80 Series Newbie Guide

Newbie Guide

Information for new ’91-’97 Toyota Land Cruiser 80 series owner


As soon as the excitement of the purchase starts to fade, the questions start popping up. What modifications can I make? What are those 4 bolts on the back bumper? etc etc.

This guide is intended as a quick read for new owners and will hopefully point them in the right direction as far as obtaining service, help and support. This guide applies mostly to US based 80 Series (or Lexus LX 450’s) unless otherwise noted.

The information on this list is a compilation of personal experience, submissions from readers and knowledge gained from belonging to the 80 Series email list. Details about this list can be found at the following site.

This guide should not be taken as a do all, end all. Personal responsibility should still be taken for any purchase or modification made based on the information supplied on this list. Slee does not guarantee the correctness of the information or the content of this guide.


We get asked a lot to inspect vehicles, or what should one look for when evaluating a used vehicle. Below is a list of items we look at. Some are specific to the 80 Series Land Cruiser and some are generic.


Carfax is a good source for checking the accident history of the vehicle. However, unless the car was totaled even major accidents might not show up. This is typically the case then a car was repaired for the existing owner. The following are some items to look for in checking for accident damage.

  • Signs of overspray on trim pieces, lights and inner fenders
  • Weld and signs of repair work on inner fenders, core supports and underside of body
  • Check for VIN stickers in doors, hood, tailgate. Late model 80 Series had stickers attached to every body panel.
  • Check body panels with a magnet. If body filler was used, the magnet won’t stick in places.
  • Use Polaroid sun glasses and look at the paint. Repainted panels will stand out, especially if they are metallic paint.
  • Check body lines and panel gaps for alignment
  • Check A/B/C/D pillars for overspray or signs of paint matching. These are the normal placed where the body shop will try to blend the paint if just one panel was painted.
  • Check the overall shine of the paint on different panels.
  • Check for dirt in the paint, or changes in texture. The factory paint is uniform and clean.
  • Check behind the rock panels, fenders and tailgates for signs of repair.
  • Check the edges of body panels for paint masking marks or body filler.
  • Check for marks on frame where it might have been pulled on a frame straightening machine


On vehicles where a lot of accessories were added bad wiring can cause endless headaches.

  • Check all lights, horn, interior lights and electrical parts for functionality
  • Check fuse box for incorrect wire taps or modifications
  • Check for blown fuses
  • Check condition of battery
  • Check for corrosion under battery tray
  • If possible, remove dash panel below steering wheel or look underneath. This is most often the spot where accessories are installed. Check the neatness of the installation and correct splicing of wires. A rats nest is normally an indication that the work was not done properly.
  • Check for additional wires that were added to the positive terminal on the battery. Check that these were done properly, routed properly and fused properly.
  • Look underneath the back and along the frame rails to see if any trailer wiring was done properly.


Indications that the interior was kept clean and maintained is normally a good indication of the overall owners attitude towards the vehicle. Do not confuse a detailed interior with one that was kept clean on a regular basis.

  • Check for scratches on plastic trim pieces.
  • Check condition of upholstery, headliners, door panels and trim pieces.
  • Check under seats for dirt
  • Check the operation of the electric seat
  • Check the operation of all the heater controls, radio and other accessories
  • Check interior lights
  • Check for mildew and water stains on carpet.

