2018 Lexus GX build

It’s been better than 20 years since I’ve built a new rig. I’ve had my hands in many builds other than my own and enjoy the process immensely.

The subject is a 2018 Lexus GX 460, 22,000 miles on the clock, 18 months old with factory warranty still available, black leather interior.

I recently sold my 2000 Taco with 385,000 miles and having such great service from that and my 1989 Toyota pick up I knew that the fruit wouldn’t fall far from the family tree.

I selected a SUV this time around for a few reasons in particular a GX.

*Higher GVWR than a new Taco.
*No GVWR loss adding a canopy.
*No replacement for displacement, V8!
*Phenomenal reliability track record of the GX.
*Dry, warm, and for the most part dust free interior space at the end of the day.

I will be removing the second and third row seats to accommodate a drawer/sleep platform build. By removing the seats, the goal is to displace the weight of the drawer/platform with no net gain in weight.

One of the main goals of this build is to stay under GVWR. My previous build, a 2000 Taco was overweight for most of its 20 years.

This main use for this rig will be training, camping, and skiing. I have a daily commuter, so no useless miles being added to the odometer.
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The Lexus GX 460 is a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado outside of North America. It’s based on the Prado 150 series chassis, similar to the 2009-current 4Runner. The differences between the 4Runner and GX are significant and include the 4.6 liter V8, 6 speed automatic transmission and full time 4 wheel drive with a low range transfer case and center differential lock.

All second gen GXs have KDSS. Some have voiced disdain for KDSS but with some study it’s a very intelligent system that is misunderstood. Essentially it’s a passive stabilizer bar disconnect. The hydraulic actuators lock the stabilizer bars at high speeds and smooth surfaces enabling better highway handling. When driving slowly and uneven surfaces the hydraulic actuators sense the pressure differential and allow the stabilizer bar to move freely allowing more suspension flex or droop.

One piece of hardware that the GX doesn’t offer is a locking rear differential that the 4Runner comes with. To me this is insignificant as it can and will be added down the road.

The build will include the normal items such as bumpers, sliders, winch, roof rack, and suspension system. Depending on parts arriving this will be a fairly fast paced build as I need the rig for our up coming class schedule.
As with all my builds the vehicle gets a full exterior detail. Clay bar, light cut cleaner, polish, and paste wax.

Now on to the fun items. This coming Friday I have an appointment with Truck Vault for the sleep platform/drawer build out design. They are located locally in Sedro-Woolley WA. https://truckvault.com/

I took today off to get the second and third rows removed. The second row captains chairs are 60 lbs each and the third row is 47 and 48 lbs each. The trim and associated brackets reduced it by another 30 lbs. Total removal weight was 245 lbs.




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While waiting 4-6 weeks for just about most parts such as rock sliders, bumpers and suspension I took this time to install sound deadener and insulation foam to replace the noise absorption of the removed seats.

Last Friday driving home I used an iPhone app to observe a consistent 68-69 db noise level @ 70 mph with the sunroof shade closed. After seat removal while driving at highway speeds I could definitely hear the ambient noise level was elevated.

The other reason was to help insulate for cold weather camping and sleeping inside on the platform. With window covers and insulation the interior retains heat well. I applied a similar process on my daughters 4Runner build and have tested it several times the past two winters.

Eventually I will apply deadener to all the doors.




These are the window covers.

Located a space for the fuse panel and a breaker to kill power to the fuse panel to mitigate parasitic draw. Yes I will install a breaker at the power source. Fortunately Blue Seas has prints for the parts and dimensions so I was able to cut cardboard to size to test fit.

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If your going for heat retention, have you thought about some 3M thinsulate filling some of those big cavities in the body? Does not hold moisture, doesn't mold, easy to work with.
It was a busy weekend! My 3M Thinsulate arrived Friday along with my Kaon back door drop down table.

I camp at ski resorts often in the winter and over the years have learned a few ways to manage the cold. The installation of the Thinsulate will be next level! It has an R5 value and along with the Weather Tech window covers should make it extremely comfortable.

I stuffed Thinsulate anywhere it would fit and installed sound deadener in the rear door as well.

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The Kaon table came straight from Australia. The shipping was almost as much as the table. I went this direction because everything else would have been a compromise.

The instructions for the table just have you install sheet metal screws directly in to the rear door plastic. Not satisfied with that I purchased some stainless bolts and through bolted it with large fender washers on the back side.

I am extremely pleased with the quality of the table and the rubber isolation used to keep it from rattling. The proof will be in the details once I run some washboard roads.

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