Land Cruiser 90 Series - making me a newb again!

This will be a build thread for my newly acquired KZJ90 Land Cruiser Prado. It will probably host stories from the JDM journeys blog as well since there will undoubtedly be things written about this rig.

First some starting stats:
1999 Land Cruiser 90 Series… JDM market and thus RHD.
5 speed manual. 1kz-te turbo diesel.
Front coilovers on ifs, rear coils on live axle, with LSD.
Body on frame. SWB@95 inches.

Much the same platform underneath as 3rd gen 4runner and Tacoma of same years… At least that’s what I’ve read. I’ve no idea myself. My head has been in the Mitsu sand for the last 2 and half decades so I’m a complete Toyota noob.

95,700 kms and mint condition. This is not meant to sound typical… It really is mint. Likely the best condition vehicle I’ve had outside of brand new off the showroom floor.

Came from Japan as a one owner and with every service record since new.

So let’s just say every thing I do to it will be carefully considered. Except the odometer. That will get populated pretty quickly since my commute is 160kms/day.

Much to add even as an intro but making a beginning at least gets it going. More to come.


First job was audio/nav… The factory cassette deck was past it’s prime about 15 years ago. Time to go.

Found a harness adapter easily, at my local Walmart (I could get used to this… My mitsu years have been a trial). Then made my harness on the bench to avoid cutting factory wires, and it was plug and play.


Replaced the OEM with a Sony Android auto unit that occupied the double DIN slot.

In dash Navi via Google maps, plus streaming of Spotify etc, and of course Bluetooth calling. Speakers will need to be addressed at some point but they are functional at least.


Definitely looking forward to following along on this one. That interior is very reminiscent of my old 3rd gen 4runner so I think your on target with it being a 3rd gen 4runner underneath. Which is a good thing, I know the next generation of smaller Land Cruiser were based on the 120 chassis which was the 4th gen 4runner, Fj Cruiser and the Gx470.


Considering I’m plugging in my phone and slapping it on a mag mount for routing me to and from work (around traffic, obv), I feel I’m coming around to this setup. Then again, my phone mounts atop the instrument cluster so it’s almost eyes-on-the-road. Still on the fence–but I like the install!

@Brian in a gen2 I’ve found there is really no point in any kind of din mounted Navi screen. It’s just too low in the dash.

In the Pajero Evo I put a Kenwood excelon with tilting screen. Even at full tilt (yes, that was on purpose) it still doesn’t really make itself useful. It’s okay for playing Spotify etc but for actual screen interaction? Too much looking down/away from the road.

My phone in its case friction fits perfectly in landscape mode in front of the triple guage so that’s where I put it for Google maps. On a genuine trip I’ll be back to Garmin on the windshield again.

Now the gen3 interior ergonomics? That’s a whole other story … :wink: one that you’re not ready to hear - yet.

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Lighting… @Kurek has covered lighting quite competently in his own thread and I have nothing of substance to add except to say that a good halogen is still able to light up the road.

This rig is RHD and thus illumination is biased to the left. I swapped out the factory headlights for some nice Hella E-codes. Nice sharp cutoff, great penetration down the road, and no signs of discomfort from oncoming drivers.

Doesn’t hurt that this 90 series is a rare beast with 7"round headlights so an easy swap.

As Eric already said, pics of headlights in the dark are not indicative of their performance so I’ll just show the new headlights installed. They look exactly like the old headlights. :joy:


@Rob.E.Thirty I’ve read many many stories of lower balljoints coming apart and wheels tucking under the front suspension as folks drive down the road. Is this one of those internet phenomenon where a 1 in a 100000 event stirs folks to label it a “fatal flaw”? I’ve never seen a 4runner/Tacoma on side of road with failed lower balljoint, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen I guess…? Beyond checking the front suspension like I would any vehicle, should I be up nights worrying? :thinking::grin:

I personally never had a problem with mine, or any of my friends who wheel the 3rd gen 4runners or 1st gen Tacomas but I have seen a few of them on the side of the road with tire folded under and had one towed in in that very condition.I could easily attribute that to poor maintenance.

That being said, I would routinely check my front end, especially after off roading as would most of the people I knew who owned them. SO, I wouldn’t say its something about, especially if you’re not running over size tires and a lot of lift, which actually reminds me of a 1st gen Tacoma with around 4 inches of lift and 35s that never had a ball joint failure.

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In looking at the Montero FSM recently, I noticed that’s the official, by-the-book mindset. Technically, you’re supposed to check all diff breathers and boots and seals before and after every water crossing. I wonder how many people actually do this?

