Project80 Part 2 - The spending begins

Last week I announced 'Project80', my mission to build the ultimate ’20 Grand’ family touring 4WD.

My plan is to repair, restore and upgrade our 25 year old 80 Series Landcruiser over the next few months into the ultimate low budget family touring 4WD with a total budget of around $20,000 . . . including the value of the car.

To keep you guys in the loop I'll do a blog post every week with a summary of what progress I've made each week and the current budget spreadsheet which I'm updating constantly as I buy things and have new ideas.

Some weeks will be big steps and others not so much but at least this way you're not having to wait too long for each update.

Make sure you're subscribed to our weekly newsletter to hear about each update . . .

What happened this week:

Firstly I want to say a massive THANKS to everyone who contacted me or commented on the last blog post or Facebook post with feedback, tips and offers of help.

This is great and exactly what I'm looking for.

I don't have all the answers but collectively we do, so keep them coming.

Wheels & Tyres

The rear tyres currently on the car are worn and in desperate need of replacement so fitting the new wheels and tyres is the first priority.

I've already bought and paid for a set of 5 Nitto Trail Grappler 285/75R16's and black steel rims from Bob Jane T-Mart in Preston and by paying for them by the end of January, I was able to get their 'buy 3 get 1 free deal', so I ended up paying $1875 for the set which was a pretty good price. The last tyres I bought were Cooper ST MAXX 265/75R16 which were around $1600 for 4 tyres without the rims.

Bob Jane is holding the wheels and tyres for me until I'm ready to get them fitted which I cant do until we get the front end suspension sorted out . . .

Front End Suspension

The car has been a bit wobbly and loose in the front end for a while now which is not really surprising given the work it's done.

The OME shockers have done over 170,000km and none of the sway bar, radius arm or panhard rod bushes have ever been replaced so they've done over 370,000km.

In the original budget I had sourced all the suspension bushes separately from a few eBay suppliers but I managed to find one supplier (car-egg) that sold the complete bush kit for front and back suspension for $375 so I've bought this instead. This was for the 2 degree offset radius arm bushes which fix the steering geometry with raised suspensions.

It arrived yesterday and unfortunately they sent me the standard radius arm bushes, not the offset ones AND the wrong front sway bar hangers (see pics below) . . . so not a great start.

I now need to send them back to get the replacements.

I've also bought a new steering damper which arrived yesterday and I'll fit this weekend.

Terry at Mr Mods has ordered me a set of Old Man Emu Nitro Charger shocks which are the same as the ones I already have (except new!!) so we'll fit those at the same time as we fit the new bushes.


I'll do some of the bushes myself in my garage but the radius arm, trailing arm and panhard rod bushes need to be fitted with a hydraulic press so Terry will be helping with that one.

Once the shocks and bushes are all fitted I'll head down to Bob Janes and get the new wheels fitted and get a wheel alignment and we'll see where we are at.

Hopefully this will all be done in the next 2 weeks.

Check out the 'Project 80' eBay Collection

As I've been searching eBay for bits and pieces I've been saving the things I find into a collection called 'Project 80'.

It's visible to anyone so feel free to check it out and see what I'm looking at.

These aren't all parts I'm planning to buy, just a way of saving them all together to easily find when I need to.

Rear Drawers Arrived

The rear drawers arrived this week from 4X4 Supacentre about a week earlier than they were meant to so that's good news.

They are currently still in the box in my garage and I'm hoping to be able to have crack at installing them on Sunday, but we'll see what happens.


New Front Seats

More good news . . . I've found several wreckers that are selling Ford XR8 front seats for about $400 for the pair which is less than I expected them to be so this has added a few hundred dollars back into the budget.

I'm looking to pick up a pair in the next few weeks and get them installed - may as well get them in and start using them as soon as possible!

I've also found a business called Huracan Fabrication that makes adaptor rails that apparently make it very easy to fit the XR8 seats straight into the 80 series using the original 80 series rails. The plates are about $90 for a kit.

Thanks to Zoë Hazelwood for sending me a pic of their 80 series with the XR seats installed - see below. It's a definite improvement over the standard ones!


New Darche 'Eclipse 270 Awning' looks pretty good

Part of my plan is for a rooftop tent and I mentioned in the first blog last week the the Darche Intrepidor 2 is the current front runner in my choice of models to buy.

Well, earlier this week, Darche released a short video showing a new 270 degree awning they will be releasing soon and it's definitely got my attention.

A big part of the Project80 plan is to be self sufficient without towing anything, so living in, on and around the vehicle is the way to go.

There are a couple of other wrap around awnings on the market but for one reason or another (weight or setup time) I hadn't considered them as part of the plan.

BUT, this new one from Darche looks like it could be a contender.

I'll wait to find out more about the setup time and weight and if they work and the price is reasonable, then I might see how I can squeeze one into the budget - stay tuned.

darche-eclipse-270The Budget

I've managed to shave a couple of hundred dollars off from last week . . . but it's early days.





