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Just between you and I, I’ve had more fourbies than anyone has a right to. From Ferozas (don’t judge me) to Pajeros, Patrols, HiLuxes, and just about everything in between. But six years ago, I finally gave in to the never-ending suggestion from my mates of buying an 80 Series LandCruiser, and to be honest, I’ve never looked back.

Sure, they’re getting long in the tooth these days, but they are infallible, and damn near indestructible (take that HiLux owners!) - trust me, I've tried. They are, however, not without their niggles, and if you’re in the market for an 80 Series, or have joined the dark side and own one, these are the things you’ll need to keep an eye out for.

WORDS BY WES WHITWORTH

GUIDE

The 80 Series ‘Cruisers are like the best mate you’ve had for 20 years. Sure, they may have a drinking problem, be a bit rough round the edges, but they’re dependable, and if you keep the sauce (read: oil) up to them, they’re always there for you no matter what.

80 Series
Toyota LandCruiser

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CHASSIS CRACKS AROUND THE STEERING BOX
Being a massively popular solid axle front end four-wheel drive, the first thing everyone does when they get an 80, is lob 33in tyres (or bigger) on it. The suspension kits are relatively cheap for them, and 35s can be made to fit with as little as a 2” lift. Air the bigger rubber down when you’re out playing in the dirt, and all of a sudden there’s a lot of stress on your steering box. Keep putting that sort of stress on the box and chassis over many years, and it will develop a weak point that’s prone to cracking. So make sure you have a look around the box for cracks if you own an 80 or are looking to buy one.

problem
solution

Thankfully, the solution is pretty straight forward. There are more than a few 4X4 fabricators out there that are knocking up plates to reinforce the chassis around the steering box. If you’re handy with a welder, you can install them yourself, or chances are you can ask the company that knocks them up to install them too. With a set of plates, you’ll never need to worry about them again.

HANDBRAKE? WHAT HANDBRAKE?!
80 Series, and indeed most ‘Cruisers (Ed note: My HiLux handbrake must have been an optional extra too) are renowned for needing to carry a brick around with you to use as a handbrake. The cause of the lack of handbrake is a couple of layers deep. First, is a poor adjustment. Second is poor maintenance. Third, is the old dogbones in the drums just don’t work as they should, and lastly, is the design of the handbrake lever.

But, all is not lost; you can make them work again. However, there’s not been a complete fix that will last the ages, short of installing (and I feel dirty having to write this) a Nissan style handbrake on the rear of the transfer case.

problem
solution

The fix for the handbrake is neither pretty nor easy. But bear with us, and chances are you can have a working handbrake. First off the bat, you want to actually adjust it. There are two adjustment points; one at the actual handbrake handle, and one at the drum on the rear. Make sure you adjust both, and you’ll breathe a touch of life back into your 80. From there, while you’ve got the rear disc/drums apart adjusting it, check to make sure you’ve got meat left on your shoes before trying to tighten metal on metal – ask me how I know.

There are more than a few dogbones getting around for sale as an upgrade, that have worked with varying degrees of success. The dogbones are the pivot point for the brake shoes, and the upgraded versions area touch longer than the factory Toyota jobbies, allowing more contact to be made. And finally, you have the upgraded handbrake lever kits – these change the pivot point on the handbrake, allowing more pull on the cable over the factory gear.

Fixing the handbrake is neither sexy nor cheap, but, if you start with this list, chances are you’ll get a working handbrake… at least for a while.

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BIG END BEARINGS
If you own a diesel 80 Series, whether it be a 1HZ or 1HD engine, it’d be worth having your big end bearings looked at. They’re known to have issues from the factory, and with the old 80s getting on in age, if they’ve not been looked at before, now would be the time. Poor maintenance is the usual culprit here, however being a bearing, they are a consumable part and do wear out. Replacing the big end bearings is a lot cheaper than replacing a crank when they do fail.

problem
solution

The fix is pretty straight forward, and they can be done in the car. Essentially your sump comes off, bearing caps follow, and you can then replace the bearings. If you’re not mechanically minded, it’d pay to have your mechanic do the work. If you get their replacement wrong, you’re going to have a bad time.

POWER STEERING LEAK
Unfortunately, 80s are renowned for losing power steering fluid like it’s going out of fashion. Hoses have been replaced, steering boxes rebuilt, and more often than not, the cause of the leak is misdiagnosed. The cause of most of these leaks is simply the reservoir. Yep really. So after you’ve paid a squillion dollars to replace hoses and rebuild the everything, you’ll find that it’s such a simple issue, and rather easy to fix.

