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Light Overland Vehicle Tech Tech issues, tips and hints, prepping for travel
Under 3500kg vehicles, e.g. Land Cruiser, Land Rover, Subaru etc.
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Old 17 Jan 2010
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Overland Prep Help / Checks- Landcruiser Colorado 98

Hi, we are planning an overland trip from the UK to Oz in a Landcruiser Colorado 98,

We are new to this and are looking for advice on what vehicle modifications we should be making, budget is an issue so we would like to keep costs to a minimum, we would be looking to use a ground tent throughout most our journey,

So Far we are considering the following:

Suspension Upgrade (Old Man Emu)
Hannibal or ARB Roof Rack & Awning (Expensive, any ideas)
Battery Upgrade (Optima Red & Yellow top)
Underneath protection (again expensive is it really needed?)
Snorkel & Breather extension (again quite costly)

Also any tips on what mechanical parts we should be checking or are known to break would be great.

Many thanks


Last edited by Mart456; 17 Jan 2010 at 22:44.
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Old 19 Jan 2010
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You might be interested in reading some of the adventures had by a couple who went in the same vehicle as you. Check out No Job Will Travel
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Old 19 Jan 2010
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Hi Martin,

OK, firstly, what route are you planning on taking and how many of you are likely to be travelling? Also, when are you planning on leaving?

Your list looks pretty straight forward, although on the rack front, are you planning on using a roof tent or just looking for extra storage and for mounting the awning?

The key thing on the costs front is to make sure the truck is well serviced before you start - this means a thorough check of the wheel bearings, brakes, starter motor, alternator, clutch (if manual), etc. This will be time consuming and has the potential for swallowing a chunk of money if the truck hasn't been very well serviced.

It's also worth changing some bushes (like the stearing bushes) as a precautionary measure.

It isn't 100% necessary to replace the batteries if the current ones are in perfect condition, however if you have any doubts then worth doing.

If you are planning on taking a fridge and other electrical items then it is worth getting a split charge system and a 3rd battery as protection against running down the starter batteries.

For under body protection I would be inclined to replace the front factory bash plate with something a little more substantial and with less of a snow plough shape.

I hope that helps.

Julian Voelcker
Overland Cruisers - Specialising in Land Cruiser preparation and servicing.
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Old 19 Jan 2010
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Overland Down Under

Hi Martin,

We did the same trip from The Netherlands in a 110 Defender. Still in Oz at the moment.

Please keep in mind that how you are going to prepare your Landcruiser depends on what you're planning to do with it and on your route. Our Defender was pretty well equiped and it is nice to be prepared, but as you mentioned you have to keep budget in mind. Because it is kind of your ''house'' while travelling, you probably don't take it off the beaten track a lot if you don't need to.

And if you travel the right seasons (avoiding monsoon) you can save you a lot of trouble.

We found out that some things are more usefull then others.
  • Good suspension is a must. You probably be heavy and the roads can be terrible. OME, good choice.
  • The BFG AT’s are an excellent choice. We travel with MT's but could have done it on AT's. They are very reliable.
  • You probably need a roofrack for storage anyway, better go for a reliable brand. I personally like the alu Hannibal roofrack. An awning is easy to make yourself if you want to. We bought one Down Under (cheaper and here you really, really need it).
  • Battery upgrade with load balancer, highly recommended. You don't want to get stranded. We also have Red (starter) and Yellow Top (service) and they are great.
  • Underneath protection. Nice, but as you said not really necessary. We have a lot and it will only slow you down. But I would go for steering protection.
  • Snorkel & breather. Not as much for rivercrossings (you probally try to avoid those situations, and you can), but good for clean air. Could do it without.
Other things we wouldn't go without (besides recovery equipment) are: inverter, fridge and long range tanks (or sufficient jerrycans).

You said you want to make use of a tent, but try to create a place to sleep in your car. This is great in cities and/or countries where you don't want to draw too much attention. In our case: Iran, Pakistan, India. We preferred sleeping inside above sleeping in our rooftent.

