Builds Saved from scrap - '97 LX450 build thread (2 Viewers)

cvenom96

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
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241
Location
Frederick, MD
 
Your living room looks about like mine now and I still have a Bowfin rack coming at some point....

Cool build!
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
23
Location
Calgary, AB
Cool rebuild!

I recently bought 1997 Lexus lx450 my self and am beyond excited to get her up to speed.
I read that you are working with someone from this forum for the engine. What kind of engine you thinking of putting in and what’s a rough estimate of something like that?
Love the rebuild, keep it up!
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
45
Location
Seattle
Cool rebuild!

I recently bought 1997 Lexus lx450 my self and am beyond excited to get her up to speed.
I read that you are working with someone from this forum for the engine. What kind of engine you thinking of putting in and what’s a rough estimate of something like that?
Love the rebuild, keep it up!
They are working with @torfab they are local and specialize with LC’s. The cost of the swap is it depends. There are numerous factors involved. This shop seems to be legit. I think I called them back in June and they had quite the wait list at that moment. But expect a 5 digit number. Some can do it for less but that depends on your situation and your build. You really can’t compare numbers here unless you break it out line item by item.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,397
 
I personally would do a LS7 connect and cruiser with the 4 speed rather than a LT1. That 8 speed will be a very tough fit. I question how much the 8 speed will really save in fuel mileage. Also the LT1 motors are significantly more complicated than the non direct injection design and would be more difficult to service. Many direct injection motors suffer from bad carbon build up on the back of the valves which then has to be cleaned with special tools. Although Im not sure if gm has this problem or not themselves. Other manufacturers do. Thats just my opinion though.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
I personally would do a LS7 connect and cruiser with the 4 speed rather than a LT1. That 8 speed will be a very tough fit. I question how much the 8 speed will really save in fuel mileage. Also the LT1 motors are significantly more complicated than the non direct injection design and would be more difficult to service. Many direct injection motors suffer from bad carbon build up on the back of the valves which then has to be cleaned with special tools. Although Im not sure if gm has this problem or not themselves. Other manufacturers do. Thats just my opinion though.
Valid points, though I don't see transmission fitment as the largest challenge. Adapter aside, the 8l90e is slightly shorter and has a better case taper than the 6l80e that I'd originally considered behind a connect and cruise LS3. The 8l90e is also built to handle more torque.

Complexity is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The LT1 isn't substantially more complex than a LSx motor - And the natural extension of the argument is ditching all of the computers and going back to a simple, carbureted engine and no electronic control on the transmission (which obviously none of us are doing). While ultimately striving for reliability I also want to have a little fun with the project and try something new. Like anything else, as challenges are identified I'll work through them myself, on these forums or with the help of experts like @torfab and ultimately engineer the reliability I'm looking for. Only think that's at any real risk is my wallet.

Never been much for rules or following others, which I suspect is a trait shared by many here. Hopefully I'll be posting triumphantly next year with a shiny new rig all ready to go, or maybe I'll be crying into my beer and trying to work all of the gremlins out. Either way it sounds like fun and some personal growth.

Hey, on the upside I'm not putting an 1,100lb Cummins 6BT in the rig. Then you could really pick on me. :cool:
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Cool rebuild!

I recently bought 1997 Lexus lx450 my self and am beyond excited to get her up to speed.
I read that you are working with someone from this forum for the engine. What kind of engine you thinking of putting in and what’s a rough estimate of something like that?
Love the rebuild, keep it up!
I'm leaning towards a connect and cruise LT1 with a 8l90e behind it. As @Tinkertoy said price can be all over the map and depends a lot on the shape your truck is in to start with and how many other things you want/ need to modify to keep driveline reliability with the extra power. Torfab was a great source of information for me when I started the process and gave me the info I needed to do the basic math before undertaking the build.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,397
 