Drive Train

  • Check head/block interface for antifreeze leaks.
  • Check outside of steering knuckles for oil & grease. Caked on dirt and grease is a good indication that the inner axle seals has failed some time ago and internal components could be damaged or worn beyond service specs.
  • Remove the square fill plug on the knuckle and take a sample of the grease. If the grease is runny, it is also an indication that the differential oil is running into the knuckle.
  • Check if radiator has been replaced. This could be indications of overheating conditions previously.
  • Check if there are deposits in the coolant overflow bottle. This could also indicate deposits in the radiator.
  • Check for leaks underneath.
  • Check tires for uneven wear.
  • Check tires to for the same tread on all tires.
  • Check that all the tires are the same brand and size
  • Check condition of spare and if it is the correct wheel
  • Check if any drive train components have been replaced. If so, try to determine why.
  • Check for vibrations during drive.
  • Check all fluids to see how dirty they are. Dirty fluids are an indication of owner neglect.
  • Run the engine at normal temperatures and check for unusual smells
  • Listen for any unusual sounds
  • Check for signs of any emissions equipment that might be removed.
  • Check exhaust system for rust, holes and repairs
  • Check for blue or white smoke when car accelerates.
  • Check the automatic transmission shifts smoothly
  • Check that the electric lockers engage by turning them on in low range and driving on a low traction surface
  • Apply the brakes at different speeds and see if there is any fade, or if the vehicle pulls sideways.
  • Apply brakes lightly and check for any vibrations through the pedal
  • Turn the steering from lock to lock and listed for any noises and/or roughness
  • Test drive the vehicle at highway speed and see if there are any vibrations l


1.1 US models

The first model of the 80 Series imported to the US was the 1991 model. This model was sold until 1992. 1993 saw the introduction of the new 4.5 L motor. In 1995, the dash was updated to include airbags and this model ran until 1997, which was the last year of the 80 Series. Below is a list of major specifications and changes that were made.


  • First major wagon body re-design since the 1980 introduction of the 60
  • 3FE 4.0L engine and A440F automatic transmission held over from the 62 series wagons.
  • Introduction of full time, four wheel drive system.
  • Introduction of all coil suspension for the wagons.
  • 15″ x 7″ alloy wheels standard and unique to ’91-92 but the same as SR5 mini-truck wheels
  • front disk / rear drum brakes with FF front and SF rear axles
  • third row seats available for the first time
  • no airbags available
  • no ABS brake system available
  • no factory lockers available


  • Introduction of 16″ wheels.
  • Rear axle changes to full floater with disk brakes when equipped with ABS
  • Also gets viscous coupling HF2AV transfer case versus
    non-viscous HF2A transfer case for drum braked 80’s (and fj80’s)
  • Introduction of 4.5l 24 valve motor.
  • Front and Rear factory lockers become an option.
  • Automatic transmission – Electronic Controlled A442Fwith mechanical lockup converter
  • Somewhere in 1993 the AC system changed from R12 to R134. With the R12 systems the dryer unit was in front of the battery and with the R134 it moved to behind the bumper.  Might have been in 1993
  • The thickness of the drive plates on the front hubs were increased after April 1994 (build date). The new drive flange number is 43421-60040 and the old one is 43421-60022. If you try to install an earlier birfield into a later truck, you will not be able to install the circlip on the end of the axle shaft.
  • Supercharger systems now available for 1993-1994 models.
  • Front ABS Lines are routed on the front control arm.
  • Radiator is a 3 row brass core.


  • 1996 saw the introduction of the Lexus LX450 Model.
  • Exhaust system changed from side by side catalytic converters to in-line converters. The exhaust also routes below the frame rail just behind the catalytic converters to avoid excessive heat on the passenger floor-boards.
  • Front grill changed from the word TOYOTA written across the front to the new Toyota symbol.
  • Headlight mounts are different from 1991-1994 vs. 1995-1997 and will not interchange.
  • Redesigned dash board with airbags as standard equipment.
  • Headliner changed to two piece molded units.
  • Emission system on engine changes. Changed from a Mass Air Pressure meter to a Mass Air Flow meter. Certain plumbing was also removed.
  • Supercharger & Turbo systems available for 1995-1997 models.
  • ECU updates and truck became voluntary OBD-II compatible. Fully compatible in 1996 models.
  • Wheel Lug nuts change from conical to washer type.
  • Airbags become standard
  • Automatic transmission changes to the A343F. Some 95’s were produced with the A442F. The transmission type is printed on the label on the driver door.
  • 1997 saw the introduction of the 40th Anniversary editions as well as the Collectors Series.
  • 1997 the rear swaybar brackets that attach the bar to the frame were changed from a plate side that attached to the side of the frame to a bracket style that attached to the bottom of the frame.
  • ABS wires on the front were moved upward and no longer run down the front control arm.
  • Radiator is a 2 row aluminum

