Installing a Full Length Front Runner Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner without Drilling

I’ve been searching for a solution to installing a full length roof rack on my Toyota 4Runner but I didn’t want a tubular rack like a Gobi Roof Rack or Baja Roof Rack, so that left me with a the Eezi-Awn K9 full length roof rack (which is amazing and highly recommended), or the Front Runner Slimline II roof rack.

But through all of my research, and constantly finding new possibilities, I kept coming back to Front Runner and I really fell in love with their products and company.

I really like the fact that their company has a primary warehouse and showroom in America (even though they are a South African company) and the fact that their rack is super modular just incase I ever change vehicles or add accessories that means I don’t need to purchase a whole new rack.

Planning the Install

But Front Runner only sells a three quarter sized rack for the Toyota 4Runner due to the fact it only has two sets of factory mounting points and does not have mounting points in the front where the front of the roof rack would sit.

Due to this, the install is not encouraged by Front Runner, but it can still definitely be done with a few tweeks.

Previously, this rack has been installed by a forum user that goes by the name of Gormo.

I found his instructions very very good (it’s what convinced me to go Front Runner), but there was a few blanks and missed steps and it left me a little confused on what to do next at some points. This walk-through is designed to build upon Gormo’s instructors and be a good aid if you decide to build this kind of rack yourself.

What You Need: Products

  • Front Runner 1255mm by 2369mm Roof Rack Kit
  • 3x Front Runner Foot Set Pair 60mm
  • Front Runner Foot Set Pair 70mm
  • Front Runner Universal Track Pair 2200mm
  • 1x Front Runner Between Slat Foot Adapter Pair
  • 8x M8 1.25 inch by 40mm Bolts
  • 8x M8 Washers

What You Need: Tools

  • Ratchet Wrench
  • 13mm Socket
  • 12mm Socket
  • Socket Extender
  • 13mm Wrench
  • Flat Head Screw Driver
  • M8 Allen Key
  • Drill
  • Pilot Drill Bit
  • 1/16 Drill Bit
  • Silicone Water Sealant
  • Thread Locker
  • Tape Measure

Assemble the Front Runner Roof Rack

This is by far the easiest part of this entire process, Front Runner has exceptional directions on assembling the rack itself and it is very self explanatory.

Make sure you have a large enough area to build the rack, and if doing so outdoors, in your basement, or in the garage I highly recommend putting down a blanket or something to keep the rack clean and scratch free.

Add the Upper Mounting Feet to the Rack

Once the roof rack was fully assembled, I opened all of the mounting feet brackets and laid them out.

The feet brackets come in sets of two, and each individual foot has two pieces. One to connect to the rack, and one to connect to the rail. These pieces will later be joined together to secure the entire rack to the rails.

First, I fitted and assembled as many bolts as possible so I was making sure not to loose any pieces.

From there, I installed the feet to the rack in the following order starting from the back; Slat #1 and slat #4. Repeat for the other side.

Then using the slat adaptors starting from the front, install the slat adapter between slats #5 and #6. Repeat for the other side.

Tighten the bolts just enough so the feet don’t move until you’re actually ready to install it onto the rack (which we’ll then loosen so they can slide freely).

Then, install the 70mm front bracket to slat #2 from the front. Repeat for the other side.

Removing the Factory Roof Rack

This process is fairly straight forward and simple. I do highly recommend taking your time as you can easily break the factory roof rack plastic covers.

Using a flat head screwdriver and a towel, place the towel on the side of the truck (so you don’t scratch or dent the vehicle with the screwdriver) and place the flat head into the groove between the vehicle and the plastic cover. Then gently press the screwdriver down making the cover push up until you feel it pop upwards.

There are 4 securing points on the plastic cover two on each side, this may require you to move the screwdriver from side to side before getting the best spot to then pop the cover open.

Once you’ve popped up the side on the outside (facing away from the vehicle) gently push the plastic cover inwards towards the roof to unlock the internal securing points (this is where you need to be careful the plastic tabs can easily break off.)

Repeat for the other three plastic covers.

Using a ratchet and socket extender and the 13mm socket, remove all 8 bolts from the factory rails. These can be tight, there is thread locker used on these bolts. Apply consistent pressure.

Once the bolts are all removed, gently remove each rail from the roof exposing the weather stripping and roof rack mounting points.

Drilling the Rails

Gormo, (the person who’s instructions I was following) very accurately measured the drill holes. From the rear of the rails mark 5 inches, 7 1/4 inches, 56 inches, and 58 1/4 inches. Using a pilot bit first, drill into the rails. After the pilot holes are made, using the 1/16 sized bit, drill the holes so the bolts are able to travel through.

Repeat for the other rail.

The rubber stripping that protects the vehicle from the metal rails will also need some customization to make sure the bolt holes line up. Simply put the rubber stripping up to the rails to make sure it’s holes match, if they don’t, simply use a knife to cut away some rubber to make room for the bolts to travel through.

