With no plastic to hide it, the rear of the rig presented the bigger challenge in the ugly department. Part of the lower rocker area has since been trimmed away for a better departure angle. The frame extending beyond the body also had to go.With no plastic to hide it, the rear of the rig presented the bigger challenge in the ugly Whack! Nothing like a hot wrench on a brand-new vehicle. So long, too-long frame. Hello, new rear crossmember with built-in receiver. We've tucked the frame up close to the body and triangulated it from behind for strength. The ends of the frame were boxed in with brackets that will hold the new 2x4-inch rectangular bumper in place.Hello, new rear crossmember with built-in receiver. We've tucked the frame up close to the A feature that helped the Lexus win FWOTY is its fullsize spare, mounted underneath the rig (no muddy flat in with your clean luggage). That tire is surrounded by a real truck-like frame--no wimpy unibody here. Note the factory tow hook on the left rail--all are features that we like to see on stock 4x4s, and things we take note of in our FWOTY tests. Unfortunately, the tire had to go because the spare is now a 33 and wouldn't fit underneath. At least we have a frame to weld to. The new rear crossmember contains a receiver, which we feel is the best point for a recovery hook.A feature that helped the Lexus win FWOTY is its fullsize spare, mounted underneath the ri Here is our 3-inch front lift kit. The stock Lexus front coilover shocks feature adjustable damping and are easily up to controlling 33-inch tires. Stock tires measure 30.5. The bottom mounting eye is part of a 2-inch-long, 5/8-inch-diameter shaft that extends to the shock body. We simply cut the shaft in two, did some careful measuring, and then machined a 21/4-inch spacer which press fit into the two stubs. We then welded the assembly into a solid piece and voila!, 3 inches of lift at the axle hub. The rear lift is already built in with the GX470's air-ride rear suspension, which, on its "high" setting, lifts the vehicle 3 inches. With our 3-inch front lift, the rig sits level and fits 33s with no problem.Here is our 3-inch front lift kit. The stock Lexus front coilover shocks feature adjustabl Here is a shot of our 3-inch lift kit installed. We had the truck realigned and everything fell into spec, no problem. At stock height, the axleshafts actually went "up" from the diff to the hub. Now they slope slightly down (like normal) nd are far from binding in any position. Note the huge anti-roll bar tube in the foreground. That is part of Lexus' new-for'04 Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS.) It's an automatic disconnect system. When the suspension is articulated, the anti-roll bar mounts float hydraulically and force fluid front to rear and vice versa, forcing opposite tires down. The system makes a difference, as our '04 FWOTY RRI test proved. The '04 rig ramped a 519, while the '03 tester without KDSS could only twist to 428.Here is a shot of our 3-inch lift kit installed. We had the truck realigned and everything This is the air pump for the rear air suspension. It was mounted behind the left rear wheel on, and slightly below, the framerail. It had to move to accommodate our planned departure angles. Once again, the Lexus adapted easily. Just above the air pump's old mounting spot, inside the vehicle in the left quarter panel, is a little door opening to a space for the factory jack. Since we plan to carry a Hi-Lift jack, this made a perfect new home for the air pump.This is the air pump for the rear air suspension. It was mounted behind the left rear whee Ah, yes. We knew there had to be an engine under that Darth Vader disguise. Now we can not only see the condition of things like belts and hoses, but we can even work on them if we have to. There is now also ample room for the ARB compressor and possibly an onboard welder.Ah, yes. We knew there had to be an engine under that Darth Vader disguise. Now we can not We just had to install some rollers that you'd never see on a Lexus. Beadlocks at the Country Club? We wanted an aggressive mud tire with the traction and strength to handle the Rubicon, but also tires with good street manners that can keep quiet. These 33x12.50R17 Pro Comp Mud Terrains fit the bill nicely. We would have liked a little more sidewall for flex when aired down, but had to go with 17-inch wheels to clear the front brakes.We just had to install some rollers that you'd never see on a Lexus. Beadlocks at the Coun The guys at Trailready made us these good-looking wheels. They started with 17x8-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels with a 41/2-inch backspacing. To these, they added their special lipped beadlocks. The lip, shown in the photo, centers the tire bead on the wheel and allows for a very true-running tire that can be balanced. Trailready powdercoated our wheels in satin black, which sets off its signature brushed-aluminum locking rings beautifully. The wheels weigh 30 pounds each, complete with hardware. With 33-inch Pro Comps wrapped around them they tip the scales at 85 pounds. The Lexus' suspension and chassis don't notice the tire/wheel change. Project TraiLex, Part 1Project TraiLex, Part 2Project TraiLex, Part 3Project TraiLex, Part 4 SOURCES Pro Comp Tire Co. Trailready 4-25/-353-6776 www.trailready.com « | 1 | 2 | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!