Checklist for Basic Overland Build - 100 series

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Joined
May 24, 2016
Threads
26
Messages
158
Location
Arkansas
Hi all, I'm back after 2 years. I sold my last 100 series 2 years ago because I needed a sedan for work due to the miles I drive. It just didn't work for me to build out the cruiser for overlanding/camping as well as use it as a daily driver putting 30k miles a year on it. This time around i'm keeping my acura TSX and buying a bit older and higher mileage cruiser and building it out strictly for overland camping trips which will total no more than 2k miles a year. I'd like to lay out my plan to make sure i'm not forgetting anything or overlooking a necessary step or upgrade .

My Definition of Overlanding: 1-3 day camping trips in the Ozarks. Sometimes solo or with a buddy but will normally be the only vehicle. Reliability and self recovery are the top priorities because getting stuck or a dead vehicle would be an absolute pain in the ass. Example terrain video:


STEP 1. Find a well maintained 1998 - 2002 Cruiser with 180k to 220k miles on it for between $5,000 and $7,000

All work to be performed by my mechanic:

BASELINE WORK:
1. Timing belt & Water Pump (if due)
2. Full & complete tune-up, fluids, oil change, grease and lube everything, fix any obvious leaks or issues
3. New Starter (if original)
4. Optima Yellow top Battery
5. New Alternator (if still original)
6. Brakes: Check and perform needed service
7. Check Steering Rack for leaks. Replace if necessary
8. Check CV boots and Axels
9. Cooling system/radiator - This is one I'm not sure about. If it's working properly, but original should I go ahead and replace?

UPGRADES:
1. OME 2.5" lift (medium)
2. 285/75/R16 BFG TA K/O2 tires (5 of them)
3. ARB front bumper
4. Smittybilt Winch: Gen2 XRC 9,500 lb. Steel line
5. Remove Running Boards

Based on what my mechanic charges for all of the above, and assuming I had to do every single one of the maintenance items which will likely not be the case, I would come in just under $14,000.

Is there anything I'm missing or things I've not thought of to make this a capable and extremely reliable overland vehicle? Any other points of failure that could leave me stranded that need to be addressed?

Thanks!
 
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Welcome back. Nice list, with you being solo for your trips you might want to add a bunch of parts to that list (We all have different Full Tuneup parts lists). New idler pulley's, belt tensioner's, belts, cam/crank seals, fan bracket, new radiator hoses, thermostat, heater hoses, heater t's, etc. Make sure the front bearings are repacked and don't forget lube the spindle needle. Optima's aren't what they used to be and if I remember right their 27F specs are a lot lower than a normal 27F. For the alternator, you can probably get away with just replacing the brushes for under $20 in parts. Make sure your parking brake is working/adjusted properley. If the radiator top is browning, replace it, if not, just clean the fins and do a flush.
 
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For running accessories this AGM battery is popular among the forum as its a Northstar:


I went with a little bigger battery from Sams Club for a better deal as its a East Penn:


Group 31 is a great option or even dual battery setup but now you are looking at additional cost to find mounts.

 
Oh - I'm glad to know there is a less expensive, quality battery option! Thanks for those links!!
 
Hey Ive been running the area you plan to be plus trips to Utah and Colorado for 30 plus years and a lot of it solo running in my 60 and now my 100, I think I would add a good battery jump pack and a good tool kit, highlift jack, as well as a recovery kit of at least a couple tree savers, shackles, and snatch block .I carry spare coil pack, serpentine belt and idler, fuel pump and a code reader
I’d also consider a good aftermarket rear bumper with tire carrier. The first thing I would add is sliders, mine recently saved extensive damage to my doors and rocker when I slid into a 3 ft deep rock filled ditch, requiring a winch to get out . It only takes one rocker hit to more than pay for them.
Baselining is a great idea but dont get carried away with starters etc.
I’m not sure where in Ar. You are but if you need the number of a trusted mechanic shoot me a pm. I do 90% of my own work but for stuff over my head I want a trusted mechanic that’s versed in cruisers.
 
Also don't forget to be sure you've got the tools needed for trail repair. Ex: I realized the other day that I didn't have a socket in my truck to use on the 'special' lug nut tool my wheels require. Yikes. If I'd had a flat on the trail, I'd have been SOL.

I generally will carry a decent but small tool kit- all of the commonly used sockets and wrenches, plus swivel and extension adapters. And after watching a buddy have to be towed home for lodging a branch between tie rod and control arm and tweaking the crap out of them both, I now carry loppers and a saw. This plus the usual recovery gear with shackles, tree saver, snatch strap, etc.

Your budget of $14K seems pretty reasonable. I think the biggest variable is going to be the truck you build it all on.
 
