Builds Homer's 2003 GX470 Build (26 Viewers)

Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
2,422
Location
So Cal
Purchased ($8k on 3/2017) a 2003 GX470 Blue Ash Mica with gray leather interior. Bought it already lifted with Bilstein 6112s in the front, air bag trick in the rear, aftermarket wheels and 285 BFG KO2 tires. Fog lights included as well. Navigation and no KDSS (not available on 2003s).

Since the original purchase, I've spent countless hours researching small and big mods, exploring the outdoors, and making mild to medium modifications to the GX470. Nothing too crazy, but enough to let me explore different areas like Big Bear, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Baja Mexico, and other parts around me.

I've made lots of YouTube videos and posted lots of pictures in the ensuing posts in this thread and many other threads in the GX470 IH8MUD forum.
  1. GX470 Little John Bull in Big Bear, California
  2. GX470 at Chicken Rock near Death Valley NP
  3. GX470 in Berdoo Canyon going into Joshua Tree NP
  4. GX470 Top-5 Trail Worthy Upgrades
  5. GX470 Exterior Mods
  6. GX470 Interior Mods

Build purpose: Explore the mountains and deserts around me like Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Big Bear, Anza Borrego, and even Baja.

Current wheels and tires:
  1. 17x9 MB Wheels 352 with a -12 offset, 25 lbs weight per wheel
  2. Nitto Ridge Grapplers 285/70R17s, E, MFG Specs: 32.7" tall, 11.5" wide, 57.89 lbs
  3. 255/75R17 (32.1"x10") BFG KM spare tire (full threads) in spare location on an FJC steel wheel 17x7.5, +14 offset
Current front suspension:
  1. 2017: Front UCAs: Total Chaos
  2. 2018: Front LCAs: New Toyota OEM
  3. 2018: Installed diff drop and replaced diff support bracket with upgraded one
  4. 2022: Front Coilovers: Bilstein 6112s heavy kit 47-284142 with 700 lbf/in coils. 2.6" diameter IFP shocks. Previously, Bilstein 6112 #46-227287 with 600 lbf/in coils. Replaced because driver side shock started leaking at 55k miles. Lifted about 2.3" in the front
  5. 2022: OCD (Mike Studts) beefy front swaybar end links
  6. 2022: Durobump bump stops for the front. Much softer than stock oem bump stops to improve the ride on washboard roads or hard hits
Current rear suspension:
  1. 2017: Air bag trick to raise it about 1.5" in the rear with OEM air bags that were about 5 years old and in great condition.
  2. 2018: OME rear shocks that didn't work out too good with the bilstein front shocks.
  3. 2019: Rear Shocks: Icon 56550 MT Long Travel (17"/28.5"). Digressive valving matches digressive valving of front Bilstein 6112s.
  4. 2019: Rear Coils: Dobinson C59-675V; ~18.5" free height; variable rate 157 lbs/in and 230 lbs/in; 16mm wire; Got about 2.5" rear lift on these coils when empty. These are tall, but meant for stock weight. These rear springs drop like 1" when I load up my camping gear/tools/supplies for a weekend outing
  5. 2019: Extended MetalTech stainless-steel rear brake lines
  6. 2019: Coil Conversion Kit: MetalTech Stage 2 (no added height; Toyota isolators)
  7. 2019: Rear Sway Bar End Links: Proforged 113-10144 for T4R give extra 1” length to level the sway bar after a rear lift
  8. 2021: Extended rear diff breather line to gas cap. Homemade kit with Amazon parts
  9. 2022: Rear Sway Bar End Links by OCD (Mike Studts) beefy rear adjustable swaybar end-links
  10. 2022: Timbren Active Offroad bumpstops for the rear with a 1" hockey puck as a spacer to compensate for the extra compression.
  11. 2022: Eimkeith Panhard Correction Kit (PCK) installed to level the bar.
Current body armour and recovery points:
  1. 2017: Rock Sliders: MetalTech OPOR
  2. 2018: Skid Plates: RockSteady Motorsports aluminum front and middle
  3. 2019: Front Recovery Points: Apex Overland beefy recovery points that actually attach to the frame for front recovery
  4. 2019: Rear Recovery Point: Rigid Enhanced 2" Tow Hitch Mount with D-Shackle for rear recovery
  5. 2022: RCI filler skid plate for stock bumper to protect under radiator (covers from front bumper to engine skid plate)
  6. 2022: FJTOYMAN rear shock shin guards to protect bolt and bottom of shock.
Other Noteworthy Optional and Cosmetic Changes:
  1. 2017: Replaced dashboard for free under Lexus dashboard replacement program
  2. 2018: Gobi ladder to carry jerry can for extra gas. Two 3-gallon Rotopax fuel containers with locking Rotopax handles
  3. 2021: Replaced leather on the front seats from LSeat.com
  4. 2022: Bison Gear metal Molle Drop Down Table for the barn door
  5. 2022: Bison Gear metal Molle rear ceiling shelf for storage
  6. 2022: DIY barn door release cable to open the door from the inside
  7. 2022: Raptor amber lights for front grille
  8. 2018: Clear turn-signal rear lenses for 2008-2009 GX470. Just like the look of the clear lenses
  9. 2018: Stock OEM roof rack with extra stock OEM crossbars (total 4) and Front Runner tie down rings. Just in case I need to carry something up there
  10. 2017: Tsumara cup holders
  11. 2022: 3" Auxbeam square spot lights on CBI ditch brackets. 4800 lumens per light at 6000K color with the clear lenses and 3900K yellow color with the swappable amber lenses (included in the kit for $109/pair plus tax on Amazon). Mounted on CBI fog light brackets.
  12. 2022: BlueDog DesignWerks GX470 Low Profile Front Fender Extension Covers to cover the front gap when the running boards were removed
  13. 2018: LEDs for all interior lights
  14. 2018: DIY leather wrapped the steering wheel in black leather. Amateur DIY job, but looks okay from a distance and feels great driving
  15. 2022: DIY carbon fiber vinyl wrapped interior fake wood trim
  16. 2022: DIY rock lights (Amazon) under rocker panel connected to step lights wiring harness
  17. 2019 BT45-TOY Bluetooth adapter from US Spec - initial connection to my iPhone sometimes fails
  18. 2019: DIY replaced front speakers Metra Electronics 4-8 ohm 6x9 speaker AW669SP
  19. 2022: DIY H3 5000K halogen bulbs for brighter white fog lights for closer white match to the HID headlights 6000K and spot beams 6000K
Notable maintenance and repairs (all Lexus/Toyota parts or OEM equivalent like Denso, Aisin, etc.)
  1. 2017: Flushed and filled the transmission fluid using Valvoline Maxlife ATF. Mine has a dipstick, yeah!
  2. 2017: Replaced with Denso reman alternator as preventive maintenance
  3. 2017: Replaced all coolant components: Asin timing belt kit, belt tensioner, drive belt, Denso radiator, Lexus upper/lower hoses, cap, thermostat, water pump, Toyota pink coolant, idle pulley
  4. 2018: Replaced with Fuyao windshield, Lexus rain pad, and exterior rubber seal
  5. 2018: Replaced window trim/molding from chrome to Prado black (all windows)
  6. 2021: Replaced all 4 O2 sensors and both integrated manifolds with catalytic converters. Cats went bad and I was having trouble with smog checks in California
Hub to fender measurements on 12/29/2021 after installing the new front coilover Bilstein 6112 kit 47-284142 with heavy coils 700 lbf/in on the 3rd circlip with weight in the cargo area (no middle/third row seats, but with my solo weekend camping gear which seems to have lowered my rear):