No I agree it's not substantially complex electronically. The lt1 from what I understand doesn't come apart as easy like a lsx. Just hearsay though. That was more of what I was referring too. The lsx motors are so easy to replace parts in a 80 series. Much easier than the 1fz. I have a 4l60e in mine. Their is not a lot of room between the frame rails with the 4l60e width for the shifters, driveshaft, exhaust/cats, and starter. The 8l90 looks wider. I'm sure torfab will figure it out and it will be fun. Not trying to bash your decision. Should be a fun cruiser. Anyway looking forward to your progress.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
No I agree it's not substantially complex electronically. The lt1 from what I understand doesn't come apart as easy like a lsx. Just hearsay though. That was more of what I was referring too. The lsx motors are so easy to replace parts in a 80 series. Much easier than the 1fz. I have a 4l60e in mine. Their is not a lot of room between the frame rails with the 4l60e width for the shifters, driveshaft, exhaust/cats, and starter. The 8l90 looks wider. I'm sure torfab will figure it out and it will be fun. Not trying to bash your decision. Should be a fun cruiser. Anyway looking forward to your progress.
You have full permission to mock me shamelessly if my plans all go to hell and I wind up wishing I'd gone for a LSx.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,397
 
You have full permission to mock me shamelessly if my plans all go to hell and I wind up wishing I'd gone for a LSx.
Nah I won't do that lol. I've never swapped in a Lt1 so it's not like I have a lot of experience to back it up. We have a 6.2 8 speed in the shop right now. Maybe I'll take it for a spin. I'm curious how it drives.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Oooh. Shiny new tail lights. I wonder how long they'll last before I break them on a trail?
IMG_20200920_104937.jpg


I should really install the carpet kit And Heatwave Pro that's been sitting in the back for over a month. Can't get motivated on that for some reason.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Your build is making me think I neglect our Rig...yet you have inspired me as well. I should probably start the planner for the “parts” I need for a swap.
I probably wouldn't have been doing all of this if the truck had been a driver. With a blown engine and nothing much else to do the build is a result covid boredom and probably some OCD. I'm sure I'd have got to all of this eventually, but a lot more gradually.

Really itching to get out and wheel the sucker.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
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Lynnwood, WA
Rear bumper installed. Looked a little daunting with all the parts laid out, but ultimately went together pretty well. Including tearing off the existing bumper, install took about 5 hours in a really tight garage pretty much solo (add another 2 hours for swing arms and accessories - Took me a while to get them adjusted.) Reveals on the quarters didn't end up as horizontal as I'd like, but there was no room to pound any more shims in to bring the tips down lower so I'm going to assume there was a weld or something on the top side of my frame that I probably should have ground down to make the assembly fit better. Not overly worried about it - Overall install looks good. Thanks @Delta VS .

Damn that's a lot of parts
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No rust on the frame - Always a good start. Hosed it down with fluid film for some added protection. Managed to get the fluid film all over the concrete floor too, which made the rest of the install more exciting than I planned.
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Bumper on.
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Finished up in the dark. Swing gates and tire carrier loosely mounted. Left the can holder and tension lock off for now since I need to get a tire on to figure out where everything will fit.
PXL_20201005_040001137.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
45
Location
Seattle
I probably wouldn't have been doing all of this if the truck had been a driver. With a blown engine and nothing much else to do the build is a result covid boredom and probably some OCD. I'm sure I'd have got to all of this eventually, but a lot more gradually.



Really itching to get out and wheel the sucker.

When we got ours I took her around the Olympic Peninsula literally right after changing the oil and all fluids including fixing the front oil leak. About half way the engine seemed low on oil. Of course I had none. And was 30miles from the nearest gas station in Forks. We made it back. Then I drove it to Moab a month later.

