Considering purchasing a Lexus 470

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 06:59
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I am considering purchasing a Lexus 470 V8 petrol 1999 model as a tow vehicle for a 20' bushtracker. I was wondering if anyone has any advice to offer. The vehicle we are looking at has only done 102 000 kms. Look forward to your thoughts Birchy
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Reply By: Motley - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 18:21

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 18:21
We have a 2000 model Lexus and we tow a 20' Bushtracker. We purchased the Lexus about the time that we were given earnest assurances by the Toyota people that there wouldn’t be a turbo diesel in the 100 Series and they were sticking with the 6 cylinder petrol. We have done about 160,000km with no problems. Whilst everyone says the Lexus is just a tricked-up Landcruiser, the "extras" make it a very comfortable off-road vehicle and it's done everything and more that our previous Land Cruisers did.

We have towed the van over 25,000km and been very happy with performance. I wouldn't want to tow a 20' with any less wheelbase or any less power. The Lexus does the job adequately but obviously doesn't have the tow performance of an F250. It won't be the first rig over the hill when towing on steep grades. Having said that, we cruise on the bitumen at between 90 and 100km/hour.

We wanted to have a tow vehicle with greater flexibility as an all-rounder. When off road conditions are such that cruising at 100km/hour is not an option, then the Lexus comes in to its own. The ground clearance and wheelbase mean that the limiting factor in manoeuvring the Bushtracker is the length of the van, not the limitations of the tow vehicle.

Yes, it is thirsty. A 15,000km trip involving about 40% off road resulted in overall fuel consumption of 30L/100km. Sounds a lot at first, but we travelled with two other Turbo Diesel Cruisers, one of which was towing a van. When diesel fuel price variation and more frequent oil changes for the diesels were taken into consideration, we spent $500 more on fuel than the others over the entire trip.

I am currently investigating a bolt-on supercharger produced by Toyota Racing Development in the United States. With modified air intake and exhaust, they are claiming an additional 70KW (40%). Provided additional fuel consumption does not start to impact the effective driving range I can achieve with the three extra jerry cans on the draw bar, then this would make the Lexus my ultimate towing/off road vehicle.

I know at least two other BOGGERS tow with Lexus.

Hope this helps


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Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 20:17

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 20:17
Hello Birchy! Very nice vehicle!
There have been dozens, many dozens of Owners towing with Lexus.... Very nice luxury vehicle.... And Motley did a really wonderful job on his answer to you, very comprehensive and a good analysis on a great luxury vehicle. It was kind of him to take the time and give you such a comprehensive answer…. But I have a reservation that I would like to put to you, for your own good and consideration, but also for any Readers of this thread in the same situation. I sometimes think I should just keep my mouth shut, but if you were my Brother, this would be the answer I would give you; so why not do it now? I will take the risk, and try and do the right thing, OK?

Petrol is definitely more thirsty, and Motley figure of about 3 to 3.5 km per litre is about what I have heard. To put that in perspective, my 19 tonne rig of Mack 4x4 Dual Cab Horsetruck, with horses on board, tonne of fuel, tonne of water, tonne of tools, tack and feed and a 22’ van on the back, gets that fuel economy in Diesel… However, there is another critical point: In my opinion, it is just more dangerous in Outback travel as well... Not just for how close to the fire you park, or getting a Spinifex fire underneath, or getting in an accident; But also how you carry extra fuel.... I just think that Diesel suits the Outback better: Better mileage, and possibly better safety as a consideration.... Now I know petrol fans might disagree, and this is only my own opinion, not science, but I think a consideration. I for one am always uneasy around a petrol vehicle refuelling out of jerry cans or such in 40 degree weather when the explosive fumes are so thick it distorts your vision… And the smell of petrol fumes as it expands in the deserts and vents out.. I would not travel in the outback with petrol, or want to contemplate an accident or rolling a vehicle, I guess I am just a die hard diesel Fan…

A very good argument is that the new Diesels IFS Cruisers are computer run, and have the independent front suspension (IFS), and have their own weaknesses... But there is an alternative and this is an excerpt from my Posting on Tow Vehicle Choices, that you may or may not have read:

"I also do not like the trend in the new vehicles with computer run complex systems that cannot be rectified in the Bush.. For example-I know personally, I would like a 97 to early 2000 Toyota 80 Series or an a couple of year old GXL 100 Series for half the money, maybe even with extra equipment already on it; rather than all the fancy electronic run injectors and injection pumps of the new ones. The same goes for the other Brands. It seems as though the Company Engineers are designing the engines to take the maintenance out of the hands of the do it yourself people and make them dependent on the Dealerships for all service... Just a personal view, but maybe it is another option to consider for half the money... Especially if you are a handy sort of a person yourself.... It is what I did in getting a new Cruiser for my wife, I bought a 2000- 100 Series, aftermarket turbo and intercooler, and it was loaded with extras like long range tanks, diff locks, air compressor, and much more.. It has no engine electronics to run the injection pump, injectors, and controls; and (at the time only 2 years old) I think it is twice the vehicle as new, for half the money. It also has the tried and true solid front monobeam axle housing... Same comfort and power and looks as the new IFS Cruiser, but twice the reliability at half the cost."

