Toyota Hilux: Everything You Need to Know about Exhaust Upgrades

Almost one in five new vehicle sales are utes, and a bigger chunk of that is Toyota Hiluxes, The Hilux has outpaced every other ute for quite some time, owing to leading reliability, pokey engines, and go-anywhere usability. The nameplate has been a staple in the Aussie market for over 5 decades, and is a buyer’s favourite. Both petrol and diesel versions, with 2 or 4WD have made their mark throughout the years, culminating in the current 4×4 Hilux Rugged X with a 2.8-litre turbodiesel and over 200 bhp.

This is the top-of-the-line ute in Australia’s leading car brand, but there are also (slightly underpowered) petrol and diesel versions geared towards tradies. And older variants of the Hilux that didn’t exactly speed machines. The shift to turbocharging has helped in increasing torque and power for a bit more get-up-and-go, but there are quite a few cars that need some help here. Simple and inexpensive upgrades like an aftermarket Toyota Hilux exhaust nudge cars towards better acceleration and higher top speeds.

hilux exhaust


What do You get with an Exhaust Upgrade?

  • Better Airflow – Factory exhausts on the Hilux are one of the limiting factors keeping available engine power at bay. Stock exhausts are very restrictive. They rob the engine of breathing space in getting exhaust gases out quicker, so a new combustion cycle can take place. This has as much to do with the design of the exhaust as well as how the tubing is set. In an upgraded 4×4 Hilux exhaust, tubing is wider and without unnecessary bends and twists that create gas flow bottlenecks. With no restriction, exhaust gases exit the car faster. And this means better engine efficiency, and better acceleration. You get a few tenths off the quoted 0-100 km/h of 10,1 seconds in the diesel.
  • Increased Fuel Efficiency – With improved exhaust scavenging, or the vacuum that pulls exhaust gases out faster, there’s also less backpressure. Not only is there more power from the engine, but it uses less fuel in the process.
  • Less Engine Wear – Reduced stresses and temperatures from the exhaust manifold to the tips means there’s less wear to the tubing as well as the engine internals, particularly the exhaust valves and cams. An upgraded exhaust on your ute helps engines last longer.
  • Better Exhaust Sound – You can add some horsepower as well as some character to the exhaust sound. Different resonator and muffler combinations let you hear more of the engine. This along with wider tubes produces some interesting results. If you think that the exhaust is a bit too loud, if there were such a thing, then you can go with silencers. The good thing is that can modify the sound of the stock exhaust into something that sounds better to the ear.
  • Exhausts Better Suited for Off-roading – Stock exhausts can struggle from corrosion and punctures in more demanding off-road driving. This is due to the use of mild steel. Opting for higher-grade stainless steel exhaust systems with additional enamel coatings ensures that there’s less wear. The exhaust will last longer, even when battered by rocks and road spray, and also retain its good looks.
hilux exhaust system


Exhaust Systems for the Toyota Hilux

There are several options to choose from here. It all depends on how much extra performance you want and the type of engine under the bonnet. Most aftermarket Toyota Hilux exhausts are for the different diesel engines (standard or with a turbo), but you’ll still find those that fit the 2.4 and 2.7-litre petrols in the Hilux Workmate, as well as older petrol variants.

For the current 2.8 litre turbo, there are DPF-back exhausts that bring mild power gains. This is also fitted to standard, non-turbodiesel engines in older cars. If outright performance is your goal, Turbo-back exhausts that swap out all the tubing from the exhaust manifold to the tips, might be more to your liking. The older 3-litre turbodiesel in the Toyota Surf benefits more with a turbo-back exhaust, bringing it in line with the figures in the current engine (150kW and 420Nm of torque). Besides more horsepower at higher revs, you also get more pulling power lower down the rev range. Good for steep inclines or when towing.

4-litre V6 petrols and the 2.4 and 2.7-litre in-line fours are well equipped with a Cat-back exhaust. Like DPF exhausts in the diesels, there are improved emissions, and better removal of toxic fuel particles with higher-rated converters and filters.

What to Look for in an Aftermarket Hilux Exhaust?

Look for mandrel-bent tubing in wider diameters (3 and 3.5 inches) to ensure that it retains shape no matter what. Quality 409 stainless steel (or higher grades) with heat resistant coatings for better wear and corrosion resistance. And hand-built exhausts that meet strict ADR regulations and which have undergone serious testing and quality control.

Is installation an Issue?

If you’re good around basic tools, then certainly not. If not, then leave the work to a pro. All aftermarket exhausts come with everything needed for fitment, including mounting brackets and flanges, and all systems are simple bolt-on types that fit in the factory recesses of the stock exhaust.