Add the Bottom Mounting Feet to the Rails

Once the M8 bolts are installed onto the rack and into the vehicles roof. You will be unable to pass the siding bottom mounting feet forward and back over the bolt heads. I highly recommend taking the rails to the rack and lining up the bottom mounting feet to the upper mounting feet first before installing the rails onto the roof.

Once the bottom mounting feet are installed onto the rails, tighten them just enough so they won’t slide while you’re positioning the rails onto the roof of the vehicle.

Important Note: Make sure the 70mm mounting feet (the slightly longer feet) are placed towards the front of the rails (closest to the windshield)

Installing the Rails onto the 4Runner

Using waterproof silicone, apply a generous amount around the white tubes that we’re exposed when you removed the factory rails. This is to seal them from water seepage. The factory roof racks has rubber gaskets, and because these rails do not, the waterproof silicone will do the job.

Keeping the weather stripping in place (I felt no need to remove it, as it was not in the way at all.) Line up the rubber stripping with the metal rails on top so the holes match up with the factory holes.

Slide in the washers from the end of the rails, and then guide the bolts into the holes and into the factory mounting positions. Using thread locker on the bolts, screw the bolts into place locking down the rails.

The front part of the rails closest to the windshield will stick up about an inch or so, once the full rack is installed the weight of the rack will force the rails down.

Installing the Rack onto the Rails

First, loosen all of the bolts on the rails to the bottom mounting feet can slide side to side. Then loosen all of the bolts on the upper mounting feet on the rack so they can move forward and back.

With two people, carry and hoist the rack over the rails and guide each upper and lower foot to match and line up.

Then, add in the bolts that secure the upper and lower mounting feet. Tighten enough to secure but not fully tight.

Make sure the rack is centered on the vehicle so the overhang on the left and right side is equal.

Then make sure the rack is level with an emphasis on forward pressure, ensuring the front most foot is pushing downwards on the rail securing it in place. To make this possible, the front most foot (70mm) should be fully extended and locked to it’s max height. Then the rear most foot towards the rear of the vehicle should also be at it’s max height. This will force the front of the rack downwards. Tighten the middle feet as they lay within proportions of the front and rear feet.

Once satisfied with the fit, tighten all bolts to max.

Tip: I felt it was incredibly difficult to fit my hands and tools between the rack and the vehicle to tighten some of the bolts. I actually used a small 13mm wrench to hold the inside bolts and nuts while using the socket to tighten the outward bolts.

IMG_0003 IMG_0044 IMG_0029 IMG_0004 IMG_0032 IMG_0014 IMG_0036

One Week Later

The assembly and install took roughly 12 hours for me in total. This was also partially because I did not have the wrench until the very end and was trying to make it work with two socket wrenches. (highly not recommended due to limited space for your hands!)

After having it mounted to the vehicle and driving around with it for over a week now at all different speeds I can confidently say that the rack is fully secure. It does not rattle, wiggle, bounce, or generally move at all. In fact when I grab hold of the sides of the rack and try to move it, the entire truck moves. (which is a good sign!)

My only complaint thus far has been a whistle that I’ve been receiving from the wind deflector that has been placed towards the front of the rack.

Due to the rubber pieces installed between the wind deflector and the rack itself, (I’m assuming is there to prevent rattling) it’s caused a small gap that produces a whistle between 30-40 mph.

Any speed less or more and the whistle stops, but since most of my driving is done between those speeds I wanted to get this whistle removed ASAP. I’ve since removed the rubber pieces and reinstalled the wind deflectors and there is absolutely ZERO noise or whistling.

Subscribe to Follow our Adventures

4 comments on “Installing a Full Length Front Runner Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner without Drilling

  1. Brandon on

    Ive got a 2016 4Runner and I want to install a metal rack on top to carry ladders (for work). Because they are for work I’ve got to follow certain guidelines. They have to be metal and they have to be bolted in. I’ve searched out and I’m going with the ‘Rhino Rack’ brand.

    The 4Runner has a sunroof and so I’ve got concerns with placement and bolts. In the back it’s fine, as they can just go through the sheet metal. But near the front, I can’t go too close to the sunroof. I CAN however go alone the weather stripping – about an inch away from from the sunroof.

    My concern is with where the airbag curtain runs, or any other wiring that could be hit when the bolt into in that section.

    I’ve asked Toyota and they believe it should be ok but they’re waiting for their parts manager to come back and verify on Monday.

    I was just hoping someone on here might have some insight.

    Thanks guys

    • Mike Revelle on

      Hey Brandon, thanks for the comment! If your drilling the roof I’d recommend where the weather stripping is. Most people have to drill additional holes on the sides of where the sunroof is because there are no stock bolt holes in that area. Let us know how it goes!

    • Mike Revelle on

      Hi Mark, at the time of this article — one did not exist. However they now sell a full length rack for the 4Runner, which I am currently running (not pictured above)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.