April 11, 2022 / by Danny Mavis

It’s big, burly, and an off-roading legend. It’s the Toyota Landcruiser 70 series. And virtually unchanged for the better part of 40 years. This is the car you’d want in the bush or the farm. A workhorse ute with all the hallmarks of fabled Toyota reliability.

Toyota has stuck to the tried and tested formula in the 70 series for ages. Compared to smaller and recent utes, often with overly-stressed 4-cylinder diesels, here you have a huge 4.5 litre V8 oil burner with pulling power by the bucket load. It’s tuned more towards durability, and there’s more than a few horses on tap than the quoted 151kW (just north of 200bhp). For the intended purpose, this is just the right balance. Older 70 series single cab variants, prior to 2007, have a 4.2 litre 6-cylinder turbo-diesel with 122kW or a naturally aspirated diesel with a whopping 96kW and considerably less torque. No engine will see you breaking speed records, but if you need a little more momentum down highways, or when coming off the lights, a few performance tweaks and upgrades won’t hurt.

One of the first upgrades, and one that brings a host of benefits, is an aftermarket exhaust. This is designed a bit wider than the stock exhaust, but those few added millimetres can seriously up the performance of a big, heavy ute like the 79 series. Installing a reworked 79 Series Exhaust will free up more air, so the engine breathes better. This improves both overall performance and efficiency. You’ll get the speedo ticking faster, without the expected rise in fuel consumption. In fact, fuel consumption will likely drop, as the engine needs to work less to get up to the optimal rev ranges. Pair an aftermarket exhaust with a decent air intake (read snorkel) and you’ll be doing your car and your wallet a favour.

79 series exhaust
source: pinterest.com

Types of Exhausts that Suit the 79 Series

Since this is a diesel, you’ll be looking to diesel-specific exhaust systems. There are variants that fit the naturally aspirated engines, and these will have slightly narrower tubing, at 2.5 inches than the turbo variants, coming in at 3 or 3.5 inches. There is also a range of different exhausts. Pipe-back exhausts are those that change out all the stock tubing from the down pipe to the exhaust tips. They will also include a catalytic converter delete to allow for freer air flow. In addition, you’ll find exhausts with added extractors to optimise pressure and heat levels throughout the length of the exhaust. These are found in the non-turbo engines.

Manifold or header back exhausts feature new, wider tubing from the exhaust manifold. This allows for bigger performance gains, and reduces the effects of possible backpressure buildup in the narrower tubes of the stock exhaust. The biggest differences, though, come from turbo-back variants. A fully-packaged turbo-back 79 Series Exhaust will include a modified turbo manifold flange, a high rated down pipe and extractors. The DPF filter will also be better performing, burning more of the toxic particles, so CO2 emissions are improved as well. There’s less stress on the turbine, so air flow in and out of the cylinders is increased and faster. Revs will pick up quicker as a result, allowing for the turbo to do its thing.

For all variants there is the option of a muffler delete. This means the stock muffler is replaced with straight tubing, which prevents gas flow restriction. There’ll be a significant change to the exhaust sound, becoming more audible and in deeper notes. The opposite is also true. Adding resonators to the mix will mute what noise already burbles from the tubes. You do have to pay for that privilege though.

landcruiser 79 exhaust
source: 4x4venhicles.com

Finding Your Next Exhaust Upgrade

With the Landcruiser an Aussie favourite, there are dozens of local exhaust builders catering to your needs. They’ll have offerings benefitting from computer-aided designs to maximise exhaust flow throughout the whole length of the exhaust system. This also includes precise production techniques, like mandrel bending, to ensure that there is little of the resistance typical in the stock exhaust. The wider and straighter tubing offers better durability, and damped mounts mute out vibrations. Where possible, look for a hand-built exhaust to ensure you get the best product available.

What is considerably better is the use of materials. High-grade 409 stainless steel along the entire exhaust means it will last longer. It can handle more pressure or heat buildup, so won’t rupture. The same goes for the outer walls that are more durable when in direct contact with water, mud, or when scraping rough surfaces. Here coatings help to keep your exhaust as good as new. There’ll be no rusting or staining.

After you’ve located the right type of exhaust for your 79 series model, it’s time to consider installation. Shops offer doing the work for you, and this is recommended to get the best fit and ensure the exhaust works as it should. You can save a few dollars by installing this with the help of a friend who’s also mechanically inclined. Look for kits with included mounting parts. Most exhausts are simple bolt-on types, that fit within the area provided for the stock exhaust in the underbody. This means no additional work. Search for local exhaust builders online or visit your nearest 4×4 accessories store.