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General Information

Name
Ron Powers
Year
2011
Make
Nissan
Model
Frontier Pro4x
Color
Black
317389



Note: The bike is a 2016 Honda Africa Twin, currently with 25k miles. I’ve recently moved into the retirement phase after 30+ years in the fire service. So, the plan is solo miles on the bike, and finish the truck as our “overland” adventure rig. I have air bags in the back to help with the weight, but they are not charged in the current picture. Truck would handle just fine with the 600lb bike back there. Several trips to/from Seattle & Bend, OR. There is a canopy mounted now, so the bike gets used as designed

I’m the original owner, currently at 110k miles. Over the years, I’ve lurked on this and various other forums and have done several of the common mods. When it was new I had a Kenwood DNX9980HD, along with a rear seat DVD display, backup camera, and alarm system installed.

I’ve been faithful and overly diligent with maintenance. Oil changes every 5k; @ 25/50/75k did “major” routine maintenance as well. At 100k I debated about selling and moving to the ZR2 Bison, but decided I really like the Frontier. So, went through bumper-to-bumper including timing chain/guides; all fluids/hoses; water pump; belts; plugs/coil packs; etc…

I’ll continue posting additional threads with the recently completed work, as well as the upcoming plan.

Thanks to all who have forged through the hard work of research, trial/error, answered questions on the forum boards and provided detailed guides.

Looking forward to sharing...

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Front bumper, sliders and 5th rim loaded for the powder coating.



Shrockworks front bumper going in:



Installed:



I did another cut on the plastic fairing today. The fit was just a little too tight. I’m also going to pickup some rubber molding to add between the top of the bumper and the plastic as the line is not perfect straight/clean. I ordered/installed the High Output LED foglights from Shockworks, and added some hurricane tape over the top to offer a little protection. KATANA 9007 LED’s were also installed, and they look like a good match to the new fog lights. Just to complete the OCD, fake “Raptor” lights were added to the grill.

 

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TRANSMISSION:

The truck will be loaded pretty heavy, and I expect some work on the transmission. A simple drain/refill (~4qts) is routinely done to help keep the fluid clean. I’ve ran the wire to install a temp. gauge (8 conductor for additional needs). The gauge has an auto on/off for the fan built in as well. Today’s job was installing the filter. I know it could be argued that it serves little purpose, but I feel better about having it installed.

Fan installed over the factory cooler. And a little paint to clean up 10yrs/100k mi of work.





Round One: Parts, fittings and tape. This did not work, and had leaks all over, so round two was different parts, fittings, and (name?) joint compound with no leaks.



No Leaks!



 

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White Knuckle Slider Install (~couple months ago):

I had originally ordered as powder coated, but my “guide” advised to get bare steel, and I could use the sliders as holding tanks for air. We tapped both sliders, installed air fittings, and welded the leaks. Previous picture shows them loaded in the trailer headed to get coated. Here a couple installed pictures.




Air fitting installed. I have the dual compressor ARB ready to mount, perhaps in the next couple weeks? Both sliders will be tied together, and I estimate around 3-5 gallon “tank”.

317399
 
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A.R.E. DCU canopy painted to match the truck with double doors in the back and window/doors on the side. This was a brutal expense, but once I decided to abandon the alternative truck plans...I committed (in my mind) to stay with a Frontier platform for some time.



The stock rack will come off this summer and a custom one built in its place that will match the horizontal lines of the rack I build for the rear. The plan is to purchase/install a Bundutop RTT. My current thoughts are 1x3 steel post that follow the vertical lines of the canopy at the four corners, with plates mounted under the canopy. The trick will be to build it so it comes apart. Cardboard mock-ups after I have the design figured out in my head/on paper. Target date for this part of the project is August.



I have some 8020 T-Slot material to build a shelf that will circle the inside of the canopy aprox. 10” from the ceiling; either 270 or 360 degrees, along with an enclosed shelf on the drivers side. That should be completed by the first week of June. Then, a dual drawer system for the floor area similar to this design:



Between the tent and kitchen system (the entire build) I’m hoping to have camp setup/broke down in a 10-15 minute window. So, spend hundreds (?) of hours now, to save time later! For the month of October I’m hoping to test the setup/system at hunting camp.
 

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impressive you got that Africa twin in the bed, that's not a light bike. that tailgate is strong. I had an xt250 which was still some work getting up into it. Nice bike that's nice next on my list (last bike was Honda shadow aero)
 

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It’s been a blast! I’ve done a couple long trips (Seattle to Colorado; SEA to Texas; and another trip to S. CA) and have a cross country trip to Virginia planned for mid-June. Quick ten day ride there, and then spend 4-8 weeks taking my time to get back. Left? Right? Straight? Fingers crossed the majority of the country is welcoming...

