Due to receiving so many emails and questions on Facebook, YouTube and various 4x4 forums we have created an entire web page and a YouTube video just for the 79 series Landcruiser (VDJR79).
Updated as of SEP 2014!
A while ago we did a short video about my thoughts/review on the 79 series Dual cab and the modifications I have made to it, this video was sparked from emails, YouTube and Facebook posts. Since then a lot has changed, bar work, exhaust, chip tuning, lights and more. So due to this and the many emails we still receive we have done an updated version of this video.
When we first uploaded this page to the website I had the 79 series Landcruiser for just 3 months (that was from December 2013, pick up from Toyota dealer Sep 2013), now as of September 2014 I have had the 79 series Landcruiser for 1 year and just in that one year I have taken her to; Lancelin, Mundaring, Bremer bay, Esperance, Julimar, Harvey, Brunswick, Outback station near Paynes Find, Wedge Island, Grey, Hill river coastal tracks at Cervantes, North Head Jurien bay, Wilbinga, Seabird and more that I just can’t think of right now, many of these place more than a few times.
The 79 series LandCruiser has been through thick and thin over the last 12 months and has handled all this with flying colours so far.
It's by far the most torqued vehicle I have ever driven from stock; off road nothing really stops it.
On the trip from wedge to Grey I managed to get slightly bogged on the beach, and all I had to do was put it in 1st gear low and just let it pull itself out, that's how much low torque it has!
My previous 4wd was Toyota Hilux SR5 Extra cab petrol which I
had for over 7 years so comparing the two is like apples and oranges, they are
different in so many ways.
There was nothing wrong with the extra cab Hilux apart from being too small in the seating department, with a growing family a dual cab was required and I had been eyeing off the 70 series Landcruisers for a long time, so the day they started selling the dual cab 79 series Landcruiser I started saving and waiting.
It was not a hard choice to make, given a V8 turbo diesel in a tray back Ute with solid axles, what more could you want?! It sure ticks all my boxes and being a Toyota there was no changing my mind.
So far a fair bit has been done to the cruiser and having learnt from the previous vehicles I had I had a modification plan in place.
I made plenty of mistakes on the most recent 4x4 (the Hilux), I had to redo most of the setup due to various situations, so a fair bit was learnt about my 4wd setup needs. It really saves you money to stop and really think about what mods you need and more importantly how you need the 4x4 setup in every aspect of 4 wheel driving, touring and camping!
I knew exactly what I wanted to do and so far this 79 series Landcruiser is setup exactly how I would like it and the canopy is coming along well with still a fair bit of DIY work to be done.
Update SEP 2014 (latest changes and mods):
The upgrade in bar work on the 79 Series Landcruiser!
The boys at Opposite Lock in Wangara were my 'go to place' for accessories whenever we needed some, always friendly and very helpful. After visiting a fair few times they showed me some new bar work which O/L had just developed and I just loved the look of that bar work for the 70 series, it suits the cruiser better than any other bar work I have seen (in my opinion of course). So after I expressed my high interest in this bar work and told them that I was more than willing to change the bar work we got talking a fair bit and now Opposite Lock 4x4 are our major sponsor!
So what do I think is so good about the new design 70 series O/L bar work?
Well firstly I think it looks the part, with 63mm tubing at every rail & post it looks really tough and robust. Really suits the 70 series Landcruiser look! Not many people have this yet as it is very new so the cruiser looks a bit more unique.
Compared to the previous bar (ARB bar) it doesn’t have that extra rail along the bottom which has now allowed me to put some big spotties at the front which wouldn’t have fitted before.
The exhaust upgrade (installed and supplied at Opposite Lock)!
The exhaust has now been upgraded from a single 3’ to a twin 3’ inch Red back exhaust, the cruiser sounds unreal & breathes very well, combined with the unichip she will be unstoppable on the sand dunes and the torque is huge. Idling up rocks and steep hills is a breeze and even after loading the 79 series LandCruiser up for a trip I don’t notice the extra weight when driving.
The LED bar lights:
Previously I had a cheap Chinese LED bar on the front, it kind of did the job but after a while it started to fade into a light brown colour; the plastic light cover became a milky white and was blocking the luminums emitted from the light bar. Well you get what you pay for!
Just recently Altronics got their first shipment of LED lights in (after testing many for a very long time in the Australian conditions); I managed to get a few from their second shipment before they sold out. The LED’s in these lights are a whopping 10watts each! I pulled off the old light bar and replaced it with 2 100watt LED bar lights and WOW! So much more light with less LED’s!
I also got 2 smaller LED lights for the rear which I use for lighting up the ground behind me during night driving, this comes in really handy when reversing and rock crawling.
For Information About The Unichip Q In The 79 Series LandCruiser See Here.
