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Payload Performer

A Ford XR6 Turbo ute pushing some serious grunt - and with more on the way!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • XR6T ute
  • 391kW (524hp) at the wheels
  • 6-speed T56 conversion
  • And more on its way!
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In the battle for XR6 Turbo power, you can't dismiss Chris Taylor of Queensland. Chris's XR6T ute looks like a stocker with the exception of its wheels and lowered stance but it turns the chassis dyno rollers quite unlike anything that's stock

Chris bought his ute brand new for everyday work duties – and a bit of fun on the side. With 240kW at the flywheel in factory guise, the ute was useable, grunty and quick – but it didn’t have that unmistakable aftermarket punch. It offered ‘smoothie performance’.

“Yeah, it was alright standard,” says Chris.

“But now it’s complete unrecognisable to drive,” he adds with a wry smile.

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The car’s first meeting with the ‘Speed Man’s’ spanner came at Redcliffe Dyno and Performance (RDP). Steve from RDP began with the entry-level 300kW upgrade comprising a RDP piggy-back computer (which drives the injectors directly) and a replacement K&N panel filter. A set of Bosch 363 Bosch injectors were also thrown in to allow scope for some more power a little down the track.

A good move as it turns out.

Not long after its first bout of mods, Chris returned the car to Redcliffe Dyno and Performance for an upgrade that saw the machine cranking out 316kW (424hp) at the wheels. Steve says the hardware combo was tailored to suit Chris’ immediate and future needs – they gave him the bang he wanted at the time and left the power envelope unlicked.

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The second round of mods involved a Nizpro ‘Cobra’ air-to-air intercooler (which is substantially larger than the factory front-mount unit) and replacement inlet plenum together with a relocated Nizpro airbox. An Odyssey battery is also mounted on the opposite side of the engine bay to let everything fit. The exhaust side of things was also freed up thanks to a custom 3 inch mandrel system.

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With the Bosch 363 injectors aimed down the 4.0’s bores, it was also decided an extra fuel pump should be included in the package. This serves as a ‘helper’ pump and eases tension in the case something goes wrong with the factory pump (which would otherwise be running at its limit).

With 316kW at the wheels, both Steve and Chris were conscious that they were pushing the standard internals pretty hard. At this point, the long engine was freighted to Nizpro in Melbourne for a ‘high strength’ build.

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The 4.0 litre DOHC mill was built with H-beam rods and forged pistons providing the factory compression ratio. The top-end was also given upgraded valve springs – a known weakness in the standard engine. Aside from that, the engine was left pretty much factory.

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Once returned to Brisbane, the engine was slotted into the XR’s nose together with the existing Nizpro intake manifold and pre-turbo inlet arrangement. The only supporting change is a 3 ½ inch exhaust with twin HSV LS1 cats.

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Amazingly, an Extrude Honed version of the standard turbo remains in service – no need for a bigger huffer yet. A 15 psi Nizpro wastegate actuator provides stable boost control. Steve controls the wastegate bleed solenoid via the RDP computer and says a very low solenoid duty cycle is required to deliver a boost pressure of 15.8 psi.

On this relatively mild level of boost, Chris’s XR6T has put out a huge 391kW (524hp) at the back wheels!

But not everything has been plain sailing.

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The stock clutch and 5 speed manual gearbox were both showing signs of wear after just 25,000km of use. The stock ‘box is a pretty gruff unit anyway so Chris decided to upgrade to a Mal Wood T56 6 speed kit. The 6 speed gives greater flexibility and has no problem handling the torque. The standard 3.45:1 LSD remains.

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At the time of writing, the car has yet to make a quarter mile pass and everyone in the RDP camp knows that traction will be the biggest hurdle. The ANZ 18 inch wheels and 245/40s are fine for normal street use but there’s no way they’ll cut the mustard on the strip; a big set of slicks is what the doctor ordered. We imagine there might also be some fine tuning in the suspension department as the only mods so far are Pedders 50mm lowered front coils, reset rear leafs and Pedders dampers.

As it stands, this is undoubtedly one of the quickest XR6 Turbos on the street. We’ll need to wait a little while for it to become one of the quickest on the strip.


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Since our photo shoot Chris has gone to the next level of seriousness. The T56 manual has made way for a 2 speed Powerglide with high stall converter, trans brake, 9 inch diff, mini tubs and the latest RDP sequential computer – the engine now makes almost 448kW (600hp) at the wheels.

Oh, and Chris is also looking at a fitting bigger turbo and maybe nitrous... Stay tuned!


Redcliffe Dyno and Performance                          +61 7 3284 1925


Nizpro                                                                           +61 3 9761 1522


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