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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Username: Pathung
Year: 2005
Make: Nissan
Model: Frontier
Trim: SE 4X4
Engine: 4.0L V6
Transmission: Manual 6-Speed
Color: Storm Grey
Mileage: 169,000 (!!!)
Mods: Bone-stock

I bought this well-used truck just a week or so ago to replace an F-250 Super Duty that I'd recently sold. This truck's main job (as was the last truck's) is to tow my race car up and down the CA coast to various race tracks - loaded trailer weight is about 4,500 lbs.

While registering the truck at AAA, a guy in a similar Frontier who was parked next to me said, "nice truck!", and we struck up a great conversation... this man happened to be BCBrian. He asked if my truck were a 4X4 - I said yes, and he proceeded to invite me to go four-wheeling at Hollister in a few weeks. I knew NOTHING about 4-wheeling, and the thought of doing that with my truck had absolutely not entered my mind until then... but once it did, gears started turning, and turning... so here I am.

For the past week, I've been reading up on most of the off-road build threads here, and discussing possible mods with Brian and Jenn (thanks, guys!). I decided to get some decent tires first; since my street tires (Firestone Destination LEs) are only 13,000 miles old, I bought an additional set of stock rims on CL for $175 and shod them with mud-terrain tires exclusively for off-road use. Brian gave me excellent pointers on what to look for in a good M/T tire, so after reading tire reviews and checking costs and availability, I bought a set of Dick Cepek Mud Country's, size LT265/75/16, from The Tire Rack, for about $175 each after mail-in rebate; I also bought a $20/ea. Road Hazard plan at the Goodyear shop that mounted and balanced the tires.

I also researched skids, sliders, and suspension lift components during the last week, and have placed orders for a set of Hefty Fabworks' skids, and a set of White Knuckle sliders, both due to deliver in 4 to 6 weeks (probably not in time for my Hollister trip). Lift/suspension seems a great deal more complicated, so I'm waiting to discuss them with the guys/gals during the trip, and to see first-hand what their setups look like. Another item that's caught my eye is the Shrockworks rear bumper.... makes me salivate, especially with that nicely integrated hitch - YES I BOUGHT THIS TRUCK TO TOW!!! I've gotta remember that.

So, thanks to BCBrian, you guys have a new convert. I don't live too far from Brian, so am sure to meet up with him often and probably head out together to Hollister whenever we both have time.

I'd love your comments and suggestions - thanks!

My truck - looks a LOT better here than in real life:


Dick Cepek Mud Country on stock Frontier rim:



White Knuckle slider:


Shrockworks rear bumper (the angular design matches the Frontier's overall look):
 

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Nice truck! Its funny how its a small world. Theres alot of the members on here that live in CA. Careful with mods, it gets addicting ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
While visiting BCBrian yesterday, we mostly ogled my newly-mounted DC Mud Country tire, but Brian also looked over my truck carefully - he identified a big problem that I wasn't aware of: my rear spring leafs were basically FLAT, with no discernible curve. I can only guess that the previous owner overloaded the truck many times, or had heavy loads on it for long periods of time; it seems to me that these will need to be replaced.

In place of getting new or gently-used stock leaves, I wonder if I'd be better off installing a full PRG Race Leaf Pack, at a cost of $749. My current goal is to lift the truck up by at least 2", so this leaf pack would do it (2.5~3.0") for me. An alternative is to purchase stock leaves ($300) and PRG's Deaver 2" 2-Leaf Spring Pack ($159), for a total of $459, with additional lift possible via blocks(?). What do folks think?


My shocks are good old factory ones that haven't been replaced after 170,000 miles, so those need to go in any case (Bilstein 5125?); current shocks being too short is thus a non-issue, I suppose.

The PRG Frontier Race Leaf Pack


The PRG Deaver 2" 2-Leaf Pack
 

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Pics of the new tires on the truck?

My factory leaf springs were flat after 3-4 years, and I do not tow anything. I've heard add-a-leafs eventually go flat as well, so I would recommend the OME Dakar leaf springs as another option. They provide increased load capacity and give you 2" of lift. Also cheaper than the PRG spring pack. For the rear shocks I would get the Bilstein shocks from PRG for 2-3 inches of lift.
 

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While visiting BCBrian yesterday, we mostly ogled my newly-mounted DC Mud Country tire, but Brian also looked over my truck carefully - he identified a big problem that I wasn't aware of: my rear spring leafs were basically FLAT, with no discernible curve. I can only guess that the previous owner overloaded the truck many times, or had heavy loads on it for long periods of time; it seems to me that these will need to be replaced.

