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Graphite GRJ150R

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  • Graphite GRJ150R

    Long time forum stalker, but have now got a reason to sign up and post.

    My journey here has been a bit of a random one, havnig previously had no understanding why anyone would ever daily drive huge/heavy/thirsty 4wds and now ending up in this low k's modified GXL. You can skip the background and head to the mod list below if you like, though it does help paint a picture of how I got here, why, and where I'm headed.

    In November last year my family moved out of town, just 12 acres, but as we wanted a view we ended up on the side of a hill, quite a steep dirt driveway, and 2ks of dirt road in and out to the sealed roads - the view is amazing but the slope can be annoying. At the time I had a company car, just a petrol RWD territory, but it was perfect for family duties (I had the choice of petrol or TD when it was purchased and after driving both, petrol was hands down the nicer car to drive).

    It became obvious the Territory could not hack the steep and slippery terrain out in the paddocks. It was fine up the driveway and in/out of the property, but couldn't be used to do any "work" it also struggled to pull my racecar up the driveway and into the shed, just didn't have the grip (they are really only 1wd as they are open diff), though it had the grunt no problem.

    Knowing that I was going to need to get into paddocks and do things with animals/get firewood etc and given my dad is a mad landcruiser wrecker/fan/lover I bought a modified 97 80 Series off him (bar, lift, drawers, roof basket etc). Dual fuel auto and as it was only being used on weekends the fuel economy wasn't a huge issue (for sale now too). It's been great and it gave me an appreciation for what the car could do and how nice it actually was to drive.

    In Feb, I quit my job, gave back the Territory and just grabbed a Falcon to get by while I worked out what I was doing. The Falcon felt a bit small after having Territories, but they are cheap to run and easy to work on and feel like a sportscar compared to a Terry. I'm now working again after taking a few months off and have a car allowance so it was time to decide what I wanted to do. I really wanted to consolidate back down to one car, less hassle moving car seats, always know I've got space for stuff in the back/can tow/one rego/insurance etc.

    I came to terms with the idea that I would really need a proper 4wd, something with low range as an AWD SUV was not going to do what I needed around the block or get the family off road a little more as we get more into camping etc. I will say straight up that I'm not a fan of modern turbo diesel cars, too many electronics, too many issues with DPF,s EGR's, paranoia about fuel quality, tuning, EGTs etc. I'm a competent home mechanic and have a history with petrol turbo (plus I built and maintained my race car - S13) so whilst I'm capable and understand all the nuances, I want low minatenance/stress/hassle for a daily. I also dislike the sound, smell, and general drive of diesels. That said, I didn't want an older car, say a 105 or something, as I wanted modern creature comforts and safety features.

    I didn't think there would be anything modern in petrol that would be worth looking at so I was out testing Pajero's, MUX, Pajero Sport, Prado 3L and 2.8L, Fortuner etc. I quite liked the Fortuner's drive around town and how modern it is but known issues with the 2.8 (DPF, Timing Chains, Dust Ingress) and how it handled dirt put me off. Pajero has fanatstic value for money and a bullet proof drive train, but was just too agricultural to live with daily. I was leaning towards the 3L Prado as it drove the nicest/quietest, the 3L felt grunty compared to some of the others. I was hoping for a very late model to avoid issues with injectors and cracked pistons. It feel into the 30-35k budget also.

    Then I realised I could have the exact same car but with a 200kw petrol engine. Did some research, found out it's a fairly well regarded engine and was happy to trade some fuel economy for less stress/worry on my part/les maintenance/less noise/smell etc. I realise TCO is probably similar, but my time/effort is reduced. I just pay the cost at each fill up and drive it and as I'm not towing a big van or even towing that often, I'm not going to suffer that bigger penalty the petrol "enjoys" when towing. Race season is only 7-8 events and I wont be back til next year anyway (engine swap time).

