Builds NippoHippo - BC LX450 '97 diary

FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
I'm going to track the progress of my LX450 build here.

I will keep the list of planned and installed mods in the top post.

Planned:

- Slee rear locker actuator protection - purchased already
- DC driveshafts front and rear - purchased already
- Blue Sea dual battery marine charging relay - purchased already
- New LSPV + extension - purchased already
- Front adjustable panhard rod
- Rear Delta panhard rod 5" raise bracket
- Second battery
- Dometic CDF11 fridge to replace the center console - purchased already
- Mole panels for side windows - purchased already
- Better drawers
- VHF 144MHz antenna - purchased already
- Prinsu style roof rack
- Front and rear cameras
- Rear bumper with integrated hitch receiver and quarter panel protection
- Rear winch
- 10% underdrive, 25% low range reduction transfer case kits
- Properly mount Smittybilt 2781 compressor and add a splitter to pump all four tires

Installed:

- Runva 11XP-S winch with synthetic line, custom made mount plate
- Trail Gear rock sliders with custom made mounts
- Aluminum bumper
- Cruisin Offroad rear tire carrier
- Basic set of drawers.
- OME 2850J front, 2863J rear coil springs
- Ironman 1 1/2" coil spacers in the front
- OME 60070L + 60071L shocks
- OME OMESD24 steering stabilizer
- Custom front radius arm 4" drop brackets
- Slee bump stop extensions front and rear
- Slee extended brake lines front and rear
- Slee diff breather extensions.
- Slee parking brake cable extention
- Custom front sway bar link extension
- Metal Tech rear sway bar link extension
- All tie rod ends replaced with a 555 set
- ProComp PCW97-7883 17x8 ET -6 steel rims
- 35x11.5R17 load range C Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires
- Smittybilt 2781 compressor. Not hard mounted yet.

I miss my old FJ80 '91 that served me very well without causing absolutely any headache.
850/863 springs, Rancho shocks, 285/75R16 Duratracs, Runva 11k winch, no lockers. Very simple vehicle but I wanted more. More power, more clearance, better shape.
IMG 8602

This new lady definitely has its own character. I'll elaborate on that below.

So what I've got:
Lexus LX450 1997, Canadian specs. 276k km, factory lockers, virtually no rust on the body except a couple of small scratches and front wheel wells.
Absolutely stock except bold 285/75R16 BFG AT tires and 1 1/2" coil spacers front and back.
IMG 8628

IMG 8642

IMG 8641


Its character became apparent when I left the seller's house. After the first 1-2kms there was clearly a misfire.
Quick call to the seller - "it never happened before!". Could be true. There was no misfire when I checked the vehicle four weeks ago and negotiated the price.
IMG 8629

OK, I got home somehow. The misfire mysteriously disappeared after 50km drive on a highway. I guess there was some water left after washing the engine or something like that but it never happened again. Yet.

The plan for the truck as of August 2021 was:

OME J-springs, L shocks, castor correction, armor, 35-36" tires.

As of November 25 2021 I've got some progress already. Will post the updates soon.
 
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FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
I'm actively wheeling the truck including trails that are more like rock crawling obstacles.
After some bad experience with the previous FJ80 I decided to get rock sliders as soon as I start using the new vehicle properly.
Front bumper and a winch were on top of the list as well.

I really like the aluminum bumper I had on my old truck so I decided to take it off, paint in black bed liner paint and use on the LX450.
Sanded the bumper:
IMG 8881

End result after two coats and texturing:
IMG 8887

IMG 8891

Trail Gear sliders with custom made mounts. The cats on FZJ80 are PITA to work around. Mounts for the FJ80 would be way easier to make.
IMG 8812

First trip with the new armor:
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At this point the truck got 285/75R16 Duratrac tires on aluminum ION rims. My budget isn't unlimited so I plan to stick to this set for some time.
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
The castor correction is done using the radius arm drop brackets pictured below.
They look custom made to me while the build quality is pretty good. I wish they also move the front axle forward a little bit but it’s not that important for the 35” tires.
I’ve never seen drop brackets of such length. Hopefully, this will minimize the possibility to hook on them while squeezing through rocks. If they won’t work as planned I’d need to get Delta radius arms.

