Rickashay's 97' LX450 - "Tom Cruiser" Build Thread


Current Cruiser Pic

20130920-IMG_3648.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

20130513-IMG_2617.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

20130513-IMG_2595.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr


*As always, a shout out to SCS Wheels and ARB for their support with this build. Both excellent companies with excellent people and products. I'm truly thankful to get the chance to work with them throughout my build. *

Running Gear/Drivetrain

- SCS F5 Wheels 16x8, 3.5" BS
- 315/75/16 MT/R Kevlar Tires
- Aussie rear locker
- Powerstop Drilled/Slotted Rotors and Ceramic Pads
- Slee Stainless extended brake lines


F: OME 850 coils +1" Spacer
R: OME 863 coils
- Fox IFP Shocks all around
- OME Steering Stabilizer
- Land Tank Castor plates
- Slee HD Relay and Tie Rod
- Slee rear LCA's


- Slee Shortbus front bumper
- TJM 12K Stealth winch w/solenoid relocation under the hood
- Amsteel Blue 7/16" Synthetic Line
- Factor 55 1.5" Fairlead
- Slee Crossmember/belly skid
- Cruisin' Offroad Sliders
- Reinforced rear lower control arm mounts
- Front diff. armor
- LineX to upper bodyline and roof


- 2x Rigid Dually (Flood)
- 2x Rigid Dually D2 (Hyperspot)
- LED Tailights
- DEPO Clear headlights (awaiting projector retrofit)
- DEPO clear corners and marker lights
- 3000K High Beam bulbs

Offroad Accessories

- ARB Safari Snorkel
- ARB Twin Compressor
- Whitson Metalworks roof rack (awaiting installation)
- Sears DieHard Platinum Group 31M Battery
- Blue Sea Aux. Fuse block (x2)
- Electric Auxillary cooling fan
- extended diff/t-case/transmission breathers


- Rockford Fosgate 6 1/2" component speakers front and rear
- Alpine IDA-X100 deck
- IS300 Steering Wheel
- IS300 suede/leather seats (awaiting installation)
- Scan Guage II
- ARB Fridge
- Custom cargo/sleeping deck
- Cobra CB w/firestick antenna

Short Term Mods/Maintenance

- Replace power steering pump and high pressure line
- oil change
- Re-Gear 4.88's w/ARB lockers

[IUpcoming Mods/Maintenance[/I]
- 4WU front 3-Link kit
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The Backstory

Well I' started this build thread on MUD also, but thought I would merge it over here as well. I'll admit, my progress so far has been pretty weak and I've only driven the truck for about 30 minutes since owning it. Needs quite a bit of work but the foundation is definitely solid. Things (ie. parts) should start ramping up in the next couple weeks.

An 80-series has always been one of my favorite Toyota 4x4's, and it just so happens that one has recently fallen into my lap from a fellow mudder. This forum blows me away by the amount of knowledge, write-ups, and OCD tendencies that seem to be so common. I'm sure I'm going to fit right in! Anyways, onto the goods....

Alright let's get this started off on the right foot. I'm out at work and have some time on my hands so what better way to spend my night than starting my next build thread! I like to type and post pictures, so if you like either, you may proceed.

I'd like to start with a couple photos of my past builds that ultimately got me to where I am now. I've always been a Toyota guy but my 95' pickup was what initially bit me with the mod bug and what I was driving when I signed up on CT4WD. Shortly after I was enrolled in the TE&S and then soon after, the 101 driver's/educational courses.

Then came "The Duster" which some of you may have been familiar with; my 98' 4Runner that I initially thought I would keep forever. The modd'ing got excessive and I enjoyed every part of the process along the way. I learned a lot mechanically during the build, pushed my driving skills to new levels, and had some unforgettable experiences along the way. This truck will always be my benchmark and it's what really helped me determine what my needs and wants are for my lifelong future on the trail.

20120301-IMG_1069.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

The rest is kind of history...

I was recently talking to a friend of mine in Lethbridge who was the former owner of my new LX. I remember when I first met him and he had recently imported the low mileage specimen from Arizona. It was a super clean rig with LOW miles and he had searched for a long time to find it. It was well maintained and completely rust free. When Jeff dropped the bomb that he was going to sell it, I knew that I had to have it. An 80 had always been my dream Toyota but I knew they were becoming extremely difficult to find in good condition, especially ones from one of the rust-free states. Fast forward a couple months and I now find "Tom Cruiser" (hahahaha) in my driveway. The truck needs a couple minor things, including an epic cut and polish, but the rust-free history is what is of utmost importance. The LX was stock when Jeff purchased it from the US, and he has since modded it, and maintained it extremely well with all OEM Toyota parts. My personal style reflects a mental image of the "ultimate" 80-series to be slightly different to Jeff's rendition, but I am provided with a very sturdy platform to begin my own transformation of this already "built" LX.

