SouthernSS Build thread

Discussion in '120-Series Toyotas' started by SouthernSS, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    Hello everyone!

    At the request of the guy that inspired me to begin truly building up the GX, BonnerBB, I'd like to take the time to introduce myself and some of the work Southern Style Speed has been doing.

    We had been focused mainly on the IS and GS vehicle lineup, but when my wife BEGGED me to get rid of her GMC Envoy that had been plaguing us with electrical gremlins and a very strange oil disappearing act, I jumped at the chance to get her into a GX470.

    Even though I'm currently addicted to horsepower and speed, there was a time, back in college, that I owned a single cab Z71. I always had a blast rootin up the backwoods and my wife and I got stuck more than once out there, if you know what I mean. Anyway, since we already owned an IS350, we had come accustomed to Lexus quality. We needed another vehicle that could haul people and tow whatever we threw at it, besides a gooseneck. The GX470 just seemed like a natural fit.

    Because we had already started the business for the performance aspect of the IS and GS, we figured we could also fill some gaps in the GX aftermarket lineup too.

    The goal for the truck was a semi-expedition rig. My wife wasnt completely crazy about the idea, but since she's a little "country" to begin with she said it was OK as long as it could go back to stock if she wished.

    On to the pics!!

    First thing she wanted was a new roof rack. After looking at all of the options that secured to the factory rails, she wasnt happy with any of them. She says, "Just build me something". Here's what I came up with. It's since been bed-linered. It's still just a first run prototype, and I'm not entirely happy with it, but she is.....so it stays.

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    here's a Preview of the 285's I got used for a smokin deal.

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    Here you can see that she decided on some OEM Tundra wheels painted a dark graphite. I also fabbed up some custom Lexus center caps. Because I knew that a full armor-plate bumper and 12,000 lb winch were in the future, we went ahead and upgraded the front coils to 650 lb Radflos and did the rear air bag trick. We are both pleasantly surprised with the ride quality and still low level of road noise. This is just a couple of days after the install and I hadnt finalized the front height. It was also necessary to remove the running boards so those 33's could fit.

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    Here you can see the flat black roof rack, and a revised front ride height. This pic is right before we started the front bumper build. This was also the day after her first offroad adventure. We nearly got stuck because I forgot to disengage the traction control. :( Gotta remember that!

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    Here we are after day one of the bumper build. We actually got a little further than this but I forgot to take pictures. It really helped that I had built the bumper out of wood first. I got ribbed for weeks from my friends about the wooden bumper, but I knew it would be of great benefit to have template pieces ready to go.

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    These remaining pics are of the completely tacked steel bumper as she currently sits. We just finished it up last night around 8 and theres still a lot more to do. I plan on adding a dom tubing hoop over the winch area as well as some shackle mounts. There will probably be additional tweaks and changes too, so please be forgiving.

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    This bumper is completely bolt on with no other modifications other than trimming the fender liners. I can literally uninstall her OEM bumper, and have this new steel piece on and back to OEM in under 45 minutes. I think this will open up the market for those of us that wish to have a town and country look if you wish.

    Still to be completed are the Trail gear rock sliders I've got sitting in my garage. I just havent found time to get them all welded together. We will probably end up doing something custom again for the GX as another product. Those 67" sliders will work but they obviously arent made for the GX.


    Anyway, I hope you like the progress. I do plan on becoming a vendor on IH8mud.com, but havent done so yet, so lets keep business talk out of this thread for now. If you've got suggestions on how you think the bumper should look, I'm all ears. I think I'm going to try some sort of factory style hookup to the stock fog harness, I'm just not sure where and what style lights to use.

    Lemme know what you think!! :D
     
  2. dawsonc61

    dawsonc61

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    Looks Awesome! I really like the fact that you don't have to trim the fenders. the gap between the bumper and the fender is really close though. Will that allow for enough flex?
     
  3. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    I wonder the same. It was a fine line between fit and finish and functionality that I was tightrope walking. For the final design, I may probably trim that a bit more near the fender to provide adequate clearance
     
  4. dawsonc61

    dawsonc61

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    Sounds good, Shoot me an email when you get a chance. Want to talk about potential pricing but don't want you to get into hot water with admins. dawsonc61 at gmail dot com
     
  5. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    I'll get with you next month which is only a few days away. I'll be a vendor by then so it'll be all good.
     
  6. Sam Stewart

    Sam Stewart Kicking Boxes Supporting Vendor

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    I love this. Subscribed.
     
  7. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    If you'll look in this pic in the area between the tow hooks and the front skid plate where the radiator is slightly exposed, we are designing another skid to fill that gap that will bolt to the stock locations below the radiator and either welded to the main skid or bolted.

    [​IMG]

    Which do you think would be best?
     
  8. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

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    Very cool!!! I can see this stuff being a big hit for sure! Nice clean lines too!

    -Daniel

    Sent from deep in the mountains of Honduras using only sticks and rocks.
     
  9. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    UPDATE: Finished a version of the "final" design. I've replaced the front steel plate with reinforced aluminum. That saved 23 lbs!

    [​IMG]

    Also added a 1/4" steel plate protecting the lower radiator area. This bolts to the main support and the stock skid plate for added protection. I designed it to be bolt on for two reasons:

    1) I wanted the bumper to be as light as possible when trying to install it.
    I have tried to make it so a single person can install it without too much difficulty. In fact, I did it two nights ago. Removing those skids, gives you more options to hold it and makes it MUCH lighter.

    2) I wanted to allow it to be replaceable.
    If you decided to take on something more than one of the skid sections could handle, it might be possible to just replace the damaged skid.

    I tried to cut some vents into this, but my hole saw bit gave way. I'll probably have them water jetted out now and in the future.

