Nissan Frontier Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright boys (and hopefully girls), I’m a new registrant to the site but have used it over the years for support on my various endeavors and wanted to return the favor. Hopefully you enjoy this teaser post (which is admittedly longer than it should be) which will be followed up with some more specific details, pics (old pics, new pics, trail pics), and responses to questions.

Username: ToyotaRecoveryVehicle
Year: 2002
Make: Nissan
Model: Frontier
Trim: Crew Cab SC Shortbed
Color: Silver
Mods: Discussed below
Interior: Not much
Exterior: Mallcrawler lights, Poison Spyder hood louver (added at least 50-60HP)
Drivetrain: 60-9 SAS front with Detroit locker, stock rear axle with TJM air locker and 5.89 gears
Suspension & Tires: Chevy 63” leafs rear, 3 link front, King 2.5” x 12” coilovers front. 38” Milestar Patagonia tires on 17” Pro Comp Beadlocks.
Armor: Sliders, front and rear bumper, tire gate, winch,
Performance:
Gear and Other: Standard recovery gear, CB radio, on board air

My profile:
Native and current resident of Denver. This is my first ever post on a forum and I’ve always been that guy who has read forums, but not contributed so figured I would pay back some technical debt. My mechanical proficiency is moderate to advanced, except when it comes to transmissions and electrical work. I’ve taken my truck with 33s and a Calmini lift on multiple tails in Moab and Colorado, probably more than it ever should have been on, and with as many successes as breaks. Breaks on truck before SAS include CV axle, front diff mount, two hubs, power steering, rear leaf, torsion bar mount, I’m probably forgetting something. Also had to get rescued by Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery, an indispensable local non-profit. Trails completed before the build include Spring Creek in Colorado, Hell’s Revenge, Kane Creek, Moab Rim, Poison, Steel Bender, Fins, Flat Iron Mesa, and others.

Truck Story/Profile:
2002 Frontier SC/CC/SB with 140k on it, purchased from the east coast 4 years ago. I literally flew out to see it, bought it on the spot, and had it shipped to Denver, arrived the day after Christmas in 2014). Despite being on the east coast, the truck grew up in Colorado and Arizona so no east coast rust concerns (a foreign thing to us Coloradoans). Bought it with originally mild ambitions (you all know how it goes). I have humbly named the truck “Pepe” which should be familiar if you’ve ever seen the movie Romancing the Stone. It didn’t have much on it when I bought it except for a crappy paint job, laughable salmon-colored bed liner (used to be a red bed liner), crappy bumpers, the usual 3” Calmini IFS lift and steering upgrade, and some lighting upgrades. Bought it in okay shape, but it definitely needed TLC and over the years, I made it into the most capable IFS trail rig I possibly could by adding a rear TJM air locker, sliders, front bumper with Smittybuilt winch, and other do-dads like some mall crawler light bars, some 285/70/17 Cooper STT tires (the best tire size for the truck, IMO), mall crawler 17” SCS simulated beadlock wheels, and a CB radio that has never worked well. Engine mods include underdrive supercharger pulley, Doug Thorley Headers, Flowmaster, electric fans, cold air intake, mall crawler (but semi- functional) Poison Spyder hood louver (added at least 50-60 HP as noted above), on board air, hydro assist, 4:1 tcase gears in the TX-10, and Chevy leaf swap in the rear. Auto transmission, stock 4.625:1 gears, basically stock engine, and stock axles.

Now for the fun:
Went ahead and decided it was a good financial decision to “invest” in a solid axle swap. Original trajectory was a simple leaf setup with D44 Wagoneer axle and use the Calmini SAS kit. That evolved into Wagoneer D44 with coilovers, but ultimately wound up being a full-blown custom “60-9” solid axle with coilovers. Decided if I’m spending the money, I’d do it right once as this was a bucket list build for me. Had most of the tools (including preemptive welder and press) in my possession and decided to go for it. I was nervous of continued breaks and being “that guy” on the trail.
I used no kit, there were no instructions, there was extremely limited support, I had never setup gears, it was scary, it was expensive, there were (and still are) problems that I could have never foreseen, but I because I planned, had the knowledge and support of two indispensable resources (oh, and the wife), I somehow pulled this off and it is everything I thought it would be, plus 100% more. It has yet to be on a trail since the SAS has been complete, but that should be coming in the next few weeks.

