Welcome to the SE BOSS build. On this build we’re going to step outside our comfort zone, break away from the usual style of builds we do and test a few concept ideas and designs and set a bench mark in our touring vehicle builds.
Using Australian made products and companies where we can and supporting many local businesses along the way, with our combined knowledge, expertise and overall passion for the 4WD industry, at the end you’ll see a quality built, ready-to-go anywhere Australian touring vehicle.
Starting off, I’m going to write this blog post a little different from the others, as its my personal car, hence the name, SE BOSS, (the bosses car) and show you guys in depth how the process happens, and the amount of work, effort and time it takes to build or own a vehicle like this. You’ll see progress photo’s along the way and a gallery at the end if you want to skip to that.
The big decisions made in this build as far as brands used and features were chosen on my personal requirements at the time and what I found to be important to me. There are a lot of options to choose from when building your LC79 all depending on your budget, type of touring and family size and so you’ll see each build on our website is unique to each owners preference and what was important to them.
Grab a beer, sit down and enjoy the read, don’t forget to leave your comments below.
Starting this build off with a brand new unregistered VDJ79R Toyota LandCruiser twin cab. First step is to install the portal axles and upgraded suspension as this must be done before rego or any other accessories fitted. The portal axles used h
ere are a product of Marks 4WD Adaptors. The main key features of this set-up are 6″ drop down hubs, giving you an instant 150mm clearance under the diff with no changes to your suspension/steering or handling geometry. Im fact, they’re also much wider than standard diffs so your car will handle better on and off-road with greater stability & footprint and this is modification is 100% street legal Australia wide under second stage manufacturing. Other advantages with the portal axle conversion are upgraded brakes, 16% reduction gears, one piece air locking hubs and the drum handbrake relocated to the rear of the transfer case.
As you can see the image above the benefits of this set up and ground clearance, and its also legal with these larger tyres.
For the suspension, (as this is separate from the portal axles) I have chosen to retain the leaf spring design and opted for parobolic leafs from Terrain Tamer. As you can see, they’re not your typical leaf pack and only have 4 leaf’s per side, greatly reducing unsprung dead weight while still allowing a 3950kg GVM upgrade and the ability to flex somewhat more than a typical set of leafs.
Its back at the shop and here we are installing the RhinoRack roof platform fitted with LED light bar and under-eve side lighting a common addition to all our builds.
The tray we built for this build is almost the same as our regular builds other than a few new features we are trialing, like a rear tapered tailboard, quick-connect water system and a removable kitchen pod instead of a trundle draw. More on that later.
For the shocks I have decided to go with Kings Offroad Racing Shocks with adjustable remote reservoirs, front and back. I strongly believe your shocks play the biggest part in ride comfort and not to skimp out when considering choice on shocks. For the front suspension I have gone with Lovells heavy duty coils with a 1″ lift. Still 100% street legal as this is the legal lift limit is governed by your headlight height. You can however have a 2″ lift fitted with these portals but you must then lower your headlights into your bull bar. I am planning on something special for my front bar, more on that later.
A good view of the new concept tray design. You can see from here the thought gone into the layout of the tray and utilizing every space possible underneath. The aluminium flooring sheets are removable at any time if you ever need to access any of this equipment or just a thorough wash down. You can see the water tank up front, keeping the weight in the centre and over the axle, rear draw carcus and the air system and alloy air tanks between the draw and the toolboxes. Theres a twin piston ARB air compressor in one toolox and a 36v electric chainsaw in the other.
The first look of the new tray. From this shot you can really see how wide the new diffs really are, especially in the front in this shot.
A few small details here to note are the widened guards to accommodate the wider wheel track, quick connect tap outlet, canopy connection plug and a new feature prototype with the leading edge of the headboard has been shaved off to give the tray design more angles and detail.
Rego ready. Here you can see the black flooring sheets, Ocam towing mirrors, twin spare tyres and the twin stainless exhaust from Torqit. The removable rear draw compartment still not fitted yet in this photo which will hold the number plate.
All new cars need to be weighed before rego. Above you can see the report explaining individual wheel weight and an overall weight of 2554kg. The kerb weight of a stock cruiser is 2175kg, that means the tray and those accessories fitted to it as per the pic above, roof platform & lighting, 5×35″ wheels/tyres, twin exhaust, GVM upgrade/heavier springs and the whole portal axle converson/replacement diffs came in at 379kg. Thats a bloody amazing result and has left me with a legal allowable payload of 1396kg. I have saved a lot of weight for now by not installing things like bull bar, side steps, canopy, second battery, tow bar or winches (at time of rego) and these are items most people overlook when building their ultimate tourer.
