Darin Neeley’s (darinz) 1989 Nissan Patrol
“I bought this as a stock standard 1989 SWB, TD42 auto. It was a very tidy truck with everything from heated seats to headlight washers and rear aircon. Not long after that I got engaged and my new fiancee made the comment that she got a ring but I got nothing so why don’t I get something for the truck!! No surprises why I married her are there? That was the start of a very expensive and pretty major makeover that has never stopped since.
First up was a suspension lift followed by a set of 33″ mud tyres. I then thought I had the greatest toy around. But as you can imagine it didn’t take long before I wanted bigger better tyres and more horsepower. So, next on the list was a set of 34×11.5 Simex Jungle Trekkers. To get these on I had to fit a 2″ body lift. Then the quest for power started. Out of the factory it was an absolute power house with 92kw (about 125hp)! First thing was a turbo which was fitted at home in the drive way. This made quite a difference but all it really did was make me want more! So the boost was increased to 21psi and a top mount air to air intercooler was fitted. This put the power up to around 140kw (at the wheels) and now it went pretty well. Somewhere along the way I started competing in winch competitions which sort of really increased the desire for speed and to reduce the weight. This also meant a change of tyres, so now it has 35×11.5 Simex Extreme trekkers. This entailed cutting the guards out a bit.
Now the quest for power was under control (for a few months anyway), I decided to cut it down to a single cab with a flat deck. So I parked it in the new shed (that was built sort of for the job) and cut it up and welded it back together. This was relatively easy job (compared to some that come later!) so it was back out after the summer and ready for the new race season. Next on the list was to increase the wheelbase. Standard it was 94″ and that was becoming a problem with the speed we were now racing at. So I fitted longer control arms to the rear diff that shifted it back 10.5″ to make it 104.5″. This entailed cutting spring platforms and shock mounts of the chassis, sliding them back and welding them back on. At the same time I fitted twin shocks to the front. During this same timeframe we did a bit of work to the auto. It has an RE4R03A and that was rebuilt and was upgraded to VH45 spec. We also removed the TCU replaced it with a series of relays and a 5v supply to control line pressure. This worked really well and allowed so much more control.
The end of 2006 is when I really got serious about weight and power. The goal was a light alloy V8 and the VH45 seemed to fit the bill. It is about 130kgs lighter than the diesel that came out but still has similar torque (in NA form) as the TD42. So, off I was cruising TradeMe (like EBay) and I found a deregistered Q45 that had stuffed suspension. I went and test drove it and bought it on the spot for the same as a motor would cost with no guarantee. Fitting a VH45 into a Patrol is in theory an easy thing to do. It uses the same transmission so bolts together. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t the case! Try taking out an inline 6 that was on 24v and replacing with a quad cam V8 that was of course 12v! To fit the engine in I shifted the cab back 3″ on the chassis and then cut the front of the chassis off. Great for the approach angle and also for weight distribution! A pair of Fox hydraulic bump stops was chucked in to cope with the big hits at high speed. It took about 12 months to do it all and the project sort of got out of hand on the way. My brother-in-law (Kerry) has a business building race cars so he was the pick to get the manifolds made. Over a couple of beers we discussed turboing it at a later time and he made the comment that turbo manifolds are much cheaper and simpler so would offset the cost of a turbo! Like I needed convincing!! So after a lot of research we settled on a Garrett T04z and a PWR barrel water to air intercooler. This is finished off with a 50mm wastegate. The turbo exits to a 3” exhaust and the waste gate is plumbed into the 3″ muffler. From there it is a short 4″ section that exits in front of the rear wheel. With this setup up it has 2psi at 3000rpm and the full 10psi by about 2800rpm but is in no way restricting up high. It was about now that a manual valve body was ordered and the trans was converted to full manual shift. This was also needed to handle the extra hp and torque that 10psi creates! An Autronic SMC ecu and cdi have been fitted and as it stands the motor has never missed a beat including running under water and mud during competitions. Currently it is still running factory injectors, the VVT isn’t being switched and it is limited to 6000rpm. Even then it still has been dynoed at 280 rwkw (375rwhp) so I’m pretty happy with the performance. It also runs AVgas as it is still at the standard 10.1:1 compression. In fact the engine hasn’t been apart. At some time in the future it will get bigger injectors and then we’ll bring in the VVT and increase rev limit to 7000. That should take it up to over 300rwkw which is what I want for the future plans of doing some offroad racing.
