Builds Cincinnati LX Build and Adventure Thread (3 Viewers)

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
Howdy Gang.

I finally took the plunge and joined the forum after hanging out and reading/learning for the past couple months. Specifically joined because I just started an adventure with a 2000 LX so that my wife and I could have, well, adventures.

A little background: I’ve been intermittently working on a variety of cars, snowmobiles, small engines, and boats, first with my dad and then on my own through the years. I grew up in Michigan and my first major project was a beat up Jeep Wrangler that my dad and I rebuilt and modded at lot in our garage. We’d go wander around trails in Northern Michigan and I fell in love with working on all things mechanical and also going out and exploring uncharted territory. My now wife and I would take that Jeep around the woods when we first started dating and discovered many magical and serene places. We’ve since become avid in many different outdoor activities, but national park trips and backcountry hiking have become a major staple of ours. We've used some pretty off-road incapable sedans as base camp before, including this trip to Bryce Canyon, Utah:

IMG_20180611_162100.jpeg


I’ve had too many cars to count over the years, primarily Audis and a couple other Germans, and have been active on the Audi forums through which I’ve learned an incredible amount. I get the itch for something new every year or two. I’ve always been drawn to cars that offer practicality while still being rare or unique. One of my personal favorites in this category was an Audi Allroad that went on some pretty deep off-road excursions during our time together. Google “Offroad Allroad” sometime and you’ll find a really different build thread; not mine, but I wanted it to be for many years. I recently sold an Audi TT that I considered a “utilitarian” sports car (AWD, hatchback, has “4” seats). Since that Allroad, we’ve always had a wagon in the fleet, currently represented by a Volvo V90 Cross Country, which has been the “adventure-mobile” up until this purchase.

IMG_1494.JPG


So how does one go from that history to a 3-ton Lexus SUV? Well, we took a trip to Maui late last year and rented a lifted Tacoma with a rooftop tent to camp all over the island. We took it to some pretty amazing unmapped locations that we couldn’t have dreamed of with a generic rental car. It made me realize how badly I wanted a real off-road vehicle that I could build back on the mainland. I thought about various options and was originally pretty interested in a Tacoma to have the practicality of a pickup and the reliability of a Toyota. But it doesn’t meet my “unique” criteria; I mean there are hundreds of thousands of them out there. So I kept digging and of course fell deep into the 100-series rabbit-hole. Perfect combination of capable, Toyota reliable, long-haul comfort/luxury, and most of all, fairly rare.

Exploring Maui:
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e01.jpg


Shockingly, when I mentioned scratching the time-for-a-new-car itch to my wife, she said yes without even too much of a sales pitch. That’s because the premise was to find a 100-series, LC or LX, in the $5-10k range that could slowly be built for some long-haul trips and off-road adventures to augment our hiking/camping habit. I wasn’t looking for anything special or in amazing condition, but something that had good bones and hopefully at least decent maintenance history. Wasn’t too picky about the year, cosmetics, options, or even rust at that price point. I find the LX front end pretty ugly compared to the stoic LC, but kind of endearingly ugly. After learning a bunch about what to look for in this forum, I discovered the LX I ultimately purchased from a dealer in Cleveland two days ago.

2000_lexus_lx_470-pic-4135587032001135817-1024x768.jpeg


Except that it isn’t really from Cleveland, and so the story gets a little more interesting. I found it online from a small independent dealer as one of the cheapest ones for sale, especially considering the mileage. Not much info in the listing, the pictures were pretty crappy. But after talking to the guy, he said he picked it up in South Carolina from the original owner who was a family member’s neighbor. He came across the car while he was down visiting his family and planned to bring it back to Cleveland to sell. Except with the pandemic, he got stuck down there and couldn’t really get it advertised well. We texted and he sent me lots of pictures and it was so much cleaner than I would have anticipated for the year, mileage, and price. I confirmed using the Lexus dealer records that it was a FL then SC car its whole life and was dealer maintained up until 3 years and 9k miles ago. Carfax also suggested what he was telling me added up. I put a deposit down and he eventually got it back to Ohio where I bought it off him. I won’t say exactly what I paid here, but I’ll note it was very much near the lower end of my original budget range. I do think it’s currently a buyer’s market for most cars given the pandemic, even though gas has never been cheaper for a guzzler like these are. Lots of comments on the classifieds about what different LCs and LXs for sale are worth right now. My only comment: don’t assume anything about a car without digging a bit deeper, as there are some real deals to be had out there. What I thought would be a mediocre Ohio rust-belt car, turned out to be a one-owner impeccably-maintained gem from the South just because I asked for more info.

