Builds Sapper Wagon Build

Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Greetings! I've been slowly working on my LX450 over the last three years or so. I have only within the last six months or so gotten serious about off-road oriented mods so I havent bothered to make a build thread. Time to fix that....

I started my Toyota sickness with a 2010 TT FJ Cruiser. Loved it but it just wasnt what i was looking for.

IMG_0180.JPG


I went back in time a little bit and ended up with an 83' SR5 Longbed pickup. I spent a great deal of time working on it and gaining an appreciation for the platform. But at 6'2 it was a bit on the small side for me and with a family on the horizon i started looking at something bigger. The 4runner is cool and all but not much larger than the FJC so i began looking at the Land Cruiser platform.

IMG_1812.JPG


I settled on the 80 and went about finding a healthy specimen. At the time i was living in Texas and after a brief search found my unlocked 1997 LX450. It was in pretty decent shape and mostly stock with the exception of an OME lift. It had been reasonably well maintained at 177k when i picked it up.

IMG_2019.JPG


Before long i began baselining and removed the flares.

During baseline i accomplished the following:
Axle rebuild front/rear
Brakes
Cooling system: Radiator, new hoses, flush heater core, new heater control valve, flush
All new vaccum lines
Head gasket
Alternator
Idler pulleys
Rebuilt power steering pump
CX Racing Headers
Sealed front windshield (some heathen installed it completely DRY! No seal whatsoever....)
New drivers window run
Re-located axle breathers

There are probably some more things but i cant recall. I will say that altogether i spend close to $4k to get everything done. Not cheap by any means but i feel confident that i have addressed all the major issues.

IMG_0276.JPG


I recently completed a monstaliner job in the Desert Sand color. This was the color that most closely matched the factory beige metallic color and matches the interior fairly well.

About the same time i installed a set of White Knuckle Sliders and a trail-gear bumper (my factory bumper got mashed on a trail) and a snorkel.

This is how she sits today:

8CyhCHEHRcqg+BFm56Re%Q.jpg


So that brings me to the present day and where i will begin listing out what is coming for the future! I cant say enough about this community and how helpful you have all been along the way.

Currently i have a set of 37x12.5r16 TrXus Radial MTs inbound. To go along with those i will be putting in 5.29's and Harrop e-lockers front/rear. I know there will be some trimming/fitment/changes in my future to work with my lift so i plan on tapping into the knowledge here to make sure i get things right.

(If someone knows how to put the build banner on this thread help me out!)

More to follow later!
 

Road Apple

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
513
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
 
Your truck is looking good. Please post up some closer pics.
What exhaust did you go with from the header back?
Would like to hear how fitting 37’s has gone for you and what you needed to do to clear them.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
So let me bounce this plan off everyone....

I plan to run 37's with as low as lift as i can reasonably get. If i can make what i have on hand work well then thats a bonus. If some things need to be replaced then thats an option as well. I am not against trimming where appropriate. I currently have my 37's inbound and will plan on mounting them up and articulating my current setup to see what my limits are as it sits now.

It should probably be stated that this is my daily drive rig. I dont mind slow. And i dont mind ponderous. I think the trade in capability is worth it in the long run. My commute is minor and not exceeding 70mph on the highway is fine. My offroad aspirations are greater than my on-road desires. So with that being said 5.29's and 37's should be a good fit (according to my 'experience'.....famous last words for a military man).

I got some pretty good advice from a seasoned STLCA member to ride my rig as-is and test its limits. Then look to the realm of upgrades. I think i have reached the point where i am pretty confident in my abilities as a driver and am ready to start upping my rigs capability. I have wheeled this truck as-is with Cooper ATs several times now. And every trip with my open diffs and 33's i am pretty much out-classed on the trails. [And for the record i am located in Huntsville, AL which has shown me wet, muddy, steep, and off camber so far].

Ive been able to overcome many obstacles with skinny pedal but that is not my preferred course of action long term. I am always thinking about that drive home so breaking stuff is not on my list of capabilities.I think the nail in the coffin was when a new gen Tacoma had to winch me up a steep climb. He had 35's and although a very competent operator (i claim no great skill on my part, but im not useless either), an 80 series should be better than that with the appropriate equipment.

Current lift is the 2.5" medium OME lift from Slee:
2851 front springs
2860 rear springs
60018/60020 front and rear sport shocks
Wits end caster plates for 2.5in

So with that being said here is a list of questions i have to answer for myself. Maybe you can help?:
1. Some kind of coil spring spacer. Maybe 2" up front and 1" rear?

2. Bumpstop extensions. 3" front and 2" rear?

3. Drop my rear swaybar mount points

4. Delete my front swaybar or do the hitch pin mod coupled with the appropriate drop height. Not sure the amount to go here for extending.

