The LX Camper Build Thread (1 Viewer)

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Hi everyone, I recently got a 2013 LX570 with 82k miles. It took forever to find one because of super low inventory. My must haves were rust free + accident free. I was willing to settle on a few other things. I ended up finding one in the perfect color (Gray) but with the wrong interior color (white). However, the white interior is slowly growing on me. :)

Thanks to @1world1love for the inspiration. His build thread is great and I'm following his example pretty closely.

Why the LX570 and not the LC
I started with the search for an LC (which is when I created my username, haha). I even rented one for the weekend to make sure it was what I wanted. Then came the realization they are very hard to find for sale. I never considered driving a Lexus, but a roughly $7000 discount was very attractive. I did some research and came to the following conclusion:

Reasons to get the Land Cruiser
  • Cool badge, and very understated. My friends refer to my car as “the lexus” no matter how often I call it “the land cruiser” and it hurts a little each time. :)
  • KDSS (see this video for how much of a difference it makes)
  • 18 inch wheels instead of 20.
  • Easier to add sliders.
  • All 2013+ have adaptive cruise control, which in the LX570 is a harder to find option.

Reasons to get the LX570
  • Much cheaper. The $7000 discount would pay for most of my modifications and upgrades.
  • Many more are available, and most of them have had very easy lives. :)
  • AHC. No need to spend money on a suspension upgrade.
  • Some people mention the “Variable Suspension” as an upside, but after 2k miles I’m convinced this is a placebo button. I truly cannot tell the difference on or off road.
  • Somewhat nicer interior.

Lots of changes in 2016+ model years, but I feel like they haven’t depreciated quite enough.

The goal
Build the perfect camping car, with the opportunity for some occasional offroading.

Phase 1 (completed)
  • Bought this little storage thing for the cool box.
    • This really should come with the car from the factory.
  • Added the Garmin dash cam mini.
    • I like these because they are very small, and don’t have a battery that could overheat in the sun. The cable was relatively easily routed through the roof lining and A pillar on the passenger side. Took just a few minutes.
  • Removed the engine covers.
    • Apparently they are all for show, and if I ever find myself on the side of the road with a check engine light on, I want to be able to look inside. So when the road side assistance arrives I can confirm that I indeed...checked the engine.
  • Got a Carista
    • This is like a simplified TechStream and made a few changes. The doors now all open with 1 click which is great. I also disabled the ECO indicator, which is distracting and ridiculous.
  • Bought the ProClip Vent mount phone holder with the wireless charger.
    • I’ve gone through many phone holders over the years and they were always a bit flimsy. This is the first one that is super sturdy. The mounting location is perfect because it’s right next to the main screen. It makes me not need CarPlay. I can use Google Maps perfectly this way.
    • There is something really cool about the wireless charging + bluetooth combo: zero cables, all functionality.
  • Removed the 3rd row.
    • I originally liked the idea of carrying 8 friends around, but we’ll have to wait on the vaccine first. The extra space is nice.
  • Bought the floor mat for the 2018+ two-row LX570 to cover up the holes.
  • Got a Waterport for camping, though I haven’t mounted it to anything yet.
  • Built a sleeping platform.
    • I considered drawers, but they are (1) generally expensive and (2) limit flexibility in terms of carrying things like long camp chairs. So I built the platform on 4 legs with 2x4s for the frame. The three panels (3 /4 inch plywood) are easily removable to grab things underneath.
    • I then purchased 2 home depot Ridgid crates that fit perfectly underneath.

Phase 2 (next few months)
  • Purchased a Thule Motion XT XL rooftop box which I’m picking up soon.
  • 17 inch wheels and All-Terrains.
    • Wheels: the Icon Vector 5. They are still weeks from shipping, so I might change my mind. But it’s surprising how hard it is to find some understated looking wheels without fake beadlock!
    • Tires: strongly leaning towards the Falken Wildpeak 285/70R17. P-rated. They seem like a good option that can handle off-roading without adding the stiff ride from an E-rated tire. P rated tires are more prone to punctures than E-Rated tires (video) but I’ll be carrying a spare and a tire repair kit.
    • I do realize that now that I’ve written that down, I’m guaranteed to have many flat tires. Oops. :/
  • Slee Sliders.
  • Skid Plates
    • I don’t expect I’ll really need them, but they seem like a good insurance policy that’ll pay for itself after 1 mistake on the trail. Looking for tips on what to get.
  • Roof Rack
    • Really like the Prinsu sleek look, and low profile, but it doesn’t have Thule Rooftop Box accessories. The Front Runner seems cool too, especially with the table option. But that adds a lot of cost. This video by @Eric Sarjeant has been helpful in comparing.

