The Land Cruiser is considered one of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. This may be true but there are still several items you need to address to keep your vehicle running to 500k miles and beyond.
When I say ‘maintenance’ I’m not just talking about changing fluids and brake pads. I’m going over the whole enchilada.
Land Cruiser Fluid Maintenance
Eventually I will have a nice page for each one of these with how-to procedures but until then here’s a quick run down.
Engine oil: Pretty much use what you want. The 2uz-fe is not a picky engine. Mine lived it’s first 220k miles on Toyota branded dino oil. I have since switched to Mobil 1 full synthetic.
Transmission oil: There were two transmissions offered in the US for the 100 series. The A343F is the 4 speed used from 1998-2002. The A750F is a 5 speed and was used from 2003 to 2007. Since my cruiser is a 2004 I will focus mostly on the a750f when talking transmissions.
The a343f has a traditional dip stick so drain and fills are quite easy. The A750F is a sealed unit so oil changes are slightly more complicated. If you 100 series has been getting consistent drain and fills it’s whole life I’d keep on the pattern of doing it every 30-40k miles.
If your cruiser has never had the transmission oil changed (not uncommon, especially on the a750f) I’d recommend a ‘redneck flush’. I’ll have a post up shortly on this but basically you pull one of the transmission hoses off and let the engine pump 2-3qt of oil out of the transmission at a time. Again, I’ll go into detail later but this is the only method of doing a full flush on a high mileage transmission without damaging it.
Recommended oil: Toyota WS ATF
Differential(s) oil: Again, pretty much use whatever your particular manual recommends. Plan on changing every 30-50k or more often depending on how many water crossings you do.
Transfer case oil: Same rules as the diffs.
Radiator coolant: Coolant flushes at the same time as timing belt changes (90k miles) is appropriate. Only use Toyota long lasting red coolant. Do not use anything else or you will have corrosion problems.
Land Cruiser Suspension Maintenance
Front Suspension: Depending on how you drive your vehicle count on needing shocks every 75-100k. If you are sticking with factory shocks they are only about 35 bucks each.
The front control arms will also need ball joints and bushings every 200-300k miles. Parts are not crazy expensive but this can be labor intensive if you are not your own mechanic.
Front sway bar will need new bushings every 150-200k miles. This is a pretty simple job and drastically improves the drivability of your cruiser.
Rear Suspension: Depending on how much towing you are doing rear shocks can go out much quicker than the fronts. If the rear shocks have never been changed out get prepared for a battle as the top nut is difficult to get to and can be a bear if corroded.
Rear lower and upper control arm bushings seem to be pretty stout but some do have to replace them over time.
Land Cruiser Drive Line Maintenance
Drive Shafts: The 100 series land cruiser is notorious for having a driveline clunk. All you have to do is grab a zerk grease gun and your favorite grease and go to town. Stop bumping when you see grease coming out of the seams. The slip joints are a little more tricky. The best way to go about it is to remove the drive shaft and repack the slip joint. I give the drive lines a couple pumps every 10-20k miles.
CV Shafts: The CV shafts on the 100 series are actually quite strong, if you keep water and muck out of them. CV boots tearing is extremely common unfortunately and is likely to happen after installing a lift. If you do tear a boot make sure to clean and repack the cv joint and replace the boot immediately. No mileage range for this one, sorry.
Rear Axles: Luckily it is very unlikely to get an axle seal failure on these rigs. You’ll know if you are getting failure though if weird oil/wet lines start appearing on the inner section of your rear tires.
Land Cruiser Steering Maintenance
Steering rack: The 100 series has a seriously beefy steering rack but chances are you will have to replace yours every 200-300k. This number is assuming you are running the stock 31s or doing moderate off-roading with 33″ tires. If you have decided to run 35″ tires all bets are off. With 35″ tires and really hard wheeling you can be replacing every 50k miles. Inner and outer tire rod ends generally survive the life of the rack.
Power steering pump and hoses: Theres a good chance you will never have to replace your power steering pump in the 100 series. Depending on the type of conditions you drive in you can however expect to replace some power steering hoses every once in a while.
Land Cruiser Engine Maintenance
Spark Plugs: Replace every 100k. Make sure to use the Toyota or Denso branded units. They are a bit more expensive but these last for 100k miles.
Coil Packs/Spark Plug wires: There is a good chance you will never have to replace any of these.
Starter: Count on your starter going for 200-300k miles. The starters in these rigs last a long time. This is good because they are located in the V of the engine! Not the most fun to replace but removing the intake manifolds isn’t that big of a deal.
Fuel Filter: Replace every 150k or so. It’s easily accessible right in the engine bay.
Valves: You will most likely never have to do a head rebuild due to a stuck or out of spec valve.
Bottom end: Ha! Bottom ends on the 2uz-fe don’t go out so don’t worry about it.
Timing Belt: The 2uz-fe does use a timing belt. Count on doing this every 90-120k miles. Make sure you replace the water pump at the same time.
Radiator: This one’s kind of tough because radiators work…up until they don’t. Currently I’m at 233k miles and I’m thinking about replacing just for piece of mind.
Fan Clutch: I’d say every 200-250k miles replace your fan clutch. If yours is getting too loose a new fan clutch can drop temperatures.
Valve Cover Gaskets and Cam Seals: You may never have to worry about these but if you do just replace or reseal both at the same time. Moderate pain in the ass to get to but if you can change the starter you can do this.
Emissions crap: Nothing really to note here except if you own a 2005-2007 land cruiser. Starting in 2005 the land cruiser got the newest version of the 4.7l with a slight bump in horsepower. Coming with it was new emissions gizmos. One of which is the infamous ‘air pump’. If this air pump goes out you can be looking at some pretty costly repairs. Do yourself a favor and install an air pump bypass before its too late!
Land Cruiser Misc Maintenance
Hood and lift gate struts: Expect to replace these every 175k or so.
Door lock actuator: Expect your driver door lock actuator to stop working after 200k miles. The motors for these are about 5 bucks but the install can be a pain. all the other doors can last a lot longer.
That pretty much covers all the maintenance items you can expect to encounter. Depending on your climate you can expect to have to deal with weatherstripping, dry leather seats etc but for the most part everything listed above you WILL have to deal with at some point.