ve been up too!

Hope you all are sheltering the winter well, and have at least some snow to do snowsports in!

Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below.

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