Builds ROTW 619TOY 1997 Lx450

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Jun 27, 2006
San Diego
First, before telling the story, I’d like to thank everyone on this forum who has helped me either directly or indirectly by creating the posts that have made all of the decisions I’ve had to make much more comfortable.

Well to begin the story, other than a 3rd generation Impala, all I’ve owned are Toyotas. I’ve off-roaded the crap out of all of them. Yes, even the 1973 Corolla. But I think that I’m becoming older and wiser and , hopefully, less stupidly abusive. Before acquiring my LX450 I had, and still have a 1996 4Runner. Up until about five years ago I babied it and wheeled it as well (seems like an oxy moron), wheeled it, waxed it, wheeled it, waxed it. You get the picture. Well I finally came the decision that it would never be as “perfect” an off road vehicle as a Landcruiser. One of my best friends has owned an 80 for years and I have always been impressed with it’s capabilities.

Almost a year ago I made the decision to do it. To get a Landcruiser. I’ve worked with cars my entire life and knew that an LX450 was a Landcruiser. However, I wanted a “Landcruiser”. Maybe I didn’t like the fluff associated with a Lexus, maybe I just wanted a “manly” vehicle, I’m not sure. One thing is sure however. The more I looked at Landcruisers, the more I realized how badly people treated them. That’s when I opened up to the idea of LX450’s. For some reason the ones I looked at seemed to be much better cared for than their Landcruiser brothers. So I loosened up my search criteria.

After a couple of months of searching I came across an Ebay listing. I checked out the listing and this thing looked incredible. But alas, no lockers. Just as I’m about to hit the “back” button, I get to bottom of the page. The seller has edited his listing…………………..lockers. OK now I wanted it! The only thing that would have made it more perfect for me at the time would have been for it to be white. So the day the auction closes I race home to check the status. It’s at about ten grand and the reserve hasn’t been met. Even though I really want it, I still want to get a good deal. I wait until the clock is down to about five seconds and I place my bid. I expected to see that I’d been outbid or that I was the high bidder but hadn’t met the reserve. YOU WON THE ITEM! Holy crap, now I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to pay for it as well as get to Phoenix to pick it up. Well I got it all worked out and in a couple days was driving my “new” LX home.

Somewhere in the middle of the last two paragraphs I stumbled across MUD. By the time I had my rig I already knew what I wanted to do to it first. The very next day I called Slee. The conversation went a little like this: “Unfortunately we are in a state of change with our six inch lift so we can’t sell you one”. “What”, I’ve already made up my mind. I was forced into a state of hibernation, waiting, and waiting, and then one day Ben called me and I was in business again.

I ordered my sliders, my lift, my winch and worked the local 4WP on my ARB price. The next few weekends were pretty much filled up. The one thing I didn’t like about all the Slee parts was all of the different finishes: silver powder coat, gold zinc, etc. So I had everything powder coated satin black. When you look under my rig you don’t really notice anything …… that’s the point! Once I’d done all the wrenching and such I went down to the Firestone that my buddy manages and had my Toyo M/T’s installed. I now had a chance to relax and look back at what I’d accomplished. I’ve got to say that I’m pretty damn happy. I’ve tried to document as much of what I’ve done here on MUD as I can. I don’t want to put you through it again so I’ll post up some links right here instead.

Like I said earlier. I’ve worked with cars about my whole life but working on this thing has definitely re-affirmed my hatred of grease. I still get in there and do what I have to but it’s definitely a love/hate thing.

Next came the need for some rear storage. Now this is what I like, clean (non-greasy) fabrication. I decided to do a three part modular system. For part one I needed to build out the very back. Basically I decided on something pretty standard, a couple of drawers as well as a couple of cubby holes directly behind the wheel wells. I wanted to have plenty of solid tie down points in the rear most portion. I have to keep all of my bulky cargo behind the middle seat area to leave room right behind the front seats for my dogs. In the end, I will have the ability to have two, three or four seats as well as the ability to use all non-seating areas for storage.

My long term goal is to set this thing up to be as capable of a hard core rig as possible up the point that it doesn’t take away from its expedition/camping qualities. I guess another way of putting it would be to say that I intend to create an “expedition” rig that’s a little more capable than most. It’s funny, almost every time we’re out wheeling, we come across somebody out there that says “he’s not going to try that in the Lexus is he” or “ that’s a Lexus?!”. One of my favorites was the guy in a Wrangler (that took the bypass) after uttering the first quote, followed it up with “he made that look pretty easy”. My buddy responded with “yeah, that thing makes just about everything look pretty easy”.

Here are some of the things I’ve done in the past 9 months or so:
Slee 6” lift (all parts powder coated satin black and sways removed)
Hanna sliders ( rock polish added)
315 Toyo’s ( a little tore up but I love them)
Slee transfer skid plate
1’’ wheel spacers (piss canned black)
ARB front bumper (with Slee AC skid)
Warn 12,000 lb. Winch (solenoids under hood w/ re-mounted controller receptacle and in cab controls)
Spare tire mod (with additional forward support)
Center diff. switch, pin 7, factory cupholder, hand throttle
Low beam bulb upgrade
Valve cover gasket, plugs, wires, etc.
All new hoses (only some of which have been installed so far)
Shackles for ARB (powder coated satin black and waiting for brackets from MAF)
Rear storage (still in progress, desperately trying to beat CM07 deadline)
Wheel it as often as I can

In conclusion I’d like to thank all of you again, who, like myself strive to improve and modify their vehicles to fit their individual needs. I know that the choices I’ve made wouldn’t work for everyone, but they work for me and that’s what’s important. It’s through seeing what all of you have done that I’ve been able to make the decisions I have concerning my rig. So, thanks again and VIVA LA MUD!

P.S. See you in Moab (I‘ll be the one in the middle of all the empty Guinness cans, just kidding)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.P.S. I’m going to put some pics in another post so if I F them up I won’t wreck everything.
Here are some intro pics: First my inspiration for starting this project then a couple of stock pics.
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Finally getting to reap what I've sown:D

The real payoff. Getting away from it all and relaxing at camp, miles from anyone. Here's a couple of my always with me co-pilot Zoey

Looks great! And yeah people always look at you funny when they notice your truck has mud tires/lift, and a Lexus badge.
The real payoff. Getting away from it all and relaxing at camp, miles from anyone. Here's a couple of my always with me co-pilot Zoey

Those are the best co-pilots.

"So Cosmo [my dog], do you think we're lost?"

Silence, and he's just looking at you.

"Your right, who cares, we have no where else to be right now."

Truck looks clean, keep up the good work.
Very nice. That six inch lift looks saaweeeeet!
Great job! 6" on an 80 Looks Great Im jealous:cheers:
love the 6in lift! Think it looks damn sweet. any thought of throwin on some 37s?
Nice truck Steve and that winch wiring is down-right purdy. :D

I got to meet Steve and his :censor: TALL Truck a couple weeks ago and got a peak under the hood and at the cargo droors. Great guy, Great Dog, & Great Truck. I look forward to wheelin' with you after CM07. But I better step up my rig if I want to be able to hang. :confused:
Beaut of a rig!

Im diggin the clean wireing action.


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