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Old 12-21-2008, 10:50 AM   #1
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LEXUS LX-470 as TOW CAR

We have been looking at an 2002-04 LX-470, Lexus SUV as a TOWCAR and as a Dinghy Towed behind our SOB motorhome.. Currently we having been flat towing our '01 Disovery ( now designated "POS") (Too many repair shop visits, $$$$$$$$$$, and using Chevy Duramax tow the TradeWind. We are wanting one vehicle to do both. Anyone have any input? Or, how about a Toyota Land Cruiser (not the FJ) without the Hydraulic leveling suspension be better.
On the LX-470 for 2002, dealer/owners manual state towing a trailer weighing in more than 4,000 lbs, the hydraulic ram/shocks setting needs to be adjusted in the Low setting, instead of "normal or High". Guess the system is not able to raise the car much with a 5500 lbs Trade Wind attached. The LX is designed to drive in the lower suspension setting for the "rams/shocks, and letting the coils in the rear and and torsion bars up front do their thing.
It has a 4.7 V-8, so horsepower is good. The vehicle weighs 5480-5500 lbs, on the feed store scales. Per the owner's manual, GCVW should not exceed high limit of 12,400lbs. Combined LX-470 & TradeWind will top the scale at 11,000 lbs. We would have margin of 1400 lbs before being over 12,400 GCVW.
Lexus dealer said Lexus has just reintroduced their 6500lbs Class IV hitch, with a tongue weight rating of 650lbs. From hitch weigh aspect with Reese dual cam, we would be fine.
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Old 12-21-2008, 01:01 PM   #2
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Isn't every Lexus a dressed up Toyota for many more dollars? Is the LX-470 a 4Runner or a Land Cruiser or a Sequoia? It's probably a Land Cruiser to have the 4.7 V8 and weigh around 5,500 lbs. Wouldn't a Land Cruiser cost less for the same thing? Maybe not since I can't believe what Toyota gets for Land Cruisers. The 4.7 L. engine back in '02 was around 235-240 HP. depending on exhaust system. I believe the HP was raised to around 280 a couple of years later, but not sure when. I'm not so sure it would tow through the mountains without some strain on it. And, I think SUV's have less payload than the comparable pickup (Tundra?) which may be a problem.

I can understand wanting "one size fits all", but maybe it just can't work.

But it's a good idea to get rid of the Land Rover. You could replace it with a dependable Honda CRV or a Toyota RAV4 to bring with the MoHo, but you certainly don't want to tow a Tradewind with it.

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Old 12-21-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
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There have been a lot of threads about the LandCruiser as a tow vehicle. Here are two of them.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...icle-3906.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...dor-38886.html

As my avatar shows I own a 2007 LandCruiser and I am absolutely in love with it. There are plenty of people that think you can buy a far better truck for the price, but it depends on what you like in a car.

The LandCruiser is incredibly built (check out some of the testimonials on the links) and there are few off-road vehicles that can compare. As far as a tow vehicle, I think they tow great. What they lack in wheelbase they make up in drive ability and safety. They are a seriously overbuilt, specialized vehicle. It is a heavy truck, great frame, great brakes and handling. Last, but not least, if I owned a vintage trailer I would want a nice cushy, refined suspension like the LandCruiser. Inland Andy always talks about being over rigged with the heavy duty pick-up trucks.

I tow primarily with my Silverado mostly because I don't want the wear on the LC and the total Gross Weight allowance is a little tight when I load up the family, dogs and equipment.

If in doubt why did I find this pic on the Airstream website.
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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Thanks Gene,

Yes the LX-470 is just a gussied up Land Cruiser. Reason for wanting the LX, is there are a few more of them than Land Cruisers. Most of the LC I have found have been driven hard over 100,000's of miles. Used LX's seem have a few less miles, but owners have driven most of them around a lot, too.
Driving motivation is to make one vehicle to two jobs: the tow'er and the tow'ee. At 195 inches vs Rover Disco 185 inch inches long, the LX would be close in length behind the Coach (45ft) to satisfying some states combined length rule, like California's 65ft rule. There, being California, over 65ft combined length is a BIG issue. CHiPS will tape measure you if they suspect you're over 65, especially along I-10 between Blythe and Palm Springs.
A Tahoe is 208 inches long, so we wouldn't be any better off than with the Chevy shortbox 4X4 Duramax we have towed in the past. Its an awesome Tow vehicle, and it drags behind the coach great, we are just too long. That why we have the Land Rover Disco behind the coach, we are 65ft 1inch including towbar length. Our Trade Wind is too heavy for the Disco to pull. It has towed in the past, but that was dowing our Globe Trotter.
Rover now, seems to be going from one catestrophic engine repair to another. The head gasket, then the rear seal, throttle body gasket, and now the Timing Cover gasket. It's still leaking antifreeze, but we can't determine where, jsut we can smell it. The poor 4 liter gasket ridden Buick V-8 is exhausted at 106,000. Sure wish we could retro-fit a GM 350 in it econimically, problem solved. Or a TDI 5 cylinder diesel the rest of the world gets.
I often wonder how all these Land Rovers drive all over the world. Surely in the grassland of Africa, and the mountains of Asia, blowing engine gaskets, leaking antifreeze and oil wouldn't be tolerated. My feeling is, these Rovers thru out rest of the world are equipped with a more dependable Diesel engine. We get stuck with a gas version. That sucks!
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:56 PM   #5
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Last September we had a Lexus 470 pull into the camp site beside us. They came in sometime during the night and we didn't here a thing. That must be one quiet vehicle TV.

