PETROL-TO-DIESEL CONVERSION DONE AT HOME!

Meet Simon – this bloke is an extremely passionate 4WDer and is 100% dedicated to his truck. He’s a mechanic by trade and is the proud owner of a mint 1995 80 Series LandCruiser. But, this isn’t your average 80 Series you see. “The 80 Series belonged to my parents which they had bought new. I learnt to drive in the 4WD and started driving it when I got my licence. I then threw on some 33s and a 2in lift and slowly it became mine”, says Simon.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”From humble beginnings as a stock standard family 4WD, Simon inherited his parent’s petrol 80 Series and converted” [/blockquote]
“I thought to myself, this is the perfect opportunity to build something different, to build my dream 4WD.” It was stock, in immaculate condition and had very low km’s for its age. Now was as better a time than ever for Simon to start the build-up of the 80. “It had the 4.5L 1FZ-fe petrol engine in it, which don’t get me wrong is an awesome engine, I just wanted something more”. So, Simon decided to take on an engine conversion head-on in his parents shed. Let’s take a closer look at Simon’s conversion and the aspects that make this 80 Series an ultimate tourer.

EXTERIOR
  • ARB DELUXE WINCH BAR
  • BARWORX 4X4 CUSTOM SLIDERS AND BRUSH BARS
  • BUDS CUSTOMS REAR BAR
  • RUNVA 12XP WINCH
  • LIGHTFORCE 240 SPOTLIGHTS AND 42IN LIGHTBAR

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”I learnt to drive this 80- it’s really been a passion project!”[/blockquote]

The exterior of Simon’s 80 Series is a perfect example of what a touring 4WD should include. On top of the 80 is a steel roof cage that holds his swags, high-lift jack and MaxTrax. Up front is an ARB Deluxe bar that houses a Runva 12XP winch that’ll get him out of any trouble. Coming off the front bar are brush bars that run down into sliders, custom made by Barworx 4×4. These ensure the 80 is protected when tackling those tough low-range tracks. On the rear Simon has added a Bud’s Customs rear bar with an inbuilt towbar that holds a spare and a jerry can.

ENGIVE CONVERSION
  • CONVERTED FROM A 1FZ TO A 1HZ
  • CT26 TURBO AND ASI TOP-MOUNT INTERCOOLER
  • FACTORY DIFFLOCKS FROM DONOR 80
  • 3IN MANDREL BENT CUSTOM EXHAUST

It takes a certain kind of person to take on a whole engine conversion by themselves, and Simon has done just that – although, it does help when you’re a mechanic by trade! Having to travel upwards of 120km a day for work, the 80 needed to have a solid and reliable engine, which it already did with the big petrol engine. But Simon also wanted to build the Cruiser into a highly capable and reliable tourer, so he saw no other option than to swap out the 1FZ for a 1HZ. “I bought a donor 80 Series to do the conversion; it was factory turbo diesel auto Sahara. The 1HDT let go on the previous owner and they swapped it for a 1HZ and fitted all the turbo gear to it”, says Simon. “I was able to pick it up really cheap, and having factory diff locks was an added bonus as well.” So into his parents shed it was, and there started the conversion.

“Fitting the motor was simple; all the engine mounts lined up perfectly so it was a reasonably quick and clean swap”, says Simon. “As far as the transmission went, I wanted to keep the original A442F auto as it’s a smooth and responsive unit. To do this, I had to swap the bell housing and torque converter off the A440 from the donor 80. As with the motor; everything then lined up and easily bolted in. I went with a Compushift Transmission Controller from Wholesale Automatic Transmissions to control the auto”. Everything else such as fuel tanks, fuel lines and fuel filter bracket allowed Simon to bolt them straight in.

