Looking for a 4WD that can carry the earth on it’s back and pull the arse out of the sun at the same time? We may just have the answer for you. This is one single cab 79 with a difference! 300mm difference to be exact and the mother of all payloads! So just how much can this ute carry and how did we achieve it? Read on to find out.
When it comes to choosing a new 4WD to suit your exact touring and towing needs, more often than not the standard offerings from all of our manufacturers these days don’t really fit the bill. It really comes down to the tried and tested durability and servicing/parts network of a LandCruiser with modifications or venturing into the relatively unknown realm (in this country at least) of american pick-up trucks. This was the decision faced by our customer Ian with the plan being to travel with a heavy slide-on camper – maximum payload was required with maximum reliability desired for traveling the remote regions of Aus.
The good news is we can retain that legendary LandCruiser reliability and dependability that so many people have backed over the years in this country, but with a payload and towing capacity that can match and exceed many of the big yank tanks.
The key player to achieving this lies in the chassis which has been modified and lengthened by 300mm. The chassis section is manufactured by our good mates at Jmacx Off-road Solutions and replaces the whole rear section of the standard Toyota chassis with stronger, longer rails, cross members and all the infrastructure to convert the leaf spring suspension arrangement to coil springs in the rear.
At the time of this build a single cab Jmacx chassis extension/ coil conversion hadn’t been done before, so the whole vehicle was put on a truck and sent up to the guys at Jmacx so they could do all the R&D they needed to get the chassis fine tuned to suit the single cab body.
We got the rolling chassis back and went to town on fitting the Kings remote res shocks, coils, airbags and all the other components that come with the kit like radius arms, adjustable panard rods and control arms. The coils have improved ride refinement, axle articulation and down travel, and the airbags assist with load carrying when the 79 is loaded up.
The second part to maximising the payload on this vehicle, was to minimise the weight when fitting accessories. The first step was to fit a lightweight alloy tray that was strong enough for the tasks being asked of it. The tray was custom built by Peninsula Plasma Cutters on the Central Coast and comes in at over 2.5m long and has trundle draw and tapered under body tool boxes. It was built with weight reduction and strength in mind.
An ECB Big Tube alloy winch bar was fitted to the front for protection, again with weight reduction in mind. It houses a TJM Torq 12,000lbs winch with synthetic rope to take care of any recovery duties. The Jmacx chassis also incorporates a rear winch cradle as well, but in the interest of saving weight, no rear winch was fitted.
The extra mods and weight to be carried would also require extra power so with the addition of a Patrol Docta stainless steel air box, HPD ungraded intercooler, Safari Armax snorkel, the big girl was then sent up to Streamline Automotive where they waived their magic wands over it in the form of a Dyno tune. Throttle response was also greatly improved by fitting an iDrive throttle controller in combination with the tune. The engine receives extra protection using a Diesel Care secondary fuel filter and HPD billet catch can.
There is, of course, much more to making a single cab 70 Series LandCruiser into a comfortable tourer, even in the top-spec GXL form. The entertainment system that’s standard in the 79 series is fairly basic so an upgraded unit by Alpine was fitted by the guys at House of Soundz and features upgraded speakers and door pods. The interior was stripped out and sound deadened using Dynomat and mirrors upgraded to full power-fold towing mirrors by Clearview.
A set of Black Duck seat covers were fitted to fit protect the seat fabric and a molded dash mat by No Bull Accessories was fitted to protect the dash from the harsh Aussie sun. A GME XRS 370 and AE4705 antenna pack to take care of communications.
Suspension airbag pressure is controlled inside the cab using the Airbag Man wireless inflation system and the TJM Heavy Duty Vehicle Mount Compressor. The compressor is mounted in one of the under body tool boxes and there’s provisions to run an air hose for tyre inflation as well.
The whole package is rolling on a set of ROH Maverick wheels that are 17 x 8″ in size and wrapped in a set of Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3 that mesure in at 285/70R17. So now the figures you’ve all been waiting for. We’ve been able to obtain a 4490kg GVM thanks to the Jmacx chassis extension and coil conversion and the vehicle tared in with all the upgrades, bar work, tray, a full tank of fuel and spare wheels at 2627kg. That leaves a massive 1863kg payload. The towing capacity is upgraded to 4000kg although GCM (Gross Combined Mass) is capped at 7990kg which means that loaded to full GVM (over 1800kg on the back) you can still legally tow 3.5t. No matter what way you look at it, you’ll never get the same figures out of an american full-sized pick-up. Is this the perfect solution for a tow/touring vehicle? Well if it isn’t, it’s pretty much the closest thing we’ve seen to it!
Keep an eye out for Ian’s big rig touring the country. It’s the first Jmacx stretched single cab LC79 in the country, but we’re sure it won’t be the last!