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Lifted Rx300 With Big Tires


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lifted my wifes lexus rx300 with load leveling inserts from any auto parts store..... I also added 2 inch wheel spacers to put the bigger 255/65/16 all terrain tires on it.. spacer are a must or bigger tires will hit the rear strut towers.. I painted the old two tone grey area with a diamond back look with dolphins ghosted in... my wifes favorite animal.... tires were supposed to have white letters ... got to shop and none so I painted the tires and the wheels....lol. ik painted the tires????? well just completed and was very cloudy day so must excuse pics as they are not that good. its just a daily driver in the winter for my wife and to visit friends on the farm, just wanted to give it a face lift. o if u zoom in on wheel/tire pic u will c roses ghosted in also.











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  • 3 weeks later...

well only took it mudding 2 times and was very surprised how well it did, actually makes a good mudder . well didn't get stuck anyway and no mud tires .. lol ... we had it on some mild offroad adventures, it does very well with  ground clearance set up like it is now but will find your limit quickly if you combine steep grade with too much twist... I found once 1 wheel is off the ground the party is over, without a low range and no locking center or axle diffs. its not ever going to be a rock crawler, but does just great everywhere else and is simply awesome in the  snow and on the rural gravel roads around here,  I will try to add some better pics when I get a sunny day or next time we take it out for some fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Looks GREAT! I have a 2002 RX300. Just got the 2" spacers in. Ready to order the tires. Do you happen to know the exact part number for the coil spring inserts? The O'Reilly guys here in Hartwell, GA are having a tough time finding something that fits. do you have pictures or a video of the coil spring spacer installation?

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  • 6 months later...

I am so excited to have found this post!!! I am looking to buy a lexus Rx and do a lift! I want something classy and something that I can get dirty! I am a fan of lexus!! 

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  • 2 months later...

At our last "men's weekend", running my rehabbed 00' RX AWD through the narrow roads of the managed land area was a blast! It handles great on the dirt and gravel with the occasional puddle mixed in there. Hard to get the back end to step out unless doing a pendulum type turn at speed but completely stable through everything. Ridding 4 deep with no backup we were intentionally avoiding anything muddy because of the ecopia tires and no limited slip diffs but alas, we did eventually get stuck.

Day 2 we were running a 2 track through a field and all was good until halfway across we started to sink. I floored it and we made it through but the problem was the road then dead ended a 1/4 mile later and we had to turn around. On the way out we hit it at speed and got sideways a couple of times and the ruts messed us up. Right as we were getting out of it I was too hard on the gas and we lost traction on the rear put it in a ditch full of water. It was all a very well camouflaged booby trap, like quicksand but of grass covered mud.

Pictures in order as they appear. 1)Normal road coming in. 2)Road after being surprised and getting through the first time. 3)Road after turning around and getting through it the second time, notice the ditch of water we didn't see before getting to it. 4)RX in the ditch, front left past the hub in water. 5)Unstuck looking back after ditch surfing for ~100 feet with help until it popped back up on the road! 7)Back at camp. 6)Fixing tire damage, 3 plugs in 1 tread hole could have been gravel cut or a stick in the ditch and ready to go again.

Anyways, I have been joking with my wife about a small lift and putting AT tires on it since we got it. Since the trip my wife says it is MY RX now and she wants something else. Now that I also punctured the back 2 tires it is time for the lift and AT tires before our next "men's weekend" in March for my birthday. The 2" wheel spacers are easy but as has been mentioned above by another poster I can't find the leveling spacers. If you can please share any info on the ones you found that would be great! I would hate to have to have some custom machine work done since this is just a cheap fun project and not a serious project like my real 4x4 (78 IH Scout Traveller). 








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This is pretty much the only type of thing I can find for the lift. This one says approximately a 1" lift. Is this the type of spacer you used? I just replaced all my shocks and am not sure with either of my spring compressors that I can get it compressed enough to get a spacer like this in. I was thinking more of something that would move the entire strut down to maintain the spring ratio.


s-l1600.jpg And think these are the wheel spacers I am going with.


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  • 7 months later...

Hey All! Bumping this thread since I just completed this same thing on my '99 RX300 and I've got some pix for reference.

