I Bought a LX450.... Now what?

Joined
Apr 10, 2021
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Virginia
Hey, so I'm new here and like the title says, I bought a 1996 LX 450 a little while back. I bought it from one of my dad's buddies that owned a couple and was looking to get rid of this one. It's got 295k on the odometer, and aside from a little surface rust underneath seems to be in pretty dang good shape.

I've got one main question. Do I NEED a suspension/lift kit if I'm going to start modding it? I don't plan on rock crawling this thing. All I want to do is add things like an ARB front bumper for protection against deer, maybe a rear bumper to relocate the spare tire and add some fuel carrying capacity, and maybe a couple of things like some skid plates and what not.

I guess it'd help if y'all knew my intended purpose for the vehicle. I just want a reliable 4WD vehicle for weekend adventures, getting to work in bad weather, and a get home vehicle incase shtf.

I originally jumped straight to the idea of putting 35s and an OME suspension/lift on it, but then it hit me I might not even need a lift.

Any help or advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!

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Joined
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Olathe, KS, USA
Welcome!

Looks like you got a pretty decent specimen.

Ask here what you want and we will typically help.
What is your mechanical ability? Do it all, do a little, write a check?

We will rib you, criticize you, give you a hard time. Then we'll help you get on your feet and figure out what you REALLY need.
Pull up your pants, put on your big girl panties, and give it back to those that get aggressive. You'll be fine. Don't take it personal and you'll be fine.

The biggest thing is search.
Upper right corner of your screen and try it out. Literally ANYTHING you want to do to your truck has been done by SOMEONE here. Please search before posting what oil should I use or what size tires should I run on my truck, as there are MANY threads on those subjects alone.

It's OK to be ignorant and make stupid mistakes. We've all done it.

Let us know what you want.

Oh, and we're REALLY good at getting you to spend your money.
 

cvenom96

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Frederick, MD
What's next is to realize all your time and money is going to be dumped into it. It owns you now. Don't fight it and accept your fate. :rofl:

Do you "need" to lift it? No not really. If you don't plan on crawling or anything you'd be fine w/ 31s or 33s. Adding bumpers/skid plates/sliders etc is going to weigh it down so at a minimum you'd probably want to go with a new set of stock height medium springs/shocks and replace all of the control arm bushings. 2.5" and 35s are a nice step up and you don't have to worry too much about possibly changing out the front DS, caster, etc. 4"+ and it gets expensive real fast.

Best thing I can suggest is figure out the plan for the truck and build accordingly. Oh and replace all the hoses and rebuild the knuckles.
 
Joined
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Juneau, Alaska
More important is making sure maintenance/etc is up to date.

You most likely won’t “need” a lift for your use.. however, here’s a picture of what the same rig looks like with 315s. It came with the taller OME J springs, but I woulda gone for 2.5” if I had chosen myself.

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clx16

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Well just because no one has stated the obvious, unless you are towing the truck should have come factory with 33" tires. You need no lift for that. and the tire still fits in under the vehicle. If you are going to add front and rear bumpers and some sliders that is weight and you might want to stiffen things up a little which is mentioned above. But if you go above 33 you MIGHT have to consider re-gearing and that isn't cheap.

Personally I like 33" and 1.25-2.5 inch lift. I mostly just daily mine and take it on some bad forest service roads. I don't rock crawl and i don't go mudding. I have never gotten stuck even on really bad roads during very muddy conditions in the rain.

I would get you some better tires going in to winter for the snow and i would spend some time at least treating the rust and getting something like fluidfilm on the undercarriage since salt is coming to your roads in a few months.
 
Joined
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Olathe, KS, USA
Well just because no one has stated the obvious, unless you are towing the truck should have come factory with 33" tires. You need no lift for that. and the tire still fits in under the vehicle. If you are going to add front and rear bumpers and some sliders that is weight and you might want to stiffen things up a little which is mentioned above. But if you go above 33 you MIGHT have to consider re-gearing and that isn't cheap.

Personally I like 33" and 1.25-2.5 inch lift. I mostly just daily mine and take it on some bad forest service roads. I don't rock crawl and i don't go mudding. I have never gotten stuck even on really bad roads during very muddy conditions in the rain.

