VEHICLES Custom 79 Series

Kyle blames four-wheel drive magazines and DVDs for his love of wheeling. More exciting than car magazines, he reckons the freedom a 4X4 offers had him hooked the moment he got his L-plates. See, along with this dad, Kyle joined a four-wheel drive club and drove the family rig at tag-along days with his dad riding shotgun.

Fast forward a handful of years and Kyle ended up buying and modifying a 2014 Jeep Wrangler which he had lifted and running on 35s. A terror on the tracks, he said, it was a shocker on sand and a rubbish tourer, managing just 300 kilometres from a tank of fuel. The limited range and its size eventually convinced Kyle to get rid of the Wrangler…sort of. See, he knew whatever he got next had to have a solid axle.

After building up his rock-crawling Wrangler, Kyle felt cramped. He wanted something with similar ability but more room…thanks to Instagram he bought and built this 79 Series LandCruiser.

Insta-inspired

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS, IMAGES BY WES WHITWORTH AND KYLE LIEPA-KELLY

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That, after some Instagram trawling (stay with me) led him right to his local Toyota dealership and the decision to buy a 2017 LandCruiser 79 Series Double-Cab. The 79 ticked the solid-axle box, and Kyle reckoned it’d prove a more reliable daily driver, and the 1VD 4.5L V8 was icing on the cake both because of the grumble from the exhaust but because of the almost limitless modifications available for it. Oh, and Instagram. Yep, it’s a known fact that if you buy a 79 Series you’ve got to have an Instagram account, and Kyle reckons the account of Rob “Kracken” Morris (@krackencruiser) provided some extra inspiration for his purchase.

Beginner to advanced

Private acreage customised for off-road training

Winch and recovery

Safety and safety gear tips

Meet fellow off road enthusiasts with a similar skillset

Got the vehicle, get the skills!

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The 1VD didn’t stay stock for long. Kyle told us the power upgrades are his favourite changes to the 'Cruiser, and they include, a GSL exhaust, tune and snorkel, and an NPC heavy-duty clutch (there’s a story behind this). Just this has seen the turbo-diesel V8’s numbers jump from 151kW at 3400rpm and 430Nm at 1900rpm to 167.1kW at 2500rpm and 710Nm at 1900rpm. The four-inch, custom stainless steel snorkel and exhaust (four inch running from a five-inch dump pipe) from GSL really stand out. The exhaust also has a straight-through race resonator so you can hear Kyle coming from a suburb away.

The 79’s standard clutch couldn’t handle the extra power and torque and gave up the ghost while Kyle was on Fraser Island. Limping the thing to GSL in Toowoomba, Kyle had a heavy-duty clutch from NPC fitted and he hasn’t had an issue since. For now. See, Kyle told us he’s planning on pushing the 79’s engine to 260kW with an upgrade to the turbo, injectors, intercooler and everything else associated with making more power.

But there’s more to this 79 Series than just the engine, clutch and exhaust. Get down on the ground and take a look underneath and you’ll see Kyle’s spent a lot of time and money to get the thing to flex. But, as with most of these things, it started fairly tame with an off-the-shelf two-inch lift kit from ARB. Running around with that it wasn’t long before Kyle wanted more…

Taking inspiration from his old Wrangler, Kyle added longer shocks, new coils, sway bar disconnects, along with upgraded steering components and a steering damper. Once Kyle started fiddling with the suspension, he couldn’t be stopped; an ARB leaf pack with extended shackles went in the rear and longer shocks followed. He then had to fit longer brake hoses and breather lines, especially once he installed four-inch lifted Dobinsons coils in the front with Comp Rods radius arms. These were mated to Superior Engineering remote reservoir shocks, which aren’t even for a 79 Series but from a Patrol (but let’s not talk about that); although Kyle chose them as they’re designed for six-inch lifts and provide 11.5-inches of travel. The 79 has factory elockers front and rear, and as a back up a 13,500lb Runva winch. That sits on an ARB Big Tube Deluxe bull bar with brush bars.

Like a lot of things in life, this build was a bit of trial and error and while the suspension setup gave Kyle the ride he wanted, he also wanted a canopy on the back. And, once that went on the whole thing ended up sagging. To fix that, Kyle had a custom set of four-inch leaf springs made up which had a better shackle angle; he added a set of Boss Triple Bellow Airbags to keep the back end level once fully loaded.

Speaking of canopies, Kyle went with a 1200L jack-off Rolloc Canopy on a tray, which Kyle fitted himself, and he is currently in the process of fitting it out; being a qualified carpenter comes in handy. The canopy meant a slight sacrifice in the off-road performance, but it was a sacrifice Kyle was willing to make to build his ‘ultimate camping setup’. In the canopy is a 130L Bushman upright fridge, powered by an auxiliary battery setup under the bonnet and managed by a Projecta DC-DC charging system.

As anyone who’s ever built a four-wheel drive from the ground up knows, the way you equip and build your 4X4 is a very personal thing. And given this rig has been a case of trial and error and tweak, Kyle’s not stopping anytime soon, constantly thinking about different ways to do things or changes he wants to make…like an automatic transmission install and a custom paint job. Check him out on Instagram @kyle_liepakelly.

