overland-underwater.com - A charity drive from the UK to New Zealand
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Final Statistics: Alex & Maz Total distance: 93,550km
Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ Now settled in Sydney, Australia
Final Statistics: Martin Total distance: 79,698km
Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia Now settled in Bristol, UK

Choosing the Vehicles

Written by overland-underwater team. Uploaded 8 April 2005.

Choosing the car!

MaxAfter the BIGGEST decision was made to actually take an 18 month career break to drive to New Zealand, the close second most important decision was which vehicle we should take! The concept of the expedition meant that the team would be absolutely reliant on the vehicles for the entire duration of the adventure, providing us with transport, safety, accommodation, cooking, cleaning and storage of all our possessions. In short, the vehicles are the heart of the expedition.

Starting from the UK, the obvious choice would have been to choose Land Rovers and nothing conjures up the romance of overland adventure better than the classic LWB Land Rover. However having spent time overseas, we already knew of the reputation Toyota Land Cruisers maintain for their dominating presence throughout the rest of the world and their ability to tackle most terrains with ease. Unfortunately, their presence within the UK overland and off-road community is minimal, more often seen on the school and supermarket run, which meant preparation would be all the more challenging! So we could not immediately decide the better vehicle for the expedition.

MartinOur criteria needed the vehicles to be reliable, capable and comfortable for 18 months and 65,000km. It was a prolonged decision and we could argue either way for the Land Cruiser or Land Rover. However, although we anticipated preparation would be more challenging for a Land Cruiser, the tide was firmly swaying in their favour and Chris Scott's excellent book Sahara Overland helped consolidate our decision, to quote:

"Toyota Land Cruisers have set standards of reliability and durability to which all other 4WDs are compared." Alex & Maz "Your series Landrover will let in water, cook your feet, freeze other parts, deafen and shake you and suck dust like a hoover - learn to live with it."

Having now bought three Toyota Land Cruisers for the expedition we've never looked back and despite the additional aggravation of having equipment shipped from either Australia or South Africa, or even custom made, we are 150% confident we have the best vehicle available to undertake such a gruelling journey. Our warm up sessions around the UK have firmly convinced us of this fact, with their ability and durability astounding the Land Rover community that we've practiced with and the vehicle's reputation quickly grew from... "Are you sure you'll be okay, we are going off-road" to "bl**dy Land Cruisers" as we pass a broken down or stuck Land Rover...

Toyota Land Cruiser VX 80-Series 4.2L Turbo Diesel (Years 1991/1992/1993)

Technical Specifications:

Dimensions: 4780mm (L) x 1930mm (W) x 1875mm (H) Weight: 2100-2300kg GVM: 2960kg, towing: 750kg (unbraked) Turning radius: 6.4m (to wall)

Diesel: 1HDT 4164cc, 6cyl, turbo-charged, 4v/cyl, SOHC Bore: 94mm Stroke: 100mm, CR: 18.6:1

Transmission: 4-speed automatic, full-time 4WD (centre diff). Diff Locks: front/centre/rear

Suspension: beam-coil/beam-coil Brakes: disc/disc, handbrake acts on rear wheels Tyres: 265/75R16 (NB: these tyres proved nigh impossible to find on the road so would change to 285/75R16) Fuel-tank: 80L (standard) + 160L (auxiliary)

Service Schedule

It took quite a bit of hunting around to put together a service plan for the cars. We asked Toyota for their help in providing this along with a suggested list of spares, but they unfortunately didn't want to know! The schedule we settled on is a combination of information found in the Haynes manual 'Toyota - Land Cruiser (diesel) 1980 thru 1998' and 'Toyota Landcruiser 1990-2002 Diesel Engines' by Max Ellery.

Service schedule

Notes: 1. Range of oil viscosity depending on temperature. For best fuel economy and cold starting, select the lowest SAE viscosity grade for the expected temperature range 2. Change every 25,000 if operated in heavy city traffic where outside temperature regularly reaches 32C; or in hilly or mountainous terrain frequent trailer pulling

Spare Parts List

We took as much advise as we could gather and put together a 'must have' and 'optional' list. Carrying spare parts is a fine balance between having the most likely parts available to hand and the cost, weight and storage space required! This is the list we decided on for two cars and only ended up taking the 'must haves'.

Some useful part numbers that you'll need regularly: (make sure you use Toyota GENUINE)

Brakes - Front: 04465-YZZ53 Brakes - Rear: 04466-60020 Filter - Fuel: 23303-56040 or 90915-30001 Filter - Oil: 90915-30002 Bearing - Outer (Front or Rear): 90368-45087 (LM102949) Bearing - Inner (Front or Rear): 90368-49084 (JLM104948-N)

Must Have List

Must have spares

Optional List

Optional spares

You can also download a copy of the service excel spreadsheet which contains all this information.

We found Milner Offroad a good source of spare parts, but a word of warning - stick to the Toyota brake pads - they're more expensive but with such heavily ladden vehicles far far more durable (as we unfortunately found out too late!)

If you find any of this information helpful, please don't hesitate to stop by the donations link on the left..!

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