dirty work

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - JOHN ROOTH


THERE are many ways to squeeze more per­for­mance from a ve­hi­cle, and a bloke could get lost dis­cussing the pros and cons of ev­ery­thing on of­fer, from mi­nor per­for­mance up­grades to ma­jor hot-ups. Usu­ally your best bet de­pends on what it will be used for in the end.

‘Short dis­tance’ ve­hi­cles – per­haps used for rac­ing or week­end war­rior stuff close to home – can be cammed up and hot-rod­ded to the point of blow­ing up, be­cause if they do pop, it’s just a short ride home to the work­shop.

It doesn’t mat­ter what any­body says – in my ex­pe­ri­ence, most per­for­mance mod­i­fi­ca­tions (with the ex­cep­tion of high-flow ex­hausts) come with a price in the re­li­a­bil­ity and longevity stakes. Squeeze more power out of some­thing and you’re mak­ing it work harder than it was de­signed to. Even­tu­ally that has to shorten its life, but there are plenty of peo­ple pre­pared to put up with that be­cause more power means more fun!

So the safest way to get more power is to fit an­other en­gine that was de­signed and built to make more power in the first place. Thanks to com­pa­nies like Marks Adapters, it’s pos­si­ble to whack all sorts of high-pow­ered mo­tors into ve­hi­cles that came with more mun­dane lumps un­der the bon­net. How­ever, once again, de­ci­sions like that should be dic­tated by what the end use will be. Yes, you could go tour­ing with a blown big-block V8 in your GU Pa­trol, but it might not be the sen­si­ble choice.

With Milo, I went for an en­gine swap us­ing a 13BT, a turbo charged from stan­dard Toy­ota four cylin­der diesels, and from the same fam­ily as the 3B diesels fit­ted to some of the short wheel­base mod­els.

By keep­ing to the same make and en­gine fam­ily, I fig­ured I could min­imise the need for ‘spe­cial en­gi­neer­ing’ the cus­tom bits you have to make to get an en­gine con­ver­sion work­ing. We got the 13BT donk – which came from a small dump truck im­ported from Ja­pan – work­ing in its new en­vi­ron­ment with stan­dard Toy­ota bits and only a bit of fresh en­gi­neer­ing. There was a fair bit of jug­gling and plenty of trips to see Fes­ter out at War­rego 4x4 Wreck­ers, but in the end the gear­box was re­built us­ing the longer 3B in­put shaft; a 3B bell­hous­ing was sourced and the 24-volt com­po­nents on the truck mo­tor were re­placed with 12-volt bits from a 3B.

We used stan­dard 3B en­gine mounts, but had to shift the mounts on the

chas­sis with some cut­ting and weld­ing. And, once it was all in the fan, it was so far away from the stan­dard ra­di­a­tor we had to lengthen the shroud by about four inches so it’d suck some air.

The plan was to get the en­gine in with the min­i­mum amount of dis­rup­tion to the factory way of do­ing things. The think­ing here was sim­ple: in the fu­ture, when you break some­thing, you can source the parts to fix it with­out hav­ing to get them made.

Thanks to Ter­rain Tamer and a num­ber of old Toy­otas all over Aus­tralia, there’s no short­age of parts, but it’s not al­ways easy to get some­thing made. Min­imise that and you re­duce the chance of a trailer-ride home.

750,000km later and the 13BT proved its worth. Being a diesel, it was twice as fuel ef­fi­cient as the 2F petrol six it re­placed, and as a me­chan­i­cal injection diesel it didn’t de­pend on elec­tri­cals. Good thing, too, be­cause there were plenty of re­turn trips where I had to park on hills to start her the next day. You get that when you do your own wiring. But it wasn’t pow­er­ful enough, so I upped the turbo and fit­ted a non­stan­dard in­ter­cooler. It took a while but even­tu­ally those big steps away from ‘stan­dard’ wore both the mo­tor and the body out... Err, that and some re­ally lousy tracks.

So, for Milo 2, I learnt enough to choose an­other Toy­ota mo­tor that pro­duced a lot more power but still had me­chan­i­cal injection. That’s the 12HT Ter­rain Tamer re­built while MTQ worked over the pump and turbo. The only problem now was fit­ting it.

See­ing as 60 Se­ries Toy­otas used the 12HT, I fig­ured it had to be pos­si­ble, but a fair bit of research showed peo­ple us­ing cus­tom-made en­gine mounts and all sorts of cut­ting and weld­ing to get the more pow­er­ful mo­tor into the older truck. Mean­while, my mate Paul Reid (Mr. Land Cruiser) reck­oned he knew a bloke who’d done it us­ing noth­ing but stock com­po­nents. We tracked down Chris Mc­connel, a diesel en­gi­neer who works on the big mine ma­chines, and sure enough Chris knew it could be done be­cause he’d done it.

The trick was to find the right com­bi­na­tion of mounts and bell­hous­ing. The en­gine is held in with a mount on each side of the block and one slung un­der the gear­box. We were also us­ing a 60 Se­ries with the five-speed gear­box in­stead of the old four, which added an­other level of com­pli­ca­tion.

No mat­ter how many mes­sages and pho­tos Chris sent, it still meant as­sem­bling heaps of vari­ants and do­ing some jug­gling. You see, the big­gest trick to any en­gine swap is to make sure it’s all mounted with­out any stress. If any­thing needs bend­ing, twist­ing or a bit of lever­age to get a bolt done up, then that’s go­ing to be a problem down the track. Me­tal fa­tigue starts with stress, right?

In the end, I got it in us­ing a stan­dard 2H bell­hous­ing – dif­fer­ent to the 12HT job that looks ex­actly the same by a few de­grees of twist – and stan­dard 2H mounts. Then, by tak­ing the three-piece gear­box chas­sis mount to pieces and re­ar­rang­ing the bits to move the mount back­wards, I got that to line up, too. The re­sult? A 12HT from a 61 Se­ries fits a 47 Se­ries chas­sis with no weld­ing or cut­ting.

Boy was it a jug­gle, though. My thanks to Chris who kept send­ing me texts say­ing it could be done, and to Paul who man­aged to find all the parts I needed. Most of all I want to thank Ter­rain Tamer who, once they knew ex­actly what year and model bit I was look­ing for, supplied the usual bet­ter-than-original type re­place­ments.

So the mo­tor and gear­box are in. You know what that means? Yep, just add a fruit box and Milo 2 will be out on the tracks be­fore you know it. I can hardly wait. The original Milo was an ab­so­lute beauty, but the new girl is cop­ping noth­ing but the best from the start.

Armed with a hand­ful of pe­riod en­gine and trans­mis­sion mounts that might do the job, the next step is jug­gling the lot un­til some­thing fits.

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