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Installing Tundra Brakes on a 3rd Gen 4Runner

If you're here looking for how to install Tundra 13WL or 13WE brakes on a 3rd gen 4Runner, you can read how I did it on this particular day, but the more useful page for you will probably be this guide:

Step by Step Tundra Brake Upgrade on a Tacoma (or 4Runner)

The guide shows step-by-step (with pics) how to do the upgrade, and has links to all the parts needed (at varying price points).

You know that feeling when you've got a project to do that you're a little apprehensive of because you're not sure if it'll go well, or if you've got all the right stuff to make it happen?

Well, for once, I wasn't feeling that way! It was a great feeling, and one that I can only hope to have again - perhaps sometime in the distant future when I finally know what I'd doing around these Toyota trucks.

Today, it was time for a project that I was completely comfortable with - installing Tundra brakes on a 3rd gen 4Runner. See, I'd done this twice before - once on the Tacoma, and on Mike's (@Digiratus) Tacoma. Today, I hoped to complete the entire project in less than two hours - one hour per side - since from everything I knew, it would be an easier upgrade on the 4Runner than it was on the Tacoma.

And, the 4Runner really needed this. When we bought it, the previous owner mentioned that the brakes were the worst thing on the vehicle. The rotors had warped over time and the whole front end wobbled when the brakes were applied - definitely not a fun feeling. Oh, and there was the time that the driver side caliper stuck - we got a nice wobble at 45mph and a smell "to die for" that let us know that something was "a bit off."

At any rate - I got started as I always do - I assembled the parts and tools that I'd need. For a bunch of reasons - which I covered last time - I once again decided to go OEM on this upgrade. As I've said to many people who've asked about the best way to do this - when you're upgrading your brakes to have more braking power, you want to go with the highest quality, most surface area components you can - and in this case, that means OEM. For even more background, check out this article.

Note: alternatively, if you want to buy a kit that contains rotors, calipers, and pads, you can purchase one from either Callahan or Power Stop (red) (silver). The components won't be quite as high quality as the OEM components listed above, but many people go this route to save a bit of money. If you do go that route, don't forget to pick up some 4Runner Stainless Steel Brake Lines, DOT4 brake fluid, and 3M brake cleaner.

I also got all the tools together that I knew I'd need - there's not much for this project actually, especially on a 4Runner.

And then - hoping my confidence wasn't misplaced - I was off! And soon, so were the 4Runner wheels. I really do love this Milwaukee impact wrench. I debated for several months whether or not I should get it, and it's one of my favorite tool purchases to date. I smile every time I use it.

Next, it was time to remove the brake line from the caliper. This is the only part of the process that's different on the 4Runner than the Tacoma - the 4Runner has a hard line into the brake caliper where the Tacoma uses a soft line. The 4Runner design is a much better design, and made this part of the process go much easier.

First, locate the bracket that holds the brake line to the spindle. Using a 12mm socket, remove the single bolt so that the line is free to move. Next, using a 10mm flare nut wrench, remove the hard line from the caliper. When you do this, brake fluid will want to start leaking out, so use a small rubber vacuum cap to seal off the end of the line (Hint: push the fitting up the line so you can get a tight fit on the flared end of the line itself).

Having seemingly just started, the job of removing the old components is nearly done! With a 17mm socket, the next step is to remove the two bolts that hold the brake caliper to the hub. I've never had any problem removing these, but some people report that they rust into place. If that's the case for you, I guess you could be nearly done for quite a while.

Of course, once you have the bolts removed, just pull that caliper off and keep it oriented so any brake fluid it contains doesn't spill all over your pants. Ask me why. Then, pull off the old rotor as well - you won't need either of these parts again. Or, rather - you'll want to return the calipers to get your core charge refunded, and you can try to see the rotors to your local scrap guy. Or give them to him for free. Or just put them in the recycle bin.

Or, do what I did - stack them in the garage and hope to forget about them in time.

With all the parts removed, there's one step before installation of the new parts - and that's cutting the dust shield a bit so that the new rotor and calipers fit. This is reasonably straight forward for the most part. Hold the caliper in place and mark on the dust shield where it interferes with the caliper.

Then, cut that bit off and hit it with a bit of spray paint to prevent rust. Don't spend too much time on this part - get the cut close but it doesn't need to be perfect.

Oh, and make sure to check the portion of the dust shield that fits "inside" the center of the rotor. That seems to rub sometimes / for some people - but not for others. For me, it's rubbed one of six times.