There are so many accessories available for the 70 series and everyone so far who has worked on my cruiser have said how easy and enjoyable it is to work on them as everything has been kept simple, nearly the entire interior just clips apart carpet and all.
Being able to fit 35 inch tyres with just a lift
kit is quite amazing considering most modern 4x4s are very limited when it
comes to wheel size. This is mostly due to IFS vehicles, which require cutting
into the guards and even body work.
The engine bay is the most technical area however the rest of the vehicle has been kept very basic and similar to previous 70 series.
The 79 series Landcruiser is surprisingly comfy, I was considering changing the front seats with an aftermarket one and those thoughts are now far from my mind. If a heavily pregnant women sits in the front seat for a long 500+ km trip and says the seats are fine then the seats are bloody good!
Space on the rear seats is pretty much the same as any other dual cab on the market; however the windows are so big on the 70 series and combined with the rear seat height compared to the window kids absolutely love it as they have a huge window to look out of.
After many more long drives in the past 12 months I still find the cruiser very comfy.
The 79 series Landcruiser is produced mainly for mining, farming and towing purposes, however the V8 turbo diesel ute makes for the perfect base platform for the ultimate 4wd tourer, exploring vehicle or just a tough weekend warrior.
In my biased opinion this is the best current new 4WD as a base platform to modify. Like I said above “It was not a hard choice to make, given a V8 turbo diesel in a tray back Ute with solid axles, what more could you want?”
For Information About The Unichip Q In The 79 Series LandCruiser See Here.
Specifications from stock:
Engine: 1VD-FTV, 4461cc, V8, 32 valve, Turbo Diesel
Power: 151kW @ 3400rpm(at flywheel) With Unichip: 129kW @ 3200rpm at rear wheels
Torque: 430Nm @ 1200rpm (at flywheel) With Unichip: 472Nm @ 1600rpm at rear wheels
5 Speed manual
GXL vs. Workmate
GXL Off-road Positives:
· VDJ70 GXL 2012 onwards roll out with front and rear lockers standard (a massive bonus)
· Factory flares
· Power windows
· Keyless entry
GXL Off-road Negatives:
· Carpet flooring
Workmate Off-road Positives:
· Vinyl seats
· Rubber flooring
· Steel rims
· Slightly bigger stock tyres
Workmate Off-road Negatives:
· No flares
· No power windows
· No Keyless entry
· No factory lockers
· The GXL is well worth spending the extra coin on especially if it has factory lockers
With the Custom Canopy now installed and the inside nearly completed, the Cruiser is now what I consider to be my complete touring, camping and Tough Trail 4 Wheel Drive. Even with such a sizable box on the rear it is very light weight mainly due to being constructed out of alloy and with some careful design I managed to strategically place weight in opposing sides and most of that close to the cab.
Having one spare right up against the driver side cab and the fridge on the passenger side it keeps it close to the centre of the vehicle. The only heavy item at the rear is the second spare.
A few short camping trips have been done with the custom box, having it loaded from the base to the ceiling including a 25 kg tent on the roof of the canopy the 79 Series Landcruiser only sagged 10-15 mm at the rear.
All the electrics have been done by myself, at first I was a bit worried if I'd get it done right as the electrics plan was huge, but found it quite easy once I just focused on one task at a time.
An overall plan still needs to be thought up as the right size wires and the amount of wires from the second battery to the rear can limit what can be added later.
Another big thing was getting the correct size fuses and keeping wires the same size from the power board to the electrical lights or plugs. Get these things right and it’s just a matter of following switch diagrams and putting positive to positive and negative to negative.
Most of the electrical items used were from Altronics, they have pretty much everything in one place which saves time and money.
Now to the awning, it’s from Ostrich wing awning Australia.
What I love about this awning is the amount of shade it provides with such little effort in the setup procedure. It's nearly just a 30 sec job once you have pulled it out a few times and know the procedure.
Another great thing to point out is that once the ostrich wing is pulled out and I find that I have picked a bad spot in relation to the sun light direction I can just jump in the cruiser and move with the Ostrich wing still out and getting the shade spot on! This is due to not needing to use ropes unless it’s really windy.
There is always room for improvement and like a lot of us 4 Wheelers our 4 Wheel Drives are always a work in progress, there is always a new gadget or new idea floating about which we just can't help but add to the vehicle.
After all it’s
our life style and our 4x4's give us joy by enabling us to get to places others
can't get to.
Well the update of SEP 2014 really states that no 4WD build is ever complete, there is always something to add no matter how big or small the improvement is!
Stage 1: Stock.
Stage 2: Bar Work.
Stage 3: Lift & Tyres.
Stage 4: Lights and Storage Solutions.
Stage 5: The facelift with the help from Opposite Lock 4x4.
The rear wheel track is different to the front, in fact it's 100mm narrower at the rear.
