WHEN you’re looking for more grunt from your GU Patrol’s 3.0TD engine, you can only go so far – as Travis Rampling realised soon after he started the search for more oomph for his touring-duty 2002 wagon.
Enter Andrew Cassar from On Track 4x4 and his seemingly crazy (but actually super-smart) suggestion to shove a 6.6-litre Duramax turbo-diesel V8 in the Patrol’s engine bay.
Yeah, it’s really impressive, hey – especially when you consider this engine also punches out 1200Nm (yep, twice that of a 200 Series Cruiser) and 380kW at the wheels, courtesy of a custom-tuned ECU (it contains five separate tunes from outright performance to driveability; 13L/100km is achievable in ‘fuel-saving’ mode when towing a camper trailer).
It was a big job, entailing On Track 4x4 stripping the Patrol down to the chassis and strengthening key areas before installing the big Duramax engine and a matched Allison six-speed auto gearbox.
On Track 4x4 also fitted a four-inch stainless steel snorkel which is connected to the turbo and Garrett intercooler, with a four-inch exhaust taking care of spent gases out the back.
The driveline has been beefed-up accordingly; a laminated front axle (with TJM Pro Locker) housing prevents twisting, and the rear diff is now a larger H233 unit with an ARB Air Locker.
Interestingly, the larger tyres haven’t adversely affected the transfer of power to the ground. In reality the standard 4.3:1 diff ratio is perfectly matched, thanks to the Duramax’s abundant torque and the six-speed’s ratios.
Suspension has been appropriately upgraded; custom-valved Performance Series King 2.5-inch dampers combine with the four-inch-lift King springs, and the stock rubber bump stops were replaced by King hydraulic jobbies to stop bottoming-out.
The Patrol’s exterior is, in comparison to the extensive work under the skin, subtle, with an ARB Sahara bar custom-fitted with a Red Winch Viper winch.
Baja Designs slim-line LED light bars (20-inch on the bar; 50-inch fitted to the Rhino Pioneer roof platform) take care of illumination, On Track 4x4 rock sliders protect the high belly, while an ARB rear bar (with spare wheel and jerry can holders) keeps the backside protected.
The cargo area reflects this big bopper’s primary touring duties: there’s a drop-down table on one barn door, LED lighting, a 60-litre ARB fridge (accessed via a MSA 4x4 drop-down fridge slide), and a trick Outback Drawers cargo drawer system that hides a second battery, as well as a twin-piston ARB compressor (a second compressor lives under the front seat to power the diff locks and winch-free spool).
The interior’s Recaro seats and Icom IC440 UHF radio finish off the touring must-haves. Talk about a new lease on life for a legendary off-road vehicle.