Project 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner: Part 2 - Got Armor?

by Evenor Contreras 

Since our initial build article, we’ve had the opportunity to lightly test the truck’s capabilities. The ICON Vehicle Dynamics Suspension system is a radical departure from the stock suspension.The on-road performance is amazingly comfortable yet inspires a definite increase in speed through the city corners. The off-road performance is as prescribed by IVD: brilliant; and we’ve not even put her to the test. In early November, we captured this moment in crossing terrain rarely touched since the late 1800s in Slagel Hollow, KT and managed to win the #IVD17K photo contest!


Performance aside, the TRD Wheels and Nitto tires make the truck; she looks good. Especially when contrasted with the stock vehicle. When deciding where to begin Part 2, we looked no further than the comments section! Everyone made it very clear how ridiculous the 4Runner looked with the factory running boards. However, this article is based upon much more than just looks. Our extremely capable truck is now backed by smooth steel plating guarding the vital organs. Now we’ve got armor and now we are ready to leave the concrete.

These are the components of the BudBuilt suit of armor.
These are the components of the OEM armor. It is reaching to even grace these components with such a term. Would you really hit the trails w/ that?
When a rogue pebble with a little determination could end your trail ride not to mention, your ride home, it’s time to step up to BudBuilt. Got armor?

The offroad world has little time for this all-to-important subject.  It is too often left at a crummy lift and the biggest tire possible.  Is armor really important for offroading?  What are the features that take your SUV or Truck from transport status to tank status?  We asked the man himself, Bud Rosenberger:  The design of the BudBuilt skids is made with years of off road experience and best practice engineering. Bud clearly describes next the features of Bud Built’s armor skid by skid.  

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013 7:19 AM
I'm a bit confused about the factory armor (or "armor"). Which part is protecting the front axle? Is it the part that's in the close-up photo? If so, it's strange, since it seems like it's much flimsier than the part on my dad's not-very-offroad 2x4 Tundra.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 7:39 AM
As you have pointed out, I'm not sure that "protecting" is actually an operative word from an OEM standpoint. The factory skids are made for rolling over soccer balls, not rocks....

That said, I love the number of factory threaded mounting points on the truck that ease the install of items such as these....
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:05 PM
Looking for ideas on the trim between the sliders and the doors/rockers!
Friday, December 20, 2013 4:19 AM
Looks ok as it is to me.
Friday, December 20, 2013 11:48 AM
Bud Built huh? not my first choice for a company name, but I am not in the off road industry.....

Are the plates stainless steel? Or will they be turning orange soon? Can you still easily change your oil? Or is it like a Lotus Elise where you have to remove a hundred M5 screws to acces the oil pan?

Since it is the winter time, how about some Rigid Industries light bars? All the 4WD vehicles at SEMA were covered with them....so they must be an off road necessity!

So which is more badass: Kojima's Tundra or the 4-runner?
Friday, December 20, 2013 12:18 PM
Bud Built as in... Built by Bud Rosenberger. I guess that is weird? It's almost as simple as the username Cartech. ;)

The plates are not stainless steel. The oil is easily accessible (see this pic: http://photos.motoiq.com/MotoIQ/Project-Cars/T4R-2013-Build/i-nPzCL4M/0/L/t4r_budbuilt_motoiq_part2-23-L.jpg).

LED bars are great....though I kind of miss the old school KC lights lol....

From what I've heard, Mike's truck has never gotten dirty. Nevertheless, challenge accepted!
Friday, December 20, 2013 12:20 PM
Btw, they do make the plates in aluminum, ss and steel... However, this armor is meant to take a beating. Once they are beaten and rusted, we will replace that chink with a fresh and shiny bit.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 9:30 AM
Not sure if it was done or not, during the install, but a good point to add is to apply antiseize to the hardware before installation. All of that grit from off-roading can make the hardware a real pain to remove. Especially depending on the grade of the hardware.

Speaking of the hardware, what grade did Bud Built supply?
Monday, October 06, 2014 6:54 PM
Any updates for how the 4Runner is holding up with the mods and how you like offroad?
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