Top 5 Performance Upgrades
A snorkel (or raised air intake) offers 4WDs a massive number of advantages. They are most well known for allowing you to ford deep water and keep water out of your airbox. What they are less known for is increasing fuel economy and improving performance.
A snorkel, particularly one with an air-ram head, like the Safari Snorkels, helps the engine get cleaner, cooler air and a lot more of it. This additional cool air means that your engine runs cooler and when your engine runs cooler you get better performance. Some of the newest snorkels on the market can actually offer your engine up to 70% more air, this is a massive improvement over the factory air intake.
So a snorkel really is a big win for performance on and off-road.
On the other end of the engine, there is the air going out, more commonly known as the exhaust. The aim of putting on an aftermarket exhaust is to allow the exhaust to flow more freely. With the exhaust gases able to escape the engine faster it keeps the temperatures cooler and puts less back pressure on the motor.
When you add an aftermarket exhaust, usually larger in diameter, you are also able to change or modify the resonator and muffler allowing you to further improve the flow and to also change the sound of the vehicle.
There are a range of brands on the market for exhaust, everything from cheap imports through to top-quality Aussie made products. The best solutions will offer 4 bolt flanges, factory style O-rings and pretty much outlast your 4WD.
Torque lockup kit
The torque converter lockup kit is only going to work on certain vehicles at this point, you need to have an auto and most kits are focused on the Toyota range.
A torque converter essentially performs a similar function to the clutch in a manual gearbox. For a more detailed explanation, you should check out the video by XploringOz.
When the torque converter lockup kit is activated it essentially locks the driveline and transmission together, this helps the performance as you substantially reduce the loss of power. This leads to a number of benefits, including lower transmission temperatures, improved fuel economy and longevity of your transmission. It also as the added bonus of allow you to engine break, which is great for towing heavy loads down steep declines.
A throttle controller is a somewhat controversial “performance” modification. The controller in itself does not give you more power or any additional performance. What it does do however is to improve the responsiveness or control of the throttle.
In your factory vehicle, you can plant your foot to the floor and the ECU will “slowly” open the throttle body on the engine. When you have a throttle controller installed that “slowly” can turn into an almost immediate opening of the throttle. It can also do the opposite, if you are traditionally lead-footed, you might be able to improve your fuel economy by slowing down that responsiveness and having the throttle work slower, therefore less hard acceleration which means less fuel.
One important factor to check when doing something like a throttle controller is to ensure that it leaves all the factor warning and fault codes in place. You want to ensure you still have all these in place to ensure you don’t accidentally do any damage.
ECU tuning can come in a number of forms. You can look at total ECU replacements, you can look at remapping to a “preset” or you can look to get custom maps created.
With modern vehicles, pretty much the whole vehicle is controlled by the ECU meaning that you can vary everything from the fuel:air ratio through to turbo boost and other seemingly small things like when fans kick in. All of these changes can help customise the vehicle to how you drive and help you get better performance out of the vehicle. Even remapping a basic vehicle can be beneficial. From factory engines are tuned to ensure they meet global conditions, this means that they need to allow for a lot of variations in things like ambient temperature, altitude and
We would usually recommend that an ECU tune is the last stage of a vehicle build as every aftermarket part that you put on will change how the ECU should be mapped. In some cases, this can go down to a brand level. For example, a 3-inch exhaust by one company will perform differently and may have a slight variation in the mapping to another company.
There are of course numerous other performance upgrades available but these are just some of the core ones that we help people with on an almost daily basis.
If you have more questions for the team, please feel free to reach out.