Dan's 4x4 Extreme Interview

Cross Country 4x4The competition scene these days is ultra competitive, and if you want to be near the top, you need a very well built truck! But when it comes to the racing-style competition, like the outback challenge, horsepower is the key to winning these competitions. Dan Hansen is only new to the competition scene but is already making a big impression.

He bought this GU Ute off the showroom floor back in 2005 with only one thing in mind: to turn it into the ultimate racing truck. The GU has been a favourite in the competition scene for a while now, thanks to their bulletproof driveline and the ease with which they can be modified. While Dan may be new to the competition scene, he definitely isn’t new top 4WDing, already owning a fully decked out 100 Series, which gets the family touring duties and another GU ute with 35s that is used for his bricklaying  job.

Dan reckons building this GU has been a huge learning curve, even now with all the work he's done Dan is still learning about what works and what doesn’t.  “After every race we totally strip it down and rebuild it again changing everything that we need to along the way, "Dan says. Now days , the mighty GU looks nothing like what it did five years ago with a 4-link setup in the rear, Coilovers, 37in Treps and an engine that puts out 500ph at the rear wheels! But we won't tell you what that is just yet, that would spoil it! Make sure you keep an eye out for Dan and the big GU in the upcoming events like Cliffhanger.  If you don't see the GU you will more likely hear it!


VEHICLE: 2005 Nissan Patrol

ENGINE: 5.7L Chevrolet Turbocharged GEN3 V8

GEARBOX: Nissan 5-Speed auto

TRANSFER: Factory Nissan

SUSPENSION: Front- Solid axle, Coil sprung King coils, King triple-bypass shocks, King hydraulic bump stops, FAT radius control arms, Rear- Solid axles, custom 4-link, King triple bypass shocks, King Coilovers, Strengthened control arms.

TYRES: 37x12.5R17 Maxxis Trepador comp spec

WHEELS: 17x10 BTR Beadlock forged Alloy



With the huge amount of power that is going through the driveline, there has had to be serious modifications on the diffs. To stop the actual diff housing getting damaged, Dan has welded a whole lot more steel onto it including a skid plate on the bottom of the housing. Inside he is running Cal Offroad chromoly CVs and the hubs are manually operated billet steel items from Superior Engineering. "The factory items couldn't handle the 500hp+ so far these things that have been able to hold up, “Dan says. The diff centres both front and rear have 4.6 diff ratios fitted along with a set of ARB Air lockers. You would image that with the extra horsepower the standard Nissan auto wouldn't hold up to the punishment. Wrong. Dan is actually still using the factory GU box, but it has had few tweaks here and there. These include a custom made full manual valve body and a big auto cooler. With the custom made valve body it lets Dan drive it like a manual just without the worry of a clutch!

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Ok, before even looking under the bonnet, you can tell by the twin 4in snorkels, anything that needs that much airflow puts down some serious horsepower! You probably can already tell that it definitely isn't the standard 4.2 turbo diesel under the bonnet. Instead Dan has squeezed in a Chevy 5.7L GEN III v8 under the hood, but this isn't your ordinary 5.7L V8.

What makes it far from ordinary is the Garrett turbocharger that's been thrown on! All built by Cross Country 4x4 Dan is running a full a full custom fuel system with surge tank, three fuel pumps, custom manifold and custom intercooler. Tuned to 13psi this monster can throw down power figures of 350kW at the rear wheels! With the unique exhaust set-up, Dan has spent some time trying to control the heat; he reckons that the GUs melted a few things even with the heat wrap!

When you look at the engine bay, it's very confusing to see where everything goes. Basically Dan's running twin 4in snorkels for the intake, all the intercooler piping is 3in mandral bent aluminium pipe, the external waste gate releases into the exhaust system through a 2.5in pipe and the 3.5in dump pipe goes straight-through 3.5in exhaust which finishes up just in front of the rear diff.

The radiator is a custom copper unit that is mounted behind the cab with twin thermos. This was relocated because the only place to mount an intercooler big enough was where the radiator once was.

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Cross Country 4x4Inside the cab looks like you typical comp truck, switches everywhere you look and everything that isn’t needed stripped out. The seats Dan is running are Velo race spec bucket seats with a four-point harness. Keeping an eye on all the pressures and temps on an engine like this is essential, with so much money thrown in it the last thing Dan wants is it to blow-up!

Mounted right in front of him is a tacho and the two main temp gauges. In the dash is a volt meter, boost pressure and controller and an oil pressure gauge. An interior roll cage has also been built, so even if Dan has a huge roll he knows that at least the roof won’t cave in on him.

For a comp truck, this GU sure looks good! There is something about it that stands out from the rest and everything just comes together to make one good looking truck. Up front is a custom-made tube bar which has been built as close to the body as possible to improve the approach angle. In a bid to further improve the approach angle, instead of mounting the winch up front Dan has mounted it in the rear. The winch rope still comes out the front thanks to a system of eyelets that run up the guts of the GU. The winch he's using is a high-mount Warn with twin 24V motors running 60m of Dynamica plasma rope. The lights mounted on the roof and on the front bar are all Hellas that have been converted to HID, these throw out enough light to illuminate a small town!

The rear tray was built so that anything that’s mounted on it is easy and quick to get to, plus it gives plenty of room of the rear wheels to articulate. The tray itself is made from 2in steel tube and was all fabricated and put together by FAT in Melbourne.


To be competitive in the Outback Challenge and events alike, the suspension setup has to be spot on with no shortcuts. The last thing you want is for something to let go at high-speed. Dan has put in a lot of effort into the suspension set-up, he reckons after every event he changes it trying to find the extra edge of the competition. Up front is a set of King coils that sit around the 4.25in mark, the height is always changing with the coil-over in the rear so it's hard to tell the exact height.

The shocks are 2in King racing shocks with remote reservoirs and King hydraulic bump stops have been put in to help soften the harsh landings. The radius arms Dan's using are made by FAT, these are extremely strong but super light, making it perfect for a race truck. The steering set-up is pretty standard using the factory GU steering box and Superior Engineering arms. With the coil-over in the rear the factory suspension set-up was never going to cut it. To get the most out of it a 4-link conversion was done by FAT in Melbourne. This involved removing the Panhard rod and upper control arms and fabricating an A-frame. This gives the added movement that's needed to get the most out of the coil-over setup.

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The choice of tyres in a competition can be the difference between winning or losing. Maxxis have been making tyres for a dam long time, and when it comes to comp-spec 4WD tyres they definitely know what they're on about. Dan opted to go straight for a tyre that has been proven time and time again as one of the better comp-spec tyres around. They come in the form of Maxxis trepadors measuring in at 37x12.5R17in wrapped around a set of BTR beadlocked forged alloy wheels measuring 17x10in."The tyres have been awesome they give us great traction no matter what the terrain is “says Dan.

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Dan would like to say a big thank you to his wife Melanie flor her love and support. He would also like to that Chris & Grant from Cross Country 4x4 who are not only sponsors but great mates.

Others include Brighton Tyre Power, oriental 4x4, Castrol oils, Dynamica rope, Hella Australia, Hyperform custom leads and Knight for doing all the sign work. 

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