    So, I sat and waited for the right car to come up and when I did I put a deposit down immediately, flew to sydney that weekend and drove it 6hrs back home. That was Saturday and I still haven't stopped smiling.

    So here she is, my 2010 Graphite GXL. Bought it from the original owner, it has been garaged it's whole life and barely used with only 62ks on the clock. Fully serviced and built to be used for touring etc, but really just never got there. There's a few minor car park scratches but the car is in excellent condition all round, underside is testament to how little "off road" work it did, which I assume must have been limited to fire trails. Recovery hooks/front bar/even tow ball are all basically unmarked.

    Mods include.

    - ARB deluxe winch bar, steel, colour coded.
    - ARB recovery points.
    - ARB BP51 remote reservoir shocks - 2" lift.
    - ARB CMKA12 Compressor in the bay.
    - BFG KO2s - 265/70.
    - Duel battery setup: Optima yellow top and Piranha DBE180.
    - Safari Snorkel.
    - TJM Sidesteps.
    - Transfer case gaurd.
    - GME TX3345 80 Channel UHF.
    - Tinted windows.
    - Geniune tow pack.
    - Sand grabba mats all round.
    - Some heavy duty front seat covers.
    - Geniune cargo mat.
    - Geniune roof racks.
    - Mini 12v setup in the back.

    Future plans: (Will remove from this list and add to Done list as they are complete).

    - Double DIN head unit, GX storage bin underneath, remove current reverse camera screen and head unit.
    - Replace foglights with DRL version.
    - Disable seat belt/door chime as epr forum posts here.
    - Have Toyota connect it up to see if there's any firmware updates I don't have as the car was serviced by an independent. Thoroughly, but will have missed any updates not being a Toyota dealer.
    - Extractors/minor exhaust improvements for a little extra grunt and economy (I cannot help myself, every car gets intake/exhaust done).
    - May consider a tune as it's quite easy to have done and removeable.
    - Wouldn't mind darker rims, as I like grey/black and silver black combos.
    - Rear table mod, that made me laugh when I saw it but what a great idea.
    - Lock up kit as I like the logic behind it and it seems easy to fit/test/remove if I have to.


    - Adjusted damper/rebound on BP51's, ended up getting new front shocks under warranty as adjusting them introduced a knock.
    - Winch install, Kings Domin8r Xtreme.
    - Basic Recovery Kit + Big plastic tub for the back.
    - Stedi LED conversion complete, High/Low and Parkers.
    - Interior LED conversion complete, all except vanity lights.
    - Interior window shades.
    - OCAM Weather Shields
    - Toyota guard patch kit as a preventative measure.
    - Airbox restrictor removed and aFe dry filter installed.
    - Kings Throttle Controller.

    I'm not scared to buy things, test them and remove and sell if I don't like as I've built a number of cars and tend to find it's better to just buy/test yourself rather than rely on forums to make a call. I've proven a few arm chair epxerts wrong before in my builds by just actually doing the thing and putting it one a dyno/testing/recording etc.I've also got things wrong, but to me that's the price paid for learning and I enjoy learning.

    I managed to save some pics from the ad before it was taken down so I just have these couple for now. I'll get more as I go and will document mods as I make them.

    Last edited by 'Dan'; 25-10-2019, 06:18 AM.

  • #2
    And a couple extras.


    • #3
      Nice mate, welcome to the club.

      By the way I skipped the story and went straight to the photos.

      Rule number one on 4x4 forums, the more you read the more you spend. You have a great starting point though.
      Last edited by Hostile1; 18-06-2019, 07:39 PM.


      • #4
        Have already accepted that I'll waste money on this and it will delay my engine build lol

        It's a sickness and I'm inefected.


