SAFARI 4x4 Engineering is best known as the leader in air-intake snorkels for 4x4 vehicles, but there’s much more to this Melbourne-based company that still proudly manufactures and sources as much of its material locally as possible.
The snorkel side of the business came about after blowing up the engine in a 4x4 back in the 1980s and realising the need for a quality, sealed, raised air-intake system that would help to keep water out of the engine when crossing rivers and creeks. Hence the extensive range of Safari snorkels was born, but the company went on to develop turbocharger and intercooler systems to improve airflow from the intake through the engine and out the other side.
The Safari snorkel also raises the intake up out of the dust created when travelling in a convoy, further prolonging engine longevity. With more vehicles coming factory-fitted with turbochargers these days, that side of the business has slowed, but snorkels are still a big part of Safari 4x4 and it continues to develop products to suit most popular new four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as continuing to manufacture them for older 4x4s.
The products are sold around the world, where they’re recognised as leaders in the field of airflow. The latest Armax range of snorkels is indicative of the development work Safari does in recognising the need for bigger, high-flowing snorkels for ‘tuned’ and high-performance engines.
With people fitting bigger exhausts and tuning their 4x4s, particularly V8 Land Cruisers and PX Rangers, there was a need for larger capacity snorkels. But no matter how big your intake is you still need to manage how the air and fuel flow through your engine, so the Armax range now includes the Armax engine control units (ECU).
In the old days, tuning an engine was all done mechanically, but now it’s electronic and much more precise, to get the most out of high-tech engines. Like the company’s snorkels, the Armax ECU is designed in-house and represents state-of-the-art technology for optimising engine performance.
Where other aftermarket tuning ‘chips’ simply add fuel and boost to improve performance, the Armax ECU monitors engine sensors to optimise the air and fuel for safer performance increases. One key input is exhaust gas temperature (EGT) which, if allowed to exceed set parameters, will quickly kill an engine by causing terminal damage.
The Armax ECU keeps tabs on the EGT and automatically adjusts the settings to keep the temps within specification, so as not to risk engine damage. As the unit works in tandem with the OEM ECU and doesn’t replace it, the factory fail-safes are retained and the engine will not operate outside these settings.
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Unlike remapping the OEM ECU, the Armax unit can be removed from the vehicle and leave no trace of it having been there. The unit has selectable mapping that is chosen from the driver’s seat for different driving conditions – you may want an economical setting for day-to-day driving, one for towing and another for outright power, and these are customisable for each vehicle.
As part of its commitment to local R&D and manufacturing, Safari has its own in-house chassis dynamometer for testing and calibrating the Armax products, and the company did thousands of kilometres of real-world testing, both on- and off-road and towing various loads. The products are made using the best quality wiring, fittings and hardware available so that, like Safari snorkels, they are the best products available.
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Currently Safari 4x4 has the Armax ECU available for the popular Toyota diesel engines in the V8 Land Cruiser 200 and 70 Series models, as well as the four-cylinder 1KD and 1GD engines found in Hilux and Prado. More Armax models are coming out in 2018 to suit the more popular vehicles, so it’s best to check with Safari if there is an Armax ECU for your 4x4.
To check out the full range of Safari snorkels and Armax products go to www.safari4x4.com.au.