I agree with Julian on the service aspects before you leave. Make sure everything is good to go (and pehaps bring the old spares is you replace things). Poly bushes is another great tip.

You might be able to get some things second hand or even try if companies want to sponsor you.

Have fun with the preparation and good luck! If you got any questions, just drop us a line.

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Old 20 Jan 2010
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You might have read the thread already, but if not, see http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/toyota-overland-tech/97-toyota-colorado-prado-through-46122
There is some good vehicle-specific recommendations made there by twenty4seven who has the same vehicle as yours. (as do I!)

In particular, a good idea is the starter motor. And replace the radiator if its still the original one and you have an auto.
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Old 21 Jan 2010
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Julian definitely knows his stuff. He's working on our car to get it ready for our trip, east coast London to Cape Town.
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Old 23 Jan 2010
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Hey I did the same trip in a 100 series (Drive to Oz - From Croydon to Cairns) - we probably went too over-board and even then the car blew up. Julian's good for vehicle prep as were Footloose4x4 (who we used). Julian's a much better price and knows Toyotas really well. BFG ATs are definitely the way to go but you're right to be cautious. People do these trips in £300 Citreons (big hand out to Dwight Wood) as do the locals. Snorkel can be dropped although it does look he biz. The cleaner air into the car bit doesnt cut much ice as a lot of the time theres no cars in front of u kicking up stuff. Drop us a line if u need specifics.
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Old 27 Jan 2010
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Hi Martin,

We just got back to Perth, Australia after 6 months in our 1993 Land Cruiser 80. You'll have a blast whatever you end up doing with your truck.

We have some info on our site London to Perth, though we still need to post up our last stories, photos and the log we kept.

We got the truck serviced, and then added a bit of stuff like a roof rack, roof tent, snorkel, OME upgrade, BFG AT's, 3rd battery with split charge. The roof tent was brilliant... we were going to go with a floor tent but upgraded to a bit of "luxury" and it was a great decision as there is a lot of rock in kazakhstan and mongolia. You feel much safer being up on your truck... harder to get to you and harder to steal your truck! I'm also a couple of inches to tall to sleep in the back so that was never an option for us. We didn't get a long range fuel tank and just had the 5 wheels. We never used our jerry cans but we did carry two full of fuel just in case. We also never had a puncture in the BFG's and after 33,000kms on some rocky roads we still have masses of tread left.

As someone else said, some friends of ours, Charlie and Nina, are currently on a year trip from london to south east asia and back and they are in a truck much like yours. I'm sure they would be happy to answer any questions when they have an internet connection. www.nojobwilltravel.co.uk

If you have any other questions then feel free to ask. datack "at" gmail.com

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Old 27 Jan 2010
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FWIW, have a look at the 'preparation' and 'equipment' sections of my site - overlandcruiser.net

I didn't say anything about a snorkel but I would probably put it in the same category as the bullbar ie looks the biz but doesn't really add much.

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Old 27 Jan 2010
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Just to add to everyone's comments I have just been getting some feedback from Charlie and Nina.

They did have some suspension issues on the drivers side - I suspect Charlie probably needs to diet but it underlines the fact that the suspension takes a hammering.

He also had a head gasket problem - this just underlines the one weakness of these engines - the cooling system needs to be 110% with a good condition radiator, a well flushed system and use decent (preferably Toyota) coolant.

He also found the bash plate and snorkel invaluable - I guess the water crossings depend on your route - Charlie ended up going through 4.5 foot of water in India.

Julian Voelcker
Overland Cruisers - Specialising in Land Cruiser preparation and servicing.
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Old 26 Mar 2010
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What is preferred on a trip through Africa - Poly bushes or replacement Toyota bushes?

I'm about to upgrade to OME suspension and have been advised to use a full poly bush kit. Quite pricey but im sure worth it. My main concern is how Poly bushes will affect the ride - especially over corrugations.

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