Regardless if you are heading out for a day, the weekend or on a full blown overland expedition, pre-trip servicing should not be overlooked.
We brought the 74 series to our good friend Roberto at R Mobile Mechanic in Kerikeri who over the course of two days worked his magic to get the truck ready to tackle the South Island.
So first up was the easy stuff, engine oil and filter. We usually do this ourselves but decided that while it was up on the hoist it’d be much easier to do with Roberto. We used a new Ryco filter and Mobile 15W40 engine oil to complete the job. I’ve heard of people reusing an old filter but this is not a practice we would encourage.
Then of course there is the transmission. If you don’t know when the last time was that the transmission was flushed it never hurts to do it and make it all brand new. We had flushed out the transmission when we bought her but since we were going to be adding another 6,000km to her we opted to flush it again and put in Valvoline’s DX-3 ATF to keep her shifting smoothly.
Next we checked out the cooling system and flushed the radiator and cooling gallery with Nylon’s Radiator Flush and Clean. Our old lady is pretty rusty throughout which is why we flushed the radiator. If you have a newer 4WD this is probably unnecessary. But take a look, if the fluid is still the right color and not a nice rusty brown like ours you’re probably good to leave it. We also replaced our thermostat as it had been in with the rusty looking fluid. Older cars like our Land Cruiser are quite prone to having a rust flakes throughout the cooling system so make sure it is as clean as you can get it to avoid blocking up your new thermostat and radiator. Having the flush done professionally with a pressurized system is probably the best option but you can also use running water and it through untill it comes out clean.
A new fuel filter was a must for us but Roberto didn’t want to stop there. He disconnected the fuel lines to and from the injector pump, and rigged up an injector pump purge apparatus. This is a small tank filled with a heavy duty solvent. This tank is connected directly to the injector pump inlet and return and also to an air compressor. The engine is then run on this solvent burning the grime as it cleans.This is a much better way to directly clean your injectors and pump than the fuel additives they sell you at automotive stores.
Fuel additives can remove dirt and grime from your fuel tank but then it sends all that loose grime down your fuel lines which can cause your fuel filter and injector pump to clog.
Finally it was time to tackle the under carriage, my first job was to water blast the underbody to remove 28 years of gunk. A quick squirt and a soak with a heavy duty degreaser made this task a little easier but elbow grease was the real solution at the end of the day.
Now that the Land Cruiser was looking like new it was time to figure out why the transfer case was leaking a little oil. After a thorough inspection I was relieved with Robert’s conclusion that the slight leak was between the gearbox and the transfer case and a torquing of the joining bolts solved the issue.
Another concern of ours was a leak in the rear differential. This leak meant the diff got a new oil seal. A job that could be completed at home but if you’ve got a mate with a lift use it. New oil in the front and rear diff’s finished up our work underneath.
Its important on any adventure involving water that the differentials and transfer case are well sealed. If water gets into these areas your truck can loose 4WD or stop moving.
A final check of nuts and bolts without getting dripped on meant the 74 series was at last ready for the 6,000km journey ahead.