5. Wheel spacers. I am going with OEM wheels. I have read a few different options here. I cant remember 100% if feedback on here is that the 37" TRXUS will work without spacers or not.

6. Trim/bash. So with the stated objective being to remain fairly low in the overall height department i am pretty sure i am going to have to massage some metal.

7. Panhard extension. So if i add coil spacers on top of a 2.5" lift im probably going to need to address the rear panhard bar right?

8. Rear LCA's. I have some DOM tubing on hand to sleeve my rear lower control arms. Did i mention i banana'ed one of those at some point? So what kind of length would i need to have to set myself up for 3.5-4" of rear lift? So just add an inch or two then yeah?

9. Will i need to plan on a CV drive shaft replacement to account for the increase in lift from the coil spacers? I assume this will only be known once i start adding lift.

10. Lift. This might be an issue....

So i dont plan on mounting a prime time heavy body rear bumper/spare. My current plan is to use a piece of 2x6" square tubing after a litte bit of the ole' frame chop to keep things compact. For the front i have the trail gear bumper, which while light, is not weightless. And it will end up with a winch eventually. Ill probably have two batteries before its said and done with as well. So with that being said.... Will i need to upgrade my springs at some point? If i keep things as is will i be able to wheel in the near term without worrying too much about breaking anything? As far as the shocks are concerned slee lists the following specs:

Front:
  • 359mm 14.13" compressed length
  • 617mm 24.29" extended length
Rear:
  • 378mm 14.88" compressed length
  • 625mm 24.61" extended length
Articulation isnt the primary concern at this point so if im slightly limited with my shocks I can survive for a while until i dial things in. My main concern is whether or not i will be bottoming out my articulation and breaking something at flex or at stuff. I think this is where the bump stops come in to play right?



So thats as far as ive gotten at this point. Is there anything else you think i need to address? All input is appreciated!

I am blessed to have a great local crew with the Huntsville, AL HOT South Cruiser group. I have confidence in my ability to get this truck dialed in with the help of them and this online community. I will keep everyone posted as things progress!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Your truck is looking good. Please post up some closer pics.
What exhaust did you go with from the header back?
Would like to hear how fitting 37’s has gone for you and what you needed to do to clear them.
I have not gotten to the remainder of the exhaust. Plan is to TIG some stainless over the frame the rest of the way back. Not a super high priority at this point but it will be addressed in time.

The 37's are inbound and I will keep everyone apprised of how that fitment goes.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Got my tires in today 37x12.5r16 Interco Trxus m/t. Going to get these bad boys mounted up this week and start doing some measurements to see what I need to do for fitment. Quite a big difference from my current set of Coopers! 😱

CAAF03FB-1A5A-463F-B071-AD90B52A5570.jpeg
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Got them mounted up today.

I’m honestly really surprised. My truck drove very very close to the same! The speedo was way off no doubt (59mph = 70mph gps corrected) but I didn’t notice crazy revs. I forgot to take note of what they were at speed but it wasn’t anything noteworthy.

My speed from a stop was a little diminished but nothing like what I’ve heard described. The power steering pump is working a bit harder but the wheel feels the same.

Will start measuring things tomorrow and will keep track of my progress. Gears/lockers should be here this week. If it drives this well with stock gears I’m really curious to see what 5.29s are going to be like!

0174718A-2DA3-4B76-BE8F-4965FAB1B7F9.jpeg
 

GW Nugget

Do the best you can with what you have...
SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
3,192
Location
Coalinga, CA
 
NICE!
TrXus are great tires, very grippy. I have a few fiends that have them.
You posted you read my thread so Im sure you know where Ive been so far.
I drove 37s & stock gears for a few years & my Lx did surprisingly well, just slap it in 2nd when climbing hills, the RPM is approx 600 RPM difference.
As far as lift if you want to go budget then just get a set of 30mm coil spacers to level out the stinkbug. Also can extend the front shocks by cutting up some 2x2.5" tubing & drill a few holes. You will need to lower your front bump stops to prevent the shock from over compressing, but need them anyways for the 37s. I recommend 1.5" drop on the inside of the coil & 1" bolted to the axle to prevent inside coil rub. Hitit66 sells nice alum. units.
As for wheel spacer I've seen with those tires none to 1.5" & all worked well, depends on how wide you like your stance. 1.25 could be a happy medium.
Changing out the inner fender bolts to smooth button heads are recommended.
As for the rear shocks you can lower those also by lowering the rear upper shock mount with longer bolts & spacers. At that time you will need to address lowering the rear sway bar.
One last thing... change out all your rubber control arm bushings. It will seriously improve the ride & handling of you luxury SUV.

