Builds Canada - 1999 KZJ90 Land Cruiser "build"

Joined
Aug 24, 2019
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57
Location
Calgary, AB
I hesitate to call this a "build thread", since I won't be doing anything major, but there is a distinct lack of info out there for these rigs in North America. Even many of the posts in this sub are misdirected, so there's not even as many here as it seems. :(

My goal here is to get some discussion going about this relatively rare platform (in North America) and encourage others to post about their own rigs.

First off, a quick primer, in case you just happened here from one of the more popular sub-forums, where the real action happens :) My info is based on the JDM Prado, so there may be differences from other markets

The Land Cruiser 90/95 ran from 1996 to 2002 in both short and long wheelbase variants. Both were coilover IFS and coil rear live axles. There were three engines available: the 2.7 4 cylinder, the 3.0 1KZ-te-intercooled TD, and the 3.4 V6.

9573g2s-960.jpg


Most of them sold in Japan with automatic transmissions, but there were a few manuals here and there, usu paired with the diesel. It preceded the 100 Series by a few years, but some of the design cues seemed to be adopted like the intake grilles on the rear pillar, etc. Cosmetically, the swb had a round light option up until 99, whereas the LWB had flush composite headlights.

e373g2s-960.jpg


Chassis-wise, it had a ladder frame, and was virtually identical to the 4Runner of the same years... It was fitted with permanent 4wd, and a lockable center diff, with low-range.

f6f3g2s-960.jpg


If you want to learn more about the history and development of the 90 Series, there is a really good Russian site that goes into detail, and google translates it pretty well for English speakers: Всё о Prado 90 й серии. 1.История Toyota Land Cruiser Series 90 '05.1996-06.1999. Часть первая. — Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, 3.4 л., 1997 года на DRIVE2 (the pics above were borrowed from that article).

The next generation Prado 120 Series was our Lexus GX series, although with different engine options, so it is more familiar on our soil.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Calgary, AB
My particular model is the KZJ 90 from 1999, which means it is a short wheelbase, with the 1KZ diesel. It is also a 5 speed manual transmission. For me this is the holy grail of 90's. AND it has the round lights! Bonus!

Here's a shot from the day I picked it up a few weeks ago. Those AR's and BFG's are now bagged and stored until spring, and winter tires have taken their place.

truck1.jpg


I got this one with 95k kms. It was a one-owner unit in Japan, and came with service records from new. The exporter called its condition among the top 5% of auction vehicles he sees, and he's a reputable Canadian ex-pat, so his word is good. Plus now having it in my clutches, I can bear witness: pretty much like a brand new, 20 year old SUV. :D It had a brief stay in the Okanagan with the collector who originally imported it to Canada, but after putting only about 2000kms on it in a season, he realized he had too many cars already, and passed the torch to me. It passed my Alberta OOP with zero deficiencies, and NO beer bribery. I did swap to legal Hella LHD e-code headlights, and wired a temporary DRL setup.

My plan is to keep it mostly stock for my 160km/day commute over varied surfaces in the Alberta foothills/prairies, but also make it a little more suitable for longer excursions to places like Moab, and Colorado. But before any of that happens, I need to get it ready for Canadian winters, and do some maintenance, so my next entry will address some of that...
 
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Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
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Calgary, AB
So let's start with winter prep. Many JDM vehicles have a "winter package" available. It includes many different options depending on the manufacturer, and even the model itself.

Mine, of course, was NON-winter package. Let's see what we can do to address this shocking omission...

Starting with "IDLE UP". Checking the parts fiche, I found what looked like a great way to raise the idle on really cold starts until the engine was up to operating temp. It was a switch that (according to what I read) bumped the idle up via the ECU. Sounded great. I did some investigating behind my dash, and found what appeared to be the correct pig-tail.The switch itself was NOLA, but I found one on eBay in the UK, and had it shipped.

