Builds TeCKis300 LX570 "FLX" Build

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Long time in coming. A build thread for my ‘09 LX570. Hereby known as FLX. Yes, some mild flexing from an understated Lexus. And playing on the F-LX name and what an LX-F could be.

A core goal with the build is to have FLX-ibility. To not build with a single purpose in mind. It’s not a rock crawler, not an dedicated off-roader, not a heavy hauler, and not an overland camper. Yet it can do all those things without spoiling day to day usability as Lexus delivered it. Double date night, minivan duty for 8, tow pig, or heavy hauling; none of that has been compromised in this build. Expanding its capability envelope, beyond stock, without compromising its core virtues would describe my build well.

I would like to think It touches on some of Lexus F sensibilities and philosophies, built with some OEM considerations for engineering and balance. To perhaps imagine what a more aggressive factory performance effort could be if such a thing existed for the 200-series. As a trained and practicing engineer, my profession is about making considered design decisions for trade space, executing, and delivering aircraft designs capable of meeting production requirements. The goal with FLX is modify to expand capabilities in off-road angles and clearance (~6" total lift), increasing capacities (2,000lb payload), driving range (500 miles), minimize impacts to ride, efficiency, and handling, while returning parameters back to stock for things like suspension geometry, gearing, brakes. To that end, I prefer to use OEM parts where possible. As much as I like to modify cars, and this certainly isn’t my first rodeo, I find factory parts are far and away more engineered and reliable than aftermarket stuff. Components that go through real analysis, testing, and validation.

One major consideration to the build is to maximize payload and towing capacity. So not adding too much weight was a big factor. Weight is the great equalizer which compromises so many things including every performance measure, capability, and durability. The build has to continue to tow an 8,000lb travel trailer, or haul 2,000lb payloads. So maintaining payload for utility and performance has been paramount.

This build thread is a bit different as it’s a collection of build topics across different threads, and a retrospective look as many of the upgrades have long been done. Hopefully this also answers questions I often get about my build over PM, as this catalogs and links to various more in depth upgrade threads.

FLX has been built over several phases but is close to its final form now. More build philosophy in post #3 below, but let's first get right to the build list.

Tires​


Suspension​


Brakes​


Gearing​


Power​


Fuel​

Armor / Recovery​


Electronics​


Lighting​


Roof Rack​


Interior​


Camping​

 
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Built for a purpose. To enjoy the outdoors with the family.

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A key enabling technology of this build is Lexus's (and Toyota overseas) incredible AHC. I've written about it extensively but it deserves a highlight here as it's central to the build. It's incredible in the way it enables a duality of capabilities and character. Being a dynamic system allows it to adapt and tailor for usage or load, and it has many faculties including spring rate (two rates at the front), ride height, damping, actively managed by sophisticated control algorithms. While doing magic things beyond traditional suspensions like managing flex (warp) resistance, sway resistance, and front to rear axle damping.

What that all means is that even with LT tires, when unladen, it continues to ride like a cloud as Lexus delivered it. Lowering at freeway speeds to keep reasonable ride heights for highway trip MPG and stability, Yet has enough spring rate to handle 2,000lbs payload between my 1,200lb tongue trailer and 6 passengers, still dialing in just the right ride. And when hitting off-road, has clearance galore between 35s, 1.25" sensor lift, and 3" lift on demand for 6" lift over stock. The suspension continues to dial in ride for choppy corrugations allowing high speed cruising over long distances barely heating up the shocks as the system has large fluid volume and heat dissipating surface area. I've modified AHC to allow further droop of the IFS front, by adding the LC strut spacer, extending it to 10" to match the rear travel. Also augmented payload with that same spacer, along with 30mm rear spacers. Airbags, while completely optional, gives me another tool to extend payload well beyond 2,000lbs and allowing leveling of the vehicle when car camping.

Maximizing traction and clearance are arguably the largest core virtues of a strong off-roader. With tires singularly providing the biggest variable to increasing clearance and traction in ways no other mod can. So the call for 35x12.5s. With large tires comes the slippery slope of impacts, to gearing, braking, and handling. Which is what so many of the other mods are for, to properly support 35s. Gearing, braking, suspension geometry (scrub radius) are all dialed back to stock parameters. It drives on 35s, the way it drove stock with 31s. Perhaps an odd choice is that I've kept the stock 20" wheels. Few wheels IMO are stronger and more durable than OEM wheels. 20s give the benefit of increased sidewall stability for towing on the upper end of the spectrum and maintains solid handling despite the large diameter tire. With full 12.5" tire width important to maintain solid corning traction despite AT tires and lifts. I'm not willing to give up on-road performance where the car still spends 95% of its time for gains only to off-road. There's still plenty of sidewall for airing down. The idea is to do it all.

My favorite mod, perhaps second only to tires? The LRA 12.5 gallon auxiliary tank, for a total fuel capacity of 38 gallons. Mods have indeed impacted fuel efficiency, but I've tried to minimize it by keeping overall lift low, gearing back to stock, keeping tires within the aero profile of the fender, and using things like a factory LC rack. 12 MPG city and 16 MPG highway is what I see today. 10 MPG towing my Airstream. For game changing ranges of 500 miles and 300 towing, giving FLX more leash from gas stations to explore.

