How Gleno's LandCruiser became its own evil twin
THE boys at Roo Systems were furiously spinning spanners getting Gleno's new 'Cruiser ready for a new batch of Roothy's LowRange DVDs.
The first round of modifications gave the 79 a 25% more powerful punch (thanks to the custom engine tune and trick exhaust system) and some serious pulling power.
The only problem is the modifications had all been under the bonnet. So while the bent eight now sounds (and goes) like a freight train, it looked about as exciting as an off-white Camry with sheep-skin seat covers. Until now that is.
As you scroll down you'll probably notice the 79 looking pretty badass and frankly a whole lot more Gleno, if you know what I mean. There's a pretty good reason why too: Bar work from Opposite Lock, ATX Alloy wheels, Cooper STT mud tyres, Terrain Tamer suspension and an LED lightbar from Baja Designs. It's the 4WDer's version of the Christmas wish list with everything cool circled.
Of course, as with anything Gleno does, these parts weren't selected just because they looked the goods. Each one was carefully chosen for how it'd improve the whole package. After all, this truck needs to drive every track it gets pointed at in some of the most remote locations in the world.
I'm going to kick this part off by saying the LandCruiser now sits 4" higher thanks to a set of springs and shocks from the guys at Terrain Tamer. That's as far as I'm going into that, because the real star here is the shocks, not the lift.
Until now Australian shock absorbers have always been good, but if you wanted something great you looked at American or German brands. Sorry Aussie manufacturers, but it's the truth.
Terrain Tamers' new Pro Shock Absorbers have thrusted Australian manufacturing right up there with the big guys. The main leap forward is the new remote reservoir design. It's a little trickier to install due to the multiple components, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. With the fluid stored remotely the shock is able to use its full length for the internal piston to move.
That means for the same overall length shock, the remote reservoir design is able to provide an extra couple of inches travel with no drawbacks. The extra oil capacity also means it'll take longer for the oil to heat up and shock fade to set in, making it perfect for long corrugated roads.
With adjustable rebound valving with an external adjuster Gleno will be able to dial in the suspension for the different weights the rear end of the Cruiser will be seeing.
WHEELS & TYRES
Without a doubt, the biggest visual change to the LandCruiser has been the wheel and tyre package. The factory alloys and road tyres were given the flick and Gleno ticked the box for a set of ATX alloy wheels and 35x12.5R17 Cooper STT mud tyres.
Now we've all heard the arguments for 15" steel wheels and how everything else is just for posers. Well that's all a load of BS and there are very good reasons why.
Alloy wheels might not be repairable in the bush, but they more than make up for it in strength. The fact is alloys will hold up to abuse that'd see a steel wheel turn in to a pretzel, and you're not fixing that with a mallet.
By stepping up to a 17" diameter wheel Gleno has removed a whole heap of sidewall too, which believe it or not is a great thing. We all know you need sidewall flex to articulate over rocks. But too much sidewall basically acts like a shock absorber between your wheels and the road.
With a smaller sidewall you get more precise handling as well as more feedback for what your tyres are actually doing.
Combine these with a touring-based mud tyre like the STT and you've got the perfect recipe for taking on huge chunks of outback kays with more than enough bite for the tropical mud found up north.
There's a heap of reasons people fit bar work. Mounting of accessories, protection against rocks and ruts in slow speed work, animal strikes, some magazine told them they need it, lots of reasons.
For some people bar work just isn't really needed; for others it's a downright necessity. With the frankly ridiculous amount of kays the guys cover on DVD trips, driving at dusk or dawn is an all but daily occurrence. To make matters worse the guys will then weave their way through tight rainforest tracks narrowly missing trees and rocks on either side, so something too bulky is just out of the question.
To provide enough strength to deal with the inevitable animal strikes (sorry Skip) and keep things tight enough for tougher tracks, Gleno went for a Steel post type bullbar from the guys at Opposite Lock.
It's paired with a set of brush bars and their rock sliders as well. As the 79 has no sheet metal behind the rear doors this means the 'Cruiser can be just about put on its side without causing too much damage. Don't go getting any ideas Gleno!