Builds I bought a Whale, now I gotta build it and use it

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Feb 10, 2002
Canton, Mississippi
Last month I took my faithful 1998 100 series up to North Carolina to my daughter for the summer.

I did the Georgia Traverse and explored a few days and came to the conclusion that driving a modern Land Cruiser is much less stressful on long trips than all the old junk I tend to take on these adventures.

I spent 3 days scheming on what to do to get my 190,000 mile, Slee “yes” package 100 series back from my daughter.

Once I met her in North Carolina she vehemently vetoed my plan to repossess “her” Land Cruiser she has driven for the past 4 years.

So my mind began to drift forward………

So the mental justifications for a 7th Land Cruiser began.

Yep. I need another. I’ve got all the series covered so maybe I should just go ahead and go up to a whale…aka 200 series.

I “need” a better tow rig afterall……..

So just for giggles I go to FB marketplace to see how bad the prices are on 2018-2021 used Land Cruisers.

I soon discover I’m too dumb to search outside 100 miles of home and after scrolling a bit a low-ish mile 2018 pops up 14 miles from my house.





I’m still in North Carolina but the scheming goes into overdrive
I meet my wife and daughter at the camp in Brevard NC….exchange the Land Cruiser with my daughter and take the direct route home in my wife’s car. She, of course, sleeps all the way home which leaves me with 10 hours to think about the 2018 Land Cruiser sitting at my buddy’s car lot.

At Atlanta I determined I would sacrifice my FJ55 to fund the purchase. I sent a few covert texts to the guys that have told me “if you ever think about selling this thing”…….

I just don’t need or want another Cruiser. One has to go to make this happen.
Then it dawned on me……figure out a way to sneak it on the company car program and ditch the 2019 TRD Pro 4Runner.

So we get home and I start pulling up the info on our reimbursement program at work.

I was told years ago that you can get anything you want as long as it’s less than $ sticker.

Ive stuck this in my head for years. The Pro in Nov 2018 was $48,000 and I bit my nails a bit until I got it safely into the system.

Then I thought, man. The person that told me $45,000 told me that 10 years ago. Surely they have raised that number since car prices have skyrocketed

After an exhaustive search I decide I don’t want to ask……I’m just going to do it and see what happens. I can always sell the Pig of they deny me

I make a preliminary trade deal….it’s insane. They will give me 45,000 for my 2.5 year old 4R …….

It’s happening now. Just gonna roll the dice. 2018 Whale is clean clean. One owner. Some guy that had a surprise 3rd kid and wanted a Sequoia so he traded his 60,000 mile baby in.

The PO had taken care of all the difficult decisions.

WeatherTech mats were already installed.

285/65-18s were installed

Gangsta tint installed.

As I pulled out of the parking lot it dawned on me that this was the first time I had ever driven a 200 series.

Although the correct size ties were on the Whale, they were not the proper brand.

My current favorite AT is the Toyo AT3 so I asked Chris at 49Tire to order me up a set.

I’ve never equipped any of my Land Cruisers with a drawer system. I have always needed the third rows in the 100 with kids and travel but they are grown now.

I made a call to @Ozark cruiser and a set of Dobinsons drawers were inbound.

These things are super high quality and the price is great.

I also installed an Aussie attic tray

Roof rack was a simple decision. I have used FrontRunner on everything but my 4Runners (too loud) so I put one on.

My buddy Lou came to help and Red watched
My newest Land Cruiser before this one is a non-Nav 2001. Riding around with the dark tint, dual AC and cooled seats spawned the idea that I needed to repeat my 2017 summer trip to Big Bend.

It’s a great time to visit just to ride the trails because the place is deserted.

My buddy Lou has a big ole Raptor we just added some monster suspension to last week so we hatched a plan to make a Cannonball Run trip

I had to wore up the National Luna and add the Foxwing and I would be ready to vice this thing a proper test.

The Dobinsons comes with a nice fridge slide but I reallly prefer my fridge behind the drivers seat for quick and easy access and I was very pleased to discover the 50l NL fits perfect


You're gonna love having drawers. I use mine sooo much. Best mod I've made.

Absolutely love them. No more rattles and crap flying all over on rough terrain. They sold me this weekend.
Both great Toyota’s. The prices Toyota’s are fetching are crazy and they are selling fast.
In my move to a 460 I’ve noticed the v8 milage is comparable maybe even better to my v6 fj cruiser. I think the better transmission is the reason.
Modern amenities can really spoil us.
Seat heaters really help my back after a long day. And window tint will help keep that sun off your skin so you can stay young looking for your Mrs.
Big Bend
I took off early for Ft Stockton making myself familiar with the adaptive Cruise


I’d like to say my first stop was Rudy’s BBQ bit the 200 gets just as crappy gas mileage as my other Cruisers so Arlington was my second stop.

I turned south to traverse the Hill Country on state highways for the second 400 mile leg of the trip

There is a new farm in Iraan


I had a few miles of I10 at the end of the day as I approached Ft Stockton I decided to try to find the speed limiter on this thing.

It’s somewhere north of 118 mph. Never found it
I had to wore up the National Luna and add the Foxwing and I would be ready to vice this thing a proper test.
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The Dobinsons comes with a nice fridge slide but I reallly prefer my fridge behind the drivers seat for quick and easy access and I was very pleased to discover the 50l NL fits perfect View attachment 2721638
View attachment 2721640
View attachment 2721641

Very nice. I've been on the waiting list for a dual 50L NL fridge since May. Hope to have it by November. :frown:
Southbound at first light. We are a two ship now. Stock Land Cruiser and a not so stock Raptor.

I’ve done these trails in my FJ60 and my 100 series so I’m looking to see how the 200 fares. The trailhead was another 2 hours south of Ft Stockton through the Glass Mountains. Superb drive.

Summer rain had Old Ore Road nice and dust free. We aired down at 8 am and it was still nice and cool at 80 degrees.






One thing @under_psi and I both wanted to do on this trip was some high speed desert driving. There is literally no place to do this in the south that does not involve dangerous hills and curves. Big Bend in the summer….it’s deserted and there are huge stretches of road that you can see for miles ahead and you can push a little and not be a menace to others that may be using the trails.

Lou took the first long Mesa to hammer on the Raptor with his new Fox/Icon setup. By the time I topped the hill he was a couple of miles ahead of me checking his tire. Seems a Boulder decided to kiss his wheel.

We had both aired down to 24# to help with the rough track and his gauges showed front right was down to 19

We pulled over and I broke out the electric impact and we had that tire swapped out before it got too hot.

Just beyond that I regained the lead and literally drove right into a wash that high centered my truck from the center of the front skid all the way to the rear differential

I turned the knob for 4Low and literally all 4
Wheels were in the air and ATRAC was useless.

I then figured out how to get it into CRAWL and ROCK and let it work while I turned the wheel back and forth slowly.

Amazingly it finally set the right power to my driver front when I had it turned right and the whole truck popped out of the rut.

That was damn cool.

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