Nissan Frontier Forum banner

Red Baron

28635 Views 62 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  clofan
Hey guys! I just recently (March 2014) bought a 2004 Frontier XE 4x4, Crew Cab Long Bed, autotrans, 84k miles, almost entirely stock. In fact, the only 'mod' would be the super-tinted windows! I'm pretty sure they're not legal in my state... I guess we'll find out when I get pulled over.

When I got it, there was a strange electrical problem:

I have since 'fixed' that and gotten a keyless entry fob. Other than that, I had to fix the dome light (new bulb), and fix the cargo lamp/cig lighter (new fuse) and she is as good as new.

I've got lots of plans for this truck! I'll be putting on a toolbox this weekend and possibly Plasti-dip the wheels and flares. I know I eventually want the flares black or dark grey-- probably even textured, maybe something like bed liner. The reason I'm plasti-dipping at first is because I want to make sure I'll like the color scheme before fully committing. I also plan to have a friend fabricate a replacement front bumper, hopefully to look awfully close to the ARB winch bumper.

Completed Mods:
Kenwood Headunit
Bed Toolbox
Steprail lighting
Headlight Blackout
Fog Lights
Rain deflectors
Disabled the auto-AC-on-Defrost 'feature'
Ultragauge installation
Interior "Mood" Lighting
Electrical Infrastructure upgrade
Wheel Paint and Plasti-Dip
Fender Flare plasti-dip
Roof Rack Repaint

Bed mounted D-Rings
[Temporary] Fender Flare Delete

Custom Subwoofer Installation
Front and Rear Fender Flares painted
Back-up camera + monitor
Front Speaker upgrade
4x LED Pods
Re-ran primary electrical line, replaced battery terminals

Future Mods:
Roof rack lights
Additional front bumper lighting
Additional cargo lighting
Homemade tonneau cover (waterproof canvas material)
Replacement Bumper


See less See more
21 - 40 of 63 Posts
I completed this mod over the weekend! I’m happy with how it turned out.

The first step was to run a wire from battery positive to my connectors for the always-powered side. I used a 16 AWG wire for this, which should take 15 amps at the distance of the run. Plenty for what I have planned!

(Follow the white drawn-on line to see the path I took. The circle in the upper right is where the firewall breach is, and the square in the lower right is the only place you can actually see the wire in this photo)

I cut up a firewall plate to get my wires in the cab. I had actually already breached this plate once to run a fog light line, so I widened the hole and made a little wire exit area for ease of access. After the wires are run, throw some silicon on there and call it good.

Now that we’re in the cab, I want to show what I wanted to eliminate with this project:

That’s not all that messy at the moment, but as I add planned devices and gadgets it will get much messier.

In the cab, behind the center panel is my ignition-switched power source, the 12v cig lighter. I spliced into that line with a butt connector and wrapped in heat shrink. I’ll have to remember to be more careful when pulling that panel off so that I don’t pull out a wire.

Placement. As mentioned in the OP, I will be putting this near the shifting mechanisms in the space there.

Instead of wood, I used cardboard as my platform. I didn’t have my spare wood handy, and I could always redo later with minimal effort. I screwed it in to help secure it in place.

We are wired! You can see, I have two circuits-- 4x left side for always-on, and two right side for switched; both circuits are fuse protected. In my planned projects, I have more always-powered devices than switched, so this will work for now. I can always change it up later!

Finally, placed where it will reside. It is secured with two dots of velcro. The only thing hooked up right now is fog lights, because I have to re-do the wiring on the steprail lighting before I hook it up. I will likely put in interior floorboard lighting soon now that I have a central ‘base of operations’.

See less See more
Floorboard lighting

Floorboard Lighting!

Remote Controlled:


See less See more
Had kind of a bad day with the truck today. I couldn't get it to start, so I spent the day troubleshooting. When you turn the ignition, there's a loud click (relay I think), then a sort-of buzzing noise around the starter area. Also, there's a smell when trying to start it. Kind of a metallic heat? Hard to describe.. not overpowering or anything, just noticed it. I think it's the starter motor burning.

Ruled out the battery. After 10 seconds of trying to start, I'm coming up with a voltage of 11.5 or so. I was not able to jump-start it, so I'm sure it isn't the battery. I cleaned the cables as well, so I don't think it's them either.

I went to take out the starter, and ran into problems removing the top mounting bolt. It requires an angled wrench I don't have, so after spending an awfully long time trying to get it out I gave up. I'll try again another day, but it sucks it's down right now because it's my daily driver.
See less See more
Sounds like the starter, if you use an extension you can reach the top bolt I had the old one out and new one in , on my truck less then 30 minutes.
I blew a fuse once and couldn't get the truck to start, but after exhausting every option I could think of like you (battery, starter, replacing blown fuse, etc.) I accidentally locked the truck with the key fob. After unlocking with the key fob the truck started up just fine.

