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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i began looking at frontiers in the summer of '05 when i landed my first decent job making $10 an hour. i drove a few different models, a 4cyl, a king cab v6, a crew cab, a desert runner, a crew cab 4x4, and a black 05 kingcab nismo 2wd.
i was 18 years old and had to pay for the truck, insurance, and gas myself. unfortunately, i really wanted the '05 but i would barely be able to afford it. i then set my sights towards a 1st gen 4x4, but a 4x4 truck would also be just out of financial reach for me.
i looked in the local classifieds and saw that a volvo dealership had a black '02 frontier 2wd xe crew cab, so i went to take it for a test drive. i fell in love with the truck and bought it.

it had some lame looking chrome rims, but i began thinking about mods before i got her home...

i took a short road trip in the truck and found a dirt road with a small creek, this was the first time my 'new' truck saw dirt. somewhere on that dirt road i got bit by an offroad bug, and i was hooked!

a few months down the road, i saved enough money to buy some new rims and tires. i went with 16x8 atx teflon mojave rims with 31" bfg at's.

registered on my first forum for the truck ( and met some cool peope and wheeled with them a few times and learned the basics of offroading my 2wd truck. i quickly learned from my bent up steprails that there were these wonderfull things called sliders that i needed, so one of my new offroading buddys kenny fabbed some up for me. kenny would eventually turn my truck into the monster it is today...

as i pushed my truck's capabilities offroad, recovery points became a must. i had some rear clevis mounts installed which were welded to the frame and stuck out of the factory bumper for a clean look. i also had a light bar put in (which currently belongs to another clubfrontier member).

i wheeled it and abused it as it was for about a year.

at the tender age of 19, i got my carreer started and sort of went nuts, i loved my truck and didn't want to sell it. i know i needed a lift and large tires, and my stock bumper was pretty trashed from, well... being on the front of my truck, so i bought fiberglass fenders, a shrockworks bumper, a warn m8000 winch, and a nismo exhaust.

i registered on a number of nissan/offroad forums by that time and developed a pretty good feel for what people were doing with these trucks. i ready a few write ups on 2wd->4wd conversions, and the gears in my head started turning.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
so i started throwing around the idea of a sas with kenny and we came to an agreement, and now all that was left to do was collect parts.
we threw around alot of ideas on what to use, and came up with a coil sprung three link for the front, and a leaf sprung rear end. i picked up a waggy d44 from a guy on craigslist for $80 and brought it to kenny to prep for the sas. i also ordered 8" lift springs for an xj from rusty's offroad.

as i was collecting parts, i continued to wheel my stock truck with kenny's first freshly sas'd pathy and his brother who also had a freshly sas'd pathy. they had been wheeling their trucks with d44 front ends and stock pathy rears, and were beginning to break parts and were looking to swap in d60's.
it didn't take much thinking to convince myself that i wanted to take my truck to the next level of offroading, and this d44 wasn't going to cut it. i looked in a couple of offroading mags for advertisements for axles and found currie, solid, and dynatrac. i did a little research on the interweb and found that dynatrac seemed to be the best, and low and behold, they were in my own city. i basicly went down there and told them i wanted the best of what they got. they showed me a "dynatrac pro rock 60" and it was beautiful. we talked about options, and i outfitted it with 35 spline inner/outer shafts, warn hd hubs, 5.14 gears, an arb locker, and a bridge for the upper link. they gave me a quote and i pretty much pissed my pants and went home. slept on the idea, envisioned the truck in my head, and went back a few days later and cut them a check for the axle. they handed me paperwork detailing where i needed the pumpkin offset, pinon angle (caster), and width.

while my axle was being constructed, i scrapped the idea of a coil sprung front end and went down to king racing shocks and ordered two 14" 2.5 coilovers.

got my tires mounted on my teflon rims, bought an arb locker for my h233b rear, and ordered 5.13's for my rear.

about six weeks later, dynatrac called and told me my axle was ready. i went down to pick it up and they wheeled it out on an engine hoist.

i got it home and my dad and i pushed it out of the bed of my truck onto the grass and it made an indentation on the front lawn. it weighed about 500 pounds. there was no turning back now.

