• TD42T factory turbo-diesel conversion
  • Four-inch lift and 35s tough touring setup
  • One of the slickest custom rear bars we’ve ever seen

Kyle Coffey is one of those guys who’s used to walking his truck up or down whatever obstacle lies ahead with so much ease it could almost be seen as boring if it wasn’t such fun. Kyle’s previous ride was a big diesel GQ Patrol with all the modifications one could want including twin lockers. It was one of the only TIs left with a perfect leather interior – that is, until some lowlife made off with the truck while it was parked at a charity footy game. “It was later recovered, minus the interior,” he says.  “I got it back on the road but it was never the same, so a replacement Patrol was soon on the cards.”

Knowing how solid the Patrol’s driveline was and how well it worked off-road, Kyle set about looking for a late model GU that already had some work done on it. In Jan 2014 a silver 2005 GU4 ST was found with low kilometres and a host of bar work and suspension modifications. It was straight enough without being too nice to take off-road and after parting with $30k, it was Kyles.

Kyle tells us he is wrapped with how it turned out. He loves the idea of having a tough-as-nails touring vehicle ready to get away from the rigours of life as a Metropolitan Fire Fighter in Melbourne. “The tracks up at Kinglake and Toolangi state forest are only an hour from home so I can’t wait to get back up there and put the big 4.2L GU through its paces,” he says. “There may even be a return trip to the wild west coast of Tasmania on the calendar, but the big plan is for a 2015 Cape York adventure. I reckon I’ve got the perfect setup for it, now.”


Keeping the truck glued to terra firma is a set pf 315x75R16 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZs wrapped around 16in Dynamic steel rims. “The black wheels suit the look of the silver bodywork perfectly and add that little bit of extra ‘street cred’ that this truck is definitely not made for school pickups!” Kyle explains with a laugh. The sill protection bars and awesome rear bar are from Raslarr Engineering in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. “These guys have only been around since 2007 but are rapidly making a name for themselves with high quality Australian designed and made barwork,” Kyle says.

“The rear bar includes swing away tyre and jerry can carriers and provides the rear quarter panels with plenty of protection.” The sill bars look like they should have been fitted a few weeks before they actually were as the sills have a story to tell, however the previous owner has kept that one to himself! They’ve proven themselves to Kyle, who now swears by the brand and has even lined up his best mate to get a rear bar from Raslarr by the time this goes to print. Up top, an ARB ‘tradie’ roof rack does the job of carrying the tent and other bulky camping gear. Kyle has also fitted a rock solid high lift jack holder and shovel bracket to keep them accessible in case the truck ever gets stuck.

“Like that’s ever going to happen!” Kyle laughs. A Tigerz11 pull out awning is permanently attached to the driver’s side of the roof rack. “The ability to quickly and easily set up for shade or to get out of the rain at a moment’s notice means the awning is one of my favourite additions,” Kyle says. The awning is also fitted with LED strip lighting underneath, which Kyle says is ‘priceless’ for easily setting up camp at night. While we are on the subject of lighting up camp, there are two 3in square LED work lights at the rear of the truck, one doubles as an extra reverse light, but can be manually unplugged and switched over to stay on and turn night into day around camp.

“It’s the 400+ NM of torque that is impressive especially turning 35in tyres”

Spotting roos from half a km away is not a problem while driving with the massive 30in wide 90 watt Ironman LED lightbar throwing out a huge 8100 lumens with both spot and spread patterns for maximum visibility on either side of the road. For longer distance viewing at night, a pair of Narva 225 pencil beam spot lights are fitted below the lightbar ensuring no last minute surprises while touring the outback at night. Keeping everything alight are dual AC Delco heavy duty batteries with a Redarc dual battery management system keeping everything in check.


Now Kyle did the smart thing and made sure he bought a new truck with some accessories already fitted. The 4in lifted Dobinsons coils and longer shocks front and rear came with the truck and Kyle loves the ride and how well they flex. “The last part might have something to do with the sway bars being removed by the previous owner!” he laughs. Adjustable panhard rods at both ends and chromoly lower control arms from Superior Engineering in QLD help to keep the geometry in check and the truck driving nicely. To level the truck out a touch more, Kyle has fitted a 30mm polyurethane coil spacer on top of the rear coils.

A recent replacement of all the suspension bushes and fitment of a Tough Dog return-to-centre steering dampener has also made the GU behave better at speed on the dirt roads of country Victoria. For reliability and prevention of future issues, Kyle has replaced the automatic locking front hubs with the manual ones off a GQ. The rear tail shaft has also been turned around and run in reverse so that the narrower diameter section of the shaft is located at the transfer case end. “This prevents it from rubbing against the cross member when the rear diff drops away at full flex,” Kyle explains.


