Outback Accessories

Rear bar & wheel carriers

LandCruiser 200

Step-by-Step installation

Rear bars provide substantial protection for the rear of the vehicle and offer a mounting point for spare wheel carriers, fuel/water containers, lights, radio aerials and other accessories. Even without requiring two spare tyres (or other components), relocating the spare from under the vehicle also enables the installation of a long range fuel tank, which I'll certainly be doing in the future.

In many cases rear bars also double as a towbar, but with a hitch receiver built into the chassis, that doesn't apply to the LandCruiser 200.

I've never owned a 4x4 that wasn't eventually fitted with a replacement rear bar, and with a need to carry two spare tyres when on trips, it's a required fitment for my 200.

Selecting a rear bar with twin wheel carriers

In the past, I'd always fabricated my own rear bars and wheel carriers, but the design of the 200's standard rear bumper makes producing a rear bar more difficult than older vehicles, so I decided to purchase one this time around. When looking for a bar, my key criteria were:

  • Strong and trouble-free construction, providing good protection for the rear and rear wings;
  • Good departure angle;
  • Dual wheel carriers, which are easily removed (so the 2nd spare can be removed when not travelling);
  • Practical design;
  • Australian made.

Investigating the available brands of rear bar with twin wheel carriers, and speaking to those who already have them fitted, it was soon apparent that most 200-series bars don't meet some (or all) of the above criteria. I was quite surprised to see the impractical design decisions from brands you'd expect more from. No so with the Outback Accessories bar (sold through independent retailers and Opposite Lock), which is still good looking without sacrificing strength, reliability or practicality.

The Outback rear bar's twin wheel carriers use traditional over-centre catches, so they don't jam up in dusty conditions, while gas struts help with easy opening. The carriers can be removed in under 10 minutes, instead of it being a 3-hour job thanks to a complicated hidden fixing system. The wings taper up making for a good departure angle, and the highlift jack points are located on the corners, so you don't need to open a wheel carrier to use them. The reversing camera relocation kit places the camera out on one of the spare tyres with the number plate, which works far better than some kits which locate the camera between the tyres, "blinkering" its view.

The bar is made in Western Australia using quality Australian steel, and is available with any combination of wheel carriers, jerry can holders and an outboard motor holder. Other options include a high-lift jack bracket, light pole and even a winch to help you lift the spares wheels onto the carriers. At the time of writing, the Outback bar costs about $3300 with twin wheel carriers, which is around $1000 less than some of the other bars on the market.

Price aside, I really was disappointed by some of the rear bars for the 200 series. Seriously, who designs a 4WD wheel carrier that takes two hours to remove, and has a latch so complex that it jams with dust? Why on earth would you locate highlift jacking points so they're obstructed by the wheel carriers? What do you do if (because of angle or obstruction), you cannot open the carriers?

Update 1/6/16: My only real complaint about the Outback bar (the lack of reversing lights) has now been rectified. The current version of the bar now incorporates a pair of LED reversing lights.






IMPORTANT

The "Installation" section should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installation. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, get the rear bar fitted professionally.

  • There are potentially lethal dangers involved during the installation from the use of power tools.
  • There are potentially lethal dangers resulting from failure due to improper installation.

If you undertake your own rear bar installation, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Equipment required 

  • An angle grinder with a fine cutting blade
  • A sharp knife
  • An electric drill with ~4mm and 13mm drill bits
  • A drill or screw gun
  • Flat and phillips screwdrivers
  • Assorted spanners and sockets

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Installation

The bar and carriers come powder-coated. Prior to installation, I prepared the bar and carriers with #240 wet and dry, then colour-coded them to the vehicle with Protec 363 enamel and 369 Urethane additive (hardener). Using 363+369 produces a much harder finish than acrylics, at the cost of a slightly lower gloss level. Note that due to the volume of volatile isocyanates, high-level PPE is required when using this product. If you don't have access to it, then you're better off having the barwork painted professionally.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, I used loctite on ALL bolts during the installation, adding additional security to cope with vibration.

