RBGX: 2003 GX470

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Oct 9, 2022
Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the driver of a truck with bags of air


I'm a city girl. I hate cars and I hate driving, both with a passion. I make fun of people with giant trucks. No one really *needs* that crap. No one.

And then I met a boy. His name is @DanS HJ-45 and he lives on the top of a mountain in Colorado.

Perhaps you see where this is going...

I was living in TN at the time, but I spent the summer of 2020 in CO. I seriously doubted our entire relationship the second this man pulled up at the terminal at DIA in his peeling, faded, green clunker of a beast. Surely this was some kind of joke; I didn't even know how to get into the da$& thing. The seatbelts made weird noises (WTAF), the headlights didn't work, and the check engine light was on. How was it even going to make it home?

But after driving 80 for the summer, including to and around this guy's literal mountaintop property, I began to see the utility in such a vehicle. Shockingly, I declared that I wanted a Cruiser. If I was going to move to CO for this guy, it seemed as though this was a necessary evil.

Of course he was happy to oblige my request. He began discussing trucks with his father and brother, but all that I heard was jargon. "You definitely need a GX." Fine, I thought, that's just some type of Cruiser. Then they started saying numbers (460 vs. 470) and I completely zoned out. Information overload. "Whatever. As long as it's a Cruiser. And as long as you fix it when it breaks." Absolutely not a problem, they said.

I gave him a budget. Funding for my Cruiser needed to come from the sale of my 2013 Hyundai Veloster (long story, don't ask), which was worth about $6k KBB at the time. He said it could be done, no problem, so I placed my trust in this man and set him free.

SPOILER ALERT: I'm still waiting for my Cruiser.
For those of you who might have followed my old build threads, this is quite the departure. The 80 is basically the first truck I owned with cupholders, and I bought that because I needed a truck at the same time my brother needed to sell his 80--without upsetting my nephew. So I bought it.

And here's what I dragged home, for $6K. A clean, rust free 2003 GX470 with 225,000 miles on it, and an undetermined number of miles since the timing belt had been done. So I talked the seller down a bit because of the timing belt issue (some mechanic assured him it had been done, but I sure couldn't find any evidence of it being done, so no way I was going to trust that).

It sure looks pedestrian behind my 80 here, doesn't it?

And after we bought it in Denver, I drove it 10 miles to my brother's house and it occupied the spot his GX460 normally lives while I worked on getting the timing belt done.

Because it's so critical, and I felt like we might be driving a bit of a ticking time bomb, and because I'm still way too busy building a house (and NOT finishing my 60 yet :frown:) we took it to Toyexus to get the timing belt, water pump, etc... done.

And here she is when I got back and picked her up from the timing belt.

It'll take us a while to post up more of the build, but we figured we had better get the thread going now...

So, after the timing belt, I took it home to the mountains. This is a part of our driveway.


I should also note that my brother couldn't stand the worn out hood struts with it parked in his garage. So he replaced them. The hood sure is nicer when it stays up! He also refused to allow us to repay him for the struts.

And then, in early December, in preparation for the holiday break, I packed up a little tree, I ran to my brother's place, borrowed his roof basket, and hit the road...

Two days later I was in Memphis. I also was entirely convinced of the need to replace the stock radio, because there's no auxiliary input, and the CD player didn't work.

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I didn't know it at the time, but Dec. 7th, 2020, was the day that I met my forever truck. 😍

Note: the Veloster. Pretty sure it sat there in that exact spot until Carvana towed it away in May 2021. I moved it maybe once or twice after I replaced the dead battery and to take some pictures.


After listening to Dan gush about this dumb truck for two months, I finally got to drive it. First impressions:
  • it was like riding on a cloud
  • the running boards were useless and needed to go
  • leather seats are way too fricken cold
  • the wood steering wheel was also too cold
  • I can't afford a Lexus and I really don't like how it has so many Ls everywhere
Excitement about the tape deck was sincere. I immediately started collecting tapes. We also took it to a car wash and spent a good three or four hours cleaning the interior. I love other peoples' kids, but PO's kids were gross. 🤮

A few weeks later, after I had finished teaching for the semester, I (we? I don't remember) drove the GX back to Colorado. Noticed two additional items to address, eventually:
  • there's a breeze on my hand coming from (I think) the little speaker on the driver door up near the steering wheel
  • dome light/door ajar light comes on when accelerating, need to fix the rear door switch
Also, after this trip I vowed never again to attach a single thing to the roof because I lost everything out of the basket on I70 somewhere in Kansas. No one was hurt, thankfully, and I somehow managed to get all of my crap back from the nice Kansas turnpike men. For the record, I was not the one who strapped it all down with only one strap...