Phase 3 (not sure if/when)
  • Dissent offroad aluminum front bumper with winch.
    • This has a cool and minimal look. Also, it seems like a winch can get you out when nothing else can. But it is the most expensive modification on this list.

I'll update this post as I make updates. Thanks everyone for all your help on this forum. Please keep the suggestions coming! :)
 
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lxpic.png

The car still mostly stock.

beforemat.png

All the space freed up by removing 3rd row.

aftermat.png

The 2018+ LX 2-row mat (part number PT908-60180-20 ) that nicely covers up all the holes after 3rd row delete.

platform1.png

Sleeping platform built part 1. Leaving lots of flexible room underneath for all kinds of stuff.

platform2.png

Three pieces of 3 /4 inch plywood that will be the sleeping platform.
 
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platform3.png

Carpeted all 3 pieces. It was pretty easy to do with a cheap manual staple gun. Used outdoor carpet for this. This platform fits the Exped Megamat Duo 10 Long Wide perfectly.


platform4.png

Stained the wood and pulled up the rear seat. Tons of space underneath, and to someone looking in from the outside it looks pretty like a "stock" cargo cover. Total cost was well under $200 in wood, plywood and carpet.

lx570 proclip.png

The ProClip phone holder. I removed the "pivoting" mechanism to make it sit closer to the dash. After 5+ phone holders in various cars this is the first one that is not flimsy, and wireless charging is great. But also it's not cheap (I believe $80 or so).
 
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I like your plans! What are your concerns with the prinsu?
Thanks!

Some more details in here but the summary is that the Thule Motion XT rooftop box has recessed feet. Frontrunner offers these Thule adaptors to make Thule cross bars fit, which could then hold the rooftop box. Prinsu doesn't offer these adaptors, which is too bad because I prefer the Prinsu roof rack design.
 
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This will be a fun thread to watch. I myself just picked up a very clean 2013 (Black on black w/100k) as well! Haven't started a post yet. Interested in many of the things you are doing here. I picked it up so I can tow a trailer, but now equally excited about the vast amount of trails here in AZ to go explore and take up to Flagstaff. First on my list are tires. I did get that cool box holder as well. Game changer.
 

radman

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Some more details in here but the summary is that the Thule Motion XT rooftop box has recessed feet.

ah yes, I remember that thread...

just FYI- you can mount anything to a Prinsu cross rail with 1/4" carriage bolts, even those FR adapters.

The Thule mounts to those adapters, or another cross bar?
 

TeCKis300

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Congrats on the new vehicle. Looks like you have some good plans for it already.

So you don't feel too bad about missing out on KDSS, while that is a great system, just know you have that same core cross linking technology within the AHC system of the LX. Except on steroids as part of the X-AHC and AVS systems, it acts directly on the hydraulic struts/shocks rather than sway bars.

For all intents and purposes, the LX RTIs identical to the LC, as they share the same chassis geometry. Earlier tests without that sport chin spoiler ruining the party.
1599887721785.png
 
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ah yes, I remember that thread...

just FYI- you can mount anything to a Prinsu cross rail with 1/4" carriage bolts, even those FR adapters.

Thanks for the suggestion! Do you mean this as skipping the mounting brackets altogether and just using a carriage bolt straight from the rack to the rooftop box? If so that sounds like a good solution for someone who leaves their rooftop box on all the time, but I need a solution that allows me to take it on and off easily to fit the car in the garage.

Just re-read this, you said the FR adapters. That's definitely worth considering. Glad this option is available, thanks!

The Thule mounts to those adapters, or another cross bar?

So for the FrontRunner it'd be:

[Thule Motion Rooftop Box]
[Thule AeroBlades]
[FrontRunner Thule Adapters]
[FrontRunner Slimline II Roof Rack]
[Car]​

I think I got this right. It's kind of elaborate, but the Thule Motion is a great rooftop box and this seems like the official way to make it work on a flat tray style roof rack.
 
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Congrats on the new vehicle. Looks like you have some good plans for it already.

So you don't feel too bad about missing out on KDSS, while that is a great system, just know you have that same core cross linking technology within the AHC system of the LX. Except on steroids as part of the X-AHC and AVS systems, it acts directly on the hydraulic struts/shocks rather than sway bars.