40th Anniversary Specifications

  • Two Tone leather seats
  • Serialized symbol on center console.
  • 40th Anniversary floor mats
  • 40th Anniversary emblems
  • Black Chrome badging
  • Available in Sage and Green colors only
  • Auto climate control

Lexus LX450 Differences

  • Revised Audio System with sub-woofer in the center console.
  • Optional factory installed cell phone.
  • Softer suspension.
  • Body cladding on doors, fenders and tailgate.
  • Rear bumper corner pieces are bigger and the rear cross member is coverer with a plastic trim piece. Mud flaps are two-tone colored and not interchangeable with an Toyota
  • Auto Climate Control
  • Softer leather on seats and additional sound proofing.

What is the weight of a built up 80 Series?

“Measured my FZJ-80 this afternoon: 6,640 lbs. (3,018.18 kg). It had two full tanks of gasoline, 5 x 315/75R16 GoodYear MTRs, Slee sliders, Kaymar rear bumper (no carriers), ARB front bar with M12000 Warn winch, dual-battery setup, TRD S/C, OME 850/864 coils, and big box of tools. No passengers and cargo. Just me and my 210lb ass.

It was 3,200lb for the front, and 3,480lb at the rear wheels. Pretty decent weight distribution.” – Drexx Laggui


2.1 Shaky mirrors

If the shakes are not too bad, it can be remedied by tightening the screw that is accessible from the underside of the mirror. If that does help, you might have to disassemble the mirror to determine what the cause of the vibration is.Adding black permatex adhesive to the hooks on the mirror mounting plate can also reduce vibrations.

2.2 Getting the mud off

After that Sunday drive through the mud and dirt, the easiest and safest way to clean the underside of the truck is to use a garden sprinkler under the truck. This will soak the mud and dirt until it just falls off. In the end the truck will be clean and the driveway dirty.

2.3 Removing the flares

For people into heavy off-roading, sooner or later the fender flares will get damaged. These can be removed and the holes plugged with plastic caps or by a body shop. The workshop manual explains the procedure for removing them.

2.4 Mud flaps

If you do decide to remove the running boards that dealers seem to have stuck on all US 80 Series, you will need front mud flaps. These can be purchased from the dealer, but be prepared for sticker shock. Common pricing is about $60-$80 a pair.

2.5 Snorkels – Why you need them!

Snorkels are needed when you expect to do a lot of deep water crossings. The snorkel requires drilling 1 large hole and a number of smaller ones in the truck. It essentially moves the air intake, which in the stock form is located in the passenger front fender, to the roof line.

Performance gains from the snorkels is often debated, but this should not be the first reason to install one.

2.6 What are those 4 holes on the back bumper

Firstly, the black piece with the 4 holes (covered on Lexus LX450’s) is not actually the bumper but the rear cross member of the frame. The 4 bolt holes are another point of great debate. These were put there by Toyota for attaching a pintle hook or towing ball. However in the US these are not rated for towing, and it is recommended to use a factory or aftermarket receiver hitch that bolts securely to the frame.

2.7 Trailer Wiring

If you already have a receiver attached, you can purchase the Toyota OEM trailer wiring harness from your parts dealer. This is a plug in solution.Part Number 00526-60961

2.7 Front Washers squirt water when you wash the rear window.

“For those of you who watched with interest the thread on repairing the little diverter valve to fix the rear washer problem – it works.

The part was waiting on me when I got home from work today. I think it was around $30 from James Rodriguez. It’s special order, so he has to order to get it, but that’s just an extra day.

