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80 Series Land cruiser build up

A couple of years ago we decided to sell the old Hilux and upgrade to something that was a bit more suited for touring. We had a good idea of what we wanted, and picked up our new ride, a 1990 80 series with the factory turbo engine. It had a heap of goodies on it already, including a fully rebuilt engine with only 70k on the clock!

From the day we bought it, we set about adding accessories to suit what we wanted the vehicle for; a tough tourer. Here is a before and after shot:

80 series land cruiser build

A few years ago, vs how it sits now

On the face of it you can see there have been a lot of changes. Dig a little deeper though, and you find a list of accessories that I'm sometimes a bit scared to run through! However, I've added photos of every single modification done to Our 80 series below. Let me know if you've got any questions!

I mentioned above our 80 came with some great accessories already fitted, many of which we kept:

Safari snorkel

Safari Snorkels have a great reputation, and I was glad to see this had been fitted in a previous life

Safari Intercooler 80 series

Even better was the safari front mount intercooler; score!

80 series safari intercooler

These are tight, but work very well

Redarc SBI12

A dual battery system, managed by a Redarc SBI12, which has been great so far

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A 5" DVD player, running Ozi explorer

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Turbo timer all hooked up to allow the turbo to cool after a high speed run

Aftermarket fuel filter

Aftermarket fuel filter

12V outlets

Several additional 12V outlets

Full length aluminium roof rack

A full length aluminium roof rack. I'd get nothing else

We'd bought a very good platform to work from, which had been relatively well cared for. We removed some modifications, added some of our own and modified some of the existing gear. Below are the modifications we've done over the last couple of years!

New dump pipe

The first modification was to replace the factory exhaust with a new 3" mandrel bent one from Beaudesert

Beaudesert Exhaust review

Earlier turbo spool, more power, better economy and a much nicer sounding vehicle

Installing the 3" Mandrel bent Beaudesert Exhaust was a great move. They are top quality, and work very well. The biggest surprise for me was finding that the factory exhaust had been squashed quite badly at some stage in its previous life, which was great to remove!

Even just looking at the dump pipe, you can see that the Beaudesert unit is a lot better flowing, and is built with quality in mind. It came with a port for the EGT probe, which was a score!

Stainless snorkel grate

The plastic snorkel grill was broken, so I replaced it with a stainless one off eBay

Part time kit installation

Next up was a Mark's adaptors part time kit

Part time hubs 80 series

Manual locking hubs

The main reason for the part time kit was to remove some of the driveline backlash that the 80 had. Most 80's are constant 4WD, and after having done 340,000km in constant 4WD, there was minor wear in a lot of different components; differentials, axles, cv's, tail shafts, transfer case and gearbox. When all of the little amounts of play are added up, it had quite a bit of backlash, which made changing gears a bit of a pain.

After installing the Marks Adaptors part time kit, the steering changes dramatically (for the better, in my opinion), a significant amount of backlash was gone (due to only driving 2 wheels instead of 4) and it seemed to respond better. The only downfall of course, is that you now have to get out and manually lock the hubs, but I can live with that.

People suggest that you get better fuel economy, which may be possible (but negligible), but you most certainly save on some wear and tear.

On a side note, I will mention that I had the transfer case fully rebuilt a while later, and this was probably where the majority of the backlash was; it had flogged the transfer case out, and we had to source a second hand casing to build a good one.

Powerful 4x4 awning

A powerful 4x4 awning to keep us out of the weather

We grabbed the awning on special for a pretty good price, and I've been quite happy with it. I've compared it to many other brands, and to be honest they all seem very similar. This one doesn't leak, but the stitching isn't the best, and the waterproof taping has peeled off a little. It also didn't come with adjustable guy ropes, but it works fine.

DSC_6102

Differential breathers are a must, and very cheap/easy to install!

You can install diff breathers on an 80 series very easily, by visiting your local hose shop. I used Hoseco in Midland, who provided the barbed fittings, oil resistant line, hose clamps and a couple of other little fittings. A lot of people are using the hard plastic line, with push fittings, which work ok, but will eventually crack, and are not ideal for an environment that is constantly vibrating!

EGT probe

I wasn't going to risk damage to the engine; an Exhaust Gas Temperature probe was installed

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This works a treat, and makes you very aware of how much heat you are creating

A good mate of mine had installed one of these Scintex gauges in his Hilux, and I liked the fact it was digital (you don't have to squint at an analogue gauge to work out what its actually reading!). This has been a real eye opener; you move your foot 1mm on the accelerator and the temperature changes, instantly. This has given me a much better idea of how the engine is running, and if anything goes wrong, you know about it immediately. This includes losing coolant, engine oil, or adding too much fuel.

Narva headlight upgrade

The lighting in the 80 series Land Cruisers is downright dangerous. Narva and ARB came to the rescue

Old vs new headlights

The factory sealed beams next to Narva's replacement

Old spotties vs new lightbar

Out with the old Halogen spotties and in with a new Narva LED light bar

ARB wiring loom upgrade

ARB upgraded wiring looms to eliminate voltage drop

The new lights

The results are truly amazing

I've written a full post on the 80 Series light upgrade. This is a modification that I'd highly recommend; from the factory the 80 series lights are shocking on low beam. I was intent on keeping this 4WD legal, and thus ruled out HID conversions and LED headlights immediately. This is a great way to drastically improve your vehicles lighting, without worrying about harming other road users or getting yellow stickered for an Illegal 4WD.