Click images to enlarge

Step 1: Remove the original plastic bumper and prep the chassis

  • Remove the fasteners securing each mudflap.
  • Remove the three bolts securing each lower plastic splash guard to the underside of the bumper wing.
  • Moving to the rear, remove the 2 bolts attaching the pressed metal fitting to the cross-member.
  • Remove the 2 press clips securing each side of the bumper adjacent to the tailgate.
  • Remove the plastic tread/step from the bumper by inserting a flat blade screwdriver and twisting. There are two rows of clips.
  • Remove the 5 bolts securing the top of the bumper under the tailgate.
  • Starting inside each guard, unclip the side wings of the bumper around to the taillights by pulling gently out from the vehicle. You can then lift off the entire bumper.
  • Remove the plastic splash guards from each sill. They will not be reused.
  • Remove the pressed metal bumper mounts from under the vehicle near the rear crossmember. They will not be reused.
  • Remove the towhooks from the underside of each chassis rail. They will not be reused.
  • Check the top and bottom of the chassis rails at the rear, and if the welds are lumpy, grind them down and touch up with black paint. Ensure you protect the vehicle and area from grinding sparks.






Step 2: Prep and fit the new bumper

  • Loosely fit the wheel carrier hook plates to the bar, using the supplied hardware.
  • Fit the body end of the gas struts to the mounting bracket inside each top wing of the bar, using the supplied hardware.
  • With an assistant, fit the new bumper to the vehicle.
  • Align the bumper horizontally using the towbar as a guide. Once centred, fit and nip up the four bolts securing the new bar to the captive nuts in the chassis where the towhooks were removed.

Step 3: Prep and cut the original plastic bumper

  • Remove the two bolts securing each reflector assembly into the bumper, then remove them. They will not be reused.
  • Apply protective/masking tape to the wings, then measure down 270mm at the front of the wings, and 370mm at the rear of the wings.
  • Mark a line between the points, and around to meet the bottom of the reflector/light assembly recess on each side.
  • Confirm the measurements and markings are correct.
  • Cut the bumper along the line. You can use an angle grinder or jigsaw, but ensure you don't scratch or damage the upper portions as they will be reused.
  • Next, cut each side of the bumper along the bend adjacent to the step area, until the cut joins the previous cut. Remove and discard the lower portion of the bumper.
  • Carefully cut away the shroud which surrounded each of the reflector/light assemblies. Ensure you leave the face curve intact.
  • Remove a 10mm wide section of the inside face to provide clearance for the gas struts. I used a sharp knife for these cuts, but you could also use a Dremel tool or similar.

Step 4: Test-fit the cut plastic bumper/mudflaps

  • Test-fit the cut plastic bumper sections to the vehicle. Check the cuts are parallel to the wings of the new bar. Re-mark and cut if required.
  • Test-fit the mudflaps and check the front-rear alignment of the new bumper. If required, space the bumper back from the chassis using the included square washers.
  • Fit the supplied pinchweld to the plastic bumper sections.




Step 5: Drill additional mounting holes

  • Two holes are drilled horizontally into the ends of the chassis rails (via the taillight recesses) through the pre-drilled holes in the bumper. Fit the 12x65mm bolts/nuts/washers/spring washers (and the square washers/spacers if used) through these holes.
  • The other two holes are drilled up vertically from under the vehicle, through the pre-drilled holes in the new bumper. Fit the 12x35mm bolts/nuts/washers/spring washers in these holes.
  • Remove all drilling swarf from the bar to prevent rust.
  • Tension all mounting bolts. Note that it's extremely difficult to prevent the vertical nuts from spinning within the chassis rails, as you cannot hold them with a socket or spanner. I used a large flat blade screwdriver to prevent them spinning while tensioning the nuts.

Step 6: Fit plastic bumper sections, mudflaps and wing supports

  • Fit the plastic bumper sections by pressing into the clips from the taillights around to the guard. Then refit the two clips by opening the lower tailgate.
  • Refit the mudflaps using the original fasteners to the plastic bumper and inner guard, then use the supplied fasteners to attach the mudflaps to front edge of the new bumper.
  • Fit the wing supports to each side using the supplied button head bolts, plus the phillips-head screw which also fastens the underside of the mudflap.

Step 7: Prepare and fit the wheel carriers

  • Grease the four bearings and fit the lower bearings and seals into the carrier arms.
  • Fit a strip of protective tape over the plastic bumper sections above the carrier shafts.
  • Carefully lower the carriers onto the shafts.
  • Install the top bearing, then fit and tension the nuts to give a slight preload to the bearings. Fit the split pins and caps. Do not use loctite.
  • Attach the gas struts to the carriers using the supplied bolts with nyloc nuts. Do not use loctite.



