Vehicle Suitability vs. Build Cost (1 Viewer)

Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
3
Location
San Diego, CA
Hey everyone,

My name's Craig- been on and off this forum for awhile, and reading quite a bit. Haven't wheeled regularly since parting out my SAS'd -87 Yota Longbed in 2015. I just picked up a 2000 100 Series about a month ago. 170k miles. Bone stock. I know I won't be running it as hard as I wheeled my '87, which was a dedicated rock crawler. But I do want to get out some fairly technical local trails. So far I've been taking it real easy, getting a feel for the thing. And I have some concerns about moving forward with this truck that I'm hoping you guys can assuage. I'm looking at my build plan come together, and the costs pile up, and I worry that I made the wrong call- that I need an 80 Series because this thing just ain't gonna justify the cost.

Build Plan ($6k):
Sliders: $1k
-Sliders for these trucks seem mighty expensive. The cheapest set I've located so far was $650. Is that on point?
Drivetrain: $2k
-I know I have ATRAC. I've played with it a little, and I've watched some videos. I think the thing really needs a selectable rear locker. I don't trust a locked IFS from experience, so I think that front end needs a TrueTrac. With those added, and the stock ATRAC, I think it'll get pretty good traction given its lack of travel. I see a lot of people on here like them with stock gear- am I over-thinking it that the 100 needs a Locker and a TrueTrac to realize its potential?
Suspension: $2k
-This thing is a beast, and it needs a beastlier Suspension. 1.5" OME lift, installed- under 2 grand
Tires: $1k
-33x12.5s, keeping the truck at stock gearing. Little over 1 grand.

Concern:
After putting $6k into it, travel is still going to be very limited, and the front end is still going to be very breakable. I could eliminate a lot of this cost by just swapping it for an 80 series platform. I'd be giving up the superb onroad performance, and that's a factor.

Am I overloading this build plan with unnecessary upgrades or high cost estimates? Are my reliability fears about the front end founded? I can be careful, but wheels will be coming off the ground, and I will be very far from pavement when they do. On that note, I'm also reading a whole lot on here about 4% of the transmissions from my model year being time bombs. Another 'far-from-pavement' concern.

I know this is a somewhat vague post, but I'm hoping some of you guys can give me your experience with putting that money into a 100 and then wheeling it hard. Was it worth it? Do you drive like the front end's made of glass, or is it actually pretty reliable? Will it really benefit from both those new differentials? I've searched and I've read a lot- now I'm hoping for some specific knowledge from some of you with a lot of Land Cruiser experience. Thanks, and good to be here!

IMG_0549.jpg
 

MongooseGA

Learns things the hard way
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Welcome to the club.

Maybe I missed, what kind of trails are you planning on with this truck?

FWIW, I wheel with a a guy with an open-diff 80 on 37s. With ATRAC in my truck, there's not much he can do that I can't save for very tall obstacles.

$6k is a good start to a solid build. I won't tell you what's in mine, you'll run.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
504
Location
SF Bay Area
Hmm - a few questions here to unravel.

First of all, I think you need to come to terms with the fact that the 100 series platform is not a rock crawler. If you're building it to take on Rubicon-esque terrain, it's going to get expensive and I think there are much better (cheaper) platforms to start with if that's the goal.

HOWEVER, if your goal is to comfortably and reliably get to remote trail heads, and tackle 90%+ of the difficult trails out there, then I can't think of a better platform. Also, you won't be pounding your head against an 80 series dashboard as you climb mountain passes in 2nd gear at 30mph, which is an added bonus.

Second, you seem to be concerned with the front end being fragile. The 98s and 99s with the 2 pinion front diff were a little less robust, but these are pretty stout units. if you take a peak underneath, you'll see that the IFS system on the 100s is built like a tank compared to most out there.

Is it going to articulate as well as a solid axle? no. But I've heard of very few cases of 2000+ front diff issues unless you're bouncing it over rocks at redline and snapping CVs. This comes back to it not being a rock crawler.

