De-modding - am I crazy?

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Jan 1, 2016
Hello all,

So I purchased a 94 LC last fall. The PO had installed nitro 529 gears (factory lockers) with dynapro 35” tires. It currently has OME springs and castor correction bushings. I stepped down from Dobinsons 3” flexicoils because my castor was bad and it didn’t drive well. I have done a very thorough baseline and everything seems to be in pretty good shape now.

The rig gets about 10mpgs and I’m guessing that’s due largely to the huge tires and higher rpms. My wife and I need less of a rock crawler and probably more like an overland setup - I wish I’d known more before my purchase (PO claimed 13.5 mpg but that was uncorrected Speedo). The fuel range is brutal.

I had the thought of going for stock gears (maybe someone will trade 3rds with me?) so I can get back to 32-33” tires, and probably go with stock height suspension for longevities sake. It seems like an awful lot of work and money though. It’s hard to know if it will really be that much of a difference in the end?

I also thought about the Aux tank idea for more range, but those aren’t cheap either.

What’s everyone’s take on this situation?

You can probably make money on the gear swap by finding a local mudder wanting 5.29's and spending a weekend in the driveway swapping axles over. I bet someone would pay you $1000 for the priviledge. Heck, they might want your tires too.

The rest sounds good to me. No reason for big lift and tires if you're not going to use them. OME 861/862, stock tokiko shocks and some 255/85r16 or 285/75r16 is a solid all-around setup.

:edit: that tailpipe looks like it belongs on a 22re pickup. I wonder if that has something to do with your fuel economy?
It’s very possible, the muffler is shot and the pipe going over the frame in back is squished some. I need to replace the exhaust from the cats back.

I am in SW Minnesota so it seems like a pain to find someone to swap with. Rapid City SD is 5 hrs away and probably the closest place with any Toyota people. But it would be nice to get a trade going that wouldn’t cost me a whole ton.
Switching to 32”, 33” won’t save you a ton on fuel. Before I started missing mine I would get on average 14.5 MPG. I regularly get about 10.5 MPG now.

Drivability would be noticed more as it would be better suited for the road.
Let me know if you think about getting rid of either bumpers to reduce weight. I'm in MN and have a spare stock front bumper and rear bumper wings, etc.
I don't agree with your analysis of what is causing the poor fuel economy. The tires/gears may have a small impact but the original fuel economy numbers of 13mpg city and 15mpg highway are, and have been, achieved on 80s that are built just like yours. I was getting 13mpg consistently when my truck was built almost exactly like that with bumpers, sliders, lift and 35" tires.

My point being, I believe you have other mechanical issues that are causing the lower than normal fuel economy. Could be a clogged catalytic converter, exhaust leaks, dirty MAF, cylinder blowby that is burning oil and changing the fuel used, etc etc etc. There are other things I'd be looking at before going to lower tires and removing a lift and gears.

now, if you just want a truck that is closer to stock that's totally fine if you want to make the truck the way you want. But I doubt that doing so will improve the mpg much at all until other possible issues are found and addressed.
IMHO 5/29s are to tall for 35s
Well changing help gas mileage, probably not enough to off set the cost.
The rig gets about 10mpgs
So does my '94 with 265/75R16s (slightly narrower and taller than stock) around town. If you're getting that with consistent highway driving then it's a problem.

Sounds like you should find someone with a stock rig who wants to mount 37s+ and swap the 3rds out of your axles.
Thanks for all the feedback. 10mpg is 80% highway. I don’t have anything to compare with, but it seems pretty sluggish down low, and it sure doesn’t coast worth a darn.

Supposedly the PO did new cats, dizzy cap, plugs and wires. Might be worth checking those items out. No CEL now, I did have one previous for a bad 02 sensor that I replaced with an NTK.

Winter gas and ethanol probably aren’t helping either.
I will add that although it idles consistent, it does seem to have a little miss every now and then.. maybe a bad injector?
You made me think about it, but my rig is for remote touring only so no immediate plans for 37s. Still on stock gear and the only time i want to regear is every time i drive thru the mountains. My truck gets 11.5mpg in town, 12..5 on the longer trips. It has the same front rear bumpers as yours but i do have the heavy sliders and a roof rack too for reduced aero, neither helps my gas mileage.

Fwiw, my mileage drops quick when i let the truck warm up/idle too long. It gets real cold where we live. you can smell gas dripping out of the exhaust i wish i can recycle it back 🤣.
Yeah unless you really want the 90s cool-factor a 100 series is better suited to your uses. Personally I don't get that excited over an IFS Land Cruiser even though it'd probably better suit me as well.

As far as de-modding.. it doesn't seem worth it to me unless you're really attached to that truck. Plenty of people are looking for a trail rig. Then again, it might be harder than it sounds to flip that one for a clean stock example.

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