Project Toyota HiLux build: Part 5

We’ve finally got our Hilux project looking less like a postal truck and more like an expedition rig, thanks to Adam and the team at Ironman 4x4. The Hilux was actually a Telecom service vehicle before we got it, but that’s close enough to a post van. Regardless, that big white canopy had to go!

Click here for your chance to win 4x4 Australia's Custom Toyota Hilux.

With the canopy removed Adam set to work designing and fabricating a custom box-section steel rack for the Hilux tub that would support an Ironman rooftop tent plus a few other off-road goodies while still leaving room beneath it to give access to the load space. The rack sits on and is fastened to the top edge of the ute tub with re-enforcing plates below the bolts so the whole assembly is easily removable should you not want it there all the time.  We reckon the finished product looks so good that you’ll want it on the car whenever you’re out on adventures.

Before the frame was sent to the powder coaters, mounts were welded to it to fasten a set of MaxTrax on the passengers’ side while on the driver’s side there are provisions for an Ironman 4x4 48-inch high-lift jack and three-piece shovel. The placement of these mounts ensures that some of your prime recovery gear is always easily accessible and within reach without having to dive in to the cargo area if and when you get stuck.

While the rack was getting coated the guys fitted an Ironman tub liner. These are made from 3mm UV-stabilised polyethylene and it sure tidies up the tub in this old workhorse while at the same time protecting the sheet metal.

We got a fast turn-around from the coaters and, with its fresh layer of black on the frame, the rack was a quick and easy fit on the car for Adam and Smithy. Then it was on with the rooftop tent. Again, the Ironman 4x4 unit is a quality product made from 280gsm waterproof rip-stop poly-cotton canvas with fine insect mesh on the window opening to keep the bugs out and a thick 65mm foam mattress for comfort. With the quick set-up time of the RTT you will always have somewhere comfortable and dry to sleep wherever you park the Lux.

We’ve fitted a DP Chip tuning module to the stock 1KD- 3.0-litre diesel engine in the Hilux to make the most of the available performance and this will really benefit from improved engine breathing. We are planning to fit a free-flowing exhaust to get the burnt gasses out, but to ram the fresh air in to the engine, Ironman fitted one of its AirForce snorkels. Now, many folk believe snorkels are just for water crossing, but for everyday use, a well-designed snorkel will improve the airflow in to the engine for better efficiency while, out on the dusty tracks, the raised height of a snorkel lifts the intake up and out of the dirty air to get nice clean stuff into mix with your sweet diesel.

The Ironman snorkel ticks all the boxes here and while it needed a slight modification to fit over the aftermarket flare on the ‘guard of our Hilux, it is an install job that any competent workshop can manage.


That’s right! Once we’re finished kitting up this Hilux with all the best off-road gear from TJM Products, Lightforce, Terrain Tamer, MSA Products, DP Chip, Mean Mother winches, EFS Suspension, Cooper Tires, ATX Wheels, Ironman 4x4, MaxTrax, Piranha 4x4, Opposite Lock and a few other top-notch suppliers, we’ll be giving it away to a lucky reader of 4X4 Australia Magazine. The promotion officially kicks off now, so flick back to page 46 of this issue or go online at for all the details on how you can make it yours.

Who knows, you could be the one setting off for a big outback adventure in this bush-ready Toyota – but you’ve got to be in it to win it to get in it!

Want to see more of our Project Hilux build? Check out the below:



Get the latest info on all things 4X4 Australia by signing up to our newsletter.