This was purchased from a middle aged guy and his wife. The vehicle had spent it’s recent years as a grocery and mall vehicle with no off road experience. This is practically the holy grail for a used vehicle. Regular maintenance, no abuse, no cheap mods, no neglect.
9/10. The trim around the rocker panels was slightly worn. Instead of a deep graphite color, they were a weak gray. That’s it. The rest was nearly showroom condition upon purchase.
8/10. The seats were in good shape, but slightly worn. No cracks or tears, but they were not perfect. The floor mats were worn and driver’s side had a hole. Aside from these minor flaws the vehicle was nearly perfect inside.
Engine ran smooth with the only known fault being a rusty resonator in the exhaust system and a slightly noisy pulley, likely a worn bearing.
Shocks were old and worn, but not terrible. Sway bar bushings (cushions according to Toyota) were cracked, but functional. No other problems.
No faults at all.
Get It Running
Now It Runs! What's Still Wrong?
The tires were worn upon purchase and were slightly “cupped” or “scalloped”. This is where the tread lugs of the tires wear unevenly and give poor traction and can make a humming noise. Mine sounded similar to a worn bearing, but only at certain speeds. Fortunately, I planned to upgrade the tires anyways so this was a welcome opportunity to improve the Green Bus. See below in the Upgrades section for more info.
Sway Bar Cushions
The sway bar cushions mount the sway bar to the end links which then mount to the suspension of each wheel. Mine were worn and showing cracks. They are relatively easy to replace and cheap to buy from Toyota.
The shocks were old when I purchased the 100 series and the tires were cupped (scalloped). This was enough evidence for me to replace the shocks. Many aftermarket options are available, most common being the EMU shocks/lift. I wanted something immediately and I wasn’t sure how much I’d need a lift. The factory Toyota shocks are readily available and CHEAP. Each shock is approximately $30-40 at the popular online dealers. Local dealers may charge more. For this small amount of money I decided to go OEM and save the possible lift for later. After all, I’ve got a long list of upgrades to fill the time and budget for now.
Tires on the 100 series Land Cruiser can easily be sized up from the factory size. The common upsize for a mixed use 100 series is 285/75/16 (for 16” wheel models). This size doesn’t require any modification at all. None. Yet, the tires will give about 1” more in lift compared to the factory size. Factory diameter is approximately 31” and a 285/75/16 is approximately 33”. The 2” difference in diameter means the entire vehicle is now 1” higher. You’ll lose some fuel efficiency with the larger tires, but not much. The speedometer will be a little slow, but not much. Around 5%.
This nifty trick is courtesy of Rob at tlcfaq.com. Some models came with a nice storage pocket to the left of the shifter where the AHC suspension controls would go. For some reason, most models came with a blank cover. The hole is already there (for AHC suspension switches) and Toyota thought a blank cover was a good idea. Why, Toyota, why? The part is cheap, around $15 and is simply a plug in upgrade. It’s a great size for phones, ipods, wallets, whatever. Why Toyota didn’t include it in all models is beyond me. It probably saved them $1 per car. Part Number: 58839-60040
The factory side steps work great for getting in and out and are very convenient for reaching up to the roof rack. Unfortunately, they aren’t meant to be hit with boulders and hang low enough that you can’t get too adventurous. If you drive off road, you probably want to take them off. Rock Sliders are protective bars that replace the factory side steps. These are one of the most common pieces of “armor” for off road vehicles. Smashing up a door panel makes a car look more “used” than anyone wants. Rock Sliders mount to the car’s frame and protect the underside of the bodywork between the front and rear wheels. If you need these even ONE time on a trail you’ll be glad you paid the price to protect your body panels.
Oil Drain Valve
Draining your oil isn’t too difficult, but it’s a hell of a lot easier with a drain valve. The Land Cruiser’s drain is well hidden by a cross member and is ideal for a drain valve. Fumoto makes a super reliable product that I’d argue leaks less than normal drain bolts. Normal drain bolts have a washer/gasket that should be replaced every time. Hardly anyone actually replaces it and it leaks over time. Install a drain valve once and never worry about that seal again. The valve simply opens to let oil out and closes to seal the oil pan. It turns oil changes into something your 7 year old can do with one hand. Even better, you can easily collect oil for analysis (Blackstone Labs is a common analyst) if you want to know how healthy your oil/engine are.