Citizen reporter
3 minute read
17 Jul 2015
4:13 pm

RGM’s Hilux Supercharged is still going strong

Citizen reporter

What’s the point of having the Show if you haven’t got the Go? That’s the question owners of giant, high-riding 4x4s -- like this Toyota Hilux Legend 45 double cab - are asking themselves.

Toyota Hilux. Picture: Toyota SA

Fortunately, RGMotorsport has the answer.

An Arctic Truck conversion such as the one carried out on this Toyota bakkie hinges on increasing track width and ground clearance and a crucial part of achieving that are the huge, metre-tall) wheel/tyre combination.

This, and the extended wheelarches, increases mechanical and aerodynamic drag respectively.

Rob Green, managing director of RGMotorsport explains: “The larger footprint means more power is required to turn the wheels, and the raised height plus the wider bodywork means an increase in frontal area – which means more wind resistance. In addition, the taller tyres change the overall gearing, so performance and fuel consumption will inevitably be compromised in a number of ways. Finally, what’s the point of a truck like this is you don’t hang some accessories on it – so the weight tends to go up too!”

RGMotorsport’s solution comes in the form of an engine upgrade to compensate, and in this instance the Toyota V6 gets fitted with a supercharger kit – a conversion which has been tried and tested. In fact, across Hilux, Fortuner, Prado and FJ Cruiser, RGMotorsport has fitted a ‘blower’ to dozens of examples of this engine family.

Jaco Swanepoel, who owns a Hilux 4×4 double cab, has covered over half-a-million trouble-free km over a period of more than five years. Read his testimonial from mid-2013 on the following link: Happy with my Hilux and when we contacted him mid-July this year, he told us that nothing has changed as far as his positive sentiments are concerned…

The single VVTi version is rated at 175kW and 376Nm on the showroom floor but when the forced induction gurus from Strydom Park, north of Johannesburg, have finished forcing high pressure and well-chilled air into it, there’s 295 kW and 493 Nm on offer.

Needless to say, this transforms performance and gives the Hilux the ability to cope with the 37-inch wheel/tyre combo, resulting in scintillating performance and excellent all-round driveability. But RGM Supercharged conversions aren’t the reserve of ‘theme’ trucks like this: ordinary Toyotas can benefit hugely, especially if towing is on the agenda.

To provide context, an FJ Cruiser Supercharged reaches a top speed of almost 235km/h, and storms to 100km/h in just 7.17 seconds. In fact, it accelerates to 120 in the exact same time it takes the standard FJ to reach 100: 9.7 seconds! Mid-range urge is underpinned by an 80 – 120 km/h ‘kickdown’ time of 4.5 seconds, which is slightly quicker than a powerful D-segment sedan like a Honda Accord 3.5 V6.

The conversion is high-tech one and at its heart a Vortech supercharger unit, imported from the United States and custom-fitted, utilising a number of bespoke components designed and fabricated to RGM’s requirements.

The acclaimed Unichip Q, a programmable electronic unit, enables a skilled tuner to recalibrate various fuel and ignition parameters on a rolling road dynamometer to meet the supercharger’s requirements from idle to redline.

With more air being forced into the engine via the supercharger – which has its own liquid to air intercooler to reduce intake temperatures – there are more spent gases to be exhaled.

Handling this process is a 76mm RGM-Techniflow exhaust, a premium-quality system defined by the use of high-grade stainless steel, mandrel bends (which doesn’t distort the inside of the pipe and create wrinkles which disrupt the airflow) and TIG-welding – which requires a skilled artisan working with precision welding equipment for an end result which is free of airflow-disrupting residue on the inside of the pipe.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we’ve earned our spurs when it comes to power-enhancing and reliable upgrades to the Toyota V6 engine,” says Rob Green.

“I’m confident that the owner of this vehicle will enjoy the same level of pleasure as Jaco Swanepoel does, who has done 520 000 km in his example, and it is still going strong…”