This is an alternative to get the power of the new Turbo Cruiser, without the IFS and the electronic run injection pump and injectors, with the current body style, by adding an aftermarket Garrett Turbo and Intercooler... You end up with what I say in the article of "twice the reliability for half the money"... And really, fuel economy what it is, I think there is a very good case for Diesel, whether or not you perceive there to be a safety issue involved. The petrol will be thirsty and you have to consider possibly carrying jerry cans of fuel on the drawbar as there is no where else to carry it safely with the potential for a crack in the jerry can and explosive fuel...

All in all, it can come down to dollars, and if the Lexus was cheap enough, it saves a lot of money for fuel, and there is no cheaper long range tanks than four or five jerry can holders on the a-frame..... And the Lexus is a wonderful luxury vehicle, so I guess dollars is the deciding factor as that makes up for fuel economy. I just have serious reservations about petrol for long range travel in this great land of Oz…

Hope this analysis has been of a help..
Kind regards, stg at Bushtracker
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Reply By: Kiwi1 - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 02:15

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 02:15
I've read the "twice the reliability" comment in several posts now. The suggestion that the current TD Cruiser is proving to be an unreliable tow vehicle is a bit alarming for this TD owner who is planning to quit the city in the not-too-distant future.

Perhaps some of the owners of these vehicles can give us a run-down on the problems they are experiencing with their electronics and how (or if) they have been able to solve them while off the beaten track? Is it feasible to carry replacement electronics and if so, what sort of items?
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:37

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:37
We had a 2001 Landcruiser T/D and it towed our 21ft BT without any problems for about 12 months. (It was Not as good as the F250 is but that is to be expected from a heavier and longer wheel based vehicle.)
We travelled about 45,000 km with it, and then we sold it to our daughter and it now has over 100,000 km on the clock , and there has NOT been any problems with the vehicle at all.

Obviously from your questions you are like me and not a mechanic, so if something in the electronics fails then we wouldn't know what or where it was anyway.

I think that the only things worth carrying are fan belts, oil, fuel and air filters. Everything else will require mechanical knowledge to fix.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:43

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:43
Hello Kiwi1,
Steven Gibbs here, at Bushtracker,
That comment is probably not proving to be as true as when it was first written, more along the lines of my disapproval of the trend towards all computer driven engines when I first wrote it years ago... I just do not like things that cannot be worked on in the bush, but I must admit I am a bit of a dinosaur on my views on the subject...

There were some electronic failures over the past couple of years, but overall the electronic part of the 100 Series has proven fairly robust.
The IFS suspension would be my biggest bone of contention now, as failures in that have been more common. In extreme 4x4 there have been failures on the retention of the independent arm as it lifts off the ground and some early wear on other parts reported... Overall it is still our Number One most common tow vehicle... It is also true that with more of them out there, we are going to hear of a greater number of problems..

My comments are also geared toward Customers that may not be able to afford new, quite a easily as others... If they go the direction I did, in a turbo on a standard GXL, it is a lot cheaper, and you can fix it in the Bush, and it has the tried and true monobeam front diff... I might modify my comment about twice as reliable, that is probably not fair. Maybe I will modify it to something like "can be worked on by anyone in the Bush, and nearly half the money..." Something like that...

Kind Regards, stg
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Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:36

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 05:36
After splendid service from two 80 series turbos we are up to 160,000 km on our second 100 Turbo, an auto, the first 100 Turbo manual having covered 320,000km. We do mainly country driving, a lot of it on gravel and most of it at high speed due to the ridiculous distances we have to cover. Oil and filter changes are generally done at 20,000 km or whenever we think of it. Our Caterpillar and John Deere tractors working in extreme conditions are on 250/500 hr oil/filter changes and we can't see why the Cruisers should be treated any differently. Have towed to Cape York, across the top and and just about everywhere else.
We have never experienced the slightest problem with suspensions, electronics, fuel systems or any other systems. Would never consider anything else!
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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:45

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 07:45
What sort of oil are you using. I have always used Shell Helix Ultra Synthetic and have been changing at 10,000ks . It always seemed a bit of a waste to use such good oil for so short of a period. To move out to 20,000ks will take a shift in my thinking. My son who should know has been advocating this for some time now so I guess I will give it a go.
This brings up another consideration. I am using Redline synthetics in the diffs, transmission and transfer case and am thinking 30,000ks is the minimum distance between changes. Am wondering if anybody else has any thoughts on these assumptions. I guess it helps to drive a Landcruiser as well.
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Follow Up By:- Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:06

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 18:06
G'day Trevor
We've been using Mobil products since the bears were bad. Anything with a diesel motor on our property uses Mobil Delvac 1, the current L/c turbo wagon and ute are using Mobil 1. Transmissions and diffs use the appropriate recommended oils.

