With 4×4 builds, we like to get hands-on to experience how they feel to drive and take a closer look at the overall quality and individual components before we write articles like this. So Isaac and I settled on the Old Telegraph Track to Cape York in Queensland as the perfect trip for us to test the vehicle – you can read about that adventure here.
We each build vehicles for ourselves, so I’m always interested to learn about the owner before looking at what they have created. Based in Cairns, Isaac loves to fish and explore remote areas. As co-owner of Norweld, his vehicles and trips are also vital R&D for their canopies.
Isaac’s 79 Series LandCruiser Build Details
I’ll circle back to share the details of what this massive Cruiser was like to drive and camp from, but first, let’s run through the long list of modified modifications.
Isaac’s vehicle is a 79 Series LandCruiser 2020 GXL model. Multidrive has extended the chassis 300mm in Victoria, which, combined with the Norweld Compact Canopy, has superbly balanced the weight over both axles.
The cab has been stripped and resprayed in gator brown, and the canopy has been colour coded to suit. It’s a unique but earthy colour which Isaac loves – it’s a very nicely done custom colour.
Engine Performance & Protection
Isaac likes torque and has fitted some serious hardware under the bonnet, including a G Turbo G350, G Turbo Power Pipe, Power Torque Twin Intercooler Fans and a DPU Top Mount Intercooler.
He has also fitted a Safari ARMAX Snorkel and Torqit 3 inch exhaust to increase the airflow.
Finally, the team at Power Torque have tuned his ECU to suit this new hardware, and the Cruiser is producing a whopping 900Nm running 32psi and 210kw at the wheels.
This power runs through a 200 series automatic gearbox conversion from Wholesale Automatic Transmissions.
Power Torque Boost and EGT Gauges monitor the engine’s vital signs, and also fitted is a Marks 4WD Catch Can and JMACX high output 220Ah alternator.
Vehicle Protection & Driving Lights
Isaac does plenty of driving across Australia’s top end, so he has fitted an ARB Big Tube Bull Bar in Pro Touring Concepts matte black for the ultimate peace of mind. The lower rear protection is a Marks 4WD High Clearance Tow Bar. In addition, the ARB Bar is fitted with a Warn Winch with Spectra rope and a Factor 55 E-Link.
Tyres & Suspension
Nitto Ridge Grappler tyres in a massive 37” x 12.5” x 18” run on stylish Evo Corse 18” x 9” Dakar Zero wheels.
A Marks 4WD Portal System for 79 series with 3950kg GVM has been fitted, which combined with the 37” gives the most under differential clearance you can get in a 79 Series LandCruiser. It’s an impressive, go-anywhere setup!
Again, I’ll talk about the ride later, but note this suspension – JMACX Alpha Shocks and lift with in-cab electronic adjustable rebound and dampening, JMACX Jmacx Springs and Coils, JMACX Radius Arms and JMACX Bump Stop Spacers.
Over the cabin of this 79 Series LandCruiser is an ARB Base Rack. This carries four MAXTRAX Xtremes as well as solar panels. Over the canopy, a Norweld rack supports a Boss Aluminium rooftop tent and awning.
While the jewel of the cabin may be the RECARO Specialist M Seats with leather and lumbar support, there is a long list of other modifications to ensure this ute is comfortable with and without the canopy starting with the Clearview Power Slide steps to make the climb up!
From the Department of the Interior Consoles, Isaac has fitted a Roof Console, Floor Console, custom door card with Noweld logos, speaker pods with custom aluminium grills, subwoofer box, rear side pockets, a rear wall system with mounting for some of the electrical equipment.
Car Builders two-stage sound deadening is fitted throughout, which combined with a Kenwood stereo, Focal amp, front 6.5 splits, rear 6.5 coaxials, and a 10-inch sub make it a quiet and fun place to travel!
A Hema HX-1 with K2C Mount, upgraded interior lighting, Cel-Fi and GME XRS 330 radio are also mounted in this 79 Series LandCruiser.
While the canopy has plenty of power, it isn’t always mounted, so the cabin has its power system. This includes two Redarc 60Ah slim line lithium batteries, a RedVision system and Manager 30, a Redarc 1,000W Inverter and two 150W solar panels.
Tray & Canopy
Fitted on the rear is a Norweld Deluxe Plus Tray with a portal axle guard upgrade. Isaac sometimes uses his 79 Series LandCruiser in tray mode but mounts his Norweld Deluxe Compact Canopy for trips. I’ve written about Norweld’s canopies and the benefits of the Compact Canopy previously here. They are bulletproof!
In the toolbox, he’s mounted an ARB Twin Compressor on Norweld mounts. He also has fitted a 4L ARB air tank.
Isaac loves to spend time off-grid and has got his team to wire up their Norweld Platinum Wiring Package, which includes another two Redarc 200ah lithium batteries, RedVision, Manager 30 and 2,000W Inverter. The electrical setup also consists of a 240V input, multiple USB, Engel, Anderson and 12V sockets, as well as Korr Light tricolour lighting,
Isaac runs an upright Bushmans fridge which is an excellent choice for access easy given the height of this vehicle. The rear is organised with a mixture of Norweld drawers, shelves, Expedition 134 boxes, Snow Peak bags, and his Maxtrax Recovery Kit.
Isaac usually carries an induction stove for quick meals on the pullout Norweld table and his Expedition Essentials Exo Table with Cook Partner stove for more extended stays.
With a Norweld 25L jerry can and 180L ARB Frontier fuel tank he has plenty of diesel onboard his 79 Series LandCruiser.
On the Tracks
With that long list of modifications covered, it’s time to share what it was like to travel in and drive. While I knew it would be a unique vehicle to travel the Telegraph Track, I thought such a modified LandCruiser might be a rough ride, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This monstrous 79 Series LandCruiser offered an incredibly smooth ride which I put down to a few main things – the longer wheelbase and balanced weight, the JMACX Alpha Shocks and 37” tyres, the smooth auto finally, the quiet cabin and comfy seats.
Isaac generously let me cover a good portion of the trip at the wheel, and as I type this, I’m smiling, just recalling the feeling. This Cruiser is exhilarating to drive! It makes significant obstacles simply disappear like few vehicles can and floats over corrugations like they are tarmac.
This is a massive build, affectionately named Bull 79, drives superbly, gets used often and suits Isaac’s trips perfectly!