|Tips for Removing the Bumper on a Toyota 4Runner|
I recently removed the bumper on my 2005 4Runner SR5, in order to remove the factory tow hitch that was installed. Here are some tips to removing the bumper that I learned along the way.
First off, it is true that the middle part of the 4th Generation 4Runners is a separate piece from the rest of the bumper cover. And it can be removed independantly from the rest of the bumper. The problem is, you must remove the full bumper in order to gain access to the bolts which mount the middle fascia piece to the rest of the bumper cover. So the fact that it is a separate piece is not particularly useful for this purpose. Don't waste your time trying to figure out how to remove just the middle piece, because removing the whole bumper is a pretty simple task anyway.
I had read a few places that you need to remove the mudflaps before removing the bumper, but it was not clear to me why that is the case. Now I know. Most of the bolts used to remove the bumper are easy to find-- there's six in the tailgate, a there's a few located in obvious spots under the bumper cover.
But there's also two screws on each side that need to be removed. These screws also have the hex-head with a phillips-style screw slot, so they are easy to remove. They screw into a white plastic cap which looks kind of like a drywall anchor.
One of the screws is located in a place you can access from underneath. Once under there, you'll likely see it there. But the other one is hidden.
The other screw is inside the body of the vehicle, in between the bumper and the frame, and can only be accessed by removing the mudflaps. So the best way is to remove the mudflaps, set them aside with their screws, and then remove the screw at the top of the bumper cover inside the bumper cavity.
Once all the screws and bolts are removed, you'll notice the bumper starting to sag a bit. It's still held in jsut by some tabs at the top of the bumper cover, but it's a simple task to wiggle it out and completely off.
There's some good diagrams of the 4Runner bumper cover in this thread, that will give you an idea of the location of the bolts and screws. But if all you're doing is trying to remove the factory hitch receiver, you won't need to remove any metal pieces.
Putting it back on is easier than taking it off. Just lift it on, snap in the clips to the rest of the body, and start screwing and bolting it in place.