The winch has also had a fair few modifications (as you would expect). It started life as a Warn 8274 with the old 2.5hp motor. I have built a new drum for it so it now carries 80m (about 260′) of 10mm (3/8) Dynamica synthetic rope. It also has a custom free spool that disengages the entire drive train. I use a Flammin Fabrications twin motor adapter so in place of the standard motor I now have a choice (depending on weather) of either twin 7.8 hp 24v motors or 6hp (Warn xp9.5) 12v motors with 24v powering. As you can imagine a 12v motor with 24v running it goes rather quick, but aren’t quite reliable enough for wet weather comps. To power this there is a designated 70 amp 24v alternator and twin 25 plate batteries. The rest of the truck has the standard Q45 110amp alternator and a 975cca battery. So it was all running sweet and then the first event came along and as I wasn’t quite use to the power – I ended up dropping it into a hole a little bit too fast. It landed on its nose and during the impact I bent the accelerator pedal and jammed it at full throttle while in first low. I can assure that the brakes had no chance of stopping it and after a rather wild ride I managed to hit the kill switch and brought it to a stop. No big deal until we got it back to the pits and saw that we had torn both engine mounts off the chassis, bent the chassis under the fire wall and also behind the cab! So it was back into the shed for another rebuild! This time it was new chassis and about 500 hrs in 3 months between 2 of us (thanks Grant!) got it ready for the next round of the series. That was July of last year and that is how it basically stands today. It is hard to describe how something like this performs as most of the time it is on either mud or at best gravel. It will do over 160kph (100mph) in low range so virtually all competition is done in low range. The last thing that may surprise a few is that it is race-ready while also being 100% road legal with engineering certs as needed, and if racing locally, I actually drive it to the event.
VH45 Garrett T04z turbo and 50mm HKS WGPWR 6×10 barrel water to air intercooler
Autronic SMC ecu and cdi
Avgas run at all times
Custom manifolds and exhuast
All emission stuff removed
RE4R03A Upgraded frictions etc
Manual valve body
Higher line pressure
Accumulator piston springs removed
Redline synthetic fluid
2x large coolers fitted on rear tray with intercooler
12v 110 amp alternator
24v 70 amp alternator
975cca 180 reserve min battery (runs everything)
2x 800cca 25 plate 240 reserve min batteries (winch only)
Complete custom wiring
Body & Chassis
Cutdown from 3 door wagon to 2 door cab and flat deck
Wheel arches cut for bigger tires
External rollcage integrated into rear deck
Body shifted back 3″ on chassis
Wheelbase extended to 105″
Chassis strengthened a lot!!!
Suspension & axles
Twin Old Man Emu front shocks
Fox hydraulic bumpstops
3″ raised height
Old Man Emu springs
Front axle H233 with ARB airlocker and strengthened housing
Rear axle H233 with factory diff lock
Recaro seats, 4 point harness
Oil pressure, water temp, trans temp, 12v and 24v gauges
Uniden UHF and GPS
Wheels and tires
35×11.5/15 Simex Extreme Trekker
2Stuan internal beadlocks
ROH 15×8 steel white spoke wheels
Warn 82742 x 7.8 hp 24v Superduty motors
Custom wide drum (100mm wider than standard)
Custom freespool 80m of 10mm Dynamica synthetic rope
Rear mounted with rope running along chassis