Yes, we know Toyota Land Cruisers are Cool! Heck! They are getting too cool as used pricing are continuing to climb! BUT, we are not talking about the cool cache Land Cruisers retain, it’s the Land Cruisers engine HEAT we are talking about!

Elevation Doesn't Care! Keeping Land Cruisers Cool!

Here is a good analogy for us all to think about as both our bodies and our vehicles require air, water and fuel, with an emphasis on “air.” At elevation the percentage of oxygen is the same at sea level, which is roughly 21 percent. However, because air molecules at high altitudes are more dispersed, each human breath delivers less oxygen to the body. A breath at 12,000 feet delivers 40 percent less oxygen to the body than it does at sea level.

So, we are not stating that oxygen is the key to cooling or that O2, O3 is “THE” missing element at elevation, but we all know that air is “thinner” at elevation and air is what passes through our radiators!  Thus, less air = less cooling and we are sticking to it. That is unless you prove to us otherwise…  

What we do know is that elevation wrecks havoc on our Land Cruiser’s cooling systems here in Colorado Springs, especially heading up the passes into the mountains. 

Here at Red Line Land Cruisers we get to see a lot of cooling issues along with all the neglected engine maintenance issues as we service a lot of cool looking Land Cruisers! While we are in the “coolest” of states – COLORADO, our air actually is lacking..  of AIR! Yes, elevation plays a critical roll that we take for granted. Just for some elevation-comparatives;

Spur 118 is officially the highest paved highway in Texas — to the top of Mount Locke at 6,791 feet, where the observatory provides a starry-night respite for budding and professional astronomers alike.

Wheeler Peak, highest point (13,161 feet [4,011 meters]) in New Mexico, U.S. The peak is located in Taos county, 70 miles (113 km) north-northeast of Santa Fe, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and within Carson National Forest.

Up in Washington, you guys have the Hart’s Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.891m (6,204ft) above the sea level. The road was built in 1893 into gold and silver mines that once were home to over 1,000 permanent residents.

Utah hoses a lot of epic roads, but the highest drivable  point is 3.559m (11,676ft) on Mount Brigham, Located in the Tushar Mountains, the road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called Wedge Road.

For you folks Land Cruising it up in California, Big Bear Lake, California sits at 6,752’ and if you get up and drive the dirt roads up behind the ski lifts you can catch 8,805’. Folks traveling across Donner Pass sneak across the 80FWY at 7,057’ and Lake Tahoe sits at a cool 6,225’. If you are tip-toeing across the Rubicon Trail, you’re only tipping the elevation meter at 6,600-feet. But California’s Rock Creek Road is a very scenic drive with dramatic views, located on the boundary between Mono and Inyo counties, in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California. It is said to be the highest paved public road in California, topping out at 3.121m (10,239ft) above the sea level.

For all you California adventurist driving up and down California’s HWY395, you know Mt. Witney is sitting at 14k. You can hike it, but you can’t drive up to the top. But you can drive to an elevation of 8,374 feet (2,552 m) on the Whitney Portal Road. You can also check off a 9,945-feet crossing over the Tioga Pass.

Here in Colorado Springs our shop sits at 6,035-feet – IN TOWN! “Right next to us” is Pikes Peak with it’s entrance road only 18-miles away from our shop! Yes, we said road! The road to *Pikes Peak will carry you to the peak’s park sitting at 14,115 feet (think Mt. Witney!)  And if that is not enough drivable elevation for your Land Cruiser, Colorado holds the honor of highest drivable road in North America with Mount Evans Road rising up to a height of 14,130 feet above sea level!

The POINT OF ALL THIS is that we all love driving our Land Cruisers in the mountains! Mountains have “thin air” and air is what mixes with our fuel to create the combustion in the chamber. BUT, AIR is also what passes through the radiator to cool that combustion! We love driving in the mountains even though driving in the mountains is actually working against us! Your cooling system needs to be in tip-top condition!

When the engine is cool or even at normal operating temperature, the fan clutch partially disengages the engine’s mechanically driven radiator cooling fan, saving power, since the engine does not have to fully drive the fan. Once the engine temperature rises above the clutch’s engagement temperature setting, the fan becomes fully engaged, thus drawing a higher volume of ambient air through the vehicle’s radiator, which in turn serves to maintain or lower the engine coolant temperature to an acceptable level. 

If we didn’t lose you with all the “high elevation,” then carry on with these procedures:

1] Check Fan Clutch Spin – Resistance is good and Free-spin is bad! \
If your clutch is “free-wheeling” or will spin with very little resistance, then it has ran it duty course and needs replacing.
See our options down below.

Elevation Doesn't Care! Keeping Land Cruisers Cool!
2] Check Fan Clutch Bearing / Water Pump Bearing by holding the fan blade and applying pressure front to back and feeling for play in either the fan clutch itself or the water pump.
3] Does the water pump need replacing?

4] Have you replaced the radiator cap within the last 5-years.
5] Radiator Hoses – do these need replacing?
6] Belts – Older than 2-years? REPLACE THEM! Remove the old one’s put them in your on-board tool kit (only if they are “ok” or new ones), just in case your buddy needs one on-trail!

These fan clutches are what we stock and modify with what is commonly referred to as the “Blue Fan Clutch Mod” or the 95-degree modification where we modified OEM Aisin Fan Clutch to engages at 95 degrees. We change the CST Fluid and adjust the temperature springs to achieve a long term solution with a higher “lock up” rate. This modification is very popular because it correctly matches the fan engagement to the water pump rotation dynamics. (all but the “RED” clutch come with mod). We have been running the same modified 1FZ-FE clutch for 3-years on our #RLLC80 80-Series, in hot temps, with A/C on, driving on oversized wheels (37″) at low RPM at high altitudes (9 -10,000ft average) with no issues here in Colorado Springs (6,000+ ft elevation just in town).

Elevation Doesn't Care! Keeping Land Cruisers Cool!

Yes, *Pikes Peak is that “Race To The Clouds” since 1916, making the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb the second oldest motorsport race (for the USA), behind the 1911 INDY 500. OK, before you get all “leaf-springy” there is the 1903 “The Mile.”

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.