Latest mod is good for 2 inches of extra ground clearance, 4 inches of wheel travel and around 50hp...
Sorry, my editor is away. This started off brief and just sort of ‘evolved’ from there...
So with my ‘off season’ coming to a close, some normal life stuff out of the way, and a few things on the cards in the coming months. It was time to go through my gear and get the truck packed, so it was ready to roll when I was.
Leading into this weekend, ASPW and RD made their collaboration videos around general overland prep, which led to some good discussions afterwards.
So at the end of the day we all have different priorities and are shaped by our own experiences, there is no ‘right’ answer. You just work out what works for you. Not to mention what is possible within your budget, while still leaving plenty to actually get out there.
So I’ve made some minor changes to my set up, some very inexpensive, some less so.
Firstly, what is this Land Cruiser 105 beast?
It’s the BITSA of the Land Cruiser family. 100 series body, on an 80 series chassis, with 5 stud solid axles at each end, it shares with the 70 series. Only available in Australia, Africa, Asia, The Middle East and South America. Also only availble with either 1HZ diesel six cylinder (settle down diesel fans, 130hp and 2oo lbft...), most commonly in GX specification. Or, the 1FZ-FE petrol six (updated from the 80 series version), as found in mine. Never with the lauded 1HD-FTE turbo diesel six, as found in later 100 series with the independent front suspension.
Why did I go petrol engine?
Cos I am mental and love spending money on fuel A few reasons, biggest being the upfront cost of the turbo diesel 100 series was prohibitive (still is, I swear they have not really depreciated since I bought my truck over two years ago) and as I was looking after just being stuck for 4 hours in a independently suspended 4x4, I wanted to go back to solid axles front and rear.
The performance of the diesel 105 is woeful, I drove them plenty as ‘white fleet’ in the Army. I’m not sure the fuel economy would even be that great as you end up just thrashing them everywhere. Yes you can turbo them, but as I get on, I’m less and less into making modifications to my vehicles, especially the 4x4. Mods are almost always a compromise of one sort or another, often reliability being one of them. Also the diesels tend to have done more miles, have had a harder life and can be a bit bare bones inside.
Also, I like petrol engines. I know it’s trendy around Kinja to extol the virtues of diesel engines, you ever worked on a diesel engine? Asked your missus to fuel the car up from the diesel pump? Minor things I know but... Also I know about petrol engines, sure I can learn about diesel, but it’s a big draw that if I get a problem with this engine I stand a good chance of diagnosing it (probably just jinxed myself a corker writing that...). Plus I like the way it delivers it’s power, and like it’s somewhat gruff interpretation of the classic straight six sound.
This was also a good truck, this particular one. Probably better than I realised at the time. $10k+ of ARB hanging off it from the previous owner, and a service book full of Toyota dealer stamps. So far no nasty surprises (jinx No 2...) in it’s condition. I don’t skimp on maintenance, as I know what it is like to chase a truck that you have let go too far, in terms of ‘things to do list’.
With a two week trip planned later this year and a properly long trip on the cards in the next couple of years. I feel I’m pretty close to having what I need in terms of recovery gear, emergency/survival prep, tools, nav, etc. Now my priorities are shifting towards longer term comfort, and capability and reliability for the truck.
So with this in mind I am packing the truck as if I am doing a long term trip, even if I am only doing a day trip or a weekender. I want to see what I use, what I don’t, what pisses me off, etc.
We recently had a run of over 100 degree days here in SA. On the first day we lost power in the evening (‘load shedding’ don’t ask...), as usual I thought no worries. I pulled out the power pack, plugged in the inverter and plugged in a fan, aaannnd nothing. Fuse blown in the inverter, changed it the next day (glass type, who has them?), promptly blew the fuse in my work van, inverter stuffed. So as usual when a piece of equipment requires replacement, I have a think about if there is a better option available for where I am at now. I even wrote a draft post to consult the brains trust here.
