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Old 04-21-2020, 10:29 PM #1
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Cost of Ownership on Icon or BP-51

I have a GX460 which shares same part numbers as the 5th gen. Club Lexus isn't too active on the suspension info so I am posting here hoping for some advice. Believe me I have searched through many many threads before posting this, I didn't find any with the answers I am searching for.

I do most all on road commuting. I do go camping and other adventures throughout the summer months down service/fire roads and light off roading. Think high clearance areas but no rock climbing or big obstacles. I camp with a RTT and normal camping gear and 2-4 people in the car. I am looking for 2-2.5" of lift for the ground clearance and upgraded suspension for on and off road. A kit I can grow in to as I expand my exploring and not something I am going to grow out of a year or two later and end up replacing. I have a front runner roof rack that stays on year round. I have no plans to add any bumpers or additional weight besides possibly a swing out or rear tire carrier. I will be getting new wheels / tires once my current 255/70/18 KO2s wear out.

I have narrowed it down to the OME BP-51s or the Icon Stage 4 (to get the VS2.5 rears). I have called 3 local shops in Colorado and they all are around $850-1000 for the labor and alignment. One shop suggested Bilstein 6112/5160. This seems like I would be settling, while the ride quality is better than stock it is not going to be as good as the above. Plus no adjusting.

Icons have been my first choice since I started looking. Their maintenance is a worry. I have heard its as often as every 15k to rebuild them. One local shop seems like they can perform it in house so I don't have to send out, but at $150-200/shock the cost of ownership on them is huge. If I do have to get it sent out I am without a car while I wait.

OME seems to have a much better customer service history. 3yr warranty. remote res'. I have seen fewer "issues" threads on these but also don't have much details on how often they suggest to rebuild/service them. They are adjustable too for compression/rebound which I like for varying conditions.

if I am going to be spending $4000-5000 on a suspension I want to make the right decision for my needs and long term cost of owning them. if its going to cost $800/year to service them that might be too much
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:56 PM #2
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I’ve had Icon and King. Not sure what “stage” but short of a Long travel kit I had everything done. I never had to service them every 15k. Unless you’re out every weekend crawling I don’t see that as necessary. I think their info is bad but that’s just me.

Granted I live in a different state but both times I paid $400 for install of everything with alignment and was quite a lot less to service the shocks. That’s all 4 resi and full links in the rear. The lower control arms were more but that’s a lot more than a stage 4 kit. I’d be looking at a different shop unless your area is just completely over priced.


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Old 04-21-2020, 11:11 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftyguns21 View Post
.......

I do most all on road commuting. I do go camping and other adventures throughout the summer months down service/fire roads and light off roading. Think high clearance areas but no rock climbing or big obstacles. I camp with a RTT and normal camping gear and 2-4 people in the car. I am looking for 2-2.5" of lift for the ground clearance and upgraded suspension for on and off road. .....

I have called 3 local shops in Colorado and they all are around $850-1000 for the labor and alignment.

.....
Icons have been my first choice since I started looking. Their maintenance is a worry. I have heard its as often as every 15k to rebuild them.

...
I had Icon Stage 2 for 30K miles and no issues, rebuilds, or signs that it was needed. 10% on hard dirt/gravel/sandy off-road roads with some minor rocks; the rest of the mileage on city streets and freeways.

$550 installed plus another $100 for alignment and re-check alignment.

As far as I can tell, there is no "much better" package that is going to be maintenance free. Which sucks because I would buy it, but I can't find one.

YMMV.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:04 AM #4
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Originally Posted by leftyguns21 View Post

...

I do most all on road commuting. I do go camping and other adventures throughout the summer months down service/fire roads and light off roading. Think high clearance areas but no rock climbing or big obstacles. h
To be honest, it looks like you want to make a pricey mistake. If you do what you propose, you will never see the benefits of the offroad suspension.