I would like to thank Vin @ SCS Wheels for always hooking me up with a dose of killer wheels whenever I need them. Your wheels are awesome, keep up the great work and I want to thank you for your past and ongoing support with Toyota projects!

Newcomers to the project, I would like to thank Matt @ ARB for stepping up and helping me out with the LX450. Their products are legendary with the customer service to match. I'm so excited to rep my fair share of the Aussie original on Tom Cruiser! This could get ugly, the ARB catalogue has a lot of pages!

20120614-IMG_1626.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

Knowing that all of the PM work has been completed, I'm excited to jump right into the mods. Currently in transit:

- LandTank extended seat rail bracket (the stock seat position does not go back far enough for my 6'6" frame)
- Sears DieHard Platinum Group 31 battery

I had a couple days off this weekend due to rain. I made good use of the time and my brother Chase happened to be in town for some shenanigans. We awoke Sunday morning with a headache but I wasn't going to let the day go to waste. Me and Chase began the tear down.

After the initial seat removal:

20120614-IMG_1638.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

I knew the truck would immediately become a 2-seater as I have intentions of building a pretty epic sleeping platform that functions as "dog space" on the trail and converts to a bed at night. In my eyes this is one of the most important mods I will make and I'm looking forward to the extra sleeping space coming from the 4Runner's confined quarters. I could go RTT but I want the COG kept fairly low and am not always a huge fan of the look of a "brick" on the roof of SUV's. My 4Runner's sleeping platform worked very well so I will follow the same basic concept but naturally, have some changes planned. After pulling the seats and knowing my obsessive compulsive tendencies, I knew we had to go further and gut the truck to achieve the ultimate clean slate - literally.

Let the labelling begin:

20120615-IMG_1643.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

In it's current form:

20120615-IMG_1650.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

- Carpets out and ready for shampoo
- interior panels 90% removed - washed with soap and water and hosed down
- full interior wipe down with soap and water
- vacuumed thoroughlyI had ONE day off, it was absolutely gorgeous outside, and I had an itch to work on "Tom" so I made the best of the sunny day.

Finished pulling the interior panels (doors) and then pulled off the front bumper and winch. I wasn't sun burnt enough at that point, so I decided to de-flare the Lexus.... just need to get someone (hopefully Nick!!) to weld up the holes and then I'm off to the races. Also ordered a Porter Cable polisher to try and clean up the black paint. Not that much of it will remain after it get's LineX'd up to the upper door bodyline. I'm sure a lot of people will be bighting their nails on that one, as I know it's not liked by everyone. My reasoning is that the black paint on this truck is in pretty bad shape (scratches and oxidation). I could probably revive it, but I know that as soon as I get out onto the trail, it's going to happen all over again. One thing I loved about the Duster was it's light color that did a VERY good job at hiding scratches. With the Lexus, I wont be so lucky. Considering this is going to be a purpose-built adventure/wheeling rig, I need to make it best at doing just that with low maintenance. I called around and was thinking of painting the whole truck Millenium Silver (Vic's old 3rd Gen 4Runner color) or the new FJ Trail Team Cement Grey, however 6-10K for a paint job is pretty rediculous - and no, I won't do a backyard special paint job, I'm way too OCD. LineX will be drastically cheaper and I'm going to get it painted (it will have a little gloss and will be washable) the same color as my soon-to-be Gunmetal SCS wheels. I think it's actually going to turn out pretty BA and I won't ever wory about scratching paint again....

Oh, and a photo of Tom Cruiser without all of his flares/cladding:

20120622-IMG_1652.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr


Not anything big and crazy yet... still tyring to sort out some of the smaller details with a complete lack of time off of work to accomodate.

My girlfriend was down in Spokane a couple weeks ago shopping, and it just so happened that Sears had a battery sale going on. I ordered one online and had my gf "import" the box of electrons and deliver it to my door. I opted for the Group 31 as I don't plan on running duals.

Old vs. New

20120629-IMG_1656.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

Instead of trimming the fins on the battery itself, I trimmed a small corner of the battery box:

20120629-IMG_1658.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

With the above modification, I used the factory (or at least the PO's) J-screws and a piece of "L-channel" I had lying around. I plan on removing the factory battery box in the near future and having a real battery box fabbed up.

New home in the engine bay:

20120629-IMG_1661.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

I pulled the skid plates and sliders off, and finished removing all of the lower cladding. Truck is headed to the welder next week to have the holes filled.
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The holes have been welded shut. I got the LX back last week and it's pretty much ready for LineX but I still havent decided on a color and I want to get the snorkel hole cut in and any body trimming done before the bedliner job. I decided to go for the big tires right away, I was debating 35's vs. 37's but I know I would end up switching later if I did 35's. It's not my DD so I'm going for 37" MTZ's.

