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Top 5 Performance Mods Under $1000 for Improved Power in Your Toyota 4Runner

Top 5 Performance Mods Under $1000 for Improved Power in Your Toyota 4Runner

Posted by Jordan Harris on 06 30, 24

We all know and love our Toyota 4Runners, but as some of these models approach their 20th birthday, let's be honest, we are pretty far behind the “modern” engine. With fully loaded rigs and over sized tires, many of us feel the pinch when it comes to power. Fortunately, there are several affordable modifications you can make to unlock more performance without breaking the bank. Here's a look at the top five upgrades that will help breathe new life into your 4Runner, starting with the most budget-friendly options.

1. Charcoal Filter Removal (Cost: $0)

Removing the charcoal filter from your air box is a simple yet effective modification that costs nothing. This filter, while designed for emissions control, restricts airflow to some extent. By carefully cutting it out, you can improve air intake efficiency, allowing your engine to breathe more freely. This minor adjustment can result in noticeable throttle response and potentially a modest power increase, making it a great starting point for anyone on a budget. For a detailed video on this process visit, click here.

2. Lightweight Performance Pulleys (Cost: $80-$250)

Upgrading to lightweight performance pulleys is a relatively inexpensive way to improve throttle response and reduce rotational mass. These pulleys are designed to decrease the workload on your engine by reducing the rotational inertia of accessories like the alternator and water pump. This modification not only improves engine efficiency but also helps unlock a bit of additional horsepower by reducing drag. (V6 models only, shop here)

3. Electric Cooling Fan (Cost: $150)

Replacing your engine's mechanical fan with an electric cooling fan can significantly reduce drag on the engine. Mechanical fans, driven directly by the engine, consume power and create resistance, especially at higher RPMs. In contrast, electric fans operate independently and only engage when necessary, thus improving horsepower by reducing the load on the engine. This upgrade is particularly beneficial in hot climates or for vehicles used in stop-and-go traffic.

4. Solid Off-Road Engine Mounts (Cost: $500)

Upgrading to solid off-road metal engine mounts can eliminate the play and movement caused by worn-out factory mounts. Excessive engine movement robs your runner of power and can affect drivetrain responsiveness. Solid mounts provide better stability and transfer more power to the wheels by minimizing engine flex during acceleration and cornering. This upgrade is ideal for off-road rigs or anyone seeking improved throttle control and overall engine stability. Get your Solid off road engine mounts Here

5. Doug Thorley Long Tube Headers (Cost: $800-$1200)

Investing in long tube headers from a reputable manufacturer like Doug Thorley can deliver significant performance gains. Unlike factory exhaust manifolds, long tube headers are designed to optimize exhaust flow, reducing back pressure and allowing the engine to breathe more efficiently. This upgrade typically results in increased horsepower and torque across the RPM range, along with a more aggressive exhaust note. While it's among the pricier options on this list, long tube headers offer a substantial improvement in overall engine performance and responsiveness. Purchase Here


Upgrading your 4runners performance doesn't always require a hefty budget. By starting with cost-effective modifications like removing the charcoal filter and gradually investing in upgrades such as lightweight pulleys, electric fans, solid mounts, and long tube headers, you can unlock noticeable improvements in power, throttle response, and overall driving enjoyment. Whether you're a weekend trail junky or a daily mall crawler, these upgrades offer a balanced approach to maximizing your Toyota’s potential without draining your wallet. For more information or to purchase performance mods mentioned here, visit4R Customs where we specialize in improving your off-road experience with quality products built for enthusiasts like you.