The Lexus was towing a late model 27/28' Airstream and they were using a Hensley. We had to leave that morning so I didn't have a chance to talk with the owners about how it towed.
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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Jim,

I have also wondered how Land Rovers, with their terrible reputation for reliability, go through remote parts of the planet. I was watching a program about a guy going to a national park in Lesotho in Africa over fairly bad roads. First the 4wd quit and he only had front wheel drive, then that died too. Even with front wheel drive, his traction on wet roads was pretty poor. The engine didn't die though. I think he was driving a Land Rover. And the roads weren't all that bad compared with mining and timber roads in Colorado—some mildly 4wd sections and mud, but I could have made it with a Subaru.

The Land Cruiser and its clone is a great vehicle, and I would be concerned with towing over the mountains and payload. You certainly appear to know what you're doing and I'm sure you will make the right choice.

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Old 12-21-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
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Hi Gene,
Good observation about us planning this out. We wili keep looking since yesterday's dealings at a local dealer for an LX470 didn't work out.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloradobus View Post
Rover now, seems to be going from one catestrophic engine repair to another. The head gasket, then the rear seal, throttle body gasket, and now the Timing Cover gasket. It's still leaking antifreeze, but we can't determine where, jsut we can smell it. The poor 4 liter gasket ridden Buick V-8 is exhausted at 106,000.
Lucky you. Our '95 Disco needed an engine at 60,000! My '67 LR broke down too, but you could fix them on the fly- I once made a new engine mount with piece of retread I found along the road.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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I have a 99 LX 470 and have towed my boat at about 7000lbs. many times and it is awesome. The car has 170K miles and still drives and tows great. It is all time 4 wheel drive and I never get any sway due to the front wheels driving...atleast that is why I think it tows so much better than my truck. I do have to be careful not to over load the hitch....I can easily change the weight in the boat with coolers to reduce hitch load so the suspension will stay in the middle height range. Then I have better handling also with the suspension in the regular range. That is the biggest difference between the Land Cruiser....no shocks on the Lexus....works awesome! Plenty of power up some really big hills around here! I say go for it!
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:41 AM   #10
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I had recently done a bunch of research on the use of a LX470 as both a tow vehicle and a toad (dinghy). It's not a great tow vehicle with the factory tow hitch due to low tow capacity and low tongue weight. Aftermarket options can increase this, or it sounds from your description that the factory has made better options available. Engine output at higher altitudes is not fantastic, but probably still better than your discovery.

As a toad, from what I have found, you can't tow it behind anything with any wheels down. It's full time AWD. It must be towed on a flatbed trailer.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:26 PM   #11
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As a toad, from what I have found, you can't tow it behind anything with any wheels down. It's full time AWD. It must be towed on a flatbed trailer.
I think Chris has a good point. So many vehicles come with automatics only now that I would think the same thing would be true unless you want to tow them backwards and tie the steering wheel straight which is probably impossible with the locks.

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:59 PM   #12
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I have 1996 and a 2000 Landcruisers, and use both to tow our 19' Bambi.

I think both are good vehicles for this size trailer, but for anything larger, I personally would want a larger vehicle.

I have installed superchargers, heavy duty springs & torsion bars (front on tbe 2000), Borla exhaust and a K&N air filter on both vehicles. These changes have made the LC a much more capable towing vehicle, and generally improved the driveability.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:43 PM   #13
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Thanks all,

The 6500 lbs Lexus hitch is a close out item to be discontinued. Checking at the local Chevy dealer, the new 2008-09 Tahoes have NO better towing capacity than the LX470/Land Cruiser. 6500 lb, (650 hitch dead weight)
Dinghy towing is OK, since there is a tranfer case neutral, and place the tranny in Park, and leave the key in the ignition after you have turn engine off to keep the steering wheel unlocked. Fore Runners and the '09 LX470-LC aren't towable because of a new drivetrain.
Many car companies say no towing, but there is no mechanical reason why the LX470/LC can't be towed. I even spoke with a Mercedes NA rep/ and speaking with our local dealer using their internal database, and since the G-500 G-wagon has MILITARY designed under pinnings, IT has a tranfer neutral, IT IS dinghy towable. Roadmaster is checking into the possiblilty of them making a base plate for it if we buy one.

So, we now need to find the best deal.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:12 AM   #14
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My main reason for starting this conversation was to quel any fears and problems the LX-470 Hydraulic leveling system may have from towing a trailer over 4000 lb. A Lexus tech said the car will be fine and let it to its thing for the suspension while driving. Having said all this, I would prefer a Land Cruiser with its rear coils and torsions up front, but there aren't many used ones out there that have reasonable mileage for the age.
Also, with the LX's engine having 235 hp, towing the 5500lb (loaded with everything imaginable) I know it won't be as snappy as the Duramax, but from what you all have posted, it won't be that bad.
Thanks
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