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2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist: Toyota Hilux

By Dan Everett, 28 Nov 2018 4x4OTY

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalist: Toyota Hilux

This big bad 'Lux is deliciously good.

TO GET to the heart of what makes this Hilux special, we’ll need to kick things off up front. That PSICO intercooler is part of a package that sees the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel pushing 179kW to the rear wheels – a huge jump over the factory 89kW.

2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year: The finalists

To achieve those results, the PSICO intercooler draws air through a four-inch Phat Bars stainless steel snorkel, before compressing it with an S3 GTurbo. From here the factory ECU teams up with an HKS controller to fine-tune the oil burner’s parameters.

Just Autos mapped the stock ECU with an aggressive tune, and then used the HKS controller to fine-tune it. Upgraded injector caps have given the setup an increase in fuel volume without ramping up pressure or duration to dangerous levels, and a three-inch turbo-back exhaust barks spent exhaust gases rearwards.

To get the power to the ground, owner Justin installed a heavy-duty MV Automatics torque convertor and valve body to tighten the standard transmission. Two external oil coolers stop the red rocket from getting too hot, 4.56 gears at either end account for the larger rolling stock (35s), and twin auto lockers (a Detroit in the rear and LOKKA up front) ensure traction is never an issue.

It takes a hell of a lot of work to shoehorn 35s beneath a Hilux, and Justin reached out to the crew at Phat Bars, who replaced the sagged front factory struts with a set of Fox 2.0 units. They’ve been fitted with 700lb Eibach coils on both sides, helping boost ride height 50mm over stock – a further 50mm in body lift helps with the aggressive stance.

A diff drop flattened out the CV angle, getting them back inside their safe operating angles. The upper control arms have also been swapped out for adjustable units from CalOffroad, with the adjustable ball-joint offering a strength upgrade from the stock unit and allowing the alignment to be dialled in to free up much needed down travel.

Custom 4x4: Read our full feature on Justin's Hilux

Things are more customised in the rear. Rather than a bolt-in lift kit, Justin opted for a set of stock leaf springs from an RG Colorado, which have been reset to allow for additional lift over stock height; however, their longer length gives the perfect shackle angle for ride and comfort when paired with 200mm extended shackles. The lot is kept under control with another pair of Fox 2.0 shocks.

A stout ‘Muzzbar’ is backed with 5mm of reinforced-steel bash plates from Phat Bars. They’ve up-armoured the driveline from the radiator right back past the sump and transmission, before finishing up just after the transfer case. The flanks have been similarly armoured-up, with high-clearance Phat Bars rock sliders.

That form-and-function mentality has been applied all the way to the tail-lights. Justin placed an order with Phat Bars for a one-off tray, which was zapped together with a 4mm-thick box section running along either flank; giving Justin a full-length slider that’ll take the full weight of the Lux.

Check out all our 2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year finalists


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!