Thirdly, you mentioned the transmission. I have a 2000 which is apparently the "problem year" and have never had issues as of 235k miles. at 170k miles I'd assume you're past the point where it would have shown issues.


If I were you, I would start with tires, lift, and sliders. Do a trip and try out the ATRAC. If it's not adequate then put a rear locker in. Swapping a rear axle from a 98 or 99 with factory locker could be an affordable option. If you're still really having traction issues then look into a front device.

Otherwise, if you decide that you do want something to tackle the reeeally hard stuff, then a solid axle will suit you better. I have had both and driving up the mountains in my 80 to get to the trail was painful.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
856
Location
Utah
Hey everyone,

My name's Craig- been on and off this forum for awhile, and reading quite a bit. Haven't wheeled regularly since parting out my SAS'd -87 Yota Longbed in 2015. I just picked up a 2000 100 Series about a month ago. 170k miles. Bone stock. I know I won't be running it as hard as I wheeled my '87, which was a dedicated rock crawler. But I do want to get out some fairly technical local trails. So far I've been taking it real easy, getting a feel for the thing. And I have some concerns about moving forward with this truck that I'm hoping you guys can assuage. I'm looking at my build plan come together, and the costs pile up, and I worry that I made the wrong call- that I need an 80 Series because this thing just ain't gonna justify the cost.

Build Plan ($6k):
Sliders: $1k
-Sliders for these trucks seem mighty expensive. The cheapest set I've located so far was $650. Is that on point?
Drivetrain: $2k
-I know I have ATRAC. I've played with it a little, and I've watched some videos. I think the thing really needs a selectable rear locker. I don't trust a locked IFS from experience, so I think that front end needs a TrueTrac. With those added, and the stock ATRAC, I think it'll get pretty good traction given its lack of travel. I see a lot of people on here like them with stock gear- am I over-thinking it that the 100 needs a Locker and a TrueTrac to realize its potential?
Suspension: $2k
-This thing is a beast, and it needs a beastlier Suspension. 1.5" OME lift, installed- under 2 grand
Tires: $1k
-33x12.5s, keeping the truck at stock gearing. Little over 1 grand.

Concern:
After putting $6k into it, travel is still going to be very limited, and the front end is still going to be very breakable. I could eliminate a lot of this cost by just swapping it for an 80 series platform. I'd be giving up the superb onroad performance, and that's a factor.

Am I overloading this build plan with unnecessary upgrades or high cost estimates? Are my reliability fears about the front end founded? I can be careful, but wheels will be coming off the ground, and I will be very far from pavement when they do. On that note, I'm also reading a whole lot on here about 4% of the transmissions from my model year being time bombs. Another 'far-from-pavement' concern.

I know this is a somewhat vague post, but I'm hoping some of you guys can give me your experience with putting that money into a 100 and then wheeling it hard. Was it worth it? Do you drive like the front end's made of glass, or is it actually pretty reliable? Will it really benefit from both those new differentials? I've searched and I've read a lot- now I'm hoping for some specific knowledge from some of you with a lot of Land Cruiser experience. Thanks, and good to be here!

View attachment 2402820

I have a 2001 with 200K
Front travel - I decided to live with it and added an extra inch with Icons, and it hasn't been bad. I do feel annoyed every now and then that I can't lift it any more.
Transmission - no problems yet
IFS - does need strengthening with an ARB locker/carrier. But I also wheeled without it for a while and never broke anything. Just don't slam a wheel down while it's spinning, that's what breaks front diffs.
ATRAC - I hate it, never worked for me. I added front and rear lockers

Basically just gotta accept that you get a newer, more comfortable ride in exchange for less flex and less lift. Sell it ASAP and buy an 80 if you have doubts in the back of your mind, it will only get worse the more money you dump into a 100. But at the same time, if you're not rock crawling, you may love it.

And I guess what are your plans for the build?

