How Toyota got Hilux to 150 kW

Toyota Hilux 2021 1600 08

The Hilux is an important product for the local bakkie market and as such, the updated engines announced earlier this year, are a very big deal.

When Toyota confirmed that its 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine would eventually get closer to rivalling the Ford’s Ranger bi-turbo 2-litre in performance, Hilux fans were thrilled. With a peak power output of 150KW and 500Nm of torque, the revised Hilux 2.8-litre engine is everything followers of the most popular Japanese bakkie model desired.

How did Toyota achieve those engine output gains? Was it only a question some clever engine control unit recalibration?

New details about the 2.8-litre engine upgrade indicate that engineers at Toyota have taken quite a dedicated approach to boosting performance, by virtue of some rather meticulous mechanical engineering.

Instead of merely relying on clever software coding, Toyota’s engineers realised that the severe loads Hilux owners operate their bakkie under, would require improved hardware.

The improvement in power is credited to a larger variable nozzle turbocharger, capable of rushing more air into the system. This new turbocharger is also part of a redesigned exhaust manifold, which feeds it a more efficient pathway of gas to power the impeller.

More boost and power mean greater pressures and to balance those, the engine block is reshaped to be a stronger overall structure. Toyota has also sourced new pistons and rings, to cope with the increased internal loads of its 150 kW 2.8 GD engine.

In bakkies engine cooling can become an issue when towing heavy loads, or churning through thick sand, in sweltering temperatures. To ensure the new Hilux 2.8 never runs too warm, Toyota’s engineers redesigned the cylinder head for a superior water jacket shape, facilitating better cooling.

Hilux bakkies are popular overlanding and off-road exploration vehicles. Toyota has also worked on improving the diesel particulate filter system (DPF) of its new 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine. This is something that will be of particular interest to South African customers, who regularly venture deep into rural areas and bordering countries, where fuel quality can be poor.

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