A lot of the time we tend to buy a 4WD, realise there’s something we dislike about it, and set out on a mission to rectify whatever that is. We change diff ratios, convert gearboxes and for those diehards amongst us carry out engine conversions. For Mat however, he had a pretty impressive plan laid out from the get go – before he even purchased his 4WD. “To put it simply, I wanted a late model, automatic Patrol that was turn-key reliable and basically could be a tough family tourer,” explains Mat. “The only way I was going to get that off-the-shelf was a 3.0L GU and to be honest I wasn’t overly keen on that motor. I thought about it, planned, schemed and ultimately decided to pick up a 2006 model 3.0L automatic Patrol with the intention of converting it to a TD42Ti motor and retaining the automatic transmission.”

Mat chose the latest model Patrol that he could legally engineer for a 4.2 – 2006 being the last year that they were factory fitted. “It was never going to be a cheap affair, but because I planned and budgeted for it from the get-go, it was my equivalent of going for a more expensive vehicle,” says Mat. “I did it all, bar the electrical system myself, from the conversion to all the nitty gritty bits and pieces that go along with a job like this. I’m firmly of the belief that if you’ve got the right skills, do as much as you can yourself.”

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”Twin-locked, tweaked and tuned, this TD42 automatic GU has to be the ultimate tough touring combo – check out Mat’s Patrol!”[/blockquote]

After a whirlwind nine weeks in the shed, Mat finally emerged back to civilisation, sporting an absolutely immaculate, and factory-looking automatic TD42Ti Patrol. Check out how he did it!

  • Steel winch bar
  • Custom cold drawn seamless tube sliders
  • TJM brush bars welded to sliders
  • Custom rear bar from cold drawn seamless tube
  • Rear quarter chop, 6in cut to suit rear bar
  • Steel roof top tent rack
  • 4mm stainless steel front bash plate to protect radiator
  • and coolers
  • 12,500lb T-Max winch
  • 2 x 9in HID spotlights and 50in LED light bar

“I had the side and rear barwork knocked by Tony Porter Fabrications, and the whole lot was done by using cold drawn seamless roll cage tubing,” says Mat. “By using that, instead of normal steam pipe, the barwork is incredibly strong, yet doesn’t weight nearly as much as other materials.”
[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”For the conversion, I used almost a complete GU Ute”[/blockquote]

  • 3in Suspension Stuff Flexy Coils
  • Superior Engineering adjustable upper and lower control arms
  • Profender remote reservoir 4in shock absorbers
  • Superior Engineering Super Flex radius arms
  • Extended bump stops and Superior swaybar extensions
  • Superior Engineering coil tower brace
  • Superior Engineering comp spec drag link, tie rod and steering rod
  • Tough Dog RTC steering damper
  • 305/70R16 Mickey Thompson TTC Baja Claw tyres
  • Procomp Rockcrawler D hole rims, 16×8, -22 offset

Loaded up, Mat’s GU is pulling some big weight so it was imperative to have a suspension setup that was reliable, capable and could withstand the weight of a fully loaded tourer. “I’ve used the Profender remote reservoir shocks which work especially well when the truck is loaded up,” says Mat. “I’ve still got all the offroad ability I would want, but in a stable and reliable package. With all the weight, I fitted a coil tower brace as these are notorious for cracking on heavily loaded Patrols – haven’t got a worry in the world about it now.”

  • ZD30 to TD42Ti conversion – new mounts welded to chassis
  • 4-speed, 46LE automatic transmission – bellhousing adapted to TD42
  • Cross Country top mount intercooler – 100 degree drop in EGTs
  • HPD airbox lid to support future engine mods
  • Provent oil catch can
  • Custom 4in stainless snorkel with 4in ram head
  • 3in 409 grade stainless steel exhaust
  • Compushift II transmission controller – replaces factory loom
  • Wholesale Automatics Nomad valve body for tighter, quicker shifting
  • Wholesale Automatics flexplate and torque converter
  • Auto cooler with thermo fan
  • Twin TJM Pro-Lockers with 4.6 ratio centres – changed from 4.3
  • Braced front diff housing with superior diff guards front and rear

“For the conversion, I used almost a complete GU ute, that had 160,000km on the clock – I took everything from the radiator to the flywheel including all the wiring, dash cluster and air con,” says Mat. “The whole job took me nine weeks in the shed.” The ZD30 to TD42 conversion isn’t by any stretch a rare conversion, however mating it to the ZD’s 4-speed automatic is something which is still a little harder to find info on. “To fit the engine to the auto, I had to redrill the bellhousing to accommodate the TD42’s starter motor,” Mat says.

“I then fitted the Wholesale Automatics flexplate and torque converter. To wire everything, I removed the whole transmission loom and fitted the Compushift II wiring harness which is a standalone transmission controller.” When Mat fitted everything up, the engine sat 35mm further forward which meant that Mat had to retain a sensible sized radiator. “It’s turn-key simple and has stacksof grunt – I love it!”

  • Custom roll cage, doubling as cargo barrier and child restraint point
  • Redarc BCDC1240 – 40 Amp DC-DC charger
  • Exide Industrial deep cycle 550CCA 105Ah
  • Escape Gear canvas seat covers
  • Pioneer head unit
  • Autometer boost, EGT and oil pressure gauges
  • ARB turbo timer
  • GME TX3510WS UHF and GME AE4705G aerial
  • Marine circuit breakers used for all electrical accessories
  • Dunn and Watson custom made drawers and tilting fridge slide
  • Techni-ice 80L fridge/freezer with remote monitor in cab
  • 80L stainless steel water tank fitted underneath cargo barrier

“I absolutely love the custom roll cage that’s been designed by me and built from cold drawn seamless tube,” says Mat. “It’s designed to be not only roll over protection, but also a cargo barrier and is mod plated for child restraint points. The reason for the design was that we had nowhere to mount our son in the centre of the seat. I wanted protection as well as something that could incorporate a cargo barrier and water storage in one unit. ”

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”Dropping the TD42 onto the ZD’s gearbox can be difficult – unless you know this tip”[/blockquote]


VEHICLE: 2006 Nissan GU Patrol
ENGINE: TD42Ti, turbo intercooled 4.2 litre diesel
GEARBOX: 46LE, 4-speed automatic transmission with Compushift II computer
4WD ACTIVATION: Part time, manual locking hubs
SUSPENSION: 3in Suspension Stuff Flexy Coils and 4in Profender shocks
WHEELS AND TYRES: Procomp 16x8in steel wheels. 305/70R16 Mickey Thompson TTC Claw tyres

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