Being a 1HZ the wiring is very simple and straightforward, but Simon wanted to get it right the first time round so decided that a professional to do the wiring would be the best option. He decided to take it to Killa Auto Electrics in Gympie who performed a problem-free job of the wiring. One problem Simon ran into was the new engine running hot. “After fitting the diesel the engine ran hotter than it previously did so to overcome this problem I swapped the standard radiator for a bigger custom PWR Alloy unit.” As the donor 80 also came with having factory diff locks, Simon wasn’t gonna let them go to waste, so he installed them onto his 80.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”I got a bargain on the donor 80 – it even came with factory diff locks!”[/blockquote]

Apart from the wiring, it’s important to note that Simon has done all the work himself, which is an incredible feat. “Although I feel a great sense of accomplishment with the conversion, I’d probably buy a factory diesel instead of converting in the future. This isn’t to say don’t do it yourself; if you have the time, money and the resources, I say go for it – you won’t be disappointed!”

ENGINE CONVERSION AT A GLANCE

Total cost of conversion?
Not too sure as it was very recent, but by selling other parts off the donor 80 and selling the old engine, I should break even. Also because I did nearly all the work myself
Total time of conversion?
The 4WD was off the road for about a month, and I work Monday-Friday so it was done in about four weekend’s worth of work
Hardest part of the conversion?
Deciding what to do with the transmission, to either swap it or modify it
Why did you do it?
The petrol was also running injected gas, and when I did my Cape trip the last servo that had gas was in Cairns. So I wanted bigger fuel range, economy and power to tow my boat
What would you do different next time?
Buy a diesel and swap gear straight up
Benefits of the conversion?
Bigger fuel range, great torque and pulling power, better fuel economy

SUSPENSION, WHEELS AND TYRES
  • EFS 3IN HD COILS
  • EFS EXTREME 5IN SHOCKS
  • 315/75R16 KUMHO KL71
  • DYNAMIC STEEL WHEELS

“My mates had run the EFS Extreme Shocks on their 4WDs and couldn’t speak more highly of them. They had a good warranty and featured a solid construction, so it was a no brainer”, says Simon. “Everyone that has been in my Cruiser has commented on how great it rides, especially in the rough stuff – loaded or unloaded. I’m also thinking of fitting airbags in the rear springs to reduce the sag when fully loaded, but that’s another story.”

INTERIOR & 12V
  • UNIDEN 80CH UHF
  • HEMA OFFROAD MAPS ON IPAD
  • EGT AND BOOST GAUGES
  • 57L ENGEL FRIDGE WITH CUSTOM FRIDGE CAGE
  • TRIPLE BATTERY SETUP

Simon has kept the interior of his 80 simple yet functional. “A mate and I built the Cruiser a custom rear drawer system for storing those odds and ends”, says Simon. “I also made a custom fridge cage to protect the 57L Engel fridge.” He ended up buying an old security door for around 60 bucks, and by modifying it he had an awesome fridge cage, all for under $100. “I couldn’t justify spending 600 odd bucks on an MSA fridge cage.” Simon has rigged up an insane 12V setup consisting of three batteries – a Century Overlander starter battery, a Century Marine Pro and a Century 100Ah AGM battery. This system has a Redarc isolator between the under-bonnet batteries and a Redarc BC-DC charger between the second and third battery. “My favourite mods would have to be the drawer system and 12V setup. It’s made camping and touring so much easier and organised.”

FUTURE PLANS

Simon’s got a few big plans lined up for the Cruiser in coming years. “Some future plans are finding a 1HD-fte to go into it along with a 5-speed auto out of a 100 Series”, says Simon. Wow, it sure does sound like we will be seeing more of Simon’s big 80 in the future, make sure you stay tuned!

RUNDOWN

VEHICLE: 1995 Toyota 80 Series LandCruiser
ENGINE: 1HZ 4.2L diesel with aftermarket turbo
GEARBOX: A442F with Compushift computer
4WD ACTIVATION: Full-time 4WD, manual
SUSPENSION: EFS 3in H/D coils with EFS Extreme 5in Shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES:  315/75R16 Kumho KL71s on Dynamic Steel wheels
OTHER GOOD GEAR: Side awning and ARB rear awning, triple battery setup, custom rear drawer system, steel roof cage, Safari snorkel

THANKS TO

“I’d like to thank my parents for the Cruiser and their shed which is still full of my leftover bits and pieces, and my fiancé for the countless number of weekends, late nights and money spent on the build.”

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