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January 103 minute read

LandCruiser 70s are one of the few new vehicles on the market still built truly tough. But a clutch upgrade, like the Safari ARMAX Clutch, unfortunately, is still wise, it’s one of the biggest weaknesses of the vehicle.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

Most 70 Series owners and aficionados will be aware that when it comes to power and torque, Toyota has left plenty on the table with the factory setup and tuning.

The most popular upgrades include options like the Safari ARMAX ECU, high flow snorkels and exhausts. In combination, it’s possible to dramatically improve upon the OEM torque and power figures, while still keeping key elements within the parameters required for engine reliability and longevity.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch
SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

The downside of upgrading the performance of the 70 Series is that the additional power, and especially torque, will possibly cause the factory clutch to fail at some point. Unfortunately, they just aren’t built strong enough.

If Murphy’s Law prevails this will happen exactly where and when you least want it to – which is perhaps why all of the experts we asked STRONGLY RECOMMENDED upgrading the clutch at the same time as improving performance.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

When it comes to heavy-duty clutches for the 70 Series there are lots of brands to choose from, a few of which have a great reputation.

We chose the Safari ARMAX Clutch for a few reasons. The main being that they build an ecosystem of the key performance components – clutch, ECU and snorkel. These are designed to work together. For example, in designing the ECU they’ve worked out the maximum possible torque figures and made sure their clutches can handle these.

When it comes to key components we usually factor in a brands ability to support us if we have an issue in a remote location. Larger brands often have more resources, dealers, and parts across the country. It’s similar to why we currently drive a Toyota and use ARB’s Old Man Emu Suspension.

Safari also does a lot of performance upgrades for armoured vehicles globally. Some of these 76 Series vehicles have a 5,500kg GVM and operate in high-risk environments. So our upgraded GVM of 3,660kg and goal of high reliability has an enormous margin for error.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

Fitting the Safari ARMAX Clutch is a relatively solid job, mostly due to the number of parts that need to be relocated to gain access. These are critical components, so it’s worth finding a skilled team to do the work thoroughly.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch
SAFARI ARMAX Clutch
SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

If you are planning a new build with accessories that might get in the way (like our underbody water tank) it’s worth fitting the clutch first if you can.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

While these new clutches boast a 60% increase in torque capacity they still have a factory lightness through the pedal.

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

The extra torque is hard to beat. With the Cruiser loaded it’s nice to know the clutch is fit to handle the extra torque from delivered from our ARMAX ECU!

SAFARI ARMAX Clutch

Thanks to the guys at Ultimate here in Perth for fitting our clutch, letting us in their workshop with the camera and for answering our questions.

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Mike Collister

Mike Collister

Mike has spent his life outdoors - he has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait, and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.
Mike Collister