Whether you are looking to buy a Lexus gx460, already own one, or are getting ready to sell one, it is important to know your vehicle and understand what features it has. This helps you to better diagnose and fix issues on your vehicle before a small hiccup can turn into costly repairs. So, here is everything you need to know about the Lexus gx460 and its history with a KDSS.
The Lexus gx460 comes standard with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). While optional in the predecessor, the Lexus gx470, the newer Lexus gx460 line comes standard with KDSS in every model on the line. This includes any models from 2009-present.
Not only will this help you make educated decisions when buying and selling vehicles, but it makes you a very responsible owner as well. Let’s look a bit closer at what a KDSS is, the history of the Lexus gx460, and the history of KDSS being installed in the Lexus gx460 series.
All Lexus gx460 Have a KDSS
All Lexus gx460s do have KDSS. Although the gx470’s have it as an option, you should know that the KDSS is standard in all gx460 models.
When it comes to the Lexus gx470, I would recommend you have a mechanic check for a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System if you don’t know how to look for it. It wasn’t a standard-issue on the Lexus gx470, so only some models will have it if it was specifically bought with the KDSS, which was an optional feature. With a little research, however, you can find conversion kits to add a KDSS to the Lexus gx470 yourself or through a mechanic.
If you find yourself buying or selling a Lexus gx460, know that the KDSS is a standard issue for that model. Every Lexus gx460 from 2009 to present has a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. If you own a Lexus gx460, take some time to learn where the KDSS is on your specific vehicle. A mechanic could help you identify it or there are many videos you can find on YouTube to identify it yourself.
A better understanding of this system helps you diagnose any potential problems you may have with the KDSS, and better understand the capabilities and features of the Lexus gx460.
So, now you know that your Lexus gx460 does have KDSS. What is it exactly and why is it important? We have the answers right below.
What is a KDSS and What Does it Do?
KDSS is an acronym used to discuss and refer to a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. This system is designed to reduce vehicle tilt when turning on roads, and increase vertical mobility for each tire individually off-road. It was designed by an Australian company, Kinetic Pty Ltd., which is based in Dunsborough, Western Australia. (source)
This design was pitched to Toyota, the parent company of the luxury vehicle brand Lexus, who first offered it as an optional add-on feature for their Lexus gx470. Quickly, it became a standard feature in several Toyota vehicle lines.
The system involves stabilizer bars along with the front and back axles, hydraulic cylinders, and a piping system that allows oil flow between the two hydraulic cylinders. At its basic function, a KDSS regulates the pressure between hydraulic cylinders to allow for a smoother ride both on the road and off it. The brains behind the system, Christ Heyring, described how his system works:
“Essentially, if you imagine a hydraulic cylinder instead of one of the drop-links and you join the top chamber of the front ram to the top chamber of the back ram hydraulically with a tube, you then have a situation whereby it allows free axle articulation unimpeded, while restricting the roll forces. You can leave things as tight as you want in roll and still have total freedom for one wheel input and articulation.”Source
When on the road, KDSS prevents car tilt by increasing pressure in the hydraulic cylinders. This added pressure stabilizes the car frame to prevent body roll from the centrifugal force of turns. The Toyota UK Magazine describes the on-road function like this:
“When cornering in normal road use, equal pressure is applied to the outer wheels. As a result, the hydraulic fluid remains still within the lines, holding the front and rear cylinder pistons in place. This allows the anti-roll bars to twist as normal, suppressing the suspension stroke and reducing body roll, improving the feeling of stability.”Toyota UK Magazine
When off-road, the stabilizer bars roll more, with pressure being rapidly adjusted and regulated to allow for more freewheel drops in dips, and pressured rises on bumps. Not only does this lead to a smoother ride, but it allows for a much better vertical range for each tire.
To better understand the difference, imagine driving in an old car with bad shocks on a bumpy road. The whole car would bounce slightly with dips and rises in the terrain.
With a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, however, the dips and rises are navigated by the hydraulic cylinders, allowing for pressure-regulated pitch and roll of the cabin. The uneven forces applied to each wheel are regulated by accumulator valves rapidly opening and closing to control the movement of the fluids in the hydraulic cylinders.
About the Lexus gx Series
As interesting as the technology of a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is, we want to look specifically at its use in the Lexus gx460 series. The Lexus gx series was first introduced in 2002 with the Lexus gx 470 models. With how it was designed, the Lexus gx series is larger than a crossover but smaller than other SUV lines from Toyota. However, it was designed with the Toyota Land Cruiser platform, allowing exceptional off-road abilities.
The “gx” in the name represents the specific line of SUV that Toyota designated the vehicle into. The “470” is a designation of the 4.7-liter V-8 engine that was used. Incidentally, it is the same engine that was used on the larger LX470 series as well. The Lexus gx470 model was used, with small changes over time, from its introduction in 2002 to when the newer Lexus gx460 was introduced in 2009.
The change from the Lexus gx470 to the Lexus gx460 saw major improvements, including a gradual increase from 235hp in 2002 to 305hp in 2009. The new designation of “460” reflects the change to a 4.6-liter V8 engine as opposed to the previously employed 4.7-liter engine on the 470. More of an offshoot than another model, a Lexus gx400 model was released to the Chinese market in 2012 featuring a 4.0-liter V6 engine.
The Lexus gx460 line saw more defined improvements in 2013 and in 2019, leading us to the newest model of the 2021 Lexus gx460. The 2013 changes are seen as more cosmetic, dealing with a new front grille, LED headlights, and LED daytime running lights, with optional LED fog lights. Notable among the 2019 changes are the addition of several external cameras, a fuel tank guard, improved cooling for the transmission, and the Lexus brand “Crawl Control” and “Multi-Terrain Select” settings.
Also added were some safety features that were standardized on all models. This is where the KDSS comes in.
History of the KDSS in the Lexus gx Series
As I had mentioned before, a small research and development company, Kinetic Pty Ltd, based in Australia had originally developed and pitched the idea of a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System to Toyota. Leasing the patent, Toyota first introduced a KDSS into the predecessor of the Lexus gx460. However, when it was first introduced to the Lexus gx470, the KDSS was only offered as an option, rather than being standard.
It continued to be offered an option in the Lexus gx series until the introduction of the Lexus gx460 when Toyota decided that the system should be standard. Quickly, the KDSS has found its way into other Toyota series vehicles along with the Lexus gx460 such as the 4Runner, Land Cruiser, and Prado. It is still being used and improved on each of these Toyota models and is a key, unique feature of Toyota vehicles.
A Note on Potential KDSS Issues
Because the system is closed with few parts, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension Systems, in whatever Toyota or Lexus vehicle, usually have few technical issues that arise. The main concern with a KDSS is that it doesn’t deal well with involved vehicles getting a lift. When lifted too high, the hydraulics can be strained slightly, causing a slight lean to the driver’s side. The only real solution is to not lift the vehicle too high.
I recommend you do research into your specific model and the recommended maximum lift height before you have any work done. If you really want that extra lift, you might have to consider vehicles or models that don’t have a KDSS.
Lifts are not too common on Lexus gx460’s so there isn’t too much concern. However, it is good to know before you consider getting a lift.