Neat 80 Series Cruisers are hard to find. Neat and capable, well… you are basically looking at a unicorn my friends
Getting a spot in Unsealed 4X4 is a pretty big deal – doubly so for an old 80 Series – if for no other reason than they really need to be something special. We just happened to find one rolling across the Burnett River in Pine Creek the other day and we had to shoot it!
Finding a reasonably unmolested 80 is quite a feat unto itself; finding a ’97 with a 1HZ in this good a nick is essentially unheard of… and exactly why Andrew and Sam snapped this ’Cruiser up.
They got the old girl with 317,000km on the clock, a pretty standard old 2-inch lift kit, and an aftermarket turbo on it with a water to air intercooler. Funnily enough, it didn’t stay like that for very long!
The favourite place to take the 80 is Fraser Island, being an hour’s drive down the coast – so there was a bunch of things that needed to get done to Andrew’s rig so it’d do Fraser without a worry, and in style. (Writer’s note: Not that an 80 actually needs any help, really. Editor’s note: Get your hand off it Wes).
Andrew works as a boily, so has a truck he uses for work. He keeps this beast locked up as a touring rig for the family, and for the weekend trips over to the great sandy island just down the road.
THE POWER MODS
Where to begin… with the 18 pages of mods, besides the go-fast bits!
As we said above, Andrew’s 80 had an aftermarket turbo and water to air intercooler setup when he got it. Sure, it worked; but it just couldn’t flow the air and boost safely enough for how he wanted to run. So like all upstanding Aussie blokes, he went and bought just about the angriest turbo and cooler he could get his mitts on. Enter a TD05 18G Kinugawa turbo, with manifold to suit the big TD05 flange, and an XR6 turbo cooler core, which had new end tanks bunged on the end of it to line up with the 1HZ’s in and out manifolds. The XR6 cooler was a bit of an afterthought, as Andrew was hoping the water to air jobby would be enough for what he was doing; but after seeing temps starting to creep up with the new turbo and tune, it came off and got replaced with the massive XR6 unit.
From there the 80 got a rather free-flowing exhaust system, with 3-inch mandrel bent pipe from the dump, all the way to the back… who needs mufflers on a diesel anyway, right? On the intake side, he’s got an Airflow snorkel running into the factory airbox (with a 1HD-T lid), which he tells us is going to be replaced by a 4-inch staino job rather shortly!
All of this was thrown together by Andrew, and he had Shane from 1KD Performance in Bundaberg dial the fuel up to suit the mods and get the most out of the 1HZ with the hair dryer bolted to the side of it.
Otherwise under the bonnet you’ll find a second battery, 4-row alloy radiator, boost controller, and breathers set up for everything. Being a ’97 model, he’s managed to keep the ABS setups too.
Moving under the 80, Andrew has thrown a set of Suspension Stuff flexi coils in the 3.5-inch variety front and rear, paired with the Tuff Dog Big Bore 9-stage adjustable shocks, Superior Engineering super flex arms and extended bump stops to stop bashing the tyres up into the guards. So far he tells us with the bump stops and flexi coils he’s had no hassles with travel or scrubbing at all, and it all just works as it should.
On the power train side of things, you’ll find a set of TJM Pro Lockers front and rear, Harris HardCover diff guards, standard full-time 4WD with the viscous hub, and a set of 285×75/16 Kumhos on genuine Blue Marlin 80 series alloys.
Now with under the bonnet looked at, what else but the outside (and what he’s done in the cab)?
Bar-wise he’s got a Roo Systems steel bar up front, housing the 9-inch LED spotties and fog lights mounted in the bar, with the Ironman Monster 12,000lb winch on recovery duty. Out the back you’ll find a Powerful 4X4 rear bar, with a set of 4-inch work lights attached.
Back up at the front Andrew’s done a complete headlight LED conversion, and thrown an 1,100mm single-row combo LED light bar on the roof rack with a Kings awning hanging off the side.
Heading into the cab, Andrew has really built the back out for touring. With more 12V outlets than you can poke a high-lift jack at, two fridges (he only had the beer fridge along for this trip strangely enough – it was a late Sunday arvo…), a set of Titan drawers plus wiring and fuse box to suit.
Moving forward into the business end of the interior he’s got a switch and a gadget for pretty much everything short of launching cruise missiles. From the quad power adapter, to the brake controller, to the VMS telling him where to go, through to the ABR Sidewinder battery controller. Then you’ve got the Koso thermometer to keep an eye on temps, an Eonon head unit looking after the tunes, Autometer pyro and boost gauges, and a Uniden UHF looking after the comms.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND ADVICE FROM ANDREW
So there you have one of the tougher 80 Series builds we’ve seen for a while – Andrew wanted to thank Harris HardCase for the diff protection, and 1KD Performance for the dyno and tuning work.
Andrew’s advice to anyone looking to do the same: “Keep an eye out for other trucks and what they’ve done, to get ideas from them on how and why.”
We’ve certainly taken a few tips from your bus, mate. Thanks for letting us crawl all over it!