What do you love about your 98/99?

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Aug 21, 2012
Lynden, WA
Rather than generate another debate about which year is "best" I thought I'd start a conversation regarding the years that I'm interested in: the 98 & 99 100 series. Coming from an early unlocked 80 series, I feel that the V8, ABS, airbags, leather, and rear locker are a huge step up for me and can't say I'd want to spend more to get VSC/Atrac/NAV, etc. So, what makes you stoked on your early 100 series, and if you were in the market knowing what you know now would you be looking for a 2000+ version?
Well, owning a 2000, I'd say the only thing I'm jealous of is the rear diff locker. IMHO
Really just the rear locker and simple to mod climate/stereo (non-integrated).
The newer Trans would be nice and I'd give it all up for that. The VVT motor, new front clip, LEDs, and side curtain air bags would be fine too.
Early = Cheap, that did it for me.
The consensus it that if you want to tow get the 5-speed.
Rear locker...

Went ahead and put an ARB in front and didn't have to worry with front diff.

No Navi to mess with...

Rear Locker...

Rear Air..

Rear Locker...

Just a great ride quality for a lifted truck.
For me, it was the rear locker, no integrated HVAC/nav to worry about, and none of the later electronic gizmos were things I cared for - ATRAC, VSC, etc. I've owned several high end German cars with all the acronyms you think of, and I think 98 LC with good tires and a good driver is still better than just about anything out there in inclement weather. Literally the only thing I wish for is the 5 speed transmission in the 03+ which is arguably worth the extra dough depending on your uses. I was looking for a 98-99 or 06-07 and I found my 98 with barely 100k miles less than 5 miles from my house for less than half what I was looking to spend on an 06 in SoCal. Easy choice.
I have a 99. Rear locker with arb front and I can go anywhere if I choose too...easy radio swap if need be...the only thing...I wish I had the 5 speed. No biggie though. Wait for a 200 series...

I do think the rear air is critical. U will enjoy..
We get a lot of snow and ice where I live;

I used to have a 2000 model with the VSC and ATRAC. The ATRAC was magnificent on icy roads and other slippery surfaces. I loved the ATRAC.

I did not really like the VSC in the 2000 model. Although it certainly saved me from the ditch on a few occasions, I did not like that the VSC would cut the throttle and take control of the car. I was always a little worried that VSC might takeover at the wrong time- for example in a bend at 80 mph on a snowy highway.

I sold the 2000 LC a couple years ago because I needed the cash, then more recently I bought a 1998 model LC. For my purposes the 1998 is exactly the same as the 2000 except for the absence of the VSC and ATRAC. Other than that, there is no difference; they are both awesome vehicles.

I prefer the 1998 because it will let me powerslide on snowy surfaces without beeping at me and cutting the throttle.

Coming from an 80 series, you will really appreciate the 2UZFE V8 engine- it is the best engine in the universe ever, by far. You are going to love it. The independent front suspension is also much nicer than the 80 series solid axle for the vast majority of applications. You will like the heated leather seats.

In summary, I have owned and driven the snot out of both a 2000 100-series and and a 1998 100-series, and they are both great vehicles- I am convinced that there is no other vehicle even close in terms of design, craftsmanship, and durability that can be had for under $10k.

I have said it before and I'll say it again: don't worry about the differences between model years; just buy the best maintained Land Cruiser that you can afford and don't look back.

As an added bonus, the early 100 series are done depreciating; my experience is that it is not too difficult to break even buying and selling them - the best part is you get to drive them in between.
Last edited:
The thing I like most is that is paid for. I wish I had VSC and a 5-speed though. The money trade off is worth it to not have right now.

And I'll probably be able to sell it close to what I paid for it if I ever upgrade.
I love the fact it's not brand new, so if I scrape, scratch, bash, or if some else bumps, dings, bings. I don't worry so much. Plus having a locker in the rear your one step closer to fully locked rig.
Its a simple truck , and by now im sure u know about the rear locker
It's the last old school land cruiser: no nav, no vsc, etc.
My uncle bought a nice 2004.
VSC light came on and it spent 3+ months and 3 different Toyota/Lexus dealerships replacing good parts and not getting rid of the dash light.

Last dealer finally called Japan and they fixed it with a software reprogram.

My 99 never has any red dash lights :+)
Simple. The truck is near indestructible. It does what it is supposed to do with minimal muss and fuss. Just give it normal maintenance.
What's to love?

  • Rear locker
  • Easy to replace double DIN H/U
  • Rear A/C
  • V8
  • No AHC (not a requirement)
  • It was the latest model when purchased
  • It's a TLC . . . oh, and not a F@rd, Ch3vy, or a Do:dge/Ram/Chr!slr/H33p

What to look for in a 2000+?

  • A 200 . . . when its time (but who knows when that will be?), or maybe a Tundra CrewMax
Seriously, with just a few parts swapouts our '98 we could make it look like a newer model. That's awesome. So really, other than the 5 speed trans, I am not excited about anything else in the later 100's. I love my factory locker. It's saved me twice now and I haven't yet offroaded the truck. It was phenomenally cheaper than the new body style and I couldn't justify the huge price jump. I love our '98 and have never regretted the choice.

Sent from my iPhone. Clumsy fingers may contribute to mistakes.
For me the 98 was the perfect choice because:

- It was the new Land Cruiser when I bought it in May of 98.
- It has everything I want (Toyota, rear locker, okay stereo with CD, heated seats, third row, tailgate, sunroof is huge, factory roof rack rails are very strong, superb reliability, parts available everywhere in the Americas).
- although I take care of the paint by washing and waxing regularly, which may not be typical of all owners, this thing doesn't get body rust even when living in the rust belt
- It has nothing I don't want (nav or other technology that constantly goes obsolete, power everything) other than poor gas mileage. Wasn't a problem when gas was $1.25/ gallon but it is a bit painful now.

I still have it because it still fits those needs and never ever breaks. The front diff issue has never been an issue for me. The transmission issue has never been an issue for me and I can't see how having more speeds would be helpful given my uses. I hope to get another 276k miles out of it - at least until I can get my LPG or fuel cell powered 2023 model with stock front and rear lockers.
Last edited:
+1 on everything the thread has mentioned.

Aside the fact that I have faded paint -- smoky mica topaz. Almost everything looks and rides like new. I love to tell people that it's almost a 15 years old vehicle. Their jaws drops.
If you're looking at driving long distances to buy a 98-99, make sure it actually has the rear locker. Every 98-99 I'd seen on this forum had the locker, so I assumed they all did. Some don't. Ask me how I know. :doh:

I still wound up buying mine, because the price was right and I couldn't wait, but sometimes I wish I'd held out to find one with the locker.

I did like how easy it was to swap the radio. Not sure I'd want to deal with the NAV issue in later ones. The 4-speed transmission doesn't bother me, but that might be because I've never driven the 5-speed.
I have owned my 99 for more than 10 years now, and it has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Mine has 174k yet still rides smooth as butter. I certainly wouldn't mind owning a newer model to have the side airbags and stability control system. That would be my only reason to move to a newer one, though I likely won't. This rig rides oh so smoothly. It is only marginally less smooth than my 03 Range Rover, but waaaay more reliable!
I have never driven a 5 speed model, but I'm not sure there would be much difference other than possibly Hwy Mpg.
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom