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120 Series Toyota Prado Grande Fuel Muncher 5000

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    120 Series Toyota Prado Grande Fuel Muncher 5000

    I’ve had this thing for 10years now which is crazy, it’s the longest I’ve ever had a car.

    It was originally bought for me as a company car by my previous employer, it has just over 100,000kms on it when they bought it and now it has 386,000km. A bit over a year ago I left the company and asked if I could buy it and ended up getting it for $8k which I thought was pretty good.

    The company didn’t really worry about how we used the car so I would haul car parts and other shit, I had a stereo, reverse camera and had a brake controller fitted. I towed boats and car trailers with it etc but I didn’t really take it off road since I wasn’t that into it, we’d take it camping and stuff but its never seen anything gnarly.

    A bit about the car, it’s a 2003 Prado Grande V6 Petrol which means its got the fancy leather (I hate it), factory self levelling air bags in the rear (awesome), the shocks are TEMS (Toyota electronic modulated suspension) which are also awesome since you can set them to soft and it rides like a car. Also has fancy stability control and braking system with downhill assist and will apparently replicate an LSD/Locker by grabbing the free spinning wheel if you are off road and lift a wheel.

    Anyway, for 10 years I have had it and it’s been a great car, work would service it every 10,000kms, I had a fuel card that let me always fill it with 98. A few years ago they replaced the rear air bags and other stuff as well as putting on a set of new tyres.

    Recently the nopics and I have been talking about getting a camper and setting the car up for touring since we have kidlets and holidays will never be the same again. Also about 6 months ago got a bit of a taste for mild 4wding when my mates and I went for a long weekend out to the Brindabella Ranges.

    So this thread will be the cars journey from “Thrashed out old Prado” to “Thrashed out old Prado with a 1000kg of bullshit bolted to it”

    It really is a champ of a rig tho, I we have been through a lot together, it drives like new and it’s never let me down.

    Here it is at the camp ground in the Brindabella Ranges

    It’s a beautiful area worth checking out

    The interior is pretty well worn and the car has its quirks like leaking sunroof when it rains heavy

    And Bluetooth shock absorber struts

    You fucken wot? Yeah so this happened sometime on the Brindabella trip and it was due to a collapsed rubber bush causing the shock to bottom out on the lower control arm.

    We don’t really know when? I remember pulling out of Canberra and switching the TEMS suspension to the soft setting and saying to Do The Safety Dance who was with me, why the fuck is the car riding so shit? We thought after 380,000kms the shocks had finally blown the seals and just kept ploughing home.

    Anyways a couple hours of cheating death we ended up with the above picture haha.

    I left the car at Do The Safety Dance’s house and he got some new TEMS struts and king springs ordered and fitted for me. Thanks man. (they are actually made by KYB and they supply Toyota, so if you want to keep the TEMS order them direct from KYB not thru Toyota!)

    After getting a taste for breaking stuff I decided it was time to overcapitalise on yet another Toyota shitbox.

    First thing I did was work out what the best mod was to do on them and it turns out it wasn’t an expensive one, it was the windscreen squirters.

    I mentioned them in the aristo thread these were a really great mod to do on a 120 series (but shit for aristo) and about $60 from ebay.

    Then I thought it would be a good idea to give the car the ability to be skull dragged out of the bush by fitting some recovery points.

    I found this on marketplace for $30 just up the street.

    When I went to pick it up the seller was really weird about it, saying shit like “good luck getting it to work” talking all smarmy as if they were selling me a dud product and I was a sucker for paying for it or something??

    Anyways I got home and then I did this….

    And it was all fine, fuck knows what they were on about?

    Next was a set of front points, which were roadsafe ones and I had to pay retail which I hate but anyway.

    There is lots of arguing over this shit, I have been recovered from Stockton beach with one factory tie down point and it seemed to work ok but hey when in rome you gotta do as the romans do and bolt a whole bunch of shit to your 4WD. Just like they tell you to do on youtube.

    Love me a good ownership story.

    Keep the updates coming.



      These chew fuel, but cost $20 to service, and the V6 will outlast any other engine in history.


        I reckon these are a properly Good Thing. Peak Toyota build quality, along with turbo diesel 100 Series.


          Originally posted by Rascasse View Post
          Love me a good ownership story.

          Keep the updates coming.
          Thanks and have a few to do over next few days nothing spectacular as it’s a pretty slow build

          Originally posted by Gats View Post

          These chew fuel, but cost $20 to service, and the V6 will outlast any other engine in history.
          We had a GXL at work that did 550,000kms before it shat itself so that’s the sort of duty cycle I’m expecting from it.

          I think for a second hand prado, what you save in initial buy in cost and then servicing costs with the V6 would be more than petrol you’ll burn over the left over life of the car compared to paying more initially and more for servicing a diesel.