SAS by the numbers:
600 beers (and counting), 27 cutting discs, 6 grinding wheels and flap discs, 18 cans of carb cleaner, 15 cans of spray paint and primer, 1.5 full spools of welding wire, 6 bottles of propane for heat, 417 lbs of stuff removed, over 700 lbs (and counting) added, 160 man hours (which isn’t as bad as I thought), 5.5 months of build, and an undisclosed amount of money (okay it was ~$15k and counting, all-in).

SAS details:
Diamond housing using D60 king pin outers, 3-link, Quick Performance Ford 9” low pinion 35-spline axle with a Detroit locker and 5:89 gears. King 2.5” x 12” coilovers (Ben Brazda from Filthy Motorsports has AMAZING customer service, Ben, thank you for rooting me on with this unique build), multiple components from Rugged Rocks Offroad for the pitman arm, tcase flange, brackets, and transmission crossmember (Steven, thank you profusely for what you have provided to the Gen 1 Nissan community over the past decade; a dying segment), Solid Industries inner C’s and knuckles with Artec high steer double sheer arms, Diamond inner shafts and Yukon 35 spline stub shafts, Yukon hubs, Chevy brakes, Dodge Ram master cylinder, and dozens upon dozens of components from RuffStuff, Chassis Unlimited, East Coast Gear Supply, and Barnes 4WD.

Other post-SAS mods:
Northstar battery (love this thing so far), custom exhaust and catalytic converter (thanks to hippie Colorado emissions which took me three attempts to pass – what a farse emissions is (more on that later), though we don’t have it as bad as the Left coast). 38” Milestar Patagonia tires and 17” Pro Comp true beadlocks (my spare wheel is a semi-damaged Trail Gear Creeper Lock that I got from CL), and a CL-sourced tire gate from a fellow local Nissan enthusiast.

Sorry for the crazy long initial post. This is stemming from true blood, sweat, (almost) tears, excitement, apprehension, pride, and just trying to pay back the community that has helped me over the past few years. If all goes as planned, hopefully I can help someone or even better, to convince them to undertake what I did – even if just to an extent. I’m posting this in the build thread section for now as opposed to the SAS/drivetrain section since I’m happy to field questions about all of my upgrades, not just the SAS. If there’s enough interest in my SAS project, I am happy to provide a detailed write-up there.
 

Attachments

·
Admin
Joined
·
3,392 Posts
Great post and awesome rig.

We apologize that this post for some reason got hung up waiting for moderator approval.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,550 Posts
I had to LOL when I saw the headline cause I immediately recognized the reference. I think the movie's LIL Pepe would bow down to yours however, don't think I've personally seen a list of 1st Gen mods longer than that one. Kudos.
I just love that you have GM and Dodge parts in your Frankenstein's Monster mix, should give the brand purists embolisms.
And the screen name is just ............ EPIC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hey RyanD1966 - glad someone got the reference to the truck's name! Thanks for the kudos - the truck fought me the whole way (continues to) but it was well worth it so far. Just need to get it on the trail which should happen in the next few weeks. At that time, I will also be putting the sticker I bought in Moab on my back window (the one that inspired "Toyota Recovery Vehicle") and hopefully my good friend (who has a double cab 04 Tacoma, and is the reason I bought the sticker) will be there to witness it!

Much appreciated, erturne. I ALMOST went to 40's but am EXTREMELY glad I didn't. Even after stretching the front axle two inches, it would have been a fitment nightmare. Perhaps some day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey good to hear from you, thanks for the post. Just got back from Moab which was an epic trip (I'll post some pics on my build thread). Drove the truck there and back too, did beautifully. Glad the hubs worked out for you. They're one of the better upgrades in my opinion.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top