Step 8: LED light clusters

  • Fit the supplied cage nuts and speed clips to the light brackets, then attach the black LED light surrounds to the brackets using the supplied self-tappers. You can then attach the brackets using the supplied bolts and align the black surrounds to the holes in the bar before tightening the mounting bolts and self-tappers. Then clip the LED lights into the surrounds.
  • Wire the LED light clusters using the included 5-core wiring. In my case, I could connect into the existing trailer wiring loom, but if your 200 isn't yet wired for a trailer, then you'll have to connect via the vehicles tail lights. Factory taillights can be accessed by removing the two bolts holding each light inside the tailgate recess, then pulling rearwards on each light to release the clips.
  • Mount the number plate light onto the mount plate, and run the included 2-core wiring out the carrier. Ensure you install the included plug up near the wheel, so you can remove the number plate bracket to access the spare wheel.

Standard towbar wiring colours and pins

Step 9: Fit the alloy step and carrier latches

  • Using the supplied cuphead bolts, fit the alloy step to the top of the bar.
  • Loosely fit the over-centre catches to the carriers.
  • Close the carriers, aligning the hook plates, then tighten the plates to the bar.
  • Adjust and tighten the catches to give a smooth and strong over-centre action.

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Step 10: Reversing camera relocation

Unfortunately, due the the unreliability and confusion of Toyota's wiring diagrams, I had to run the camera extension all the way from the original camera location in the upper tailgate, rather than tapping in to the wires in a more convenient location (such as inside the rear guard). The camera is wired using the included 5-core wire.

  • Remove the lower tailgate hinge cover flap by lifting the flap, then levering using a flat-blade screwdriver.
  • Remove the door seal by peeling it off the body.
  • 'Open' the rear section of the lower plastic trim (Left-hand side of vehicle - LHS) until you can view the rubber grommet where existing wiring comes up from under the vehicle. This is about 30cm back. The trim is held in place by plastic clips, and can be removed by using an flat-blade screwdriver and/or your fingers.
  • Open the first row of clips holding the upper plastic trim (LHS).
  • Remove the four plastic trim pieces on the upper tailgate. Start with the top piece, followed by the two sides, followed by the lower piece. All pieces are retained by plastic clips and can be removed by levering with a flatblade screwdriver and/or with your fingers. Note that the three clips retaining each side trim will remain in the metal tailgate. You will need to remove them and fit them back onto the plastic trims before reassembly.
  • Remove the top and bottom of the LHS rubber wiring duct between the upper tailgate and the body.
  • Remove the two T30 Torx screws holding the camera. Using a pair of pliers from the inside of the camera mounting point, squeeze the plastic clips to enable removal of the camera. Disconnect the wire, and set the camera aside.
  • Leaving at least 50mm of cable on the camera plug, cut the four wires and set the plug aside.
  • Beginning at the LHS wheel carrier flange, run the 5-core wire down the carrier to the pivot (I bundled it in split tubing with the number plate light wiring), and in through the plastic bumper wing. Leave a tail of around 30cm at the wheel flange (to reach the camera).
  • Make a small cut in the wiring grommet in the floor, then run the 5-core wire up from under the vehicle, through the grommet, up the inside of the D pillar and across to the rubber wiring duct that goes into the upper tailgate. Feed the wire through the duct and into the upper tailgate. Taping the cable to a probe and using some detergent will help feed the wire through. Run the cable around the tailgate alongside the factory loom, until you reach the camera wiring.
  • Solder the 5-core wire to the camera wires (You'll have one spare wire). Insulate with heat-shrink tubing.
  • Moving back to the carrier, solder the camera plug onto the other end of the 5-core wire. Ensure you match the wire colours to the ones you used at the other end! Insulate the wires with heat-shrink tubing.
  • Attach the camera to the wire and test operation.
  • Fit the camera to the number plate bracket using the supplied fasteners.
  • Fit the supplied cover plate over the old camera mounting hole, then reassemble all the plastic trims in the reverse order of dismantling.
  • Seal the hole cut in the floor wiring grommet and refit the tailgate-body wiring duct.



Step 11: Finalise the installation

  • Attach the trailer wiring connector to the bar, if required. The connection type you have will determine the best location for fitting. In my case (12-pin flat) or for a 7-pin flat, I found the best option was to mount the connector to a small piece of angle next to the hitch receiver. In this location, the connector is well protected from damage.
  • Fit the Number plate wheel mount to the LHS carrier.
  • Fit the wheels to the carriers.
  • Bolt the camera/number plate bracket to the mount on the LHS wheel carrier, then plug in the number plate light and camera.
  • Check the operation and alignment of the reversing camera and adjust if required.
  • Check the operation of all lights.
  • Check the operation of the carriers/latches and adjust if required.

Completed Installation

(Click photos to enlarge)

Comments / Q&A