Lexus GX 470 OPOR Sliders by Metal Tech 4X4

May. 25, 2017 By Josh Burns
We opted to have the Metal Tech 4x4 sliders sent to us in bare metal, though these parts are never completely bare because thereís a coat of grease applied to them to inhibit rust and corrosion.

Our Lexus GX 470 is starting to take shape, but we still have quite a few pieces to get installed. With the Icon Vehicle Dynamics suspension upgrades installed, and our rear springs converted thanks to the Metal Tech 4x4 kit, we decided to shift our focus to the Metal Tech 4x4 components for our GX.

We desperately want to toss on our new 33-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires and Icon Alloy Alpha wheels and get those silly stock tires off, but even with the suspension lift we still needed some additional trimming in the front wheel wells for a better fit. So prior to performing a body chop mount at our local 4x4 shop SoCal SuperTrucks, we plan to install our Metal Tech 4x4 front bumper, Pegasus Rear Bumper and the OPOR sliders from Metal Tech.

MetalTech 4x4 has been operating out of its home base in Newberg, Oregon, for 17 years, making a wide variety of off-road parts for Toyota trucks and SUVs. After seeing some of the companyís gear on Toyota Land Cruisers and the handful of GXs weíve encountered on the trails, we decided to outfit our GX with Metal Tech parts because they look good but also because of their no-cut front and rear bumper options and stout rock sliders. We went to work on the sliders first. MetalTech 4x4 offers the option to powder coat its sliders or get them in bare steel, and we opted for the bare route simply because we wanted to rattle-can paint the sliders. Powder-coating sliders is a great option for many, but in our experience rattle-canning them can be easier for touch ups when they get dinged on the trails. We decided to have the front bumper and Pegasus rear bumper powder coated but the sliders shipped in bare steel simply because we expect more wear and tear on the sliders overall. One thing to note about getting these parts, or any other, in bare metal is the parts come with additional work up front prior to installation.

To prep our sliders for paint, we purchased a cheap laundry detergent which, with the help of Scotch-Brite pads, helped remove the grease from the surface. We also purchased primer and Rust-oleum Truck Bed Coating for the sliders (along with a mask because the self-etching primer is nasty stuff!).

Metal Tech 4x4 owner Mark Hawley is an off-road enthusiast but also a skilled fabricator, and he offered some great tips on how to properly prep the bare metal for our sliders. When the parts are shipped thereís a grease coating on the metal to protect it from rusting in transit. This needs to be completely removed prior to painting; otherwise the paint wonít be able to properly adhere to the metal. Hawley suggested buying cheap powder laundry detergent, as the alkaline in the soap helps remove the grease from the metal. We found the right stuff at our local 99 Cent store. We knew we were on the right track when the box stated the CAUTION: EYE IRRITANT. 

We mixed the detergent and water in a bucket but kept the mixture pretty thick and gritty so it would help clean off the grease.

Using a Scotch Brite pad (we used Green, but Red would work too) and a bucket of water mixed with our detergent (keeping soapy mixture very thick so it will be gritty), we scrubbed down the sliders thoroughly, washed the soapy mixture off and double-checked the surface again to make sure it was clean. After the final rinse, we wiped down the sliders completely to remove any moisture prior to paint and let them air dry.

The top slider in this image is clean, and you can compare the difference in appearance to the slider at the bottom that still has a coat of grease.

Once both sliders were fully cleaned and dried, we applied two coats of the self-etching primer

After giving the primer the appropriate time to dry, we applied two coats of black paint. We opted for the Rust-oleum Truck Bed Coating because it dries with a gritty, textured finish that we wanted for added grip to get in and our of the rig.

Once fully dried, we applied two stages of paint on the sliders. First, we used a self-etching primer and applied two even coats and then allowed them to fully dry. Then, we applied our black paint. We opted for Rust-oleum Truck Bed Coating because it features a gritty finish once dry to provide grip on the sliders, which double as steps to enter and exit the vehicle or load gear on the roof. Expect the painting and cleaning process to take a few hours.

The sliders arenít exactly light (which is why we didnít paint them while hanging), so we positioned one atop a wood block and used a jack to position it place for marking holes and placement.

The installation of the sliders is fairly straight forward, though there are a few variations if your GX is equipped with the KDSS system. Plan on setting aside a few hours for slider installation itself. They arenít technically difficult to install, but they do require a few small holes to be drilled into the frame, so making sure placement is correct is very important.

Metal Tech 4x4 includes all of the needed hardware for installation. In terms of tools, you may need to acquire a 1/2-inch drill bit for installation (see below).

Follow along the images below for a basic overview of the installation, but Metal Tech 4x4 does include comprehensive instructions on every step.

After marking the location with the slider in place, we drilled a hole into the GXís frame to accept the rivet nut. Tip: Donít bore out the hole any more than needed, as youíll want it as snug as possible to accept the 3/8 rivet nut.

Using the supplied hardware, create a thread-chase tool to help seal the rivet nut. Once the rivet nut is securely in place, this tool will help flatten the river nut against the frame to secure its position.

Using a BFH (big flippiní hammer), bang the rivet nut into place using the bolt (inserted into the rivet nut) as the striking point. Once it is flush, use the tool created in the previous image to help smash down the outer edges of rivet nut onto the frame.

The base mount for the slider that goes underneath the frame already had a pre-existing hole, though we did need to open it up slightly to accept the river nut. Following the same steps as before, insert a bolt into the rivet nut for a striking point to install the river nut into the frame. Once in, use the thread-chaser tool to help smash down the outer edges of the rivet nut to complete its installation.

With all of the rivet nuts installed, we pushed the slider back into place with the jack to finish the installation. Even with a jack to help, itís nice to have another set of hands for holding the slider in place.

As weíve mentioned before, our unit is not a KDSS model, and if you have a GX with KDSS Metal Tech 4x4 outlines the additional steps needed. The only key difference for installation of our driverís side slider is that the rear brake line along the frame will need to be removed from its frame mount to install the U-bolt to secure the rear of the slider. Once we massaged the U-bolt into place, we secured it with the included hardware and reattached the brake line.

The final product looks great. The Metal Tech 4x4 sliders offer great rocker panel protection, and they offer just enough of a step for entering, exiting and loading the vehicle.

Rear Spring Conversion and Icon Suspension Upgrade

Icon Vehicle Dynamics Front Suspension Upgrades

Why Weíre Building a Lexus GX 470 Trail Rig

Metal Tech 4x4
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