I bought it and use it as a cheap kid-hauling thing, but it's a quality vehicle and deserves more! I wanted to make it more off-road capable (since it's already a pretty decent AWD system) so I wanted to fit the tallest tires possible under there to give it some more ground clearance. (265/75/16 don't fit! 265/70/16 do!) (Cooper Discoverer ATP) *and* widen the track since it kinda has always felt like it needed it.IMG_20170802_193234.thumb.jpg.5d2d0509d7dad4318d26698b609541f6.jpgIMG_20170802_193716.thumb.jpg.34cfe80cf4b4a143964b13dc4560fa75.jpgIMG_20170802_193428.thumb.jpg.f0a2dd6eff072cd773b08880aaf912bc.jpg

I used (6) of these coil spacers- one in the front and two in the back: Superior model 18-1920 - Note that the thinner ones are too small and will not stay in- the coils are pretty far apart to begin with. (Similarly, it looks like those metal/rubber twist-in or bolt-on spacers wont work well either) I think I ended up with an actual 1.5" lift in the front and 2" in the rear.


For the wheel spacers, I ordered the exact ones referenced in the link to ebay. They're incredibly high quality and I got 2". The requirement for these is because the tires are already near the spring seats, and you can't go much taller. Even as it is now, that 2" isn't enough to allow taller tires than the ones I put on (they don't move the tire far enough out, and it will impact on the shoulder still) 245-width tires may be narrow enough to clear the spring seat with the 2" spacers, but I'm not sure.s-l1600.jpg.397e8dfd9448db78c069e55a6f726278.jpg

As it sits now it feels more planted because of the wider track (I noticed that with the stock tires as well, as I had to put them on before going to the tire place) (note that the coil spacers can be put in without removing the wheels) and it seems a little firmer of course but it feels great to me. With these tires it does rub on the left front, only when turning hard left, and only in one little spot. It's not something I would call major. Additionally, I originally had just 1 coil lifter in the back and none in the front, and took it on a test drive on the freeway to Oakland- it was rubbing here and there over severe bumps. After adding the additional ones, it doesn't rub anywhere (except for the mentioned left front when turning hard and slow) The tires stick out from the fenders only about 1", so I'm not going to worry about any flares. Note that there's probably no room at all for any chains on it with these tires.

Check out the much-cooler aggressive look (there's loads of these things around, and they're all bone-stock grocery-getter mom-vehicles so it stands out nicely and is very unique in that sense) and the super ground clearance! (the lowest thing is still that hanging muffler)



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Very Nice... I have been rocking mine with the 245/70R-16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 D tires. Since the last time I posted i finished my lift and wheel spacers. I am glad to see someone else has discovered how fun this little AWD can be with a little wider stance, stiffer springs and big tires. I have successfully run two more guy's weekend rally drives with it since getting it stuck which spurred this whole thing. As long as you are still a little careful about what you are doing it has made this vehicle 10x more capable especially if you can keep the RPMs above 3500 when the VVTi kicks in and aren't relying on low end torque. Going up two size tires on mine made the speedo read damn near perfect, i think it is only off 1mph by gps at 70-75.

The only disadvantages is that the tires I chose are really heavy and the next step up that would fit was like another 20 lbs a tire heavier. I was aiming for the biggest contact patch I could get and still fit without rubbing at all. They are absolutely incredible on grass, gravel, mud and sand but really suck on pavement especially if it is wet and you have to be very careful with water on the road at speed. It looks like your tire choice is much more road friendly and I almost went with the Grabber AT, DynaPro AT or the Road Ventures because of that but the BF G KO2 Look sick on there. Aside from the poor traction on the road the BFG AT ride really well and you almost don't notice hearing them  but it probably helps a lot that it is a Lexus...lol

If I was buying tires again I would see if I could go with only maybe a 1 size step up and see if I could get them to tuck inside the fender lips without rubbing. But as it stands I don't rub at all and unless we are out on the trails hitting the fender lip isn't an issue.

