Guild of Overland Adventure

Round Table => Vehicle Modification and Creation => Topic started by: ElRob on May 10, 2013, 01:24:57 PM

Title: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 10, 2013, 01:24:57 PM
Year: 2003
Make: Lexus
Model: GX470

I sold my 07 FJ Cruiser earlier this year, and picked up the GX to fill the void. For those of you that are not Land Cruiser savvy, the GX is a Toyota Prado 120 in the rest of the world, save a few changes to the grill and bumper.
Since it is based on the 120 series, it shares the same suspension setup as the 4runner and FJ Cruiser as well. This makes modifying the suspension rather easy. The key difference is the rear suspension, which is an auto leveling rear suspension.
The other difference is the engine. The GX uses the same 2UZ motor found in the V8 4th gen 4runner and the Land Cruiser 100 Series (LX470)

The main reason for purchasing this vehicle was the ability to cary additional passengers on longer trips, while the FJ is a great platform and tremendously capable, it lacks room in the back seat for long trips. Specifically lacking room for a rear facing car seat.
The GX also has a larger fuel tank (24 gal) compared to the FJ (19 gal) all the while retaining the same fuel mileage.
It also features the same 4wd system as the land cruiser 100 series (although some say better) utilizing the renowned Toyota TRAC system.
So enough of the background, now onto the build...

This is how she sat when I brought her home. Screaming soccer mom. Man the ride was so smooth.
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0661_zps3c0864a4.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0661_zps3c0864a4.jpg.html)

The next move was to get the front end lifted to accommodate larger tires. After speaking with the guys at Sierra Expeditions, I ordered a set of Ironman springs and shocks of the "B" rating.
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0724_zps0dab2e9b.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0724_zps0dab2e9b.jpg.html)

After this, the move was to bigger tires. Having good luck with Treadwright in the past, I decided to go with the TW Warden in 285/70r17.
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0792_zps2a6fe991.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0792_zps2a6fe991.jpg.html)

I have an Indel B fridge mounted in the back wired directly to an optima yellowtop under the hood.
Also just received a set of ARB skids to protect the bottom side from TRDParts4U. Pics and installation will be happening this weekend.

That picture was taken on the HWM trip. And is how she shits today.

Future plans include front and rear bumpers, winch, cargo barrier with rear storage configuration, and LED interior lights.

Stay tuned...
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 10, 2013, 01:54:23 PM
A few pics from the HWM trip. Courtesy of Scott.
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0793_zps6930066a.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0793_zps6930066a.jpg.html)

(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0795_zps526ec254.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0795_zps526ec254.jpg.html)

(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0796_zps0c99c93e.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0796_zps0c99c93e.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 20, 2013, 11:02:37 AM
Last weekend I decided that since I would have to remove the factory tin skids in order to fit the new ARB ones,  I might as well go ahead and change the oil. I have run Mobil 1 in my last 3 vehicles and have been pleased with the performance it offers. So, naturally I figured that I might as well switch the diffs over to Mobil 1 as well.
The lexus service history noted that the diff fluid was changed back at 30k and with 115k on the clock, plus a trip through some high water (breathers extended) in the last month, I wanted to see how they held up as well as the condition of the oil.
To my surprise, the diff oil looked nearly new. It was slightly darker than new oil, but in very good shape. There were fine shavings caught by the drain bolt magnet, but that is normal. No large metal pieces from abnormal wear. Also, no water.
Unless I am confident that I have water in my diffs, or start hauling a lot, I do not see the need to change the fluid again for another 80k.

These are pictures of the drain bolts:
Before
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0946_zps76afd0d6.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0946_zps76afd0d6.jpg.html)

After
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0948_zps679ad689.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0948_zps679ad689.jpg.html)

After all the mess was cleaned up, I installed the ARB skids. The install was very straightforward and as usual, ARB provides a great installation manual to make the process very easy.
These are by no means "rock crawling" skids, but they are mean to protect the vitals underneath your vehicle should you happen to encounter an obstacle that could cause damage. They do not provide the same coverage as budbuilt or man-a-fre, but they are not designed to. From what I can tell, they look very similar in design to the ASFIR skids that others have used on the GX.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 20, 2013, 11:09:12 AM
(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0986_zpsa500673d.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0986_zpsa500673d.jpg.html)

(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t656/Robert_Weeks/IMG_0989_zps3fe5e697.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/Robert_Weeks/media/IMG_0989_zps3fe5e697.jpg.html)


The only problem I had was the transfer case skid. It is not a full skid like many of the other manufacturers, but rather is of the same design that of the stock one, only made out of thick material. The mounting bolts did not match up correctly so I will have to do some rearranging of mounting points. Other than that, everything lined up correctly and tight, no rattling.

