4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

AS YOU stare at an in­voice with lots of num­bers and dol­lar signs on it you may find your­self ask­ing ‘why’? As I was hand­ing over a fair whack of my hard-earned re­cently, it oc­curred to me that there are prob­a­bly much cheaper hob­bies than fart­ing around with old Land Rovers … pin­ning but­ter­flies to bits of card­board, for ex­am­ple. The ‘why’ is most likely down to a child­hood spent rat­tling around the fam­ily farm in my mum’s Suzuki LJ60, a bare-bones liveaxle four-wheel drive that sounded like a thou­sand an­gry lawn­mow­ers and had all the crea­ture com­forts of a sliced-open 44-gal­lon drum. That bloody thing went ev­ery­where, al­beit trail­ing a stream of blue two-stroke smoke from an ex­haust mounted on the front bumper. Mum shed more than a cou­ple of tears when time and tin-worm saw it pass into other hands.

So now, I find my­self em­bark­ing on the fi­nan­cially ques­tion­able jour­ney of im­prov­ing my Land Rover De­fender 110 Perentie, code-named Project AWOL. To date, I’ve been con­tent to spin my own span­ners get­ting the old girl into shape, but, for the sake of my neigh­bours (due

to in­ter­mit­tent garage pro­fan­ity), I elected to farm out the in­stal­la­tion of a turbo kit and power steer­ing to some­one with much more ex­per­tise and pa­tience than I seem to pos­sess.

Af­ter ded­i­cat­ing valu­able of­fice time to scour­ing in­ter­net fo­rums, I now know the cor­rect colour code for a SWB Land Rover Se­ries III Game. How­ever, I was none the wiser on the best way to ex­tract some us­able, re­li­able grunt from the 3.9litre Isuzu 4BD1 en­gine. So I had a chat with Brad at KLR Au­to­mo­tive in Syd­ney. These guys know Per­en­ties in­side and out and have put to­gether a re­li­able yet re­ward­ing turbo kit for the Isuzu donk.

In nat­u­rally as­pi­rated form this en­gine is only good for about 66 lazy kilo­watts. The ad­di­tion of


a non-in­ter­cooled, rel­a­tively low-boost turbo is said to ef­fec­tively dou­ble that out­put. The turbo in ques­tion is a Gar­rett GT22, and it man­ages to pro­duce boost pretty much just off idle, which comes in handy in those mucky sit­u­a­tions we find our­selves in away from the black­top.

I then got onto Landy spe­cial­ists MR Au­to­mo­tive in Red­cliffe to see if they could han­dle the heavy lift­ing on my be­half. I was al­ready us­ing these guys as my go-to for parts, but they have a loyal fol­low­ing among Landy afi­ciona­dos for me­chan­i­cal work as well. The kit ar­rived com­plete with a cross­over pipe, head­ers, etc. The old-school truckie in me couldn’t re­sist also get­ting an EGT gauge and tacho in­stalled at the same time. The EGT ended up be­ing an eas­ier ask than the tacho, as the Perentie’s al­ter­na­tor lacks a W wire to trans­mit rpm to a tacho. I per­sisted! Any­way, it also gave me an ex­cuse to get a leak on the al­ter­na­tor mounted vac­uum pump fixed, which also turned out to be the rea­son why I was hav­ing is­sues get­ting the cen­tre diff to lock. All this dis­rup­tion to en­ginebay plumb­ing re­quired a new ex­haust sys­tem, so a new 2.5-inch ex­haust sys­tem was also in­stalled.

And then we reach the point many car nuts reach: where to stop? And in the case of the Perentie, what is the weak­est link with the gain in power? The an­swer to that ques­tion is, with­out a doubt, the clutch. The stan­dard clutch is barely ad­e­quate at the best of times, so I opted to go for a heavy-duty clutch while I was at it.

Af­ter a long week of un­bear­able an­tic­i­pa­tion, the day fi­nally ar­rived to pick up my re­vamped rig. It was a rev­e­la­tion. As the 4BD1 is es­sen­tially a truck en­gine it has a long, flat torque curve from about 1000rpm, but take the revs above 2200rpm and you’ve pretty much run out of torque. That’s why the Isuzu en­gine doesn’t re­ally need a very big turbo or a gut­ful of boost. If you’re wring­ing the revs out to 3000rpm to get boost you’re not get­ting the ben­e­fit of the wind­mill where you need it the most. Not only that, you’re also thrash­ing it.

With just 15psi of blow and the ad­di­tion of Isuzu power steer­ing, my camo-clad 110 is in se­ri­ous dan­ger of be­com­ing al­most zippy. It has trans­formed the Landy to a us­able and fun off-road an­i­mal. I just can’t stop smil­ing when I drive it. The turbo has even qui­etened the en­gine to the point where an ac­tual con­ver­sa­tion is pos­si­ble at speed. Not only that, it also man­ages to elicit an off-idle whis­tle that is rem­i­nis­cent of an old 14-litre BC3 Cum­mins truck en­gine… it doesn’t take

much to make me smile.

With all this new-found power and au­ral sat­is­fac­tion, I’ve de­cided to head to More­ton Is­land for an ex­tended week­end – the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment to put my newly boosted Perentie to the test. That said, in the back of my mind I am won­der­ing if this newly minted turbo pow­er­plant will cause is­sues with the rest of the truck. Stay tuned, more money may be re­quired… stuff may break.

The KLR Au­to­mo­tive turbo kit in all its glory.

2 1. Be­cause you can never have too many pic­tures of tur­bocharg­ers. 2. Heavy-duty clutch kit re­places the ‘barely ad­e­quate’ OE. 3. The Isuzu power steer­ing setup and in­stall is rel­a­tively sim­ple. 1 3

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