The Lexus GX470's are your typical mid-sized SUV known for their luxury inside and out, but how do they fare when it comes to their towing capacity? Even though the GX470's are older vehicles, there are still plenty of people out there that are wondering about their specs and I was a little surprised on what I found out! Let's take a look.
Overview of the Data For the GX470:
Engine Choices: Engine choices were not specified in the owner's manuals I looked through and it did not seem to affect the overall capacity numbers either, as there were no real ranges in the numbers for most model years. The numbers that did range were dependent on the optional tow equipment you had installed, not the engine that was used.
Overall Capacity: The towing capacity for the 2009-2003 Lexus GX470 ranged from 5,000-6,500 lbs. and didn't really change over all of the years and in fact, was pretty similar, for most model years. The only model years that had different weight limit ratings was in 2004 and 2003, where that was reduced to 5,000 pounds for some models having different towing equipment, mainly the hitch itself.
It is also important to note that GX470 models that used the kinetic dynamic suspension system were not capable of pulling any weight.
Some model years for the GX470's shared the same towing spec figures so I only used the one chart as a reference for all of those model years because the information was the same.
Always read through all of the tow related information in your specific GX470's owner's manual to get a better understanding of what the manufacturer recommends and the limits of your vehicle.
The 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 Lexus GX470's had a towing capacity of up to 6,500 lbs. These vehicles were pretty simple when it came to the tow specs and that maximum trailer rating encompassed all of these models.
The GCWR was also stated in this information and was set at 12,000 pounds, as the chart below shows.
I wanted to also point out that one chart is posted for the 2005-2009 models years and the specs were identical for all model years, so I went ahead and only posted the one chart that encompasses all of the '09-'05 models.
Below the maximum weight rating specs you will see the maximum tongue weight calculation chart, that was also mentioned in the owner's manuals and I figured was worth mentioning too.
The 2004 models had slightly different specs than we saw in the later models and the towing capacity for the 2004 Lexus GX470 ranged from 5,000-6,500 lbs.
These figures were for models that did not use the kinetic dynamic suspension system. For models that did have this system installed, those numbers were reduced to 0, or in other words, they were not suitable for towing.
The kinetic dynamic suspension system is a type of self leveling system for the suspension components and more information about that is available online. The tow chart I found below is from the 2004 owner's manual, as is the tongue weight chart but no GCWR figures were mentioned.
The 2003 GX470 had a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs., which was the lowest tow ratings out of any other model years. You can also find a reduced GCWR of 10,500 pounds, when compared to the '05-'09 model years, which makes sense.
The maximum tongue weight for the 2003 models is also lower, coming in at around 500 pounds, due to the lower trailer weight figure. I want to also point out that the image I found in the manual also states that trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds must have a sway control device installed, which is true for other model years too but is stated clearly here, alongside the trailer weight rating.
Let's Talk Trailer Brakes!
Lexus require trailer brakes if the trailer and all the cargo inside the trailer weighed 1,000 lbs. or more. I was actually able to find this in the owner's manual and went ahead and posted a screenshot of what I found below. Of course, these trailer brakes will also have to comply with Federal and local laws, which is also stated.
Every state has different regulations when it comes to the amount of trailer weight and trailer brakes, so you will want to see what your particular State requires in order to stay compliant.
Keep in mind, that if you are going to use electric trailer brakes oh, you will need to have a brake controller installed in the vehicle and a 7 pin connector, not a 4 pin connector. You may have to have the brake controller installed separately, as it is likely not part of the trailer package that came with some of these vehicles.
A Note On Tongue Weight Ratings
The tongue weight ratings for these vehicles were actually specified for most model years to be around 9 to 11% of the trailer's total weight. The 2004 model specified a 10% tongue weight rating and 10% is in between 9 and 11%, so this sounds about right. If you actually calculated your tongue load weight ratings at around 10%, the math would be a lot easier to do, as opposed to trying to calculate 9% or even 11%.
The screenshot I have posted below came from the 2009 manual, but was similar for other model years, even the information regarding using a sway control device and a weight distributing hitch.
Sway Control and Weight Distributing Hitch Setups
If you look at the image above, you will see specifications for trailer weights regarding using a sway control device and a weight distributing hitch. These are two different devices and I will explain what each one does briefly, so you have a better understanding of how they work and why you would need them.
Sway Control Device: Lexus specified using a sway control device if your trailer and the cargo inside it weighed 2,000 lbs. or more. A sway control device is basically a special device that has a ball mounted on it, along with two arms that hook onto your trailer. These arms help prevent and control your trailer from swaying by adding additional rigidity to the connection point between your vehicle and the trailer itself.
Weight Distributing Hitch: A weight distributing hitch was mentioned if your trailer weighs 5,000 lbs. or more and is basically just what it sounds like, a specialized type of hitch that distributes the weight.
A good example of this would be if you were hauling a trailer they weighed 6,000 pounds, which included the weight of the trailer itself plus all of the cargo in the trailer and you had a 10% tongue weight on your vehicle, this would equate to roughly about 600 lbs. on the hitch of your vehicle.
A weight distributing hitch would actually distribute some of this weight back to the trailer so that amount of weight would be reduced, making it easier on your vehicle's engine and suspension components, among other things. This would help to level out the rear end of your vehicle and make the ride much smoother.
On a side note, there are some weight distributing hitches out there that actually have trailer sway control built right into them, just in case you were wondering how this would work.
What Was Included With the Tow Package?
I was doing a little bit more digging and I was actually able to stumble across what was included in the trailer package or tow package and if you look at the screenshot below, we can see that a hitch receiver was part of that package, along with a ball mount and trailer ball and a 7 pin to 4 pin adapter.
This was pretty minimal as far as equipment goes, especially compared to some of the other manufacturers Vehicles out there like trucks, but it was adequate enough do you have a maximum trailer weight rating that was specified in the charts. I was not able to find any more information, so I'm not sure if a larger radiator was included or other accessories like a transmission fluid cooler because this is the only information I found.
On a side note, the tow package equipment was only listed in detail for the 2008 and 2009 models and I was not able to find the specifics or any other models. It did state that they came with a tow package, but did not specify what was included with that package.
Do I Have A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System Installed?
Anytime anyone asks if they have a certain factory option that may affect their weight ratings, I always tell them to have it taken in to a dealership to have them confirm this for you, as it is the easiest and usually the most accurate method.
I was able to find a video on YouTube that has a simple way to check, if you are somewhat familiar with vehicles that I thought some people might find useful regarding the installation of KDSS on their GX470s.
Resources For The GX470:
I used the owner's manuals I found online to perform all of my research for this article. I found them on Lexus' website and these were for US models only, as is the information on this page.
The manuals had all of the information for the GX470's I needed like the charts, tongue weights, etc., but there is a lot of other information you might want to take a look at and is why I left quick reference links to the manuals below.
Last updated on June 8th, 2022 at 09:47 pm