First, there is no suspension on offer that will perform better for the described use than the suspension you have already from the factory. It is not the same at all as the 5th gen (which is also enough to get the job done but sucks).

Second, you cannot do anything beyond select moderate trails (not all moderate trails) while you have an approach angle of 21 degrees. I am as experienced as anyone offroading a vehicle with that kind of AA so trust me, save your 5,000. You will ALMOST ALWAYS run out of AA before you run out of undercarriage clearance. The balance are rare, awkward cases. The 1-2 degrees you will get out of a 2" lift won't make an appreciable difference either.

Third, an offroad suspension will ride worse on road than an adjustable OEM Lexus suspension. The aftermarket equivalent will not only be pricey (dual adjustments, etc) but also a lot more cumbersome to use and will require a lot more maintenance. In my experience, nothing limits outdoor trips more than hassle. The less the hassle, the more the trips. Not to mention, aftermarket suspensions are often noisy, depending on which suspensions and what exactly setups.

Fourth, you can never grow out of shocks in the mountains of CO. You can crawl on whatever. As for the desert, no matter how stiff your suspension, you will always be cutting it close with the front bumper when you misjudge something. And a front bumper at 21-23 degrees AA will be destroyed the first time you make a mistake.

Lastly, I think that if you are serious about offroading, you need to be able to do the suspension yourself. And I used to be the guy who never took a wheel off a car (before I started offroading).

In short, you have a super nice vehicle as is. You can make a beast out of it, but you will have to start with the front bumper.

Good luck and happy camping!
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:42 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAST4R View Post
To be honest, it looks like you want to make a pricey mistake. If you do what you propose, you will never see the benefits of the offroad suspension.

First, there is no suspension on offer that will perform better for the described use than the suspension you have already from the factory. It is not the same at all as the 5th gen (which is also enough to get the job done but sucks).

Second, you cannot do anything beyond select moderate trails (not all moderate trails) while you have an approach angle of 21 degrees. I am as experienced as anyone offroading a vehicle with that kind of AA so trust me, save your 5,000. You will ALMOST ALWAYS run out of AA before you run out of undercarriage clearance. The balance are rare, awkward cases. The 1-2 degrees you will get out of a 2" lift won't make an appreciable difference either.

Third, an offroad suspension will ride worse on road than an adjustable OEM Lexus suspension. The aftermarket equivalent will not only be pricey (dual adjustments, etc) but also a lot more cumbersome to use and will require a lot more maintenance. In my experience, nothing limits outdoor trips more than hassle. The less the hassle, the more the trips. Not to mention, aftermarket suspensions are often noisy, depending on which suspensions and what exactly setups.

Fourth, you can never grow out of shocks in the mountains of CO. You can crawl on whatever. As for the desert, no matter how stiff your suspension, you will always be cutting it close with the front bumper when you misjudge something. And a front bumper at 21-23 degrees AA will be destroyed the first time you make a mistake.

Lastly, I think that if you are serious about offroading, you need to be able to do the suspension yourself. And I used to be the guy who never took a wheel off a car (before I started offroading).

In short, you have a super nice vehicle as is. You can make a beast out of it, but you will have to start with the front bumper.

Good luck and happy camping!
Agreed^

I was originally considering a set of custom valved 2.5 shocks like Radflo or King but ended up splitting that budget and getting a set of Dobinsons +UCAs and a front bumper. Had some leftovers for larger tires too! Do the Dobinsons ride as smooth as the King/Radflos? Not sure but they have worked for everything I have taken them on! Also don't really have to maintain them in any way or grease the UCAs so that's a nice bonus though I hear the maintenance intervals for King/Radflo maybe longer than they advertise.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:29 PM #6
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Originally Posted by MAST4R View Post
To be honest, it looks like you want to make a pricey mistake. If you do what you propose, you will never see the benefits of the offroad suspension.