Why this is a problem? When off roading in sand the cruiser tends to fish tail and relies on the V8 to push on, this is particularly not good when climbing sand dunes.
There are two options to correct this:
#1 different offset rims on the front and rear, 0 offset on the front with a -55 offset on the rear will fix the problem. This option works best on a70 series tray back Ute.
#2 wheel spacers, these come in two sizes 25mm and a 50mm, these can be sourced at your local Opposite lock 4x4 retailer.
I’m not a big fan of wheel spacers which is why I use different offset rims.
I get loads of email about the offset rims so here are some answers:
Both rims I have on the 79 series Landcruiser are King Wheels, 16x8 0 offset from,
16x8 -55 offset rears.
HIGHWAY REVS ISSUE:
The 79 Series Landcruiser seems to be lacking a sixth gear, when driving at highway speeds of 100+ the cruiser revs too high in my opinion. 2700 rpm at 110 kph does not seem right and the fuel usage is high, this can however easily be corrected, here's how:
Putting bigger tyres on the cruiser is the best and cheapest way to fix this issue, a 33'inch - 285/75/r16 or a 35'inch - 315/75/r16 will not only fix the rev issue it will also give you more ground clearance.
Best of all the low
range gearing especially 1st gear low is still slow enough for rock crawling!
So many benefits from fixing a problem...
79 Series Landcruiser Alternator Issues:
The 70 series alternators are prone to mud in-take and can stop working.
How to fix:
This is not the end of the alternator and thankfully there is an easy fix without even removing the alternator, to fix and clean it:
Step 1: simply remove the rear cover from the alternator and use a water bottle with a sports lid to clean it out while brushing it with your trusty tooth brush, assuming you brush your teeth while in the bush. Sometimes it will need a medium sharp tap with a metal bar the get the contacts going again, if this happens flush it again with water afterwards to remove any mud or dirt. Most of the time this will fix it and keep it going.
Step 2 (if step one didn’t work): This is a bit of a
pain with the alternator still mounted but you can remove the brush cap/housing
to directly clean the contacts and brushes.
To get to this there are 2 more screws to loosen which are on either side of the brown keyhole shaped cap in the middle of the alternator. Once the screws are removed pull the cap off and clean both the brushes and the contacts with water followed by electrical (or WD40 if that’s all you got). To put it back together you will need a bit of wire (tie wire) to insert into the pin-hole on the back of the cap. Without this you won’t be able to reinstall the brushes. Poking the wire into the hole will release the brushes so which will allow you to put the Brush cap back on.
Step 3: start the cruiser and watch the battery light, if it’s gone then you can high five yourself and put the covers back on but if the battery light is still on I’m afraid you alternator is STUFFED!
Still need to remove it? Then you will need a 14mm socket to lever the auto tensioner, if you are not sure from here on it’s a bit too hard to explain without a video which will be coming in the near future.
If the above doesn’t work then it may be time for a new alternator. If traveling remote areas pack a spare just in case.
I recently upgrade my alternator from the factory Toyota to Rapid Power water cooled alternator.
So why the upgrade? Well if you own a VDJ70 Landcruiser and have gone through a fair share of mud you will be familiar with the issues at hand. Which is alternator failure due to being mounted so low in the engine bay.Mud and dust collects around and inside the unit, there is no way of protecting it where it is mounted.
There are other options on the market, one of which is a coated alternator used in underground mines however once covered and drowned in mud they will inevitably suffer the same fate as the factory units.
The water cooled version is very expensive but like all things you get what you pay for, this unit is 100% sealed and taps into the engine coolant system.
I have had to clean mine out twice and have been experiencing volt drops since, being the lead vehicle on our trips it's super important that my cruiser is unbreakable, hence the reason for my purchase.
Now with this new unit I’m back at 13.99 volts at full charge.
Once tested in the field I will do a review on the on the Rapid Power Alternator.
A few more handy tips:
· The Toyota VDJ70 is mainly bolted together with 10mm, 12mm and 14mm nuts and bolts which are bloody great as you can reduce the size of the tool box you need to carry! You can almost pull the entire vehicle apart with just those sizes, just remember to add a 22mm for the wheel nuts.
· If you have just purchased a GXL new or used with the factory alloy rims you can sell these for around $2500-$3000 (if in perfect condition) for the set of 5, this will almost pay for 5-6 steel rims with 33inch tyres. A great way to upgrade.
70 SERIES CRUISER SNORKEL, NEED TO KNOW!:
I wouldn't trust the snorkel that comes with the landcruiser , to see why watch this video.
For Information About The Unichip Q In The LandCruiser See Here.
Thanks for reading, any other questions or comments please post below.
A self-proclaimed Landcruiser and off road nut!
Thanks to the following sponsor who have helped and been involved with my 79 series: