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docwyte PowerDork
6/20/22 9:54 a.m.

200 is running great!  What's kinda strange is for some months after I got it, I didn't think it had all that much power.  Definitely felt weaker than the GX470 I used to own but it's been a few years since I had that, so I shrugged it off.  Then one day while driving, all of a sudden the motor "woke" up and now it feels far stronger, happier to rev etc. 

All I can figure is the guy I bought the car from barely drove it, ~5000 miles a year much of those were probably road trips and he probably didn't break the motor in properly.  Since I've put 5000 miles on it in 4 months, it's finally gotten broken in?

Anyways, it was filthy so I gave it a wash.  Thank god for Adam's Polishes foam cannon and truck wash brush.  All I do is rinse it off, foam cannon it, hit it with the wash brush, then rinse it off again, drying it with a huge micro fiber towel.  Turns out pretty well!  I need to paint correct/ceramic coat it but I'm just not really up to spending an entire weekend doing it plus having to use a ladder.

Then yesterday for Fathers Day, since it was still fairly cool in the afternoon, I went mtn biking.  Rack fits on this so much better than the Golf R, the bike made the R look tiny!  Plus I *love* having the tail gate to sit on and put on my riding shoes, then rest on after my ride.

Next service is the 30k one, which will be a much bigger one.  Oil change, transfer and diff oil changes and lube up the driveshafts

docwyte PowerDork
7/29/22 4:12 p.m.

Not much to report, close to 27k miles on it now.  Took it to Discount Tire for a free tire rotation, asked them to also rotate the spare tire into the mix.  Very nice to not have to heave those 80+ lb wheels/tires around and they did it for free.  Score!

Went to buy the Beat Sonic Apple CarPlay unit only to find it's out of stock for the next 2 months.  Doh! 

Got an email ping that the bilstein 6112/5160's are finally back in stock.  I'm a little torn here, the stock suspension only has 27k miles on it and works just fine for me, but the bilsteins go out of stock quite a bit.  I'm not sure if I should just buy them now and put them in my basement, to install them in a few years, or buy them and install them now, or just pass on them and take my chances that they'll be in stock in a few years when the truck has 50-60k miles on it...

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/29/22 4:26 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

There's plenty of other good options for your LC if the Bilsteins are out of stock when you're ready for new suspension. So you might as well wait until your stock stuff is worn out or you're over it. 

docwyte PowerDork
8/20/22 2:28 p.m.

Used it to carry 8 18" wheels and 6 tires, four of them 315mm wide, to Discount Tire and back yesterday.  Think I actually could've fit more in there.  So nice to have something large enough to handle this with 1 trip...

docwyte PowerDork
8/27/22 12:50 a.m.

Installed puddle lights today.  Pop out the stock ones with a plastic trim tool, unplug them, plug these in, push back into the door card.  Easy. 

docwyte PowerDork
9/9/22 9:59 a.m.

Got an email from Beat Sonic, they got their Apple Car Play units back in stock.  Since I'd been on the wait list they upgraded me to the new wireless unit for the same price.  It showed up the other day and I was going to install it today but my daughters XTerra is in the shop, so she's using my 200 today.  Maybe I'll get a chance to install it this weekend, we'll see.

Then a used set of Bilstein 6112/5160's with Icon rear springs popped up on IH8Mud for half price.  Yeah, ok, I was going to wait on these but they don't pop up used, like, ever.  So I bought them.  Probably install them in a few weeks....

Once I get the Apple CarPlay and the Bilsteins installed I'm pretty much done with the truck except maintenance, unless I hit a deer or something, in which case I'll upgrade bumpers and all that.

docwyte PowerDork
9/11/22 6:39 p.m.

Went after the Apple CarPlay unit today.  Not a whole lot of pictures because I followed Beat Sonic's excellent installation video they have on YouTube.  So look that up.  The only difference was my unit is the new one with wireless CarPlay, so there's an additional antenna wire to run, plug in and then find a spot for.  Pretty straightforward, didn't scratch anything, didn't break anything major or that mattered. 

