Nissan Frontier Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Extreme Budget Makeover Build
This truck is my daily commuter and general schlepping rig. The goal is to add a little fun and some attitude (altitude) to an otherwise unassuming truck. I rescued it from a life on the Washington coast at my father's place, and gave it a new home in San Antonio where the air is much less salty. I plan to combat the limited rust that has taken hold and upgrade the truck's stance and performance over time. But since this rig was super cheap to acquire, so too will be the build process. I'll use U-Pull-It as much as possible to help keep costs low and to take advantage of Nissan parts interchangeability. I'll also fab up my own components as necessary and where I think I can add value, like in suspension components and body armor. I'll keep a running tab on the costs so if anyone is thinking about doing similar things, they can see what it takes doing it the way I am doing it.

- The Rig -

Username: Joe Suzuki
Year: 2000
Make: Nissan
Model: Frontier
Trim: SE King Cab
Color: Silver

- Planned Mods -

Interior:
- Probably new speakers and a head unit with bluetooth and aux inputs.
- Window tint
- Fix driver's seat upholstery
- Add larger cup holder for water bottle

Planned Exterior Mods:
- Plasti-dipped grill or Xterra grill
- New headlights, either factory replacement or fabbed LED headlights (JW Speaker)
- Fix pealing clear coat and tiny rust spots, add vinyl or plastidip to protect paint in strategic areas
- Add fog lights, backup lights, maybe bed lights
- Replace factory manual mirrors with upgrade from Xterra - Done -

Drivetrain:
- Rear axle swap from CA43 C200 w/ 4.3:1 to HG49 H233B w/ 4.875:1 from an '03 Xterra

Suspension & Tires:
- 31x10.5x15 BFG AT KO2s on factory 4x4 rims (15x7) to replace 15x6 originals
- Torsion Bars replaced and cranked
- Low-Profile Bump Stops
- Rancho RS5000 shocks
- Possible modified upper control arms
- Replace all steering linkages and fabricate idler arm brace.
- Replace worn out rear leafs with new V6 leaf packs
- Fabricate new rear lift shackles

Armor:
- New rear bumper with integrated receiver hitch and backup lights
- New front bumper or modified factory bumper to integrate custom winch mount and winch
- Skid plates as necessary

Performance:
- Tune-up
- Fab air intake
- Transmission shift kit

Gear and Other:
- Nothing Yet

Here it is to start:




Here's the new rear shackles that I fabbed. They are long enough where I can drill multiple holes to adjust as necessary.


The suspension and rear axle swap are happening first. I already got the rear axle from a 2004 Xterra from U-pull-it for $152 and a lot of blood and sweat. I need to rework the backing plates if I can as the vehicle was set down on the dirt without rims bending them a little at the bottom. Otherwise I'll have to get new backing plates from Nissan. I'll be getting some used torsion bars off another truck at U-pull-it this weekend since mine are pretty rusty and worn. I don't know the costs yet, but shouldn't be more than $50. Low profile Datstar bumpstops arrived from Amazon for $13. New rear leafs arrived yesterday, and Rancho's should arrive today from Rock Auto.

Spent So Far

Rancho Shocks: $183 minus $50 rebate
Rear Leaf Springs: $203
Low Profile Bump Stops: $13
Xterra HG49 Axle from Upullit: $152
Xterra electric mirrors from Upullit: $60
Fabricated lift shackles: $0 (used scrap steel from workplace)
31X10.5R15 BFG A/T T/A KO2 x 4 with Factory 4x4 nissan 15 x 7 alloys from Craigslist with 3000 miles on them: $750

Total spent so far: $1311

So that's it for now. If the weather cooperates, I'll get to work on the axle and suspension this weekend and I'll post some updates. Thanks for checking it out!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Looks just like my old 2000 XE = THE MOST RELIABLE vehicle I've ever owned in my 39 years of driving/vehicle ownership.

How many miles on your Frontier?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
160,000 give or take. She's pretty reliable so far. I drove it cross country 2200 miles from Washington state to San Antonio, with a slipping AC belt the only problem I encountered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Got to work a bit this weekend and got the front half of the truck mostly installed and sorted as planned. Rancho RS5000 shocks installed, new junkyard sourced torsion bars installed, re-indexed, and torqued. Then I installed the 31x10.5R15 BFG's all around, even though I don't have the rear lifted and the new axle in yet. So it kinda looks pre-runner-ish at the moment with the rake. And its a bit sluggish on the highway with the too large-for-the-gearing tires. But the new shocks make it ride SOOOO much better than the completely shot units that were in there before! Here's some not too great cell phone shots at dusk in the driveway.





