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Three Seasons with Lexy

Written by  Kande Jacobsen
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Adventure Driven GX-470 Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine

The vehicle we searched high and low for, to transform into an overland rig, was a 2007 Lexus GX 470 with KDSS and heated seats. We finally found it at a dealership in Scottsdale AZ. It was stock, had 109,000 and was in like new condition. We believe it had always been a commuter used solely on pavement. The undercarriage had not one scratch or ding; we were confident it had never even seen a gravel driveway, let alone a dirt road or trail. Luckily we were about to change that drastically. In my opinion we traded up: traded to a more capable vehicle than the hot rodded, lowered BMW sedan that got stuck in our flat concrete driveway in a quarter inch of snow the past winter. We left the BMW sitting at the dealership as we drove the Lexus away. Lexy, as we now affectionately call our GX 470, joined the Adventure Driven family in the spring of 2014.


The process of the transformation began the day after we got home from the dealership. Over the course of the next three months, day and night, my husband Seth was responsible for the build. All I had to do while assisting him was fetch parts and supplies in town, hand him tools, push, pull or hold things, give my opinion on the placement of buttons etc…and keep him fed. No blood sugar drops for those working on machinery allowed here.
In May, after attending the Overland Expo in Flagstaff AZ, we scheduled some overlanding trips for the summer and autumn. We took Lexy out on several northern AZ shakedowns to be certain everything was working properly and not squeaking. I don’t know about you, but we loathe squeaks. We did miles of rock infested washboard forest service roads at all speeds, rock crawling trails, mud trails, steep loose surface hill climbs and descents, sweeping high speed whooped out trails in the Cinder Hills OHV area and even a couple of jumps out in the desert.

Lexy performed flawlessly.

At this point, we knew Lexy was ready for the travel plans ahead. We started the summer off in June with our small group heading down the length of Baja MX. We camped on beaches, did some spear fishing, spent time in hammocks, ate delicious local fare in small villages, toured missions and did hundreds of miles of nearly deserted dirt roads and paths.
After Baja, we went back up for some high-flying fun in the southern AZ desert with friends. In July, it was up to the San Juan range of the Colorado Rockies for leading some of the trail runs at the FJ Summit. In the autumn, we took a few small groups to explore some outstanding and very remote areas at the Grand Canyon. As the trees changed, we enjoyed mountain trails through vividly colored aspen trees. In November, we went back down to southern Baja MX with my sister and her husband for a couple of weeks on the beach. They loved hearing about the Baja trip so much they wanted to experience it for themselves. We were more than happy to oblige.
We comfortably lived out of Lexy for over three months and traveled over 10,000 miles. Sometimes it was just Seth and me, other times with three to five passengers and very heavily loaded. In all cases, the performance was great. We just had to be more cautious and go much slower with Lexy heavily loaded.

This year Lexy, kitted as she was, made it possible for us and the people with us to travel comfortably for thousands of miles on and off road. We were extremely pleased with the choice of the Lexus GX 470 to be Adventure Driven's overlanding rig.
Are you are wondering what it took to transform Lexy into this very capable and comfortable overlanding rig?
Here is the build list and details for our Lexy.

2007 Lexus GX470 Sport, silver, 4.7 V-8 all wheel drive, KDSS, Navigation, heated seats, automatic 109,000 miles.

OVERLANDING GEAR
    •Howling Moon Stargazer/Eezi Awn 1600 3 series roof top tent.
    •Fox Wing awning and one extension wall.
    •K9 2.2m Roof Rack System by Equipt Outfitters
    •Synergy Manufacturing Hot water shower heat exchanger
    •20 Gallon fresh water tank in the stock spare tire location on an RV 12v pump with an extendable metal hose.
    •ARB snorkel
    •Three ARB Drawers, the top surfaces slide out.
    •ARB 12V air compressor
    •ARB 82 quart 12v refrigerator
    •Custom fold down cutting board and utensils installed on the rear gate for easy food prep and fridge loading.
    •Custom super special foodie's dream spice box.
    •Two Blue Sea power distribution blocks, one under the hood and one in the rear cargo area with 100 Amp circuit breakers.
    •Overland Solar 95 Watt solar panel with quick connector.
    •SunForce 30 amp solar panel controller.
    •5 gallon jerry can
    •Cobra CB
    •Black Berry Blue Tooth module
    •Ultra Gauge
    •Extra front, middle and back dual USB ports.
    •Trash-A-Roo, a great place outside the cab for our trash and other's litter we find along the way.
    •IBS dual battery controller
    •Twin Sears Die Hard Platinum batteries
    •A shovel, hatchet, multitool, and machete come in handy often.


KC LIGHTS
    •One 50” LED light bar, lights up the night so no elk, sasquatch or zombies can hide.
    •One 20” LED Light Bar.
    •Two 4” LED front bumper lights angled to illuminate the areas where we are turning.
    •Eight Cyclone LED rock lights; so boulders can't hide.
    •Four side facing LZR LED Cubes on the roof rack, great for finding the perfect camping spot at night.
    •Three LZR LED Cube reverse lights.
    •Two Cyclone LED's in rear kitchen/cargo area.


DRIVE TRAIN
    •All-wheel drive
    •ARB air lockers front and rear, we couldn’t do without them.
    •Nitro 4:56 gears get us up and over the roughest terrain.
    •Cross drilled slotted brake rotors
    •4.7 V-8  Automatic
    •Vented Diffs
    •High output alternator


RECOVERY GEAR
    •Come Up winch 9500 lb with synthetic rope
    •Come Up recovery bag, doubler, tree saver, strap
    •Come Up wireless remote winch controller
    •Factor 55 front winch hook and rear receiver
    •High lift jack and base for sand.
    •Maxtrax, these things have a lot of uses.


TIRES AND WHEELS
    •Cooper Discoverer ST MAXX 285/655R18
    •Fuel 18x9 wheels 


ARMOR
    •Budbuilt skid plates 4 piece kit.
    •Metal Tech sliders
    •Custom rear water tank skid plate


SUSPENSION
    •ICON Stage 6 suspension system with 2.5 remote reservoir shocks with CDC adjusters.
    •ICON Heavy Duty Expedition rear springs
    •ICON rear pneumatic bump stops


BUMPERS
    •Southern Style Speed front and rear bumpers with rear tire and jerry can carriers.

Would you like to enjoy experiences like this? Possibly, you would like a vehicle built for overlanding but, do not have the time or experience to do it?
Adventure Driven provides custom expedition experiences to the Grand Canyon and to Baja MX and also offers turn-key custom built Toyota and Lexus trucks and SUVs for those that like to adventure out on their own. To learn more about Adventure Driven, go to www.adventuredriven.com or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/adventuredriven

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