Results are great tho!

mikeonabikesmith New Reader
9/11/22 10:05 p.m.

Head unit looks great and wireless carplay really is nice. Excited to hear impressions on the bilstein setup when you get them installed. I had 6112/5100s on a 3rd gen 4runner and was very happy with them, but it was a lighter beast. Haven't spent much time behind the wheel of a 200 series but thought they were pretty competent stock. Regardless, the rig looks fantastic 

docwyte PowerDork
9/12/22 9:55 a.m.

In reply to mikeonabikesmith :

I've been really happy with it.  Most of my complaints are minor and center around the fact that Toyota didn't really update it with stuff like Apple CarPlay, tap to pass turn signals etc.  My biggest complaint, which I knew going in, is the gas mileage is abysmal.  Toyota sells these with a V8 turbo diesel elsewhere in the world that has +200 ft lbs of torque and gets double the gas mileage.  I really wish they'd decided to sell it here in the Tundra and Land Cruiser as I totally would've gone with it.

I had the 6112/5160's in my old GX470 and really liked them, so I wanted to grab a set for this rig too.  I suspect they'll take some dive out of the braking and make it handle better.  I'm not going to lift the truck at all, just level it out front/back.

docwyte PowerDork
9/14/22 9:55 a.m.

So yesterday Amazon brought me this...

A flex head, racheting 22mm wrench.  That's for the upper rear shock nut, this should make it much easier to R&R.  UPS then dropped off the suspension, which I just pushed inside the house and off to the side of the front door.  Everything is over built on this truck and that includes aftermarket parts too.  The box weighs over 100lbs!  I'll unpack it tonight and carry each part into the garage/basement.

I also figured out the factory service manual.  You can download them off ih8mud, there's a link and an entire procedure to do it.  However I'm a tech idiot and also a philistine, I really like having a physical, paper manual in front of me.  Some internet sleuthing yielded several brand new sets (4 volumes) of manuals on eBay.  My rig was made from 2007-2021 with really no changes other than to interior and some electronics.  So I ended up buying a set of manuals for a 2009 and I'll try and download the electronic version to handle the stuff that's different from my 2018...

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/14/22 2:59 p.m.

I've been buying single GearWrenches for certain jobs lately. Part of me thinks I probably should just break down and buy a full set but the cheap part of me says I don't need them often enough to spend that kind of money.

docwyte PowerDork
9/14/22 3:22 p.m.

In reply to CAinCA :

I've got a complete set of gear wrenches but like most sets, they don't cover everything.  Ie, it's not a complete set from 6mm-24mm in 1mm increments.  So I've had to buy a few wrenches here and there...

docwyte PowerDork
9/23/22 7:09 p.m.

OK, time to install these bilsteins.  I've watched a few videos and read the factory service manual.  Videos make it look super simple, of course.  My truck has hydraulic swaybars and you have to relieve the pressure in the system before you take the suspension apart, otherwise the truck can end up leaning to one side or the other.  The valves are located halfway down the drivers side frame rail.  On my 2018 they're two 8mm bolts.  Undo them three half turns, not 3 and 1/2 turns, so total 1.5 turns!  Yes, count!

Ok, now get the truck up in the air, remove the rear wheels and contemplate this.  I'm not swapping out the springs, so I didn't bother to remove the swaybar linkage or e brake cable.  I did support the rear pumpkin with a big jack stand so it wouldn't sag.

Now break free the upper shock bolt.  Oh, you can't because the shock shaft spins.  Service manual calls for a special tool, which I don't have.  Luckily one of the videos covers this and I use a set of vice grips on the dust cover of the shock, not actually pinching the shaft itself.  Like this...

Put it there and it'll spin around and jam up against the truck, then you can sneak your 22mm wrench onto the top nut and take it out.  Take out the 19mm bolt on the bottom and lever the stock shocks off.  I think mine were leaking, with just over 28k miles on them.  They're Tokico's, which are living up their reputation of being To-Leakos.