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
once all the parts were collected, i took the truck to kenny's house and we started grinding the front end off. that was actually the point of no return...

first mock-up;

i was there for the entire thing, and learned a ton. it seemed like all we did was put the axle under the truck, measure, measure some more, and move the axle around fractions of inches at a time, and take a bunch more measurements.
link tabs were burned in on the axle and links were constructed, link brackets were also burned into the frame.
below is a picure of the links and a concept front track bar built to avoid contact with a bump on the oil pan (it ended up failing and folding like a taco the first bump it took on the road).

had to move some stuff and cut away the wheel well in the bay for the front shock hoops to fit.

the front end was 'done' after about five days.

first pic of the truck off the jackstands and rolling on her own power; by that time, kenny's pathy had become a moon buggy, seen in the back ground.

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12,596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the day after i got it home;

for the rear suspension, we just flipped the rear leafs over the axle and moved the shock mounts. needless to say, it rode like absolute garbage.

so i drove it home (still 2wd) and my dad said, "you spent all that money on the front end, but didn't spend jack sh*t on the rear." so i did some thinking and talked to kenny about doing a four link, and trashed the idea because we would have to move the gas tank. then we thought, why not just do a rear three link as well? and the next day i went back to king and ordered some 14" 2.0 coilovers for the rear and ordered link material.
in the mean time, kenny took apart my 2wd tranny and converted it to a 4wd tranny. apparently the difference between 2wd trannys and 4wd trannys is this shaft and tail peice pictured below;

so now that i was officially 4wd, we took her out for her maiden voyage.

so my rear suspension components arrived and we got ready to take it on. there aren't a ton of pictures of the rear suspension construction, but thats because we did it in one day. yes, in the morning we ground off the factory suspension that we modified and rolled it out that night with a three link coilover rear.

in the pic below, you can see the raised upper link mount and the custom crossmember needed to hold the rear of the gas tank.

the three link worked out perfectly. the only major modifications that we needed to do for the rear was move the crossmember holding the back of the gas tank and impeding clearance for the coilovers, and cut holes in the bed for the shock hoops.
upper link;

after driving it with the original 200/150 pound springs that king gave me, we found that the 150 pound springs were too stiff, and swapped them out for 100 pound springs.

rear trackbar might look goofy, but it is well protected by the rear tire and gets the trackbar nice and flat.

we eventually put braces between the rear hoops and mounted the spare and the shock reserviors to them. turned out pretty good.

the rest is history. so far, its one of a handfull of lucky frontier owners that have d60's up front, and as far as i know, the only frontier with three link suspension and coilovers front and rear.

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12,596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
complete list of mods;

-optima yelloy top battery
-cone filter
-custom exhaust (no muffler)
-perma cool remote engine oil filter and cooler
-flex-a-lite "black magic extreme" 3300 cfm efan.
-nismo oil cap :thefinger:

-custom from dynatrac pro rock 60. 35 spine inner/outer shafts, arb locker, 5.14 gears, heavy duty brakes, warn heavy duty hubs.
-nissan h233b rear. 5.13 gears (a/c), arb locker.
-custom front and rear driveshafts by unitrax
-a/c crawler gears in the tcase
- b&m transmission cooler with spal efan, custom stainless braided tranny lines from tranny to cooler.

[front] king 2.5 14" coilovers 200/250lb spring (dual progressive rate)
[rear] king 2.0 14" coilovers 250/100lb spring (dual progressive rate)
3" hydraulic bumpstop up front
ballistic joints
beard center limiting strap in rear

hanneman fiberglass front and rear fenders (rear are flares)
pos ebay headlights
hella 4000 lights

shrockworks front winch bumper
a/c rear diff skidd
custom sliders

30' arb snatch strap
30' pro comp recovery strap
30' 30k lb recovery strap
warn M8000 winch

interior and other doo-daads:
piaa silicone wiper blades (awesome in the desert- they don't crack and spit)
cobra 19 cb and 4' firestik
tactical red map lights
warning stickers

future mods:
larger brake mc
h233b rear disk conversion
full hydro steering
large capacity radiator
full interior roll cage, full harnesses, and light exo
two spare tires

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12,596 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice truck and timeline.

