Our LX470 (Ellie 2)

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offroadkid

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El Dorado Hills, California
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Over the years we've had many Land Cruisers, the first a 92, then a 97, then a 98 100 LC, back to a 97 Collector Edition, and finally ended up with our current 98 LX470 (purchased on Valentine's Day 2016)!

The 97 Collector Edition was nice, bumpers, sliders, winch, and 4.88's but with 35's, J Springs the ride was less than comfortable and the wife wasn't a fan of the lean around the corners. I decided on the LX as the AHC allows me to lower the rig to get our older parents in and out, and raise it when necessary off-road. Also the AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension) makes corner lean a thing of the past!

Married 19 years, we have always camped in tent trailers and although comfortable, they just limited us to the destinations we really wanted to go. So we sold our Fleetwood E3 and used the money to start the build of our current rig, (Ellie 2). Our Collector Edition was named Ellie as she reminded us of an Elephant and we couldn't come up with a clever name for her replacement!

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The first modification was hood support shocks, baseline all the fluids, a pair of Sylvania Silver Star headlight bulbs, front and rear stabilizer bar bushings a new set (5) BFGoodrich TA KO2 285/75R16. For the type of expedition style wheeling we do, 35's are not necessary, and I'm certain the All Terrains will get the job done. They also wear the Snow/Ice Rated badge and living just an hour away from the snow, this makes us comfortable driving in the slick stuff!

At 237K she was a pretty clean, but needed some leaks addressed, so I took her to work the next day after delivery and replaced the valve cover gaskets, and right front axle, (I had a good spare in the garage).

Also, being a Lexus I was able to log into Owners at Lexus website and check the service history. To my surprise there was no records of the timing belt ever being replaced, so I tackled the belt, tensioner, pulleys, and water pump.
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Now on to the good stuff!!

A few friends have the James Baroud RTT, and after seeing them in person the wife and I were sold!! We had fun with painters tape comparing the footprint size differences between the standard and XXL size and it was decided the XXL was the one. We ended up getting the Evo XXL from Tom at adventureready.com in Seattle.
To mount it, I ordered a set (3) Rhino Rack load bars and feet. This was an easy install and utilizes a hidden set of attaching points not used on US Spec 100 series.

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Up next is the fun stuff, armor! A friend agreed to make a set of sliders for me like he made for his LX470. I took them to a local powder coater and was really pleased how they turned out.IMG_1860.JPG
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offroadkid

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Next a call to Christo at Slee Offroad and a 100 series rear bumper was on it's way! The guys at work stayed after work to watch and help install and were blown away at the quality and ease of install of this great product.IMG_1921.JPG
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Next, not a necessary mod, but the guy that comes to our dealership to repair client's bent, or curb rashed wheels and I talked about painting mine! He also goes to Tesla to repair wheels, and it just so happens the color I decided on was Tesla Sonic Gray!

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I wasn't too keen on the Slee "Blueberry" front bumper and decided on the ARB Deluxe winch bull bar, (we have a lot of deer on the roads up here).

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I had a still unopened 9K Harbor Freight winch in the garage that I planned on putting on the 80 series and never did. As with the other mods, I brought it to work with me to install and I wasn't impressed with the fit and ease of install. I still installed it as it was my only choice at the time. Later that week, a friend broke his winch and knew I was looking at ARB winches and it was decided he would buy my never used HF and I would use that money and also take advantage of the nice rebate Warn was offering. I got a VR1000, and the install was so nice!

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As it is an LX470 the suspension was starting to feel the weight when fully loaded for camp and didn't want to raise up from "LO" mode. I sourced a free set of take-off stock LC100 torsion bars and rear springs, and swapped those in. Now with a full load the suspension is happy although my AHC neutral pressures are very low now and the ride isn't so comfortable, (not terrible, just not factory butter) but that was to be expected.

I found out about King Springs in Australia and the special rear coils they make for AHC equipped 100's. I ordered a set and they will be here Thursday the 15th. After installing these I will be able to loosen the front torsion bars back to specified pressures and the ride should be better.

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mellowdave

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Next a call to Christo at Slee Offroad and a 100 series rear bumper was on it's way! The guys at work stayed after work to watch and help install and were blown away at the quality and ease of install of this great product.View attachment 7671
View attachment 7672

Next, not a necessary mod, but the guy that comes to our dealership to repair client's bent, or curb rashed wheels and I talked about painting mine! He also goes to Tesla to repair wheels, and it just so happens the color I decided on was Tesla Sonic Gray!

View attachment 7675
I wasn't too keen on the Slee "Blueberry" front bumper and decided on the ARB Deluxe winch bull bar, (we have a lot of deer on the roads up here).

View attachment 7673

I had a still unopened 9K Harbor Freight winch in the garage that I planned on putting on the 80 series and never did. As with the other mods, I brought it to work with me to install and I wasn't impressed with the fit and ease of install. I still installed it as it was my only choice at the time. Later that week, a friend broke his winch and knew I was looking at ARB winches and it was decided he would buy my never used HF and I would use that money and also take advantage of the nice rebate Warn was offering. I got a VR1000, and the install was so nice!

