Landcruiser for towing / 4WD - KDSS or not

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 07:43
ThreadID: 131750 Views:14754 Replies:5 FollowUps:14
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I have recently ordered a new Off Road Van. Tare will be 2700 kg approx. I am going to buy a Landcruiser 200 Series - GLX oir VX as tow vehicle for our planned Big Lap extended tour.

I will be getting ARB fitted kit...lifted, suspension,shockers, bull bar,winch etc and increase the landcruiser GVM.

The ARB rep advised me not to get the Toyota KDSS system. Why? In his words when it adjusts for uneven surfaces it stays that way for quite a while before correcting. Apparently some negative reviews from customers.

As I am towing a large Van on/off road and will do 4WD tracks as we go, I would appreciate commments from LC 200 owners who have already done this and their view on the KDSS.

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 08:39

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 08:39
Your ARB rep is doing a good job ---- FOR ARB! And is not telling you the whole truth. I'll explain.
KDSS is a fantastic 'factory only' option for the 200. It is basically a sway bar that automatically disconnects off road.

On road it is a heavier duty sway bar and gives you a flatter ride than non KDSS. Significanlty better handling around corners. Off road it disconnects the sway bar, and basically, you get better articulation / traction.

The problem with KDSS, and where your ARB friend is covering ARB's ass is that sometimes your 200 will develop lean of up to 2" to the right after a suspension lift. Usually this is fixed by an easy to do bleed that takes about 15 mins to do. Occasionally the 200 will need a re-pressurisation from Toyota at a cost ( to ARB ) of about $150. This is not a problem unless you are an ARB rep that has to drop the $150 on the profit of the job.

It is true that the manual does talk about it leaning if parked on an angle ( not uneven surfaces) for some time. It says something like it takes a day or two to get straight. In practice this seems to be a lawyer paragraph in the manual. I have had mine for 8 years, it is regularly parked on an angle, and I don't recall the issue on LCOOL in that time, it certainly isn't common. ( most manual sections seem to be devoted to the lawyers these days).

There is a lot of discussion about this on LCOOL ( which you should join if you get a Landcrusier).
In summary it is definitely worth getting and you can not add it later. It is a great handling option. If you do get a lift insist that ARB or whoever are responsible for any issues with lean etc, but worst case you can fix any issues for $150 even if ARB deny responsibility.

You will find some bad reviews on this but that is because the owners are not properly aware of the situation, perhaps misled by after market companies......

Get it.
AnswerID: 597007

Follow Up By: Injected - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:11

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:11
I could not have explained it any better than Boobook.
I have KDSS with ARB suspension, car still has slight lean now with third battery and fridge on one side but evens out with me in it and loaded up for touring. Im not concerned currently.
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Follow Up By: Crowman1712 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 12:30

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 12:30
Thanks Boobook. Good explanation. There are always 2 sides to the story. I have read about the bleed being required. Not really an issue. All I really wanted to do is not pass up KDSS if infact its a really good system overall and from what you say, and have experienced, it is! Thks. And yes, I will join LCOOL.
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Follow Up By: Crowman1712 - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016 at 16:13

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016 at 16:13
Boobook (and Athol). I have tried to join but there seems to be a problem with the form registration process. ie complete it, hit send and it directs to a website saying the form management system has changed and the administrator needs to amend.

Thought I would mention if you are on there regularly.

FollowupID: 866422

Follow Up By: Crowman1712 - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016 at 17:48

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016 at 17:48
Forget last post. Just received email that the issue is being sorted. Timing so coincidental to my last post...haha
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 09:36

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 09:36
I have towed a large van with mine for 160K and it has KDSS with no problems. I cannot comment on not having it. Most drivers will not have towed with and then without it.

If new to 200 series tow in 4 to protect transmission temperature. I always tow in 4 and rarely go to 5 if out west on flat good bitumen.

Enjoy the new vehicle

AnswerID: 597010

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:48

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:48
I always tow in 5th, 4th is too low for 110 k/ph.

