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New QX4 in SoCal

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Hello everyone,

I recently acquired a 1998 QX4 that has been in my wife's family since new.  I sold our beautiful low mileage Lexus RX350 to my brother-in-law.  He came over to pick up pink slip and proceeded to hand me pink slip to his QX4 with 173K miles.  It has just been sitting for a while, and I always thought it was cool, and he knows I like wrenching on old cars.  I have a few 20 plus year old cars and about finished restoring an old 74 BMW.  I must belong to about 5 car forums, and they're just invaluable and enjoy those with same passion.  


The QX4 is a true 30 footer, but up close its a bit tired.  Both CV joint boots are shot, going to need brakes, steering rack toast, rear bumper took a hit and never fixed (salvage title), valve covers leaking oil, lift gate is jammed shut, window struts gone, evidence of sunroof leak, radiator expansion tank is cracked, interior is worn out and spoiler cracked.   


The good, California dry underneath, looks like most of the rear suspension and front control arms have been replaced, electrics seem to work fine, newer 255/65/16 tires, engine runs strong, body is pretty straight and just past smog test.  Still unknown, timing bel and water pump, trying to find out but assume it was done at some point.  They did maintain it mechanically, just not those types that keep track or receipts.  Strange I know. 


My plan is to register and keep it up at our second home near Mammoth Lakes, CA.  If its registered there, it won't require smog testing again.  I plan to use it primarily as a flyfishing rig for back country washboard and rutted roads.  I will also drive it in winter for bad road conditions, last April snow was still 5 feet high there.  Maybe occasional highway driving back and forth from SoCal.  I have no intention of purposely going off road and getting wheels in the air, I'm too old.  I estimate less than 1000 miles per year once its up there.


I will take care of all the suspension and drivetrain bits and drive it for a while.  Next step would be replacing original struts/springs, and if I'm doing that, would like 1" to 1.5" lift for clearance, maybe a bit bigger M/S tires and some lockers.  Been reading the forum about lifts, wow lots of info to digest!  Here are some pictures.





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Thanks @slartibarfast, I will look for the manual.  Sort of hard to throw money at it but my 96 year old father in law is happy I have it now.  


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