Eight inches of total lift, a Solid Axle Swap, and an LS1. And all of it in a D22 Navara? Show me how!
Wanting to get into 4X4ing and needing to work on a budget, a D22 Navara is a pretty good option for most young apprentices. That’s where this adventure and build began back in 2011 for Brett.
Fast forward a few years, and after a lot of blood, sweat, tears, effort and money, Brett still has this neat D22, however it has changed considerably to suit his needs,
and to be honest, it’d suit ours too!
Brett bought this 2002 D22 Nav back in 2011 with a reasonable 298,000 Km on the clock, and stock as a rock. Being a 1st year apprentice back then, Brett explained to us that he got the D22 mainly for the price.
From there the modifications began, and he’s found out quicker than most it is a slippery slope. Throwing the solid axle swap (SAS) at it to get the front end working better when out playing, he’s followed this up with an LS1 conversion. Suffice to say he’s pulling 210Kw out of it at the treads, without any serious bolt ons.
We caught up with Brett in Central Queensland where we got to climb all over the D22, and got to see it play in some rather serious ruts in an old quarry.
UNDER THE NAV
First up, let’s have a look at the SAS conversion.
The front diff is a flipped GQ diff, with custom 6mm housing from RDG Engineering with braced steering knuckles. The front and rear centres were swapped over to 4.625:1 ratio ring gear, to suit the
LS1 conversion and box.
The suspension under the front has done away with traditional coils and shocks and has had Fox remote reservoir coilovers grafted in. Along with Superior Engineering custom Panhard rod and Superflex arms it allows for a bunch of flex without sacrificing driveability.
Under the back end of the Nav it’s been left reasonably standard (yeah, we say that tongue in cheek), with 2in lifted EFS Springs, 2in Snake Racing extended shackles, and a set of Bilstein shocks keeping everything moving smoothly. Having a Bilsteins in the rear obviously helps with the LS1 in the front, especially when he’s doing happy laps to Macca’s on a Thursday night on the black top.
Brett has also thrown in a GU Steering box, Bilstein steering damper, and chromolly drag link from Superior Engineering.
The differing suspension setups and shock brands and tuning seems a lot like a reverse mullet that’s actually cool – a loose as hell party up the front for off-road duties, and all business down the back for when it’s being used on the blacktop to put the power down. Maybe the mullet comparison is unfair, but it works.
THE ENGINE AND BOX #LSTHEWORLD
Right, now the obligatory hashtag is out of the way, this thing is actually pretty mental, reliable, and dare
we say it, even a bit fancy. Brett explained to us that the poor old donk just wasn’t cutting it with 300 on the clock, and he wanted something a little special, a bit different, and something pokey.
Enter LS1 stage right, with a rather stupidly built 4L65E auto bolted to its backside. The 5.7L V8 has been left reasonably tame, with an aftermarket fuel rail, fuel pressure reg, 4in throttle body, with cable instead of fly-by-wire, and a mafless tune. Keeping it breathing is a full twin 3in system including extractors from AAA Exhaust & Fab up in Mackay.
Then there’s the auto box behind it. This is where you take the standard 4L60E, put in Kevlar clutch packs, corvette servo’s, monster sunshell, 13vane pump, a 5 planetary gear set and boost valve, and it becomes a very well built 4L65E.
Not even kidding, this thing would take 500hp, and laugh at it, all day long. A Marks Adaptors kit bolts it up to the transfer with a QD32 tail shaft, and a B&M Shifter in the cab shuffling the cogs around. Other than that, there’s a PWR Race radiator and LS2 high flow water pump keeping it cool, along with a low temp thermostat.
In doing the SAS conversion there was a need to widen the chassis to allow for the front up travel with the new setup, and also throw in a set of 2in body blocks to get the guards that much further above the wheels.
He’s running a set of 33×12.5×15 General Grabber SRL’s on 15×10 -44 rims at the moment, and has no plans to change them, due to the fact they’re a solid all round tyre setup for the bush, and the beach.
Bar work wise, there’s an Ironman 4X4 Deluxe Steel Winch bar and a set of sliders from Patrol Customs to suit the body lift. Housed in the front bar is a Runva 11xp winch with a Prolink hook on the end of the line. And up top there’s a ProRack Whisbar housing the Savanah 2×2.5m awning.
On the sports bar in the tub is the Highlift jack, and 8in LED Flood’s on KC Mounts. Lights facing forward consist of a Korr 20in Light bar, and twin Narva 225 Spots with HID conversion.
Under the tray Brett has thrown in a 125L Long Ranger fuel tank, with a slightly modified V6 Navara sender unit, and a 255 Walbro in-tank pump.
Inside he’s left it pretty standard, due to it not really needing anything. All you’ll find is the typical GME TX3500 UHF, B&M Ratchet shifter, Autotechnica bucket seats and more dynamat than you can poke a stick at.
All in all, this thing is a pretty mental play truck, whether it’s in the bush, up the beach, or cutting laps to Macca’s. Suffice to say it drives exceptionally well through the ruts and bulldust, and just as well on our way home. A very well built truck Brett, well done, it really is one of a kind.