Unsealed 4X4 Vault: SAS D40 Navara

ByWes WhitworthMay 11, 2020
Unsealed 4X4 Vault: SAS D40 Navara

It’s a bit hard to get out and shoot customs right now so here’s one from the Unsealed 4X4 Vault: an SAS D40 Navara. Yep, this awesome live-axle Nav’s as tough as they get!

Considering his day job involves the hire and sale of camper trailers, you can understand why Dylan has built up a work truck from scratch and thrown a solid axle swap (SAS) at it to boot. Besides being a fairly mental and capable custom D40 Navara, Dylan has also thrown a few touring mods at the Nav for the extended weekend away. Though, not long after we shot and ran this, it ended up with a compound turbo setup, running all of the boost!

We caught up with Dylan at Pine Creek in Bundaberg – his local playground – and figured the world needed to know how well this rig goes, so thought it easily worthy of running as an Unsealed 4X4 Vault: SAS D40 Navara. After spending five minutes under this thing, it blew our minds when thinking about the thought and effort that’s gone into the build, and all of the custom work Dylan has personally done to make this D40 absolutely one of a kind.

Oh, and his custom 4WD Activation is next-level…

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Manual 4×4 activation do-hickey is neat.


The D40 Navara has been a tradie’s staple for many years, having both good and bad attributes, with issues cropping up and forums upon forums of ways to fix them.

This particular example started out as Dylan’s plumbing workhorse and it was initially picked up to use for the odd weekend job when he wasn’t working for the boss.

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When Dylan and his missus opened up Bundaberg Adventure Camper Hire, there was the need to have a vehicle that screamed adventure, looked the part, drove the part, and was capable enough to go and rescue a camper trailer that someone had taken somewhere they probably shouldn’t have.

Dylan initially picked the Nav up with 110K on the clock, with a 2-inch lift and a relatively standard black fibreglass canopy. All of the bar work and tray have been built by Dylan to his own specs and design. As you can see, just about the only things that remain untouched are the YD25 donk and the black paint.

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That’s a flipped 80 Series diff up front.


The solid axle swap is the first thing that jumps out at you when you look at Dylan’s custom D40 Navara. After Dylan tore his seventh CV to shreds, he opted for a flipped 80 Series front diff running the stock 4.1:1 ratio. He’s installed a set of ARB Air Lockers front and rear, a set of Chromoly CVs and axles and a set of 37-inch BFG KM2s wrapped around 17-inch King Locker rims. Justin at Ironhide Customs performed the front-end swap in just two weeks and Dylan couldn’t be happier with the job. Holding the chassis above the front diff is a set of 7-inch springs combined with 10-inch Fox remote-res shocks.

The rear has been coil-converted with a PSR 5-link setup, with 7-inch springs and 12-inch Bilstein remote reservoir shocks. The rear initially held a set of custom setup leaves with orbital eyes, however, was converted to the 5-link setup from PSR for a bit of “R&D” on a new kit they were working on.

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Rear-end has coil conversion with 7-inch springs and 12-inch Bilsteins.

After having issues with the 4×4 actuator after one too many drownings, Dylan came up with a rather genius if somewhat inelegant way of fixing it. Cue the cheap-arse extension bars and wobble joints, tearing the guts out, and a date with the MIG, and you get a magical-looking manual activation do-hickey. Honestly, we love it!

The Nav also has a set of 2-inch poly-blocks that Dylan would have removed, but the tray and bar work are made to suit, so they’ll be staying for the time being.

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Custom snorkel and airbox feed the boosted YD25 diesel.


All of the bar work and tray on this Nav has been built at home by Dylan in his spare time; which suggests he’s bloody quick at fab work or desperately needs a hobby!

He knocked up the front bar from steam pipe then plated it in to house the LED spotties, lightbar and also the Smittybilt winch.

And he knocked up the tray at home (the joys of owning a TIG!), mounted it, put the roof topper and awning on it, the batteries under it, the fridge in it, and the jerry cans on the back – all for a third what he was quoted just to build the steel canopy! Hell, if you can, why not?

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HKS F-Con iD piggyback computer provides tuneability.


The interior has been left reasonably standard with just the essentials added – UHF, locker and light switches… and the HKS F-Con iD piggyback computer. This allows Dylan a solid tuneable EPROM, so he’s bumping in all of the fuel and jamming 27psi of boost into the YD25, and pulling out a stonking 880Nm of torque matched with a very respectable 157kW. And yeah, this is only a little 2.5L four-banger. The high-flowed GTX wheel enclosed within the Garrett turbo might have something to do with this, too…

Other cool stuff includes a custom made airbox mated up to a 4-inch snorkel he literally built one random Saturday with a mate, under a gazebo in his front yard. Sounds like my kind of day off!

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But wait, there’s more! The D40 also has a roof-topper up on the canopy, a 95L Waeco on a homemade slide, a rear undertray drawer for everything else, and 40L of water on the back, making this one of the toughest tourers we’ve seen in a good while. That said, we’re pretty sure this is really a mental-play fourby with all the touring gear bolted on to make it look like a ‘tourer’. Regardless, it’s clearly worthy of its ‘Unsealed 4X4 Vault: SAS D40 Navara’ status, just like the awesome Unsealed 4X4 Vault: 80 Series we ran recently.