Under the cap of the power steering reservoir, there’s a rubber seal that clamps down when you tighten the lid. Same too, under the top plate of the reservoir, there’s another one there, where the top of the reservoir is crimped when they were manufactured. These are replaceable.

problem
solution

Fixing this issue is as simple as removing the reservoir, putting it on the bench, pulling it apart and replacing the seals. Obviously, the lid comes off easy, but if you look under the lip of the reservoir, you’ll see little clamp marks from when it was built. Gently pry these open, and you’ll be able to separate the top from the body of it and find a rubber seal under there.

Lob into your local parts store, and you’ll be able to get replacement seals. All you need to do from here is reinstall them, recrimp the top and replace the lid, and all of a sudden, no more power steering leak!

SNAPPED AXLE STUDS
If you’re planning on wheeling your 80 over some angrier terrain (and let’s face it, why else do you own one?), spinning wheels and driving the old girl hard, chances are you’ll end up with snapped axle studs on the rear. Many folks upgrade the axle studs with 10mm from the standard 8mm and have few problems. The issue is that they’re not addressing the most likely cause of the problem, which is a slightly bent/warped axle. This is often caused by blokes belting the axle end with a hammer to try to loosen the cone washers when they invariably need to replace an axle seal or wheel bearing. Hot tip: Don’t belt the axle end when trying to get them undone. A brass drift tapping the end of the studs is usually enough to get them to loosen up, or a small flat blade screwdriver into the slot in the cone washer with a slight tap if not.

What belting them randomly with a hammer does, is warps the face of the axle, so it won’t tighten down square again, putting pressure on one stud, instead of all of them equally — one will fracture, and then the next and so on until you spit an axle randomly.

problem
solution

If you know someone with a lathe or have a local machine shop, this is a piece of cake to fix. All you need to do is put the axle in a lathe and have the axle end refaced so that it’s square with the axle. Don’t get me wrong, chances are it may be too far gone to save, but I refaced the axles in my 80 not long after I got it and have never snapped an axle stud. (knocks on wood).

Alternatively, if you’re going to get it refaced, it may well be worth upgrading to the 10mm studs at the same time. This will let you run 35’s or bigger without ever having to worry about axle studs again.

GUIDE

Just between you and I, I’ve had more fourbies than anyone has a right to. From Ferozas (don’t judge me) to Pajeros, Patrols, HiLuxes, and just about everything in between. But six years ago, I finally gave in to the never-ending suggestion from my mates of buying an 80 Series LandCruiser, and to be honest, I’ve never looked back.

Sure, they’re getting long in the tooth these days, but they are infallible, and damn near indestructible (take that HiLux owners!) - trust me, I've tried. They are, however, not without their niggles, and if you’re in the market for an 80 Series, or have joined the dark side and own one, these are the things you’ll need to keep an eye out for.

WORDS BY WES WHITWORTH

The 80 Series ‘Cruisers are like the best mate you’ve had for 20 years. Sure, they may have a drinking problem, be a bit rough round the edges, but they’re dependable, and if you keep the sauce (read: oil) up to them, they’re always there for you no matter what.

80 Series
Toyota LandCruiser

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

CHASSIS CRACKS AROUND THE STEERING BOX
Being a massively popular solid axle front end four-wheel drive, the first thing everyone does when they get an 80, is lob 33in tyres (or bigger) on it. The suspension kits are relatively cheap for them, and 35s can be made to fit with as little as a 2” lift. Air the bigger rubber down when you’re out playing in the dirt, and all of a sudden there’s a lot of stress on your steering box. Keep putting that sort of stress on the box and chassis over many years, and it will develop a weak point that’s prone to cracking. So make sure you have a look around the box for cracks if you own an 80 or are looking to buy one.

problem
solution

Thankfully, the solution is pretty straight forward. There are more than a few 4X4 fabricators out there that are knocking up plates to reinforce the chassis around the steering box. If you’re handy with a welder, you can install them yourself, or chances are you can ask the company that knocks them up to install them too. With a set of plates, you’ll never need to worry about them again.

HANDBRAKE? WHAT HANDBRAKE?!
80 Series, and indeed most ‘Cruisers (Ed note: My HiLux handbrake must have been an optional extra too) are renowned for needing to carry a brick around with you to use as a handbrake. The cause of the lack of handbrake is a couple of layers deep. First, is a poor adjustment. Second is poor maintenance. Third, is the old dogbones in the drums just don’t work as they should, and lastly, is the design of the handbrake lever.