ELocker traction upgrade

Twin Eaton Harrop ELockers were installed to give the ultimate traction

Installing the Eaton Harrop ELockers was one of the best moves I made. Bigger tyres and suspension lifts seem to be all the rage, but the truth is, a locker or two is so much more effective. It keeps your vehicle legal, more economical, reduces stress on the drive line and keeps your centre of gravity low!

Shovel and holder

A full length shovel and shovel holder is a must have accessory

ARB Bull bar

Next up, an ARB deluxe winch bar

This is the second brand new ARB bar I've had on my 4WD's. I've been very impressed with the quality of them, and wouldn't hesitate to get another. I've not hit anything with it yet, but I'm confident that if I do, it will hold up well.

Kaymar Rear Bar 80 Series

And on the rear, a Kaymar rear bar with twin tyre swings

Kaymar make some fantastic quality gear. Yep, its not cheap, but it is great quality. This is my second rear bar from Kaymar, and I'd get another one without hesitation. If you are interested in a rear bar, check out the Kaymar Rear Bar Review.

Bushranger bin bag

The Bushranger bin bag has been invaluable.

Everyone should have one of these bags. Especially the feral's who chuck their rubbish into the bush. Take a bag, and take your rubbish home. It's not hard.

BFG KM2 Tyres

New rims, and 285/75/16 BFG KM2 tyres were sourced, for a steal

Again, a priority was to keep the vehicle legal, so I went up only one size tyres. BFG KM2's have an unreal reputation for everything from mud work through to touring, and I knew they would suit us well. Even after several thousand km's in the Kimberley we had zero damage. Correct tyre pressures, good tyres and a sensible driving technique make all the difference!

120W Solar panel

To keep the dual batteries happy we grabbed a 120W solar panel

Home made mud flaps

After ripping the mud flaps off, I decided to make my own out of conveyor belt. Yep, not pretty, but they work!

OME steering damper

New OME steering dampener and suspension

OME suspension

These have been great. Notice the stone guard at the bottom of the shocky, where it gets smashed all the time?

With an upcoming Kimberley trip planned, a leaking rear air bag and a mismatched suspension kit, I decided it was time to upgrade. I didn't want to have something break in the middle of no where, and after a considerable amount of research settled on the Old man emu nitro sport shock absorbers, and springs to suit the winch and bar at the front, as well as a 600kg constant load in the rear.

We ripped the air bags out, and put the new gear in. It's been impressive to say the least; comfortable, carries the load well and handles even better!

UHF Aerial

A new UHF aerial from Prestige Communications

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And to match it, an ICOM commercial grade radio

Smittybilt winch

After doing more and more solo work, we invested in the ultimate recovery device; a 12V winch

Rear LED Light

LED strip lighting on the top tailgate has been extremely valuable

Rear hitch recovery point

A rear recovery point, using the Kaymar hitch receiver

Our rear drawer

Lots of spares and goodies in our drawers

Rear drawer system

The modified drawer system (yep, it still needs carpet!)

Optima battery

Replacement cranking battery; a yellow top Optima. Excuse the wires running everywhere; I need to tidy them up!

Kaymar LED work light

Kaymar rear bar work light; this thing is insanely bright

Stebel air horn

An aftermarket Stebel air horn, to scare wildlife off the road

1HDT Fuel pump

After our fuel pump started leaking we had the seals replaced

A visit to Gturbo

Gturbo was recommended by everyone I spoke to

Gturbo on a 1HDT engine

Whilst it was there I couldn't resist getting a replacement turbo, which has totally transformed the 80

Gturbos

Absolutely amazing turbo's; go and see Graeme and find out for yourself!

Projecta Dual Battery monitor

A Projecta Dual Battery monitor to keep an eye on both batteries at any time

So, with the long list of accessories and modifications out of the way, where to next? I keep saying I won't spend any more money on our 80 series, and at the back of my mind I'm glad that I'm running out of options. The 80 has taken us on some truly amazing holidays, and we plan on keeping it for many years yet. There really isn't much more that I want to do with it, except tidy it up a little, play with the air intake a little, carpet the rear drawers, install some rock sliders and scrub bars, and drive it (as much as possible!). Yes, we've spent a Fortune on our 80 series, but I don't think I'd change that; we have a great vehicle.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago covering some of the Adventures in our 80 series; check it out and let me know what you think.

Again, if you have any questions, please let me know; I'm happy to answer them!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jack Tas

    Hey what size lift is on the 80?

    Thanks

  • Hi Jack,

    The 80 just has heavy duty springs – 600kg on the rear and 110kg on the front. No lift at all.

    Aaron

  • Jack Tas

    Ok thanks mate, so 33″s will fit with no lift and 35″ will need a 3″ lift and negative offset rims?

  • Hi Jack,

    285/75/16 (33’s) will fit without a lift, providing your suspension is not badly sagged.

    I’d say 35’s would also fit with new suspension, but should easily fit with 2 inch. I don’t think you need to space the rims any more, but it does depend on the width you go. Best bet is to ask on one of the Facebook pages for 80 series – people will share their setups with both tyre sizes.

    Enjoy!

  • Jack Tas

    Ok thanks mate I’ll get on to that mate!

    Cheers

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