4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

OVER THE past few months you may have no­ticed my ma­roon Land Cruiser pop­ping up fre­quently through­out the mag­a­zine. Those with keen eyes may have no­ticed a few things that just don’t add up, so it seemed ap­pro­pri­ate I give a lit­tle back­ground info to ex­plain how it got to where it is to­day.

A few years back I was at a Hilux meet­ing at Lith­gow, NSW, and af­ter snap­ping my front diff and pret­zel­ing my steer­ing rod in my IFS Toy­ota Surf, I was res­cued by an­other 4x4: an LC60 with a high-mount Warn hang­ing off the front. It was some­thing that would in­spire me years later.

This LC60 first found its way into my drive­way a lit­tle over two years ago. For the rea­son­able price of $3500 I scored my­self a 1989 FJ62 Land Cruiser with 300,000km on the clock, a tired, old petrol donk, 33-nch All Ter­rains, a 50mm Iron­man lift, and a rear air-locker. De­spite hav­ing solid foun­da­tions, its age and lack of pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance were show­ing through. Worn joints, miss­ing bolts and an at­ten­tion to de­tail that can most po­litely be de­scribed as non-ex­is­tent had the 60 any­thing but ad­ven­ture-ready.

The course of ac­tion was sim­ple: Fix the stuff that needed to be fixed, up­grade what needed to be up­graded, and do it all with­out los­ing the old-school charm of what is now a clas­sic Land Cruiser. First on the chop­ping block were the square head­lights and fi­bre­glass flares. They’ve al­ways felt like a stop-gap to me, like Toy­ota was try­ing to breathe a lit­tle

(1980s) moder­nity into some­thing clearly de­signed in the 70s.

A re­place­ment ra­di­a­tor sup­port panel and front end were slot­ted in over the course of a week­end, with up­graded head­lights and H4 globes giv­ing the Cruiser a rea­son­able amount of light­ing at night.

The 60 now looked how it was orig­i­nally meant to look, but had the good gear from later mod­els, in­clud­ing the fivespeed H55F gear­box, power steer­ing, lap­sash rear seat­belts and power op­tions.

The next thing to grab my at­ten­tion was the tired and sag­ging sus­pen­sion. The old girl was sit­ting al­most 50mm lower on the pas­sen­ger side, so a fix was des­per­ately needed. My ul­ti­mate goal for the 60 was a clas­sic-look­ing 4x4 with mod­ern re­fine­ments and com­fort. To this day I’ve never found a 4x4 with leaf springs on all four cor­ners that has even a mod­icum of ride qual­ity, so the choice was made to re­place the tired front leaf springs with a set of King of­froad rac­ing shocks. Cus­tom hoops in the front hold the 12in travel. 2.5in-body re­mote-reser­voir coil-overs, with a pair of hy­draulic bump-stops, en­sure there are no hard hits on any un­seen washouts.

The brakes and steer­ing were both typ­i­cal of a near-30-year-old 4x4, so I re­placed both front and rear axles with those from a 1996 LC80. This net­ted me four-wheel disc brakes and much larger front CV joints, but also a vastly su­pe­rior steer­ing de­sign and tougher steer­ing box. The front axle is held in place by LC80 ra­dius arms and a Pan­hard rod, while the

The 60 now looked how it was orig­i­nally meant to look, but had some good gear from later mod­els

Rooftop tent pro­vides a great out­back ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids.

Sea­soned 4x4ers know pud­dles can be de­cep­tive.

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