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FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
First mistake was to install both front and rear coil spacers. The result was a stinky bug stance and almost zero castor despite the radius arm drop brackets.
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The panhard rod is way off its ideal position. The difference in height of its ends is 6.5”.
Removed the original spare tire carrier.
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Feldrian

Feldrian

Full of opinions and expensive ideas
SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
650
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Do you think you'll need the full 5" delta bracket for the rear panhard? Might run into clearance issues on full up travel. I ended up with the 3" bracket on mine (with 4.5- 5" of lift) to avoid the issue and not have to massively extend my bump stops.

Do you have a picture of the radius drop brackets installed? Never seen anything like that.
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Do you think you'll need the full 5" delta bracket for the rear panhard? Might run into clearance issues on full up travel. I ended up with the 3" bracket on mine (with 4.5- 5" of lift) to avoid the issue and not have to massively extend my bump stops.

Do you have a picture of the radius drop brackets installed? Never seen anything like that.
I do have 2” bump stop extensions already so the 5” DVS bracket should fit great.
I wish they make them with two sets of holes though. It would be nice to chose either 3” or 5” raise on the bracket.
Here are the panhard drop brackets installed. Scratched them a little bit already so yes, they will be taking hits regularly.
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377E4D4D 2B1B 41F3 B9DA E817550A5AF4
 
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Feldrian

Feldrian

Full of opinions and expensive ideas
SILVER Star
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
650
Location
Lynnwood, WA
I do have 2” bump stop extensions already so the 5” DVS bracket should fit great.
I wish they make them with two sets of holes though. It would be nice to chose either 3” or 5” raise on the bracket.
Here are the panhard drop brackets installed. Scratched them a little bit already so yes, they will be taking hits regularly. View attachment 2849746View attachment 2849748
Man those brackets are funky. Definitely never seen anything like them.

If you do go with the 5, I'd suggest taking the springs out and cycling the rear suspension to test. I have 2" extensions on my bump stops as well and my 3" bracket gets me really close to contact on full compression.
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Man those brackets are funky. Definitely never seen anything like them.

If you do go with the 5, I'd suggest taking the springs out and cycling the rear suspension to test. I have 2" extensions on my bump stops as well and my 3" bracket gets me really close to contact on full compression.
Well, DVS say that 2" extension should be sufficient. We shall see..
At this point of time I removed the rear coil spacers to level the truck.
The difference in height of the rear panhard rod ends is 5.5” now.
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While doing this part I played with the LSPV and it squirted some brake fluid on me. There is no more leak I could see after that but it’s time to replace it. Ordered a brand new one from Emirates through eBay for less than $200. Local Toyota stealership wanted $500+
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Logbook entry: A/T temp light went on and remained like that for two days even on a cold engine. Disappeared on its own. Bad contact or dying sensor, apparently.
Need to add one more item to the wish list - A/T oil temp gauge.
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Got the LSPV from the Emirates. Even after Canada Post made its cut the end number is way better vs what my local stealrship quoted for it. $550 sounds a bit too much for what it is.
Got a good deal on a set of 35x11.5R17 Nitto Trail Grapplers. I really like tall and skinny tires but Super Swampers is an overkill. I hope my pick is right. Never ran Nittos before.
Covid is still in the air so they will not be delivered until the NY, unfortunately.
 
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FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Well, not too many updates. Too cold outside to work on the truck.
So far I did the easiest and the cheapest mode (or repair):
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The cupholder from Ali Express works. Not sure how bad is it vs OEM but definitely better than a hole.
 
FotoJeeper

FotoJeeper

Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
40
Location
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
NippoHippo got some updates this week:
- my HAM call sign plates arrived
- finally, Nitto Trail Grappler 35x11.5r17 tires were delivered. Mounted on a sparkling new set of ProComp steel wheels 17x8 ET -6

I really like the look of the skinny (ish) tires.
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