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2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist: Duramax V8 Nissan Patrol GU ute

By Justin Walker, 27 Nov 2018 4x4OTY

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist Nissan Patrol GU feature

Duramax V8 makes this Patrol GU the ultimate Mad 'Max

TODD Bonnard wanted a 4x4 ute that was “the perfect all-rounder”, so when this half-finished project vehicle, complete with transplanted Duramax 6.6-litre V8 turbo-diesel and six-speed auto, came up for sale, Todd jumped on it.

It’s a straightforward answer when Todd is asked about the appeal of the Duramax engine. “Definitely the power,” he says. “And in terms of what you can do with them to extract more power. They’re pushing pretty big power in the US in those big utes and rigs, so you can imagine what it is going to do in a smaller Patrol; the power-to-weight ratio is much better.”

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year: The finalists

Any engine/gearbox transplant requires mods to the engine bay to ensure proper fitment, along with numerous add-ons to make it run smoothly with the rest of the Nissan’s drivetrain. The Allison six-speed auto is mated to the Nissan transfer case via an adaptor, while engine management is through an Edge Insight CTS2 system.

There’s a custom-made ARE Cooling radiator and front-mount intercooler, and the transmission cooler has been moved beneath the tray with an additional fan to aid cooling. There’s a Patroldocta four-inch snorkel and airbox, three-inch hot-and-cold side piping, and a four-inch custom-made (from scratch!) titanium exhaust with a 100-cell catalytic converter. The Patrol’s donk punches out 335kW and 1200Nm at the rear wheels, and Todd had a hydro booster fitted to the brakes.

Suspension comprises a three-inch lift and a two-inch body lift, with custom rock sliders installed. Boosting ride and handling is AmadaXtreme remote-reservoir dampers, front and rear.

Todd also fitted custom-made Pedders coils, rated to a 500kg constant load, up front. Superior Engineering Superflex sway bars front and rear tie it all down, along with Super Engineering Superflex radius arms, Panhard rods and long arms. It rides on 17-inch Walker Evans Beadlock wheels shod with Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ LT315/70R17 rubber.

Custom 4x4: Read our full feature on Todd's Duramax Patrol GU

An ARB Air Locker diff lock has been fitted to the front axle (with air supplied via an under-bonnet compressor). Two 40-litre water tanks are fitted beneath the tray, while a FASS fuel pump ensures quick ignition and a Facet pump ensures the juice from the main and sub tanks keep flowing.

One of the main issues when the Patrol was bought was getting the wiring sorted so the engine/gearbox transplant worked perfectly. It was then onto the fitment of a heavily modified Nissan factory bullbar.

Panel work was limited, with the most noticeable mod being the fitment of custom-made Fairline fibreglass front guards and an air intake atop the bonnet. A set of Lightforce HID spotties, a GME radio aerial, and a custom grille complete the front-end.

With thanks to Wild 4x4 & Customs, PJM Auto Electrics, Dave’s Paint & Panel, Precision Paint & Panel and PID Diesel Conversions, the end result is pretty damn close to the perfect all-rounder.


Check out the Top ten finalists of the 2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year, cast your vote and be in the running to win a Maxxis voucher valued at up to $2000!