The gizmo is part # 85321-60050 “Valve, Washer”. It is about the size of your big toe and has a bracket integral to the design. It has one hose coming out of it (off the top center, about 2 feet) that goes to the front washer connection on the hood. On the bottom it has two hose connections (bottom center and rear side) along with one electrical plug. It’s only a matter of removing the bolt, unhooking the two hoses from the valve, unhooking the hose from the hood and snaking it out of it’s connectors and it’s out. Took me all of 5 minutes.

When I went to test it, I was amazed. My truck had always (for me) washed the front window about as much as it washed the back window. Now there isn’t a drop of washer fluid on the front when I wash the back. A truly amazing thing from my perspective.

Being a cheap rascal, I will take the old one apart and see if it could
be repaired. Someone earlier reported trying this without success, so I’m not anticipating it working. If it happens to, I’ll report my success.

So if anyone else wants to get fluid back to the rear window, get this
subassembly installed and fix it right up.

Good luck,


3.1 Cracking leather seats

The leather seats do crack eventually. Applying a good conditioner from time to time does help. The skins for the seats can be purchased and replaced, but this is an expensive option.
3.2 Installing a CB

Option 1: Replace stereo use regular single din stereo as opposed to double din which is stock Toyota. If using single din stereo then mount below regular stereo in extra space.

Option 2: Mount a Uniden 510 or similar unit in the ashtray location. This can be done, but it is a tight fit. To get the CB to slide in all the way it might be necessary to open it up and extend the antenna connector to outside the box. This will allow a near flush installation.

Option 3: Mount CB onto center console sideways by driver.

Option 4: Cobra “all in the mic” units can be installed under the seat or under the center console.

3.3 Installing auxiliary CB speakers

Interior dome light housings can be converted to accept small speakers. These can then be mounted to the roof liner. The transparent “lens” is then covered with cloth for a factory look.

3.4 Cup holders

1995-1997 models can accept a cup holder that replaces the little cubby hole above the radio. In addition aftermarket cup holders available from some dealers. These mount in a variety of locations and orientations.

3.5 Wiring front & rear locker switch

The front and rear locker switch part number is 84725-60020. The switch can be used to activate ARB (air locker) solenoids.
3.6 Installing a Garmin GPS

A good place to install Garmin GPS is to hang it from the overhead console where the sunroof controls are located. An external antenna can be mounted on top of the snorkel or on the roof. More details.
3.7 Center Differential Lock Switch

The center diff lock switch was standard on 1991/1992 80 Series Land Cruisers. With the introduction of the 1993 year model with full floater axles (with disk brakes), the switch was omitted, however the wiring harness is present. Adding this switch will enable you to lock the center diff in high range. Removing an electrical plug on the transfer case will also give one control in low range.

3.8 R12 & R134a refrigerant

In 1993 the R12 in the AC system was replaced with R134. The tell tale sign is that the dryer was moved from in front of the battery tray to behind the bumper.

3.9 Rear Drawer Systems

“The first thing a lot of 80 Owners do is remove the rear 3rd row seats and replace them with a storage system, which is very handy for storing all the recovery gear and those bits and pieces that we need to take 4-wheeling. Some have a fridge roller fitted so that a 12v fridge can be mounted safely and rolled out for access. The other benefit of storing everything in drawers is you still have a flat area to use and if you add a bed extension behind the front seats you can have a bed measuring approx 180cm x 145cm. There are many different types ranging from the basic do -it-yourself type utilizing plastic tubs and MDF (fine particle board) to the zinc plated light gauge steel or aluminum and sealed roller bearings. The upper market use the factory tie down points so that the seats can be replaced and no holes or damage is done to the 80 and when fitted look part of the factory design.” – Mick Barson

3.10 Aftermarket Stereo’s

“After your factory Toyota CD player no longer ejects on a regular basis, will not read any CD’s or just plain stinks and you have priced a factory replacement stop to catch your breath.. Replacement is fairly straightforward. The Toyota Land Cruiser has in it’s wiring harness 3 plugs for the stereo. The one that the factory uses in the stock stereo will not be utilized when installing an aftermarket stereo but rather the other two will be used. When purchasing your stereo from your local stereo shop purchase the factory Toyota wiring plug kit (usually about $10-$15). This plug kit will use the other two plugs in the wiring harness.