Here are a few trails I've done just fine in my 100:

brynlc3.jpg


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My friend here hasn't modified it too much, just has sliders and 33" mud tires with a rear locker and he goes wherever I go:

akdGbYY.jpg


E5GKrwq.jpg


UwLGx9C.jpg


JfPEFaM.jpg


And this guy just did the Rubicon in a 100:

 
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
463
Location
Fort Lauderdale
the 100 will do 90% (arbitrary) of what an 80 can do.

where the 100 shines 100% over the 80 is the highway driving to and from the trail/campground.

that alone made me stay with the 100.

i seriously considered selling my 100 for an 80 early this year.
 

ramangain

Clarksonian disciple
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2,548
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Atlantis
Why don't you throw the $6k at an 80 series, compare both of them, then sell the one you don't want? Throw those proceeds at the rig you keep.
 
Joined
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Messages
475
Location
Redwood City
That $6,000 number is going to go right out the window fast. Have you calculated your baseline/maintenance costs yet? You're starting with a 20 year old vehicle that probably has a few things that need to be addressed, unless you bought the most perfectly maintained 100 series in the US.

Personally I would keep the 100 and buy a $3,000 to $4,000 dedicated rock crawler for the 'hard stuff'. I have a SAS'd 2nd gen 4runner and yet I take the 100 almost 100% of the time...
 

suprarx7nut

The YotaMD Guy
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Colorado
You're overthinking it, IMO. Here's the bang for buck order of operations in my mind. I say this having owned a 99 rear locked LC and now an 06LX and doing plenty of "moderate" trails. No Rubicon rock crawling, but plenty of trails with spot-worthy obstacles.

1. $1,000 - Sliders.
2. $1,000 - Tires. 33" requires zero mods at all. You can creep up to 34-35 if you're willing to hammer the body pinch weld behind the front wheels and reform the plastic liner.
3. $500 - Rear suspension springs and a front torsion bar adjustment with a set of new Toyota shocks. The OME kit is too rough for my liking. It's expensive and uncomfortable and you won't tackle any extra trails because of it.
4. $2500 - Rear bumper. Factory departure angle sucks. This is a big investment, but really opens up what you can comfortably take on, not to mention you've got the fun of swingouts and all the storage options that come with that.

That's only $2,500 if you leave out the bumper and you'll do most trails with ease. It's a steep curve in dollar per performance once you go beyond this. The 100 is an awesome vehicle for aggressive trails, but you have to open up your wallet fast beyond the basic 1,2,3 items above.

Diff: just wheel it. Don't spin wheels. If you want to just gas it and hope for the best, buy a locker. IMO, that's a poor driving technique and not really enjoyable. Slow and steady wins the race.

Trans: I think failures are still pretty low. Just wheel it, but be prepared (with any vehicle) to get stuck where you're going.
 

suprarx7nut

The YotaMD Guy
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Joined
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Messages
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That $6,000 number is going to go right out the window fast. Have you calculated your baseline/maintenance costs yet? You're starting with a 20 year old vehicle that probably has a few things that need to be addressed, unless you bought the most perfectly maintained 100 series in the US.

Personally I would keep the 100 and buy a $3,000 to $4,000 dedicated rock crawler for the 'hard stuff'. I have a SAS'd 2nd gen 4runner and yet I take the 100 almost 100% of the time...
Really good point here. Baselining is a highly variable cost. My 99 took almost nothing (thank you previous owner). My 06LX has cost many thousands to tackle very basic baseline items (coolant leak, hidden windshield corrosion, roof corrosion, CV/hub flange play, brake master cylinder, etc...).
 
Joined
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San Diego, CA
I’m not counting baseline costs- already dropped a couple grand in timing belt and radiator. Just what’s going into it as a trail rig.
I like some things about that revised breakdown- especially the reduced suspension tweaks. I’m leery of cranking stock Tbars though. Re-index maybe. And a rear bumper would be super rad, from a camping perspective as well.
Seems like the consensus is it’s not made of glass. And people wheel em all day without traction devices. I like the advice to go that way first- start with sliders and tires and see what happens. I can always buy a locker or Truetracs next year.
 