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Learned the hard way that this is probably a good idea, haha. The t-case and transmission breather tubes on my Gen3 Montero are ridiculously low in the trans tunnel and did not have a one-way valve on the ends. My team of traveling hobbits have done a deep water crossing or ten in our travels. Long story short, my last big Montero project this year was fixing some t-case output seals and relocating all my factory breathers up into the engine bay.

No way. Living in Arizona, 99% of the rivers I drive over flow maybe an hour or two a year. The rest of the time, they’re racetracks.

I’ve got some drivetrain work to do before summer. Maybe I’ll do this as well. You know, just in case. :wink:

RIght now, rising water is not the concern for me and my new rig. Its temperature. Or rather, the LACK of temperature.

Often times Japanese SUV’s come in two flavors: Winter Package, or Non-winter package. This WP can add many different items, but in newer (as in 15-20 year old “new”) rigs, and especially diesel rigs, the added options for WP can include some or all of the following:

-dual batteries (more CCA’s = hotter glow plugs)
-heated fuel filter
-rear heater
-heated seats
-heated mirrors, windshield wiper rest, etc.
-some way to raise the idle for faster warmups
-a “roller blind” that can effectively block some to all of the radiator

There are likely other things I am not aware of, but these are some of them. You’ll notice that really effective things like frost plug heaters are not on this list. Its not called “COLD WINTER PACKAGE” after all, right?

Well, my newly acquired 90 Series, being on the light side, was, you guessed it, negative on the winter package. And I sort of… NEED it. So, the next phase of my build thread will be dedicated to adding such things as I can retrofit, to maintain happiness when the mercury plummets.

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Step One: IDLE UP!

This truck in WP guise, came with an IDLE UP button that sent a signal to the ECU to please bump the idle up to 1200 rpm. Having rooted around behind my dash expectantly, I found what I imagined (hoped) to be the IDLE UP harness, just waiting to be “harnessed”. I took a chance, and order the part from Partsouq. Three days later I got a refund and a note of NOLA. Three days later it was ditto from AMAYAMA. Megazip showed it in stock, but still, within a few days had cancelled my order, and apologized, saying the warehouse in Japan no longer had them, and it was out of production. Hmmm.

Not wanting to stay “idle”, I began scouring Ebay UK (the 90 Series was sold there, and they speak English! :smiley: ). Finally found a shipper who was willing to post to Canada, and the other day it arrived in my mailbox.

Switch in hand, I got to work.

Plugged it into harness. Clicked it in place. That wasn’t hard.

Started rig. Hit button. Here’s what happened:

It worked! Woohooo! Winter package, step one, COMPLETE.


Next goal? Dual batteries. The space is already there. All I need is the dinky white plastic tray, a hold down clamp, a long hold down hook/bolt thingy, and a cable.

Well, here’s a start…

GREAT SUCCESS! Looking good, Phil!

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So my daily drive,.for those who haven’t had to listen to me drone on about it, is 80kms one way, over pavement, gravel, through open prairie, some forest, past some bodies of water (flood plain in spring) etc. Quite varied. This can also be covered in ice and snow depending on the time of year. And then there’s wildlife. Esp deer. Yesterday I passed 4 different groups, in various poses of gaining the road. That’s where this next mod becomes relevant.

Several times in the past I’ve been fortunate enough to snag a deal on a bullbar for my daily. More details here:

Given the rarity of this platform in North America and no domestic equivalent like the Pajero/Montero, I assumed finding a reasonably priced option would be near impossible. There was a factory winch option in some markets, and careful research in the depths of the parts fiche revealed the parts were still available.

It wouldn’t be cheap, and I’d still be out of luck if I made contact with wildlife…

But suddenly fortune smiled upon me. More in a bit…


Found one on a local buy and sell site. A guy had had it up for a while. Was asking a lot for it. I made a case for why my offer would be reasonable. And he accepted…

I still need to find brackets and light buckets but the bumper itself is made for my truck. So happy to find this needle in a haystack!

It even came with some pretty nice old school lights!


As a guy who lives in Southern California, my commute is typically either to LA to see clients, or to my office in a spare bedroom down the hall (not even stairs to contend with, if I don’t care to). With that in mind, your commute sounds incredibly appealing to me, right now… As I sit in my office in a spare bedroom down the hall, and type this… Without having had to put shoes on, let alone pants or a jacket. Maybe I’d just like to have all three - my two options and then yours, several times a month.

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Sometimes it’s an adventure but sometimes, at the end of the day, you just wanna be home already…


And that part, just wanting to home already, is why my office is now in my home.

But, damn! Look at that! Makes me want it, none the less.

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