With that, meet “The Beast” the newest member of the family fleet. Named because we’ve definitely never had a vehicle anywhere near this size and stature. She’s a 2000 LX, 181k miles, in Riverrock Green. Completely OEM minus some janky satellite radio wiring coming down the passenger A-pillar. That last dealer visit was for the “180,000 mile service” which is such a hilarious concept for any vehicle other than an LC/LX in my opinion. Timing belt and water pump done at that service, fluids and all other maintenance done regularly except the trans and AHC fluids. Thank God for the new dealer timing belt and pump, as I’ve had two of them go in my Audis and bent valves both times. One of those catastrophes was right after a complete belt/pulley/tensioner/water pump change by an independent guy (also a friend of mine) and disaster struck when the dust cover came off one of the pulleys and wedged in the crankshaft gear, causing the timing to skip. That spelled the end for that Allroad I’m so sentimental about. Got it rebuilt reasonably cheap and sold it immediately. Fingers crossed to avoid any and all of that with my LX, though it’s some reassurance that valves rarely seem to be damaged in the 2UZ despite being officially labelled an interference engine.

IMG_0836 copy.jpg


Initial plans are to baseline the car and drive it as is for a bit. It’s got brand new Michelin Defender LTX tires, which although boring are worth a good bit of coin, so I can’t justify getting rid of them yet. Almost makes me mad, given that I really want to put a good set of 33s on it (I’ve read plenty of threads, still deciding on KO2s vs something else). After that, I’ll starting building a “go bag,” which will really be a large med kit, toolkit, some spare parts, and some simple recovery gear for some mild adventures. I’m a big AHC fan by the way and plan on keeping it. My Allroad had a finicky and problematic but also super fun and frequently useful air suspension back in the day that I loved too. AHC rides better and is more reliable, so I definitely can’t justify swapping it out. Again, it’s that unique factor that just draws me in, so I’m going to take some pride in maintaining that.

Once I get the itch to do more, I’ll probably start with a rooftop tent +/- a new roof rack. HID upgrade with the lens swap will be a must; I consider that a safety upgrade in addition to just being cool. I have some younger family members in town that I hope to get interested in turning wrenches with some of these projects as well. It might stay mild, it might get wild. Who knows. No real plans to do major crawling, but I would like to get places 98% of other cars can’t. Mostly just looking forward to the adventure of building and the adventures my wife and I can go on with it. Appreciate everything I’ve learned on this forum and plan to continue to update this thread to keep telling Beast’s story. Shout-outs to all those who have contributed to the FAQ threads and others who have provided some amazingly detailed build threads that have given me many great ideas and dreams. Looking forward to being part of a new community. If you’re in the SW Ohio/N Kentucky area, shoot me a message so we can meet up and talk “local” places to explore and get lost.

More to come...
 
Last edited:

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
First "adventure" was on the return journey from Cleveland. We stopped at Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a quick walk with the dog. No exploring, all pavement for the car. I put the AHC in L to make it not feel so gigantic, but also probably subliminally to say "this isn't real exploring." Hopefully a small preview of bigger trips to come!


IMG_0833 copy.jpg


IMG_0834 copy.jpg
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
Coming from a fellow C5 allroad survivor, the LX should be a breeze by comparison. Enjoy the new ride.

Survivor is a good word for it. Yet for some reason, I still love that car and everything it could do. Had a C6 A6 afterward, and while it was much more reliable, it just didn't have the same personality. Seems like 100s have both.
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
The rear seats have probably been in storage for years in these garbage bags. The headrests also interestingly came in a garbage bag. A few are scraped up but not too bad. Cheapo floor mats on the other hand had seen better days.

