Life’s about compromises; if you want that Friday night with your mates at the pub, you can bet your arse you’ll be mowing lawns and painting the back fence on Sunday. If you want a 4WD set up for touring, then you’re going to cop some hits when you get into the toughest terrain – or are you? For 4WDers however, we don’t settle for what a manufacturer produces off the line. We see a weak point, we strengthen it. We take dislike to something, we change it. We need to get further, we modify it – it’s just part of the lifestyle.

For a select few though, with the skills to do so, often what a manufacturer rolls off the line simply isn’t close to the image they’ve got in their head. They take the best points of the 4WD they’ve got and get stuck in to turning it into a shadow of its former self and ultimately end up with their dream 4WD – a rig to truly, do it all. That’s exactly what boilermaker, Craig has done with the incredible 4WD you’re about to see.

Craig’s 75 Series Land Cruiser turned up in his driveway as a rusty junker, picked up for a little more than $4,000. What followed was not only a ground up restoration of the legendary 4WD, but also a build and modification process that would see the Troopy overcome its factory shortcomings to mix it with the toughest trucks anywhere in the country. A custom built motor, a full coil conversion and twin lockers, plus some cracking custom barwork – is this Franken-Cruiser the ultimate tough touring Troopy? You decide.

  • Bare-metal respray, rust repairs and replaced bonnet, guards and cab
  • ARB steel commercial winch bar
  • Custom steel rear bar with twin swing away carriers and integrated tow hitch
  • Steel ARB roof rack and side awning
  • Steel radiator bash plate
  • 9,500Lb TMAX winch
  • Custom modified bonnet with custom scoop
  • Narva 225 spotlights

“Being a boilermaker by trade, it was too easy for me to knock up a rear bar, rather than pay for an off-the-shelf item,” says Craig. “I built the main structure of the bar using 40x40x5mm RHS and knocked up the plate sections with 3mm mild steel, which I folded up to suit. All I really paid for with the whole bar was the steel, plus the latches and stub-axles. I’ve saved thousands – easily.”

  • Rebuilt 1HZ, using 1HD-T block, crank, rods and ceramic coated 1HZ pistons
  • Blocked stripped, cleaned and crack tested
  • Crank linished and balanced for better clearances and smoother running
  • High flow oil pump
  • New 1HZ cylinder head and new valve gear
  • 1HD-T factory 12mm fuel pump, tuned to work with
  • 1HZ injectors
  • Upgraded Kinugawa CT26 turbocharger with larger Garret compressor wheel – 14psi
  • HPD top-mount intercooler and thermofan – fan lowers EGTs by up to 40 degrees
  • 3in straight through mild steel exhaust system
  • 58mm Fenix aluminium radiator – water temps range from 88-90 degrees
  • Exedy heavy duty clutch

When your engine is due for a freshen-up, there’s no sense in keeping the engine too stock when there’s the opportunity to push some limits and breathe new life into the motor. “Using the 1HD-T bottom-end gave me bigger conrods and gudgeon pins, which suited the turbo setup much better,” explains Craig. “I fitted ceramic coated 1HZ pistons, which can handle 100-150 degrees extra in the EGTs. I didn’t want to mess around with refurbished or second hand parts, so I just bit the bullet and decided to bring the motor back to new condition.”

Yep, you read that right, this engine’s built to handle 700 degree EGTs. “By carefully tuning the 1HD-T’s direction injection, injector pump I was able to make it work with the 1HZ’s indirect injection injectors,” says Craig. “I haven’t had the truck on the dyno yet, but I broke the motor in with a trip to the Cape – I trust the setup.”


BORE – Boring an engine is the process of removing block material to increase the size of the cylinder bore. This can be used to freshen up a tired motor, or to increase its displacement
STROKE – To stroke an engine is to increase the distance that the pistons travel downwards, allowing the motor to inhale more air, fuel and subsequently make more power
HONE – Honing a motor is the process of creating a good finish on the cylinder bore to allow a better seal between the piston rings and the block
LINISH – Linishing is a process of sanding and polishing an engine part (In Craig’s case the crank) to improve its flatness
BALANCING – Balancing a motor involves removing/adding miniscule amounts of weight to all of the engine internal, rotating parts to match their weights precisely. This results in a much smoother running, more efficient and reliable engine.

  • Redarc dual battery isolator
  • 800Cca cranking battery, 105Ah deep cycle auxiliary battery
  • Outback drawer system in rear, spanning full length of cargo area
  • 57L dual-zone Engel fridge and MSA drop-down fridge slide
  • 65L poly water tank, gravity fed through hose out of driver’s door
  • GME 4500 UHF and aerial
  • Racetech boost and EGT gauges

The whole ethos behind the build was to maintain the inherent touring qualities of the Troopy, while bringing the off-road ability up to 80 Series spec. To do so, Craig’s fitted the Troopy with a full drawer system from Outback as well as a Redarc dual battery system and gravity-fed water tank. Simple? Yes. Effective? You betcha.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”This engine’s built to handle 700 degree EGTS”[/blockquote]

  • Front and rear diffs/housings from 80 Series –200mm track increase
  • Superior Engineering bolt-on diff guard
  • Tough Dog adjustable Panhard rod
  • Superior Engineering adjustable steering rod
  • Full 80 Series coil suspension, using 80 Series spring/shock mounts/towers
  • 4in extra heavy duty Dobinson coils, front
  • 4in 400kg Old Man Emu coils, rear
  • Custom built drop boxes and Superior Engineering Superflex radius arms
  • ARB Air Lockers in 4.56 Nitro diff centres – purge valve fitted to rear airline to stop oil blowing up lines
  • Heavy duty front CVs
  • 20mm rear tailshaft spacer to accommodate lift
  • 80 Series Toyota steering components
  • 315/75R16 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw tyres, 16×8 steel Sunraysia rims

“I started the setup with the rear spring mount frame out of an 80 Series, and began narrowing it down to fit inside the Troopy chassis,” explains Craig.

This meant moving all of the spring mounts and upper control arm mounts on the diff to suit and also required me to move the rear fuel tank rearwards to fit the suspension frame in the right position and fabricate new lower control arm mounts.”

Once everything had been trial fitted and tack welded in place, Craig did some last minute measurements before welding everything into place in accordance with the engineer’s wishes.

Once completed, the suspension had a little bit of sag when loaded up, so Craig fitted some airbags to the rear to help out when fully loaded. One of the common complaints people have when fitting air lockers is oil blowing back up the air-lines, to combat this Craig fitted a $50 purge valve from ARB to the airline which has solved the problem completely.


VEHICLE: 1990 Toyota LandCruiser Troopcarrier
ENGINE: 1HD-T block, 1HZ head – 4.2L inline six-cylinder turbo diesel
GEARBOX: 5-speed manual
4WD ACTIVATION: Part time, manual locking hubs
SUSPENSION: 4in raised coils, 80 Series diffs and steering gear
WHEELS AND TYRES: 315/75R16 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws, 16x8in steel Sunraysia rims.

[share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true” reddit=”true” email=”true”]