a_traut_man 2003 Land Cruiser Build

a_traut_man

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Well I figured I should go ahead and put together a build thread capturing all that I am doing to my 2003 Land Cruiser. Over the last few months a lot has already happened (while prepping for HIH6) so some of this will be going back a little bit.

So the end goal is for a set up that is reliable (of course) and capable of handing at least a few days of comfortable overlanding without needing anything. My wife and I have discussed taking a break from everything for a few months in the next couple years and roaming around North America so a set up that would allow that is the target. In the meantime weekend camping and skibumming will be the use of the set up.

The truck is my daily driver so that is an aspect that is still kept in consideration for my building and modifications so no 35s for me (yet?). Locking will be considered if I tear something up or just get to that point.

This forum has been great and was my go to reference for the 4ish months I looked for a 100 so any experience based feedback would be greatly appreciated.

The Beginning

So I found my 100 on AutoTrader about 2 hours after a dealer in Seattle posted it (I was in Colorado). She was really dirty, had some deep parking lot damage on the passenger side (which wasn't fully disclosed), and about 132k miles. By the end of the day I told them that pending a check out by a local Toyota dealer I wanted to buy. Got all of the paperwork taken care of and next thing you know I am the proud owner of a sight unseen 2003 LC. For shipping I found a fellow mudder ( Aaron @Riverrunner with Summit Auto Transport) who did an awesome job and I would recommend him any day of the week and after a couple weeks of waiting there she was.

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(of course already at a gas station)

A week or so later with body damage repaired, 33s, and no running boards she was starting to look like something other than a beat up mall cruiser.

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a_traut_man

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So the first thing I did once I had everything lined out was get on the waiting list for a Dissent Offroad Front Bumper from @benc. At the time I was worried that I wouldn't have it in time for HIH6 but of course it came in around May and sat until the middle of July... Oops.

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When I finally got around to getting everything put together the bumper went together very easily and was only about a 3 hour job so I cannot complain at all. Everything went together perfectly and once fit up it was off to powder coating.

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Installed after powder coating. I literally bolted it right back up in the parking lot of the powdercoater. Unlike a lot of folks I took it in fully assembled and had them coat it as one piece and the fit up was snug but good.

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a_traut_man

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The most challenging piece of the body armor installation was the Slee Rear bumper with one guy and an engine crane. Definitely do-able but for sure would have saved an hour or so having an extra set of hands.
All in all the bumper fit up great (thanks to the high quality product and packaging by Slee Offroad) and it was awesome having all of the nuts and bolts break loose easy thanks to having a 100 that spent its life on the west coast.

Here are some progress pics as it went along.
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Hard to beat that high quality spare that had spent the last 13ish years underneath.
 
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a_traut_man

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With all of armor on and HIH6 about a week and a half away it was time to drop the truck off at Slee to have the 2.5" heavy kit installed and I figured while I was there I would go ahead and do the UCAs as well. I have installed lift and lowering kits before and it was a headache (and that was with help) so for this I decided to leave it to the professional and Slee did an awesome job. All of the extra weight was very noticeable before the install and after barely at all (minus the awesome MPGs).

When dropped off, you can definitely see the stock suspension struggling with the weight.
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After picking her back up two days later...

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a_traut_man

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The current project in progress is a set of drawers for the rear end. The plan is to 1 full size drawer on the passenger side and one 3/4 size drawer with a slide out table underneath to make the camp cooking a bit easier. Cooking on the tailgate with a camping table isn't too bad but after dealing with the set up at HIH something more organized is definitely necessary.

In progress pictures, hoped to have the actually drawers built and ready for covering last weekend but mother nature had other plans as we got a lot of needed rain.

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I will try to upload a sketch or two of my plans when they are all finished and if anyone has any suggestions I am all ears.
 

a_traut_man

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Well in a rush to get ready for a two week long trip through California (which ended up just being us running away from the rain/snow and trying not to get trapped on a closed road) I threw together the last bit of work on the drawers. I didn't use slides but instead just ripped pieces of plywood to use as the runners on the drawers and the frame. It worked out alright, not the smoothest and takes a little force at times but overall it served its purpose and got us through. This summer I hope to rework it the way I had originally intended as well as work on wiring for power and lights.

Also in the last minute prep was driving down to Santa Cruz and picking up a Demo Tepui RTT; We literally got there 15 minutes before they closed for the New Years weekend. The tent made a huge difference (especially considering all of the rain/snow/wintery mix we ended up camping in).
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So now the plans for the next few months is to work on aux power/wiring for the rear, driving lights, prep work for a winch, and maybe hopefully a Gamiviti roof rack if I can find the funds.
 

a_traut_man

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Been a long while since I updated this build thread. Since the last update there have been trips, cross country moves, repairs, and some minor modifications.

So immediately following the rough drawer build we loaded up and traveled around California before moving to Texas. The theme of the whole trip was precipitation. We hit some coastal spots headed north along Hwy 1 to Redwoods NP & Lassen Volcanic NP before heading south towards Big Sur and out to Joshua Tree NP and Death Vally NP via Los Angeles. A lot of our plans had to change as the coast along Big Sur was closed due to massive washouts. The Tepui RTT was the best purchase of the whole trip, being able to set up camp in the rain real quick with no concerns about ground conditions.