Ok, snake the bilstein in, making sure you've got it clocked so the remote reservoir doesn't hit anything.  Get the top nut started, then droop the rear axle to line up the lower bolt and get it started.  Now you get to have some fun, where you have to hold the top of the shaft of the bilstein so you can tighten the upper shock nut.  Space is very limited but I was able to use the same vice grip and grab the slotted top of the shaft and then tighten up the shock.  To put it mildly, this sucked.  It also wasn't really covered in any of the videos I watched, they just glossed over this.  You can just see my vice grips here

Ok, get the wheels/tires back on, drop the rear of the truck and now torque the rear shock bolt to 72 ft lbs.  Time for the front.  There are two ways to do this, either take the two bolts out of the bottom of the lower A arm where it goes into the hub, or pop off the tie rod end and the upper ball joint where it goes into the upper A arm.  I did the lower A arm but thing the upper A arm might be an easier way to go.

Anyways, take out the two lower bolts going into the knuckle.  Then take the nut off the lower strut bolt.  Now loosen the two nuts holding the inner of the lower A arm in place so it'll pivot.  Now loosen the upper sway bar end link bolt and take out the lower sway bar end link bolt completely.  Also not shown on any of the videos is this bracket right here, which covered up my front inner upper strut nut

12mm takes that off and tuck it out of the way.  Remove the lower strut bolt.  Remove the four 14mm nuts holding the strut in place.  Curse a bunch as you try to wiggle the entire assembly out, then make sure to not drop the assembly on your foot.

Stock vs Bilstein 6112

Eagle eyed viewers will notice I've got the front bilsteins on their lowest ride height possible.  Supposedly this will yield a 1" lift.  I don't want a lift as I have to sneak this under my 4 post lift and only have ~3.5" of clearance with the stock suspension.  I just want to level the truck out.  Ok, now grab that incredibly heavy bilstein strut and try to snake it back in.  Curse a LOT!  This also sucked and the bilstein upper hat has a specific way that it clocks, in fact there's an arrow and "Out" pointer on it.  So make sure you're paying attention to that, another thing that none of the videos pointed out.  Ok, muscle that bad boy into place and get the two outer upper nuts started.  Now lever the lower strut eyelet into place and drive the bolt through, loosely install the nut.

Get all four of the upper 14mm nuts tightened down and torque them to 33 ft lbs.  Now put that bracket back on with the 12mm bolt.  Now get ready to board the struggle bus as you attempt to line up the knuckle with the lower A arm and get those two bolts back into place.  I actually called a friend to help with this but managed to get the drivers side in before he showed up.  Torque these bolts to 221 ft lbs.  Yes, you read that right, that's what the factory service manual calls for.  Now lever the swaybar eyelet back into the A arm and line it up to place the bolt in place.  Do NOT attempt to actually get this bolt into its home, just get it into the eyelet.  Torque the inner A arm nuts to 103 ft lbs.

Now move to the passenger side, which is much more of a PITA.  The swaybar linkage on this side is very different than the drivers side and it also kept getting pulled up by the hydraulics and getting in the way.  The bracket on this side doesn't obstruct the upper strut nuts, so leave it alone.  Do the same on this side but getting the stock strut assembly out and the bilstein back in was a whole lot harder.

My friend showed up thankfully and helped me get the lower bolts into the knuckle and the sway bar eyelet into the A arm and the bolt started. 

Now put the wheels back on and drop the truck.  Cycle the suspension some.  Torque the lower strut bolt to 133 ft lbs.  Torque the upper sway bar end link bolt to 100 ft lbs and the lower one to 103 ft lbs.  Toyota didn't do a captive nut on the lower sway bar bolt the way they should've and it's basically impossible to hold the 21mm nut in there.  I managed to jam it with a wrench and get it done.

