What is the best lift for a 100 series Land Cruiser? What would the best tires be for offroading?

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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
 
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I dont have much experience as I've only own my truck for about 2.5 years. Its a stock 99 LX with functioning AHC. It had 285/75/16 Falken Wildpeaks on it when I brought it. My first mod was Metal-Tech sliders and I've done quite a bit of offroading with just that. Since then I've done a bunch of upgrades but I'm still running AHC with supplemental King AHC springs in the rear to help with the added weight. I do want a lift, leaning towards the Ironman Foam Cell Pro and thats just because I dont want to wait for AHC to go into High. lol

I mention all this to say that if you want to overland or do some offroading dont feel like you have to get 35s and a lift, you dont. These trucks are extremely capable. I think money would be better spent on rated recovery points in the front, sliders, some Falken Wildpeaks in 285/75/16 or whatever 18" equivalent, a compressor, and some recovery gear like straps, traction boards.

If my AHC holds up I will likely be doing lockers before a lift and bigger tires.

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20220403_105105.jpg
 

Kabanstva

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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
33” tires are you best bet. Anything bigger you might be thinking about regearing and doing some hammering of the wheel wells. Go with an AT if you’re doing a mix of on and offroad driving or MT tires if you’re gone be doing ALOT of offroading.
 
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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
Technically a lift doesn't add ground clearance (it does raise the bumpers and rockers etc but your diff stays at the same low spot). Tires are the only way to gain ground clearance at the diff, shock mounts etc.

As for lifts creating an uncomfortable ride, hop in a car with King or Icon suspension and I bet you change your mind. Most suspension are tuned for certain applications, what might get a great ride off-road might give a harsher ride on road. The factory suspension is VERY good but it lacks in some off-road applications.

Most people would benefit from just taking some trips and enjoying some trails. No need to "build a truck up" if you're not sure you'll like off-roading. Also, some people don't even live in an area where trials are accessible and prevalent, I never understood that one, when guys build up trucks to go off-roading for a week once a year. Each to their own I guess.

The 100 series is a great all around off-road vehicle. Get out and play.
 
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You're getting lots of good advice here. I started my journey 2 years ago with my LX470. I've done some light "off roading" -- forest service roads and light to moderate-rated trails so far. I have a stock rig with AHC. I added 275/65 R18 Toyo Open Country IIIs, White Knuckle sliders, and an ASFIR front skid. The Toyos have been great in rocks, sand, and snow. The sliders were the best purchase I made. I immediately put them to use on a big rock. Saved myself probably $3k in body damage. :) YMMV!

Editing to add: It's always tempting to go all out with a build, but aftermarket for these trucks is $$$$$$. At the end of the day, these don't make the best platform for serious rock crawling.
 

OwnerCS

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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
Since you are in Dallas, a good place in TX with a variety of off-road trails is Barnwell Mountain Recreational Area (BMRA) in Gilmer TX. There are usually groups there from the DFW Cruiser club. It's a clean place where someone can take the family.

 
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Just to add some specifics on tire size, since a few people have said 33ish or whatever the equivalent is...

The max tire size without any mods in standard tire sizes on an 18" wheel is a 295/70/18. This would be a 34.3" tire.

I've been running that size in Nitto and Cooper, with no mods. This is a VERY big looking tire compared to stock, or a 285/70/16. If you're running 16s and want to go to 18s, you can try to pick up a cheap set of 18" Tundra wheels from someone who's upgrading.
 
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Lots of good feedback and you are entering a fun space of choices to applications. Remember, you can always change your mind with a wallet (pops taught me to buy once, cry once but when I started in 100 series, I continue to keep an open mind). For reference, I have included a link to my build 4 years ago that is still standing strong with no issues. I too saved with Cooper MT on 18 factory rims but would go with Nittos MT on 16 factory rims (my son has this and it looks/rides cool and even with 34's he did not hurt his gas mileage). LX vs LC and the answer is... - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/lx-vs-lc-and-the-answer-is.1224082/post-14463703
 
