Initial Landcruiser Impressions

car on purchase.jpg

Our FZj80 Toyota Landcruiser 

You learn a lot when you are trying to buy a vehicle that will become the center of your world for the next 18 months - your home, your kitchen, your transportation, your safety net, your dog's home - its a lot of pressure.  We searched far and wide for the perfect partner for this journey - and hasn't been perfect - (another blog post, another time) but it has been educational.  And in the end, I think we made the right decision. 

This is what we were told about our Landy when we bought her - 

Repairs (all done by Toyota Dealer with Toyota parts):

* Factory Electric Differential Lockers
*All Seals Replaced, including just recently rear main seal, and the head gasket for preventive maintenance at 100k by original owner.  
* Water Pump
* Power Steering Pump (including all lines)
* All Fluids Changed in July
* Drive Shafts Rebuilt and Rebalanced
* Sweep Seals Replaced on Front Axle
* New Front Locking Differential
* Spark Plugs and Wires
* New Brake Booster
* Master Cylinder
* Load Sensing Proportioning Valve
* EFI cleaning, Intake Manifold cleaning, Air Flow Sensor cleaned
* New EGR Valve, New EGR Modulator, EGR coolant Sensor
* All New Vacuum Lines
* New Thermostat, Coolant Temp Sensor
* O2 Sensors
* Oil changed and air filter changed regularly 

* Center Locking Diff Switch, with pin mod. 
* CX Racing Headers with High Flow Cats
* Borla exhaust system
* Front ARB bumper with Warn 10,000 lb. Winch
* Slee Rear Bumper with Factory Hitch, Rear Tire Carrier and Jerry Can Carrier
* Slee Transfer Case Skid Plate
* Old Man Equipment 2 ½ inch Lift Kit with Heavy Springs to accommodate extra weight or towing
* 33" Nitto Terra Grappler A/T Tires, still like new
* Spidertrax 1.5" - 6 on 5.5" Wheel Spacers
* Baja Full Roof Carrier Rack, with light rack
* 6 IPF Lights up front and 3 IPF Lights in rear
* ARB 80 Quart Fridge/Freezer
* Dual Battery Management System
* Safari Double Drawer System in rear
* JVC Touch screen Dvd player deck
* Rear View Camera
* Rear Subwoofer and Amp in Rear Panel
* Viper Alarm with Remote Start
* The whole truck is completely sound proofed with Dynamat: under the hood, carpets, doors.

We did everything we were supposed to do when you buy a vehicle - we ran the carfax, took it to Toyota for a full inspection, compared her to other similar Landcruisers - and still, there have been issues.  I suppose this just comes with the territory but here is what we are now addressing: 

She burns oil.  Quite a lot of oil.  Yes, it is normal for older cars to burn oil - but it is not normal for older cars to burn this much oil. The good news, its not outrageous - she isnt blowing massive amounts of blue smoke when we drive, just a little when we start and if we accelerate hard.  The fix: more bad news - an engine rebuild.  VERY expensive.  The upside, if we go this route- we would have a newly rebuilt engine to start our trip.  The middle ground - Karin has spoken to several mechanics and Landcruiser specialists (of course she has) and is trying out different, less dramatic "fixes" and options that she will post more about later.  

The temperature guage registers normal but the engine runs HOOOOT - and I mean hot.  It is not overheating, but you can feel the heat coming off the hood after going just a few miles in the summer sun.  Another sign of the engine running too hot is that the air conditioner shuts off after about 15 minutes of driving in hot weather.  This is particularly bad news for us since we are going to be driving directly to the equator.  Perhaps part of the problem is the dynamat under the hood we were initially so excited about.  We are working on it. 

We have spark-knock. Bad.  Its obnoxious and noisy and so inconsistent that it will be difficult for a mechanic to diagnose.  We are working on that, too.  I never knew what any of these things were, what they meant, or wanted to know how to fix them before.  See, this trip already has me growing and we havent even left! (bright side moment). 

The winch line is destroyed.  The guy who owned the car before us clearly did something terrible to it and passed it off to us as a usable line.  Nope, not with the trip we are taking.  To replace the winch line with a synthetic cable will not be cheap - about 400.00

We may need a new master cylinder -- notice the list above says "master cylinder" but is not in any of the toyota service records and it does not say the word "new" in front of it - only that one exists. Thanks (insert sarcasm here)

Good things - issues above aside - she runs beautifully.  Super smooth ride.  I love her far more than Karin does (but she is Chief Vehicle Maintenance and Safety supervisor for this trip, I am just Chief Navigator, Historian and Trip Logistics Manager.)

I'm estimating to get the Landcruiser trip-worthy, we will have to spend 5-6000 more dollars than we intended (which, between you and me, is what I budgeted for - because I always assume and plan for the worst).   And after all, as another travel blog I read is titled, "its not a fast car, its a slow house."

What we have added
* CVT Mt. Shasta Rooftop Tent and Annex with anti-condensation mat and security nuts - this thing is AWESOME.  If you havent seen how a rooftop tent works, look it up on youtube - its very cool.  We will be posting our own youtube video of the setup/takedown process soon.  

New, platinum brake pads.

What we will be adding: 

Security Bars on all of the windows.  Removable security bars on the front driver/passenger windows.  

A cargo basket

Hi-Lift Jack and accessories

Air Compressor

Onboard Hand Welder

Cross bars on the roof rack to better secure the rooftop tent. 

External locks 

Club anti-theft device (our worst nightmare is our car getting stolen early in the trip so we are taking multiple measures)

An awning - not sure of the brand yet but I've been looking at the ARB and Tepui models. 

A second optima hgh-performance battery