With the capability FLX has, "No Drama" was a close second name that my buddies have coined for the Lexus.

Some bonus vids.



 
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TLC2013

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Very cool. Thanks for sharing. Nice formatting for your build thread, oh so organized with links to your mods. Bravo. Screams attention to detail as an engineer 😎. Lol if i ever get around to a build thread for my 200 it would look like diarrhea on a canvas lol
 
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Finished the writeup. Putting this together makes me realize just how much has been done over the years. Remembering and adding more things to the build list.

I think the car is in its final form. Perhaps the only other things may be an HWM, minimal slider style guards under the rear and maybe front bumper.

Or is it time for the next vehicle?
 
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Finished the writeup. …….

Or is it time for the next vehicle?

Thanks for your FLX build write ups and organized links. Great info.

Might an LX750h be in the running? Of course, we will need to see what is ultimately offered to us in the US. But 500 hp (or more) and new technology sounds enticing.
 
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Thanks guys. It's been a rewarding platform to work on and enjoy with a great group of people here.

Thanks for your FLX build write ups and organized links. Great info.

Might an LX750h be in the running? Of course, we will need to see what is ultimately offered to us in the US. But 500 hp (or more) and new technology sounds enticing.

I'm pretty eager to hear what Lexus has in store next. The LX600 and LX750h should be pretty awesome announcements as Lexus steers more directly into the high end enthusiast overland market. At least that's what I hope. More power, mixed with more efficiency is always an awesome thing. With it being a turbo powerplant, also opens up further opportunities to really turn up the wick.
 
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Love the build man, been following and copying some of your mods since I had my 2008 LX. Have a 2013 now and starting to build it, was very tempted to follow in your footsteps once again on the tire/wheel setup and do 35x12.50 Toyo AT3s. Every time I parked next to a 2013+ with my 08 I eyed the updated wheels, and I do love them. However, every vehicle I have ever built has always followed the "OEM+" build much as you have done with you LX. Feeling like I finally want to do something a little different this time around... just ordered some 17" Icon Vector Five's in Bronze and Toyo AT3 35x11.50 tires.
 
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Thanks for posting, lots to dig into here. I have a heavy loaded LX and I want to add spacers to lessen the load on my AHC. Reading your mods motivated me to get that done. I’ll be looking into the best way to do this soon.
 
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Thanks for posting, lots to dig into here. I have a heavy loaded LX and I want to add spacers to lessen the load on my AHC. Reading your mods motivated me to get that done. I’ll be looking into the best way to do this soon.

Depending on how much weight you've added and whether that weight is permeant, you might consider swapping to up-rated 100-series AHC springs as @1world1love has done. I used spacers as my rig can vary from stock weight to 2k.

 
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View attachment 2752150

Long time in coming. A build thread for my ‘09 LX570. Hereby known as FLX. Yes, some mild flexing from an understated Lexus. And playing on the F-LX name and what an LX-F could be.

A core goal with the build is to have FLX-ibility. To not build with a single purpose in mind. It’s not a rock crawler, not an dedicated off-roader, not a heavy hauler, and not an overland camper. Yet it can do all those things without spoiling day to day usability as Lexus delivered it. Double date night, minivan duty for 8, tow pig, or heavy hauling; none of that has been compromised in this build. Expanding its capability envelope, beyond stock, without compromising its core virtues would describe my build well.

(snip)
I really like your build goals. They align with the strengths of the 200 and likely align with why many choose to drive a 200. It can do it all, as long as you feed it.

One question, what made you land on 35” tires vs something a bit smaller, say a 33”? It would seem a 33 might align with the multi use goal also. Tire size is a huge choice as it impacts everything. Thx!
 
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I really like your build goals. They align with the strengths of the 200 and likely align with why many choose to drive a 200. It can do it all, as long as you feed it.

One question, what made you land on 35” tires vs something a bit smaller, say a 33”? It would seem a 33 might align with the multi use goal also. Tire size is a huge choice as it impacts everything. Thx!

Indeed a hungry hungry hippo.

The 33" tire is a great question. Prior to 35s, I ran large 33" for a few years in 305/55R20 flavor (33.2"). There is so much right with 33s on the 200-series. Like the Goldilocks of tire sizes and probably more inline with an LX-F or OEM+ type build. Better handling and doesn't require the slippery slope of re-gear, re-brake, BMC, etc. It didn't really have more more efficiency over my 35s as I did not re-gear at the time. So while the 5.7 is immensely tractable and dealt with it more than well, it probably lost a tad of efficiency as a result of the minor gearing impact.

I would highly recommend 33s for 6-speed 200-series. And perhaps as large as 34s for 2016+ 8-speeds as they have the gearing and brakes for it stock.