My next purchase for underbody protection will be a fuel tank skid. The GX's tank hangs rather low and could possibly be in danger of damage at some point.

My next project will be a front bumper and slider. Shrockworks has a great slider design that clamps "around" the frame rather than bolting or welding. The only drawback is the price.
Options for the front bumper I have narrowed down to Ironman or ARB. My original plan was to go with a local guy who makes them for the GX, but the price (while validated) is just a little too much for me to spend at this time.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ScottBrownAdventurer on May 20, 2013, 11:20:24 AM
The skids look good, but be sure to replace the allen bolts that are hanging down (as seen in the first pic) with typical hex head or dome head allen screws. Also, I'd avoid stainless as the metal is softer and can gaul/round out easily.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 20, 2013, 03:09:55 PM
Will do. That was one of the first things I noticed
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 24, 2013, 11:53:50 AM
Mounted up the awning last night. Used some metal bracing and a few bolts with lock nuts and now sits pretty sturdy. Looking forward to getting some use this summer.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/9u2esude.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/abe9y8us.jpg)

With mosquito net.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/8y2e5u4e.jpg)
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Nigel Caffiene on May 29, 2013, 04:04:11 PM
Very Cool!!! Please do continue...
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: bigwapitijohnny on June 10, 2013, 11:21:43 AM
Mounted up the awning last night. Used some metal bracing and a few bolts with lock nuts and now sits pretty sturdy. Looking forward to getting some use this summer.
([url]http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/9u2esude.jpg[/url])
([url]http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/abe9y8us.jpg[/url])

With mosquito net.
([url]http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/25/8y2e5u4e.jpg[/url])


Awning is looking good! Enjoy it! Glad it went to a good home and will be used a lot. 

Regards,

BWJ
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on November 07, 2013, 02:45:20 PM
Little update. Found some 4runner trail wheels that I couldn't pass. Now I don't have to hide the chrome with plastidip. Takes a little to get used to. But with the new offset, I should be able to remove the front wheel spacers.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/11/08/ehusu2ar.jpg)


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Kole on November 07, 2013, 02:51:00 PM
Nice! Those look way better than the chrome  >:D
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 18, 2014, 09:21:41 AM
Scott asked me to post these. Pictures of the adjustable ride height.

Normal (set by me for larger tires)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/04/18/6edyza5u.jpg)

Low
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/04/18/su7a5uma.jpg)

High
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/04/18/ry7esyzy.jpg)


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Jayston on April 21, 2014, 07:30:24 AM
I like that it retains the Toyota 6 lug.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 21, 2014, 10:08:29 AM
I agree Jayston. Makes switching wheels easy.

Anyone notice the damage to the passenger from fender/bumper cover?
Had a nice 17 y/o girl in a brand new red civic decide to pull out of a parking lot into me.
Looks like I'll be getting a new bumper!!!
Stay tuned!


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: topgun15v on April 28, 2014, 09:03:36 PM
Rob, looking good man, keep us posted on the bumper, I believe the Iron Mans will fit with few modifications. 
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 30, 2014, 11:26:04 AM
Actually I'm getting one from southern style speed. He is in Baton Rouge and will color match it.
Should be nice and clean.


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: foo.c on May 17, 2014, 09:00:41 PM
My wife just bought one of these today so I went back and read your thread. Nice build.

I think we're going to keep her's stock for a good while. I'll be doing the timing belt soon.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on June 18, 2014, 08:13:44 AM
I'd say this is a pretty significant update.

My bumper finally made it. Kevin at Southern Style Speed did a phenomenal job building it and I couldn't be happier.
This is version 3 of his original design and it really shows. Lexus paint color to match.
Now only missing some lights/winch/cb.
Now on to the goods:
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/18/mypa3yby.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/18/vuqazy6e.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/18/e4aze7as.jpg)

Fog lights are wired into factory switch, and there are some splash guards that still need to be installed.
Needless to say I'm impressed.  Well worth the wait.