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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
Lot's of good responses, and I'll throw in my two cents and a bit of my experience.
  • I think the absolute best thing you can do is to go slow and actually use the vehicle before you start modding. This will give you a better understanding of what your needs are and will save you from buying stuff you don't need or realize you don't want. A recreational off-roader has different needs than a camping vehicle, which has different needs than a long-distance tourer. These vehicles, even at 20-plus years old, are extremely capable off-road even in stock form on HT tires.
  • There are a ton of good choices with tires, and everyone has their brand loyalty. In general, the "knobbier" or more aggressive the tire, the more scrupulous you will need to be about tire pressures, rotation, and balancing to avoid uneven wear. Pick the tire brand, style, and level of aggression that matches your intended use. Personally, I think I "overdid it" on my current tires (Toyo Open Country C/T, which is a 3-ply sidewall, commercial tire with a hybrid AT/MT tread pattern in 285/75-16). I am thinking of going with something quieter, less aggressive, and smaller because 95% of my time is on pavement and the off-roading that I do is pretty mild in the context of camping and fishing and hiking, and I think these tires are overkill. This is where driving and experience of the vehicle will really help.
  • Personally, I think "lifts" are a waste of time and money. They look cool, sure, but they don't really buy you any performance. The only reason to do one, IMO, is to fit a tire larger than 285/75-16, and I don't think there's any benefit to this other than appearance (IMHO). LC 100s (and LCs in general) have fairly mediocre axle articulation (flex) and a lift won't help with this. These are not rock crawlers, they are extremely tough and reliable overlanding travel vehicles. You can make it into a "okay" rock crawler, but you're making a ton of compromises to do so. Better off buying a Jeep if that kind of off-roading is your thing.
  • If they haven't been replaced recently, I would recommend putting on a new set of OEM Tokico Toyota shocks. These are great shocks, and cheap. Again, plenty of capability without undesirable compromises.
  • Depending on age and use, the factory rear springs on these trucks will start to sag. If you routinely carry heavy loads, consider replacing them with the Old Man Emu 2860s. AKAIK, factory springs are no longer available new.
  • The factory stance of these trucks is to stinkbug (rear higher than the front). It looks stupid, I agree, and everyone likes to level these by adjusting the torsion bars. No issue with this, so long as you maintain AT LEAST 50mm of downtravel in the front suspension. However, in my opinion, these trucks handle poorly when leveled, even when the minimum 50mm downtravel is maintained. The best handling comes from having the front an inch or two lower that the rear. I've resigned myself to this after playing with a variety of settings. Of course, this is my opinion only, and others may have different experiences.
These are fun vehicles to drive and mod, and everyone's end-goals are different. Drive and experience the vehicle, evaluate your needs, and upgrade to meet your needs. Good luck!
 
Joined
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I dont have much experience as I've only own my truck for about 2.5 years. Its a stock 99 LX with functioning AHC. It had 285/75/16 Falken Wildpeaks on it when I brought it. My first mod was Metal-Tech sliders and I've done quite a bit of offroading with just that. Since then I've done a bunch of upgrades but I'm still running AHC with supplemental King AHC springs in the rear to help with the added weight. I do want a lift, leaning towards the Ironman Foam Cell Pro and thats just because I dont want to wait for AHC to go into High. lol

I mention all this to say that if you want to overland or do some offroading dont feel like you have to get 35s and a lift, you dont. These trucks are extremely capable. I think money would be better spent on rated recovery points in the front, sliders, some Falken Wildpeaks in 285/75/16 or whatever 18" equivalent, a compressor, and some recovery gear like straps, traction boards.

If my AHC holds up I will likely be doing lockers before a lift and bigger tires.

View attachment 3013238

View attachment 3013239
Awesome, thanks so much!

Lot's of good responses, and I'll throw in my two cents and a bit of my experience.
  • I think the absolute best thing you can do is to go slow and actually use the vehicle before you start modding. This will give you a better understanding of what your needs are and will save you from buying stuff you don't need or realize you don't want. A recreational off-roader has different needs than a camping vehicle, which has different needs than a long-distance tourer. These vehicles, even at 20-plus years old, are extremely capable off-road even in stock form on HT tires.
  • There are a ton of good choices with tires, and everyone has their brand loyalty. In general, the "knobbier" or more aggressive the tire, the more scrupulous you will need to be about tire pressures, rotation, and balancing to avoid uneven wear. Pick the tire brand, style, and level of aggression that matches your intended use. Personally, I think I "overdid it" on my current tires (Toyo Open Country C/T, which is a 3-ply sidewall, commercial tire with a hybrid AT/MT tread pattern in 285/75-16). I am thinking of going with something quieter, less aggressive, and smaller because 95% of my time is on pavement and the off-roading that I do is pretty mild in the context of camping and fishing and hiking, and I think these tires are overkill. This is where driving and experience of the vehicle will really help.
  • Personally, I think "lifts" are a waste of time and money. They look cool, sure, but they don't really buy you any performance. The only reason to do one, IMO, is to fit a tire larger than 285/75-16, and I don't think there's any benefit to this other than appearance (IMHO). LC 100s (and LCs in general) have fairly mediocre axle articulation (flex) and a lift won't help with this. These are not rock crawlers, they are extremely tough and reliable overlanding travel vehicles. You can make it into a "okay" rock crawler, but you're making a ton of compromises to do so. Better off buying a Jeep if that kind of off-roading is your thing.
  • If they haven't been replaced recently, I would recommend putting on a new set of OEM Tokico Toyota shocks. These are great shocks, and cheap. Again, plenty of capability without undesirable compromises.
  • Depending on age and use, the factory rear springs on these trucks will start to sag. If you routinely carry heavy loads, consider replacing them with the Old Man Emu 2860s. AKAIK, factory springs are no longer available new.
  • The factory stance of these trucks is to stinkbug (rear higher than the front). It looks stupid, I agree, and everyone likes to level these by adjusting the torsion bars. No issue with this, so long as you maintain AT LEAST 50mm of downtravel in the front suspension. However, in my opinion, these trucks handle poorly when leveled, even when the minimum 50mm downtravel is maintained. The best handling comes from having the front an inch or two lower that the rear. I've resigned myself to this after playing with a variety of settings. Of course, this is my opinion only, and others may have different experiences.
These are fun vehicles to drive and mod, and everyone's end-goals are different. Drive and experience the vehicle, evaluate your needs, and upgrade to meet your needs. Good luck!
Got it! Thanks so much for the advice!