Redwoods NP where we camped through an ice storm. The campground attendant thought we were nuts.
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Pulling into Lassen Volcanic NP. Low that night was in the single digits but all in all not too bad of a night. Snowshoeing the next day was awesome, other than two pairs of backcountry skiers we had the place to ourselves but really had to keep an eye out for possible avalanche areas.
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Once we finally made it south we spent a lot of time time in Joshua Tree and Death Valley. We have done Joshua Tree before but was our first time at Death Valley and it was awesome and the weather was pretty good doing it during the winter. Made the trip out to the racetrack then took Lippencott pass back down; was the wife's first time doing anything like that so she was a bit nervous to say the least.
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a_traut_man

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Since moving to Austin TX there hasn't been nearly as much building since it is a bit harder to get to wide open adventurous spaces (thanks lack of National Forrest) and a lot of finding time for modifying has been based on need and not just because.

We are prepping for a couple week long trip up to Banff NP in Canada this summer so I have started finishing some things and getting others knocked out.

The biggest development has been finally getting with side wings and carpet installed on my drawers which has been a night and day change from how they were before. I regret not doing it sooner.

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Long term plan is still to get a switch panel and power run to the back but will probably happen down the road a bit. It's also hard to build and modify when living in a downtown apartment building.
 

a_traut_man

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In the last few days I finally got around to installing a Vais system, so long tape deck adapter!!! While i had everything pulled apart I also went ahead and installed a USB port between the cigarette lighters that turned out way better than I expected it to.

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With the tape deck no longer being needed (it actually died earlier this week) I will be putting in an Owl Expedition Media mount next chance I get.

Also knocked out this week was replacing my badly chipped and oxidized set of wheels in a dark gunmetal which made another huge difference. Still not quite sold on how close they look color-wise to the body of the truck but we will see. Worst case I will get my old ones refinished in silver and unload these.

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The next thing to happen will be installing a set of Dissent Offroad aluminum skid plates then from there we will see where the next needs are.
would definitely still like to get a full rack up top to take advantage of all the space still up there but time will tell.
 

a_traut_man

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A bit behind on the build thread. Back during the fall I finally got my Dissent Offroad Aluminum skids and after a couple of hours there were on. Just like the Dissent bumper the craftsmanship was great and the installation was quick and easy and the weight savings with the aluminum made it an easy 1 person job. The skids have been a life saver, especially on our fall trip through Colorado (especially Pearl Pass).

I do seem to have a squeak/rattle from something that I just haven't gotten around to tracking it down. Thinking a thin rubber isolation strip between all of the skids should take care of it.

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a_traut_man

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After thinking about it for over a year and always talking myself out of it I just said screw it. Getting locked up. Huge thanks to the guys over at Cruiser Bros for getting it out quick

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a_traut_man

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It has been a long minute since updating the ol build thread and a lot has happened but unfortunately not a ton on the Land Cruiser front. Since moving to central Texas it has been a lot harder to get out west to really put the 100 to use so the modding has slowed down a bit.

The fleet has grown with the addition of a Freeborn Red 1976 FJ40 and I still have the triple locked 80 that I would like to get rid of, just haven't gotten around to cleaning it up and getting it listed.

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On the 100 side of things I did finally get front and rear e-lockers installed along with a set of Ironman Foam Cell Pro shocks. Sean over at LandCruiser Specialist did a heck of a job on the install, couldn't be happier. Can't wait to put the lockers to work and my wife keeps looking at me like I'm crazy with the "cat that ate the canary" grin on my face about getting the cruiser fully locked. I have put about 100 miles on the new shocks and it is night and day from the OME set that has been on for 5 years and around 110k miles, definitely some of the best money I have spent on the 100.

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Next on the list is installing the Grom VLine that is taking up space in the closet, hopefully here in the next few weeks. I've also pulled the trigger on a set of Rock Warriors and will be making some changes on the tire front this summer, aiming to go 285/75 and may throw a little bit of a body lift into the mix.
 

a_traut_man

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Going to be a few weeks before I can pick these up from back home in MS but pretty dang excited. Big thanks to @MSU LC200 for working with me on getting a buddy of mine to pick them up.

Trying the lower profile spacer with dome caps on the fronts. A few real good threads and posts from @GTV and @MongooseGA gave me enough info to talk myself into it.
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Glad I get to see them take on a new life!
 
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one hell of build. those dissent skids look amazing. I want to go look at them, but i know they are going to be $$$$. so I'll just pretend i didn't see them
 

a_traut_man

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one hell of build. those dissent skids look amazing. I want to go look at them, but i know they are going to be $$$$. so I'll just pretend i didn't see them
Appreciate it. Been a long slow process.
I was on the fence about spending the money on the Dissent skids but was really glad I did. Fit right up, no issues, and were light enough to bolt them up as a one person job.
 

G-Cat

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one hell of build. those dissent skids look amazing. I want to go look at them, but i know they are going to be $$$$. so I'll just pretend i didn't see them

They are discontinued. Doesn’t look like Dissent intends to bring them back. ☹️
 

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