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Jayston on June 19, 2014, 07:13:53 AM
Slick.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on June 19, 2014, 05:27:34 PM
Now completed with splash guards.
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/20/yvutepys.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/06/20/aba9y8ab.jpg)



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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: agentsteg on June 22, 2014, 11:32:53 PM
Looks good man!

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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: forunnin on June 23, 2014, 12:39:15 PM
Man, that is an awesome rig!!!  Love it!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on June 24, 2014, 09:18:51 PM
Thanks for the compliments!
Looking forward to some new pinstriping as soon as fall gets here!
She's almost too pretty.


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: OutdoorX4 on October 23, 2014, 10:18:55 AM
What a fantastic looking truck!  I, too, am currently in the market as our Jeep crapped out recently.  I'm looking at the GX470 as a replacement.  Please keep posting pics and any tips, etc on the vehicle search.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on November 17, 2014, 03:34:26 PM
What a fantastic looking truck!  I, too, am currently in the market as our Jeep crapped out recently.  I'm looking at the GX470 as a replacement.  Please keep posting pics and any tips, etc on the vehicle search.  Cheers!

Well, looks like I've been away for some time since I just noticed this. A career change is in the works, so I've been holding off on any trips and modifications until things become more concrete. My apologies for being absent.


Just changed the oil and rotated tires. Now close to 130k.
Due to my own stupidity, I now have minor gasket leaks at both front seals. One drip a day maybe. Aggravating, but not enough for me to want to pull the cv's.

Ive been debating changing the plugs, but my gas mileage is the same as when I bought it, and really see no reason to do so. Anyone have experience with the 2UZ on this?

Im also realizing how crappy the rear suspension rides compared to the front. Over-inflated airbags and over extended oem shocks only work for so long. Looks like coils and extended shocks will be coming for Christmas. Probably go with Ironman to match the front.

As much as I want to keep building this rig, being a fully functional daily driver is priority numero uno.

I keep waiting to get rear ended so I can finally put on a rear bumper/tire carrier.  O:-)

Title: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Brushogger on November 18, 2014, 12:04:21 PM
I've got the iron man constant load springs and foam cell shocks on the rear of the fj and love them.  They are perfect when loaded for a trip, and not rough when unloaded.   Also doesn't add much rake when unloaded.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on November 19, 2014, 01:32:53 PM
The more I look at it, I'm starting to lean toward the icon overland springs and long travel shocks. Of course, then I might as well upgrade rear links as well to take full advantage.
Either way, I have to do something ab the lower links, they really are rather weak and I would feel much more comfortable with something a little more beefy under there.

Is anyone not running a front sway bar on a V8 4runner or gx470? I know my front end is much stiffer than stock with the Heavy OME setup, but articulation is pretty limited. due to the sway bar.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Kole on November 20, 2014, 11:44:12 AM
I know I don't have the weight of a v8 but I'm a lot narrower and have been without swaybar for a few years now. i don't miss it but it does take a lighter touch when driving. Doesn't bother me at all but i do warn my wife any time she drives to slow down on those tall ass dallas overpasses.
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on January 18, 2015, 08:35:37 AM

I know I don't have the weight of a v8 but I'm a lot narrower and have been without swaybar for a few years now. i don't miss it but it does take a lighter touch when driving. Doesn't bother me at all but i do warn my wife any time she drives to slow down on those tall ass dallas overpasses.
I think I'll remove it. Should allow a smoother ride up front.



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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on January 18, 2015, 08:39:59 AM
Picked up an M8000 for a great price. Except for the faded sticker, the internals and solenoid look and work like new. Definitely well cared for.
I was told it came of a 60 in AZ. The current owner removed it when he bought the truck 3 years ago.

Fairlead is on order as well as synthetic rope. It's not powered in the picture.
(http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/01/18/5bacae674c52971b4b4b2c55ded3b6c0.jpg)

Tucks in real nice.
(http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/01/18/9e1ec6395594c1918d22cb6b8f542284.jpg)


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: forunnin on January 21, 2015, 10:42:22 AM
Very nice addition!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 10, 2015, 10:22:41 AM
Added some new tires today.