In place of getting new or gently-used stock leaves, I wonder if I'd be better off installing a full PRG Race Leaf Pack, at a cost of $749. My current goal is to lift the truck up by at least 2", so this leaf pack would do it (2.5~3.0") for me. An alternative is to purchase stock leaves ($300) and PRG's Deaver 2" 2-Leaf Spring Pack ($159), for a total of $459, with additional lift possible via blocks(?). What do folks think?


My shocks are good old factory ones that haven't been replaced after 170,000 miles, so those need to go in any case (Bilstein 5125?); current shocks being too short is thus a non-issue, I suppose.

The PRG Frontier Race Leaf Pack


The PRG Deaver 2" 2-Leaf Pack
The PRG race pack are Deavers which from my understanding are quite a good deal. Another is Alcan, they also do custom heights. You can surf this thread that Jen posted, lots of good info!: http://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/...s-2005-please-read-before-posting-here-63966/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Pics of the new tires on the truck?

My factory leaf springs were flat after 3-4 years, and I do not tow anything. I've heard add-a-leafs eventually go flat as well, so I would recommend the OME Dakar leaf springs as another option. They provide increased load capacity and give you 2" of lift. Also cheaper than the PRG spring pack. For the rear shocks I would get the Bilstein shocks from PRG for 2-3 inches of lift.
If I go this way, will I get 4-5 inches of lift? Interesting. What are the different characteristics, in terms of "feel", between PRG and Dakar leaf spring packs? I wonder if anyone has had experience with both packages.

I should be installing my new wheels/tires onto the truck later this week, in preparation for a tentative trip to Hollister Hills with BCBrian this Saturday - this "educational" trip will help me learn some 4-wheeling skills, without everyone lookin' on! ::grin::
 

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You don't want to go over 3" up FRONT without doing a DB lift or Titan swap. This is due to the angle of your CV axles. 3 inches is about how high you wanna go...you can do the body lift, DB, or Titan swap however the last two can get expensive. :) For the rear you can get custom length leaf packs to any height, shackles (1-2 inches), and blocks (1-2 inches).

EDIT: Sorry its late and didn't see you were talking about rear specifically. You can do 4-5 inches rear with just leaf pack or a combo of shackles+leaf pack, shackles+Add-A-Leaf, e.t.c However in my opinion 3 inches up front with 5 inches in the back with the factory rake might look a little silly :p
 

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Hey Buddy

Good start to your build thread.

Let me clear something up here. The spring pack will provide lift not the shocks. You need longer shocks once you lift to work correctly with the springs.

The OME Springs that jbum recommended are high quality just like the Deaver pack from PRG. Either of these would be a good investment.

Make sure you install those tires soon so that you have plenty of time to check for rubbing and make the modifications we talked about if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The truck's going to get serviced this Tuesday (oil change, funny steering noise, SES light); I'm hoping to get it back at the latest by Wednesday, after which I'll install the MTs. I could install them tomorrow as well, but that'll add about 20 extra street/highway miles on these precious tires (oh no!), and a "WTF" expression from the techs at the shop on Tuesday, hehe. We'll see how my back feels tomorrow, as these MTs are HEAVY (54 lbs per tire, plus weight of stock wheel)!
 

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One thing to note about the leaf packs, the PRG race pack will actually decrease your payload capacity, but will improve the ride quality ALOT. The OME Dakar pack will increase your payload by 150lbs (medium duty) and 400lbs (heavy duty) but ride quality won't increase as much. Empty the MD packs will ride slightly better than stock and the HDs will feel much stiffer until you get a good chunk of weight back there. Alcan and Deaver are other choices and they are probably the best in your situation as they will build custom packs to fit your requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One thing to note about the leaf packs, the PRG race pack will actually decrease your payload capacity, but will improve the ride quality ALOT...
Chris,

PRG has the following language under its Deavers Race Spring Pack description:

"Please note, we used to advertise these springs with a slight loss in load capacity, these newest version will actually carry a small load (couple dirt bikes or camping gear, or camper shell, etc) much better than the stock springs and will offer much less spring wrap when towing."

What do you think? Were you thinking of the "old" version springs?

Being completely new to this, I'm leery of ordering non-prepackaged springs (Alcan, Deavers), as I don't really know what I want/need in detail, other than an eventual 2 inches of height increase, same payload, same towing capability. I race approximately 4 times per year, averaging 200 miles roundtrip each trip with trailer and race car in tow. Race car and trailer probably weigh around 4,500 lbs., with tongue weight of 450 lbs. The truck bed will be lightly loaded with race gear, about 200 lbs. This is nothing beyond the truck's stock capabilities, but I wouldn't want to lose any of it either. If I go wheeling 5 times/year, one day each, my wheeling and trailer-towing ratio would probably be around 50-50. Other than these two usages, the truck would mostly be parked on the driveway, as I have a separate daily driver.

