Blender, My LX450/FZJ80 + FJ45esk + GM + Land Rover crazy concoction

Rezarf <><

Yeah man, I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

I find the "I should have done this instead of that" kind of stuff the most interesting.

I LOVE the build man, you've inspired me to chip away at my projects for a bit each night after the kids go down. I am making sweet progress as a result.

I would also love to hear what tools you use most and which ones you'd benefit from upgrading (or money well spent) and which ones you could have done without or a lesser tool (saved some money here or there).

Your builds are rad due to what you get done with what you have...

Keep on being awesome.

Scott Brady

Not really, I put 12,000 miles on it in the first year. It works pretty well.
Other than small little stuff, I haven't changed much at all.

When the weather gets nicer I need to figure out a replacement bed floor thing and a few other little projects.

I have been VERY happy with this little truck.
Would you mind if we featured your project on our @expeditionportal Instagram?


Expedition Leader
A quick rundown of some updates I made to the #LX45 in the last few months.

I have had issues with the 80-series steering arms loosening up under hard use. I tried most of the normal things, but decided to try some of my own ideas to help fix the issues for good.

I started with another set of factory steering arms and knuckles so I wouldn't have to have the vehicle torn down for a long time. As a note, most of these factory studs/nuts where loose already.

The factory design, from an engineering standpoint, really has never made much sense to me. It just isn't a great mechanism for transmitting high steering loads through a small bolt circle with the fasteners all in shear. I decided to add a large tab on each steering arm location that would brace the arm to the factory steering stop boss on the outer knuckle. This seemed to to be the best ( furthest out ) location on the knuckle with a decent amount of structure to it that would require minimum mods to the knuckle itself, and no effect on other systems. I also wanted to be able to take everything apart and use a factory replacement part if needed.

I was able to sneak a 1/2" thick tab in each location that was positioned so that the arm could still be removed. The angle of the kingpin bearing axis makes only configuration possible so the tab isn't trapped by the steering stop boss itself. The clearances between the caliper and tab is pretty tight. I ended up having to tap those tabs and drill out the threads in the steering stop boss in the tie rod location to sandwich everything together. The tabs where also sized to maintain access to the lower caliper bolt. Everything was TIG welded together and allowed to cool nice and slow wrapped in welding blankets and carpet. The stock steering arms actually welded quite well. I think these are forged steel parts.

Since everything was already going to be apart, I also replaced all the steering arm studs with the new toyota steering arm studs. These where torque seated into the knuckle itself with red loctite. The knuckles where fully rebuilt when I had everything apart to keep leaks to a minimum.

The final tweak on the knuckles was to make some lock-plates for the nuts to help keep them tight long term. While I think the steering arm tabs made the most difference, these plates can't hurt anything. They are stainless steel and key into a small threaded pin that was drilled and tapped into the center of the steering arm when I had everything apart. This pin is bottomed with blue loctite and uses a nylock nut to hold all 4 tabs in place.

I also finally built a small (4) speaker box and cup holder combo that fits on top of the tunnel. This has sound deadening material on the inside and is poly filled with a laser cut stainless grill that is suppose to look reminiscent of some of the stock 40-series heater boxes. This little box sounds quite good with the Dual audio marine stereo and allows me to manage quite a few audio sources. I now have am/fm radio with weather bands, an mp3 player from a flash drive, bluetooth for my phone for nav, and was also able to feed the audio from the ham radio into the bigger speakers.

The cup holders also worked out really well, the only bummer is that the rubber sheet I used was just a LITTLE bit too thick to allow a 1L Naglene bottle as planned, but large insulated tumblers seem to work just fine. They actually work out better as drinking water stays cooler in them longer even without ice.

A cheap Jeep YJ cab cover fits well enough for when you want to leave the top panels at home while getting caught in a monsoon.

I also ended up adding a small pioneer tool rack, with a (small) shovel and axe, onto the front bed wall panel. The original 'temporary' plywood bed floor was also replaced with an aluminum unit. The aluminum version was built with thin sheets and 5/8 x 1.5 solid stringers/edges that was completely held together with 3M panel bond adhesive.

The list of small details never really ends, but I have been very impressed with this project over the last few years.


Jonathan Chouinard
The truck is looking fantastic man! I like seeing the progress you make, and the small details that get brought to fruition, such as the pioneer tool rack. Too cool.


Expedition Leader
Time to take another pass through the project for the next few months in my spare time. These won't be major mods generally, but more details that I didn't get to do when it was first built....or stuff I have added to the wishlist over the last few years. Are they ever done?

I decided I wanted a wireless winch controller to the Warn 8274 winch. I thought about the universal add-on unit, but I noticed that the new Warn Evo winches had a nice integrated wireless controller now. This is available from Warn for a very fair price, part number #104218. I believe this unit is designed to be used with the more modern sealed Albright Solenoid pack. I was able to pick up an Albright DC88P-1000 12v unit off Amazon which happens to fit just perfect in my stock housing AND has enough room for all the wireless stuff.

The Warn Evo controller is a slick little unit that has a fully redundant cable connection that plugs into the handheld unit and the winch. This means the winch still works if the batteries in the wireless controller are dead.

The newer version of this controller uses 3x AAA batteries vs a 3.7v lithium cell like the early versions. This means that the batteries can be easily replaced in a few minutes. I did take the extra few minutes to swap out the cheap stock batteries for some lithium units. This should make the controller last a long long time. I will throw another set in the glove box for spares. I also used a little strip of velcro tape around the battery holder to make sure they couldn't pop out if the remote was dropped.

Another thing on the list was a pair of 'bump' buttons for the winch. I have had a few situations in the last couple years where I wanted access to the winch NOW to help quickly stabilize a vehicle. I found some small waterproof momentary switches that could be mounted right in the side of the factory cover. These are wired independently of the wireless winch controller and act as a completely separate and redundant way to activate the winch. I find these really handy for stuff like snugging up the hook or taking tension off the motor disconnect.

Overall this was a pretty easy mod once I dug into it. I had to crimp on two new ends on the factory feed cables, but they where long enough to start with. I didn't have to buy new battery cable. It took a bit to wrap my head around all the interface wiring. My factory remove was a 5 pin unit, and I only needed 4 pins. I was able to remove the extra pin easy enough with my wiring harness plug/pin set. There was enough room inside the stock cover for everything, but it did get a little tight towards the end. I did try and pin out everything and took some decent notes I will share below. It isn't THAT bad once you get into it, bu there are some color changes across the various plugs.

Pictures below. Please let me know if you have any questions.


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