That picture is the first time I loaded it. Once I put air in the bags the weight in the truck was fine. The tailgate was not! I made several trips between Bend, OR and Seattle, WA with the bike loaded. After that first trip I used a piece of ¾ plywood to cover the tailgate and secured it to the track system in the bed. I think it helped take the stress off that tailgate. It was certainly the weak point. And, I know my luck!

This was a not fun solo event riding in the Central Oregon desert a couple years ago. I’m currently recovering from round two of surgery to repair the ankle. Had to use the Garmin InReach SOS button to call for help….(“luck”).

 
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New Shiny Thing today….



I was trying to justify it and could not! But, inspecting the cover I noticed some build up of grease where it is leaking somewhere. I changed the fluid 10k miles ago, and probably did not clean the surfaces well or did not apply the RTV sealant correctly. Regardless, it needed fixing.



 

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Thanks exTacomaGuy. My son bought a new Tacoma Pro, what a nice truck. So many shiny things you can buy for that platform.

12 White SL was off-loading some parts on here, and I purchased the console dock station and external GPS. I’ve searched for one of these for years. I’m a gadget guy, but prefer to have everything tucked away.





And painted the rear axle, along with most of the frame and metal I could get to under the truck. I taped a bit, and used cardboard as a shield to block what I could not tape. Also put a coat of rust encapsulator as a base coat.

 

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I had 3 Toyota trucks over the last 30 years. The new ones look great but they are not as reliable as they used to be. After driving one for three days and then a new frontier, I went frontier Pro 4X. For $8000 less than what I would have payed for a TRD, I'll settle for not being one of the cool kids anymore. : )
 
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*exTacomaGuy: Kids first truck was an 88 Toyota. Paid $3k for it and sold it for $3k five years later. I had a 2005 Frontier Nismo. Then it came time for the four door. I had the same experience as you, $8k more and at the time the Frontier Pro4x had leather seats, sunroof, decent control, etc...no brainer. I’m still happy with the purchase.

110k and the running area of the truck is starting to take some damage. A friend used this truck bed liner on his jeep, and it turned out perfect. I told myself at 10 years I would buy myself a new truck or paint this one so it feels new. As previous threads have demonstrated, I’m not buying a new truck. The black paint will still shine up nice, so no paint job. But the rhino lined areas will always look good (but never shiny great). It’s a fair trade for today.

Truck was washed today, and sprayed/cleaned this area with engine degreaser. Then started with 600 grit, will finish with 1500 (wet sand) to take the top coat off. Couple wipes with rubbing alcohol and sprayed with ? as a paint prep and finally two coats of the truck bed liner.




I’m 87% happy with how it turned out. I should have use some thin pinstripe type tape to create my lines, they are bit wobbly when looking closely. Once this cures, and I detail the truck I’ll post a finished product. Respect for the painters out there.
 

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Clever idea for air in the rock rails...but you don't worry having that valve hanging out there (you know, with your luck...)

I've some steel in my right leg from a get-off on the KLR (which I still have!); a buddy of mine and I had a remote extrication for him when he had a getoff in northern maine woods a few years back. Glad you're ok; glad you thought ahead with the the spot device.

Looking forward to watching the build (and yeah, that ARE hood is dear.)
 

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*BorrowedSuits: I like the saying, “riding motorcycles is not dangerous, it’s just unforgiving”. Stay safe out there! Yes, it is a concern of the air chuck hanging down a bit. I'm not building for rock climbing, so that decrease the luck statistics of them breaking off. I could put 90deg. adapters on so they don't stick out so much. Debating today about where to mount the compressor. It may end up in the back by the bumper...

Nisstec MK84 front coilovers installed today, along with the UCA's. Had a friend help, whose mechanical skills are much higher than mine. Driver side took ~two hours, and the passenger side about an hour. I should have reviewed the forum boards last night, instead of working through the problems that others have already posted solutions to. I went with the 650lb springs, with the weight being added to the truck. First big trip with the truck will be a month at hunting camp in October. Hoping the suspension does not turn into a chase for the stock ride.

I was going to hold off on replacing/upgrading the rear setup, but I think I’ll do in the near future and pay for the alignment once.





When the shop wired up the ARE canopy (auto locks tied in with factory locks / remote) they did not secure their wire loom on the passenger side. Glad I found that.
 

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There are pros and cons of a dysfunctional, near psychosis OCD. So, these dozen 8020 aluminum extrusions took ~40 hours to build out the interior organizational structure.








As other builders of the 8020 systems have noted, “it’s taken apart, put back together”. Forgot a needed nut/bolt and one quickly finds the disassembly process occurring, yet again. The frame travels along the canopy shell with a smaller diameter material. This would catch me at the end with a new problem that will need fixed.