First, there is no suspension on offer that will perform better for the described use than the suspension you have already from the factory. It is not the same at all as the 5th gen (which is also enough to get the job done but sucks).

Second, you cannot do anything beyond select moderate trails (not all moderate trails) while you have an approach angle of 21 degrees. I am as experienced as anyone offroading a vehicle with that kind of AA so trust me, save your 5,000. You will ALMOST ALWAYS run out of AA before you run out of undercarriage clearance. The balance are rare, awkward cases. The 1-2 degrees you will get out of a 2" lift won't make an appreciable difference either.

Third, an offroad suspension will ride worse on road than an adjustable OEM Lexus suspension. The aftermarket equivalent will not only be pricey (dual adjustments, etc) but also a lot more cumbersome to use and will require a lot more maintenance. In my experience, nothing limits outdoor trips more than hassle. The less the hassle, the more the trips. Not to mention, aftermarket suspensions are often noisy, depending on which suspensions and what exactly setups.

Fourth, you can never grow out of shocks in the mountains of CO. You can crawl on whatever. As for the desert, no matter how stiff your suspension, you will always be cutting it close with the front bumper when you misjudge something. And a front bumper at 21-23 degrees AA will be destroyed the first time you make a mistake.

Lastly, I think that if you are serious about offroading, you need to be able to do the suspension yourself. And I used to be the guy who never took a wheel off a car (before I started offroading).

In short, you have a super nice vehicle as is. You can make a beast out of it, but you will have to start with the front bumper.

Good luck and happy camping!
I appreciate the advice. All good points.
I have the base model GX, I purposely chose not to get the air suspension knowing this was coming. the stock KDSS is fine for on-road but as soon as I leave the pavement I am ready to ditch it.

I am aware of the big bumpers and angles, the type of roads I go on this is not a real huge concern. I thought back to all of the roads I did in my previous car which was a 4th gen 4R with OME 3" and 33" tires. I have already done some of those same roads in this car and the ones I haven't done yet I wont have any issues with the approach angle only the clearance. These are the kind of roads I do:

Cost of Ownership on Icon or BP-51

Cost of Ownership on Icon or BP-51

I have the ability to do the work myself. I am mechanical and have done many other changes to this and my 4R myself. Its not a matter of if I am able to, more of a CYA. The labor costs are high, but piece of mind of the install and warranty. If I ran in to a roadblock doing it myself I would be in a bind figuring it out. The cost I am more interested in is the cost I will have to service the Icons or the BP-51.

I spent more time today reading about other peoples reviews on other suspensions for the GX and it still keeps me wanting to go this route, once I understand the extra costs
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:31 PM #7
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Agreed^

I was originally considering a set of custom valved 2.5 shocks like Radflo or King but ended up splitting that budget and getting a set of Dobinsons +UCAs and a front bumper. Had some leftovers for larger tires too! Do the Dobinsons ride as smooth as the King/Radflos? Not sure but they have worked for everything I have taken them on! Also don't really have to maintain them in any way or grease the UCAs so that's a nice bonus though I hear the maintenance intervals for King/Radflo maybe longer than they advertise.
Dobinsons have come up a bit in my search, and seem like a good alternative. I have read lots of good things about this setup. how is it on-road going over bumps or pot holes? or corrugated roads if you have done those in it
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Old 04-23-2020, 12:21 AM #8
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Originally Posted by leftyguns21 View Post
... I purposely chose not to get the air suspension knowing this was coming. the stock KDSS is fine for on-road but as soon as I leave the pavement I am ready to ditch it.

I spent more time today reading about other peoples reviews on other suspensions for the GX and it still keeps me wanting to go this route, once I understand the extra costs
Oh, ok, so now I get it; if you do not have the ability to lift the rear, you can indeed get a bit low when heavily loaded for camping.

I am not a fan of spacers, but small spacers should not cause issues while preserving the rest. My Moab friend with GX 470 has been running 1.5" front lift from spacers without issues for a while now. He drove Elephant Hill and Sevenmile and other trails fully stock but he does have the ability to lift the rear a bit. Since then he has driven a bunch more with the spacers. Still original front suspension, over 200k now.

I would maybe try 1" all around lift from spacers for practically no money with DIY install. My concern with small spacers on GX would not be offroad but on road; I have no idea how it would corner or handle with spacers all around. My friend's GX drives just fine with the front spacers.

As for the maintenance cost of the ICON and BP51, I have read great things and awful things about both. You will be replacing spherical bearings (if that's what they use) annually from what I know. You may have noises you do not like. Other than that, you could last anywhere between 15k and 40k on rebuilds from what I have read. I am not concerned since only my rears are in that boat. But rebuilding the fronts with any regularity would be quite the hassle for me.

The cost of rebuilding varies greatly from shop to shop, is another thing I have found while reading around. For ICON in CO they list this:
303 Shocks | (303) 900-8306 so maybe call them. I would not expect that one to be the cheapest but I guess you want good work over cheap work.

ICON, being regional, would be my preference from a maintenance stand point. OZ parts are easily available. Until they are not. That was a concern of mine when I took a very hard look at the Dobs MRR. OTOH, I am pretty sure that you will have a very different ride on road if you move on to Icon: very sporty, but not plush. BP51 is supposed to be more sophisticated due to the bypasses. What spring rate does BP51 use? If it is 600lb plus the bypasses maybe that is the ticket from a comfort standpoint with good enough handling.

To sum up, I would try small spacers first and if that does not work I would look into Icon for offroad performance and ease of maintenance OR BP51 for pavement and better match to intended offroad use. I don't know that a perfect solution exists for your needs which is why I am skeptical of ditching the OEM suspension.
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Old 04-23-2020, 12:32 AM #9
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why not look at the new dobinson offerings?

they use standard rubber bushings as well instead of spherical bearings (which are part of the main cause for the rebuild windows on fox/king/icon/etc)
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:00 AM #10
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Dobinsons have come up a bit in my search, and seem like a good alternative. I have read lots of good things about this setup. how is it on-road going over bumps or pot holes? or corrugated roads if you have done those in it
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why not look at the new dobinson offerings?

they use standard rubber bushings as well instead of spherical bearings (which are part of the main cause for the rebuild windows on fox/king/icon/etc)
This is part of what got me to step up to the IMS from the standard Dobinsons route (also the pricing is nice and Dobinsons had a great promo when I ordered) - granted with the quarantine going on I haven't had a chance to push it too much (about 10 miles on Mt. Herman Rd) but in that time I was impressed! The on road ride has become quite nice (firmer than factory, but not harsh in any way). There is ZERO noise difference compared to stock, I'm hopeful with the OEM style bushings there is no need to rebuild for a long time (I put on 25-30K a year).

I also have KDSS, and the install was actually pretty easy! If you're not in a big rush you can hop in my rig sometime (I'm in C Springs/Monument and work just off 470/25) once I'm working back in the office or if you're ever in this area.

To answer your question about on-road behavior, compared to the stock 4Runner TRD Offroad suspension, it eats up potholes and bumps. It's not gliding across stuff like your grandmas Buick, but it's quite comfortable and not jarring compared to the OEM setup. Washboard gravel roads are great, no vibration in the steering wheel and I just want to drive faster.

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Old 04-23-2020, 09:40 AM #11
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Both of those selections are way overkill for your application like others have mentioned. You won't see any true benefit for what you're doing with external reservoir 2.5 shocks. I think an OME monotube setup would fit the bill better imho.

Having said that, my ICON CDCV suspension has about 30,000 miles and two years under it and I have not had to rebuild any of the shocks yet. A significant number of those miles have been off road in harsh conditions. My rig is also extremely heavy which tends to make things work a little harder and wear out quicker. Will I have to rebuild these things? Yes, but Im pretty confident I can get another 10,000-15,000 miles out of them before that.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:49 AM #12
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Your use case seems like prime territory for Bilstein 6112/5160. You’re not building a pre-runner to jump with Team Hoonigan.