Current (hub to fender)Stock from factory:
FD = 22 3/820 1/4"
FP = 22 1/2"20 1/4"
RD = 22 1/221"
RP = 22 3/421"

GX470_LJB_01.jpg


3B305A76-9C60-456C-A655-132A372C98F5.jpeg


1B44F4F1-7B7A-4066-B269-F3A72E2FDD72.jpeg
 
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Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
2,422
Location
So Cal
The rear was lifted close to 1.5" by the PO by doing the air bag trick which is to lower the air height sensor bracket to raise the rear air bags. I still have the OEM rear air bags (refreshed back in 2013) and I use them to lower the rig when entering a garage or when leveling in a campsite or when hitching a trailer.

The first two mods that I did were:
1. TotalChaos UCAs for the front
2. OPOR Rock Sliders

Sliders_01.jpg
Sliders_02.jpg
JoshuaTree_OK_Mine_02.jpg
4Square_RearSuspension.jpg
4Square_FrontSuspension.jpg
 
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Joined
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Messages
2,422
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Right after I bought it, I did quite a bit of maintenance including the following (within the first 12 months of ownership in 2017):
1. Replaced both downstream O2 sensors (#234-4260 and #234-4261) because I couldn't pass smog upon purchase. Solved my P0402 code and passed smog.
2. Replaced Lexus Group 27F battery at Lexus dealer under 50% warranty. Battery was corroding and couldn't hold charge.
3. Replaced cracking dashboard under warranty at Lexus dealer. Got on the approved dealer list to replace the dashboard in April 2017 right before the May 2017 deadline. Dashboard got replaced for free in July 2017.
4. Replaced the transmission fluid with Valvoline Maxlife full synthetic, the differential fluids, brake fluid, and the transfer case fluid.
5. Replaced spark plugs with long-life Denso iridium #3297 SK20R11
6. Replaced most of the cooling system including a new Denso radiator #221-3125, new Aisin water pump kit including timing belt and tensioners #TKT-021, Lexus upper/lower radiator hoses, Toyota thermostat, Toyota cap, and Bando drive belt. Still running Toyota red as my coolant.
7. Replaced front and rear rotors with plain solid EBC Premium ones. Akebono ceramic brake pads for rear and front. All done together.
8. Replaced alternator with rebuilt Denso #210-0512
9. Replaced LCAs with Toyota OEM LCAs #48068-60010 for the right side and #48069-60010 for the left side
10. Cleaned the MAF sensor with CRC electronic cleaner to try to get rid of the P0171 and P0174 codes. The cleaning has delayed the codes and now it takes 500+ miles for the codes to show up. I just clear them and drive another 500 miles. It didn't eliminate the codes. Codes come at the most inopportune time when I'm offroading going up a hill.
11. New toyota gas cap.
12. Hand stitched a black leather wrap on the steering wheel.

