SAC Toyota Hilux Legend 35, Petrol & Diesel Conversions, Modifications & Upgrades

Efficiency is defined in the Illustrated Oxford Dictionary as:
The ratio of energy or work produced to that expended . . .
and its that ratio that Steve’s Auto Clinic sets out to improve in every aftermarket conversion they research and engineer.
The Hilux 2700i petrol and 3,0 KZ-TE models are just two vehicles that over the years have benefited from the company’s approach of seeking to improve performance and driveability without negatively affecting reliability or fuel consumption.
As well as an extensive in-house research and development infrastructure, SAC prides itself on conducting – via an independent party – performance tests both before and after a conversion to determine exactly how it will work in the real world, and not just on a dynamometer.
The most recent tests conducted show some startling gains in performance from two “guinea pig” vehicles, namely single cab 4×2 versions of both the petrol and turbodiesel Hilux Legend 35 range.
Hilux 2700i
The big four-pot petrol engine has benefited hugely from the SAC approach, which have been engineered to find cost-effective solutions to the powerplant’s high fuel consumption and lack of power.
SAC has taken a menu approach, where the buyer can opt for a number of upgrades, in stages if necessary.
“The key to making this engine work is the cylinder head,” explains SAC’s Steve Fischer, “and we recommend that that is where the customer starts.”
The head work can go so far as to fitting modified camshafts and larger inlet valves, made from exotic material such as stainless steel, depending on customer requirements and budget.
In the table on the following page, it can be seen how the car with the altered inlet camshaft benefits from the better breathing at the top end of the rev range: straightline acceleration and top speed is better, though the standard cam is still a better option for low-down torque as shown by the overtaking acceleration figures.
Tank to tank fuel consumption recordings also illustrate significant improvements in fuel consumption, especially on the open road where figures of 12 litres per 100 km (???) can now be comfortably achieved.KZ-TE
The main limitation with a turbodiesel fitted to a light commercial vehicles is that they offer few opportunities in terms of electronic tuning, and for that reason SAC’s research and development has focussed on accessing the engine management system to adjust the fuel supply and ignition controls.
This is done with a computer than allows remapping of these parameters across a broad engine speed range.
“You need to change the chip to optimise the settings,” says Fischer, “to make what is basically an untunable vehicle tunable.”
In addition, SAC recommends that an intercooler – basically a radiator designed to cool the intake charge of a forced induction engine – be fitted.
This boosts power significantly while ensuring that temperatures stay well within acceptable limits.
SAC also offers a gas-flowed cylinder head for the turbodiesel, cleaning up and smoothing the inlet and outlet ports to optimise air flow characteristics
One of the significant benefits of improving the efficiency of a turbodiesel is the various conversions include reduced exhaust gas temperatures, high EGTs often being a contributing factor in premature turbocharger failure.
Tests show that, despite significant boosts in performance, exhaust manifold temperatures drop by between 100 and 150 degrees Celcius.
In a “full-house” conversion, the 3,0 KZ-TE engine can deliver about ???? percent more power at the wheels than a standard vehicle, enabling it to use – especially at Highveld altitude – its long gearing more effectively.
This not only helps fuel consumption significantly but makes for more relaxed cruising.
While Toyota has introduced an impressive new Hilux range, there is still plenty to recommend its rugged and reliable predecessor.
With an affordable and thoroughly-engineered SAC upgrade to optimise the mass-produced engines, the package becomes a whole lot more impressive.