One major tip when installing an aftermarket stereo is that you will want to wire in a separate power source not the factory one as it will pull too much power from the engine bay fuse that controls your factory alarm, interior lights,
factory clock, etc.. Another tip, do not hook up the lead to the power antenna. Many vehicles use power from the head unit to power the antenna, the Land Cruiser does not (has separate switch on dash). Many aftermarket
stereos will have instructions that will show you how to use the stock Toyota stereo brackets to mount the new stereo. I believe but have not
checked that the stock plug on the harness that the factory stereo wires into will power the stock amp. The other two remaining plugs do not power the stock amp thus losing some of the 8 speakers in the truck. Mine sounds fine for now until I replace speakers etc. The stock Toyota Land Cruiser stereo is classified as a double Din..

I mounted a single din stereo in my Land Cruiser and used the left over space to mount a CB radio. A double Din stereo will take all the space in the dash without any left over.” – Erik Christiansen

3.12 Speakers for the front doors

4. Drive train

4.1 Factory lockers

A common issue with front and rear factory lockers is that they don’t engage. This can be overcome by rebuilding the actuator, if indeed this is the reason it does not engage. See the rebuild article for details.

It is possible to retrofit factory lockers to a non-lockered model. However there are some welding and grinding involved. Also you would need the locker ECU, the harnesses and new axle shafts (or have them re-splined) Typically it is not a cost effective exercise, but it can be done.

4.2 Aftermarket lockers

ARB Air lockers is the only way to get total selectability if you r vehicle was not equipped with factory lockers. Air lockers can be installed for less money than trying to retrofit electric lockers. It is also possible to use the oem switch and wire up the lights on the dash to work similar to the stock setup.

4.3 Converting to Part Time 4WD

Marks Adapters from Australia has a kit to convert 1991-1997 trucks to part time 4WD. With 1993-1997 models this requires removing the viscous coupler in the transfer case. You will also loose your ABS in 2WD.

4.4 Brake pad wear

Average wear on front brake pads is about 10-15k miles. 1997 front brake pads are made from a different pad material and tend to last longer.

4.5 Differential Gears – 4.1 vs. 4.88

The vehicles are equipped with 4.11 ratio gears (1FZFE models). Standard tire size is 275/70/16. If the tires are upgraded, then one should ideally upgrade to lower gears. Options are 4.56, 4.88 or 5.29’s. There are a multitude of opinions on what ratio is correct for what tire size. The ideal situation is to drive a truck equipped with the setup that you want to install.

5. Suspension

5.1 Better ride without the lift.
5.2 Larger Tires – Pro’s and Con’s
5.3 Can I fit 35″ tires

“That said, when someone asks about fitting 35” tires, they need to specify their requirements, and in specific, not just “I want to go off-road” There are all kinds of off-roading. In the US, lately rock crawling has become a major form off off-roading. For this 35″ tires with OME might not be enough. Rock crawling requires maximum articulation with maximum ground clearance. There is an excellent article on www.4x4wire.com regarding what it requires to be a contender for the new “Rock Crawling Championships”. The bottom line is lately
35″ tires are considered small.


This is all good and well, and you can lift the truck enough to do this, either via spacers or body lift & spacers BUT you must remember that you will compromise drivability.

Now if you were into mud bogging the 80, you might only do a body lift, but then I am sure that not even the Goodyear MT/R’s will be enough to get you through the bog.

This is why you get conflicting opinions on the list, due to the background and type of wheeling people do. The guys in Oz (no personal experience but I do come from South Africa) do 4-wheeling more as an excursion type thing, where it is required if you want to see the country. They will say, yes it will fit, since mostly they don’t try to climb rocks like a bunch of goats.

So in short, yes you can mount 35″ tires (also remember that not all 35″ tires are exactly 35″, Super swampers are closer to true size than BFG’s for example) with a OME 2″ lift BUT:
Rock crawling – you will probably rub but if this is occasional, you can lower the bump stops to keep them from rubbing. Remember the quest for articulation is to keep traction, however in a lot of cases (not the extreme) lockers will get you through, even if you lift a tire. Or you can install spacers and address drivability issues.

Expedition type off-roading – Probably no problem, lower the bump stops or just check when you do get to the obstacles and take it slow.

In town driving – certainly, just be careful of the speed bumps.” – Christo Slee

5.4 Why replace a relatively new suspension
5.5 Changing shocks
5.6 Changing coil springs
5.7 Changing steering damper

5.8 Adjusting the brake proportioning valve after installing a lift kit

“Spent some time under the truck last night trying to figure out if there is an easy way to know how much you could lower the LSPV body to adjust the braking pressure after a lift. Basically, moving the end of the rod (the normal point) moves a rod 600 mm long. The point on the rod where the LSPV actually contacts is only 38 mm from the pivot. End result is that the movement at the end of the rod is 1/15.75 of the movement at the body.

So, if you’ve lifted your truck 75mm (after allowing for settling, etc.), you’d need to lower the LSPV body by 4.8mm to be in the right
ballpark. You can adjust the end of the rod roughly +/- 6mm, so you’d need to get the LSPV body within +/- 0.38mm to be able to make the final adjustment with the end of the rod.
I hope that helps someone who’s going to do the lift. I wish I had thought about it before I moved everything around and lost a starting reference point.” – Juice

6. Accessories

5.1 Grill Guards
5.2 Winch Bars
5.3 Winches
5.4 Auxiliary Lighting
5.5 Light Bars
5.6 Rear Bumpers
5.7 Tire Carriers
5.8 Nerf Bars
5.9 Recovery gear
5.10 Camping Showers

7. Driving skills and off-roading

7.1 Using Front and Rear Lockers
Courtesy of George Coyant.

In random order…

  • Don’t use them on paved roads.
  • Disengage the front at least if you need to turn. Even momentarily.
  • Engage them just before you think you’ll need them.
  • Don’t go down steep hills with the front locker engaged.
  • If you go down hills with the rear engaged, be prepared to catch the rear end if it slides out.
  • Exercise them every now and then. Whilst parked, hit each button until you hear the compressor engage.
  • Have a locker/compressor cut out switch wired up (I think this is standard now).
  • Experiment over an obstacle. Get the feel of what each locker does and experiment with speed over the obstacle. You’ll be amazed at what you can now just idle over.
  • They engage immediately but if there’s a bunch of energy stored in the driveline, you may have to back off for a second after disengaging to have them physically disengage.
  • Change the diff oil after a 1,000 or so km.
  • Change the diff oils at say 20,000km intervals to help clear any muck in the diff housings.
  • Keep an eye on the air release at the solenoids. If you see diff oil spray out upon disengaging, the piston oil seal has gone. This used to be quite common, however the current seal is good if fitted correctly. It’s fiddly.
  • If you’re in a tight area and need to swing the rear out, you can engage the rear locker only and dump the clutch. It’ll turn on its own axis…
  • Don’t engage the front locker when reversing.
  • You can use air lockers in high range. In fact, can engage them at up to 100kph as long as one wheel on an axle isn’t spinning.
  • If one wheel is spinning wildly, don’t engage that locker.
  • By engaging them early, you’ll save digging great holes in the track.

That’s enough for now…Cheers