A happy, but beaten man. This build was during the Dec2020 Covid19 lockdowns in Sydney. Trying to get this registered during this time was difficult with the Service NSW (our local road authority) not allowing walk-ins at that time. Because of the SSM modifications, I needed to present the original paperwork at the desk, and also to collect the custom number plates they had stored. This proved very hard but I got there in the end, it was Christmas eve to be exact. A well earned beer.
First profile shot with the new canopy on. Its far from finished yet with many things to go.
Next up the the roof-top tent. I have chosen the Alucab Expedition Gen3. All aluminium and quite spacious and comfortable inside. My main reason for this choice among others was the overall aesthetic design and how it is tapered at the front in the X & Y plane, giving a streamline style and less wind resistance. It also has lighter canvas and suits me and my personal preference and can be set up or down in around 30 seconds.
Starting to take shape now!
Pumped guards for the portal builds. Trialing a few new things here, with the wheel 6″ lower than normal we fitted the fuel filler in the wheel arch, mounted to a removable aluminum panel which also keeps the rocks mud and sand from entering and collecting under the tray. It includes a silicone cap to stop shit getting in the key hole. Putting the filler there has given me a bigger toolbox to store my chainsaw and revovery gear.
Absolutely love it.
Still needs a tow bar & rear winch. More on that later. I think its fair to say, this car will be an ongoing project forever.
For our 12v set up, we’ve gone with Enerdrive hardware and a Simarine touch screen display. Specs on this equipment are at the bottom of this post, but its proving to be the ultimate set up and would suit anyones needs and not over the top or over complicated.
Not having draws installed (which wouldn’t really work with a vehicle this high) has left me with more room than I know what to do with.
The internal layout is modular and practical. The ability to pack your contents in minutes depending on your trip, length of travel and company is priceless, to me anyway. I dont see the point in lugging around everything all of the time whereas if things were packed on a trip-to-trip basis it just makes sense to me to only take what you need.
We love Australian made products, like these Expedition 134 modular storage boxes. . They’re waterproof, dustproof lockable, stackable boxes and work great with our aircraft style tie down track system you can see here.
We’re now proud to be the Sydney distributors and can include these boxes in your next build.
Next up was the intercooler replacement. I have chosen a PDI front mount aluminium intercooler core with this included stainless steel plumbing. (thats two cars worth in this image) As standard, this V8 diesels intercooler is situated on top of the engine relying solely on forced airflow from driving into the wind. This means when your driving slow like during 4WD your intercooler isnt working as efficient as it should. Having this intercooler not only looks the tits but will result in helping maintain power delivery due to cooler intake temperatures, and reduced EGT while under load and studies have shown to be 3x cooler just by not being in the engine bay and on top of the motor.As part of the Marks 4wd portal axle conversion, they had installed the compressor for the air-operated locking hubs directly where I need to run the new intercooler piping. To overcome this we came up with the idea to mount it in the cavity behind the drivers side headlight, just before the air intake. Although tricky to fit, it couldnt of worked out better- its out of the way, out of the heat, protected from dust mud and water and now not intefearing with the pipework. This has also allowed me to remotely mount the air filter and hide all the air lines within the guard.
Our first trip away to the farm. Before we left, we stopped by our local beach, popped the tent and sat up there and watched the sunrise with a coffee and the paper.
Loving the look of the new intercooler in your face. I will be making a grill for it soon to protect it from sticks stones and the bugs .Next job was to tackle the bull bar and winch
For the bull bar, I have decided to go my own way and do something custom. To start with I have purchased a 2nd hand ARB bull bar, cut it up and removed the wings and hoop leaving me with the centre main structure piece which i will build off.
This is the only part I wanted as this is the main structure that bolts to your vehicle. I have not modified or changed any section that fixes to the vehicle and will be using the same fixing points and bolts that came with the complete bar. I am merely redesigning the wings, and a new hoop section. Throughout this build I will be adhering to the ADR (Australian Design Rules) at all times. I am also a qualified ticketed welder/fabricator with over 20 years experience in the trade. https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/downloads/technical-specification-bull-bars.pdf
From here we’re on our own.
Here you can see I have fabricated new wing pieces from 2.5mm steel sheet and mounted up the Runva 13XP winch. I will be adding a removable aluminium cover for the winch so if i need to repair or maintain the winch, I dont need to remove the bull bar. You can also see here how I have mounted some LED light bars. These have proved extremely helpful for lighting up the bush to the sides of the road.