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Dirt Rat

The Saudis have a strange habit of taking big, lumbering SUVs like the Toyota Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol and sticking massive twin-turbo V8s in the front, producing power figures that can easily best a GT-R or even some supercars. These monsters are known for tearing down their vast highways, terrorizing other motorists on the road, making it one of their larger hobbies next to hagwallah (highway manji with Japanese sedans) and annoying the residents of London with their straight-pipe supercars.

That kind of modifying isn’t seen commonly here because there’s a large segregation between those who want to modify their cars and those who buy large SUVs. The idea of dropping a massive forced induction V8 engine is also a bit tough to get around given our ‘rigorous’ laws when it comes to car inspection. But that’s not to say you can’t work with what you have.

At the heart of this generation of Toyota Land Cruiser Prado sits either a 2.7 litre inline-four or a 3.4 litre V6, but in this case the car started life with the 3RZ-FE, which is the lower displacement inline-four model. The engine, in stock form, puts out a paltry 150 horses at 4800 rpm, with a peak torque of 240 Nm at 4000 rpm. It’s a measly amount by modern standards and it really shows how far we’ve come in terms of engine technology. But the good thing about the engine is that it does come with 4 valves per cylinder and double overhead cams, which opens up the options when it comes to modification. There are also twin balance shafts to maintain excellent smoothness and minimize vibrations. Well, not anymore: the balancer shafts were removed to recover some lost power from the engine, and the engine was re-balanced to reduce the resulting vibrations. An LC engineering billet crankshaft is far stronger and lighter than the stock piece, allowing the following modifications to take place.

With such a large displacement, there’s not much one needs to do in the way of torque. The engine features a square profile, with a 95 mm bore and a 95 mm stroke, but in the case of this car, tuning was aimed at improving high end response and so the bore was widened to 96 mm with the use of Wiseco 96 mm pistons. This allows the engine to rev higher while low end torque is slightly sacrificed. The head was polished and ported by a CNC machine, housing an LC engineering valvetrain kit that improves the durability under higher stresses. The cam pulleys and camshafts were also swapped in favour of a set from LC Engineering, allowing for optimized performance. A Fellpro 1.3 mm metal head gasket was put in place to take the forces developed by a turbocharged engine.

As for the forced induction portion of the engine, no single manufacturer makes a strong showing with such a combination of parts. Central to the system is a Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger, feeding air into an Apexi drag six-inch core intercooler. Feeding exhaust gas to the turbine is a FullRace turbo manifold, as the stock engine manifold was never designed for turbocharging. Supporting modifications for the turbocharger are sourced from Turbosmart, with a blow-off valve and twin 40mm wastegates put in place to prevent spiking. In the case of turbocharged engines, fuel pressure and supply is incredibly important to prevent catastrophe, so a Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator works in tandem with Injector Dynamics 2000cc injectors, a custom fuel rail and a heavy duty Walbro fuel pump.

An engine this old needs a new brain to handle all of these modifications. Microtech makes an LT10S microcontroller to handle EFI timing with the new camshafts and such. An X4-IGBT ignitor kit works in tandem with this to provide consistent ignition of fuel charge and a Turbosmart dual-stage electronic boost controller helps to fine tune boost pressure depending on the rpm of the engine to provide a smoother power band. Altogether, at 2 bars of boost the engine is capable of producing 533 horses at the wheels, while running on RON95 pump gas.

The stock gearbox goes out the window, as it can’t handle the sheer power of the engine, instead taking an R154 5-speed manual gearbox coupled with a Quarter Master twin plate-clutch. Rather surprisingly, the chassis and handling has been kept stock, although if this car was merely meant for highway duty then there’s no problem there. After all, it is a Land Cruiser Prado and not a souped up Subaru Forester.

But at the very least, stopping power is necessary to bring such a large car to a halt. Of the various manufacturers to choose from, AP Racing has proven itself as one of the better left-field choices, slowly creeping into manufacturer OEM equipment like the brakes found on a Lotus Exige cup car. For this Prado, CP7040 6-pot calipers are employed, suitably bringing the car to a reassuring stop after some high speed antics, and knowing AP Racing’s reputation, the brakes should be fade-free.

The interior and exterior have been kept pretty low key to avoid arousing suspicion when cruising down the highway. A simple body kit adorns the outside, along with some standard decal fare that could easily be mistaken for a 4×4 adventurer team logo. On the inside sit some new gauges to monitor temperature and pressure, as well as a proper new tachometer for the engine and a Momo steering wheel to boot.

Car: Toyota Prado
Engine Mods: Wiseco HD 96mm pistons, Spool I-beam conrods, LC Engineering billet crankshaft, LC Engineering camshafts, LC Engineering adjustable cam pulleys, LC Engineering valvetrain kit ( stainless steel oversized valves, dual springs, valve seals, titanium retainers), CnC ported and polished head, ARP L19 head studs, ARP main studs, King bearings, Fellpro 1.3mm metal head gasket, balance shaft removal kit, Moroso baffle plate, engine balancing, Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger, Apexi drag 6-inch core intercooler, AEM water methanol injection kit, FullRace turbo manifold, Turbosmart Raceport blow-off valve, Turbosmart twin 40mm wastegates, Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator, Injector Dynamics 2,000cc injectors, custom fuel rail, Walbro 400l/h fuel pump
Electronics: Microtech LT10S, X4-IGBT ignitor kit, Bosch coils, Turbosmart dual-stage electronic boost controller
Transmission: Toyota Supra R154 5-speed manual gearbox, Quarter Master twin plate clutch
Chassis & Handling: Stock
Brakes: AP Racing CP7040 6-piston calipers
Wheels & Tyres: Volk Racing TE37 20-inch wheels, Toyo Proxes ST tyres
Interior: Pivot tachometer, Apexi boost gauge, Shadow gauges (oil temperature, water temperature, voltage), Auto Gauge AFR gauge, Momo steering wheel
Exterior: Custom body kit, custom decals
Power: 533whp@2-bars on RON95 fuel
Garage: Millennium Motorsports Asia

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