Hey Ive been running the area you plan to be plus trips to Utah and Colorado for 30 plus years and a lot of it solo running in my 60 and now my 100, I think I would add a good battery jump pack and a good tool kit, highlift jack, as well as a recovery kit of at least a couple tree savers, shackles, and snatch block .I carry spare coil pack, serpentine belt and idler, fuel pump and a code reader
I’d also consider a good aftermarket rear bumper with tire carrier. The first thing I would add is sliders, mine recently saved extensive damage to my doors and rocker when I slid into a 3 ft deep rock filled ditch, requiring a winch to get out . It only takes one rocker hit to more than pay for them.
Baselining is a great idea but dont get carried away with starters etc.
I’m not sure where in Ar. You are but if you need the number of a trusted mechanic shoot me a pm. I do 90% of my own work but for stuff over my head I want a trusted mechanic that’s versed in cruisers.

Great points. I used to do this with my buddies back 15 years ago but it's been a long time since I've done any off-roading. I plan to have a recovery kit with everything you mentioned, highlift, and a jump pack/air compressor, tire repair kit. I was hoping to avoid needing the rear bumper or sliders due to the extra $3000 that will add to the build. I'm not doing anything very intense... mostly just a few miles out to a remote camp spot to camp and fish for a few days and then back out the way I came. I would love to have them, but that really pushes me outside my budget range :-(

Unfortunately, I'm not a mechanical person, so doing repairs on my own on the trail will be a no-go. I'm in Fayetteville, would love to know a good Mechanic if he's here! I love my mechanic and he did all the work on my past cruiser, but he doesn't see many of them.
 
Check out bohanan’s four wheel drive, I think he’s in bentonville, great guy and a cruiserhead from way back
I fully understand the budget , and it sounds like you have a solid plan. but honestly this one little slip up would have cost me thousands. It was wet and slick so a normal no issue trail turned into one that could have bashed my whole pass.side but the damage was very minimial My bumpers and slider took the hit
But I wheeled forever without any or without much armor but that was in junk rigs, you know the terrain here, tight trails rocks, mud etc.
I want to try and keep this one in good shape since I do travel local a lot and go west at least once a year putting on 3500 miles or so a trip.
Best thing as you know is to run what ya have but scout out questionable places .
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12k Smitty isn't much more money, and a better fit for the weight of these trucks, especially outfitted.
 
In my opinion, rather than investing in a front bumper, I'd be leaning towards getting a rear bumper and then doing a hidden winch in the front.

Rear bumper offers more of a difference in departure angle than the change in approach angle of a front bumper and then also the added utility of a tire carrier and jerry cans or whatever you choose to outfit back there.
 
In my opinion, rather than investing in a front bumper, I'd be leaning towards getting a rear bumper and then doing a hidden winch in the front.

Rear bumper offers more of a difference in departure angle than the change in approach angle of a front bumper and then also the added utility of a tire carrier and jerry cans or whatever you choose to outfit back there.
I did not know a hidden winch was an option. Can you point me in the right direction for something like this?
 
Thanks for all the help guys - the first thing I'm running into is finding a clean cruiser for under $7k. My last one I bought in 2016.
It was a 2000 one owner with 150,000 miles and not a scratch. Perfect interior and exterior. Every single service record serviced at the Kansas City Toyota dealership for 17 years. Bought it for $7,000. Mechanically it needed a new steering rack, exhaust manifolds, tires and new shocks and a few odds and ends. Back then I looked at quite a few cruisers in similar condition and price range.

Now - It's 3 years later and I can't seem to find anything even remotely similar in price. Trucks in the same condition have an asking price close to $10k except it's 3 years later. Am I just having bad luck? I figured a clean 2000 could be had for around $5500 or $6,000 now in 2019...
 
Thanks for all the help guys - the first thing I'm running into is finding a clean cruiser for under $7k. My last one I bought in 2016.
It was a 2000 one owner with 150,000 miles and not a scratch. Perfect interior and exterior. Every single service record serviced at the Kansas City Toyota dealership for 17 years. Bought it for $7,000. Mechanically it needed a new steering rack, exhaust manifolds, tires and new shocks and a few odds and ends. Back then I looked at quite a few cruisers in similar condition and price range.

Now - It's 3 years later and I can't seem to find anything even remotely similar in price. Trucks in the same condition have an asking price close to $10k except it's 3 years later. Am I just having bad luck? I figured a clean 2000 could be had for around $5500 or $6,000 now in 2019...

In Cali thats still a 7k-9k truck depending on how bad the seller loves it, for a first owner with all the history forget about it! its 10k+ unless of course you are patient and wait for a deal.
 
100 series prices bottomed out in late 2017. They're all remaining at the $7-9k mark now and the sub $6K ones are the ones where the condition gets worse and worse.
 
I'd make a couple of tweaks, such as going with a good AGM battery, sliders, heavy springs, a 12k winch and synthetic line, as it's not a lot more and much safer, especially when kids could wander around...
 
I just helped a buddy buy a stock 2000 model rust free with 180k with 2nd timing belt just done for 9k and felt he got a pretty good deal.
They are holding thier value pretty well,
 

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