Potential faults on the Toyota Land Cruiser VX 200 4.5 D4D

The Land Cruiser VX 200 possesses peerless power, but is it faultless?


The Toyota Cruiser VX 200 4.5 D4D seems to have a few issues which should be brought under the attention of owners of these model Toyotas.


Chassis cracked?

Let me start by stressing a very serious issue. Make sure to take your VX 200 to your nearest Steves Auto Clinic to have the chassis inspected for cracks. Yes – CRACKS!

At the end of the chassis, the 3.5mm sheet metal plate is not fully welded, only stitch welded (as indicated). That is all a crack needs to start being a crack… This crack will then follow its way down the welding, as can be seen on the picture. From another angle, the problem this holds for the suspension, is even more visible and equally alarming. Here the paths of the cracks are clearly visible as indicated by the red encircling.

It is therefore essential that you have your 200 series Cruiser inspected at SAC.

VX200 Sheet WeldVX200 Suspension Crack

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) issues

The earlier 200 series seems to have serious issues with the DPF. If you as an owner find an excess of black soot inside your vehicle’s tailpipe, bring it in and have it checked so that SAC can rectify this issue.


Turbocharger Issues

Excessive Oil Usage

There are owners who complained that the twin turbo 200 Series used excessive oil. Some of this appeared to be related to faulty oil system vacuum pumps and problems with the oil strainer being blocked with sludge. Others appeared to be related to a problem with the seals in the IHI turbo chargers (which had to be replaced).


Dust Ingress Into The Turbos

A more serious turbo problem appears to come from dust access into the IHI turbos. The left side turbocharger (from driving position) appears to be more prone to the dust problem than the right side turbo. It has been found, to add to this, that vehicles driven in more remote areas are more prone to this form of damage.

The RHS turbocharger, due to its position, is less likely to suffer from this source of damage. If however one of the turbos has to be replaced, then it is recommended to have both turbochargers replaced at the same time, but it is not entirely necessary to do so.

Some preventative steps with regard to this turbo problem, may be taken. It is more likely that your IHI turbos will become “dusted” if the Original Engine Management (OEM) Toyota air filter has been removed and replaced with an aftermarket one. Replace the filter with the OEM and perhaps change that filtering system more often; this will not completely cure the issue, but circumstantial evidence shows that it may slow down the occurrence of the problem.

Another aspect to take into consideration, is that engine sludge build up can be a contributing factor in turbocharge related problems. The most critical need is for the oil and filter to be changed at every service and the air filtration every few services. Oil sump levels must be neither under or overfilled. An over-filled sump creates higher pressure that pushes against the oil flowing out of the turbo oil dump lines. It goes without saying and it is an absolute requirement to have the oil and filter changed when a new turbo is installed.


Ridiculously High Intake Manifold Temperatures

This is an issue that is by no ways a frequent one, in fact it is a very isolated occurrence, but still it should be made mention of. A few owners raised the issue that when they are towing something such as a caravan, specifically when the ambient temperature exceeds 30˚ Celsius, the vehicle loses power. It should be mentioned that the Land Cruiser does not overheat on the in cab temperature gage. This problem was tested by Toyota and agreed to the loss in power. Test data shown that the intake air temp at the intake manifold is 78 degrees with an outside (ambient) temperature of 33˚C. When it is cold the Cruiser performs perfectly well, but as the day temp steps closer to 30˚C the car loses power. According to Toyota the car cuts fuel in order to protect the car. The difference between ambient intake and manifold intake should be between 6 to 10 degrees, definitely not 30 to 40 degrees. The question can now be asked: What causes this? Can it be the intercooler that is split or maybe dirty or blocked or even faulty hoses? The best option is to bring your vehicle to SAC and have it thoroughly inspected.


Vibration In The Body

Apparently this vibration (like a harmonic vibration) is body specific, not one felt via the steering wheel. This seems to be a very common problem. One owner had the same experience and simply cleaned the throttle bodies, after which the vibration ceased and the engine even ran smoother. Some may blame the engine mounts, while other will argue that the vibration will always be present at speeds consistent with when the torque convertor lock-up clutch engages. Another argument is that diesel vehicles shudder when cold started or when a stuffed fuel filter starves the engine. The most commonly held view, so it seems, is that this shuddering is just a characteristic of the car and that owners of these models need to live with it.


Steering Wheel Vibration

A steering wheel vibration has been reported by many vehicle owners, and this seems to be a nuisance to the same extent as the vibration in the body of the Cruiser. The steering wheel vibration was found not to be as a result of a wheel balance issue; apparently the vibration comes via the chassis and the steering box. Best to have this checked to ensure that the problem will not escalate into something more serious.

As a final thought; if you feel that your Cruiser is not putting out enough torque and if you dream of turning your Land Cruiser 200VX into a 200 kW (900 Nm) behemoth, then don’t stop reading. The engineers at SAC Service Centres have long suspected that the 4.5 D4D V8 turbo diesel engine lurking beneath the bulging bonnet of the Toyota Land Cruiser VX200 could offer much more than its factory standard 173 kW (615 Nm).

After countless hours spent on the dynamometer, SAC has found a way to unleash the Toyota Land Cruiser VX’s hidden power. This was achieved by chipping the vehicle with the world’s best performance enhancing Unichip. If you consider this option, feel free to approach your nearest SAC Service Centre engineer who will gladly guide you through this process.


Related Articles:
Land Cruiser 200 VX Turbo Diesel Conversion
Toyota Conversions
Toyota Land Cruiser – The History


Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.