You're getting lots of good advice here. I started my journey 2 years ago with my LX470. I've done some light "off roading" -- forest service roads and light to moderate-rated trails so far. I have a stock rig with AHC. I added 275/65 R18 Toyo Open Country IIIs, White Knuckle sliders, and an ASFIR front skid. The Toyos have been great in rocks, sand, and snow. The sliders were the best purchase I made. I immediately put them to use on a big rock. Saved myself probably $3k in body damage. :) YMMV!

Editing to add: It's always tempting to go all out with a build, but aftermarket for these trucks is $$$$$$. At the end of the day, these don't make the best platform for serious rock crawling.
Good to know! What’s your opinion on the Toyo Open Country lls rather than the llls? And if I have 18” rims, would the tire size of 285/65/18 tires be okay without a lift?

33” tires are the biggest you can run without rubbing, with or without a lift.

A “lift kit” for a 100 is just new rear springs or a spacer. You can lift the front by adjusting the torsion bars. Shocks can stay Toyota or there are many options from affordable to bank breaking. I’m a fan of Tough Dog.

Start searching thread and you’ll find a plethora of info. As @jLB said, AT tires and sliders would be the first place I spend money, and go explore and learn from there.
If I have 18 inch rims, would 285/65/18 size tires be good?
 

jLB

May be in need of a 12 step LC/LX program.
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Awesome, thanks so much!


Got it! Thanks so much for the advice!


Good to know! What’s your opinion on the Toyo Open Country lls rather than the llls? And if I have 18” rims, would the tire size of 285/65/18 tires be okay without a lift?


If I have 18 inch rims, would 285/65/18 size tires be good?
285/65R18 KO2s, on OE 18” wheels, fit just fine on my (at the time) stock 06 LX. 285/65R18 is kind of an oddball size, and selection/stock was usually low, while the price was a little high. 275/70R18 seemed to have better selection/stock at a lower price, so I eventually moved to 275/70R18.
 
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285/65R18 KO2s, on OE 18” wheels, fit just fine on my (at the time) stock 06 LX. 285/65R18 is kind of an oddball size, and selection/stock was usually low, while the price was a little high. 275/70R18 seemed to have better selection/stock at a lower price, so I eventually moved to 275/70R18.
So would you recommend the 275/70R18’s over the 285/65R18’s?
 

jLB

May be in need of a 12 step LC/LX program.
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So would you recommend the 275/70R18’s over the 285/65R18’s?

285/65R18:
32.6” tall
11.22” wide
$371 each for KO2 at my local Discount Tire

275/70R18:
33.16” tall
10.83” wide
$318 each for KO2 at my local Discount Tire

There’s not all that much difference between the two. In my experience, they both fit without issue, stock offset, no spacers. Both are a tight fit in the spare tire spot. I’ve used BFG KO2 tires in both sizes. I understand that KO2 tires might “run small” compared to some other brands.

Yes, I’d recommend the 275/70R18 size, but I’d check the spare tire fit, before going “all in”.
 
Last edited:
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285/65R18:
32.6” tall
11.22” wide
$371 each for KO2 at my local Discount Tire

275/70R18:
33.16” tall
10.83” wide
$318 each for KO2 at my local Discount Tire

There’s not all that much difference between the two. In my experience, they both fit without issue, stock offset, no spacers. Both are a tight fit in the spare tire spot. I’ve used BFG KO2 tires in both sizes. I understand that KO2 tires might “run small” compared to some other brands.

