WHEN Toyota introduced the 1VD-FTV 4.5-litre common-rail TDV8 engine to the 70 Series Land Cruiser range in 2007, it endowed the venerable workhorse with significantly more torque than it ever had previously.
In fact, the new TDV8 engine made a claimed 430Nm at 1200-3200rpm, up by 50Nm compared to the earlier 1HD-FTE six-cylinder turbo-diesel powerplant, and up a whopping 145Nm compared to the naturally aspirated 1HZ.
However, more torque places more pressure on driveline components, and although many owners have never experienced issues with the standard clutch in the VDJ70, complaints are not uncommon, with issues including clutch slipping, clutch noise and premature wear.
Any potential problems with the standard clutch are exacerbated when the Land Cruiser is modified, whether via a performance upgrade (think: chip, exhaust, etc.) and/or the fitment of larger diameter tyres.
Problems can also arise when the Land Cruiser is used for heavy towing purposes, or is subjected to extreme off-road conditions.
Steve Booth from Power Torque Vic, which specialises in power upgrades on common-rail diesel engines, told us he replaces just about every VDJ70 Land Cruiser clutch that comes through his workshop.
“Every single 70 Series [TDV8] that we tune, except for the really early stuff like ’07, ’08 and ’09 models, the clutches are pretty much garbage, they don’t hold anything,” he said.
“Toyota must have made a change along the line somewhere and it wasn’t for the best, that’s for sure. Even with power increases to around 140kW, the clutches are slipping, but it’s more the torque of the V8 that makes them slip.
“A lot of people, when they put slightly bigger tyres on them, and an exhaust system on them, that’s enough to make them slip,” Steve said.
Even the latest variants of the 70 Series Land Cruiser aren’t immune to clutch problems when modified.
“When the DPF model came out [in 2016], that had a better slave cylinder and improved clamping force, but we’re still finding that they’re not good enough... as soon as you tune the DPF model, the clutch goes. We’ve had brand new ones on the dyno where they’ve done 100km and the clutch fries,” Steve explained.
Rather than replace the standard clutch with an OE item, Steve fits a heavy-duty aftermarket clutch kit, along with a billet flywheel.
In fact, there are several aftermarket clutch kits on the market designed to better stand up to the high torque output of the TDV8 engine, particularly those that have been modified, placing added stresses on driveline components.
Adelaide-based company Australian Clutch Services (ACS) has been supplying clutch kits and components for more than 25 years, and it offers a wide range of aftermarket heavy-duty clutch kits to suit most four-wheel drive vehicles on the market (including the VDJ70 Land Cruiser) under the Xtreme Outback banner.
The company says its in-house R&D facility provides it with the resources to “continually analyse new friction materials and evaluate spring rates to obtain the optimal combination of performance, noise suppression and durability”.
The latest Xtreme Outback clutch kit to suit the VDJ70 Land Cruiser utilises an extra-heavy-duty pressure plate, and it provides a 58 per cent increase in clamping force over the OE clutch.
Despite this increase, ACS claims the heavy-duty clutch retains close to original “driveability” courtesy of a replacement slave cylinder, which is designed to alleviate any extra pedal effort required to operate the clutch.
While this kit utilises an extra-heavy-duty pressure plate, the company also offers a standard heavy-duty version.
The Xtreme Outback clutch kit comes with everything needed to replace the OE clutch, including an extra-heavy-duty pressure plate, 300mm OE quality replacement friction disc, thrust bearing and carrier, replacement slave cylinder, pilot bearing, and clutch alignment tool.
Xtreme Outback also supplies replacement flywheels, if required.
“We offer a comprehensive range of upgrades for Land Cruiser vehicles including the extra-heavy-duty upgrades for 70 series six- and eight-cylinder models,” Xtreme Outback mechanical engineer, Stewart Furze, said.
“Our range includes a variety of upgrade options in organic and we also offer a ceramic upgrade for very high horsepower applications.”
As Stewart Furze mentioned, Xtreme Outback also offers an extra-heavy-duty clutch kit to suit six-cylinder HDJ70 Land Cruisers.
According to ACS, the “design of this kit is focused on producing a clutch that offers exceptional driveability and improved torque holding capability when the vehicle has engine modifications and is used in extreme conditions”.
If you intend to modify your 70 Series Cruiser, whether an older six-cylinder model or new TDV8, chances are you’ll need to upgrade the clutch to an aftermarket heavy-duty item.
Phone: 1800 CLUTCH
POWER TORQUE VIC
Phone: 0417 558 799