IMG_20191130_152707.jpg


Plugged it in. Pushed it in place...
IMG_20191130_154316.jpg


Then started up truck (which was sitting around 700rpm on cold start). Here's what happened in under a second:

IMG_20191130_162502.jpg


1200RPM! Woohoo! I thumb my nose at you, WINTER! Pfffffft! :grinpimp:

My next goal? Dual batteries. Stay tuned.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
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Calgary, AB
Factory cassette deck is retro cool, but only for a minute. So that had to be addressed:

Screenshot_20191217_190305_com.google.android.apps.photos.jpg

Enter the Sony AVX100 with Android Auto (apple carplay too). Google maps works in dash, as well as Spotify, Goggle Play, Podcasts, etc. Bluetooth phone and radio are an added bonus.
IMG_20191116_162737.jpg

Now I can have my analog clock and the latest tech sitting side by side in dash.
(EDIT: I synchronized the two clocks after this pic, because yes, that would drive me nuts too! :) )

And in case you're wondering, this AA unit needs the phone plugged in to have full functionality. But the bonus is I don't have to charge it night time anymore.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Vancouver
Hey,

I'm in Vancouver and just got my 2000 kdj95 with 149,000kms that I impoted with PCA aswell.

I skimmed through your posts here and read part1/2 of getting your prado. I'm in the same boat as you. Looking for info and sourcing parts.

The aussie facebook group "Mighty 90s" has some good info. Pradopoint is another good source. There's lcool

Here's a link to all the service manuals

I picked up my prado from the docks a week ago. Failed inspection because of shot brakes, misalignment, and a leaking back strut. Good thing that I've ordered a whole 3rd gen 4runner 1996-2002 lift kit in advance, aswell as rotors and pads from rockauto.com. Front rotors and pads are the same as the 3rd gen. But for rear rotors and pads need to buy them for a 2003-09 4runner. Better double check part# because mine is a longer wheelbase than yours.

The most frequent problem with these Prados are lower ball joints failing. I noticed mine were replaced. However many of the other rubber components like bushings and boots were damaged. So I'll be making a complete overhaul.

I haven't installed the new 2inch lift springs yet, but on my radar is a panhard correction kit
And fitting in a snorkel. Very interested in puting in a winch aswell.

IMG_20191223_121713.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
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Calgary, AB
Well, added something fun before I dive into maintenance: Smittybilt Defender platform rack. Still need to add some more legs, but for a lightweight build this will fill my needs perfectly. Got it for a good price too, esp for Canada, so I'm happy with it overall. I won't be hucking water or fuel up there so 150# dynamic weight capacity will be more than adequate.

IMG_20191229_113406.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
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Calgary, AB
Glad you chimed in here - this is exactly what I was hoping from this build thread. You should start your own, and then we can compare notes! To have a 2 door and 4 door Canadian perspective on these little rigs will be awesome!

Thanks for the resources. I've been on the PradoPoint and am a member of mighty90's, but like all things FB, info quickly gets buried. That's why we are HERE right?

Rig looks great. Rarely see them in Alberta. I'd imagine there are a "few" more on the west coast?

Too funny, I watched your truck's video a few weeks back. Looks great!

Phil
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Calgary, AB
Now… More fun stuff! Remember my quest for winterization? Well… I cut the new lower rad hose and put an inline heater in place. And, even more interesting, dual batteries are now onboard and functional.
IMG_20191231_170805.jpg

IMG_20191231_170810.jpg

I used a coast products 1314 priority charging solenoid. This designates one batt as main and the other aux. When the main gets up to full charge, the solenoid automatically close the circuit and parallels the two, giving lots of CCA’s and reserve capacity.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
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Calgary, AB
Quick report on the lower rad hose heater... I admit to always being skeptical on these - I guess I snobbishly looked at them as a poor man's frost plug heater? Kind of dumb since they are actually a little more $ to buy - until you factor in labour if you're paying some poor tech to do it. In any event, I could find zero documentation of 1kz frost plug heaters, and I knew I'd need *something*.

