The 79 Series Dual Cab LandCruiser has cemented itself as one of Australia’s favourite 4WDs. Live axels front and rear, the big V8 turbo diesel motor and a seemingly limitless supply of aftermarket options make this the dream 4×4 for many Aussies.
But let’s be honest, the LandCruiser is far from the perfect tourer when fresh off the factory floor.
There’s the well documented issue of the front and rear wheel tracks being different lengths, the very agricultural leaf sprung rear-end and the infamous lack of flex from all four corners.
Not to mention the ridiculously under-tuned V8 turbo diesel motor which puts out a surprisingly low 151Kw and 430Nm at the flywheel in factory form.
So why is the 79 Series ute so popular? Well, it’s the big Cruiser’s potential of-course! It’s the perfect canvas to build your dream touring 4×4, which is exactly what Victoria based couple Dave and Em have done.
We have a chat and check out their absolute weapon of a 79 Series, this one is certainly something special!
The vehicle in question is a 2017 LandCruiser Dual Cab 79 Series GXL. Dave has owned it since the 22nd of April 2017 and wasted no time building his dream 4WD.
Engine & Transmission
Under the bonnet is a (mostly) stock 4.5L 1VD-FTV V8 Turbo Diesel engine. To address the lack of power from factory Dave has treated the 79 Series to a custom ECU Dyno tune paired with a custom twin 4 inch exhaust and custom 4 inch stainless steel snorkel to improve airflow at both ends of the big V8.
With the new 4 inch exhaust fitted the big V8 put out 92.9 kW’s at the wheels but after the custom remap it jumped up to a huge 154.2 kW and 622.2 Nm of torque.
Dave also threw a new HD clutch at the Cruiser to help get all that new power to the ground.
Suspension & Tyres
No corners (or cost) have been cut when turning this LandCruiser into a comfortable and highly capable off-road beast. This is one hell of an awesome build.
Dave and Em have thrown out the old leaf sprung rear end and welded in a 300mm chassis extension and 4 inch rear coil conversion kit. To accommodate the 300mm chassis extension there is an upgraded two piece tail shaft.
This gives the 79 Series far superior weight distribution and handling characteristics. Not to mention a huge upgrade in driver comfort.
At the same time Dave added a Marks Adapters transfer case hand brake, because everyone knows a new-born baby has a tighter grip than a stock Toyota hand brake.
Just for good measure Dave also pulled the trigger on a chromoly rear axle upgrade and a Superior Engineering welded and braced diff kit, complete with rear wheel track correction (how hard was that Toyota…?).
To complete the suspension upgrades and give the front end of the big 79 Series some much-needed flex, Dave added a set of Superior Engineering Super Flex radius arms. The Cruiser now sits on 4 inch’s of lift paired with a set of Kings remote res shocks to complete the high-end package and add unrivalled suspension performance to the 79 Series.
Providing all the traction needed for off-roading in muddy Victoria, are a set of 35 inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 mud terrain tires.
Up top we have the Front Runner roof rack, complete with shovel and Maxtrax mounts. ARB take care of the bar work on this weapon supplying the bull bar, scrub bars and side steps.
Gone are the useless factory mirrors and in their place sit a set of ClearView towing mirrors.
Mounted to the ARB bull bar are a set of 9 inch driving lights and a Warn winch, for when the big 79 ventures into Patrol country 😉
There are also diff breathers for those deep river crossings, and no less than 4 LED reverse lights (so Dave can actually see when reversing at night).
Canopy & Tray
To house all the touring essentials there is a removable custom-made canopy. The canopy houses two draw systems for storage, two MSA drop down fridge slides paired with two Engel fridge/freezers and a full 12 volt power system.
Providing shelter from the elements, is a Darchie 270 Degree Awning which wraps perfectly around the whole passenger side and rear of the canopy.
There is also a slide out kitchen complete with sink and bench space. Water is provided by a 60L under tray water tank and fed with a 12V pressure pump. For recovery gear and tool storage theres a handy full length under tray draw.
Upgrading the very dated factory stereo is an Alpine car play head unit with reverse camera.
Navigation is taken care of by Hema Maps and there is a ARB Twin Air Compressor mounted under the seat to quickly air up the big 35’s after a day on the tracks.