Bad fan clutch. 100+ degree weather = no AC. We took the White Rim Trail and camped for 4 days. Day 1 the roof rack broke off. Had to strap the roof top tent on through the rear side windows. Day 2 started blowing the gauge fuse every time I went in 4low. Let me tell you. It’s 100 out. No air. AC doesn’t want to work but barely. Then the gauge fuse blows. Who knew that this same fuse...also controls the windows and sunroof. It’s funny now but then it was WTF. We made it all the way back but 95 miles out the PHH said no thanks. And blew. Needless to say we have had fun. I still love the truck but man. I see what you are doing and I’m like. Maybe I should have done this in reverse.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
When we got ours I took her around the Olympic Peninsula literally right after changing the oil and all fluids including fixing the front oil leak. About half way the engine seemed low on oil. Of course I had none. And was 30miles from the nearest gas station in Forks. We made it back. Then I drove it to Moab a month later.

Bad fan clutch. 100+ degree weather = no AC. We took the White Rim Trail and camped for 4 days. Day 1 the roof rack broke off. Had to strap the roof top tent on through the rear side windows. Day 2 started blowing the gauge fuse every time I went in 4low. Let me tell you. It’s 100 out. No air. AC doesn’t want to work but barely. Then the gauge fuse blows. Who knew that this same fuse...also controls the windows and sunroof. It’s funny now but then it was WTF. We made it all the way back but 95 miles out the PHH said no thanks. And blew. Needless to say we have had fun. I still love the truck but man. I see what you are doing and I’m like. Maybe I should have done this in reverse.
Man, that sounds like an adventure!

I'm glad I'm getting to go through mine and let my OCD flag fly, but I'm actually a little jealous you're out having fun.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Finished the front bumper install today. I'd been waiting on the winch so I only had to go through the whole ordeal once. Whole process would have been a lot simpler if I could have figured out what I wanted to do with the solenoid mounting ... ended up over thinking that one for a while.

The good -
  • Great build quality on the Delta bumper
  • Old bumper and front end parts came off without a hassle
  • ComeUp Seal 12.5k RS synthetic line winch fits with about 3/16" spare on the brake side
  • No fasteners stripped. Feels like the first time I can say that in a while.
  • Molex for the signal lights came apart with no issues and were in good shape.
  • Didn't lose any of the captured winch mounting bolts when I mounted the winch.
The painful -
  • Mounting the solenoid sucked. I'd really hoped to mount behind the bumper somewhere, but no dice (without significant modification)
  • The solenoid mount I concocted completely blocks one of the access holes in the bumper which are needed to get to the bumper fasteners
  • ComeUp hook that comes with the winch isn't something I want on the truck (it's huge). Factor 55 flatlink inbound.
  • Put the BD Squadrons in backwards on the mounting plates the first time, because apparently I don't read instructions.
But no one wants a story. Pictures are so much better -

Winch fits the opening by a hair. Gusset on the left hand side of the picture is about 3"16" from the brake drum. Could fit a larger winch is spaced a little further back. The ComeUp 12.5k is made to mount feet first, so I'm glad it fit without needing spacers.
PXL_20201017_173641997.jpg


Tried really hard to find a good spot behind the bumper for the solenoid. If I hadn't installed the BD Squadrons I'd have had a bunch of room, but with this install I ended up mounting on top of the bumper on a piece on black aluminum diamond plate I had in the shop. Would have rather something smooth, but it's Saturday and I wasn't driving all over for a chunk of aluminum stock. Looked in and around the engine bay for a good spot as well, but with the v8 swap inboind I wanted to keep the winch components self contained with the bumper.

Drilled out the bumper and mounted. Would have liked to be closer to the upright, but there's an offset gusset inside with a corresponding weld that I needed to clear, so the unit is spaced a little more to center.
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Solenoid mounted. Wires fit nicely into the bumper recess.
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Stock wires made it to the battery with some length to spare. Waiting on the new AGM and terminals to hook the unit up.
PXL_20201018_044122185.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
130
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Finished product. Solenoid is sitting on 1/4" nylon spacers to the unit can drain and to have it some air flow underneath. Fairlead and flat hook inbound.
PXL_20201018_044252240.jpg


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Wish I could get a shot from further away, but this is as good as it gets until springs arrive and I can move the truck again.
 

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