The lift made easy work under the canopy. In exchange for long term shop access at a friend's place, I’m faithful about keeping regularly used items stocked (gloves, towels, water, beer, etc), along with taking care of the garbage and keeping the shop “garage clean”. I try to add something of value after each use as well; fixing leaking air fittings, organizing tool boxes, etc. Years ago, I ate the last ice cream bar in the freezer at work (ice cream is a known shared commodity) and a Native American friend was mad as a hornet. I told him he had the “I hate the white man eyes” on me... He made it clear that I was a “taker”. So, I brought in a box and put his name on it and made sure he reclassified me as a “giver”. I really appreciate the use of this work space!


The canopy doors are set up on the trucks lock system, which makes it convenient to push the keyfob and have 8 doors locked. However, the wiring was bundled and not clean. So, after the 8020 material started to take shape, I cut the zip ties and started figuring out the wiring runs. I think I added a mile or so of wire. “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing….”





Driver side shelf unit (no passenger side). I’ve been debating about how/where to store the Ryobi batteries. The overall collision of conflicting goals: organization, function, efficiency, and reasonable cost all trying to find a place in my mind.





Not pretty yet, but starting to come together. The upper shelf runs 360 degrees about ten inches below the ceiling, and around 6” wide. This is designed to store the storage boxes. OCD side.




Up top you can see the box organizers, which hold the boxes to organize the boxes. Completely ridiculous. Watch me turn the truck into an Excel spreadsheet! They are small size plastic ammo cans that actually sit upright, just resting in the picture. The lip on the bottom of the box should keep everything in place, and a bungee was added to each storage area to provide redundancy.

To the right is the junction area for the wiring, and is where the Goal Zero (G0) will sit.



I’m making the wiring plan way too complicated, but from a functional standpoint I want simplicity when out travelling. An incoming shore power port is set up in this same corner, which travels to an automatic switch (shore/inventor). The shore power lands in a junction box, with the G0 110v charger connected to shore power. The only time the 110v G0 charger will turn on is when I’m connected to shore power (automatically, but the chargers on/off switch is easy to access).

Aslo, coming in from the outside is a port for the solar. I anticipate 200w of panels mounted to the rooftop tent. The third charging system will be off the alternator. There will be a CLA port that connects to the truck battery and will provide ~100w while the truck is running. All of these systems are tucked away in the bottom corner below the G0. It’s modular enough to quickly disconnect and move the G0 and chargers to another location/vehicle.


There are four systems that I wanted to isolate from the G0 inverter, and primarily use 110v when connected to shore power. The fridge in the cab, ryobi batteries, future drawer slide fridge in the canopy, and potential/future engine heating systems (oil pan, block, battery) for cold weather environments. These items route to 110v switches which I can turn on/off depending on power source needs. The goal being for the G0 to power needed items off its battery source, not the inventor.

I have several layers of security for when the truck is parked short/long term and we are away. I’ve had a truck stolen before, along with all of my work tools while building our house. That was a painful experience that took an inordinate amount of time to replace items, in the middle of a compressed time project. Hopefully, I can help avoid that by providing disensitives to the inviting target. Leaving a backpack in the backseat invites trouble. Goal Zero, 12v fridge, etc feels like silver flashing. Nothing of value will be “snatch and go”, including the truck.

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Upper shelf 90% complete. I forgot to account for the rear door locking mechanism. Build, modify, maintain, fix, repair, upgrade and the cycle continues.
 

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I’ve been pulling wire, air hoses, and vent hoses all over the truck for the last couple weeks. Nothing exciting, but this part of the build is starting to come together.



Just testing the fit, and making sure wires plug in nice. I’ve color coded male/female ends to facilitate quick connections, especially for others who will be on the trips.

Also installed the adjustable ball joints for the sway bar. With the upgraded front end, things were not lining up nicely. The rear suspension has been on order for a few weeks, I don’t think it will be in before I leave. Bummer on several levels.

Got some work done on the ARB compressor. Still need a couple more pieces to finish. I decided to mount it under the canopy and will use the Frontiers factory rail to secure it. Feels better there rather than a spot under the truck where it will take a beating due to exposure.

Also changed the way the air will be delivered to the the sliders (holding tank). As mentioned earlier, probably not a good idea to have too much sticking out. Luck.

Just a few work days on the truck left before I journey from the West Coast to East Coast. Planning on two months solo on the road, riding the AT. She got new shoes (tires), pedicure (rim tape), new chain, and changed the oil, radiator, and brake fluids. Estimated distance is 10k miles. Looking forward to my first retirement adventure.
 
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