There are dozens of reasons why you’d want to swap your stock Toyota Hilux exhaust for a revised, aftermarket option. While all Toyota engines last for ages, the exhaust is the part that often lets drivers down. In a used and abused Hilux this can lead to significantly poor fuel economy, a droning exhaust sound, gradual loss of power, and annoying creaks and rattles on Australia’s less-than-perfect roads. Accompanying issues like high exhaust temperatures and back-pressure buildup can additionally cause damage to the engine if not resolved on time.
Why Consider an Exhaust Upgrade?
The 2.8-litre diesel in the current Hilux puts out a decent amount of power and has all the torque you’d ever need. But you can do better by installing an uprated exhaust. The stock unit is one area where Toyota has cut corners to keep prices down. The tubing is crush-bent, so not particularly strong when faced with high exhaust pressure and temperatures, nor will it fare well when hitting rocks and road debris or splashed with a bit of rain or mud. And at 2.5 inches in diameter, it’s not the best to let the engine breathe. Exhaust gases that linger for longer along the tubing can be why the engine is losing power when pushed harder up an incline or when fully loaded. This has a lot to do with backpressure, or gases making their way back into the cylinder.
Aftermarket exhausts not only improve airflow but can also significantly reduce fuel use. You get better acceleration, higher top speeds, and a ute that is willing at everything you throw at it. All the while saving some cash. Plus, there’s the raspy exhaust note that’s missing with the factory variant. Longevity is improved as well, both in the piping and the lower stresses acting on the engine internals,
With wider tubing the engine gets more breathing room, so gases exit the car faster. And no unnecessary bends or twists means there’s less risk of exhaust backpressure. The tougher steel can hold its own against the higher exhaust temperatures in more spirited driving, and won’t kink, stain, or rust. In a word, you get a package that delivers on multiple fronts.
Which Type of Exhaust for My Hilux?
Since you’re driving a diesel ute, and one that is turbocharged, you have two options. Either a DPF Hilux exhaust that swaps out the stock tubing from the DPF filter all the way to the exhaust tips, or a complete turbo-back exhaust that replaces the old exhaust with new parts. Both will be better than what you currently have. A DPF-back system in your Hilux offers a noticeable improvement in power delivery at both high and low engine speeds, meaning more linear acceleration, and more grunt when you need it. The added space additionally changes how the exhaust sounds, with a deeper, angrier exhaust note coming out of the tips. You can configure a Toyota Hilux DPF-back exhaust with mufflers and resonators to quieten things down or have a straight pipe to add a little weight and volume to the sound. And since aftermarket units use better materials and better production processes, you get something that lasts
When you want the most the 130kW diesel has to give, then opt for a turbo-back system. This will include revised downpipes from the exhaust manifold and wider and straighter tubing throughout. Both systems add a few extra horsepower and a bit more torque down low, but it’s the turbo-back unit that reaps more of the benefits. The only downside is that it costs quite a bit extra, with most of the additional pricing going into the design and materials in the downpipes.
Petrol Hilux versions, with the exception of the single-cab 2.7-litre Workmate, are sold in fewer numbers, but these too can benefit from an exhaust upgrade. Here you’ll be looking at a cat-back or header-back system. And these too help with the mediocre power numbers and lower torque.
What to Look for
Buying a DPF Hilux exhaust can be a straightforward process if you know where to look. There are dozens of local builders, and some have been around quite some time, so know a thing or two. They use quality 409 or 304-grade stainless steel, strengthened alloys that are much tougher than the mild steel found in factory variants. They’re also easier to work with if you ever damage the system and need to repair it. Moreover, the exhaust walls are also thicker, and mandrel-bent. There’s the addition of a heat-resistant enamel coating that helps maintain looks and the use of quality joints in the different parts prevents vibrations, so no rustling or rattling sounds when you’re off-road or on unsealed roads.
Look for systems that fit within the recesses of the Hilux undercarriage, so you don’t have trouble with installation and additional work. Most aftermarket systems are of the bolt-on type, meaning you can get the DPF-back on the car yourself or with the help of a mate. All the needed hardware like flange plates and brackets is there. While there’s more work with the longer turbo-back versions, these too are easy to fit so you can save on labour costs.