With that done, it's time to start re-assembly. The easiest part - of course - is putting on the new rotor. It just slides right on over the studs, and you should secure it - finger tight only - with two lug nuts, so you can get the caliper installed more easily.

Next, put the caliper in place and secure it with the two 17mm bolts. I finger tightened these first, and then torqued them right down to the speced 90 ft-lbs. After-all, I had no plans to remove them again - and as you'll recall, I was trying to get this done quickly!

Zooming through the last few steps, it was time to put the new brake pads in and secure them. Having purchased OEM pads and shims, that means I first needed to assemble them, which is easy. It sandwich goes pad - slotted shim - a little grease - solid shim - a little grease. Then I had this nice little sandwich that I could slide into the caliper.

Once I'd done that, it was a simple matter of installing the spring clamps to hold them in place and then using the flare nut wrench to re-attach the hard brake line to the caliper and the 12mm socket to reattach the brake line bracket to the spindle. Oh, and I re-torqued the wheels back on the truck - 89 ft-lbs.

Then, I stopped my stopwatch.

Well, I looked at the time anyway. 45 minutes. Not too shabby for an old guy. All that was left was to bleed the lines - something that @mrs.turbodb was happy to help with.

And now, we've got amazing braking on the 4Runner. Even better than the Tacoma, since there's not all the extra armor and gear weighing it down!



  1. adam
    adam June 16, 2020

    Is this just the front brakes?

  2. mike
    mike June 23, 2020

    are those 231 sized rotors?

    • turbodb
      turbodb June 23, 2020

      Hey Mike, Yes, those are the 13WLs, which are 231mm rotors!

      • Mike
        Mike June 23, 2020

        thanks, I wonder if this setup will be able to fit a 16in FN wheel I am planning to run.

        • turbodb
          turbodb June 23, 2020

          Which FN wheel are you looking at?

          • Michael
            Michael June 23, 2020

            The Fn 5 stars, for the 4Runner. 16”. I just have heard it may not fit some 16s with the 231 rotors.

            • turbodb
              turbodb June 23, 2020

              Those will fit just fine Michael!

          • mike
            mike June 24, 2020

            Dang how'd you find out so quick! that's awesome. This is my next upgrade but was spinning in research trying to figure out if I needed to run the smaller rotor size that some suggest with tundra upgrade. Great news, thanks for the info!

            • turbodb
              turbodb June 24, 2020

              Just gotta know where to look ;). I took a look through a few forums (TacomaWorld, T4R) to see if people reported the FN 5-stars working with Tundra brakes. Several folks said they work just fine, so you'll be golden. Feel free to shout if you need a brake line kit! (which I realize you won't since you're on a 4Runner, hahahaha!)

      • ricky gonzalez
        ricky gonzalez April 9, 2024

        Hey Just bought some brake lines for my upgrade.

        I bought reman Napa calipers . Just wondering do I need to order new caliper pins ? Or they come with the pins

        • turbodb
          turbodb April 10, 2024

          Hey Ricky, they should come with the pins. If they don't, I'd head to your local Napa and complain. I suspect that they'll give you some if yours don't have them for some reason (likely an oversight on their end). 👍

  3. Derek Espolt
    Derek Espolt August 22, 2020

    Will the 231’s fit with a set of 16” Moto Metal 8 spokes?

      • Ben
        Ben January 13, 2022

        Are these 1st or 2nd gen tundra brake rotors? Looking into swapping my 4runner but want to make sure I get it right. Thanks!

        • turbodb
          turbodb January 15, 2022

          Hi Ben, the important thing to get are 13WL castings. They were (at least) on 1st gen Tundras. The links in the post above will get you exactly what you need and you can also use this guide to follow along step by step.

          Don’t forget brake lines as well. Very important to go stainless steel once you have the larger caliper so that you don’t get sponge brakes. Cheers!

  4. Bryan
    Bryan December 3, 2020

    I did this upgrade myself a couple years ago and looking back, it should've been the very first upgrade on my 2000 T4R. The only issue I've had since then is the pedal travel of the brake. I've searched high and low for this issue. I've bled the brakes numerous times and have settled that it's the brake booster. I've found a couple that will work but have yet to knock it out. After readjusting my e-brake yesterday I've realized how much travel there is in the brakes. It's borderline dangerous. So, I'll probably be upgrading the booster very soon. The older Toyota T100 trucks have the booster needed for this issue.

    • Nate
      Nate January 29, 2021

      Hey Bryan did you end up upgrading the booster? I am looking into installing the tundra rotors but I have seen a lot of people having the same issue as you. I would just like to know if it worked.

