In today’s video, I document the process of installing a giant safari bumper, rock sliders and a snorkel on my cheap 1999 Lexus LX470. These parts cost double what I paid for my luxury rebadged Land Cruiser — and none of them fit properly. Turns out, the Lexus is just barely different enough from the Toyota to present challenges nearly every step along the way.
My last post described how miserable it was to install the lift kit, due to the Lexus’s fancy hydraulic shocks being a nightmare to remove. Turns out, I should have been thankful it wasn’t worse, as the installation went seamlessly, with zero modifications needed to install torsion bars, springs and shocks to give my hooptie a 3-inch lift. When I arrived at the Car Wizard’s shop for the next round of modifications, he had already installed the bumper adapter and winch with ease — but nothing else went according to plan.
The bumper actually fits perfectly — that is, if you never wanted to open your hood ever again. The front styling changes for the Lexus integrated the grill into the hood, while the Toyota’s grill is stationary. Unfortunately, the ARB bumper has two top-mounted brackets that make it impossible for the hood to clear. Even with these brackets grinded off, further modifications were needed to the Lexus grill bracket so it could barely clear the bumper.
While the wizard was struggling with the bumper, I worked on replacing my rusty rear hatch with a junk yard part — and I was disappointed to find it had been badly damaged during shipping. Several corners were bent from careless handling and poor packaging. Since it took me months to find a non-rusty hatch, and since I need to have it painted anyway, I decided to keep it. With the hatch fitted, I moved on to figuring out the snorkel setup, which requires drilling multiple holes into the fender to attach it to the body and connect to the air box. Unfortunately, another key difference between Lexus and Toyota proved to be an obstacle, as the Lexus has a power retractable antenna — which seems to get in the way of the snorkel. The wizard joked that I should drill a hole to allow the antenna to extend through. Obviously, that would make it slightly less than water-tight.
The final failure of the day came from installing the rock sliders, which are bolted directly to the frame and body. Due to the extra lower cladding on the Lexus, lining up the sliders in the right position was much more challenging. Once they were finally bolted in place, I decided to stress test the slider by jumping on it. Unfortunately, bolts mounted to the body promptly ripped away, allowing the slider to jiggle from its frame mounts. The wizard will have to weld some brackets to the body to make these sliders sturdy enough to handle more than a 160-pound idiot.
Thankfully, we’re not too far away from completing this project — and I’ll leave the rest of the work in the wizard’s capable hands. Of course, I’ll tally up the costs and decide if this build was worth the investment when it’s all finished. One thing’s for sure: it’s certainly not the cheapest Land Cruiser in the USA any longer. Find a Lexus LX for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.
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