Saturday 11 November 2017

The Hiace Mk III | Fitting a Turbo to 2.8D (3L) Hiace Engine

For the past week or so I've been at The workshop in Hipperholme, home of Blood Red Off Road, where I've had all my previous 4WD mods done by Dave. This time I've been with mechanic Hans, who's been working on turbocharging my Hiace!

For a long time I'd been considering the options to increase the power of my van. The 2.8 Diesel is a tough and reliable engine, but it lacks power especially on long motorway runs the like of which are unavoidable on my trips. I've been considering possibilities such as exchanging the engine for a more powerful Toyota unit, or adding a turbo.

After much research over the summer I decided on the turbo as the most straight forward and cost effective option. I discovered that especially in Australia this has been done for years, both on the Hilux pickup and on Hiace vans with the '3L' engine.

After some consideration I ordered the parts necessary from Turboglide who supply a purpose made manifold and a Garrett GT25 turbo along with all the necessary hoses and fittings. There is info online about fitting Toyota turbos from a 2.4 Hilux Surf, but I decided to go for the new Garrett set up rather than sourcing used parts and working out all the necessary fittings required. Hopefully this would save workshop time.

So Hans got to work on the engine, removing the exhaust and manifold, and the air intake manifold, to be replaced with the turbo ducting. Before fitting the new exhaust manifold and turbo, it was necessary to fit the oil feed and return lines. These are fitted into existing oil ports in the engine block. The oil pressure light switch had to be moved to a different position in order to route the oil feed line from its original location..

Once the new manifold and turbo were fitted, and the oil feed and return lines connected up, it was time to assemble the intake air ducting to and from the turbo. At this point we discovered that there was a lot less space than was necessary to route the intake ducting where it was supposed to go. This turned out to be due to variations in the engine bay size - the 4WD version of the Hiace I have has larger wheel arches and therefore a more restricted engine bay..

Dimension from engine block to body work

The next morning, after we'd all had a good think on possible solutions, Hans got to exploring the space available. It was here that his experience came to the fore - there was perhaps just enough space, for a pipe - it could be routed without having to modify the air filter bay to make it fit. After a trip to AP Motorstore, we returned with some stainless tubing and additional silicone hoses. Hans got to welding and the visualisation became a reality..

With this pipe it was then possible to finish the assembly of the intake ducting. Hans also needed to modify some of the other pipe fittings and it was by no means a simple process of assembly, each step needing some tweaks to get a good fitting. Eventually it was all together..

This area where the turbo is fitted, is of course, all underneath the drivers seat! So we got the floor and seat all bolted back in place, but it still wasn't time to turn the key and go for a test drive, as the exhaust had to be fitted to meet the new turbo downpipe..

Hans at work on the exhaust

The turbo was temporarily connected up to my original stainless exhaust system until I could go to the exhaust workshop and have it fitted up in 2 1/4" stainless there..

This is Shaun at Keltec Performance near Leeds, showing off the new stainless downpipe he made to mate up with my existing stainless exhaust. Shaun did a great job - very neat welding and at a reasonable price.

Time to test drive the van... All I can say is, incredible difference! It's like having a new, more powerful, quieter engine. The van now climbs hills with ease, and motorway runs have been a pleasure, no problem cruising at 60/65 mph - no longer in the slow lane following the trucks. No exaggeration, this has really transformed my van - it's a different vehicle from what it was before. 🚐💤

A big thanks to Hans, Shaun, and to John at Turboglide for technical advise and photos.

Thanks for following along!

Any questions, add to comments to keep this info updated.

Have a good one!


  1. Congratulations on the mod. I used to run a hilux surf 3.0td. If it moves anything like that it will always have enough poke when you need it.

  2. Ha ha thanks! She's certainly a lot 'perkier' now 🚐💤