IMG_0842 copy.jpg

IMG_0843 copy.jpg



Started my interventions the other day by cleaning out 20 years of grime. Nothing crazy, but lots of nooks and crannies that hadn't seen the light in many moons.
IMG_0847 copy.jpg
IMG_0855 copy.jpg
IMG_0871 copy.jpg
 
Last edited:

CloudCity

LuxCruisers.com
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Messages
833
Location
Portland, OR
My favorite line, "That last dealer visit was for the “180,000 mile service” which is such a hilarious concept for any vehicle other than an LC/LX in my opinion."

You will find many other current and former German car owners here, especially vintage Benz. Man, as already said, coming from an Allroad... this will be a breeze. I've only ever owned German and a few classic American cars so getting into Toyota's in my 40's really made me realize how much money I had thrown at cars over my lifetime that could have gone straight into adventures instead. Late to the game is better than never getting there at all. $13,000 head job much? My whole LX cost less than that single repair. On that note, unless you really are adverse, it's generally considered useful to name your buying price as it helps others understand the market in their area, but understandable if you prefer to keep that private.

Ahhhhh, you know about Howard's! That stuff is the BEST and we use on all woodwork and furniture in our home, and it does a fantastic job restoring wood as you have shown us with little effort. Really makes the grain pattern come alive doesn't it?

Enjoy and hope to follow your adventures!
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
Ahhhhh, you know about Howard's! That stuff is the BEST and we use on all woodwork and furniture in our home, and it does a fantastic job restoring wood as you have shown us with little effort. Really makes the grain pattern come alive doesn't it?

Enjoy and hope to follow your adventures!

Thanks. Howard's is great. We have wood countertops in part of our home, so that's where I started using it. It makes the steering wheel a bit greasy, but multiple coats with time to absorb in between has netted great results. Same with Lexol on the leather. We tend to forget these are organic things and can be neglected and left to rot, or slowly restored/maintained.

The bottom of the wheel is perhaps even more notable in its difference...but less visible. I did use a smidge of magic eraser to wipe some grime off before applying the Feed-N-Wax.

IMG_0866 copy.jpg

IMG_0869 copy.jpg
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
This locking hitch receiver pin became my nemesis the other afternoon. The car came with the key, but it wouldn't turn for anything. Tried it several times, including after a good PB blaster soak and heating with a torch. Honestly wonder if the PO put the wrong key in the car when he sold it. Even tried manually picking it after some quick Googling. All with no luck. Eventually just got the sawzall out and started cutting. Before I got all the way through, the vibrations popped the lock off. In the trash now.
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fb6.jpg


Also yanked out this Sirus radio antenna that was thankfully not hardwired but just tucked under the passenger dash, through the door boot, and up the A-pillar weather stripping. Also straight to the trash.
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fc5.jpg
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fa0.jpg
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fba.jpg


Checked the blower fan while I was down there. Super clean.
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4f9e.jpg
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
On that note, unless you really are adverse, it's generally considered useful to name your buying price as it helps others understand the market in their area, but understandable if you prefer to keep that private.

Sorry, neglected this part earlier. Not averse, just not one to throw out numbers for the sake of doing so. Ultimately, I paid $6k out the door, so about $5400 for the vehicle + tax, title, and fees. Hopefully that helps some buyers out there; don't suspect that news will help anyone looking to sell right now.

For full comparison's sake, like I mentioned before, one-owner southern car, timing belt and water pump done 10k miles ago and confirmed by Lexus service records and sticker underhood. The rest of the maintenance was impeccable also including brake fluid and PS flushes, regular bearing repacks, CV boots, and the head gaskets all within the last 15k miles. One accident on the Carfax with "very minor damage" reported the the L rear. All the body panels are original with matching VIN, and panel gaps are pristine, so I doubt much more than some repainting was needed. Only broken thing so far is the power antenna, which I plan to get around to. Have a replacement mast in the mail as we speak.