For all intents and purposes, the LX RTIs identical to the LC, as they share the same chassis geometry. Earlier tests without that sport chin spoiler ruining the party.
View attachment 2433096

Oh thanks, that's good to know! I'm not quite understanding how this is related to the AVS but I'm glad it does something good, because I'm unable to feel the AVS difference between sport/normal/comfort modes on any terrain. :/ I wonder if that button is connected to anything at all.
 

radman

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Do you mean this as skipping the mounting brackets altogether and just using a carriage bolt straight from the rack to the rooftop box?

No, you could mount those FR adapters to the Prinsu rails using carriage bolts. Same way they would mount to the FR rack...

Wont the aero blades + adapters raise the box quite a bit over the FR top? are the aero blades shaped in a way that fit the recessed box feet?
 

TeCKis300

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Oh thanks, that's good to know! I'm not quite understanding how this is related to the AVS but I'm glad it does something good, because I'm unable to feel the AVS difference between sport/normal/comfort modes on any terrain. :/ I wonder if that button is connected to anything at all.

There's at least one case on the boards that found their damper switch on the console gunked up with spilled soda residue so it may be that.

Other possibility is that the damper setting doesn't really change the feel just going down the road. As the system is dynamic, its effect is not to produce a harsher ride unnecessarily, but for increased body control. As soon as you take a turn or more significant bumps, you should be able to feel increased compression damping in the higher setting.
 
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Wont the aero blades + adapters raise the box quite a bit over the FR top? are the aero blades shaped in a way that fit the recessed box feet?
I haven't tried it yet, but that is what @1world1love did in this post.

I do wish there was a "flat bottom" version of the Thule Motion to avoid all this extra complexity. There are some rooftop box options with flat bottoms, but they are missing other features.

Alternatively I might skip the roof rack altogether. But I'd need to find a way to mount an awning without one.
 
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There's at least one case on the boards that found their damper switch on the console gunked up with spilled soda residue so it may be that.

Other possibility is that the damper setting doesn't really change the feel just going down the road. As the system is dynamic, its effect is not to produce a harsher ride unnecessarily, but for increased body control. As soon as you take a turn or more significant bumps, you should be able to feel increased compression damping in the higher setting.
Ah that makes sense. I should try this in turns. Do you feel a (strong) difference between all three settings?
 

TeCKis300

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Short answer is yes. Not so much straight ahead on smoother roads, but you should be able to feel it especially if tossing it into turns. It's pronounced to me but I'm more particular to suspension and body motions as a previously avid track junkie.
 

radman

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But I'd need to find a way to mount an awning without one.

@grinchy to the rescue:

 

tbisaacs

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
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Short answer is yes. Not so much straight ahead on smoother roads, but you should be able to feel it especially if tossing it into turns. It's pronounced to me but I'm more particular to suspension and body motions as a previously avid track junkie.

I didn’t notice much difference until I did a fluid change. My fluid was very dirty and after changing the truck drove like new.
 
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Thanks!

Some more details in here but the summary is that the Thule Motion XT rooftop box has recessed feet. Frontrunner offers these Thule adaptors to make Thule cross bars fit, which could then hold the rooftop box. Prinsu doesn't offer these adaptors, which is too bad because I prefer the Prinsu roof rack design.
Why not just go with the Yakima Skybox? We have one and use it all the time. It's great.
 
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Why not just go with the Yakima Skybox? We have one and use it all the time. It's great.
I did consider that one, but I'll be putting this thing on/off all the time. Per Outdoor Gear Lab: "However, the initial installation is quite a pain. It is still totally doable, but if you are planning on leaving the box off of your car most of the time, then throwing it on for a weekend getaway, you will probably be better served by a product that is a bit easier and more convenient when it comes to installation. If you plan on leaving the cargo box installed on a semi-permanent to permanent basis, the more laborious installation procedure shouldn't be a deterrent at all, and you should stick with the SkyBox and spend a little less."

The other thing that makes me prefer the Thule are the mounts. They grab on both sides of the bar they sit on, where the Yakima grabs on one side.

I remember seeing someone try to use the Yakima on a roof rack (I think it was prinsu?) and the feet don't fold all the way around. They just sort of "clamp" the bars, which makes it look like hard acceleration could send the box flying. The Yakima website fitting guide also says they can't guarantee fit on 3rd party racks, probably for this reason. I might be wrong though.
 

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