Moving forward with this thing I am considering trying to find stock Toyota springs that will fit to give me the 2" lift without the spacers or possibly adapting it to a coil over setup instead of the struts. The lower control arms on this thing are very beefy for stock and not that light crap you would see on a new car. So far this is probably why I am continually surprised how much abuse this thing takes without crumbling up like a ball.. built for longevity not mpg. The way I used my rubber spring helpers as a spring compression lift the rear has already sagged a little so I am looking at the spring/suspension upgrade or as a stop gap to design and have a 2" shock mount spacers machined.

I am considering doing this one of two ways. It would be easiest just to design and machine strut spacers to push the whole assembly down 2". The other option because I like the stiffer spring ratio is to machine spring perches that fit under or on top of the spring like I am doing with my current rubber compression lift.

I am working on front end protection as well. The trail/rally driving style i need a good lightweight skid plate that will protect the AC condensor/radiator and at least one more to protect the exhaust that hangs down below the uni-body rails. The lower part of the AC condesor you can see through the bottom of the front bumper has taken some abuse from tall grass, gravel and stuff splashing up into it. I bought one of those little plastic covers that goes down there so I can use it as a template. My fender liners in the front are also damaged and the passenger side actually got torn out which is not good since it provided a little bit of protection for the trans cooler. I have the new liners but really wondering if I should do something a little more like alluminum in a couple places. The skid guards are really more useful for making sure you don't get stuck in a ditch or at least make it a lot easier to recover so it doesn't get caught up when you are pulling it out. I am hoping to make a real bumper that would bolt to where the factory bumper support does and would go just in front of the bumper but haven't come up with a design that I could also use to mount the front of the skid plate to. The options that you can still find are only for looks not real protection and seeing how I have already hit a tree with it a little extra protection would be nice.

All things considered I am having a blast with it still and so far I have only gotten it stuck one time since modding it. Last time we were out I was running through a ditch of water and a small cut off tree stump came up and wedged under the engine/trans and lifted the front tires off the ground. The skid plate may have prevented it and for sure would have made recovery easier but I was pretty happy with the fact it wasn't because I buried it. I was also really happy with that though because I only got stuck the one time and ended up having to pull my buddy's Cherokee out of stuff I already gone through twice..lol

Other than that I have finished refreshing everything and bringing her back from the dead (and I mean everything from suspension and sensors to engine seals, water pump, timing belt and everything in between name it and it I have probably replaced or fixed it) she has just over 230k miles on her and is now screaming like new. Considering it wouldn't run when I got it I will definately be getting my money out of her in fun and the way I see it as long as I get my money out of the tires I am all good!




Scaled-Tires On.jpg


Scaled-Beach Lunch.jpg

Scaled-Front End.jpg

Scaled - Rear.jpg

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Here are a couple more pics of the parts and how I did mine. I cut the spring helpers to fit the spring plates as a spacer. There is also a pic of where I drilled and cut out the damaged bumper mount to replace it. That was from the tree hit it took the first time I had it out there and got it buried in the first pics in the post. I just took me a while to get around to do it after doing all the more important work so she was in top shape for trips 2 and three with her out there. In that pic you can also see how the AC Condensor has taken some damage from water/mud/trash and gravel flying up in there. There is also a special tool I made to extract a broken off Oil Control Valve for the Rear VVt-i actuator that was acting up. If anyone runs across this thread and needs the tool let me know, you will also need a slide hammer.

Scaled-Lift Space.jpg



Scaled-Spacer Install.jpg

Scaled-Bumper Mount.jpg


Scaled-Extract Tool.jpg

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Very cool! Yeah, I've owned it for about a year and have been very impressed with it as a simply great all-around vehicle (and I've owned over 200- UNIMOGs, racecars, buses, ///M, you name it)- I recall that Lexus was dire to not be seen as "really just a Toyota" here in the US, so all of their stuff (from this era at least) is quality and solid. I feel you on the weight-of-the-tires aspect- that was something I neglected to mention in my post. The vehicle is noticeably slower now, both due to the increased gearing and the weight of those tires. That's unfortunate but it wasn't exactly a speed demon to begin with, so I'll take it. (ECT permanently in Power mode!)