Happy Trails...
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
NICE!
TrXus are great tires, very grippy. I have a few fiends that have them.
You posted you read my thread so Im sure you know where Ive been so far.
I drove 37s & stock gears for a few years & my Lx did surprisingly well, just slap it in 2nd when climbing hills, the RPM is approx 600 RPM difference.
As far as lift if you want to go budget then just get a set of 30mm coil spacers to level out the stinkbug. Also can extend the front shocks by cutting up some 2x2.5" tubing & drill a few holes. You will need to lower your front bump stops to prevent the shock from over compressing, but need them anyways for the 37s. I recommend 1.5" drop on the inside of the coil & 1" bolted to the axle to prevent inside coil rub. Hitit66 sells nice alum. units.
As for wheel spacer I've seen with those tires none to 1.5" & all worked well, depends on how wide you like your stance. 1.25 could be a happy medium.
Changing out the inner fender bolts to smooth button heads are recommended.
As for the rear shocks you can lower those also by lowering the rear upper shock mount with longer bolts & spacers. At that time you will need to address lowering the rear sway bar.
One last thing... change out all your rubber control arm bushings. It will seriously improve the ride & handling of you luxury SUV.

Happy Trails...
Yes lots of good info between you and Brosky. I really appreciate all the detail in your build threads. Gave me the confidence to move forward.

Okay thanks for the feedback. I am taking notes and will advise on how it all works out once I get to that point.

I am sitting on a pile of parts to get the gears/lockers done. Just need to get everything pulled.

Between work, wife, one little girl, and a baby due in August things have been pretty interesting around here!
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Slowly taking things apart. Probably going to need to address these little issues :eek:

6A304CD6-80AF-42C4-A390-39E8D733D834.jpeg


I think I’ll replace that bent swaybar link with an extended model. If I go with a 4” will that cause issues if I end up with 3” of lift in the rear?

The LCA will get cut sleeved with DOM at some point. Has anyone extended them a little when sleeving? I considered buying some adjustable ones but have the DOM on hand and it was a few hundred dollar savings vs ones I’ve seen available.
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
GOLD Star
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
6,018
Location
Battle Ground
 
Welcome to the 80 series world. I run the same tire and love them. My lift is taller than yoursso my recipe will be a bit different to make the tires fit and not rub hard under any circumstances.

If I remember correctly, all of my bump stops are dropped 2.5” and I run a 1” wheel spacer behind the stock wheels. When I first put the 37’s on I had stock front radius arms so it was necessary to trim the fenders but only at the lower few inches behind every tire. I now run DeltaVS radius arms which locate the axle a bit forward. Longer front arms would prevent the need for front trimming or maybe not because you plan to run lower lift.

With the above mods, plus adjustable rear links and adjustable track bars, my tires stuff up and in well and rub nowhere although come very close.

The trXus is a good choice of tire for a few reasons: They are soft and grip very well especially the first half of the tire life. They will not chunk or chevron. They are very quiet on pavement. The fact that the sidewall curves inward as it meet the tread makes fitting these tires easier than some others. They have very tough sidewalls. These are the best tires I’ve ever ran in snow but you are in the south so you may never get to find out.

You mention dialing it in later. Why not do what you want to do now rather than spend money and time two times or more? One change always creates a domino affect other changes that need to be done.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2017
Messages
80
Location
Harker Heights
Welcome to the 80 series world. I run the same tire and love them. My lift is taller than yoursso my recipe will be a bit different to make the tires fit and not rub hard under any circumstances.

If I remember correctly, all of my bump stops are dropped 2.5” and I run a 1” wheel spacer behind the stock wheels. When I first put the 37’s on I had stock front radius arms so it was necessary to trim the fenders but only at the lower few inches behind every tire. I now run DeltaVS radius arms which locate the axle a bit forward. Longer front arms would prevent the need for front trimming or maybe not because you plan to run lower lift.

With the above mods, plus adjustable rear links and adjustable track bars, my tires stuff up and in well and rub nowhere although come very close.

The trXus is a good choice of tire for a few reasons: They are soft and grip very well especially the first half of the tire life. They will not chunk or chevron. They are very quiet on pavement. The fact that the sidewall curves inward as it meet the tread makes fitting these tires easier than some others. They have very tough sidewalls. These are the best tires I’ve ever ran in snow but you are in the south so you may never get to find out.

You mention dialing it in later. Why not do what you want to do now rather than spend money and time two times or more? One change always creates a domino affect other changes that need to be done.
Thanks great info!

I’m pretty much pavement bound right now waiting for our 2nd to be born. I don’t plan on wheeling until I get things situated vehicular....ly and with the family. Going to be three months or so probably before I get a chance. So plenty of time to get it right!
 
Top Bottom