Don't forget to tighten up the KDSS 8mm bolts!  Onto the measurements.  I haven't really driven the truck more than up and down my street so hopefully it'll settle some.  It got lifted more than I expected, almost 2" up front and 1" in the back.

Ok, so I'm in my early 50's and pretty fit but do have a few auto immune diseases that can cause me problems.  I'm not ashamed to say that this job really kicked my ass.  I was seriously gassed by the time I was done.  I don't think it helped that I skipped breakfast AND lunch and wasn't paying attention to drinking water.  That's on me, that was dumb.  I got focused on finishing the job before I had to leave to pick my son up from school and that wasn't smart.  I should've stopped for a lunch break and drunk a bunch of water.  I think for heavy jobs like this on this truck I need to ask a friend to help me.  And eat food.  And drink water.

Anyways, on my 1 block drive the truck definitely feels more controlled, not as bouncy and the brake dive is mostly gone.  I'll drive it a bit more this weekend and get an alignment done Monday.  I made all the marks on the lower A arm cams and they weren't disturbed but I'd rather have it double checked. 


docwyte PowerDork
9/24/22 4:41 p.m.

Drove the rig about ten miles yesterday taking my son to/from ju jitsu.  Brake dive is basically gone, it handles better but the ride is more firm, a little more brittle.  

Here's how it looks now, the suspension did level it pretty nicely.  I've got an alignment appointment this Monday morning.

JoeTR6 Dork
9/24/22 6:40 p.m.

Nice work on the Land Cruiser.  I've been driving and working on small cars most of my life, so I'm a bit shocked at how much harder larger vehicles are.  I spent last weekend replacing a driveshaft on one daughter's Focus (not so big), and yesterday/today was working on another daughter's CX-9.  My body doesn't take crawling under a car like it used to.  Next up this winter is the FJ Cruiser, which is closer to what you just did.  Maybe it's time for me to get a lift.

docwyte PowerDork
9/24/22 7:29 p.m.

In reply to JoeTR6 :

Yeah, I was pretty blown away at how much harder it was to work on this compared to the cars I have.  Everything just weighs so much more.  Even taking the wheels/tires on and off.  The bilstein strut assembly felt like it weighed a ton!  I was totally gassed at the end of this job, even though I knocked it out in a bit over 4 hours.  I think it was closer to 5 hours if you count the time I took to put all my tools away and guzzle as much water as I could.  I was really dragging ass at the end there, cleaning up my garage took me awhile.

I'm very happy I've got the lift, I don't think I could do half the stuff I do if I was still working under jack stands, or a quick jack.  It's totally worth it and has paid for itself many times over, plus it turns my 3 car garage into a 4 car...

docwyte PowerDork
9/26/22 4:02 p.m.

Got the truck aligned, despite making sure my marks on the cams were in the right places, the lift alone was enough to screw up the alignment. Everything needed to be adjusted, so definitely happy I got it done. I went and double checked the torque on the swaybar endlinks since I've put some miles on it, everything's good.

docwyte PowerDork
9/27/22 9:25 a.m.

This setup is noticeably stiffer than stock, both good and bad.  Good in that brake dive is basically gone and handling is better.  Bad in that the ride, which was uber plush and comfy before, is much firmer and busier.  Oh well, no free lunch I suppose...

docwyte PowerDork
9/30/22 10:55 p.m.

So, since I did the install I've felt a clunk in the front end, what felt like the right front.  I've crawled under the truck and checked the torque on the swaybar endlinks, top nuts and lower strut bolt.  Still there.  This evening I crawled under the truck and checked the torque on the inner, lower A arm bolts.  I loosened them on both sides so I could pivot the A arm out of the way and R&R the strut assembly.

First one I checked was the back one (there are two) and the torque wrench clicked immediately at 100 ft lbs, which is correct.  Then I checked the front one....  Uh....  Space to turn the wrench was limited but it definitely wasn't at 100 ft lbs!  I was probably getting 2-3 rachet clicks at a time on the torque wrench and did that 3-4 times before it clicked at 100 ft lbs.  Oh man!  I then checked the drivers side and both immediately clicked at 100 ft lbs. 

