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Kalahari Ferrari gets more power

2010-08-12 07:06

We all miss the old Land Cruiser 70’s in-line six petrol engine. Now there’s a tuning package available for the new V6 which brings power output to a level required by long-range desert reconnaissance experts.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Toyota
Model Land Cruiser 79
Engine 4l V6
Power 195-, 220kW
Torque 420-, 470Nm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 10.46-, 9.78 sec
Top Speed 188-, 195km/h
Nearly a year ago Toyota’s legendary Land Cruiser bakkie underwent its most profound running change yet.

The petrol powered Cruiser bakkie’s six-cylinder engine layout was changed from an inline to V-configuration.

For Land Cruiser purists the phasing out of the venerable FZ series inline six in favour of a slightly detuned, Hilux-sourced, 1GR-FE unit was a particularly poignant moment in the brand's history.

In terms of output the new V6 petrol engine is more powerful by 8kW over the 4.5l in-line six it replaces, which produced 170kW in its last incarnation. Peak rotational force regressed by 24Nm though, peaking at only 360Nm.

Mechanically the internal architecture between the V6 and in-line engines differs quite a bit.

The new V6 features a slightly undersquare bore and stroke ratio, whilst the 4.5l EFI engine was oversquare.

Both engines have identical 95mm stoke depths though. As a result engine-speed pick-up characteristics (which endeared the 4.5 EFI 'six' as a dune climber of note) have not seen a significant drop-off in crankspeed alacrity with the new Hilux-sourced engine.

For those Kalahari farmers and Namib coastline adventurers there was an issue with the switch from inline to V6 power though. For years aftermarket tuners offered an upgrade of the FZ-series engines which allowed the Cruiser bakkie to produce a healthy dose more power and guarantee unsurpassed sand-driving ability.

Big dunes require plenty of power

As any experienced desert explorer will confess, vast stretches of undulating sandy terrain require momentum to be successfully traversed. To maintain momentum you need a generous supply of linear power that eliminates the necessity to change gear and therefore minimises the chance of losing momentum (even for a second) and getting stuck.

To satisfy the demand of those Cruiser bakkie owners who desire a bit more than 170kW to haul themselves along the coast from Luderitz to Walvis Bay, SAC now offers a two-stage kit which extracts latent power from the Hilux V6.

Option one retails for R13 000 and is a classic ECU upgrade and exhaust re-plumbing exercise. Wildcat branches, an SAC airbox and 76mm diameter stainless steel gas exchange routing are all harmonised by an Uni Q chip.

The result is a power hike from 170- to 195kW, supported by 420Nm. These increased outputs trim more than a second from the V6 Cruiser bakkie’s 0-100km/h sprint time.
For those Cruiser 79 owners who require even more power (who doesn’t?), an additional R12 000 upgrades performance to the SAC stage two option.

This additional investment gains the Cruiser’s V6 delicately crafted porting of the cylinder heads, ensuring optimal airflow. Engine outputs swell alarmingly courtesy of the stage two conversion to 220kW and 470Nm.

Statistically these stage two power gains invigorate performance. The 0-100km/h benchmark sprint is completed under the psychological 10-second barrier (in 9.78 sec) with top speed 5km/h shy of 200km/h.

These SAC power upgrades may appear to be a bit much of muchness to most. Honestly, who needs a 200km/h Cruiser bakkie rolling on off-road tyres?

Those who recognise the value of additional petrol driven kilowatts in sandy terrain will be thrilled that there is now an aftermarket conversion available for the Cruiser 79, once again establishing the Cruiser bakkie’s undisputed status as a dune conqueror without equal.

They’ll be even more thrilled to know SAC is readying a stage three conversion too – set to benefit from forced-induction.

The Kalahari Ferrari rides again...


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