Would agree with 4th if you like sticking to 90 k/ph.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 16:26

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 16:26
I am not sure I understand this - surely a good auto gearbox will select the right gear depending on load, throttle setting etc - so if it thinks the load is too high it changes down to the relevant gear.

I my Landie I tow in drive and it just selects what gear is needed for the conditions - rarely gets into 6th in hilly country and tends to stay in 5th most of the time at cruising speeds. My only concession to towing is that I tow in sport mode as the change spots are better when there is a bit of load.

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Follow Up By: Member - Racey - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 17:44

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 17:44
Gronk, I think you are a danger to yourself and other travellers.
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Follow Up By: Meridith D - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:49

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:49
Alan, we have a LC200 MY16 and found we have to tow mainly in 4th to keep the auto transmission temp low because the torque converter would lock up, but wouldn't lock up in 5th. (We measure the temp with a ScanGuage).
Hubby got a torque converter lock up kit fitted and although we haven't towed with it yet, we find it already works really well. The torque converter stays locked up in 5th and keeps transmission temps low. Apparently we should also enjoy better fuel economy. There's lots of discussion on the LCOOL forum and caravanning forum.
We also have the KDSS fitted. Although we have nothing to compare it to, we do notice it sits very flat on cornering and has very little roll. We don't have any intentions on upgrading suspension though, so can't be of much help to you in setting yours up.
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:04

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:04
Thoroughly recommend the LCOOL site. Absolutely a great source of information for everything 200 Series. With respect to gear selection when towing and when using cruise control 4th is ideal in slightly undulating country in that with the power of the V8 the transmission will remain locked and thus run cooler. On flat country 5th can be used successfully. Recommend the ScanGauge. Excellent addition to the 200 Series.
Landcruiser 200 VX Diesel + 19ft Bushtracker

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Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:20

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:20
KDSS - A success story for a small company from the tiny town of Dunsborough, Western Australia.

AnswerID: 597017

Reply By: MarkHugh - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 17:15

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 17:15
G'day Crowman,

I tow a 2400kg off road van (AOR Quantum Plus) with a LC200 with KDSS. Also have a 50mm lift (fitted by ARB!). No problems at all. I don't think your ARB man knows what he is talking about.

AnswerID: 597029

Reply By: Athol W1 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:49

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:49
After having a LC200 for a number of years and over 175000km of which over 50% of that was towing around 3 t of van, and also doing a number of off road tracks all over Australia (without the van), I can highly recommend the KDSS system for its operation both on and off road. I never had any issues with the vehicle being of unequal height across the vehicle, both with original suspension and with the ARB replacement.

The biggest issue that I had, and there are numerous posts on, is the effect of lifting the front suspension has on the Castor angles, as any lifting of the front suspension causes a reduction in the castor at the same time as an increase in the Camber. However there is insufficient adjustment available in many cases to reinstate the desirable degree of castor. This can require after market replacement upper control arms at a cost of around $1000.00.

Insufficient castor angles can affect the comfortable driving of the vehicle in a straight line, to the extent where the vehicle will require constant corrections when straight road driving.

The 200 was a great vehicle for towing, add a good transmission oil cooler and a scangauge 11 so that you can monitor the transmission oil temp, then select the gear that will keep the oil temp at its lowest (generally 4th up to about 90/95kph, 5th above that but that then depends on hills or headwinds), by gear selection you can keep trans temp below about 80 deg (convertor locked) or it can easily climb above 120deg if working on the convertor (not locked) even with the additional (3rd) cooler fitted.

Enjoy your travels, and I hope this is of assistance.
Athol (Ret. Motor Mechanic)
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Follow Up By: Crowman1712 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 12:56

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 12:56
Thx Athol;

You raise a couple of interesting points.
1. Can you join LCOOL before becoming an owner. Think it wise to get as much information before I do any additional work on the car.
2. I hadn't heard abou the castor angle issue....not surprising as I have really only finally decided on getting a LC200 recently and frankly this was determined by the Van size and intended length of our journey......all being well , so Vehicle set up is important to me for sure. Should I get the acstors done as I do want to lift the car and set it up as a 4WD capable unit.
3. Scangauge 11 and additional oil cooler also very sound advice.

