Fully transforming & modernising old Land Cruiser: 3-month long project

Slightly tired-looking but the SUV still has good bones and is worth spending money on to bring up to spec.

BHPian Viraat13 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hey Folks!

I’m back again with another Land Cruiser 100 series. This one initially visited for just the basics (suspension, brakes, service, etc.), but it grew into a massive 3-month project that ended up including some world-famous brands like:

  • Sundown Audio
  • Blam
  • Dobinson
  • Aozoom
  • Avery Dennison

You get the picture? No?

Read on to find out how this LC was completely transformed & modernized.

I'm breaking up the thread into 5 posts:

  1. Background & First Look at the car
  2. Mechanical & Electrical Work
  3. Exterior work
  4. Interior, Audio, Lighting
  5. Final Look


This project was actually not meant to be one, it started as a simple mid-life mechanical refresh with some touch-ups etc to make it drive well and look decent.

It arrived from Uttarakhand via road till the edge of NCR, and then was flat bedded to my garage for work.

Slightly tired looking, but still has good bones and worth spending money on to bring up to spec:

The interior was largely in good shape, except for the door cards which had been rebuilt using body filler (that had started to crack) and paint.

After a wash and some minor improvements, like headlight restoration

Post arrival, a thorough inspection was carried out and a list of jobs was created, in no particular order:

  • Front suspension complete
  • Rear suspension complete, along with replacement of one bent arm
  • Tappet cover packing replacement
  • Power window service
  • Radiator cleaning and reseal
  • Tie rod ends and rack ends
  • Intake manifold cleaning
  • EGR block
  • Differential mounting
  • Steering rack boots
  • Complete service with all fluids replaced (engine, gear, clutch, brakes, power steering, transfer case, differentials, etc.)
  • Replace all belts including timing
  • Universal joints of diff shaft
  • Instrument cluser repair (didn't light up at night)
  • Alternator service with new bearings
  • Battery negative terminals replacement
  • Door card repair
  • Sunroof service
  • Roof lining upholstery
  • Headlight and foglight restoration

I'm sure I'm missing something, but the above gives a fairly good picture of the work at hand.

Mechanical & Electrical Work

It isn't possible to share pictures of each and every line item, but suffice to say that every mechanical/electrical system was checked thoroughly. From the top of my head:

  • Engine
  • Fueling (major diesel leakage)
  • Steering
  • Suspension (bushes, ball joints, shock absorbers)
  • Brakes
  • Gearbox + Transfer Case + Diffs + Driveshafts
  • Radiator
  • Belts + Pulleys
  • Windows + Sunroof

Coming to the shockers, initially, we were going in for a stock replacement, but the owner of the car was very enthusiastic about off-roading and touring with his new car, which is why we started looking at aftermarket options.

In the world of Land Cruisers, Australia is the biggest market and place for mods, builds, and upgrades. When it comes to shock absorbers for the 100 series, only two names are worth considering, one is Ironman, and the other is Dobinson. For our use case, Dobinson was a more likely bet - also it was available much faster than any other, and at a reasonable price.

After a wait of about 3 weeks:

Why did we go for the IMS series?

Dobinsons IMS are monotube shock absorbers and are said to perform much better than the stock twin tube shocks. What I say is, for the kind of money one has to spend over stock shockers, they better!

And you know what? They do. The handling of the LC100 is pretty poor by modern standards, and the Dobinsons really work overtime to compensate for that. The ride is slightly firmer than stock, but it dramatically reduces body roll and that prevents the car from pitching all over the place when you're going where there are no roads.

Coming to the real stuff, hardcore mechanicals!

The chassis bushes were in absolutely terrible condition. If one doesn't replace these then all the money spent on Dobinsons, lower and upper arm bushes/ball joints etc is a waste.

The car also ended up getting a brand-new exhaust. The stock exhaust is pretty restrictive, with a dia of just 1.75 inches. It is in no way enough for a turbocharged 6-cylinder 4200cc engine. Since this is a pretty old car, there was no cat-con - we went with a turbo back 3-inch exhaust with a single resonator. It did make the car slightly throaty sounding at full acceleration, but man, was it worth it. The engine breathes much better with the aftermarket exhaust, and it's something I'd recommend to all 100 series owners.

Make no mistake, it's still a slow car, but at least it isn't ponderous at city speeds and after the exhaust, one doesn't need to upshift to first gear to get moving from 8-10 kmph. 0 to 60 kmph is now around 6-7 seconds, which isn't bad for a car of this age and size.

The intake manifold was pretty badly clogged up. This is purely because of the EGR.

And here you can see that the EGR valve has been blocked to prevent this from happening again.

This is all the gunk that came out of the intake. Imagine how much healthier the engine must sound after getting rid of so much crap:

Upper and lower ball joints + front bush kit for upper and lower arms:

Tappet cover removed to check the valve clearances and to replace the tappet packing which had a small oil leak.

Upper & lower arms fitted back after replacement of the bushes and ball joints. Here you can also see the repaired axle (with new boot), as well as the replaced steering rack boot:

Front brake disc rotors after being skimmed on the lathe:

Brake fluid was a total mess. It had turned to sludge, a miracle that the master cylinder had not given up. We flushed out this gunk with almost 2 litres of brake oil.


Rear arm with a worn and cracked bush:

New rack ends installed:

New engine mounts:

New air filter and diesel filter. The old air filter is on the right, for reference.

Fun fact, the Land Cruiser 100 series has a washable air filter! You can actually run it under a tap to wash off the dust and dry it under the sun and install it again. Only try this if you are 100% that you have a genuine air filter. The market is full of copies.

New UJ for the rear diff:

Totally bent rear arm. Luckily I had a set of old arms lying in my godown, pulled that out, replaced the bushes and we were good to go.

Flywheel after surfacing:

Brand new clutch set ready to go in:

Release bearing:

Continue reading about Viraat13's restoration for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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