CUSTOM: D40 NAVARA
880Nm of torque from the 2.5L turbo-diesel, custom coil-converted rear end, custom bar work and tray and a LandCruiser front diff. This has to be the wildest D40 tourer in Australia!
Considering his day job involves the hire and sale of camper trailers, you can understand why Dylan has built a work truck up from scratch and thrown a solid axle swap at it to boot. Besides being a fairly mental and capable Navara, Dylan has also thrown a few touring mods at his Nissan for the extended weekends away. I caught up with him at Pine Creek in Bundaberg, his local playground, and figured the world needed to know how well this SAS’d D40 goes. After spending five minutes under this thing, it seriously impressed me with the amount of thought and effort that’s gone into its development; and all of the custom work Dylan has personally done to make this D40 absolutely one-of-a-kind… Oh, and his custom 4WD Activation is going to blow your mind…
The D40 Nav has been a tradies’ staple for many years, having both good and bad points – with issues cropping up, and forums upon forums full of info on ways to fix them. This Nav started out as Dylan’s plumbing workhorse, and was initially picked up to use for the odd weekend job when he wasn’t working for the boss. When he and the missus opened up Bundaberg Adventure Camper Hire there was the need to have a vehicle that screamed adventure, looked the part, drove the part, and was capable enough to go and rescue a camper trailer if someone had taken it where they probably shouldn’t have without 40in Boggers.
Dylan initially picked the Nav up with 110,000km on the clock, with a 2in lift and a pretty standard black fibreglass canopy. All of the bar work and the tray have been built by Dylan to his own specs and design. As you can see, just about the only standard things that remain here are the YD25 donk and the black paint.
SUSPENSION AND DRIVELINE
First things first, the solid axle swap – ’cause it really is the first thing that jumps out at you. Getting over the tissue-paper-thin IFS CVs and 2in of travel in the front end (after tearing his seventh CV to shreds, mind you), Dylan has opted for a flipped 80 Series LandCruiser front diff running the stock 4.1:1 ratio. From the centres out, he’s installed a set of ARB AirLockers front and rear – with a set of chromoly CVs and axles rounding out the 80 Series housing and a set of 37in BFG KM2s wrapped around 17in King Locker rims. The front-end swap was done in a matter of two weeks by Justin at Ironhide Customs, and Dylan couldn’t be happier with the job. Holding the chassis above the front diff is a set of 7in springs on 10in Fox Remote Res shocks.
The rear setup has been converted (with a PSR five-link setup) to coils, with 7in springs and 12in Bilstein remote reservoir shocks keeping the power on the ground. The rear initially held a set of custom setup leaves with orbital eyes; however it was converted to the five-link setup from PSR for a bit of ‘R&D’ on a new kit they were working on.
After having issues with his 4WD Activation after one too many drownings of the actuator, Dylan has come up with a rather genius (if inelegant) way of fixing it. Cue the cheap-arse extension bars and wobble joints, tearing the guts out, and a date with the mig… and you get this magical manual activation doo-hickey.
BARWORK AND EXTERIOR
All of the bar work and the tray on this Nav have been built at home by Dylan in his spare time; which says he’s bloody quick at fab work, or desperately needs a hobby! He’s knocked up the front bar from steam pipe and plated it in to house the LED spotties and lightbar, and also the Smittybilt winch.
The tray he’s knocked up at home (the joys of owning a TIG welder). He built it up, mounted it, put the roof topper and awning on it, put the batteries under it, installed the fridge in it, and mounted the jerry cans on the back – all for a third of the price he was quoted just to build a steel canopy! Hell… if you can, why not?
INTERIOR, ENGINE BAY AND TOURING MODS
The interior has been left reasonably standard, only adding the essentials – UHF, locker and light switches. Oh, and not to mention the HKS F-Con iD piggyback computer. This allows him a solid tunable e-Prom, so he’s bumping in all of the fuel and jamming 27psi of boost down the YD25’s throat, and pulling out a stonking 880Nm of torque matched with a very respectable 210hp. And yeah, this is only a little 2.5L four-banger. The high-flowed GTX wheel enclosed within the Garrett turbo might have something to do with this, too…
Aside from a six-cylinder-TD-crusher of an engine, I found a custom-made airbox; mated up to the 4in snorkel he literally built one random Saturday with a mate (under a gazebo in his front yard) – sounds like my kind of day off! Besides all this at the front, he’s got the roof topper up on the canopy, a 95L Waeco on a home-made slide, a rear undertray draw for everything else, and 40L of water on the back – making this one of the toughest tourers we’ve seen yet. That said, I have a bit of a suspicion that this is just a mental play fourby with all the touring gear bolted on to make it look tamer…