Field testing the upgrades so far | Project80

I'm on a mission to progressively repair, restore and upgrade our 1991 80 Series Landcruiser into the ultimate low budget family touring 4WD with a total budget of around $20,000 . . . including the value of the car.

I've called this project . . . Project80

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What happened this week?

Ok I'm going to come straight out and say that I didn't get as much done as wanted to in the last week or so.

But, that's not to say it hasn't been productive.

I was hoping to have had all of the electrical gadgetry installed by now but a delay in a couple of parts put that on hold and I want to start and finish it all in one go, not be stopping and starting.

But the good news is that I have almost everything I need now other than a handful of electrical connectors which I'll grab from Supercheap or somewhere similar.

Below are some pics of the gear . . . note the number of USB charging points we'll have - that should keep the girls happy with all of their iPhones, iPads etc.

I'll install these USB chargers (below) in the rear passenger doors so the girls can charge their gadgets on the go.

This dual USB charger (below) is already installed in the front console - may need to be relocated to the dashboard as I'll probably take the console out before our next big trip so I have somewhere for the video camera bag. This is what we did on The Big Lap trip.

Another 2 USB chargers in the rear switch panel as well as a cigarette lighter charging socket - makes a total of 10 x USB charge points in the car including the dual charger I have already mounted under the dashboard - should be enough!


Field Testing

I've been spending a fair bit of time in Adelaide recently and I've driven back and forth between Melbourne & Adelaide twice now.

This photo below is me literally in both states at once!

On the last trip from Melbourne to Adelaide I did an overnight stop in a free camp ground called 'Plantation Campground' in the Grampians which gave me an opportunity to test out the rear drawers setup and try actually sleeping in the car in my swag.

Rolling the rear seats forward creates an almost flat surface across the rear drawers and the rear of the folded down seats and with the drivers seat folded forward I can easily roll out my swag fully and it's actually really comfortable.

Obviously this isn't going to work with the cargo barrier there or when the car is fully loaded but for quick overnight stops when I'm going somewhere by myself its great - saves spending $$$ on hotels and frankly I'll take a 'serenity' of a camp ground over a hotel any day.

This now has me thinking about how I can modify the cargo barrier to both reduce its weight but also have it fold up to the ceiling in the back out of the way so I can roll out my swag without needing to completely remove the cargo barrier. I'll keep working on that idea.

Having breakfast on the tailgate the next morning was also a piece of cake. I just need to get a fold up table that I can setup off to the side for the stove(s) and food prep so Im not blocking the drawers by doing it on the tailgate.

Overall it's been good to get out and actually start using things because that's where you find out what works and what doesn't in the real world and ideas about how to make things better start to take shape.

What's Next?

Pretty much what was in the last update!

These are what is at the top of the priority list:

  • Modify the cargo barrier
  • Install all the electrics in the back & USB chargers in rear passenger doors
  • Downsize my toolbox to the bare essentials and store the in the right drawer
  • Install some LED lights in the rear area
  • Fit the new front sway bar bushes

The Budget

The budget hasn't changed since the last update but here it is anyway.





Steering & suspension Suspension 2 degree offset Bush Kit - Front & Rear  $415  $375
  New shock absorbers - OME  $800  $750
  Steering Damper  $65  $73.80
  Tie rods x 4  $-    $210.00
Cracks around radiator mounts Weld it up  $-    
Fuel filter mount broken Weld mount  $-    
Steering box leaking Fixed with stop leak fluid  $-    $-  
Oil seals Rear tailshaft and speedo cable leaks  $200  
Rocker cover leaking replace gasket - actual leak is from inlet manifold > catch can  $-    $-  
Rear windscreen leaking Remove and reseal  $15  
Radiator Leaking Repair  $100  
New Tyres & wheels x 5 Nitto Trail Grappler LT285/75R16 x 5 + rims - Fitted  $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 - Borrowed Terry's (Mr Mods)  $-    $-  
Flare seals New rubber seals around flares  $150  
Wipers Paint front wipers matt black  $15  $8
Door locks New barrels & keys  $100  
Spotlights Replace with light bar to save weight  $-    
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  $-    
High Flow Exhaust    $800  
Dyno Tune    $750  
Rear Drawers Ordered 23/1/2017 - Installed 12/2/2017  $500  $465
Front LED light bar Mount on bullbar - replace spotties  $150  
Side & rear LED flood lights & switches    $100  
New radio aerial    $20  
New UHF aerial    $60  
Solar panel Leave out to save weight  $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 Use webbing sling/mesh to reduce weight  $20  
USB charge points Double USB charge sockets for back seat pasengers  $40  $37
LED Lights in rear  LED lights on back tailgate to light rear work & kitchen area  $35  
Battery link cable & switch Built in jumper cable from battery 1 to 2 through switch  $40  $38.5
Dyneema rope in winch Replace wire rope to save weight  $189  
Plastic storage boxes For the rear drawers    $38
Catch can    $385  
Rear switch panel and fuse box      $125
SUB TOTAL     $9,369  $3,995
PLUS Original Value of Car    $12,000  $12,000
TOTAL PROJECT BUDGET    $21,369  $15,995

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8 thoughts on “Field testing the upgrades so far | Project80

  1. Avatar
    Richie says:

    Hi Steve

    Were there any more project updates after this post? I can't seem to find any using the tag.

  2. Avatar
    Jeremy Hustwitt says:

    Hi Steve have enjoyed your Big Lap DVDs and the great ideas that you come up with for travelling our great country! Been following your build up of your truck with interest. I noticed in your photo that you have the shovel facing to the back of the car which is what I did when I bought the shovel holder. Since joining a 4x4 club I was advised it is better to have the shovel head facing the front and around the roof rack which helps to deflect any branches that you may hit in a tight track. With it facing the back the branches can snag on it and maybe do damage to your vehicle. Just a tip I've learnt and thought would pass on.
    Jeremy Hustwitt

  3. Avatar
    Ian says:

    Hi Steve.
    I like all the USB charging points throughout the vehicle, however, they are all live so they will have to be either switched or wired through the accessories function on a relay due to current draw.

  4. Avatar
    Graeme says:

    Hi Steve,
    A mate of mine built his own cargo barrier. It only comes down to just below the top of the main seat section. As the seats are never laid down while traveling. Plus good for when you have long obects that have to fit in the car on occasion. Just an idea to throw in the mix for you ponder on.

  5. Avatar
    Peter Wright says:

    Hi i like the idea of refurb i am doing the 100 at the moment please advise where you got the electricals from as i wish to improve mine It looks great
    Regards Peter

  6. Avatar
    Mike Staunton says:

    An idea we looked into was the mesh cargo barrier. Such as one you would use for keeping the dog in the back of the wagon. With that, I assume the clips on the side could be easily removed for when you are wanting to set up the swag on the solo trips. Huge weigh savings and still does the job of keeping the stuff in the back if an accident was to happen.

    • Steve Baile
      Steve Baile says:

      Cheers Mike, I've had a look at these and it's not a bad idea. The only issue I see is that they aren't rigid like a metal barrier so in the event of a crash or rollover (been there, done that!) gear in the back could fall forward and hit the back seat passengers in the back of the head.

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