Rig/Rider Profile: 95 Toyota Landcruiser
We have had the good fortune of running several trails with Overland Bound Member Dan Rich (#0582) and his 95 Toyota Landcruiser, and we asked him to share the work and modifications he’s done on his incredible rig. Needless to say, he was more than happy to share.
Overland Bound Member
Joined September 27th, 2015
What’s the Year/Make/Model/Mileage of your rig?
95 Toyota Landcruiser 80 series, poverty pack (no sunroof, no 3rd seat, cloth interior with manual seats)
General Manager, Powertrain Evaluation, Toyota Motor North America, R&D
About 1994 in my 1984 Toyota Trekker (Winnebago built precursor to the 4Runner!)
What modifications have you made so far?
Suspension: Old Man Emu HD 50mm Springs, shocks, steering damper.
Tires: 285/75-16 BFGoodrich K/O2’s.
Shelter: Sleeps one inside the car on a one-off designed platform that houses the kitchen chuck box.
Electrical: 2 battery system with blue-sea fuse panels supporting all electrical needs, lights, power ports, cig sockets, USB ports in the dash and console, 2nd row seat, rear hatch. 1500 Watt 12V/110V inverter for a power strip to charge electrical stuff.
Lighting: Stock lights with HID bulbs, LED driving lights, Hella fog lights, rear work light.
Storage: Various custom designed nooks and crannies for recovery gear, food, survival gear, Plano storage on top of the old-school Conn-ferr roof rack. Tuffy center console with Ram-mount 1” balls for universal use. And a cup-holder.
Recovery: Smittybilt 12K winch in ARB bumper, winch kit, snatch straps, kinetic rope, d-rings, hi-lift jack, TRED traction boards. On-board air provided by a hard-wired PUMA air compressor with 1.5 gal tank, and a 10 lb. CO2 tank.
Security: Power door locks.
Nav/Comm: Delorme InReach Explorer using Earthmate and Backcountry Navigator Cobra 75 WX-ST CB in-dash, Yaesu FT-8800 dual-band Ham radio in-dash, 2-4 foot firestik antennas rear-mounted, FRS radio when I have to.
Mechanical: Stock engine/trans at 160K miles with TRD Supercharger (TRD developed the supercharger application for the 1FZ-FE motor using this car).
What process did you go through selecting your rig?
In 1998, this ‘cruiser came off of lease from our proving grounds in Arizona. They had special ordered it to support our vehicle test trips and cold testing in Canada. It had been there 3 times. I had to get in line behind one guy. Then, when it turned out that he didn’t want it, I jumped on it. Altogether, it chose me.
What influenced your Overland vehicle choice?
In 1996, I was involved in the development of the 100 series cruiser powertrain since it was so different than the 80 series (V8 vs. in-line 6). We put both the 80 and the 100 through some pretty tough evaluations, on and off-road, as well as some competitors. It occurred to me that the 100 was a much more refined vehicle, but at the same time it was losing some of its off-road capability. In addition to changing to independent front suspension, seems like there was more focus on a comfortable SUV rather than the uber-rugged and over-built vehicle the ‘80 was. In sum, I knew I wanted an 80 one day.
What are 3 things that you *really* like about your rig?
That it’s almost completely self-contained. Equipped with a kitchen including a fridge, a sleeping deck for one, and the triple-locked chassis. It’s just so capable.
What would you add or improve?
It needs a new suspension, this one has a lot of hard miles on it. Plus, I’d like to try something new.
Rooftop or ground tent?
Rooftop tents I’m sure are great for some. Due to the added weight on the top, it would be a big negative for me. I’ll sleep on the ground if I have to. Ultimately, I prefer my soft, flat bed inside the truck!
When did you first hear the term Overland?
Willys car company had a model called the Overland, but for this definition, it was a slow introduction. Probably started with the magazine “Overland Journal” and was solidified by two things. First, my first trip to the Overland Expo in 2013. Second, my introduction to Overland Bound in 2015 when I attended the first off-the-grid rally (Shaver Lake/Bald Mt, CA).
What is it about Overlanding you enjoy most?
Spending time on under-crowded backroads and trails with good people, finding my own limits of skill, and adaptability to unfamiliar surroundings.
Longest trip completed/planned?
8 day trip through southeastern Utah/Moab, including Kokopelli trail, Elephant Hill to the convergence, Canyonlands and Arches.
Have you ever had to make a trail repair – If so what? If not, what are you prepared for?
On my January trip through the Mojave Road this year, the road from Seventeen Mile Point to Green Rock Mill had too much vibration for an old exhaust system. Consequently, it cracked right after the header pipe all the way around. Recently I had assembled a stick welder for use with two batteries. At this point, I broke it out and booger-welded the pipe so I could at least make it home without Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
During my last Mojave trip, the idler pulley from my supercharger belt broke. It only lasted 100,000 miles, and it took out the A/C belt. While I didn’t have a spare pulley, I do carry spare belts. Next chance I had, I replaced the A/C belt so I could at least be cool.
What’s the one piece of overlanding equipment you can’t live without? (Besides your rig.)
I guess I could do without a lot if not all of it. One thing I would miss the most would be my ARB Fridge, a game-changer. As a result, I don’t have worry about finding ice in the middle of a long trip, or have to deal with wet food.
What’s your favorite destination?
- Mojave Desert
Tell us one time when your rig saved you, or you were really impressed by it.
To tell the truth, I’ve owned this car for 19 years, and it is still more capable than I am as a driver. The ability to articulate over most obstacles, climb grades without breaking a sweat, and take the abuse of multi-day trails impresses me every time. Many times, my rig has saved me from having to get out and do actual physical labor to get myself unstuck. Most of all, my Landcruiser has saved my sanity by being the way I escape from the daily hoo-hah of life!
What else should we know about your rig?
This is not a perfect car. In other words, things wear out and things get upgraded over the course of 160,000 miles. At any rate, I know that the Landcruiser requires a special level of durability. We have an increased expectation of its performance and longevity due to the Landcruiser’s earned reputation as a world-spec vehicle. I have adopted a mentality of “mechanical sympathy”. You’ll never find me jumping dunes at Pismo with it, intentionally smashing over rocks just for the fun of it or aiming for the mud pit. Yet, I do expect it to go where I point it and it hasn’t disappointed yet.