Locked and Loaded.......now what? (and other things)

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Oct 20, 2014
Los Angeles
Hope everyone is having a good 2015 so far. I feel bad for CowboyUp's loss of the LC. But better the truck than life or limb.

I am reaching out with some updates and seeking some advise/opinions about my '97 LC. For reference, bought it in Aug 2014 at 176,xxx miles and have accrued 182,xxx miles to date.

To kick off the year, I got the CDL switch from Cruiser Parts and had it installed by K&H Imports in Chatsworth. Had the Pin 7 mod done at the same time. Pulling the black/blue tracer wire out of the harness was a bit of a hassle and it was a rush to finish before closing time, so the mechanic just cut the appropriate wire and taped it up. I would have liked it a bit cleaner, but I guess it will serve the purpose with the connection to the relay cut off. Anyway, now that I have all the lockers working, I have a few....well, dumb questions:

When do I need the CDL? I know I can engage the center-diff in high-range, but what are appropriate situations for its use?
Can I engage the CDL while moving? Say, at 15 mph on gravel/sand. What is maximum speed allowed?
Do I turn it off, if I choose to go to low-range? Or.......
Can I switch to front and rear lockers with CDL on, in high-range?
Can I switch to front and rear lockers with CDL on, in low-range?
Basically, can the CDL and the FR and RR lockers play together? If so, when would be appropriate?

I confess, I had to install the CDL as a rite of passage on this forum (the other is changing the PHH, which is next on my list), but I would like to know the proper use of it. In my Range Rover in the past, all I had to do was shift it to low-range through an H gate and that was it. Truck would happily lumber over any and all obstacles, barring any electrical failure to stop it.


On to other things........... I have been giving the truck some attention in other areas as well. Pampering it with preventive maintenance, so I can abuse the heck out of it on the trail. So far, I have had these taken care of:
V belts, Thermostat, Distributor O ring, coolant flush and rfilled with Red coolant, greased all the diffs and transmission, put on OEM brakes all around, repacked the front bearings, oil change x2 with NAPA Platinum filters, put on new windshield wipers, HIR low-beams, LED 1156 reverse lights (useless mod, IMO), Kenwood speakers on the front doors. Installed a pair of two-stage hood struts from Sixity.com, only after an unsuspecting mechanic got hit by the slamming hood. I really like how these struts work. Longevity would be +++. Most of the work was done at Toyota and Tru Line Automotive.

Couple of weeks ago, I changed the tires and wheels. I opted for the BFGoodrich A/T LT285/75/R16s with ATX series Artillery wheels. I definitely like the combo. The tire size has been perfect, no rubbing whatsoever, even without any lift, and they look beefier than OEM spec. The wheels are dark gray, matching with the grays in the lower body panels. They render a tough look to the truck.

LC_RedRockCanyon1.jpg LC_DV.jpg

TBD in the next 2000 miles: Change all the coolant hoses (dealership deems them to be fine as of last week), I bought the Xtreme Silicone PHH kit, need to have it installed, plan to take care of the knuckles and birfs at Toyota or K&H Imports. Plan to replace plugs, Cap, Rotor and Wires. There are some oil leaks, so I am going to have the oil pump gasket and the front crank seal taken care of at that time. Plan to change spark plugs and wires too. Want to install diff breathers. Change out dash and interior lights with LEDs. Hoping to call it a day for PM for a while!

Here is what I am seeking advise and opinins on:
The PO (and only owner) had all PM done at a dealership in Tustin, CA. I was shown the entire maintenance history at the local Toyota dealership. Here are things I noted, aside from scheduled maintenance:
At 133,xxx miles, he had the GASKET, CYLINDER HEAD / FIPG OIL PAN / GASKET, SPARK PLUG T / HOSE AIR CLEANER replaced. I also see that he had changed oil + filter + air filter every 3000 miles, religiously. Along with multiple throttle body services and fuel injector flushes. Does anyone think the head gasket needs attention about now (about 50k miles later)?

The PO had replaced the RADIATOR with an aftermarket unit at 165,xxx miles (no indication in the maintenance record as to why). I can only assume that the hoses were replaced as well. Does the radiator need attention by now also? I don't see any leak anywhere yet and the overflow bottle is adequately full.

CAP, ROTOR and WIRES were replaced at 109,xxx miles by PO, because engine was running rough.

The STARTER was replaced at 122,xxx miles. But I can replace that now. It is not malfunctioning, but it's not expensive and will give me some peace of mind.
Can I look into a valve adjustment on this engine? Would it be beneficial?
No indication of PO changing the FAN CLUTCH, ever. My OBD II scanner gave me this report after 3 minutes of warm up and 20 minutes of driving around. Does this look normal at idle?


Last but not least, while I am asking for advise and opinions, I am thinking of giving the vehicle a slightly different look and personality. I want to do a partial vinyl wrap on the body, color matched to the dark grays of panels and wheels. This way I can give it a protective cover in certain areas without painting it. All chrome parts will get a Plasti-Dip coating. Here are some concepts I have conjured up:


Going for a bit of a rugged military like stance. The star on the hood may or may not make it in the final version. Might put a logo or something (maybe a big IH8MUD in a diagonal layout ;) ). I will be adding lift, lights and front/rear armor, as soon as I am done with the initial PM stuff. All that armor may support this look.

Would like to hear your opinions and many thanks in advance.
1. No you can't engage lockers in High range, not without a mod to the locker ECU
2. Appears your head gasket is already taken care of, bonus ! Shouldn't have to worry about it anymore.
3. I would not worry about the starter, my original had 207k on it and was still working when I rebuilt it.
4. I would not worry about the valves unless they are making a lot of noise.
Thank you, half k cruiser. I will keep using the lockers in the way it was designed as I don't plan to modify them any further. Valves are not making any noise, but I was thinking I might be able to squeeze out a little more compression out of them by adjusting. Didn't see anyone doing it to the 1FZ engines, so I thought I might ask. Does the OBD II scan indicate anything out of the ordinary? I don't have a frame of reference. I imagine it would tell me whether to tackle the fan clutch and the PHH immediately or not. Should I scan it while driving hard (inclines, hot days) to get a better gauge of engine condition?

Loving the truck and enjoying it everyday.
You've already done the pin 7 mod, so your center lock can now be put in in either high or low range. No idea what the speed range is for engagement, sorry. The center lock also disables your ABS, so be aware of that.

Your front and rear diff locks can be put in whenever the center diff is locked. It may take a few yards for your rear diff to lock up, turning sharply helps there. The front locks much quicker. I use my center lock in most reduced traction situations then lock the axles as needed to clear the obstacle, whatever it is. I don't lock my axles on the road (unless I'm pulling someone out of the ditch!)

Hope this helps.
Thank you for the elucidating the locker procedure. Now I know what to do without putting the truck into any disagreeable situation. My biggest concern was of causing mechanical damage, or worse, in remote places by operator error.

Much appreciated

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