Well, the time has arrived. Current temp in AB at time of posting is -26°C. Truck was plugged in for 4 hours on timer. Started up like a summer's day.
IMG_20191230_154833.jpg

In case this ever comes up in a search, 1.5" was what worked on the 1kz's lower rad hose. My laser temperature gun confirmed heat was going north into the stat housing.

@DragoPrado got one as well, and told me his worked as advertised. So this is a viable option if there's no block heater application.

Combined with my idle up switch, and dual batteries? I'd say my winter package aspirations are almost fulfilled. 😎

Soon time to move back to more fun mods.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
602
Location
Caracas, Venezuela.
 
Beautiful truck!! Super jealous.

I've had a 95 and two 90s so they have sort of a special place in my heart.

I will be following this thread, sadly the 90 seried forum is sort of dead, but i will be keeping a close eye on this!
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Calgary, AB
Beautiful truck!! Super jealous.

I've had a 95 and two 90s so they have sort of a special place in my heart.

I will be following this thread, sadly the 90 seried forum is sort of dead, but i will be keeping a close eye on this!
Thank you sir! Sometimes you feel like you're talking to yourself. Lol.

Minus 36°C this morning. Startup with the rad hose heater was a non issue. Now... Shifting gears? Well that was an exercise in patience. Brrrr..
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
52
Location
Ontario Canada
Hi Folks - Nice to meet you all.

New to I h8mud - I spent almost all of my time at 4x4 wire when I had an 88 pajero 2.5TD on the road until 2017

I thought I would jump back into JDM and was pretty well settled on a specific 96 SURF, until I came across a nice 96 3.4L Prado in my budget.

I am leaning to gas as the diesel service aspect in the past was too difficult to manage as my mechanic, while good, was not to speedy and issues for the 200K/km belt service (Break-in and theft of stuff from the truck made the mechanic lose interest) and it all went south from there. Still go 12 yrs use out of the truck but disappointing.

Anyways - What is my point/question? How easy has it been to find parts so far - My biggest fear was running gear parts as my Pajero had rear disks and I had to get parts from Milners in the UK - Shipping fast but EXPENSIVE.

As I read above many Prado running gear parts are the same as the 4 runner and many part numbers cross to rock auto. Has it actually been found to work when the parts show up?

My current mechanic would not touch a Diesel, but a 3.4L similar to a 4Runner he would enjoy - I do do my own work but when it is (Ontario) cold outside and I need it to go to work tomorrow having options to have it worked on is reassuring...

Using the Parts look above that Drago linked it almost looks like childs play... So simple I am thinking it is too easy.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Vancouver
Hi Folks - Nice to meet you all.

New to I h8mud - I spent almost all of my time at 4x4 wire when I had an 88 pajero 2.5TD on the road until 2017

I thought I would jump back into JDM and was pretty well settled on a specific 96 SURF, until I came across a nice 96 3.4L Prado in my budget.

I am leaning to gas as the diesel service aspect in the past was too difficult to manage as my mechanic, while good, was not to speedy and issues for the 200K/km belt service (Break-in and theft of stuff from the truck made the mechanic lose interest) and it all went south from there. Still go 12 yrs use out of the truck but disappointing.

Anyways - What is my point/question? How easy has it been to find parts so far - My biggest fear was running gear parts as my Pajero had rear disks and I had to get parts from Milners in the UK - Shipping fast but EXPENSIVE.

As I read above many Prado running gear parts are the same as the 4 runner and many part numbers cross to rock auto. Has it actually been found to work when the parts show up?

My current mechanic would not touch a Diesel, but a 3.4L similar to a 4Runner he would enjoy - I do do my own work but when it is (Ontario) cold outside and I need it to go to work tomorrow having options to have it worked on is reassuring...

Using the Parts look above that Drago linked it almost looks like childs play... So simple I am thinking it is too easy.
Hey bud, the brake rotors and pads I got by directly inputing part# from toyota online catalog into rockauto search were perfect fit. Front. Rear. Aswell as the rear shocks. I haven't installed the rest of the suspension lift-kit as I didn't want to take a risk of not passing inspection. As soon as the weather warms up (2-3 months), I'll be doing a build thread with part#s and step-by-step instructions for all DYI jobs. Cheers
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
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Calgary, AB
@billblyca ? I can't believe it! This is "PHIL"… aka PajEvo. From the wire days! I responded to many of your questions back in the day.