        • #5
          Its not a waste of money if it makes you happy mate. But yes, it is a sickness. But everyone on here is "sick"


          • #6
            What did you pay if you donít mind me asking.

            car looks well looked after and he had not mucked around and had gotten decent top quality gear for the car too and spent a lot of $$ saving you lots in the future as most is already done !

            good find and buy mate


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gurilla View Post
              What did you pay if you donít mind me asking.

              car looks well looked after and he had not mucked around and had gotten decent top quality gear for the car too and spent a lot of $$ saving you lots in the future as most is already done !

              good find and buy mate
              Car was listed at 29.5, I got it a little cheaper but nothing to write home about. There wasn't a whole lot of time or room to negotiate. He had a dealer trying to buy it for the ask and wanted to ship it to WA. There was another guy on Facebook who was also trying to get it, these are just the two I know if directly. He had to take the ad down as he was getting too many enquiries, I just put own a deposit first and booked flights etc. Gotta be ready to jump when something decent comes along.


              • #8
                Nice good buy mate especially with the km! Will see you years of fun aslong as you maintain the services


                • #9
                  I do tend to look after stuff so hopefully it's a happy home for it.

                  There is bugger all info when it comes to V6s though, even trying to find an off the shelf full exhaust that isn't 3k is proving difficult. Might have to go custom.

                  Also, looks like this thing has 2 sets of cats?! 1 off each manifold then another not far beyond that. Unless one set is an expansion chamber or something odd?


                  • #10
                    Busy weekend, chopped some wood, made some suspension changes, and did a small walk at Wallaby Mines with the family.

                    Had a look at the BP51s, wound them right down to 0 compression and about 4 rebound using the supplied C spanner, It was set at 4 and 6 respectively wasn't expecting much of a change as my experience is coil overs in jap cars. Takes about 15mins to do, back can be accessed easily on the ground, fronts required me to jack it up to allow enough room between spring and shock body to get at the collars.

                    The change was very noticable. Car was very soft and squishy and wallowed over road undulations. Much comfier, but a bit too soft. After we came back from our little outing at Wallaby Mines I put them back to 2 and 5. Car feels better this morning on the drive to work but since making the changes I can hear/feel a knock/clunk from the front end. I gave it a wobble at work and it appears to be the front driver side shock or upper ball joint. I did jack both sides of the car up (wheel off the ground) to get at the shock body but surely that wouldn't be enough to upset the ball joint that easily?

                    ARB said to drop by for a quick look.


                    • #11
                      Some snaps from Wallaby Mines.


                      • #12
                        Are photos coming up as very small for others?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 'Dan' View Post
                          Are photos coming up as very small for others?
                          Coming up fine for me.

                          Nice car!


                          • #14

                            Dropped by ABS, the guy who said come in wasn't there and they can only get me in early July, not impressed.

                            Had a closer look last night but cannot isolate if it's the UCA/Ball Joint or the shock.

                            There's no obvious ball joint damage/movement and given they're only 60ks old I'd be surprised. May drop it in to a suspension place close by for another opinion as I'd rather not wait til the 10th to have ARB tell me it's not their problem.

                            Toyota will not sell the ball joint, only a complete arm, 700 for a UCA, 1150 for a LCA, yes each!

                            So if it's the joint I'll either get better joints pressed in or just replace both UCAs for less than Toyota's cost for stock arms.


                            • #15
                              Got the quote back for my exhaust. Approx 2k fitted.

                              Pacemaker extractors, heat coated (powder coarting, not ceramic).
                              twin 2.5" into single 2.5", obligatory high flow cats/mufflers/ etc.

                              The goal is low/mid range torque and minimal additional noise.

                              Beaudeserts, with 20% current discount, is closer to 2.2k (normally 2.7) then I'd have to pay shipping and fit it myself.

                              Will sit on that until I sell one/both of the other cars.

                              Also building myself a budget intake upgrade kit. Will consist of dry high flow panel filter, intake manifold spacer, and solid intake pipe. Considering sticking with the TB size pipe all the way to the airbox and using a step down coupling there. I realise the plastic pipe starts larger at the airbox end but tapers down to TB, but smaller pipe diameter favours throttle response and low down torque.


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