There seems to be a misconception out there that says you can’t build a big power 4WD and hope to keep it reliable. Well, the way we see it there are two sides of that coin. One side says that if you slap a dirty big turbo on, screw the boost up and hope for the best, then you’re probably setting up for a disaster. The other side of that, is expecting a lethargic engine to handle the punishment we dish out will ultimately end the same way, by overworking the underpowered motor and having to put a heck of a lot more stress on the rest of the 4WD to get through the same obstacle. Modify any 4WD’s engine right, and she’ll outlast the rest of the vehicle and that’s exactly what Glenn Smith has done with the GU you’re about to see.

“I’d come from a couple of heavily modified GQ Patrols including one that was a purpose built rock crawler, so I wanted to stick with the Patrol name, but move into something more comfortable that had just as much off-road strength and reliability,” says Glenn.  “When I started to build the rest of the truck, the added weight really killed the performance and made the vehicle have to struggle hard, so I looked into options for powering up the 3.2 tonne Patrol.”

There aren’t too many places better to test your 4WD’s reliability than Cape York and it takes a bloke with big ball-joints to take a freshly modified and built motor to The Tip. All in the name of reliability, this is one bloke’s journey to make his Patrol haul arse – day in, and day out.

  • Outback drawer system and half barrier
  • GME TX4500 UHF and AE4705 GME aerial
  • Outback roof console
  • Ctek D250S dual battery management system with solar input for portable panel
  • Turbo 810CCA cranking battery
  • Full River DC120, 120Ah deep cycle battery
  • SGear auxiliary gauges
  • 20W LED work lights rear and sides
  • MSA canvas seat covers
  • Boss 3/4hp air compressor w/ 9L tank under vehicle
  • Side and rear Tigerz11 awnings
  • DIN sized switch panel under radio head unit

“The next thing on the shopping list is a 12V fridge, however other than that I’ve got the interior sorted how I want it,” says Glenn. “The setup has seen the Cape with no hassles at all and all the gear works perfectly as it should.”

  • 12,000lb Domin8r winch
  • Rock Armour rear bar
  • 4WD Supacentre aluminium roof rack
  • 90W X-Ray Vision HID driving lights
  • X-Ray Vision LED light bars, 100W and 2x30W
  • Steel rock sliders made from steel tube and 5mm steel plate by Superior Alignments
  • Steel brush bars from Superior Alignments
  • Cross Country bonnet scoop

“There aren’t too many places better to test your 4wd’s reliability than Cape York”

“I’ve kept the factory bar for now, as it does the job and gives me everything I need. It and the custom brush and side bars have stood up to their fair share of punishment and come back every time,” says Glenn.

  • 4.2L TD42
  • 12mm injector pump
  • Garret GT2871 turbocharger, 23psi
  • Cross Country intercooler
  • Radius Fabrication turbo manifold
  • 4in stainless snorkel from On and Off Road Mechanical
  • 3in mandrel bent steel exhaust system from On and Off
  • Road Mechanical
  • Donaldson air box and filter

Glenn tackled the whole power up in one hit, rather than adding a part at a time, using a proven setup and advice from professionals, Precise Offroad Performance. It’s no secret that high power TD42s tend to run at the high end of the temp gauge and can have all sorts of issues if they’re not tuned and built properly, but this GU has been built to a standard, not a price tag. “I’m still running the standard radiator in the big GU and my on-road water temps sit around 82-84 degrees, while my EGTs struggle to get over 500 no matter how hard I push, fully loaded,” says Glenn.

“By comparison, before I performed the engine mods, the EGTs would easily reach 600 without even trying – find the slightest incline and up they’d go. I’m looking to fit a larger PWR radiator in the not-too-distant future, because in very soft sand my water temps will still nudge the 100 degree mark, so I’ll generally use low range to avoid that.” With all that power, Glenn made it up to the Cape and back with the only issue being a blown hose clamp which was easily fixed. Reliability like this is why you do these jobs right.


We caught up with Mark at Precise Offroad Performance for a chat about how they got so much power out of Glenn’s motor, while keeping it so healthy and reliable.

“My EGT’s have dropped 100 degrees since the engine mods”

“The key to successfully tuning a motor like this is to ensure you’ve got the correct measuring equipment. Too many people tune these motors straight off the EGT gauge and while that can get you close, it won’t get you a perfect result. For Glenn’s GU, the 12mm pump was custom built and had the pump timing setup perfectly as well as the spring rate of the boost compensator. This ensures that at all revs, the air/fuel ratios stay in check, keeping those EGTs at a safe level no matter what. You really shouldn’t shortcut these builds either, we’ve seen perfectly built motors fail by using a cheap injector that leaked and cooked a piston.”

  • ARB Air Locker in front diff
  • Shimmed LSD in rear diff
  • Superior Engineering manual locking hubs to replace auto units
  • Dodge Viper clutch
  • 4in Superior Engineering raised coils
  • AmadaXtreme remote reservoir shock absorbers
  • Superior Engineering drag link
  • Superior Engineering rear lower control arms
  • Superior Engineering dropped radius arms
  • Superior Engineering Superflex sway bars front and rear
  • Superior Engineering coil tower braces
  • AmadaXtreme steering dampener
  • 16X8in Sunraysia wheels, 305/70R16 BF Goodrich KM2 tyres

“With all the engine’s power and weighing nearly 4T when I was in the Cape, the rear diff decided to pack it in on the way home in Cairns, so I needed to replace it,” says Glenn. “Some GUs, including mine came with a smaller Navara LSD centre, so I had this replaced with the larger Patrol unit and shimmed it up tighter. It now performs brilliantly off-road and with this mod I have no reason to stick a locker in the back. Using a little bit of brake when in tough terrain locks it up as tight as I need it to be.” Having had auto locking hubs previously, Glenn decided to make the switch to Superior Engineering manual hubs when the autos decided to ‘automatically’ lock at 80km/h. “The aftermarket units are a quarter of the price of the genuine Nissan items and have lasted just as well.”


VEHICLE: 2002 Nissan Patrol GU
ENGINE: 4.2L TD42T – Inline six cylinder turbo diesel
GEARBOX: 5-speed manual with Dodge Viper clutch
4WD ACTIVATION: Manual locking hubs
SUSPENSION: 4in Dobinson coils and Amadaxtreme remote reservoir shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES: 305//70R16 BF Goodrich KM2 tyres