I would get you some better tires going in to winter for the snow and i would spend some time at least treating the rust and getting something like fluidfilm on the undercarriage since salt is coming to your roads in a few months.
Factory tires are 31", not 33" (265/75-16 not 285/75-16)
 
Joined
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Colorado
If you just want to get out and enjoy the outdoors on weekends, a stock LX will be plenty capable. I've had mine for two years now and still haven't run out of places to check out that are within its limits. All stock suspension, 265's, and an ARB + winch. I do want sliders but that's more for catalytic converter theft prevention and having a way to reach things on the roof rack. After that will be a Dobinson's stock height spring kit with some IMS shocks, and maybe a rear locker in 2023.

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I'd suggest making sure all the maintenance is up to date, get a great set of tires (265 or 285, either is fine), and then just get out there and enjoy the rig.

After a while you'll figure out which mods will actually be beneficial to your specific use case.

Congrats on the purchase and welcome to the community!
 

Devils Paw 80

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Looking good! Heck no, you don't need a lift. I'm very happy with the ride in my recently acquired LX (May of this year), so am leaving the stock suspension completely alone. It needed new tires and I went with 265/75R/16, just a tad taller than stock and a bit narrower. Also less expensive. Stocks are an oddball 275/70-16 size.
Mine actually came to me with smaller than stock, 265/70R/16

In any case, maintenance items always take precedence over mods.
 

zapatius

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OME "stock height" springs will give you a little bit of lift. That and new Toyota shocks, you'll be in business.

I'll echo what clx16 said - number 1 priority other than maintenance is take care of the rust you have and treat the rest of the undercarriage liberally with Wool Wax or Fluid Film. Rust is the killer.
 

davidp14

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Staunton, VA
Spend your money/time on maintenance FIRST. Tires, lifts, armor, lights ,etc won't help you if your 24 year old truck is not reliable in the first place. Toys come later.


this 👆

I spent a year just "baselining" mine before I started added extras. My springs and shocks were junk so I added a OME lift early but otherwise I just did maintenance stuff.

Ill probably end up replacing my springs again soon though because with bumpers, winch, sliders, drawers, and a heavy spare, I'll lose a lot of my 2.5" med lift. I mention this because you should consider your ultimate goals before picking a suspension so you don't buy twice like me. :)
 

Heckraiser

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No you don't need a lift.

Lift requires a small chain of other decisions/modifications like caster correction, potential driveline vibrations. 35's require you to figure out what to do with the spare because a 35" spare wont fit under the truck (or at least not very well), so a rear bumper with spare tire swing-out (couple thousand bucks) or taking up your whole cargo area with a tire.

If I were in your shoes, I would just drive it and focus on making sure it's in good shape mechanically. If the suspension feels worn out or sags too much, replace sprnigs with OME or Dobinsons "stock height" springs. These work well with the stock Toyota (Tokico) shocks which are actually quite good and cheap. When the tires wear out you can do anything from stock to 33" with no issues. I personally like 255/85r16, but there are a few other choices.
 

FMC80

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You don’t need a lift. You want a lift. By your question, I sense you already know you’re going to get a lift either now or down the road. So, get a lift and do everything you’ve been told to do regarding maintenance.
 

on the rocks

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I have a buddy that just jumped into a 97 LX almost exactly like yours. After 20+ years of watching me take off on the trails with the family and enjoy to continued trip while he was stuck at base camp in his Tundra he finally gets it. His was pretty neglected but no matter the condition he went through absolutely everything and base lined it right away. Not only is it piece of mine you get to learn you 80 very well.
While you digging into it there are over 3300 threads here since 2003. So much reading and pictures to look over and educate yourself. Look at what others have done and jump at what YOU want for mods. Sounds like your already like 35's and with no rock crawling I would say skip the bumpers, spare tire on the back and sliders and like everyone says, do the boring baseline, educate yourself then dive in the lift and 35's and keep it light until you have a solid plan. The approach I took and had zero problems with no sliders and bumpers for a long time on my 315/ 75-16 setup. A good 50%-60% of the miles I put on was on dirt and forest roads or getting to a point where I left the pavement. Also similar to what your looking for with yours on what I wanted out of it.
FWIW I have had about 500 miles of experience with the OEM Michelin tires and a lot of that was heading to Cristo's house to test drive his modded 80, and I thought the smaller tires were pretty meh. I wrote him a check that day for his gen 1 arms and lift and never turned back.
 

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