VEHICLES Custom 79 Series

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS, IMAGES BY WES WHITWORTH AND KYLE LIEPA-KELLY

Kyle blames four-wheel drive magazines and DVDs for his love of wheeling. More exciting than car magazines, he reckons the freedom a 4X4 offers had him hooked the moment he got his L-plates. See, along with this dad, Kyle joined a four-wheel drive club and drove the family rig at tag-along days with his dad riding shotgun.

Fast forward a handful of years and Kyle ended up buying and modifying a 2014 Jeep Wrangler which he had lifted and running on 35s. A terror on the tracks, he said, it was a shocker on sand and a rubbish tourer, managing just 300 kilometres from a tank of fuel. The limited range and its size eventually convinced Kyle to get rid of the Wrangler…sort of. See, he knew whatever he got next had to have a solid axle.

After building up his rock-crawling Wrangler, Kyle felt cramped. He wanted something with similar ability but more room…thanks to Instagram he bought and built this 79 Series LandCruiser.

Insta-inspired

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

That, after some Instagram trawling (stay with me) led him right to his local Toyota dealership and the decision to buy a 2017 LandCruiser 79 Series Double-Cab. The 79 ticked the solid-axle box, and Kyle reckoned it’d prove a more reliable daily driver, and the 1VD 4.5L V8 was icing on the cake both because of the grumble from the exhaust but because of the almost limitless modifications available for it. Oh, and Instagram. Yep, it’s a known fact that if you buy a 79 Series you’ve got to have an Instagram account, and Kyle reckons the account of Rob “Kracken” Morris (@krackencruiser) provided some extra inspiration for his purchase.

Beginner to advanced

Private acreage customised for off-road training

Winch and recovery

Safety and safety gear tips

Meet fellow off road enthusiasts with a similar skillset

Got the vehicle, get the skills!

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

The 1VD didn’t stay stock for long. Kyle told us the power upgrades are his favourite changes to the 'Cruiser, and they include, a GSL exhaust, tune and snorkel, and an NPC heavy-duty clutch (there’s a story behind this). Just this has seen the turbo-diesel V8’s numbers jump from 151kW at 3400rpm and 430Nm at 1900rpm to 167.1kW at 2500rpm and 710Nm at 1900rpm. The four-inch, custom stainless steel snorkel and exhaust (four inch running from a five-inch dump pipe) from GSL really stand out. The exhaust also has a straight-through race resonator so you can hear Kyle coming from a suburb away.

The 79’s standard clutch couldn’t handle the extra power and torque and gave up the ghost while Kyle was on Fraser Island. Limping the thing to GSL in Toowoomba, Kyle had a heavy-duty clutch from NPC fitted and he hasn’t had an issue since. For now. See, Kyle told us he’s planning on pushing the 79’s engine to 260kW with an upgrade to the turbo, injectors, intercooler and everything else associated with making more power.

But there’s more to this 79 Series than just the engine, clutch and exhaust. Get down on the ground and take a look underneath and you’ll see Kyle’s spent a lot of time and money to get the thing to flex. But, as with most of these things, it started fairly tame with an off-the-shelf two-inch lift kit from ARB. Running around with that it wasn’t long before Kyle wanted more…

Taking inspiration from his old Wrangler, Kyle added longer shocks, new coils, sway bar disconnects, along with upgraded steering components and a steering damper. Once Kyle started fiddling with the suspension, he couldn’t be stopped; an ARB leaf pack with extended shackles went in the rear and longer shocks followed. He then had to fit longer brake hoses and breather lines, especially once he installed four-inch lifted Dobinsons coils in the front with Comp Rods radius arms. These were mated to Superior Engineering remote reservoir shocks, which aren’t even for a 79 Series but from a Patrol (but let’s not talk about that); although Kyle chose them as they’re designed for six-inch lifts and provide 11.5-inches of travel. The 79 has factory elockers front and rear, and as a back up a 13,500lb Runva winch. That sits on an ARB Big Tube Deluxe bull bar with brush bars.

Like a lot of things in life, this build was a bit of trial and error and while the suspension setup gave Kyle the ride he wanted, he also wanted a canopy on the back. And, once that went on the whole thing ended up sagging. To fix that, Kyle had a custom set of four-inch leaf springs made up which had a better shackle angle; he added a set of Boss Triple Bellow Airbags to keep the back end level once fully loaded.

Speaking of canopies, Kyle went with a 1200L jack-off Rolloc Canopy on a tray, which Kyle fitted himself, and he is currently in the process of fitting it out; being a qualified carpenter comes in handy. The canopy meant a slight sacrifice in the off-road performance, but it was a sacrifice Kyle was willing to make to build his ‘ultimate camping setup’. In the canopy is a 130L Bushman upright fridge, powered by an auxiliary battery setup under the bonnet and managed by a Projecta DC-DC charging system.

As anyone who’s ever built a four-wheel drive from the ground up knows, the way you equip and build your 4X4 is a very personal thing. And given this rig has been a case of trial and error and tweak, Kyle’s not stopping anytime soon, constantly thinking about different ways to do things or changes he wants to make…like an automatic transmission install and a custom paint job. Check him out on Instagram @kyle_liepakelly.

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