It didn’t take long for Kyle to start finding the limitations of the ZD30 engine and he was sorely missing the torque of the old 4.2L diesel, so he decided to look for a TD42T to transplant into the GU. “I had converted my previous GQ from a petrol 4.2 to the diesel and figured diesel to bigger diesel shouldn’t be a drama,” he says. “All Four x 4 Spares in Newcastle were able to supply the engine from a wreck as a full kit including the loom, bell housing, fuse boxes and long motor.”

Once he had the engine, Kyle’s mates Darren, Kev and Ricki at Wizard Motors at Rosebud were given the responsibility of giving the GU the heart transplant it so desperately needed. A Denco water to air intercooler was installed with its own custom mounted radiator and plumbing to ensure a neat fit around the stock 3.0L radiator. Other neat modifications are the custom 3in intake piping from the air box to the turbo and the aftermarket oil catch can from Patrol-A-Part in Lilydale.

A 3in diameter dump pipe from the turbo was also fabricated and grafted into the mandrel bent exhaust that came on the truck. All pipe work was done by Darren’s Mufflers and Exhaust in Rosebud. “Besides a short delay chasing the correct bell housing from interstate, the conversion went like clockwork,” Kyle says. It wasn’t long before the truck was delivered to Automotive Performance Specialists at Frankston for a tune up run on the dyno. Even though the big 4.2L diesel only produces 82kW at 14PSI, it’s the 400+ Nm of torque that is impressive, especially turning 35in tyres! A marked improvement over the ZD30, indeed!

“It’s well documented that the 3.0L ZD30 diesel isn’t the world’s most reliable engine, so it made sense to do what Nissan didn’t and fit the TD42T into the GU4 Patrol. The conversion itself was relatively straightforward but it involved relocating the engine mounts on the chassis. This was done by cutting the old mounts off and welding new factory mounting brackets to the chassis. Locating them meant that the entire driveline needed to be ‘dummy’ fitted to make sure everything lined up, then lifting it out to finish the final welding.

Complicated jobs like modifying the ZD30 wiring loom for the TD42 was done by an auto electrician, but having no computer to run the 4.2L made this an easy job. The best part was kissing goodbye to the ‘fly by wire’ throttle and getting a more responsive pedal feel. The most expensive unforeseen cost of the conversion was the custom made air-conditioning lines, the line from the compressor to the condenser cost Kyle $700 alone. The end result is really drivable and turns the 35’s with relative ease. The best part is the fuel economy is comparable to the 3.0L around town and even better on long trips.”


Inside the GU, Kyle has upgraded the sound system with top of the range Clarion audio gear including a big 12in subwoofer to drown out any tyre noise on the blacktop. He also has a range of extra gauges in the cockpit, including a pyro meter (measuring exhaust gas temps) and a boost gauge. These are neatly mounted on the A-pillar in a custom trimmed gauge pod. Communications are left to a GME UHF radio, although plans for a sat phone are in order as Kyle wants to be setup to do more remote touring in the near future. An iPad running the latest Mud Maps and Hema mapping apps keeps the GU headed in the right direction.

“The fuel economy is comparable to the 3.oL around town and even better on long trips”

It’s surprising that there are still so many electrical gadgets in the truck since Kyle has had his hands on it. He told us that he has removed a small fortune in copper wiring from the truck (and white electrical taped connections) no longer used as the previous owner, an electrician, went a bit crazy fitting all sorts of interior accessories, circuit breakers and plugs to the Patrol. Now all that lies in the back are the, soon to be replaced, custom made drawers and the Waeco CF50 fridge full of coldies!


Nissan’s ZD30 motor woes are well-documented, but even if you do everything to ‘anti-grenade’ the engine, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a smaller capacity motor in a full-sized 4WD and as such struggles with getting all that weight moving. So why was the mighty TD42, which we first saw in the late 80s, ditched? It all comes down to emissions regulations. In 2007 Australia adopted Euro4 standards, which meant that December 2006 was the very last sale date for any TD42 Patrols.


VEHICLE: 2005 GU4 Patrol
ENGINE: TD42 4.2L turbo-diesel conversion
GEARBOX: 5-speed manual
4WD ACTIVATION: Part time, manual locking hubs
SUSPENSION: 4in raised coils and shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES: 35×12.5R16 Mickey Thompson MTZs
OTHER TOUGH GEAR: Denco intercooler – HT18 turbo running 15psi –- Raslarr Engineering barwork – custom rear drawers – 12,000lb winch – Clarion sound system