So, I definitely should've double checked the torque on all those fasteners the next day when I was feeling better!  And/or used a paint pen and marked every bolt when I torqued it so I'd have a visual way to know that I'd torqued them all.  I need to drive the truck still to make sure the clunk feeling is gone but I feel pretty sure it will be...

EDIT:  I just had a thought, I took this in for an alignment this past Monday.  To align it they needed to have loosened those nuts to be able to move the cams.  So it's very possible that I *did* torque everything up and that the alignment tech forgot to torque them when he was done.....

jfryjfry SuperDork
10/1/22 6:21 p.m.

Think it's worth taking it back for them to check the alignment to see if anything shifted during the time it was loose?

docwyte PowerDork
10/1/22 6:28 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

Yeah, that's a good point.  I'll call them Monday and see.  I'm not keen on giving them the car on Friday if they plan on charging me...

In other news I've found the bumper I want.  It's made my Rhino in Australia, so getting one here is a royal PITA.  Happily someone off ih8mud has a new one they want to sell and they're not far from me in Salt Lake City.  I'm trying to figure out either a way to relay it or to pack it up so UPS will accept it.  It's currently in pieces, stored in a large 48x24x24 plastic tote with wheels, but it weighs too much for UPS to accept right now.  I've asked the seller to remove some bits to put in a second box, as well as reached out on ih8mud to see if someone is passing through...

It's this one, I like it because it totally replaces the front bumper (many of the aftermarket ones want you to carve up your stock bumper) plus is has mounts for the parking sensors, headlight washers, is crash tested and doesn't look humongous.  OEM+...


docwyte PowerDork
10/7/22 12:01 p.m.

Ok, Rhino front bumper is on its way to me!  Seller was able to pull some weight out of the big tote and box that stuff up seperately. 

In other news the rattle/clunk from the right front is still there.  I put the truck up on the lift and checked the torque on all the bolts I touched again.  They're fine.  WTF?  Called the guy that worked on the Xterra to talk to him and make an appointment for this.  He thought out loud that it could be the nut on the top of the strut, that holds the upper strut hat in place.  I bought these used and already assembled.  On the ground, uninstalled, that nut looked tight, so I didn't bother to check it.  Hmmmm, let's take a look....

Yeah, that's a problem right there!  Have to hold the top of the strut shaft to tighten the nut, an adjustable wrench worked well.

Tightened the nut up with a 21mm open end wrench.  Got it as snug as I could, then decided I should check the left side while I'm here.  There was no free play like on the right side, but I was able to tighten it down more too so I'm glad I checked it.

A quick test drive showed that everything is 100% now.  My mistake was assuming that it was something that I'd touched, so I kept checking and rechecking the torque on those bolts.  Lesson learned, once you've double checked something and it's fine, start looking elsewhere.

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/7/22 1:27 p.m.

That Rhino bumper looks great! I swear, Australia gets all the cool 4x4 stuff. 

docwyte PowerDork
10/7/22 4:49 p.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

Yeah, they do.  It helps that Toyota sells all sorts of Land Cruisers there that we don't get.  They barely sold any here at all, ~3500/year I think.  I'm a little torn about putting it on myself, this is my sole foul weather driver, so I've gotta keep it on the road.  I really only have Fridays as garage days too, I'm not sure I can remove the stock bumper, take the stuff off it I need, build the Rhino bumper and install it in ~6 hours. 

I'll try and build the Rhino bumper off the car, then I might be able to R&R it in 6 hours.  I'm also torn on a winch, whether to get one at all, and if I do, Warn vs Smittybilt.

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/7/22 5:57 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Do you oftentimes find yourself alone in a place where you need a winch? If not, a tow strap will usually do the trick and be lighter/cheaper.

I never even considered it when I lived in California (no snow, no mud), but now I'm in Oregon where we get both rain and snow so the equation has changed. Either way, you can always add one after the fact.

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