Why 35s? As one gets into the deep end of off-roading and seeking out more difficult trails that include rock gardens and deep tire ruts, clearance constantly gets tested. Along with real world situations of expected (and expected) obstacles. Don't get me wrong as 33s will do a lot, even difficult trails. But contact and dragging of the underbody, diff, bumpers does become a challenge. Airing down while great for traction and comfort, also compromises clearance, especially at the rear diff.

Rather than going down the strategy of bumpers and under armor, and piling on weight, my need for a lightweight build led me down to building in more clearance and capability. Yes, it's still incrementally more weight, but one that pays dividends as it's better to clear obstacles than play contact sports. Trails are often rated and correlated to tire size. Things like diff and axle clearance can only be solved by tire diameter. Approach, break over, and departure angles are also nicely improved not only from height, but the tire faces are further pushed out horizontally. More rarely considered, but a core part of great off-road suspension is tires themselves as big tires flatten out features, and sidewalls soak up much of the high frequency bumps. I figured it was a better investment to spend money and effort where it makes the most difference and tires are it.

What she looked like on 33s
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Indeed a hungry hungry hippo.

The 33" tire is a great question. Prior to 35s, I ran large 33" for a few years in 305/55R20 flavor (33.2"). There is so much right with 33s on the 200-series. Like the Goldilocks of tire sizes and probably more inline with an LX-F or OEM+ type build. Better handling and doesn't require the slippery slope of re-gear, re-brake, BMC, etc. It didn't really have more more efficiency over my 35s as I did not re-gear at the time. So while the 5.7 is immensely tractable and dealt with it more than well, it probably lost a tad of efficiency as a result of the minor gearing impact.

I would highly recommend 33s for 6-speed 200-series. And perhaps as large as 34s for 2016+ 8-speeds as they have the gearing and brakes for it stock.

Why 35s? As one gets into the deep end of off-roading and seeking out more difficult trails that include rock gardens and deep tire ruts, clearance constantly gets tested. Along with real world situations of expected (and expected) obstacles. Don't get me wrong as 33s will do a lot, even difficult trails. But contact and dragging of the underbody, diff, bumpers does become a challenge. Airing down while great for traction and comfort, also compromises clearance, especially at the rear diff.

Rather than going down the strategy of bumpers and under armor, and piling on weight, my need for a lightweight build led me down to building in more clearance and capability. Yes, it's still incrementally more weight, but one that pays dividends as it's better to clear obstacles than play contact sports. Trails are often rated and correlated to tire size. Things like diff and axle clearance can only be solved by tire diameter. Approach, break over, and departure angles are also nice improved not only from height, but the tire faces are further pushed out. I figured it was a better investment to spend money and effort where it makes the most difference and tires are it.

What she looked like on 33s
View attachment 2756130
Great insights regarding use case of the vehicle and rationale for various tire sizes. I am an LC owner with 33's and always thought that was right for me... now looking at the LX's (again), which i have always had great admiration and was actually my first choice when initially in market for an LC., and assuming that for many of us we will make the shift to the Lexus platform at some point in the future...

I am curious... with 35's and no bumper mount, what is your spare tire situation these days?
 
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Great insights regarding use case of the vehicle and rationale for various tire sizes. I am an LC owner with 33's and always thought that was right for me... now looking at the LX's (again), which i have always had great admiration and was actually my first choice when initially in market for an LC., and assuming that for many of us we will make the shift to the Lexus platform at some point in the future...

I am curious... with 35's and no bumper mount, what is your spare tire situation these days?

The 200-series forum has come a ways. From the days of LX is only for mall crawling and AHC what, to more comprehension that it's every bit a 200-series. And then some. The 100-series went through the same journey. None of this takes away from the LC as they have shared exceptional qualities, just tailored differently.

The spare is a compromise, and I use a full size, full capability 275/65R20 LT "compact spare". Partially due to the LRA aux tank encroaching on the space. No issues using it for even extended periods as they are so close at 609 to 602 revs per mile

More info here

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Another toy. Added a Go Fast Campers Superlite wedge RTT. Lives up to its nameplate at 80lbs and 4" tall without anything inside. I'll use an Exped like matress I already have and see how it sleeps later this month in Joshua Tree.

It's mounted on a longer than LX, stock LC rack with 3 cross bars. This is probably a low as can be mounted and so far so good. No buffeting and wind noise seems minimal on the highway. Weight up top isn't really noticeable which was one of my biggest priorities. I've had other RTTs on previous rigs and they just don't work for me because of weight and lack of aero. Hoping this one will meet my expectations.

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Another toy. Added a Go Fast Campers Superlite wedge RTT. Lives up to its nameplate at 80lbs and 4" tall without anything inside. I'll use an Exped like matress I already have and see how it sleeps later this month in Joshua Tree.

It's mounted on a longer than LX, stock LC rack with 3 cross bars. This is probably a low as can be mounted and so far so good. No buffeting and wind noise seems minimal on the highway. Weight up top isn't really noticeable which was one of my biggest priorities. I've had other RTTs on previous rigs and they just don't work for me because of weight and lack of aero. Hoping this one will meet my expectations.

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How hard was the lc roof rack install? I would love a longer surface to mount stuff.
 

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