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Custom Holden One Tonner ute long-term review

By Mark Allen, 05 Apr 2019 Reviews

Custom Holden 1-Tonner ute long-term review Part 1 feature

The Tonner’s rude exhaust note is sending Mark Allen bonkers.

Introduction: The One Tonner Life

THE TONNER has been registered and on the road for just on five months, clocking up more than 5000km. While that’s not an overly long time behind the wheel, one particular part of the build makes itself known every single time I drive it on- or off-road: the noise.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a strong, deep-noted V8 engine and exhaust note, but my Tonner develops an unbearably hostile buffeting at 100km/h in sixth (top) gear. It’s like that annoying, ear-belting drum you get when the rear windows of a four-door vehicle are wound down, but ten times worse.

The noise was so bad on its first big drive to The Deni Ute Muster that I ended up rolling tissue paper and stuffing it deep into my ears to drown out the sound. I could prevent the noise by changing the airflow via either dropping down to fifth gear or moderating the vehicle speed, but who wants to do that all the time?

Given the 6.2-litre LS3 pours gasses into the 4-2-1 extractors, dual cats and then into a single 3.5-inch exhaust with a single, long muffler, the problem seems to be the overly large diameter exhaust combined with the inability to fit a second muffler or resonator at the rear, given the lack of underbody space.

I’ve got a smaller diameter muffler lined up and will make a reducer from 3.5- to 3.0-inch to weld it into position. Failing that, perhaps I’ll change the complete system to three inches, but it is a little trial-and-error given the lengths and route are vastly different to the Maloo R8 the engine was plucked from. Plus, no two exhaust mobs have offered the same advice.

On a more positive note: right from the get-go I wanted serious, aggressive rubber on my Tonner 4x4. The Coopers STT Pros are quieter than expected and I can’t get over how discreet they are for a muddie. They aren’t smooth on-road, but, for a dedicated mud tyre, they sure beat a fistful of other muddies I’ve had the misfortune of listening to over the years.

The STT Pros are nothing short of phenomenal off-road. They grip like there’s no tomorrow and return excellent stopping and corning grip on all surfaces – even bitumen. The rubber capably controls the Tonner’s excessive power and agility, in addition to the Superior Engineering Superflex sway bars. These bars provide apt on-road body control as well as excellent off-road flex, without having to fiddle with sway bar disconnects.

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Peddling the Tonner on- and off-road is a blast, but that high-speed buffeting really needs to go so that I can enjoy the exhaust tune.

Revisit the 1-Tonner build at 4x4 Australia's Tonner Files

4x4 Shed Log: Holden One Tonner ute
Current mileage: 
Date acquired: 
Oct 2018
Mileage since last update: 5000km
Average fuel consumption: 

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