This Toyota Hilux has travelled with the Top Gear team to the magnetic North Pole and with James May to an active volcano in Iceland. Now it faces a new challenge: the massive, scorching sand dunes of Dubai.
The temperatures in the desert between the UAE and Oman regularly reach above 120 degrees fahrenheit. This stresses most vehicles, but nowhere near as much as climbing the massive desert dunes in this topographical oven. But dune climbing is exactly what one journalist recently did in the Toyota Hilux.
Toyota Hilux trucks are exceptionally tough and versatile. Being a vehicle designed for construction and farm use and then heavily re-engineered for the Arctic, this particular Hilux is not exactly at home in the desert. It dug in and bottomed out on the peak of a dune ending the trip before it really began. Both of the front-end’s CV joints completely disintegrated. Oil was leaking out and a rescue was needed.
Thankfully Icelandic person and Arctic Trucks representative Hjalti Hjaltasona was on hand to make sure nothing too reckless was done. Arctic Trucks prepared the Toyotas used by Top Gear in their challenge.
Hjaltason was part of the team that did the modifications and was present during the making of the film. These mods for travel on thin ice and snow include relocating the front suspension 40 mm lower and 50 mm forward to make room for the hand-made tires. The tires only ride on 15 inch wheels but the tires themselves are 38 inches in diameter. They have two valves so air can be easily let in or out. The low traction of the sea ice and powdery snow means that lower tire pressure is often necessary. These tires are more than happy to roll at 4psi.
There are aluminum skid plates that are five millimeters thick. They protect the bumper, suspension, transmission, differentials and transfer case. The entire drivetrain was modified to better handle the cold. Naturally a long excursion like this requires a larger fuel tank that requires the exhaust system to be rerouted.
For the rest of the story, head over to Autoguide