Yes, I’d recommend the 275/70R18 size, but I’d check the spare tire fit, before going “all in”.
Thanks so much for the help btw! So you said that the 275/70R18 fit better, or what was it that made if stand out from the 285/65R18?

Sorry to keep pestering
 

jLB

May be in need of a 12 step LC/LX program.
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Thanks so much for the help btw! So you said that the 275/70R18 fit better, or what was it that made if stand out from the 285/65R18?

Sorry to keep pestering
Fit is very similar.

Availability on a road trip, without having to endure a delay for a “special order”, and ($53 x 5 =) $265 difference for a set of 5.
 
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Well, I have to pipe in here w/r lift.

True, lift won't technically buy you ground clearance (diff, shock mounts, etc).

But, consider the break over angles and all the bottom stuff between the axles, like door sills etc, a suspension lift sure helps there.

Also, good driving will mitigate the diff and other axle area contact points...put those tires where the obsticals are and avoid obsiticals where the diff are.

Finally, payloads in off-road conditions are where the suspension lifts really shine. You will have decreased ground clearance due to added weight.

I say know your weights, lift up to a max 2" using info here on MUD, go with 33s, and most importantly, select the best shocks (adjustables ?) you can afford.

You can buy me a beer later:)
 
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CO
I've done many trails and continental divide passes with stock sized KO2's, AHC and sliders. Never scraped the underside of my truck once, I think I may have scraped a slider slightly one time.
 
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I would start with (in order)
  1. a 4x4 class
  2. Quality 33" tires
  3. Quality high lift like jack. 4x4 class should have taught how to use it for recovery.
  4. DOM Slider. Do not let lifetime warrantee deceive you into thinking that non DOM slider will hold up like a DOM slider.
  5. Skids. Even cheap will likely adequately protect, my OEM Toyota skids on my 4Runner are beaten to heck and look terrible but still protect. This assumes you have had the 4x4 class and know that it is rare that running hard and fast is seldom the best approach. For the drivers that believe speed and power is way to overcome every obstacle, get quality skids.
I admit that my #3 to #5 was not easy on the order but I valued recovery over damage. Proper training (#1) will have the wheel go over the high points placing greater need on slider over skid.

On my 100 (that the son mostly drives) we have 35" tires, true high lift jack, Warn winch, Arb compressor, stock center locker, arb front bumper, coastal off road double swing rear bumper (not happy with where I placed the high lift as it requires taking off spare to access; I would be less happy with the jack location if I did not have the winch) with two 5 gallon tanks (I believe the gas tank in spare tire holds ~12 gallons for a total of 17 gallons beyond stock fuel capacity), King shocks with heavy OME springs, extra fuel tank in spare location, custom sliders that are not that good but double as a step (on my list to upgrade), Gobi Rack.

I have a no-brand snorkel to add.

I need better sliders and I am missing at least one skid.

I am looking into solar for the front hood.

Do most people need the items we have? No. I believe almost everyone could do everything they want with the 5 items I listed for starting. However there are some people who push harder terrain and/or more remote areas. For those people, they will push whatever vehicle they have and will constantly want more (my son has destroyed 3 axels (one solid (80 series), one left and one right) in less than 18 months). Dussy Ershiem, Rubicon, Fordyce Creek Trail, etc. require more than the 5 items I list as starters (but 95%+ of all trails can be done with those 5 items).
 
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SF,CA
I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
Maybe you should get an 80 series. I am parting with mine to get a 100 because I never take it off-road. With the 80, I think there are more choices lift, tires, sway bar, etc. I have a stock height after market springs with 33" tires (so a 1" lift) and the truck will take you almost anywhere.-Dan
 
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I'm new to the idea of off-road mods and I am curious as to what would be best for my 100 series Land Cruiser. I understand that lifts, although add ground clearance & allow larger tires, are expensive & make the car feel more uncomfortable (which is something I don't want my Cruiser to be). Lastly, what are the best tires to go with a lifted 100 series land cruiser (depending on the size of the lift)?
The real question is how deep do you want to get into the offroad world? Forest Service type roads? Or Moab trails rated 6? See Moab Trail Ratings for some ideas. Forest service roads will take you to some pretty amazing places.
My 100 was my first offroad vehicle, when I built it in 2008, and I went pretty heavy on the build. Sliders, Front and Rear bumpers, OME suspension, rear locker, winch, 295 AT, drop diff, front skid plate. This build is way overkill for Forest Service roads. But if you want to do 6 rated trails then that is the ballpark to shoot for.
If you don't do any trails with big washouts, large rocks or ledges then AT tires and some recovery gear might be all you need.
 

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