I have long regarded the recommended oil change periods for Toyotas with a degree of scepticism. In all our years of Toyota ownership when trade in time comes our local dealer has never looked at a service book.
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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:53

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:53
I am in mining and what you say about service periods makes good sense. Use better quality oils and run them longer, having regard to the conditions will be the way I go from now on.
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Reply By: Kiwi1 - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:43

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 19:43
I think I'm feeling a tad more relaxed. LOL. Just as a matter of interest, do the much-favoured F250s operate via electronics or is Ford one of the dinosaurs?
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:44

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 20:44
Yes, and a valid point, as they are electronic as well, since 1995 when the PowerStroke engine came out... But you do not have the option like you do with the Toyota, that still gives you the option of an all non-electronic engine like mine, that you can put an aftermarket turbo and intercooler on... I was only offering people an alternative that might be better, for those that could not afford the new IFS Cruiser, or that liked to be able to work on their own engine as I do... As many many Bushies do not like the idea of the computer run systems they cannot work on... It is just a good feeling for some of us to know that we can change out injection pumps and things if we have to... I am just broadening possibilites and perspectives on alternatives for people..OK?

I have a current report written on five years of following the progress of LC and Ford with 100's of Owners, and owning them both myself for more than a few years, of all pros and cons, in all categories on road and off, comfort, safety, fuel economy, Driver Fatigue, Leverage, turning radius, a half dozen categories of all aspects... Would you like that as a Posting?

Kind Regards, stg a Bushtracker....

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Reply By: Kiwi1 - Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 23:32

Friday, Jun 24, 2005 at 23:32
Don't be shy ;-) ... let's see it.

I understand your point of view regarding the older Toyotas. Is the same true of the Fords, ie, is it also a good option to go for an old one (F100?) and add bits to give it more grunt while retaining serviceability in the bush?

(Note that I'm trying real hard to avoid suggesting that that you might have a hidden agenda here, Steven, like getting customers to spend less on the tow vehicle so they have a bigger budget for a BT. LOL)


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Follow Up By: Panna Trackers - Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 03:15

Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 03:15
A most unusual response.
Like all the posts on this forum we are all free to read into them what you will. But to suggest some sort of ulterior motive when everything that has been said makes very good sense is a bit unreasonable.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:49

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:49
The Old F-100 five stud wheel model was not approved to tow much in Australia... It was always the "town pickup" in the U.S. The Commercial vehicle started with the 8 stud wheel and Dana 60 - Dana 80 sized diffs of the F-250 and F-350. Not to say the F-100 could not do the job, but it would need some official Modification Plate approvals to do it..
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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 04:24

Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 04:24
Not sure, but I think Kiwi fella is just having a bit of fun with it, although what he suggests is a good idea anyway! Why spend heaps on the vehicle that depreciates relatively quickly compared to the van?
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Reply By: MattandLana - Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 20:58

Saturday, Jun 25, 2005 at 20:58
We have a 2004 100 series IFS TD. Only 30,000km at the moment so can't help on the longevity. My personal view on the electronics is that cars generally have undergone a quantum shift in the last decade or so, and have become dramatically more reliable without our really noticing.

Re the IFS failure: When ARB fitted our suspension upgrade they told us of a weak link in the suspension that needed a brace welded onto it, which Toyota have been denying is a weakness but which ARB had seen fail many times. It was a $50 fix or thereabouts, so we got them to weld the something onto the whatever it was (I paid very close attention as you can see!). Perhaps that is where the stories of the IFS failing have come from?

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:06

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:06
Hello, da Ranger here,
I do not have the answer on this one, so I qualify myself, but I will try and help with what I do know....

I am not an Authority on the IFS Suspension... I do not own one, preferring the tried and true standard Monobeam front end... But as a center hub of a thousand people that communicate with me, I have seen pictures of the failure...
It appears that something like only the shock mount retains that independent arm on the downside, and when it fails the drive assembly on that independent axle comes off.. So please get us some details from ARB on what they are talking about OK?

I have also heard of some sideways drift in steerage on gravel and such on big sweeping turns compensated by power on or power off on the turn. I am just not happy with Toyotas trend, this suspension, electronics, fancy 17-18" wheels you cannot get off-road tyres for, only passenger car tyres, five wheel changes in five years... My comments are not really against them, as they are still our Number One most common tow vehicle, just opening up the idea of alternatives as in my opinion they are no longer the "only game in town".... OK?

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Follow Up By:- Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:47

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 20:47
da Ranger

Could you please post the photos (or links) of suspension failures that you refer to?

To think we've been thumping over corrugations and wash outs in our Cruisers all these years not knowing that the front drive assembly could "come off"!
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Follow Up By: Bernie and Donna - Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 06:18

Thursday, Jun 30, 2005 at 06:18
I have been folowing the discussions on the IFS problems with the new Cruiser as I am trying to make a decision on whether to purchase a Toyota or take the plunge and buy the Ford. I have a 16ft Bushtracker and I do travel into the city. I have spoken to ARB and taken photo's of the $350 blot on modification that is being done to strengthen the lower wishbone assembly. (I can not post the photos as they are over the 50k limit).
This problem alone is the reason the decision has not already been made
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Reply By: Kiwi1 - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:42

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 07:42
Trevor -- no ulterior motive. My suggestion was entirely tongue-in-cheek and nothing more than good-natured ribbing. Stay calm.

Matt -- can you find out the details of what was welded and why?

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