MongooseGA

Learns things the hard way
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My open-diff, ATRAC truck has done just about everything I've pointed it at, provided the tires cleared. Except mud. She doesn't like mud much at all. I followed (and sometimes led) my dad's VERY built, locked TJ through everything at Uwharrie last year.

We're planning on running at least half of the TransAmerica Trail next Summer together, and he's already feeling like he'll be the one wishing he was in the other vehicle.

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JunkCrzr89

Competent Ignoramoose
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That $6,000 number is going to go right out the window fast. Have you calculated your baseline/maintenance costs yet? You're starting with a 20 year old vehicle that probably has a few things that need to be addressed, unless you bought the most perfectly maintained 100 series in the US.

Personally I would keep the 100 and buy a $3,000 to $4,000 dedicated rock crawler for the 'hard stuff'. I have a SAS'd 2nd gen 4runner and yet I take the 100 almost 100% of the time...
Excellent points and advice. I've spent $8k solely on parts (no labor costs) for baselining over the last year. Also, the more Toyotas the better 😎

You're overthinking it, IMO. Here's the bang for buck order of operations in my mind. I say this having owned a 99 rear locked LC and now an 06LX and doing plenty of "moderate" trails. No Rubicon rock crawling, but plenty of trails with spot-worthy obstacles.

1. $1,000 - Sliders.
2. $1,000 - Tires. 33" requires zero mods at all. You can creep up to 34-35 if you're willing to hammer the body pinch weld behind the front wheels and reform the plastic liner.
3. $500 - Rear suspension springs and a front torsion bar adjustment with a set of new Toyota shocks. The OME kit is too rough for my liking. It's expensive and uncomfortable and you won't tackle any extra trails because of it.
4. $2500 - Rear bumper. Factory departure angle sucks. This is a big investment, but really opens up what you can comfortably take on, not to mention you've got the fun of swingouts and all the storage options that come with that.

That's only $2,500 if you leave out the bumper and you'll do most trails with ease. It's a steep curve in dollar per performance once you go beyond this. The 100 is an awesome vehicle for aggressive trails, but you have to open up your wallet fast beyond the basic 1,2,3 items above.

Diff: just wheel it. Don't spin wheels. If you want to just gas it and hope for the best, buy a locker. IMO, that's a poor driving technique and not really enjoyable. Slow and steady wins the race.

Trans: I think failures are still pretty low. Just wheel it, but be prepared (with any vehicle) to get stuck where you're going.
I agree, though I'll add that high quality sliders can be had for $300-500 if you can weld (or have a buddy that can), and, similarly, high quality rear bumper can be had for $500-700 if you can weld (or have a buddy that can).
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
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San Diego, CA
Thanks guys. I got some really good input here, and it helped reorganize my thinking about this truck.

Firstly, I went out for a long highway drive yesterday and obviously this a really nice damned car. I love it. I felt like there could be no way it also stands up as an offroad machine, but now I'm feeling better that it can. I do want to run the actual Rubicon again, in this vehicle, but that place is so blown up and carved out that I don't think it'll be a problem. I don't need to hit Dusy Ershim on my way home, you know.
For the most part, I want to run those 9 out of 10 trails. The 10th trail is somewhere you shouldn't be in your daily anyhow.

I'm really interested in a stock suspension refresh to go with the 33x12.5 Wranglers I want to run. I'm going to do some searching on that topic and figure out how to level and tune up the stock setup and save some money in the process.

As for traction- I do see that coming up down the line, after sliders, tires and suspension. I'm encouraged by those of you who are locking the front, and intrigued by the thought that switching to an ARB strengthens the front because the carrier is stronger. That's an interesting concept that I'm going to have to look into further as well, assuming I get into some sticky spots and truly decide that I don't like how the ATRAC functions.

And I get it. It's an expensive vehicle to own and an expensive platform to build. So it'll take me a little time to get through the first round of mods. That's alright. I'm enjoying it a lot bone stock, and it's only going to get better. Enough buyer's remorse already- this is a kickass truck, I'm lucky to have it, and it will only get better and more capable as I own it.

IMG_0870.jpg
 

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