I also have a few parts waiting at the border for pickup:
- pair of 3x3 LED's
- 2 Blue Sea fuse blocks and USB/cigarette lighter ports. Pretty much getting all the wiring stuff ready for the sleeping platform and additional accessories that will be in the rear.
- Ordered some LED tail lights and clear marker/corner lights
- Rockford Fosgate component speakers for front and rear and deleted the factory sub

Ordering my ARB snorkel, dual compressor, and a few other misc items in the next couple days.

I should be home this weekend and I'm going to do a full clay bar and paint buff and try and bring the truck back to life. I'll have some pics of my progress by the end of the weekend. :chowtime:


Active member

:Wow1: Sweet Build,,thanks for the pics,,

Now get back to work :clapsmile



Watching intently as I am planing on removing my body cladding (that has not been ripped off by trees already) and bed lining it.


American Adventurist
I recognize that truck Addison... I'll be watching your efforts and your mania slowly develop. ;)


New member
Rickashay....The Duster was the one truck that had me ..."this close" to building a Hilux Surf. Hell, I had already paid for it. But, in the end went with my HDJ81 Cruiser. The better choice was made but I sure do still like the look of the Duster.


:Wow1: Sweet Build,,thanks for the pics,,

Now get back to work :clapsmile

Great thread!
Nice build, keep it coming!

Thanks guys!

I recognize that truck Addison... I'll be watching your efforts and your mania slowly develop. ;)
You got it Tim, you saw this LX in action ala Whipsaw 2011. My "style" differs quite a bit from how the truck was initially built but its been PM'd to hell and back and it's an Arizona original, so I couldn't be happier. PS I've got Utah/California/Arizona on my radar for this spring, I think you should make the drive!

Rickashay....The Duster was the one truck that had me ..."this close" to building a Hilux Surf. Hell, I had already paid for it. But, in the end went with my HDJ81 Cruiser. The better choice was made but I sure do still like the look of the Duster.
Hahah Thanks, the Duster was pretty cool looking... but keep watching, the LX is going to get the same treatment!

Watching intently as I am planing on removing my body cladding (that has not been ripped off by trees already) and bed lining it.
Do it! I just really like the cleaner look of the LX without the cladding. If I had the money to dump a bunch of coin into a new paint job that would be ideal, but in reality, the truck is being built for a purpose that doesn''t include driving to the mall. The liner just makes sense. I'm lining to the upper bodyline, just need to decide if I'm going with a dark gunmetal or playing it safe with black. Also thinking now that I should fit the 37's and take care of any trimming before I do the liner.... might be a little bit now before its gets sprayed. Thanks for stopping by, aren't you doing a diesel swap on yours right now?


I had lineX put on my Fzj80 after the flare holes were welded up, and I've been perfectly happy with it.


I had lineX put on my Fzj80 after the flare holes were welded up, and I've been perfectly happy with it.
What color did you go with? Any photos?

Lots of people run the Monstaliner as an alternative to LineX, and seem to be happy with that too. I'm a big fan of shiny paint though, so I want this to look as professional as possible and the LineX warranty has a lot of value IMO. I would love to see some pics of your setup!



^^Thanks guys!!

I picked up a few goodies for the Cruiser yesterday and had some time to install some of them. I didn't have quite enough time as I wanted to turn wrenches and install, but I figured I could grab some photos of the truck in it's current form:

LX450 holes filled and ready for LineX - yah, the paint is in terrible shape. Going to do a proper detail once the LineX is done.

IMG_1753.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

New LED tailights:

IMG_1752.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

New clear corners and marker lights: (once I get the LC grille, I'll be doing those Depos and I'll get my retrofit going..)

IMG_1759.jpg by RickaShay24, on Flickr

Started working on getting my new speakers in, I ordered a pair of Rockford T-165S for the front and T-165 for the rears. I got the door panels trimmed for the 6.5" rears. I had to run a small spacer to clear the power window arm but they should bolt in nicely now. Hoping the fronts are going to fit without issue....

Placed an order from ARB as well, on the way:
- CKMTA12 Dual compressor
- Tire Inflation kit and guage
- Safari Snorkel
- Recovery Strap and Snatch Block
- Front 850J-springs

Also bought a set of 2012 OEM FJ Cruiser wheels which are the same as the 5th Gen 4Runner Trail Edition wheels. I just needed a set of 17's to run until my SCS wheels land and are sent to OMF for a beadlock conversion. I've liked these wheels ever since they came out, so I'm excited to get them on the Cruiser as well as some new tires!
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