4hprtWn7QDqmA+GzUV9OHw_thumb_4fa7.jpg



Bonus pics: A tight squeeze in the garage, but it even fits with the suspension in H!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fa9.jpg
IMG_0879 copy.jpg
 

2020 Rocks

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Messages
1,094
Location
YourMom’sHouse
This locking hitch receiver pin became my nemesis the other afternoon. The car came with the key, but it wouldn't turn for anything. Tried it several times, including after a good PB blaster soak and heating with a torch. Honestly wonder if the PO put the wrong key in the car when he sold it. Even tried manually picking it after some quick Googling. All with no luck. Eventually just got the sawzall out and started cutting. Before I got all the way through, the vibrations popped the lock off. In the trash now.
View attachment 2295769

Also yanked out this Sirus radio antenna that was thankfully not hardwired but just tucked under the passenger dash, through the door boot, and up the A-pillar weather stripping. Also straight to the trash.
View attachment 2295770View attachment 2295771View attachment 2295772

Checked the blower fan while I was down there. Super clean.
View attachment 2295776
Those locking hitch receivers are a headache wherever they salt the roads. I’ve seen a few where the sleeves inside the hitch rusts and fuses to the point where the entire hitch needs replacing. If the sleeve that goes in the hitch is not lubed once in a while it just a matter of time before the rust sets in.
 

LndXrsr

AHC Aficionado
SILVER Star
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
337
Location
Cincinnati
Also posted this to this thread about different greases and approaches to lubing the slip yokes that I found really useful, especially @2001LC 's descriptions and video.

This was my unique approach:

I just spent portions of the last two days lubricating my slips and spiders using a combination of recommendations that I think may be a useful compromise between the "grease until you see it coming out the seal" and the "stop when you see expansion of the slip" crowds.

Of note, mine is a 2000LX with AHC still functional. Did this in the N setting. Used WD-40 Specialist True Multipurpose grease which is a dark blue and is NGLI-2 rated, but also has some marine-grade water resistance qualities. Also perhaps important, I didn't really have clunk before all this, and Lexus records tell me this car was probably lubed pretty regularly.

I started by justing pumping in a TON of grease into both slip yokes and a hand pump. Took ~50pumps in each one to see any expansion at all. It would then slowly settle as you can see in the video in the thread linked above. Continued pumping and it took 75-100 pumps total to start seeing some grease weep around the seal as you can see here:
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4f56.jpg


Following that, I drove the car very minimally, nothing rough, and for maybe 5-10 minutes max. Then let it sit overnight so that the weight of the car alone could slowly push any grease out the seal without being abusive to the diffs, etc. This morning, I rechecked, not much change, if any, in the amount of grease seeping past the seal.

I interpreted this finding as that there was still a lot pressure in the slip yoke itself, and so I removed the zerks as is occasionally described around here. I got a small amount back by natural pressure release, front and rear:
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_5087.jpg


I then raised and lowered the AHC from H (working under car) --> L --> H (back to working under car) with the zerks out. I thought this wouldn't make much difference as the driveshaft angle doesn't change much since both the TC and diffs raise/lower with AHC, albeit slightly different amounts. But I did get a fair amount of grease out both front and rear.

Front:
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_507f.jpg


Rear:
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_508a.jpg


After cleaning that grease snake off my floor, I put the zerks back in. No driving with the zerks out. My thinking being that would force a lot of grease out out through repeated unpredictable movement of the driveshaft in/out and probably leave them under-lubed. Probably would be fine, but hey, you're reading my approach, this is how I did it.

I should say, my zerks were neither 6 nor 7mm nor SAE. Had to use locking pliers to carefully get them off and was gentle putting them back on with a 7mm socket that was a bit loose. Didn't use my torque wrench for fear of rounding them off, and 5lb-ft is next to nothing anyway.

So with all that, I now know that I got a ton of grease in the slips, which I feel they needed badly. I got enough to come out the seal and also let the car rest in an attempt to have the seals naturally release any excess grease. When they didn't, I then released the pressure by removing the zerks and cycling the suspension, so I also now feel comfortable that there isn't any hydrolock or excess pressure in there and got to that point without abusing the drivetrain.

Best of both worlds? We'll see what I find at the next lube point in a few thousand miles.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
70
Location
Cleveland
Congrats on the new rig!

I’m located in Cleveland and actually tried to buy this exact 100 from Gary while he still had it in SC. It looked extremely clean for the age, and particularly so for the Midwest. I recognized the photos from the ad. He called and said someone bought it sight unseen - you beat me to the punch!

I ended up purchasing a 99 LC100 that spent it’s first 17 years in Colorado and am pretty happy with it.

Subscribed to this thread, will be interested to see how your build progresses.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom