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Towing with Automatic load leveling air suspension

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Old 09-08-17, 02:59 PM   #1
joindy
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Default Towing with Automatic load leveling air suspension

Does this rear leveling air suspension eliminate the need for a weight distribution hitch if you are towing less than 4000 lbs?
Does this type of suspension require expensive repair after say 80k miles?
I would like to buy a used GX and use for towing my trailer, but don't want to be faced with $1000 and over future costs just to maintain the air suspension.
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Old 09-08-17, 03:51 PM   #2
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I've never used a weight distributing hitch so I will defer that to someone else... most of my loads are in the 4-5K lb range.

There are lots of threads in the GX 470 forums on repairs over the years.... very few I have seen on 460's so far but as with age this will likely increase. One can hope Toyota/Lexus learned some from the 470 and improved on system. I just really don't find many issues with system on 460 yet so perhaps the hardware is better but still the weak link will be the bags at over 100K miles.

From what I gather the most common failure are the bags themselves and non-oem run around $100-$150/each.

Here is a guy replacing on a GX 470.


If you go with a dealer to repair... yes it will be very expensive.... if you attempt at home... I don't find the bag replacement that bad.

That being said... converting the bag system to standard suspension should be less than $1000. One could also add manually inflated bags if you needed them for towing.

If you want ultra low maintenance and plan to tow get a non-leveling model and add bags. I have bags on mine so at some point in my long ownership life I will likely have to service some component in it.

EDIT: I did some extra towing this weekend... another story..evac from a forest fire...but really like the auto load leveling. It was just 4K lbs back there but really couldn't feel like it was there.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:19 PM   #3
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If I understand the airbags, with the Lexus system you have air bags which are pressurized with an onboard pump, which operate automatically to pump up rear end if weight....trailer weight causes sagging. Can it also be operated manually or is only automatic? Is this part of the system which controls height, which you might use if going off road? The height control is obviously on all 4 corners...is the load leveling only on rear?
So with time.... you could have bag deteriorate, at which time you could go ahead and replace all four and hope you go another 100k miles. I guess you could also have the pump go out. Does not sound like it would cost over $1000 to have all replaced if you were planning to keep the car for many yrs...and to avoid breakdown when you are hundreds of miles from home towing travel trailer
If you don't have the factory Lexus system, and want to beef up rear because to towing, would you just install bags on back and then manually fill them when you plan to tow. If they were filled all the time, I assume your ride would be much stiffer, and you would probably deflate when not towing? I thought I saw pictures of airbags which go inside the spring...think it was on 4runner. Your pictures did not show spring, so must be separate.

Thanks again for the info...
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Old 09-08-17, 06:49 PM   #4
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That is correct... there is an air compressor in back for the rear bags. It does compensate for load and there are three manually adjustable positions one can set under 20MPH. The system then defaults to the middle position on the presets.

While all 4 shocks have adjustable valving for comfort... only the rear has bags that are adjustable for height unlike the LX.

Correct on installing bags on rear on non-bag model and manually filling. Yes.... bags inside the spring is likely the option you would go with and ride would be stiffer if bags were over inflated for load.

Non bag GX have springs.. you would add spring if you decided to retrofit a bag model.
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Old 09-08-17, 06:53 PM   #5
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Old 09-08-17, 07:08 PM   #6
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