    • WonderingYid
      WonderingYid August 7, 2023

      I had the same issue.
      Turns out the rear drums breaks needed to be replaced.

  5. Tim C
    Tim C February 14, 2021

    Just did this upgrade on my 2001 T4R. Think I cut my dustshield a little further back then I needed to... wondering if that was a bit of a foolish mistake..

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 15, 2021

      I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue Tim, I’ve known many guys who completely remove the dust shield and seem to be just fine.

  6. Scotty Stubs
    Scotty Stubs February 22, 2021

    You're awesome Turbodb!
    Thanks for making this so clean and easy to follow, much appreciated!

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 22, 2021

      Glad this was helpful for you Scotty!

  7. EliG
    EliG April 21, 2021

    I have the stock 15” wheels on my 4Runner, do I need to get bigger wheels?

  8. Maximilian Hollander
    Maximilian Hollander May 17, 2021

    Hey Bryan, Im looking to preform this upgrade and add 33"s to my rig do you have any suggestions that i may not have considered. I have a 2001 4runner limited.

  9. Todd M
    Todd M November 4, 2021

    Can you clarify the Napa eclipse part #s? The right one is a 4 piston, and left a single piston. I can’t seem to find a 4 piston left to math the right.

    • turbodb
      turbodb November 7, 2021

      Hey Todd, sorry for the slow reply - been out on the trail, exploring Death Valley! Those part numbers are correct, and you can see in the images that both have a "13WL" on the casting. The descriptions from Napa are just inconsistent on their web site (as of right now, they tend to change descriptions over time). Rest assured though, those are the part numbers for what you're looking for.

      Also, a lot of Napa's (out west at least) no longer carry (or ship) the Eclipse line, but the Adaptive One are just fine too!

  10. Ben
    Ben January 26, 2022


  11. Logan Beaschler
    Logan Beaschler October 27, 2022

    Did you re-use the springs from the old 4runner calipers?

    • turbodb
      turbodb October 27, 2022

      Hey Logan,

      Nope - the new calipers should come with new springs. If they didn't, it usually means they fell out during shipping (or something along those lines). You can contact the manufacturer and they'll usually ship you some springs, or you can head to the local parts store and pick some up; generally, they aren't very expensive.


  12. Jason Jones
    Jason Jones February 26, 2023

    (1998 4runner )where do the new brake lines come on during install? I wasnt able to find it in the reading. Do you really need them or will it work with the new calipers with the same lines?

    thanks for the post!

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 26, 2023

      Hey Jason,

      This post that you're looking at is mostly just an overview of the work that I did on my 4Runner. For all the details, check out this step-by-step guide (with pics) on the upgrade. In there, you'll see where the brake lines come in.

      As for whether you need the new lines or not - when you do the Tundra upgrade, you're introducing a caliper (13WL or 13WE) with more internal volume than the stock calipers. This means that it takes more pedal travel to fill that caliper with brake fluid, thus applyting the brakes. As such, you really want brake lines that don't exacerbate to that situation, and braided stainless steel brake lines will expand a lot less when under pressure than the rubber (OEM or otherwise) lines.

      In fact, the most common complaint after doing the upgrade is a soft pedal feel, and many time it turns out that the folks who have that situation didn't upgrade their lines. (The other major cause of a soft pedal is not bleeding the brakes correctly after the install.)

      Hope that helps!

  13. Jason Jones
    Jason Jones February 26, 2023

    Thanks so much! When I do the upgrade I'll for sure get the lines as well. Super helpful. Thank you

  14. Darnell Starr
    Darnell Starr March 27, 2023

    Any other recommendations ? I have a 2000 T4R and upgraded all lines to SS but my pedal is still "soft"

    Is upgrading the MC and brake booster to a T100 a better deal?
    I still have my stock calipers on the front , only changed the brake lines.

    • turbodb
      turbodb March 27, 2023

      Hey Darnell,

      So, there's a lot of info/questions that come to mine with your comment...

      1. You mention that your pedal is "soft."
        1. What does that mean to you?
        2. Does it mean you can push it farther than you expect to push it?
        3. That engagement of the brakes starts later than you'd expect?
        4. That once you start pushing (and reach the limit) that it continues to (eventually) push to the floor?
      2. You mentioned that you are running stock brakes (not the Tundra upgrade, which is where some people complain about "soft" brakes).
        1. Have you always felt that the brakes were soft?
        2. Did they start to go soft at some point (if so, what point)?