I think some wheel spacers are in order for the front as there's a lot of rubbing at full lock, and the tires look a little too tucked in. The stock 4x4 alloys have a ton of backspacing.

So next up will be the rear end. I need to sort out the leaf spring fasteners as the V6 leaves I sourced have a different setup in the front than the 2wd 4 cylinder models do. Then I'll install the junkyard axle with the 4.875:1 gears and the new lift shackles I fabricated. Depending on how high the leaf springs make the rear, I may need to drill some new holes in the shackles to make sure the rear height matches the front. Could be a couple of weeks before I get to do the rest of this as family vacation is coming up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Update

Well, I have some updates. The rear axle I sourced from a local U-Pull It ended up having a bent axle shaft flange! Probably why it was in the U-Pull It in the first place. So there goes the budget... So until I get enough $$ for a replacement axle shaft, I'll be installing the new leaf springs and rear shocks on the stock axle. It's been driving fine with the factory ratio and 31's, but I have to gun it up hills to get it to keep up with traffic. Then I had to replace the water pump and the radiator puke tank, which was relatively cheap and easy, but it set me back. In the process of replacing the water pump, I removed the lower half of the bumper and broke several rusted bolts along the way. So I've got a quasi-prerunner vibe going on now... Don't know what I'm going to do about the bumper. I've been thinking about an Xterra grill swap, so that may happen. Or maybe I'll fab up a new lower bumper/skid plate? Also I've been working on a friend's Toyota Tundra replacing an engine, so I haven't had the time to mess with my truck. But it's been a reliable daily driver with cold AC in the 100 degree Texas heat this summer. So more to come, just taking longer and more money (relatively) than I wanted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
This is going to be a good build! I like the updates you are doing and tallying the numbers up. That's cool.

Sent from my bathroom sink using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well, about that... The truck is dead. This project is over now because some girl decided to pull out in front of me from a Wal-Mart parking lot while I was going 35 mph minding my own business. This happened two weeks ago, so I haven't got a replacement vehicle yet. I slowed enough to lessen the impact, but couldn't stop and struck her car. The front right of the truck got totally messed up and the idler arm was broken. Bottom line is that her insurance (since it was her fault) totalled my truck, and it is no more... I didn't really want to repair it since they totalled it, so i just took the payout. I had just installed the wheel spacers and was loving the ride, with no rubbing whatsoever at full lock. I hadn't installed the shackles in the back yet, so the rear wasn't leveled with the front, but now it'll never happen unfortunately.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,593 Posts
Sounds good.
Just wish you had bought some other shocks rather than Ranchos.
Hope they work out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Wow! That's horrible news! I'm glad it wasn't worse, but that totally sucks. At least you got something for it (even though it probably wasn't as much as it was worth).

Curious, What wheel spacers did you have? I bought some off of Amazon, and didn't know about needing hubcentric. Needless to say one of my wheels came flying off on a dirt road. Luckily I wasn't going to fast. Since then I've been scared to try them again.

But if you could provide a reputable website link it would be much appreciated. I'd like a wider stance by 1.5-2" about.

Sent from my bathroom sink using Tapatalk

Any plans on a new Frontier to replace the old one?


Sent from my bathroom sink using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Here's the link to the ones I bought. They worked great, they come from a company in California. They screwed up the order at first, giving me two correct ones, and two which had studs that were too long, but they made it right in a hurry, no questions asked. No I didn't get to keep the spacers, but I did get to keep the wheels and tires, so I will be posting them in the classified adds soon.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/38MM-1-5-S...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, the hub centric ones are dead nuts on. There is no wobble or out of balance vibration. You can't even tell they are there. You may not need ones as thick as I did because I was trying to fit 4x4 rims on a standard 2wd (non-desert runner). But if that's what you are trying to do, then it'll work perfect to fit 31-10.5R15's on stock Nissan 4x4 rims with no rubbing (after a torsion crank).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Well, about that... The truck is dead. This project is over now because some girl decided to pull out in front of me from a Wal-Mart parking lot while I was going 35 mph minding my own business. ...
Just throwing this out there Joe. If you want another 1st gen Frontier, and feel like helping me get mine up and running, I'll sell it to you dirt cheap. It's an automatic, so I probably wouldn't drive it much anyway. Hate to see it go to waste though. And you sound like you have more than enough experience to figure out what's wrong with it.



NOTE: I added an image, but this site won't show it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the offer, but I've already got another vehicle. I had to get another vehicle fast so I could drive to work, and it's not a Nissan (I know, boo!). I'm going to sell the remaining Nissan specific items I have and move on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
That’s a bummer Joe

Your truck was looking good with the wheels and tires. I’ve been looking for a set of those wheels for my truck, assuming they would fit.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top