Having previously owned a bulletproof 1HZ 80 Series Cruiser, David Swain started looking out for a dual cab, as he wanted to get out there and tour the country. “I was chasing a dual cab for touring, but I was struggling to pass up the reliability and strength of the Ol’ 80 Series,” writes David.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”Bulletproof driveline, ultimate touring canopy and a V8 diesel. What more could you want in a tourer?”[/blockquote]

“I was looking at one of the newer V8 Cruisers, but couldn’t commit to the 70k price tag and the cost of accessories on top of that. When I was told about the 105 Series with the dual cab conversion, everything fell into place. A truck that could flex, handle like a Cruiser wagon on and off-road as well as being big enough to store all my camping gear away safely. I found this one and it even had a 6.5L V8. I was sold.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to build the ultimate tourer?
A: I would say choose the type of 4WDing you want to do. Then choose the vehicle and mods to suit otherwise you will continue to spend money on parts which may not allow the vehicle to do what you want it to do.

  • Two scuba tanks to hold air
  • Roof mounted storage box for recovery gear
  • Canopy mounted Bluetooth media player

One look at this Cruiser and you can tell it’s been set up for some serious touring. “The rear canopy setup was built by RJ SMITH engineering,” explains David. “It includes an 80L water tank, 240V power access, two drop down boxes and shelving inside. When I got the truck, I rebuilt the whole 12V system in the canopy with 12V hella plugs, Engel sockets, a 600W pure sine wave inverter and a bluetooth media player.

Under the canopy sits a small box with my air lines for the two scuba air tanks which are connected to an ARB air compressor. The canopy also holds my spare jerry can and rear view camera.” David is currently setting the Cruiser up for his honeymoon where he will be taking three months to do the east coast of Australia from the Vic High Country to the Cape in January 2017.

  • N/A 6.5L V8 Diesel fitted by Brunswick Diesel
  • Redarc dual battery system mounted under the bonnet
  • Upgraded heavy duty radiator

This Cruiser has had a couple of different motors over the years. “The engine conversion was originally done prior to the last owner,” comments David. “The truck was originally a sales vehicle for a company in Perth, and had a petrol V8 with a lot of kays under its belt. That motor eventually gave up the ghost and the 6.5L Chev was fitted by Brunswick Diesels.” David has left a lot of the motor alone since the conversion and trusts its reliability.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”One look at this cruiser and you can tell it’s been set up for some serious touring”[/blockquote]

Having said that, David reckons down the track he will look into squeezing a bit more power out of the big oiler. “In the future, I’m planning to add a supercharger just to get the motor to sing a bit… If the missus lets me!” Laughs David. “I want to add a supercharger over a turbo because you don’t get turbo lag, and if something goes wrong I can remove the charger, put the N/A belt on and turn the fuel back down to limp her home.”

Obviously no engine conversion is without bugs to iron out, and Dave had a couple of minor issues with the fuel system. “As it was a petrol V8 originally, it ran a high pressure fuel sender with a reducer valve to alter the fuel pressure,” explains David. “The reducer flogged out, and the pump was sending around 22psi. I have since added a fuel system that is better suited to a V8 diesel that doesn’t pressurise the fuel as much. I have also added a secondary fuel filter for added safety out bush.”

Q: Are you concerned about reliability and availability of parts with the 6.5L?
A: Not at all. She is using a factory Toyota alternator, (upgraded) Toyota radiator, Toyota airbox and a Toyota starter motor. The only things I’d need to look out for would be things like belts, hoses and glow plugs etc, which I can just carry spares of in the canopy.

  • 285/75/R16 Mickey Thompson MTZ
  • 2in King springs front and rear
  • ronman shocks

Because David wanted to set his truck up for long distance touring, he opted for a modest suspension lift which could handle carrying the weight of the truck. “The front suspension setup is the same as what I ran on the 80 Series which was fantastic. It allowed me to have plenty of travel, but still maintain handling at higher speeds,” writes David. “The rear setup up was recommended by the team at Total Undercar due to the weight and travelling I do.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”It was a lot cheaper to buy a chopped 105 than it was to buy a brand new v8 dualcab”[/blockquote]

The suspension setup really allows me to handle any track I have pointed her at so far, but still maintains on-road handling. I still have plenty of travel in the springs, but I can still tow quite comfortably.” Although the truck is heavy, David reckons that there isn’t much of a difference between the factory Cruiser weight and his bus. And adding the V8 has made a pretty big difference to power to weight ratios. We won’t argue with you there mate!

Q: Are you happy with the engine swap? What would you change if it was done again?
A: I would probably look into extending the chassis. With the rear canopy setup the way it is, I have had to keep the spare underneath. If I extended the chassis I could put more on the canopy


VEHICLE: 2000 Toyota LandCruiser 105 Series
ENGINE: 6.5L V8 Diesel
GEARBOX: H-Series gearbox from an 80 Series LandCruiser
SUSPENSION: 2in lift with King Springs and Ironman shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES:  285/75/R16 Mickey Thompson MTZ



“I would like to thank RJ Smith Engineering – Ray and his team, Narrogin Auto Electrics – Tom and his team, Total Undercar Narrogin –  Harold and Narelle, Great Southern Towing – Stuart and Sarah and Steelos Guns and Outdoors – Steelo and Heidi.”

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