Oh, and nice knife- somehow I managed to "lose" two of those over the course of several months! Nowadays I carry a Milwaukee Utility Folder with a Lenox Gold blade... haven't lost one in years! ;) 

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Copy that on the ECT always being in power mode! Mine is still pretty damn peppy though even with the tires but I did fix or freshen up anything that might cause it to not run at peak. Part of that might be just railing the crap out of it to get to the power band everywhere i go though...lol  I also swapped everything over to synthetics after scraping the oil pan and flushing the engine 3 times. The tranny got a similar treatment and I am also running synthetic in it and hte front and rear differential, it made a slightly noticeable difference.

I am a little more worried about stopping this thing than going though. I have completely replaced the front brakes including the calipers but they feel under powered now. I don't know if it was the napa pads and rotor combo I put on there or if maybe I didn't get the fluid bled right. I have completely flushed and bled the brakes twice since but they still feel underpowered and overworked. So either I haven't found the problem yet or the pad rotor combo isn't quite as good as the originals or I need a brake upgrade because the tires. I am thinking it is just the pads and rotors because it was fine when I first put the tires on there before a caliper seized when changing just the pads Of coarse it doesn't matter if I have more brake power if the tires don't have enough traction on the road.

As far as the knife that was one of my favorites to carry but it is now at the bottom of the lake somewhere. That makes about 3 of them in the past 10 years or so lost to lakes. I do have GPS coords. on the one before this but just haven't taken that scuba class yet so I can use my metal detector to find it. I use the crap out of them so I still feel like I get my money out of them even if I loose one every once in a while.

Someone was talking about lifting a 330 on another thread/forum and everyone was bashing him.. apparently they haven't seen this thread. But like you said the early ones are really built well! I wonder if one of the 330 or 350 drive-trains would swap in if I blow this one up...lol


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  • 10 months later...

I just want to keep this thread alive so maybe more people can appreciate what these vehicles can be. The RX300 has had a few more mods and things tightened up since I last posted and is doing Great! 230k on the odometer now. I completed a full front engine seal job with new timing belt water pump tensioner and new lower timing cover (crank pulley wore holes through it the way it seals). New front CV shafts, New Lower Steering U-joint/shaft and a reman. steering rack.  New front subframe mounts all torqued back to spec. I was chasing a problem with the alignment wanting to go left after turning right and right after turning left. It was the lower steering shaft which was a lot easier to replace than dropping the steering rack and subframe.   Have now replaced both oil control valves which completes ALL important engine sensor/control replacements and made a noticeable difference in how it runs.

Now the good stuff. New slotted and drilled rotors in the front with EBC Yellowstuff pads and front braided-stainless lines! This is what it was missing! With the heavy rubber and towing my boat the Lexter feels like it would almost do a stoppie now if the rubber on the front would stick. K&N Filter because paying $20 for a stock air filter makes no sense when a $40 K&N and recharge kit will last the rest of its life. As an added benefit it actually does make a tiny difference in power when winding out the engine which is pretty much the only way I drive it. The engine is now running amazing and just now seems to be broken in.

My rubber spring lift has sagged just a tiny bit in the rear so considering designing some strut mount spacers and having them machined as a better permanent option.  It has been through some nasty mud but I still try to avoid anything I can get bogged down in. If you can keep the wheel speed up you can get through most of it but only if there is a bottom and you don't have one wheel break free. I have had luck applying the brakes and gas at the same time as psuedo limited slip but again not a lot of low end torque, it is not a mud truck!. Better traction on dirt and gravel than on the road.

 You can pick one up relatively cheap for what you get. I have had Scouts and Landcruisers. Right now this is more fun... and I still have heated seats! I literally have people checking it out all the time and regularly get complimented on it because if nothing else it is different.




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3 minutes ago, hewitttech said:


That is the Predator yelling when he rips the guy's spine out or in this case the steering column...

Edited by hewitttech
duplicate posted when trying to add a quote to picture
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Cool! I'm at ~220k with no big problems whatsoever outside of one of the O2 sensors needing replacement- Mobil-1 10-30 all its life.

Realizing I didn't answer your other question: "How is the grip on the road with those cooper tires?" -> Good in the dry, surprisingly slippery in the wet.