4Square_DashWheel.jpg


4Square_MAF_Cleaning.jpg


4Square_LCAs.jpg
 
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Joined
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Messages
2,422
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I also did a few minor upgrades...

1. Bought the Tsumara cup holders. Works great at holding my drinks.
2. On 3/2017, replaced front door speakers with Pioneer TS-A6926 400-watt 4-ohm speakers. I know this is the wrong ohms, but I'm hoping they won't cause any damage to the sound system. On 10/2020, replaced the blown Pioneer front door speakers which some cheap Metra Electronics AW669SP front speakers ($16.99 each at O'Reillys Auto Parts). These speakers say they are 4-8 ohms compatible whatever that means. Sound is better than blown speaker sound.
3. Repaired the rear subwoofer with the the $20 foam kit you buy online at SimpleSpeakers.com. It works better, but didn't really fix my subwoofer. It still rattles.
4. Replaced rear door handle that broke. Bought a pair of cheap Jeep door handles for $5 on ebay.
5. Got two new keys programmed. Ordered keys online by sending a photo of my existing key. Got them programmed locally by a car key maker. Keys were cheap like $66 for two. Local mobile key shop paired my keys for $70.
6. Bought WeatherTech Universal Mat Kit at Costco for $80.
7. Removed the mayday fuse to get rid of the annoying notification stating that Lexus Link wasn't working and to call Lexus.
8. Replaced spare tire with black FJ Cruiser steel wheel 17x7.5 ($52 new on eBay) with +14 offset on BFG KM 255/75R17 (32.1"x10") ($60 almost new on craigslist) that fits fully inflated in spare location.
9. Added Bluetooth connectivity for my iPhone using the USA-Spec BT45-Toy adapter (no additional harness needed) $145 plus $75 installation. It works okay, but I have to have iPhone playing music and car stereo set on DISC/CD in order to connect. Sometimes I have to turn on car twice to get the connection. It's not perfect, but better than nothing.
10. Restored headlights and fog lights with the $15 Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit. Didn't last more than a year and needs to be restored again.

4Square_WTMats.jpg

4Square_Accessories.jpg

4Square_RearHandle.jpg

MaydayFuse.jpg
 
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Joined
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Messages
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I replaced the OEM rear shocks with the OME 60004 shocks. I still have the air bags in the rear, but this change made my GX470 bouncy upfront. I've recently added some weight like the 2nd row seats and two crates of tools and fluids. This weight made the suspension behave much better, but still not riding like a plush luxury SUV.

I’m considering upgrading the rear shocks to Bilstein 5160 remote reserviors to see if they behave better than the OME 60004. Maybe the 5160s will match the valving of the front Bilstein 6112s. Just a guess at this point.

[Update 1/04/2020] Finally did the coil conversion and removed the OME 60004s. The OME 60004 rear shocks were not a good match for the front Bilstein 6112s. The rear digressive Icon 56550 LT MT shocks are a much better match to the digressive Bilstein fronts.

I don't recommend that you mix digressive Bilstein front shocks with progressive OME rear shocks. It's not a good mix. Ride is very bouncy as if the mismatched shocks create harmonic oscillations and make you feel like a bobble-head on old roads that have a lot of breaks in the cement/pavement.

4Square_RearOME.jpg
 
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Joined
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Things still to be done...
1. Replace rear drive propeller shaft assembly to get rid of clunk. Rear drive shaft assy #37110-60A40. Old part number #37110-6A480. Grease for now.
2. Replace shift assembly to hold the gear in "L". Right now it bounces back to "2" immediately. Same thing on "D"/"4".
3. Replace diff support bracket to reinforce diff. New upgraded diff part #52380-60021. Old part number #52391-60021 Done 6/2018
4. Replace door window trim mouldings. Done 7/2018
5. Gobi ladder to carry extra fuel. Done 8/2019.
LadderGobi.jpg

Driveshaft_Assembly_03.jpg
 
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Joined
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Nice work! Have you tried greasing the driveshaft? I know the thump/ bump is pretty common across the board. Mine used to need greasing at least twice a year or it would let me know it was back there...
 