So cool that you've stumbled onto my build thread for a Prado. I still have two Pajero's in the garage, but now we have a 100 series and a 90 series too.

Good to see you again old friend. It's been along time.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
52
Location
Ontario Canada
Phil - It is me indeed - Now THAT is Coincidental. Great to hook up with you again - I Checked in with 4x4 wire and the Mitz Diesel section has crickets these days.

So yes - The Paj was parked since 2015 after a complete Fuster Cluck with the 200km belt change, water pump swap out But it was recently picked up by a good fellow from Brampton who is going to bring her back to the road. I was downsized in 2015 and started working in Burlington so the Paj was parked, sold the Expedition and got a Sante Fe. Ironically I was hired back to my old Job I was downsized from 20 months later :)

Right now the high and dry santa fe (2011 6 speed) is the daily with 220k/KM on the clock. But we bought a property on Manitoulin that we will build on and needed a truck again. We have a good size utility trailer to go with a Prado. I did the entire shopping run from cheap pick up, all the way up to a 2017 Tacoma Pro 6 speed but then found a Surf for a good price but needed cosmetics, mostly peeling paint. I almost pulled the trigger but then found out that a couple 3 grand more gets me a Land Cruiser 90 - So as of last night, we are signed up with B-pro to get a VZJ95W lined up at auction sometime in the next 4 or 5 months I hope.

Part of the fall back to RHD is that our house in Nicaragua needs a vehicle as well so I can not buy a fancy Tacoma AND a Hilux down there - So Prado up here, Hilux down there is just within budget - 91 Full time Mondays as of this past Monday :)

I am not sure if you recall that the family got together and bought a Galloper II for one Brother In Law in Nicaragua back in 2008/9 and he butchered that thing - Oh my it was heart breaking - Whent to trash in 2011.

Anyways - Enough highjacking.... Phil - I await your next post eagerly.


Drago - Thankyou so much for the cross-reference. - If there was something like that available in '05 when I brought the Paj in it would have made things go soooo smooth..
I'll start a thread on mine once it is purchased and do a thread on buying an auction on RO RO and bringing it to On-scare_i-o
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Calgary, AB
A few updates:
Tiiming belt and first steps of maintenance are all done. This includes all accessory belts, upper and lower rad hoses, stat, cap, and coolant.

So back to fun stuff...
I like to do things without spending big bucks where possible. So I bought some SS all-thread and some nuts and knobs and found a way to mount my traction boards on the rack today, using an existing hole in the rack platform on each side. It turned out pretty good, and at risk of looking like a poser, I really do want these on hand (on head?) for my daily drive, which sees many snowy kms in the prairie foothills with nothing between me and the ditch but the throttle.

IMG_20200125_160513.jpg


No extra noise in this position. I did try them in a slightly forward position and suddenly I could hear wind noise, so I moved them back.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
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Location
Calgary, AB
I also did some more measuring in the back.

Goals were:
Drawers in the back...
Room for my small Dometic fridge...
Room for a camp kitchen

All this needed to be easily removable, and fit in the back with THE SEATS IN PLACE. Yes. This is a shortwheelbase, so no easy task.

Easily removable turned out to be a challenge. Here's what I did:
IMG_20200202_164739.jpg


I made some brackets which run (and stay) under the carpet from the innermost seat bolts. They are attached to my plywood baseplate by a knurled knob. At the back corners, I removed the tie downs and replaced them with plastic wing nut style bolts. Between these attachment points, the baseplate is removable without tools in about 30 seconds.

Drawers will be another challenge, since the steel drawers I bought are slightly too long if you stack two, because of the rake on the seat back. I am going to try shortening the upper one, just a bit...
 
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