The Toyota Hilux has been at the top of the best-selling charts for as long as anyone can remember. It cemented Toyota’s reign as Australia’s favourite car brand, luring customers with reliability, quality, and low prices. Add the ute’s go-anywhere capability, and it can be used any way and anywhere you like, and you can see why those numbers are justified. With so many cars on the streets, there’s also the choice of different upgrade options.
The diesel engines most Hilux variants come with aren’t exactly the last word in power or outright speed. Yes, the car has bags of torque to haul any gear you want or get you up the steepest inclines while towing a full-sized caravan, but it’s the sluggish acceleration that’s somewhat of a letdown. This though is an easy fix, and dozens of Toyota performance parts can add a few more horses in the mix, and liven up the car. One of them is a hand-built Hilux exhaust.
What an Aftermarket Exhaust Means for Your Hilux
Aftermarket exhausts deal with the shortcomings in their factory siblings. This means tubes are wider, straighter, and made to a better standard using superior materials. There’s an easier path for hot exhaust gases to escape, with no restrictions along part or the whole length of the tubing. And this in itself is a prerequisite for better engine efficiency and more power. Buyers can also benefit from the improved looks and deeper exhaust sound. Let’s take a closer look:
- Increased power – Any aftermarket Hilux exhaust adds power. Depending on the exhaust type, this can be subtle gains or something in the line of a 5 to 10 per cent increase in complete systems.
- Materials and build – Stainless steel has more strength and this is the base material for entry-level aftermarket exhausts. The exhaust is fabricated using advanced production processes to ensure higher strength and more durability across various driving and weather conditions.
- Longevity – More attention to detail, superior materials, and less stress on the engine is the recipe for longevity, both in the exhaust and various engine systems and parts.
- Choice of parts- All aftermarket options are of the bolt-on design, meaning you can change one or all the parts that are underperforming. Additionally, there are bespoke parts that up your Hilux’s performance when off-road.
- Better sound- most ute owners want an exhaust sound to match the looks of their utes, especially those that have been extensively modified. The sound in most cars, including utes, has been curbed to cut emissions and comply with NVH regulations. Mufflers and resonators are the basic parts to fine-tune the sound.
- Lower weight – Although stock variants use less material, aftermarket exhausts are lighter by some margin, and we all know that weight and performance don’t mix.
Getting the Right Exhaust
Older, non-turbo 3-litre diesel engines benefit the most from an upgrade. These were seen in the early 1990s and are still reliable, even with high mileage. The half-inch wider tubing in 409 stainless steel lets the engine breathe and ups power and torque. Toyota later added a turbo to the same engine layout, effectively raising power by 20 kW and almost doubling the torque. Going with a turbo-back exhaust in the same 3-inch diameter gets even more power, while units with revised high-flow catalytic converters get lower emissions and slight savings in fuel use.
Both are diesel-specific exhausts that are built to last, using mandrel-bent tubing along the whole length, and heat-resistant coatings that also protect it from rust. Hilux owners can additionally experiment with the sound by using a range of straight pipes, resonators, and mufflers. For an easy and quick fit look for provided mounting hardware as well as high-quality flex joints to prevent vibrations when driving through uneven terrain.
Newer 2.8-litre engines seen in the current and previous models can also see major power improvements. This is a turbocharged diesel, so again you’ll be looking at a turbo-back Hilux exhaust system if you want more torque, power, and a deeper sound. These can also have extractors to improve the airflow from the manifold to the tips. Adding a dump pipe improves things further.
Petrol engines for the Hilux are few and far between, but you can still find axle-back and cat-back systems for the 2.7 and 4-litre engines. These are aspirated only and can come as header-back, cat-back, and axle-back systems. They’re also in the same high-grade 409 stainless steel in 3-inch diameters, with matching mounting hardware and muffler and resonator options to suit different buyers. Additionally, straight pipes and cat-less pipes smooth out restrictions for increased gas flow.
Go for respected exhaust builders and resellers to get a system that gets the most out of the engine in your Hilux. There are quite a few local builders to consider. Look for quality materials, decent build, and prices that match. An upgraded exhaust should also prove its worth in the bush, and pair well with any off-roading additions you treat your Hilux.