Lifted Rx300 With Big Tires

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I love seeing this thread continue. I still think about my lifted 00' RX every time I see one on the road because I had so much damn fun with it. One thing I would recommend for everyone using a spacer lift on a stock setup is to add bump stops to prevent bottoming the shock out. I damaged two sets of front shocks in a year on mine before I figured that one out. Or just be careful and don't hit stuff too hard but what fun is that...And also you definitely need the camber bolts. Mine was at the limit of adjustment with the lift I did.

Here is my current build just to have a picture in my post, 05 Gx470. It is way way more capable but it is heavy and I miss being able to really "rally" it like I was doing in the RX.



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I posted this over in Golden Wombats thread on best off-road ...

Off-roading an RX seems to be a polarizing subject among Lexus owners?  I made my living doing erosion and trail condition surveys for CA State Parks/OHMVR Div (the off-road side).  I have literally driven thousands of miles of trails in a stock Ford Ranger 4x4 Pick-up and my own personal 88 Big Bronco (both had Lo-range and Posi, no lifts).  The company truck ran street tires.  My Bronco ran BFG A/T's.  Very, very seldom got stuck.  But you gotta use your head ...

The reason I'm on the Lexus forum is that the old Bronco is long in the tooth (230K - original 5.0 engine and AOD tranny), and now that I'm old enough to draw SS and a pension, I am selling the Bronco, and will buy a 2008~9 RX 350. I really want the comfort of a luxury cross-over.  As far as I can tell, the RX will do just fine.

I have been doing a ton of research on what will actually work off road, and be very pleasant on the street?  So many cross-overs have this deficiency or that ...  I won't be doing any black diamond trails (toughest rating), or rock crawl events. But I will be going to the SoCal deserts to finish off a book my Mom started about WW-II training areas and such. That means routes more difficult than gravel/dirt roads.  It means sandy washes and scree slopes.  I know the routes, but I want to get there (photo locations) in comfort. It's a 1,400 mile round trip, before I go on the dirt.

Yes, I could buy a toy like a built CJ-5.  But I also want to travel and pull my boat (16' outboard) out of state.  So comfort is top of the list. Now seeing the crazy Russians in mud and snow, and yah-who kids with older RX's crawling Utah and blasting mud, I'm convinced that the RX is the best of both worlds.

The plan is to have two sets of wheels/tires.  A bit more rugged for known trips involving off road scenarios.  And a set for daily driving and on road trip taking.  So recommendations gladly accepted? 

I'm thinking factory 17x8 alloys and maybe +1 size for daily driver scenarios.  For off road trip set-up I need  more info/ideas/recommendations ??

I don't mind dropping a few $ on wheels, but I don't want something that will look out of place.  So maybe 17x8 alloys with some positive offset to move the tire outboard a bit, and a larger/fatter tire ??

Then I had another thought (duh) ...  Can you fit 16" rims to a 2009 RX 350 ??  Will they clear the brakes all the way around?  

The reason I asked is because that would give you more sidewall to play with w/o getting into the rear strut assembly.  I'm now thinking 16" aftermarket rims with 70 series tires for the off-road combo ...


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OK, more info.  Looked on RockAuto's web site and compared brake rotors between 3.5 Camry and RX 350.  11" rotor on Camry, 12.5" rotor on Lexus.  So 17" is minimum wheel size.  All 16"ers are out ...

Now, what's the biggest 17 tire that will fit stock suspension ???  And since my preferred vintage is 2009, the limiting factor is clearance around rear strut assembly.

But, we can play games with wheels to get a bit more positive off-set.  RAV4 wheels have 45mm off-set, so they move out a bit and can more easily handle a wider section tire.  Same hub center and lug bolt pattern. 

There are decent used steel wheels available for the RAV4 in 17" & 7" width that would be ideal for work on desert roads and trails where you have to worry about rocks cracking the bead of an alloy wheel.  They'll just bend a steel wheel slightly, but you'll keep your air and get home ...

So far, tire choice is:  Cordovan Wild Trail Touring Cuv - 235x65r17   $81 and free shipping on eBay.

"Excellent value, quality and performance for Crossovers, SUVs and Light Trucks. The Wild Trail Touring CUV provides a smooth, comfortable ride,all-season traction performance and superior durability " all packaged in a stylish design that promotes even wear, enhanced steering stability and handling responsiveness."

  • Product Specifications
  • Tire Size: 235x65R17
  • Part#: CO-WTX82
  • Serv Desc:108 H
  • UTQG: 480AA
  • Sidewall: BW
  • Treadlife Warranty: miles
  • Max Load: 2,205 lbs
  • Inflation Pressure: 2,205 psi
  • Tire Size: 10/32
  • Tire Weight: 34 lbs
  • Rim Width Range: 7"
  • Sect. Width: 9"
  • Overall Diameter: 29"
  • Features & Benefits
  • All-season, on-highway performance at an economical price
  • Five-rib tread design for a quiet, comfortable ride
  • Wide circumferential channel design delivers excellent wet-road performance
  • Progressive size lineup covers many popular SUV, CUV and Minivan fitments

In the desert you want cheap strong tires.  Rocks are your worst enemy.  Goodyear Wranglers will last about a day ... These tires are only 1/2" taller than OEM and the added offset of the RAV4 wheel ought to make it clear the struts on the inside ...  Anyone try this combo ??