I do like what you wrote about the MD Dakar springs, as an extra 150 lbs. of payload would be helpful, and since the bed will be empty most of the time, riding better than stock springs would be a big plus!

Please keep the suggestions/comments/opinions coming, as I'm learning LOTS with your feedback.
 

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Patrick, I was referring to the older version (wasn't aware they changed them). The fact that they still lack an overload leaf(s) makes me think that the truck will squat a good bit with a heavy load (ie: towing). A few dirt bikes or camping gear/ camper shell is not all that much weight maybe 500 lbs tops, your proposed load would be close to 700lbs. For your uses I'm not sure they would be the best fit. Most people I know that have the PRG race pack are pure off road guys that don't haul much of anything. I have the OME MD pack and have been pleased with them, they have been a good compromise between ride quality, load handling, off road ability, and price. Before I sold my last setup, I had about 400lbs (roof rack, shell, sleeping platform) in the bed at all times and when loaded to go camping that went up to about 700lbs due to having my dirt bike on a receiver carrier. The springs handled the weight great and didn't squat much at all. Not saying that "you need to buy these" just saying they have worked well for me. If I were to do it again I would probably try Alcans as I've heard nothing but good things about them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just priced the OME Dakar springs (CS150R) with shackles at $635 on Nisstec, and PRG retails its spring pack at $749... I can get to Greg's in about 3 hours for after-sales service, but the Dakars give me an extra 150 lbs. of payload... tough decision between these two!
 

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^You don't have to get the shackles by the way. I'm just using the factory ones and they work just fine.
Also, Nisstec is excellent to work with so don't be afraid to order from them. Chris is the Greg equivalent over there and can answer your questions as well. They are usually much better at getting things to you sooner too, Greg tends to be a bit slow in that department.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Chris,

No shackles will save $127 - the Dakars are looking better and better! I'm leaning toward the OME MD in any case, as your truck use is similar to mine. Thanks also for your comments about Chris at Nisstec - customer service is very important, especially to new guys like me.

Would it be tough to install these springs myself?

About REAR shocks - Bilsteins seem to the IT shock based on what I've read so far... I've seen both 5100s and 5125s being used - what's the difference?
 

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You could install them by yourself but it will be a bit of a challenge. I'd recommend having a buddy help you as it makes it much more manageable. The install is no issue at all and is easy, they are just awkward and heavy. I had mine torn completely down to replace the wear pads and bushings this past weekend (60k miles on my set) and it took me and friend about 6 hours from start to finish. Your install would be much less time though as you're just swapping them in, when I first got mine they only took about 2 hours to install. Another thing about these springs is that they were on nation wide back order for a bit, so check before you place the order.

Bilstein's are excellent shocks that can take a beating, they also seem to ride the best in the eyes of most owners. That's why they are sort of the IT shock. 5100 and 5125 are the same series, the 5100 is for the front and has an adjustable spring perch to provide lift and the 5125's are for the rear. If you really want to get fancy in the rear you can get 5160's which having a remote reservoir for better heat dissipation and have a longer stroke with a shorter body vs a 5125 (ie: more overall travel and better for high speed). I have a set of 5125's on the rear of my truck that have about 70k miles 10k of which are off road and they still work pretty good.
 

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Since you bought the truck for towing I am going to put my plug in for airbags. They will provide up to 3 inches of lift and handle additional weight.

The rear leaf springs never had much curve to them. In fact I would say they came from the factory pretty much flat. Nothing really wrong with that. If you look at the front axle of a FORD f350, their leaves are actually reverse curved.

The downfall of an airbag rear setup is that they will not articulate as well as a race pack. They travel pretty much the same as stock. The front end is what will limit your articulation. Nothing that is going to handle your trailer is going to do well offroad. Airbags is really the only thing that will because it has the ability to change the spring weight. The additianl load cap of the new leave pack will do close to nothing for your trailer. What is the tongue weight of your trailer?? At 4500lbs I am sure it is going to surpass a couple of dirt bikes.

Since you just did tires, sliders and rear bumper, I feel you should do the following in this order (order of importance):
-Engine skid plate. A real one from shrocks or similar. Steel! No Nismo/pro4x
-Front lift. Do your research on this one. This is going to be an important deciding factor. If it gets too overwhelming just get 2" spacer. If you need new shocks get the 5100.
-Rear airbags to match.
-Gas tank skid. OEM is OK.

Good luck. You have jsut started down a dark and spendy path my friend.

EDIT--Just noticed that you got the skids ordered.
 
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