With our upcoming trip to Red Cloud Off Road Park only a few days away, I wanted to make sure I did some simple maintenance to keep the Cruiser was in tip-top shape for the trails.
Since my Land Cruiser is my daily driver and not a dedicated trail rig, she already gets plenty of preventative maintenance on a regular schedule. However, there are still a few things that I always make sure to check before hitting the road for a trip because as my father always said, “proper planning prevents poor performance.” This maintenance is pretty simple; total time spent for me is about half an hour, and gives me more peace of mind before being on the trail.
This one might seem like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many guys forget about changing/inspecting their air filter. I like to make sure I check mine both before and after a day on the trail for water, dust, and mud. I’ll also swap the in-cabin air filter if it is dirty so I don’t have to worry about dust buildup in the truck. Another tip is to always carry a backup filter in the truck; they are relatively cheap and don’t take up much space.
Upper Control Arms
I run Total Chaos Upper Control Arms which utilize poly bushings. In order to keep them in tip-top shape I hit the zerks with a grease gun every oil change and I’ll also give them a few pumps before a trail run. This is mainly due to the fact that we usually encounter water crossings and the last thing I want to worry about is running hard on contaminated grease. As expensive as upper control arms are, keeping them well lubricated is cheap insurance.
No one likes a dry shaft, so make sure you always lube your (drive)shaft. With as much time as we spend in low range and doing water crossings we’re putting a lot of strain on the component. Most trucks have zerk fittings on the drive shaft – the Cruiser has one on the front drive shaft and one on the rear. Toyota recommends 5-8 pumps with the grease gun every 5,000-10,000 miles.
So I saved the most important part for last, as many of you know I run the Slee sliders, unfortunately they are bolt on’s. What does this mean? It means that I always make sure to hit them with a torque wrench before every trail ride to make sure they are still tight. I’ve come down on these things hard, and no matter what you do, a bolt on slider will never stay as tight against the frame as a weld on, so break out the tools and make sure they’re tight to the frame.
While this isn’t a complete list of everything you should check on your rig before a trail run, I highly recommend that you take some time to check our your rig and address and problem spots you might have. Now if you own a Land Rover, well all the preventative maintenance in the world doesn’t change a thing, but it’s the effort that counts right?
Andy Aughenbaugh says
You mean waiting till it breaks then fixing it is not a good idea? Dang, I knew I was doing this all wrong…
I’d be lieing to you if I told you this wasn’t one of the reasons I bought a Toyota. I’m just hoping to stay on top of things and make sure it last 300k miles as opposed to just 100k.
One thing I have learned doing PM on fire apparatus is the more time you spend under the rig looking over things in normal operational condition the easier it is to recognize when things are worn/broken/missing. Nice write up with an important message.
Couldn’t agree more Taylor, knowing your truck is half the battle. Just climbing under to take a look every oil change can save your wallet big time down the road. At the end of the day I’d rather fix something in the driveway as opposed to doing it knee deep in the mud.
Great write up! Don’t forget to precheck your gear too. A recent inspection of my first aid kit revealed a leaking container had contaminated all the bandages. Everything s in zip locks now!
Good point Roudy, that will be great material for a future write up. A pre-trip check of your recovery gear is definitely a must. The last thing you want is to get stuck and realize you either forgot part of your kit or that it’s no longer functional.