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    Added some more room between the bumper and the fender. This still may not be enough. I plan on trail testing it thoroughly before releasing the final design.

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    Thanks for looking! Let me know how I'm doing.
     
  10. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

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    Looks great! IMHO though it looks like it may need one more small piece of steel to help protect the power steering or a/c line (which ever it is) on both sides of the bumper. It may be high enough up that it's not an issue, but it stuck out to me. I know you said you were going to do this already, but it will look even better once you get some tube protection up top...it seems like that would help balance it out (at least in appearance). All that said it looks TOUGH and I like the high ground clearance!

    -Daniel

    Sent from deep in the mountains of Honduras using only sticks and rocks.
     
  11. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    Yes, I've got some ideas of a bolt on splash guard of sorts that will provide protection for those exposed lines. I think I'm also going to box in the washer fluid bin, in addition to the splash guards.

    So, I've still got that, the hoop,additional lower bracing, lower ventilation holes, winch mount and fairlead, and some sort of lighting, I think.

    On a side note, I drove it 21 miles today to test for wind noise and whatnot. I'm telling you, it's ninja assassin silent. At 70mph, I could only hear the faint hum from the tires, and the normal wind noise I'd expect at that speed. I need non biased opinion though. Also, round trip mpg was 17.0. This was UP from when I left my house at 16.8mpg, but we'll call this one for the green lights. Even without the ventilation holes, the engine temps were never a problem. Everything was running completely normal. Not very scientific at all, but so far so good!
     

  12. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

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    ^^^ Very cool on all points. I figured you weren't done yet, just thought I'd chime in. That's great about the wind noise (or lack of it), I noticed every time I added something to our rig the noises I heard changed...sometimes louder or even quieter. Looks great, keep it up!

    -Daniel

    Sent from deep in the mountains of Honduras using only sticks and rocks.
     
  13. BonnerBB

    BonnerBB

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    Very impressive. Can't wait to see the progress!
     
  14. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    Thanks for the kind words. I've got to step it into overdrive because my wife is getting impatient about not being able to drive her truck.
     
  15. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    Small Update

    Hey guys,

    Got the hoop tacked into place and some ventilation holes on the lower skid. I'll be tacking some steel mesh on the back side so that your a/c condensor doesnt get a rock through it. That would ruin your day.

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    Took it for a flex test.....yeah, I need more clearance.

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    :idea: I think to accomodate, we're going to do an optical illusion of sorts. From the side, it will appear as though the body lines nearly meet, but from the overhead view it will be clear that the bumper will flex right past the OEM fender with mucho room to spare. That area is really ugly looking without anything covering it, and I just cant bare to have it fully exposed like some of the 4runner bumpers.



    Anyway, that's where its at right now. I'm going to try and redo the fender sections this afternoon and start working on the extra protection for the steering lines and washer bin.
     
  16. BonnerBB

    BonnerBB

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    Really digging all the pictures. Thanks for creating a build thread. I am going to get your rig added to the first post of my build thread soon. What are the specifics on your rig?

    Kind of lift, tires, sizes, etc? Year model of your GX, kdss?
     
  17. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    That'd be awesome. One more thing to note is that the bumper fully assembled weighs in at 138lbs as she sits. 110lb for the main structure, 19 for the aluminum skid and 9-10 lbs for the lower skid.

    It's SUPER easy to install it with a single person. I've done it multiple times now and I'm no He-Man. Hell, the whole bumper assembly is only 30~ lbs shy of my entire body weight....which is sad in itself.

    SPECS:
    2008 non-KDSS GX470 87k miles
    -2.0 Radflo coilovers with 650lb springs
    -tricked rear airbags with .5" solid aluminum spacers (2" of total rear lift)
    -2005 17x7.5 Toyota Tundra wheels split spoke (15mm offset) painted dark graphite and finished out with custom made Lexus center caps
    -285/70-17 Firestone Destination Mt
    -1.25" hubcentric billet spacers up front, 1.5" hubcentric billet spacers in the rear
    -Midland Mobile/Portable CB model 75-822
    -SouthernStyleSpeed armor plate winch bumper (prototype)
    -SouthernStyleSpeed expedition roof rack (prototype)
    -yet to be installed - 67" rock sliders from TrailGear
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  18. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

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    Looking great! I added meshing to the lower vents on our ARB bumper for the same reason. It's going to be a sweet bumper!

    -Daniel
     
  19. Layonnn

    Layonnn

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    Very nicely built bumper. But yes, the frame on these things flex way too much for how close that bumper is. You need at minimum a pinky fingers width away from the body, or the bumper will smash it to bits. Just hitting a big enough pot hole on the road can do this. For reference, on my FJC i had a pinky fingers width and i still was missing paint on the body from the ARB hitting it.

    Also, from having seen bumper manufacturers for the FJC (very similar frames) make this exact same mistake on their bumpers, those 8 bolts on the ends of the frame horns are not strong enough alone to have a winch mounted in the bumper. Those supports have dimples in them designed to crush in an accident. Most have used the captive nut in the lower radiator support crossmember as an extra brace.

    This is a pic of the extra frame support that is included with the ARB bumper for the FJC. The lower bolt hole is the one i am referring to.

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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  20. SouthernSS

    SouthernSS Supporting Vendor

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    yes, I definintely plan on distributing the force behind the crumple zones. The captive nut area on the loswer radiator support is the obvious place for extra strength, but I'm a little cross on how ARB triangulates it all the way behind the body mount without drilling. I assume for that bolt to be secured they must have required to drill clear through the other side of the frame? I was trying to stay away from modifications like this, but if I have to I have to.

    You're in Baton Rouge? We should meet up sometime and swap ideas.
     

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