I agree with the other guys that it’s unlikely you see meaningful ROI from the King/Icon based on your described use, but I have 0 experience with King/Icon personally so take it for what it’s worth. Plenty of threads out there from people with Kings installed talking about ride harshness, and others critiquing the off the shelf tuning of the OEM+ Kings.

IMO, You’re either ballin/capable enough to handle occasionally servicing your suspension or not. You know the answer to that, not this forum.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:46 AM #13
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Unless you're doing the labor yourself, the cost of ****ing around and rebuilding a shock is about the same as just pulling it and throwing in a new one.

Lifespan of these things is anywhere between 40 and 70k miles.

YMMV.
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Old 04-23-2020, 04:09 PM #14
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@Wolfman’s Brother that was funny, team hoonigan. I have looked at the 6112/5160 set up and read reviews from other GX owners. The ones I found say the kit is too soft. A few removed it quick style and this is a situation I want to avoid

@Xtremluck I agree 100% this is overkill for my current driving. I am trying to plan for future driving and grow in to. I would like to explore more and not limit myself. I am basically wanting to prevent underkill (if that is a phrase) just to redo it a year or two down the road. I appreciate the info too on yours lasting so long. That is comforting to hear. something I am more comfortable with maintaining every 2-3 years, its the once a year I am not

@Sundy I was poking around on Dobinsons site, you have the 1.5" to 3.5" IMS Lift Kit? Those on and off road behaviors are what I am searching for. Is this more of their 'next level' up?

I had the OME kit before and I liked it. What I want on this vehicle is a firmer on-road with less roll and nose dive. That also handles the crappy road conditions we have here. Off road service/fire roads to be able to 'glide' and not need to go 10mph to prevent the car rattling apart.

I read through the 3 different shop quotes and they are all charging in the $115-120/hour range for 7+ hours of labor. that is ridiculous, any mechanic should be able to do this in 4 hours. it is not a complicated install that requires a 4x4 shop so I walked down to les schwab near my house. he has same hourly rate except they said they can do it in 4-5 hours. I also have a much lower sales tax rate than other parts of the state. The issue is they will not install customer owned parts so he is checking with their distributor on the cost for the kits. they do OMEs a but have not done Icon suspensions. I doubt they could even do Dobinsons or have a way to order it.
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Old 04-23-2020, 04:19 PM #15
Sundy Sundy is offline
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Sundy will become famous soon enough
Sundy Sundy is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Monument, CO
Posts: 133
Real Name: Ryan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftyguns21 View Post
@Sundy I was poking around on Dobinsons site, you have the 1.5" to 3.5" IMS Lift Kit? Those on and off road behaviors are what I am searching for. Is this more of their 'next level' up?
Yup, the Dobinsons IMS. I have the standard length travel as I went with C302's (2.5" up front) and 2.0" in the rear with the comfort shocks. The extended travel and KDSS supposedly don't cooperate well, unless you get the new extension brackets. Overall I'm very pleased with the setup, they are very similar to the MRR's, except they do not have the adjust-ability or the external reservoirs (that would've been an extra $900). Price point was great for a rebuild-able internal reservoir shock. I installed in around 6 hours in my apartment garage, including breaks to confirm torque specs and answer some work calls.

I did just drive the I-25 gap project yesterday and the handling was much better lifted on 33's than it was on the factory setup. As I mentioned before, it is firm but comfortable, nose dive is gone and body roll is reduced. I'm hoping to get out this weekend with @RedRunner_87 but need to see how work stuff goes - I've got a few big deadlines in the next week, so I'll keep you posted.

Last edited by Sundy; 04-23-2020 at 04:23 PM.
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