      Changing to stainless steel brake lines with your stock calipers shouldn't generally be necessary, since the rubber lines were designed to work with the stock calipers. But, with answers to the questions above, I might be able to help give you some suggestions.

      Certainly, with stock calipers, a different MC is not the way to go. If it was, Toyota would have done that from the factory.

  15. Nate
    Nate June 30, 2023

    I highly recommend purchasing from this site! Dan has gone above and beyond to assure you get what you need and that it will be for specific applications. Thank you Dan!

    • turbodb
      turbodb June 30, 2023

      Thanks Nate, always happy to help. By all means, reach out if you have any more questions as you do the install!

      If you have a chance, I'd love a positive review on Google, it turns out they help with search results lot more than I originally realized they do!

  16. Kenneth Freeman
    Kenneth Freeman April 15, 2024

    Hey Dan
    Do you have the number to the tundra MC we should be getting ???
    I did my 97 long ago but now I’m on a father son project and did the tundra brakes but couldn’t remember the MC
    We definitely have more travel in the pedal then my 97
    Plus he’s 15 I would rather the brakes give him whip lash then him putting his foot through the floor

    • turbodb
      turbodb April 15, 2024

      Hi Kenneth,

      I don't have the part number for the master cylinder to use, and as far as I know, there isn't one that is a direct bolt-in replacement; all of them require modification to either the MC itself or the brake line connections to the rest of the system. Further, it's generally not necessary if the brakes are installed and bled correctly, and so I find that those who say they have a MC issue generally don't. Instead, they have another problem and they are looking to the MC because they've heard it from others. You probably know much/most of this already, but for everyone else who comes along to read the comments... the most common problems I've seen (in order) are:

      1. The person did a poor job bleeding the brakes. It's really important to bleed the brakes well when you do a job like this. Toyota says to bleed from furthest to closest, so LSPV, RR, LR, RF, LF is the correct order. Do it until there is no air coming out, and then bleed about 3-5 more cycles per bleeder.
      2. The brake fluid is old. Brake fluid should be a very light honey color - almost clear. If it's a darker green or grey or blue - that discoloring means that it's saturated with water (which it picks up from the atmosphere). Water compresses (and boils) much more easily than brake fluid, causing that spongy pedal feel. Get all that old brake fluid out - which means bleeding a lot through each corner - and things will be a lot better.
      3. The brake lines between the frame and spindle are the (usually old/original) rubber lines. With a larger volume of fluid in the Tundra calipers, it's important to reduce the amount of expansion of the lines when you press on the brake pedal. Using braided stainless steel lines with the TBU is a really good idea. These are great DOT-approved lines that reduce expansion: 4Runner Stainless Steel Front Brake Lines (Or, for a 1st gen Tacoma, a Tacoma-to-Tundra Hard Brake Line Upgrade Kit.)
      4. Too much brake fluid leaked out when doing the upgrade. This is usually noticeable when the brake fluid reservoir is empty, but the problem isn't the empty reservoir, it's that now there is air in the MC and - if you have it - the ABS control module. Bleeding both of these components is *very* difficult for the typical at-homer, so the only real solution if this happens is to take it to Toyota, where they have special actuators that cycle these components during bleeding, to get the air out.
      5. Improper bedding of the brakes. You'd be surprised how much this helps them grab. Here's how to do it right. Bedding the Brakes
      6. The rear brake shoes are not properly adjusted. These require brake fluid from the system as well, so if the cylinders there need to push further than "the right amount," they are sucking up brake fluid that should be going to the calipers in the front. The rear shoes are *supposed* to adjust automatically with the parking brake, but a lot of times they get gunked up and don't adjust as they should. You can learn how to clean them (so the parking brake adjustment will work), and adjust them manually, here Step by Step Rear Drum Brake Shoe Replacement. Note: you don't have to replace them, but the write-up covers replacement and adjustment.

      Finally, it's worth noting is that people tend to think that installing the TBU will result in a firmer pedal or identical to stock pedal travel because the "bigger brakes will grab more quickly." That's simply not the case - you're changing part of the system, so things in the rest of the system will change a bit. In the case of larger calipers, you do need to move a bit more fluid, so you might have to push the pedal a fraction of an inch further, but not more than a fraction of an inch, and certainly not through the floor. That's totally fine and the stock MC is up to the task; you can still easily lock everything up. The point of the Tundra brakes is really the larger rotors - to improve heat absorption/dissipation and prevent warpage - not more braking power or less pedal travel.

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