By the time I finished writing that I realised I had answered my own question. I had no need to spend more on a replacement and just went and bought a new version of what had served me so well (I think when not to spend money is important for us guys who live in the real world...).
As we lost power on the first of the 4 day heatwave, I didn’t want to get caught with my pants down again. So I researched rechargeable, portable fans. Knowing whatever I got would double up for camping duties. Once at the store the fans put me off for their odd shape and un-wieldy size.
For not much more money there was camping air conditioning units. Air conditioning, while camping? Glamping in the extreme? Yeah probably, but if it keeps N happy for another day or two while we are stop somewhere when it’s bloody hot, then it is money well spent. It’s nice ‘packable’ dimensions appealed to me too.
So, time to pull all the gear out of the shed, and get it loaded in the Cruiser.
Seems like a lot all laid out. All has a purpose though, this is a well evolved set up by now.
Firstly I wanted to fit some front tie-downs for the load retaining net. There are plenty of tie-down options in the back of the Cruiser, but less so once you take the rear seats out.
As you can see I have cut the carpet to access the seat mounting bolts, those seats never stay in for very long these days and the carpet normally covers them. I re-used the seat mounting captive nuts and a couple of old engine lifting hooks to make the tie-down points. Still not a final solution but better than nothing.
This is the ‘everyday’ box that lives in the back. I’ve detailed it’s contents before.
Now with (cheap) mini axe and Life Straw added in.
The rear 12v is permenant power, so this seatbelt holder makes a handy hanger for the fridge power cord when not required.
Current cutting tool selection. Total overkill, don’t care.
Don’t forget to put the tarp in first, BEFORE you add other (heavy) stuff...
Same with the foam mats...
So apart from light flat stuff like the above, I always start with the big, heavy and awkwardly shaped gear. No good packing sleeping bags and pillows and then realising to have a few jerry cans to fit in. Sounds obvious, but I’m sure I learn a little bit more everytime I pack the truck. Packing it at home, no rush, is way different to packing it after a long week on the road. It’s good to have a method that works for both frames of mind.
One of the things I got out of the above videos, was about labelling where your first-aid and fire extinguishers are. I have both, but only I know where they are.
A couple of
cheap stickers has remedied this.
Sorry, crap photo. This was meant to show that I face my brand labels in and have my rougher looking stuff on display where possible. This table is ‘old faithful’ that I set fire to a few years ago and so has some duct tape covering the burn, the flash OzTent one is snuggled in behind, away from casual prying eyes.
Even though I have the main cargo net, I am trying to lash things where I can. Stop them moving too much and give some extra support should the worst happen.
This is my natty new washing up bowl, replacing the awkwardly shaped previous version. I saw Champ had one on a trip last year, and thought it was cool and practical.
So this is the basic load all strapped down. On top of this would go either the swag or the OzTent set up, depending on the trip and who is coming. There are a few other things I am working on, to add in here.
Like CooperdOg, BFG KO2's were my tyre of choice. The poor old freebie Geolanders will now be relagated to ‘road tyres’ on the standard Toyota alloys, the above just getting swapped on for dirt trips to keep the edges as fresh as long as I can. Why BFG’s? Well, trying to avoid carrying a second spare if at all possible, they basically have the best track record for toughness (mine and other experience), I considered some Nitto Trail Grapplers too, seem like a good tyre for the money, but just felt the BFG’s were worth the extra for peace of mind.
I also ordered this kit after a discussion with Tim.
That is my extra insurance policy. Also they were a really good company to deal with in the ordering process. Not always the case when ordering from overseas.
I also deliberated over tyre size. Generally bigger? Taller like ASPW. Again pro’s and cons both ways. In the end my mantra of ‘only change what you absolutely have too, keep as much as standard/OEM as possible’ won over. Standard 265/75/16 it was.
Rightyho, now it’s just a matter of getting out there.