But, all is not lost; you can make them work again. However, there’s not been a complete fix that will last the ages, short of installing (and I feel dirty having to write this) a Nissan style handbrake on the rear of the transfer case.

problem
solution

The fix for the handbrake is neither pretty nor easy. But bear with us, and chances are you can have a working handbrake. First off the bat, you want to actually adjust it. There are two adjustment points; one at the actual handbrake handle, and one at the drum on the rear. Make sure you adjust both, and you’ll breathe a touch of life back into your 80. From there, while you’ve got the rear disc/drums apart adjusting it, check to make sure you’ve got meat left on your shoes before trying to tighten metal on metal – ask me how I know.

There are more than a few dogbones getting around for sale as an upgrade, that have worked with varying degrees of success. The dogbones are the pivot point for the brake shoes, and the upgraded versions area touch longer than the factory Toyota jobbies, allowing more contact to be made. And finally, you have the upgraded handbrake lever kits – these change the pivot point on the handbrake, allowing more pull on the cable over the factory gear.

Fixing the handbrake is neither sexy nor cheap, but, if you start with this list, chances are you’ll get a working handbrake… at least for a while.

ADVERTISEMENT

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

BIG END BEARINGS
If you own a diesel 80 Series, whether it be a 1HZ or 1HD engine, it’d be worth having your big end bearings looked at. They’re known to have issues from the factory, and with the old 80s getting on in age, if they’ve not been looked at before, now would be the time. Poor maintenance is the usual culprit here, however being a bearing, they are a consumable part and do wear out. Replacing the big end bearings is a lot cheaper than replacing a crank when they do fail.

problem
solution

The fix is pretty straight forward, and they can be done in the car. Essentially your sump comes off, bearing caps follow, and you can then replace the bearings. If you’re not mechanically minded, it’d pay to have your mechanic do the work. If you get their replacement wrong, you’re going to have a bad time.

POWER STEERING LEAK
Unfortunately, 80s are renowned for losing power steering fluid like it’s going out of fashion. Hoses have been replaced, steering boxes rebuilt, and more often than not, the cause of the leak is misdiagnosed. The cause of most of these leaks is simply the reservoir. Yep really. So after you’ve paid a squillion dollars to replace hoses and rebuild the everything, you’ll find that it’s such a simple issue, and rather easy to fix.

Under the cap of the power steering reservoir, there’s a rubber seal that clamps down when you tighten the lid. Same too, under the top plate of the reservoir, there’s another one there, where the top of the reservoir is crimped when they were manufactured. These are replaceable.

problem
solution

Fixing this issue is as simple as removing the reservoir, putting it on the bench, pulling it apart and replacing the seals. Obviously, the lid comes off easy, but if you look under the lip of the reservoir, you’ll see little clamp marks from when it was built. Gently pry these open, and you’ll be able to separate the top from the body of it and find a rubber seal under there.

Lob into your local parts store, and you’ll be able to get replacement seals. All you need to do from here is reinstall them, recrimp the top and replace the lid, and all of a sudden, no more power steering leak!

SNAPPED AXLE STUDS
If you’re planning on wheeling your 80 over some angrier terrain (and let’s face it, why else do you own one?), spinning wheels and driving the old girl hard, chances are you’ll end up with snapped axle studs on the rear. Many folks upgrade the axle studs with 10mm from the standard 8mm and have few problems. The issue is that they’re not addressing the most likely cause of the problem, which is a slightly bent/warped axle. This is often caused by blokes belting the axle end with a hammer to try to loosen the cone washers when they invariably need to replace an axle seal or wheel bearing. Hot tip: Don’t belt the axle end when trying to get them undone. A brass drift tapping the end of the studs is usually enough to get them to loosen up, or a small flat blade screwdriver into the slot in the cone washer with a slight tap if not.

What belting them randomly with a hammer does, is warps the face of the axle, so it won’t tighten down square again, putting pressure on one stud, instead of all of them equally — one will fracture, and then the next and so on until you spit an axle randomly.

problem
solution

If you know someone with a lathe or have a local machine shop, this is a piece of cake to fix. All you need to do is put the axle in a lathe and have the axle end refaced so that it’s square with the axle. Don’t get me wrong, chances are it may be too far gone to save, but I refaced the axles in my 80 not long after I got it and have never snapped an axle stud. (knocks on wood).

Alternatively, if you’re going to get it refaced, it may well be worth upgrading to the 10mm studs at the same time. This will let you run 35’s or bigger without ever having to worry about axle studs again.