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OK, more info.  Apparently the Toyota Highlander was available in Russia in the same model years as the RX 350 with a Torsen posi-trac rear differential.  There are lots of used ones for sale on Russian dismantlers web sites.

The Toyota part number for a complete rear diff carrier assembly is 41110-21071.  If you enter this with the word Torsen you'll get a slug of images of the diff on display and for sale.

So what is the differential center section P/N from Toyota with the Torsen set-up ??


Lexus & Highlander Torsen Diff-b.jpg

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Well, the center diff is actually built into and is part of the transmission... The transfer case that you can see underneath is only a ring and pinion gear, the ring being splined onto the transmission output. So all of the power splitting is being done inside the transmission

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Thanks, but I was referring to the rear diff.  I want to install a Torsen center section in the rear diff 😈

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You will likely not be able to find a part number unless you are browsing in that region. If you can get on a russian version of something like toyotapartsdeal and look at the parts breakdowns that would be the easiest. The US has the 'right to repair' laws which is why I can have a professional subscription to Toyota TIS and other Toyota in other regions may not have things like those breakdowns available. You might also be able to reach out to a business like partsouq and see if they can help source it for you. I buy the occasional new Toyota/Lexus part from them that are hard to find or more expensive than they should be in the US. The partsouq on Ebay ships from the UAE which I think is in the same Toyota region you are looking for. It couldn't hurt to reach out to them for help. Another option may be a limited slip out of an early 99-03' or whatever the last year was it was an option before they added electronic traction control and no longer offered the limited slip. I had one tracked down but $300 was more than I was willing to spend on it.

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Thanks for the tips.  I will reach out.  I have an inquiry to Australia to see if the option was available there. 

If the guts of the 99~00 diff will fit the Gen II carrier, I might go that route ?  I don't mind building a diff on the bench from a salvage carrier assembly, then swapping when it's in for service ...

I don't know anyone who speaks/reads Russian to help find the parts and arrange the shipping.  I might look around at the JC or somewhere for a Russian language person ...

I'll check out PartsouQ and see if they can help 🙂

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As far as tires go on stock rims, I'm thinking 235/R65x17 which are 29" tall (0.5 over stock), or 255/R60x17 which are also 29" tall, but have almost a full inch more thread width 😄

I've been thinking wheels all wrong.  Double checked "positive offset" and that moves the wheel hub out away from the the rim center line.  Backwards of what we want to get tire clearance. We want the rim to move out away from the hub and suspension.  So we need to reduce positive offset ...

So now thinking wheels with maybe 25mm positive offset to move the rim out w/o spacers ... 

Or stock wheels (35mm positive offset) and 1" spacers so you end up at 10mm positive overall 🙂

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OK, more Posi Diff info (from a Rav4 forum):

This is what I found on toyodiy:

41110 carrier assy, differential, rear
41110-42011 final gear ratio=41:14=2.928 (open) 1 € 2,110.35
41110-42031 final gear ratio=41:14=2.928, w(lsd) 1 € 3,461.99

41309a shaft sub-assy, rear differential side gear
41309-32020 2 € 120.94
41309-42010 w(lsd) 2 € 178.48

41334d ring, shaft snap (for rear differential side gear shaft)
90520-22012 2 € 2.37
90521-28004 w(lsd) 2 € 0.99

As far as I can see, these three parts are the only ones that differ between the open differential and the LSD. The pictures posted by toyodiy don't show any visual difference.  On another forum, one member claimed that recently (2010, February) he was quoted by Toyota "only" 2500 pounds in order to have an LSD fitted.

So I went over to Concelli Toyota parts and looked it up:

  • SKU: 41110-42031   (But listed as discontinued)
  • Other Names: Carrier, Carrier Assembly Differ
  • Description:4 wheel drive, with limited slip. 4wd, with limited slip. RAV4. From 4/96.
  • Replaces: 41110-42030  (But listed as discontinued)

Not conclusive, but RX's use the 41110 Carrier Assembly too ...

So I jumped over to Highlander first year (USA 2001) and started to look at rear diffs. Came up with this:

  • SKU: 41301-48020
  • Other Names: Case Sub-Assembly Diffe

Which confirms the Unicorn part numbers - Yeah It's also still available as a Toyota part in the system. This is the Torsen center section that Toyota calls the differential vs the whole rear carrier which we might typically call the differential in used parts speak.

But as shown in the RAV4 comments above - it does require side gears (spider gears) and snap rings. But I think it can still be built with OEM parts - yeah !!

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On 1/20/2019 at 6:15 PM, mnewxcv said:

I'm not a frequent poster here but I do get email notifications of this thread so I'm checking back. I painted my wheels a few weeks ago. Tires are Cooper AT3 4S 235/65/17




Love this thread.. I have a 2008 RX350 and looking to put the same Cooper AT3 4S 235/65/17 tires on without adding a lift or spacers. How has this setup worked out for you? 

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Did this to my 99 Lexus been eyeing this forum for a while I was about to do the spring spacer but ehh I went with the strut spacers from Russia. I chose to go  with after market wheels did the 0 offset just so I wouldn’t rub. My tires specs are 235/70r16 Bfg km3’s. My wheels are methods 16/8.5 replaced the front control arms tie rods and sway bar end links in the process and all the the struts are new too. 





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That’s a great look! And the tires look big for their size. Mine are 235 at’s and don’t look so beefy at all. 

Which Russian spacers did you go with? 20, 30 or 40 mm?

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