Weirdest thing, could never find an explanation. Hopefully yours is that easy of a fix.
Sounds like the starter, if you use an extension you can reach the top bolt I had the old one out and new one in , on my truck less then 30 minutes.
My short (2") extension was too short, my long (12") extension was too long!! So, I went to the store and bought some in between extensions. Went ahead and bought a pivot angle ratchet just in case, too. I plan to tackle this tomorrow afternoon if I can get off work early.

bigjpayne, that is indeed a weird issue! I don't guess I've tried that yet, so I may give it a shot although I don't have high hopes as I can hear the starter attempt to engage. I had a weird electrical problem when I first bought it (see first post, I linked a thread), but haven't had any trouble since then. You never know!
Aaaannnnddd DONE! It's amazing what you can do with the proper tools. I replaced the starter-- had the old one tested and it would spin, but the gear wouldn't extend to engage the starting gear in the engine. Put the new starter in, tightened everything up, and she started right up! I've got to say, maybe the starter has been on it's way out for a while-- I can tell a huge difference in the way it starts now, especially compared to these last two weeks when it's been real slow, but I feel like it's starting a lot faster/stronger now than when I bought it a year ago.

If you have to replace your starter, I highly recommend taking off the passenger side front tire. I got to the point where the starter was dangling but wouldn't come off, and because I removed the tire I could see the ignition wire connection was still holding. I didn't see any instruction to take that tire off when doing the replacement, but for me it helped a lot.

I also went ahead and replaced the passenger side valve cover gasket. The cover was leaking onto the starter which caused the initial failure, so by replacing this my new starter should last me. The old gasket was brittle and cracked in one or two areas, so I'm sure that was the culprit. I replaced the bolt grommets as well because the gasket set I bought came with them. Idled and drove it last night for maybe 15 minutes, I checked this morning and only a single drop of oil was on the ground. I think that's from the leftover oil on the engine block / transmission housing / axle / somewhere. I'll know for sure soon, but previously, it would drip 5-10 drops per trip.

See less See more
Now that my issues under the hood are identified and solved, I can finish what I started with the steprail lighting and interior lighting. Previously, I had the two wired directly in to my ECU control; no way to manually control them. I did this mainly as a proof of concept before I put in switches, and the starter started going out before I got around to it. While determining the starting issue, I un-wired everything to eliminate variables.

This is my fog light switch and steprail lighting switch. The steprail lighting is either OFF or Controlled by ECU.

This is the interior lighting. I'ts a three-way switch; Left is ECU Controlled, middle is OFF, and Right is ON.

Here is the wiring diagram for my interior lighting... I had to draw it out because I was getting confused! The light is the LEDs, the switch is the DPDT switch, and the other inline switch is the ECU-controlled ground.


See less See more
I've made some videos and put them up on YouTube

Truck modifications

Interior Lighting System
how does that truck gauge work?
how does that truck gauge work?
UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center

It's an OBD-II device that detects all the sensors in the truck and can display whatever data you want, up to 8 gauges per page. In my truck there were about 70 gauges found, and on the main page I display instant MPG, Engine Temp, average mpg, voltage, distance to empty and intake temperature. On the second page I have timing info and more temps.
UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center

It's an OBD-II device that detects all the sensors in the truck and can display whatever data you want, up to 8 gauges per page. In my truck there were about 70 gauges found, and on the main page I display instant MPG, Engine Temp, average mpg, voltage, distance to empty and intake temperature. On the second page I have timing info and more temps.
thats something I've been thinking about for a long time. especially with my engine build I'm doing.
It's been a while since I updated this thread. Let's see...

I plasti-dipped the wheels and painted the calipers/drum:

As well as the front emblem:

Plasti-dipped front fender flares and painted roof rack:


See less See more
In addition to that stuff, I also ran a new primary wire for my electrical infrastructure mod. I'm planning for a sub, and the gauge of my original run wasn't sufficient. I now have ~5 AWG, more than enough for future expansion.

I added some D-Rings to the bed (one on each side):

I really like the rings! They were something like 3 bucks a pair at Harbor Freight, I definitely plan to get some more and add them throughout the bed.

I also wanted to include some pics of the truck without fender flares, for anyone who wonders what that looks like.


See less See more
i wish i could leave mine off. but then that leads to plugging the holes , i don't feel like doing paint work and welding right now... plugs that front super of mine wouldn't look right without the flares.
I like the rear with them off. Gives the truck a more streamlined look. Part of the non-upgraded fender is molded into the stock bumper, so the front looks silly without them. Whenever I get my replacement front bumper, I'll probably delete the flares altogether. Fill the holes with some quicksteel or something, and match the paint as best as I can? I dunno, that may end up looking like crap. We'll see. At any rate, I need to plasti-dip the rear flares and get them back on to see how that looks!

Also, who else thinks the truck looks just plain weird without a roof rack??


See less See more
21 - 40 of 63 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.