View attachment 7676

As it is an LX470 the suspension was starting to feel the weight when fully loaded for camp and didn't want to raise up from "LO" mode. I sourced a free set of take-off stock LC100 torsion bars and rear springs, and swapped those in. Now with a full load the suspension is happy although my AHC neutral pressures are very low now and the ride isn't so comfortable, (not terrible, just not factory butter) but that was to be expected.

I found out about King Springs in Australia and the special rear coils they make for AHC equipped 100's. I ordered a set and they will be here Thursday the 15th. After installing these I will be able to loosen the front torsion bars back to specified pressures and the ride should be better.

View attachment 7674
Man i love that Slee Rear Bumper.

Your truck looks fantastic.
 
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ChuckB

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Very nice! I’m interested to hear about your King spring experience. I believe I’m on the verge of needing to freshen my AHC system.


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NotGumby

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Great thread and information. I’m in a similar European rig, KDJ150. I’ve done some similar mods including the RTT; a Baroud extreme but the XL. Still have to tackle the suspension and rear bumper.
 
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offroadkid

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Very nice! I’m interested to hear about your King spring experience. I believe I’m on the verge of needing to freshen my AHC system.


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The King Springs are doing their job and allowing us to pack up the rig and still maintain the ability to to through the different height modes when needed, normal height around town and raising it when approaching the trailhead!

We both really enjoy the AHC, but also the AVS "Active Variable Suspension" as we can change the ride to comfort on poor pothole bumpy city streets to sport on windy mountain roads.

I find with the stiffer LC100 torsion bars and the King rear springs and the program set to just one tick below "Sport" it mimics the other Cruisers I've owned with Old Man Emu Suspension.
 
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offroadkid

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Great thread and information. I’m in a similar European rig, KDJ150. I’ve done some similar mods including the RTT; a Baroud extreme but the XL. Still have to tackle the suspension and rear bumper.
Thanks for the kudos Gumby! Ours is also an XL, maybe I just forgot to mention that! We actually laid out the two different sizes on the front room floor with painters tape and decided the XL was a better fit!!

There is so many choices for rear bumpers. At first the Slee wasn't my favorite and I was set on the ARB modular rear, but my wife really liked the Slee and after talking to people I found out the ARB took a lot of time to install, and then a lot of time to tweak and adjust for a good fit. The Slee went on so easy and everything lined up great.
 

NotGumby

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On the one pic it looks like the XXL and not the XL. Shot angle probably. Thanks for the info in the bumpers. Hard to find someone selling KDJ150 compatible bumpers in Europe. If they’re not safety approved (TÜV), I’ll have to take them in for safety compliance inspection, and have it entered into my vehicle registration. Drag!
 
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ChuckB

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The King Springs are doing their job and allowing us to pack up the rig and still maintain the ability to to through the different height modes when needed, normal height around town and raising it when approaching the trailhead!

We both really enjoy the AHC, but also the AVS "Active Variable Suspension" as we can change the ride to comfort on poor pothole bumpy city streets to sport on windy mountain roads.

I find with the stiffer LC100 torsion bars and the King rear springs and the program set to just one tick below "Sport" it mimics the other Cruisers I've owned with Old Man Emu Suspension.
Awesome thanks! Completely agree on the benefits of AHC/AVS.


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offroadkid

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On the one pic it looks like the XXL and not the XL. Shot angle probably. Thanks for the info in the bumpers. Hard to find someone selling KDJ150 compatible bumpers in Europe. If they’re not safety approved (TÜV), I’ll have to take them in for safety compliance inspection, and have it entered into my vehicle registration. Drag!
I'm dumb! It is an XXL! I was thinking it came in normal and XL!

That's something I did not know about, the safety compliance in other countries?!
 

NotGumby

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I'm dumb! It is an XXL! I was thinking it came in normal and XL!

That's something I did not know about, the safety compliance in other countries?!
Not to hijack your thread, but yeah, we’ve got some strict safety rules in Germany. Any mod that can potentially change the dynamics or safety of a vehicle has to be inspected and entered in the vehicle registration. For example, I had to have my snorkel and rock rails inspected, and then I had to re-register. My bash plates did not, because I just swapped the factory plates. When I change my factory tire and rim size from 18’s, the new size will have to be entered into the registration too. Lifts have to be entered as well as new bumpers or winches. Roof racks not, because the manufacturer has to have them inspected and certify they will work for your vehicle.
 
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Igorskiy

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Great build. Same size tires and hood struts were some of my first mods when I bought my 99 LX470 as well, but I also had to do steering rack bushings.
It sounds like you know a lot about this vehicles, so let me ask you a question about the AHC suspension. At the moment my seems to be working, but it being a 18 year old vehicle I am kind of afraid that it will fail at the most inconvenient moment and that is why I am considering changing to Icons with ome bars and springs. Right now I have AHC adjusted for 1.5 inches of lift on normal setting, would that effect longevity of the system, and when it does fail, would it compress completely leaving my truck sitting super low, or what does it do?