Another question, given your experience. What do you know/think of the Steinbauer Performance upgrade and would you think it necessary if only towing and medium level 4WD planned?

OMG , the $ spend never seems to end!

FollowupID: 866042

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 14:14

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 14:14
Tony, you can join LCOOL without owing a Landcruiser, lots of people join while they are buying.

BUT read the intro stuff carefully and ALWAYS do a search and existing threads before starting new ones or you will get stomped on from a great height. There are tons of newbie threads.

Also unless you go for a large lift the standard upper control arm will be fine the great majority of the time. It is generally only used for over 2" lists. Though some people may have had a need or want to use them for less lifts. I think that is pretty rare though.

I don't tow over 2t but I would seriously check into the need for a oil cooler before spending the dosh. Again LCOOL is the place to go for that. I may not have paid much attention but I would guess it is the exception rather than the rule. It could be a precautionary measure.

FollowupID: 866043

Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:29

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 21:29

No. 1 Yes you can join Lcool before you have a Landcruiser, and there is heaps of information there.

No 2. Whilst big lifts do require replacement of the UCA's, I fitted the smallest lift that ARB sold for the front (supposed to be 25mm, but was actually 50mm above the new vehicle spec of 500mm from centre of wheel to wheel arch, and I had a winch and steel bar fitted after the original vehicle height was measured) and this was sufficient to reduce the castor from the desirable 2 deg 26 min to a maximum attainable 0 deg 21 min, and this did affect the driveability of the vehicle.

No 3. I, and also the dealer that I purchased the vehicle from, consider that the additional transmission cooler IS ESSENTIAL if extensive caravan towing is anticipated. The major power (and fuel) use is to defeat the wind resistance and is not related to the towing weight, the gross weight does affect the power requirements when it comes to hills.

My highest fuel consumption occurred on relatively flat and level roads when there was strong headwinds (Stuart Highway from Elliott to Three Ways, also Broome to Port Headland) and if left in 5th gear at 100kph the trans temp would climb to over 120deg. but in 4th gear stayed below 70deg, fuel consumption was the same in either gear at the time)

Remember that for every 10 degrees that you can remove from the transmission temperature then you double the life of the transmission, so having sufficient cooling capacity for the work being done and also driving the vehicle in a manner (read gear) that will reduce the heat build up will have a substantial effect on the long term operating costs.

no 4. I am not in favour of fitting any performance chip that only increases the quantity of fuel being delivered to the engine, and any chip that increases the fuel rail pressure is doing just that. I am very wary of any chip that alters the injection timing, as pressures and combustion temps can rapidly increase, and either of these chips can increase Exhaust Gas Temps, and any increase can result in melted pistons. The engine manufacturer has spent many millions of dollars developing the engine with both performance and reliability/durability in mind.

I consider that the performance of the 200TTD is more than adequate to tow a van of 3t, and it will do so up almost all the hills that you encounter at or above the posted speed limits. I think that the $1500.00 would be better in your pocket.

I have also read somewhere that the transmission used in the 200ttd has a designed maximum input torque of 650nm, and if this is correct then the fitting of any chip could easily exceed this design parameter.

Hope this helps.
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Follow Up By: Crowman1712 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 10:56

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 10:56
Thanks Athol. I really appreciate the input and will take heed of your comments as I progress this . Cheers .
FollowupID: 866074

Follow Up By: Member - MARIC - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 12:59

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 12:59
Hi Tony
We have the LC79 Series, considered a chip however found a company in WA that does remapping of the ECU.
100 addional nm of torque
60 kw extra power or was it hp (not sure)
Better fuel economy
And the EGR temp is about 100 cooler.
The only down side was I had to put in a heavy duty clutch original clutch kept slipping in 3rd and 4th
Towinf a Spinifex va 3.5t and averaging 20-21L /100
It is only when you see mosquito land on your testicles that you find another way to solve problems without violence

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