          Originally posted by BigJonWB View Post
          I reckon these are a properly Good Thing. Peak Toyota build quality, along with turbo diesel 100 Series.
          Agreed its hard to believe its got 386,000km on it when you drive it apart from the worn interior bits.

          Moving on another small update.

          So its got the factory sovereign alloy bullbar which I found out was whinch compatible as long as it had undergone a factory recall to upgrade the mounting brackets which it had from the previous owner.

          These things have quite a laughable front axle GVM so loading them up with a steel bullbar, billion pound winch, auxillery battery and 15 spotties would have you way over the limit. I also wasn’t prepared to spend 1k on a new bulbar and don’t really care a fuck on how stupid and weak the alloy one is, its taken a roo hit with no damage before and so as far as im concerned its fine.

          I suppose I should say now this will pretty much be the theme of the build. It will get a few bits here and there and that’ll be enough. Some of the builds you see on YT with 1000kgs of shit bolted to the car, jesus fuck just stop please.

          Anyway to mount a winch to the sovereign bullbars you need a factory winch cradle and even though this really shouldn’t have been the next mod it was because there was only 1 seller I could find that had these cradles and I was worried that they would become NLA soon so I grabbed one.

          Problem was once I had done that there was nothing holding me back from getting sucked into one of those sales at my local purveyor of cheap shitty 4wd shit.

          What had I become? (also note the timber there ready to be made into the base for my garden shed, man I got projects coming out my yingyang all the fucking time, when will it end? By the graces of the God Lo Pan (played by James Hong) when will it end?)

          Anyway I needed some recovery gear as well so may as well get a package deal. They threw in some extra shit which is pretty much just good for the bin cause fuck what do I want a shitty cooler bag and AA battery powered led light for? Fuck having to buy batteries.

          With bullbars you need an offset fairlead so grabbed one of them from Autobum of all places.

          This is sort of how it will bolt up, it looks like I would have to rotate the gearbox 90 degrees.

          So doing my research it turns out lots of winches don’t warranty for water ingress, even some expensive ones.

          This is a really good resource for that:

          They go thru all of the available winches warranty to see if they cover water ingress damage etc and since I was cheaping out on something I would rarely use I also took some advice from a youtuber to do what you can to protect it before you go to the trouble of installing it.

          So I grabbed a tub of marine grease and went to town.

          First I pulled apart the control box because I was thinking about extending the plug into the cabin but haven’t got there yet so that got put aside

          Then I started to pull it all down

          As mentioned by YT guy the grease they use from factory is pretty shit and there is not much of it. It was literally brand new and there were areas where the grease was clear and runny and others where it was hard and clumpy showing without any use it had already started to degrade and separate etc.

          I Cleaned all of it out and added new grease to the gearbox, I also packed it where there were surfaces moving against each other and all over the rubber seals and anywhere else it needed to be. So not only would it lubricate the gearbox it would provide a bit of a chemical barrier against water.

          I got it all back together with the gearbox rotated to where I hope it will work ready to go on.

          That’s as far as I have gone with it, I am planning on mounting it with a mate and making a Friday night of it with dead animals and beer but that’s yet to happen.

          But I have done other stuff which I’ll post up tomorrow since I cant spend all day at work making PF wankery….. as much as I’d like to tho.


            So I fucken did it again and succumbed to the lure of cheap 4wd shit.

            Nahh this time it was warranted, I had a compressor but the cunting thing wouldn’t work when it was time to air up coming out of the last camping trip. So that now lives in the aristo I don’t know why if it fucken doesn’t work but being poor I have mental problems throwing shit away.

            I figured I mount it in the engine bay so it didn’t have to slide around in the boot so I surveyed under the bonnet and there is a fair amount of space. I was still worried I might have screwed myself by buying the twin thumper since it was quite big and I like to have good clearance between engines and other shit

            Here is the spot I chose.

            Had to move a few things out of the way, I originally thought I would mount it east west but realised it would package in much better north south. So I moved some stuff out of the way.

            I then had a look at the rubber vibration dampening feet on the compressor and realised it was hot garbage. I rummaged around all of the engine conversion and front cut bits I had collected over the years I had these much larger rubber feet floating around.

            I took the bottom plate off the compressor, fucked it off and played around with the brackets. Ended up with this.

            Then since the wheel arch drops down I had to account for the difference in where the other side mounts. I wish I had more of these larger rubber mounts but could only come up with one. Turns out its fine.

            Drilled some holes and mounted it up and it fits in quite nicely. I then found a place for all of the other shit that had to be moved pretty easily.

            I then used a P-clip to mount the dingle dangle on the right of the fuse box and then ran the wires out to the front of the battery and conveniently clamped them to the battery holder bracket pot where they can be easily put onto the terminals when I need to give it some choof.

            I cbf hard wiring it to a plug because just clamp it on fuck, it takes no time or effort fark.

            So it runs and isn’t any more noisy than normal, it doesn’t vibrate through the whole car like a jackhammer so I would say it was a success.

