Project TraiLex, Part 1Project TraiLex, Part 2Project TraiLex, Part 3Project TraiLex, Part 4 Readers following our Project TraiLex from Part 1 will remember that our original goal was to perform some typical, mild trail modifications to a Lexus GX 470 and take it over the Rubicon Trail. Sort of a we-told-you-this-vehicle-was-a-capable-trailmobile project in response to all the heat we took for picking a Lexus as our Four Wheeler of the Year winner two years in a row. So now we've had our Lexus project for over a year. We've performed all the modifications that were covered in Parts 1 and 2, and we've 'wheeled the thing over a lot of trails, including the famed Rubicon. In this article, we'd like to share some pictures we took of our trip over the 'Con. With early morning shadows still playing across the rocks of the Gatekeeper at the Loon Lake trailhead, we began our trek by testing out TraiLex's rocker guards (and door sheetmetal). Results: TraiLex 1, Gatekeeper 0. OK, half a point to the rocks for the door dent!With early morning shadows still playing across the rocks of the Gatekeeper at the Loon La Shortly after conquering the Gatekeeper and only 15 minutes into the trip, we thought our fun was over. After flexing the rear suspension over nothing in particular, TraiLex's left rear suddenly farted loudly and fell to its bumpstops. For some reason, the left rear airbag popped off its perch, ripped its air line off, and departed from the vehicle. After raising the back end up with our handy Hi-Lift jack, we discovered the air line had only come out of its fitting. No blood, no foul.Shortly after conquering the Gatekeeper and only 15 minutes into the trip, we thought our Although TraiLex's suspension had been articulated far greater in shop tests than the flex that spit out the airbag, we opted to tack-weld the bag's mounting base to the axle perch so that this little inconvenience didn't happen again. In times like these, it's sure nice to have a Premier Power Welder on a rig for portable trail welding. For a minute, we thought the trail had won, but nope ... TraiLex 2, Rubicon 1/2.Although TraiLex's suspension had been articulated far greater in shop tests than the flex TraiLex "walks" up Walker Hill, no problem. Once in a while, in tougher sections like this rock garden hill, we'd assist the factory Traction Control with the rear-axle ARB Air Locker. The Lexus could have made it with Traction Control alone, but it wouldn't have scored any Driving Elegant awards. It just doesn't make sense to have to feed in the throttle until you get wheelspin, in order to get traction assistance. It's so much smoother, quieter, and easier on drivetrain components to just push a button and calmly walk at idle over the obstacle. Wonder if the OEs will ever listen? Oh, and yep, that is the kiss in the driver's door from the Gatekeeper ... Gotta have trail patina, right?TraiLex "walks" up Walker Hill, no problem. Once in a while, in tougher sections like this Working our way towards the Little Sluice, it sure is nice to have good approach and departure angles. Hate to think what the factory bumpers would have looked like at this point. No, we didn't attempt the 'Box. If you think we should have, you've missed the point and should be reading a different article!Working our way towards the Little Sluice, it sure is nice to have good approach and depar With our campsite in the distance, we work our way down the slab towards Buck Island Lake. What is the future for Project TraiLex? The good folks at Lexus have told us we can keep it a while longer--as long as we continue to 'wheel it and show it off at various runs. Sounds like a deal to us! We may still try to lock up the front diff and change the gearing if products become available. We've had a blast building and driving it. The looks it gets on the trail and the street are priceless. The only problem is after being spoiled by all this luxury in a vehicle that can still conquer a reasonably rough trail, our personal trail ride(s) are feeling pretty crude and uncomfortable! It will be hard to give it up. This beats the Four Seasons any day! Luxury camping at the water's edge. Fishing anyone? Halfway, so another point to TraiLex. Score: 'Lex 3, 'Con 1/2.This beats the Four Seasons any day! Luxury camping at the water's edge. Fishing anyone? H Squeeze! 'Wheeling a rig the size of the Lexus over the 'Con can be a tight fit at times. Sure is fun, though.Squeeze! 'Wheeling a rig the size of the Lexus over the 'Con can be a tight fit at times. Yes, we took the high road leaving Buck Island, and TraiLex walked right up the rockclimb leading to this breakover. Yep, we tested all the factory skidplates as well as the scrape-ability of everything else under the rig during the trip. Things look ugly under there, but nothing broke. Worst wound: the gas tank now holds about four gallons less.Yes, we took the high road leaving Buck Island, and TraiLex walked right up the rockclimb Made it down the Big Sluice with no problem, if you don't count the new dent in the right rear door! (More patina, gotta have both sides match. And OK, another 1/2 point to the trail.) Here we cross the bridge spanning the Rubicon River and head for Cadillac Hill.Made it down the Big Sluice with no problem, if you don't count the new dent in the right Sort of an unofficial end of the rough part of the trail, everybody takes a photo of their rig at the Overview. So, like sheep, we clicked away. Unlike sheep, how many others have photographed their Lexus at this spot after successfully crossing the Rubicon? In the final tally, the Lexus whipped the Rubicon without breaking a sweat. Sure, it got a couple of dents, but that's driver error. And some underbody scrapes, but it still drove home straight and true at 80 mph. Nothing broke, it never needed a tow strap--much less the use of its Warn winch--and it still feels tight and ready for the next obstacle. Still think a Lexus can't 'wheel?Sort of an unofficial end of the rough part of the trail, everybody takes a photo of their You could get spoiled looking at a view like this while sitting in the comfort of the TraiLex.You could get spoiled looking at a view like this while sitting in the comfort of the Trai Project TraiLex, Part 1Project TraiLex, Part 2Project TraiLex, Part 3Project TraiLex, Part 4 SOURCES Pull-Pal Trailready/RSI The Bloomfield Manufacturing Co. Inc. Warn Industries Inc. www.warn.com Pro Comp Tire Co. Forrest Tool Co. ARB USA 800-761-8192 www.arbusa.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!