My rubber spring lift has sagged a little too, but not to the point that I'm going to do anything about it. Sadly I may be having to sell the vehicle due to family-space requirements- thinking GX or LX but we'll see. About once a month I get comments from people "That thing's awesome!" etc- wanting to know what I did to it- around here it's all jacked up domestic full-size pickups (agri-country) so it sticks out from the crowd :)

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Yeah, wet traction on my BFG KO2 tires suck also. They are OK on dry but awesome offroad on dirt and gravel as expected. I am also commenting on another thread someone was asking about a lift for a 350. The nay sayers don't get how awesome these vehicles are with just a few mods. It is mostly lifted, big wheel small tire 4x4s around here and they definitely stand out. It is one of those things that the stock ones look so dainty now and mine looks like it was meant to be that way.

If I don't do mod another RX after this one I have looked at the V6 Rav4 or crazy as this sounds a Highlander since they are still smaller than the 4 runner. I think it is the smaller size that makes it much more fun to zip around in than a big 4x4 but still have a lot of capability. I like some of the LX and GX but would feel bad if I put a hole in the door, hit a tree or dented a fender like I have in this one. But then again I haven't run across one in the right price range with the right problems either.

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Hey hewitttech thanks 4 keeping this thread going. Cool 2 c others doing this 2 thier Lexus, here is latest pic of our rx300 without the matching spare in roof rack basket, daughter is getting it soon as she is turning 16 so...... Going 2 do a rx330 next. 




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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't know if this is the right place for this. But here's my lifted RX330. 2.5" suspension lift, .5" strut spacers (not spring spacers) in front, 1" strut spacers in rear, 2012 sport highlander rear struts give me an extra 1.25" of lift and that much more tire clearance (can fit 265/65R17 tires), king spring lift springs front and back, 245/65r17 bfg K02's, full thule cargo basket with 6 rigid flood lights, and two light bars in the front all of which are connected to an auxiliary yellow top battery hidden in the back and controlled by Tacoma fog lamp switches in the front, topped off with Method Racing wheels, 8.5" wide with a 0mm offset.



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Welcome to the unofficial lifted RX Club! That is an AWESOME RX!  I would say this is a good place to post but we probably could start a new thread for all lifted RX.

I would have preferred to use strut spacers but couldn't find any at the time, can you share a little more about the strut spacers you used and where you found them? I still need a little bit more lift or slightly harder springs especially in the rear and always wondered if there was an easy swap with something like a highlander or 4runner. I always wanted to go shopping at a pull-a-part just to see what I could make work but honestly I don't think I have the back for that sort of work anymore.

Can you elaborate on what you found when you were looking or struts/springs that would work? It would be great to start building up how the travel/springs/heights compare. I think I have blew my right front strut and I think my wheels are just way to damn heavy for the stock struts. The 245/70R16 KO2s I have are 44lbs each and the next step down, the 235/70R16 are 36lbs!  8lbs is a lot so I am glad i didn't go with even bigger tires that would fit because the next sizes up are 48 and 50lbs each. I haven't played with my 300 much lately but I think a set of 1" strut lifts or one step back down in tire size is what I need to do next. I honestly haven't played with it much since I got a new toy (15' RC350 Fsport in Super Mica Blue) and Lexter now just stays hooked up to my boat and still does an excellent job with that at least once a week. 

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Hey! Yeah, I'm a Lexus mechanic but our dealership is small so we share our shop with Toyota. Just noticed that there was a ton of tire clearance on the highlanders, so when one of the guys brought one in and had the tires off I did some measurements and they all matched up! And the ABS wire mounts, sway bar link mounts and brake line mounts are in all the same places. I took the plunge and ordered two new struts and put them in! They ride a little firmer and seem to handle more of a load, which is what I need.

As for the spacers and springs I found them all on eBay. The springs are King Springs from Australia and the spacers are from Russia. 

I spent a lot of time trying different things to get the suspension set up right. I had it up to 3.5" of lift but the cv joints couldn't take the angle so I arrived at 2.5 as the max. They would give a really bad vibration.

I don't think tire weight will take out your struts, I may give you poor due mileage though!

Nice car! The RC350 are a really good little coupe! Can't say I've seen one here in Canada with that color!

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