            From that I have paired it up with the 8m hose that came with it, that is stored in the boot with a tyre chuck and my UNINDEFLATE that I made which you can see in my Schnitzelburgers Garage thread.

            Cheers you silly plonkers


              following, just building my own flogged out 120 series. winch and comp are on my list of mods. sadly mine being diesel means no space under bonnet fpor compressor of many noises. ps4x4 do some cheab bullbars and stuff for these if your keen. and is excellent. thats where i got my lift kit from.
              I am junkie for swedish high quality shitboxes. my latest fix is this...
              robslothyoung - follow me on insta.


                Originally posted by Sloth View Post
                following, just building my own flogged out 120 series. winch and comp are on my list of mods. sadly mine being diesel means no space under bonnet fpor compressor of many noises. ps4x4 do some cheab bullbars and stuff for these if your keen. and is excellent. thats where i got my lift kit from.
                thanks for link will check them out, i have got some bits from Automotive superstore that ill mention in future posts but will try this mob for price in future as well.

                i didnt realise until i googled how much less room there was in the diesel engine bay but still lots of places to hide a compressor, i would find the spot and then measure before buying tho.



                  Cool car, i like the theme (and i can relate to being poor). Agree with your take on 4wd culture, or Landcruiser Syndrome the old man calls it. See it here in the top end all the time, when the best changes would be an overdrive gear or two and a fridge.


                    Originally posted by Likes Dirt View Post
                    Cool car, i like the theme (and i can relate to being poor). Agree with your take on 4wd culture, or Landcruiser Syndrome the old man calls it. See it here in the top end all the time, when the best changes would be an overdrive gear or two and a fridge.

                    Thanks, the goal is to eventually get a camper trailer so that should take care of a lot of the shit that people load up their cars with.

                    I like the car to be versatile if I need to lug some shit from Bunnings or whatever I don’t want to have to remove fridges and drawer systems and water tanks, water pumps, compressors etc. Same with roof, taking off LED’s and shovel holders and max trax just to haul some timber.

                    If it’s a day trip a cooler bag and some sangas is enough for me, I just want to be in nature, why the fuck do I want to be cooking a meal and cleaning pots and pans and shit.

                    If it’s an overnighter with the boys esky, butane cooker and swag is fine but family will want comfort so fridges and that can all be contained in the camper we get.

                    Im not into hardcore 4WDing either so it wont get a lift and I will have to be careful not to over articulate the rear end cause it can pull the rear airbags apart.

                    I shouldn’t need a winch either! The only reason I got it is because sometimes we go touring (nothing gnarly) with the brother inlaw and his family in his delica. He is married to a dragon lady who doesn’t really let him buy kit for it. His mates will ride along also and while they are good blokes they don’t have any mechanical aptitude, so I figured I cannot rely on them if we get into a jam, it’ll be up to me. So I got the winch, some snatch straps and 2 maxtrax.

                    Moving on, these grande prados have pretty good reverse sensors however they are held into the bumper with brittle plastic rings that disintegrated a long time ago. Then what happens is they fall into the bumper and don’t work apart from making the proximity beeper scream in your face holes when you reverse.

                    I asked the mechanic who was servicing the car at my old work to do something to fix them so he badly sikaflexed them in which only held them in for a little while then they kept fucking up again.

                    Since the nopics was going to be driving it now I needed it to be proper dodgy fixed not dodgy dodgy fixed.

                    I started by pulling the bumper out a bit and drilling a hole

                    You can see the remnants of the Sikaflex there. I then got an angle bracket and hose clamp and riveted it into the bumper.

                    I was concerned the aluminium rivet would affect the signal or laser beam, 5G whatever. But it was fine.

                    Looks fine for an almost 20yr old rig with a million kms and scratches on it.

                    Now the nopics will have more confidence with parking.

                    While I was there I also replaced the reverse camera as it was old and the lens was all faded. Annoyingly the generic camera that I bought to replace the generic camera that was in there didn’t just plug in. The plug was the same but was wired differently so I had to do my best to solder the tiny delicate fucking wires in situ with no room and fat fingers.

                    But I got it done.

                    This will be the last post for a bit until I can get more done, future mods are to fit the winch, I also got a safari snorkel for an awesome price from Automotive Superstore, and I have some diff breathers to go in as well (the other packet is for a mate).

                    Lastly is a pic of the factory trans cooler I am wondering if I can get some advice? Its about 250mm x 100mm and I am wondering if I need a bigger one?

                    I tow 1500kgs of car trailer and MX5 a couple times a year and I also am looking to get a camper trailer that will probably be 1500kgs maybe more 2000kg?. Do you reckon I should upgrade? or at least put a fan on it? or is it fine?

                    Last edited by schnitzelburger; 07-05-21, 08:54 AM.


                      Those sensors are ultrasonic, not RF so metal won't affect them.