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Do you have pictures of exactly what you grease in the drive shaft? I asked my mechanic to grease the driveshaft, but I don't think he greased the right spot. Good thing he didn't charge me. It was part of the oil change.
 
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Here's where I'm at today, but my build keeps on moving...so these might not be the latest pictures for very long!

Homers_2003_GX470_10.jpg


Homers_2003_GX470_12.jpg
 
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Stole an Internet pic but this will give you an idea. It’s the slip yoke zerk. Only a few squirts recommended for that one as you don’t want to hydrolock it.

3DA5AA3D-3CEA-4E1C-AE7C-526EBD5CC05A.jpeg

IIRC, there are 6 total for front and rear that IMO should be serviced routinely. May just save you from having to replace the shaft prematurely.
 
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I lube the drive shafts at every oil change, easy to remember that way and fresh grease is never a bad thing. On the yoke I have always put grease in until the yoke just begins to move.

Where did you get the key? Getting a replacement chip key is new to me and the costs are unreal. I started to do some research , got confused and went back to wrenching...haha
 
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@CO_Hunter The instructions to program the keys are a little long and confusing.

In early 2017, I ordered 2 new keys ($41 for 1 FOB key with 3 buttons and chip, and $25 for 1 regular key with chip) from EBay from a company called 1010Keys. Here's a link: Items in 1010keys store on eBay!

I then sent them a clear picture of my valet key front and back. They cut my keys to match the photo. So, I got two cut keys from 1010Keys.

The new keys were not paired to my GX470. Since I had a valet key, I had to contact a mobile auto key maker to program all 3 keys for $70. I didn't want to buy software to do it myself.

If you have a master key, then you can try the instructions to pair your new keys to your car. Here's my post from last year New Keys - No Master? (Still confused...)

I hope that helps, but you can certainly get keys on the cheap with a little work. And my key was a Denso key.
 
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Other photos...
6112vs5100_BodyThickness.jpg
6112vs5100_ShaftThickness.jpg
4Square_SleepingPlatform.jpg
 
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@CO_Hunter I also ordered my replacement key from 1010 Keys through Ebay with a programing device for $65 the only requirement for programing was that I had a functional key. I sent them my key code from my manual and a picture of my existing key and they sent me a cut key with a device that plugs into the obd2 port to program the chip. The key I received appears to be OEM denso
 
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Thanks guys, I think my dealer quote was over $300. I will check out 1010 Keys.
 
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Yeah, my dealer quote was about $300 per key.
 
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GXO

GXOR
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Do it. I have put major on and off road miles on my RGs and love them. Best story was on my way to Moab. I went ATL To Dallas, then up and over 40. On that drive I hit hot, humid. I hit gigantic thunderstorms and deep pooled water. I hit a freak 3' drifted snow in Amarillo. I hit dry hot desert. I hit high winds. I hit nasty bumps and road construction. RGs never skipped a beat in 1600 miles of multiple conditions. When the snow closed the highway I pulled off to the feeder road through the shoulder (covered in 3' of snow) and plowed through the drifts passed the road closure and drove back over and went on my way. Was outstanding to see a tire eat like that and then just putter along silently on the highway at 70-90mph. Got to Moab, dropped to 17psi, off I went. Barely slipped a tire the whole week in the rocks.

Edit: oh yeah, I still have them on with a lot of tread left and just drove 3300 miles to Cali from GA through Moab again last month. About to hit the Rubicon in a week, drive to CO and drop off the truck, then fly out and do FJ Summit, then drive to Dallas then GA.
 
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Now that's an endorsement @HomersCanyonero I'm about ready to ditch my new tires after reading it!! :clap:That's a crazy amount of driving in a short time period Dan!
Do it. I have put major on and off road miles on my RGs and love them. Best story was on my way to Moab. I went ATL To Dallas, then up and over 40. On that drive I hit hot, humid. I hit gigantic thunderstorms and deep pooled water. I hit a freak 3' drifted snow in Amarillo. I hit dry hot desert. I hit high winds. I hit nasty bumps and road construction. RGs never skipped a beat in 1600 miles of multiple conditions. When the snow closed the highway I pulled off to the feeder road through the shoulder (covered in 3' of snow) and plowed through the drifts passed the road closure and drove back over and went on my way. Was outstanding to see a tire eat like that and then just putter along silently on the highway at 70-90mph. Got to Moab, dropped to 17psi, off I went. Barely slipped a tire the whole week in the rocks.

Edit: oh yeah, I still have them on with a lot of tread left and just drove 3300 miles to Cali from GA through Moab again last month. About to hit the Rubicon in a week, drive to CO and drop off the truck, then fly out and do FJ Summit, then drive to Dallas then GA.
 

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