Steering & suspension Suspension 2 degree offset Bush Kit - Front & Rear  $415  $375
  New shock absorbers - OME  $800  $750
  Steering Damper  $65  $73.80
Cracks around radiator mounts Weld it up  $100  
Fuel filter mount broken Weld mount  $-    
Steering box leaking Find source of leak & fix  $100  
Oil seals Rear tailshaft and speedo cable leaks  $200  
Rocker cover leaking replace gasket  $20  
Rear windscreen leaking Remove and reseal  $15  
Radiator Leaking Repair  $100  
New Tyres & wheels x 5 Nitto Trail Grappler LT285/75R16 x 5 + rims - Ready to fit  $1,875  $1,875
Body work Fix rust around drivers windscreen pillar  $50  
Paint work Prep body for new paint job  $100  
  New paint  $300  
  Spray gun buy/rent  $100  
Flare seals New rubber seals around flares  $150  
Wipers Paint front wipers matt black  $15  
Door locks New barrels & keys  $100  
Spotlights Service & replace globes & covers, paint housings  $50  
Dashboard Fix split   $15  
Drivers seatbelt Replace due to fraying  $50  
New front seats Good second hand eg. XR8  $400  
Front seat mounting bracket Huracan Fabrication  $100  
Rear door skin Rear left door inside panel needs replacing  $50  
Tailgate Doesn't stay shut tight  $-    


Rooftop tent Darche Rooftop Tent  $1,100  
Roofrack modification Remove side rail for tent & paint  $20  
High Flow Exhaust    $800  
Dyno Tune    $750  
Rear Drawers Ordered 23/1/2017 - Arrivewd ready to install  $500  $465
Front LED light bar Mount on bullbar or roofrack  $80  
Side & rear LED flood lights & switches    $100  
New radio aerial    $20  
New UHF aerial    $60  
Solar panel    $180  
Brake & indicator light housings Replace with new LED  $200  
Modify rear cage Cut, weld & paint to fit with rear drawers  $-    
Rear roof storage shelf Build from steel mesh & mount on rear cage mounting points  $20  
USB charge points Double USB charge sockets for back seat pasengers  $40  
LED Lights in rear  LED lights on back tailgate to light rear work & kitchen area  $35  
Battery link cable Built in jumper cable from battery 1 to 2  $40  
Dyneema rope in winch Replace wire rope to save weight  $189  
SUB TOTAL     $9,304  $3,539
PLUS Original Value of Car    $12,000  $12,000
TOTAL PROJECT BUDGET    $21,304  $15,539

Follow Along With Hashtag #Project80

I’ll include the hashtag #Project80 on every article I publish on this site and on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

TBLGB FREE Blog Placement

7 thoughts on “Project80 Part 2 - The spending begins

  1. Avatar
    Bill Kelly says:

    My wife and myself have just finnished watching the Big Lap. What a great job you guys did. You are all great characters. Totally different and way better than any of the other touring shows. Nothing over the top. I reckon you could make a series about Tassie on its own. Looking forward to seeing your progress withe the 4x4

  2. Avatar
    Stuart Pike says:

    All good and worthy mods. Bit worried about the paint job for $500 though. You might need to forfeit your LED tail lights and some other non essential treats? We're a family of 5 (8,6,3) and toured oz in our 105. Up to 3 weeks at a time without a caravan incl Kimberley and The Cape. It can be done and it's a great way to explore with nothing holding you back (except weight!!). Best of luck. Stu Pike.

  3. Avatar
    Ralf Gehb says:

    Hi Steve, I follow by Germany from your Blog for a long time. My wife Dagmar gave me your Big Lap DVD. We were in 2007 and 2012/2013 for a few weeks in DU. On 01.September 2017, our great Australia Adventure starts now. We want out of Brisbane from the North to the Tip and then through the Red Centre left for Sydney. There we will meet new year's eve with our children. Then it goes towards Melbourne, Perth, Bromme.... . Let's see what's there. For that, we want to by a car ( Nissan Patrol ,ARB air locker where possible) and a Jayco Outback. A rental is to expensive. The journey take about 6-7 months.Then we want to insinuate the Bundle in a garage ( for later trips) or resell. Maybe you can give us a few tips to do so. For rebuilding your Toyo 80' I wish you happy knack. Until soon, Ralf. ( sorry for my english???)

    • Avatar
      Glen says:

      Hey Ralf, I live in Brisbane and can help you find a vehicle if you like. My email is Glen

    • Avatar
      leo vasilunas says:

      Hey Ralf..don't leave out Adelaide and South Australia-great wine country and marvellous outback adventures like the Flinders Ranges. Email me if you like when you get

  4. Avatar
    Paul Walsh says:

    I just put a set of titans rear drawers in my 1997 80 series. I am happy for the price they worked out very well and I have done 2000kms with them in so far no issues.
    I love the 80 series they are one tough truck that's for sure. I need to get a full set of suspension bushes done once I get back home to Mansfiled Vic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *