• AdventureIntel



Words and Images by Josh Leonard

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un is a prime example of what happens if you have too much power. There’s a propensity for lots of explosions, general unhappiness and a risk of death. However, if you aren’t greedy, and you know how to sensibly be the Leader of Your Vehicle Almighty, getting more power without the explosions and death is possible.

Picture this: you live in a world where money is easy to come by and your partner lets you buy any 4WD accessory you could dream of without the risk of a marriage-ending argument, so you head out and buy every shiny thing off the shelf. Bar-work, massive muddies and a couple of spares while you’re at it, drawers, long range tanks, roof racks - the lot.

Then, you sit back and admire your handy work. Keen for your first drive, you jump in, turn the key and get going. Sounds awesome, right? Until you realise that there’s a whole lot of noise and not a lot of movement and you take a look at the fuel gauge only to see it plummeting towards empty at terminal velocity.

You could get used to your new way of living and slap on a “you can go fast, but I can go anywhere” sticker and call it a day, or, you could do something about it.

I found myself in this very predicament, but with less money and no partner to have marriage-ending arguments with. So not really that similar at all, but I had a 4WD with every accessory you could imagine fitted, that couldn’t pull the froth off a schooner. Thanks mainly to the 35s I insisted on fitting. I still have no ragrets (not even a single letter).

Knowing that even if I rubbed both of my brain cells together I still wouldn’t be able to learn how to tune the Ranger myself, I hit up the team at Berrima Diesel. If you’re thinking “geez, I’ve heard that name before.” it’s because you absolutely have, they’ve been helping wheelers get more power since 1956, they’re third generation tuners and are regarded as some of the absolute best in the industry.

Having a yarn to Andrew Leimroth, CEO of AWDTech - Berrima Diesel’s parent company, I explained that I needed a safe tune that’d get me more power and torque whilst providing better fuel efficiency. I was expecting him to laugh at me and exclaim “more power AND better fuel efficiency? You’re nuts.” Instead, he smiled and told me that this was their speciality and the ute was in safe hands.

“The engine runs smooth as silk, pulls like a pitbull on the end of a leash when it sees a Shitzu and the overall drivability has improved dramatically.”

I watched as the Ranger was driven on to the dyno and rather optimistically strapped down to make a couple of passes for some baseline figures, when the results came back they were more disappointing than I was as a child. After this the boys got to work, the Ranger looked like it was on life support as the guys furiously tapped away on their laptops and loaded custom tuning files to the ECU to breathe new life into it.

With the tunes loaded, a few more passes and some tweaks here and there the ute pushed out: 467.9Nm of torque and 103.1kW (up from baseline figures of: 360.4Nm and 91.4kW) chasing a safe and effective tune, I was stoked with these figures. Having lived with the tune now for three months, I’ve done a bunch of off road trips and racked up over 10,000KMs while I got to know what felt like an all new Ranger. The difference is chalk and cheese, it’s like the 35s aren’t even there. I have all the power when I need it, the extra torque has been a godsend when I’m wheeling but by far, the best thing about this tune is the fuel economy. Even with the massive tyres and all the weight I’ve been able to get 10.8L per 100KM on the highway and 12.9L per 100KM on the rough stuff.

The engine runs smooth as silk, pulls like a pitbull on the end of a leash when it sees a Shitzu and the overall drivability has improved dramatically.

Entrusting what is generally the second largest investment you’ll make to anyone is a scary process especially when what you’re trusting them to do is the vehicle-equivalent of a craniotomy. I suggest if you’re going to hand the keys to anyone, it should be the team at Berrima Diesel.


  • You didn’t spend your hard earned on a rig that does only one thing, find a tuner that offers a tailored approach to you and listens to your needs.

  • Find a team with experience and the right equipment, including a dyno to carry out your ECU tune.

  • Don’t trust the strange men on the internet that say they can tune your ECU with copy and pasted files. In fact, don’t trust strange men on the internet full stop.