REVISIT: Buying and modifying a Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series: Part 2

The mods continue as we set up the CarAdvice LandCruiser for a life of work.

Déjà vu!

As we move toward the end of the year, and a hope that travel restrictions will ease across the country, many readers have been asking about getting a vehicle prepared for a big trip away – so we felt it was a good time to review the build-up we did to a 70-Series Landcruiser dual cab.

We’re re-re-running the updates each Sunday during October, but we’ll end with a brand-new instalment.

Don’t forget to ask us questions along the way if you are looking at buying or building an adventure-capable machine!

Why pull out new suspension and spend your own hard-earned money to replace it with some aftermarket gear? Good question, right? The answer comes down to customisation, and setting up your vehicle to perform well where it counts.

While the standard suspension system of the LandCruiser is quite stout and a decent performer, there is definite room for improvement. Adding on weight front and rear, along with different (heavier) tyres gives further reason to tweak the standard offering.

We’re fitting up a Norweld tray and canopy to the LandCruiser, which add a few hundred kilograms of weight over the back. Throw a bullbar and winch on the front, along with a few other accessories, and the final weight of this 4×4 is going to be a bit more than normal.

We’re opting to swap the original gear straight out for an Old Man Emu kit with Nitrocharger Sport shocks, because it’ll much better suit the final rolling weight our LandCruiser. It’ll have better damping capabilities, and improve our ground clearance a bit.

What’s great about this suspension upgrade is the GVM upgrade that comes with it: like some other manufacturers ARB has gone to the effort of engineering an increased GVM as part of some suspension kits.

The stock 3300kg GVM is a decent number, but throw an additional 480 kilograms on top, and 3780kg becomes a very good number.

Depending on your tray setup, you’ll have just under 1000 kilograms of payload to play with on a stock 79 Double Cab. The problem with the LandCruiser is that it’s a haven for modifications, which all take their own little slice of payload off your hands.

Trust me, a good combination of accessories can become frighteningly heavy. Having around 1500 kilograms of payload, something only light trucks can equal, is the best solution.

Like the tray we have had fitted, ARB’s bullbar is a fine piece of design and manufacture. It’s a deluxe bar, with 60.3mm tube.

I reckon it looks the goods, and provides a good combination of protection and ground clearance.

We also added an ARB recovery point onto the front, because it’s a crucial box to tick for any vehicle destined to head off-road. Using tie-down or tow points can be inherently dangerous, especially when winching and snatching under heavy loads.

A recovery point is designed to safely handle the dynamic loads of a vehicle being recovered. That’s more than the overall weight of the vehicle fully loaded, and from as wide an angle as the steering will allow. In other words, it’s strong and safe.

The bar is winch compatible, ensconced within is a Warn Magnum 10K-S winch. Decoding the name tells you it’s a 10,000 pound winch (4536 kilograms), loaded with Warn’s own ‘Spydura’ synthetic rope.

Another nice features of this winch are the waterproof Albright solenoids. They are good quality, high duty cycle electrics, which should prove reliable over the coming years.

Winches are a fairly simple mechanism overall, with a big electric motor, gearbox and drum. The worst thing you can do for a winch is to let it sit idle for long periods of time, which is kind of inevitable for a recreational 4WD. Solenoids are a common failure point, along with water ingress over time.

Most importantly, the winch is your ticket to self-extraction. If you’re 4WDing with mates, you can get dragged out of a bog hole. But if you’re on your own, or want to do a very slow and controlled recovery (that’s as safe as possible), then having a winch is a very good idea.

Why go through all of this effort? This LandCruiser is destined to be a hard-working crew and camera 4×4 for CarAdvice hauling people and gear long distances around Australia.

Having locking differentials front and rear is awesome for off-road capability, but our modifications will take that capability even further.

Having a winch means you can pull yourself or anyone else out of trouble without a worry, and an increased GVM means we can load it the LandCruiser up pretty mercilessly, and stay on the right side of the law.