4WD MODIFICATIONS - SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Toyota’s 70 Series braking has never been very good and its handbrake very quickly becomes useless unless mechanics are careful with set-up and adjustment.
Everyone knows that Toyota’s 70 Series has survived way beyond its original planned demise and that’s why Toyota 76, 78 and 79 Series LandCruisers receive ‘band aid’ upgrades from a maker that would rather not continue with this line.
The classic example is rear axle track width that dates back to the 1990s, while the front track was widened to accommodate a V8 diesel in place of the old six.
Toyota Japan has tried to phase out the 70 Series, but customer demand just wouldn’t let them!
Back in 2012, Toyota Australia made the following statement:
“So far in 2012 the LandCruiser ute has outsold popular 4×4 utes, including the Isuzu D-Max, Holden Colorado, Volkswagen Amarok, Great Wall V240, Land Rover Defender and Nissan Patrol, while a large proportion of the 5713 LandCruiser wagons sold this year were also 70 Series models.
“However, all that will change in 2013, when Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, which is a major Toyota fleet customer, requires all vehicles purchased for its fleet – not just in Australia but globally – to come with a five-star (maximum) NCAP safety rating.
“While the 70 Series will finally be available with ABS brakes from October, it will never be fitted with electronic stability control or side curtain airbags, without which it cannot achieve a five-star NCAP rating.”
That turned out to be untrue, because we know that Toyota was forced to upgrade the 70 Series, despite its intentions to discontinue the model.
Five-star mandated safety items were added, but items that were not deemed necessary to rectify – rear axle track and handbrake inefficiency – were simply ignored.
The Australian after-market reacted with axle-track kits and, in late 2023, Bendix developed an Electric Park Brake (EPB) for 76, 78 and 79 Series LandCruisers.
The Bendix park brake offered bolt-on fitment and complemented the existing OE park brake, with no change required for the vehicle’s original service brake and park brake systems.
To provide additional hill-holding ability, the Bendix EPB featured rear left and right single piston callipers that acted on the rear disc brake rotors, minimising the likelihood of ‘roll aways’ – particularly when vehicles were heavily loaded or towing.
For added safety, the brake could also be configured for ‘auto-on’ application, such as when the driver’s door was open, or if a door on the service body was left open.
The EPB also had a ‘service mode’ to wind back the EPB to allow for brake pad changes and there was a card detailing this process provided with each kit.
Fitting the EPB was said to be simple for a mechanic or brake technician, using the detailed installation guidelines provided.
The vehicle’s ADR compliance was maintained, Bendix claimed and required no engineering sign-off when the job was complete.
Included in each kit were two brake callipers with EPB functionality, a wiring loom, electronic control module, OEM-style control switch for dashboard installation and a pair of DB1200 Ultimate 4WD brake pads.
Bendix said its Electric Park Brake was an easy and cost-effective way to maximise the braking performance of the LandCruiser.
For 2024, Bendix planned to expand its EPB range to suit other popular 4WD models.