She made it to Colorado, and I made it up to the cabin, in the snow, without dying. (I DO NOT like driving in snow.) And for anyone wondering about cabin progress, here it was in December 2020. Peep the cute lil 45 back there too. 💙


My Christmas gifts from Dan that year were Carhartt seat covers and Weather Tech floor mats for the front. I bought a lame neoprene steering wheel cover from AutoZone or somewhere similar. I tore apart the center console to clean the junk out of the slots that was preventing the little doors from fully opening. I read about that on Facebook and was pretty excited to go treasure hunting, but I didn't discover nearly as much money or interesting trinkets as some people do. Regardless, it was nice to have those doors function properly.

FWIW, I don't actually like the Carhartt seat covers. The cover for the armrest is dang near impossible to get on. Two years later and they're still just hanging out in seat back pocket, along with the cheap plastic "tool" that they claim helps with the installation.

Finally, here's our holiday photo for 2020. It was a December to remember (get it?), so I added the bow, which also served to cover up the dang L on the front.


Edit: facts, potty mouth, holiday photo, formatting
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Mid January 2021 it was time for me to drive back to Memphis for the spring semester, but right around that time she started to get a little bouncy.


If you know, you know. We weren't ready to do the suspension yet, so we bought some replacement airbag from somewhere and replaced the driver's side. Passenger was fine so we left it.


Despite the fact that my posts are mostly full of nothing (so far), I do know some things and possess some skillz. I did the airbag mostly myself (props to the BIL for the assist while Dan was at work). So for the ladies that are hopefully reading, it's just a bunch of parts that go together in some way. Just do it, or at least try. ♥️ The two cats and I made it back to Memphis after that without incident, so I now trust my trust wrenching abilities.

Because we'd put more than 3000 miles on it in a few months, it was somewhere around this time that we did an oil change. I lived in an apartment in Memphis and Dan had no tools there, so we took it to the shop down the street from my place. Dan had used them a few times for the Honda Civic Accord that he keeps as an airport car so we figured that they could handle the oil in the GX.

Literally as we pulled away from the shop after picking it up, though, I noticed a loud whhhhiiiiiiiirrrrrring noise coming from somewhere in the front. Dan did this thing were he simultaneously tells me that he doesn't hear it / that it's fine, and I hate cars, so ok fine, I went with it.

Maybe you know where this is going, maybe you don't, but it's worth mentioning this now because this is when the whir started, Spring 2021 after picking it up from that shop. If you have thoughts on the source of the whir, I'd love to hear them. The actual fix, which wasn't anywhere near cheap, didn't come until later that summer.

Edit: facts, formatting
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Kinda random but I was chatting with @karmabiker today and he reminded me that we have an apparently rare base model. The tow package, third row seats with AC, and nav system were 3/5 of the options for the early GXs, as far as I can tell, and we have none of them.

(The other two were the DVD system and Lexus Link. We have a DVD but I have no clue if it's OEM and we don't have the Lexus Link module.)

Anyway here are some pictures. Please ignore my mushroom haul and disaster of a trunk. The rusty hitch receiver was most definitely not OEM and Dan will tell you all about how much he loves it when write up the rear bumper install. 😂



In the rear, the grab handles are replaced with coat hooks and the side panels are plain. There are also mounting points for a cargo cover, but we didn't get a cargo cover from the PO.


Non nav turns out to be annoying (IMO) when you exchange the head unit for one with a screen, but I'll get to that later.

Edit: formatting, typos
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Anyway here are some pictures. Please ignore my mushroom haul and disaster of a trunk. The rusty hitch receiver was most definitely not OEM and Dan will tell you all about how much he loves it when write up the rear bumper install. 😂

We’ve got a while before I get there, but yes. I will tell ALL of my thoughts on the rear hitches.


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