Used GX Daily Driver + dirt road capability?


New member
Hey folks,
Im finally throwing in the towel to car payments and looking to get a pre-owned GX under $15K to serve as a daily driver + be able to go on dirt trails etc. Im not looking to upgrade this to "crawler status" but would like decent terrain capability.

In doing so, i have a couple questions for the group:
  • What years should I be looking at that have the best reliability?
  • Is there a specific mileage range that i should stay under when i buy it (ie what are the max miles the car should have at purchase)?
  • Any immediate maintenance issues is should be concerned with?
  • What upgrades / mods should i consider doing to achieve a nice daily driver and terrain capability?
  • What is the gas mileage i should expect? Im coming from a half-ton truck so im used to getting 20mpg hwy.
  • How many miles can I expect to get out of the car? 100K? 200K? Im pretty particular about maintenance so, no problem doing required maintenance etc.
Thanks all!


New member
Both generations are good, I can give you my take on the GX470 as I own one and up here is what you could get for 15k.
Issues to be aware of, but not intending to detract from the overall great vehicle. Mines a 2004 for reference.
Pin hole leak in the radiator. Hard to spot but leaves a pink crusty area.
There’s a seal that leaks on the transfer case shifter linkage. It was a recall but if not done it means removal and splitting the case. There are some work arounds for this too.
Air suspension, when it starts to go it gets expensive. Lots of people put in 4Runner coils at that point.

General info.
Tow package (lower hitch) if you intend to tow more then 5k lbs.
2006 and up has more power but requires premium fuel.
They’re pretty hard on breaks, but that depends on what you’re used too.
It has a timing belt.
They are pretty capable in stock form and like most mechanical things it will last a long time if you keep fixing it. I had great luck until I smashed it but then I’ve also had good luck with my dodge and VW (350k km and 400k km respectively) and they aren’t know for reliability lol.
Mine was stock with Michelin LtX tires and I averaged 16.682mpg. Mostly highway. As with any car your mileage will vary.
Barring rust issues or abuse I’d bet 300k miles before it becomes a serious maintenance pig, but at what point repairs/ maintenance become more costly then valued is only up to you.
I really enjoyed driving mine.


With that budget you will have some good options in the '05+ 470s; less so with the 460. I just picked up a stock '06 GX470 Sport (includes KDSS) with 148,000 miles for $13,500.


I have an '08 GX470 - I went further with upgrades than you'd want to given your note above. Inputs from me:

  1. Love it....
  2. 15 MPG is my running average, others are in the same ballpark.
  3. Timing Belt every 80K miles. You should have the transmission fluid replaced every ~70K miles or so ("lifetime" fluid is a misnomer) - that was a dealer job as it's a bit involved to get the correct amount back in.
  4. For the offroading you mention - don't bother with anything other than tires (no need for a lift). You'll probably never hit the vehicle's limits - it really is very capable.
  5. If you're up for it, suspension bushings are wear items which most ignore.
  6. The rear air bags in these go out - they're pricey to replace with OEM bags (check out a company called Arnott for great air bags at a fraction of the OEM price - the replacement effort itself is doable if you're comfortable with wrenching) - a lot of folks (myself included) simply swap out the entire setup for springs in the rear.
  7. I also replaced the radiator myself - was surprised it was as easy as it turned out to be - took me ~4 hours to do it and that's the only time I've done this.
  8. Oil changes are easy, grease zirks (6 of them) every time I do an oil/oil filter change.
  9. Love it....

I've only read - no personal experience - that the GX460 (newer) lacks some of the lower end torque of the GX470.

Last from me - if you're serious about looking for a GX470 - try to avoid ones optioned with the NAV units. The maps are terrible, just an old unit, and that interface then governs access to A/C, audio controls, etc. I prefer some old-school analog dials which is what I found. can register at the Lexus Owner's site (free) - once you create an account, enter as many VIN #'s as you want (as though it's your car) and you'll be able to see any outstanding recalls, ALL dealer-service records - great information to have alongside a Carfax report when shopping.

Good luck!!!

Damnit Walter

New member
I came from a 97 fzj80 and SAS'd 87 runner before that and ended up with a deal on an 04 GX. In terms of daily driving the GX is obviously way more comfortable and cruisable than the 80 and the runner. Now that im slightly older with a wife, mortgage and a child on the way the GX just fits the slower lifestyle better. Its still great for the 3x a year we go explore the local desert. Even if you find a nav model you can still purchase a Grom BT3 or V-Line for bluetooth. The bt3 works great for me. I found mine cheap with 180k and nasty chrome 22s. $200 spent on stockers fixed that, picked up some 285s, 2.5" dobinsons lift, rear coil conversion, ran my CB coax and it is exactly what i want; for now at least. I think if you find a well maintained one it wont really matter much what year you get. With all versions of the 2uz, the common word is reliable. Here are a couple shots of my 04 for reference.