255/80R17 Cooper ST MAXX

pictures to come!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: forunnin on April 10, 2015, 04:03:20 PM
Added some new tires today.

255/80R17 Cooper ST MAXX

pictures to come!

Love the look of those tires!  There is a guy on ih8mud with them on his GX and they look awesome!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Jayston on April 12, 2015, 10:23:59 PM
I went that direction as well! (http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/04/12/dea05e6493fe781b06d15d928826cc14.jpg)
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 14, 2015, 04:39:44 PM

I went that direction as well! ([url]http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/04/12/dea05e6493fe781b06d15d928826cc14.jpg[/url])


Looks like they clean out really well!!


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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on April 14, 2015, 06:08:03 PM
Some pics of the new tires.
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/04/14/3674057bc5036619d5e0f95b367d0c92.jpg)(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/04/14/f67c9ae1cc486b371c3431bfaa65aadc.jpg)(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/04/14/488718909b531f6fd03ac2f0f567682a.jpg)

Definite improvement over the treadwrights. Mileage has increased due to less rolling resistance. Steering is much lighter. Noise is less, but to be expected of a new tire.

I'll be traveling to Austin the beginning of May, so that will be a nice trip to provide some feedback for highway feel.

The shop that put them on had them at 40psi.
For highway driving that may be the best option, but I find that 35-36 range rides much better. Especially not being loaded in the back.



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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: forunnin on April 15, 2015, 11:03:37 AM
Very nice!!!  They look great!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: ElRob on May 06, 2015, 05:47:13 PM
Well, the air suspension finally bit the dust. Couldn't find the leak but I'm fairly certain that it was a bad connection and not the air springs themselves.
Either way, it was an opportunity to upgrade a system that has a finite life span and could potentially leave me stranded somewhere.

I picked up a set of long travel metal tech springs from the fj cruiser forums that had minimal miles.
Then ordered a set of the corresponding long travel icon shocks and extended brake lines.
I still have the stock lower control arms and the sway bar connected, but the travel and ride quality is 100x what it was before.
Articulation even with stock arms and sway bar connected is pretty substantial over stock.
Here is a picture of the air springs and shocks removed:
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/05/06/cc037514d5249048079aff6a239184dd.jpg)

I ended up removing the compressor, diaphragm, and all other lines associated with the system.
The only thing left is to figure out how to get the light on my dash to stop blinking.
It's recommended to unplug the air suspension computer harness, but when I do, my check engine light/vsc lights come on. Still trying to find the answer.

Fun fact ab installing the long travel kit on the GX:
Metal Tech recommends installing a 3" bump stop extension to compensate for the longer shock body to limit up travel and damage of the shock.
The GX bump stops are already atleast 2 1/2 to 3" longer than the fj or 4Runner.
When test fitting the shocks and cycling them to look for clearance issues, the stock GX bump actually begins to make contact with the axel with 1 1/2 -2 inches of the shock shaft showing.
In my not so expert opinion, this negates the reasoning behind installing bump stop extensions.

I also did not install the upper spring isolator a that come on the stock suspension. They are the cone like piece of rubber that acts like a damper if the spring is compressed to the point of impact.
I had some industrial rubber sheeting laying around that I used on some roof rack mounts and cut them into a shape roughly larger than the top spring diameter. Then slipped them above the spring so there was no metal/metal contact between the spring and frame.

I don't have any pictures of it installed, but will post pictures this evening.
My he only thing left to complete the rear would be a set of upper and lower control arms.



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Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: forunnin on May 07, 2015, 11:07:00 AM
Awesome!!!  Simple is always better, in my opinion, and coil springs are a lot more simple than an air suspension!  Glad to hear it rides and articulates better!
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: Slaw ninja on July 20, 2015, 12:43:43 AM
All very nice...I just picked up an LX last Friday, and the build begins. Text me if you get a moment...I had some questions about mounting the RTT to the stock roof rack. Also am curious about AHC sensor lift.
Thx!
RON
Title: Re: Lexus GX470 (Prado Grande)
Post by: foo.c on April 05, 2017, 10:08:44 AM
I know this is old, but I think the air ride system in my wife's GX470 has bit the dust and I'm thinking about converting it to coils. Did you ever get the light off?