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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Written by Robin on Thursday, January 6, 2000

Why Build It?

We built the truck because we could. It was a mix of good opportunity and a lot of pro-activeness. We made this project happen, but it did creep up on us – it began as a dream sketched at a picnic table, and slowly became more and more serious until all of a sudden we owned a rusty donor vehicle and realized that the gears had turned past the point of no return.

Drivetrain Condition

As of August 2002 the motor has 365,000 km’s on it, (228,000 miles). It doesn’t smoke at all, runs very strong, leaks no oil, and is basically in incredible condition for such an old motor. It was owned by one previous owner who bought it new, and babied it all the way. We have replaced the front ball joint seals, front diff seals, and put new seals on the push rod covers – a place notorious for leaks in these motors. The front brake calipers and pads were replaced and the rear pistons and shoes were replaced. Other than that, the drivetrain is very solid.

However, it is slow. It is definitely better than our smaller diesel cruiser, but it would be really nice to have a turbo charger, or else a late model diesel in this. Currently we get 13 L/100 km (18 mpg) so the fuel consumption is not terrible. It’s not that great though, but I guess this is a big heavy box.

Paint It?

Yes, aluminum can be painted, like anything, only when it is done right. But for us, it really doesn’t matter. After going back and forth between painting it and not, we’ve decided not to do it. Painting it will just be a huge cost, and though it may look good at the time, it will just be something that can get scratched. Best to leave it rough – we’re under no illusions here! This vehicle is rough!

How Much Does it Weight?

The truck has a curb weight of 2,300 kg (5,060 lbs) while the original is classified at 2,050 kg (4,510 lbs). Even though aluminum is much less dense than steel, some of the members are 4-5 times as thick as would be in a steel vehicle. Where ever we have been unsure of strength criteria we have always erred on the side of caution and made structural members far bigger and stronger than they need be.

What is the Mileage?

When we started we were getting 18 miles/US gallon, or 13.5 L/100 km.  Lately I’ve seen a marked drop down to 16 miles/US gallon, or 15 L/100 km.  I’ve also noticed a bit of diesel leaking around the fuel pump area, so we’ll see after we get it fixed.


Further Reading on The Truck:

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