Lexus GX 470: Icon Vehicle Dynamics Front Suspension Installation
Getting any vehicle, even a luxury SUV, up off the ground is crucial if you plan on actually exploring the unpaved world. As we noted in our story about why we’re building a GX 470, this SUV has better off-road chops in stock form than most would realize. But our goal is to take the GX 470 beyond stock performance, and the fact that it shares architecture with Toyota vehicles that have a lot of aftermarket support made this project a far less daunting task.
Since the Lexus GX 470 shares the same Prado 120 chassis as the Toyota 4Runner and FJ Cruiser, aftermarket suspension upgrades are plentiful. After sorting through the options, we decided upon a company right in our Southern California backyard, Icon Vehicle Dynamics. Icon produces suspension kits for trucks and SUVs for a wide variety of manufacturers. The company has worked with race teams in the desert racing and short-course off-road disciplines to test and fine-tune its products for performance and durability. After having been in a few vehicles equipped with their parts in recent years, we felt Icon was a great fit to upgrade the suspension performance on our GX 470.
A quick look at Icon’s website for GX 470 parts won’t yield any immediate results. Since the GX relies on the same chassis as the fourth-generation 4Runner (2003-09), almost all of the parts Icon offers for the 4Runner are compatible with the GX as well.
Since we’d be doing a big overhaul on the suspension, we opted for one of Icon’s complete suspension systems, specifically a Stage 7 kit. This kit not only will improve the performance of the GX’s suspension, but it also offers the ability to lift the vehicle up to 3.5 inches. The kit features an extended travel remote reservoir coilover front shock that offers height adjustability up to 3.5 inches. The bolt-on front coilover also features Icon’s CDCV, or Compression Damping Control Valve system, to allow the fine-tuning of the damping force with the simple turn of a dial on the remote reservoir. To accommodate the additional travel and larger 2.5-inch diameter coilover, the stock upper control arm is swapped out for Icon’s tubular uniball UCA that is not only stronger but can also accommodate the additional travel.
Out back, our Icon Stage 7 kit also includes a V.S. 2.5 Series Remote Reservoir Rear Shocks that’s also fitted with the CDCV system. One of the best features of the rear shocks is its built-in “bump zone” that Icon says is designed to increase the compression valving in the final two inches of compression travel to help reduce that bottom-out feeling in the backend and for overall improved performance. The kit also includes new billet aluminum upper and lower trailing arms. The stock GX 470 is fitted with an air suspension system for the rear, which works well even on vehicles with mild lifts, but we’d be deleting the system entirely due to the vehicle’s age and replacing it with coil springs instead. Since we’d be adding a MetalTech4x4 rear bumper down the line (which will house our spare tire), we opted for the stiffer 3” rear coils from Icon. We also picked up a Rear Coil Conversion kit from MetalTech4x4 (though we’ll cover all of this in our next story).
We decided to tackle the suspension upgrades in two steps: the front and the rear. The front suspension swap is where we started first, as this process upgrading the front IFS is relatively similar to other Toyota suspension upgrades we’ve performed in the past. The installation should take most garage mechanics about half a day, and all of the parts are bolt-on upgrades. All of the necessary hardware is included as well.
Icon Vehicle Dynamics
Metal Tech 4x4