3 Nissan Patrol Mods for the Ultimate Big Lap Experience

Ultimate road trips come under different definitions, By any standard, the Big Lap, circumventing the whole of this vast country is for many an unfulfilled dream. The 15000 kilometres take months to complete and are dotted with thousands of pristine locations all vying for your attention. For anyone with this on their bucket list, going prepared is one way to enjoy Australia’s immense natural beauty.

A capable 4WD is essential to deal with potholes, dust-filled narrow stretches while overtaking road trains, or detours on unsealed trails due to flooding. And in this respect, only two vehicles qualify – the current lap record holder, the Landcruiser, and its long-standing rival, the Nissan Patrol. The cars are unlike anything else in terms of off-roading ability but differ in the engine setup. Toyota has mainly stuck to diesels, while the Patrol still holds onto the tried and tested 5.6-litre V8. Owners get 400 horses under the hood, leeway for any mods they want, and pulling power to get the biggest caravan anywhere in the country.

While a solid option even in stock form, the Patrol is unsurprisingly one of the most modded cars. For a gruelling undertaking like the Big Lap, you’ll want something that opens up the engine, all the fuel range you can get, and if you’re after some form of civility, the right caravan accessories. These are three essentials for any trip that takes you into uncharted territory and takes months (if not years) to complete.

Going with Aftermarket Patrol Exhausts

factory for Y62 Patrol exhaust
source: www.facebook.com/FactoryDirect4x4Exhausts

To get more out of the current model, consider a Y62 Patrol exhaust upgrade. The stock tubing is known to be too restrictive, with numerous bends and narrower tubing slowing exhaust flow, and impeding the big V8’s performance. Slapping on an aftermarket system opens up the engine, brings in more horses and better pulling power, and with better efficiency, lowers fuel use.

Wider and straighter piping (3″ and upwards) helps with exhaust velocity, or how fast spent gases leave the car. This is important as it enables the next combustion cycle, and ensures your Patrol delivers power when you need it. The layout prevents a buildup of backpressure, or gases lingering in the piping, or making their way back into the cylinders, effectively choking the engine. Revised layouts are additionally paired with better materials, and production processes that promise more strength.

Local builders use 304 and 409 stainless steel for more performance and higher strength. Both materials are miles ahead of the crush-bent mild steel in the stock exhaust, are less prone to puncturing or denting, and have considerably better corrosion resistance when crossing streams, or wading through mud. Moreover, thicker exhaust walls can better handle heat cycling, or temperature extremes, preventing metal fatigue or potential cracks. The changes from stock also reduce engine stress, with lower exhaust gas temperatures.

A final consideration is how performance systems can be configured to suit individual needs. Owners of older Patrols can choose reworked mufflers to drone out excess noise and increase cabin comfort. For longer trips, or when towing, this is a must. Alternatively, go with muffler deletes to hear more of the engine roar. Or choose high-flow cats for even more volume. Parts are easily attached to the underbody, designed to accommodate other additions (bash plates, low-range fuel tanks, suspension upgrades etc) and have high-quality flanges and brackets to reduce vibrations and wear.

Choose a full header Y62 Patrol exhaust for the highest power gains, or save some cash and get most of the benefits with a quality cat-back system. Exhausts are modular by design and easy to install yourself if you know your way around your 4WD. Otherwise, factor in labour costs for a professional fit.

Increase Mileage with an Auxiliary Fuel Tank

Auxiliary Fuel Tank mounted on Nissan Patrol y62
source: longrangeautomotive.com.au

The Patrol is a heavy drinker, and even with the 140-litre stock tank, you’ll be looking at around 1000 kilometres in mixed driving conditions. This may be good on straighter stretches of the A1, but for fewer refills and more peace of mind (think the Nullabor Plain) with no service stations for hundreds of kilometres, an auxiliary tank is a must.

This is much safer than lugging jerry cans, connects to the stock tank, and comes with its own pump to draw fuel through a switch in the cabin. Separate gauges inform you when the tank is empty and when to turn off the pump. Look for quality aluminised steel builds in thicker gauges, tight TIG welds, compatible designs with the Patrol, and capacities that make the most sense. If your budget allows, go with a 120-litre tank to almost double the range.

Towing Accessories

Nissan Patrol y62 towing a trailer
source: Nissan

If you’re touring Australia with a caravan, besides the right 4×4 wheels and tyres, towing extras warrant the needed safety with a trailer or caravan fitted to the back of your Patrol. Towing mirrors, for instance, provide an extended view to the back, ensuring safer maneuvers when turning, merging and backing up. Patrol owners can go with different designs, from simple strap-on mirrors that clamp to the stock units, to full-sized replacement mirrors that offer a better and wider view out the back. The latter can be manually or electrically operated, have integrated indicators, and are easy to install, Most are also foldable, so won’t be a hassle when parking.

Lastly, basic towing necessities can make for a memorable trip. Besides tow bars rated for the caravan, also look into tow balls or hitches of the same sturdy materials and electric brake controllers to handle the weight of the caravan when slowing down, or on high-speed descents. All parts are built to the specified legal standards, come with warranties and are easy to install on your own.