Any plans to take the current powerplant out and upgrade to something with a little more balls?
thanks! no plans for a bigger power plant, it does great on the trail with the crawler gears.
the only place i would benefit from a larger power plant is in 2wd or on the freeway. the added weight up front wouldn't help the already off weight distribution, or the center of gravity.

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132 Posts
thanks! no plans for a bigger power plant, it does great on the trail with the crawler gears.
the only place i would benefit from a larger power plant is in 2wd or on the freeway. the added weight up front wouldn't help the already off weight distribution, or the center of gravity.
Great story and pics. Dare I ask how much $ you have into this beast?

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
theres really not much to it. got some pathy brake assemblies (ebrake/caliper bracket) and put it on instead of the drum. the tedious part is taking the drums off the shaft, because it requires a special tool for pressing the shaft out of the assembly.

as it stands below, the shaft needed to be pressed down towards the ground to be separated from the drum assembly.

doing the above can be a difficult task, but kenny built a tool that bolts onto the axle brackets for the drums. the arms on the tool suspend the shaft/drum assembly in the air on the press, giving it room to press the axle shaft out of the drum.

here is a picture of the press and tool in action;

this collar came out of the drum assembly with little trouble. a couple taps with a hammer, and it came right out and slid into the pathy disk brake assembly with no problems.

frontier drum brake collar thing mated to the pathy disk brake assembly.

some light tapping to get it seated down before we bolted it on.

ebrake needed some slight modification. for the passenger side, the ebrake cable that came with the pathy brake assembly from the junk yard wasn't long enough because a pathfinder's ebrake setup is very different from the frontier.
we were able to reuse the frontier's cable for the passenger side, but we had to modify the flange that connects and bolts to the brake assembly. the cable hole is slightly smaller then the frontier's, so we had to grind off the small piece of supporting metal around the cable that guides the cable into the assembly. inside the assembly, there is a guide channel for the cable, and we are confident the modification will not change anything.
here is a pic of the bracket face we had to grind flat, and the piece we had to grind off is at the end of the pliers.

assembled the pads, bolted the caliper on, and that was it.

both sides done.

you can get steel brake lines at just about any auto store for pretty cheap. 3/16" diameter with metric thread is what you need.
while we were working on it, i figured i would replace the soft line going to the axle and got a 20" stainless braided line made with a "T" fitting on the end of it. there is a tab on the passenger side of the axle that holds the ebrake cable that can easily be bent up (it already had a hole in it) to bolt the T fitting to. worked out really well.

custom bent line to keep it out of the rocks and perfectly meet up with the pathfinder soft line retainers.

done! bleed the brakes and took her for a test drive.

i got lots of questions as far as what i was going to do for a master cylinder. i haven't done anything yet, and i can tell you that this setup has better stopping power then the disks did. however, the performance is unique to my truck because of the giant single piston calipers on my front 60. my stopping power was significantly reduced by my sas, but i can say that i gained back some stopping power with rear disks.
i do plan on upgrading my mc and using a proportioning valve to tune my braking system for best performance, but i have yet to make a decision on the route i want to go.

if any of the terminology sounds out of whack, let me know. i'm not sure i named it all correctly.

next mod is full hydro steering.

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Do you have any more info on the trans build? Or can you put me in contact with the guy that did it. I have a 4wd trans sitting here to swap but i know for sure that my trans has been serviced and shifts good so if it's not to much of a pain i would rather just swap the tail shaft. Do you actually disassemble the whole trans or is it just a tail housing and output shaft swap?

I'm mechanically inclined and have built other brand auto's but not familiar with the nissan output setup.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
his name is kenny and he goes by "theking" on interweb boards. he frequents,, and

unfortunately, the tranny assembly was the only part i was not present for, so i couldn't give you a quick answer.

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I remember following the build while it was in progress. Your truck is still one of my all time favorite first gens. Someday mine will be there hopefully, just a DD for now. Oh and thanks for the light bar, I don't use it anymore, but thanks, lol.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
yes. it bolted on to custom tabs that were welded onto the frame as well. it had two supports to reduce vibration that bolted to the grill. fellow clubfrontierian bhertz owns it now.

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Absolutely love this truck. Reading this and a few other posts I've found of your you have the gears in my little head turning lol I will def be in touch with you soon through pm if you don't mind. I am hoping to start collecting parts for my first crawler build soon and would love to get some info from u on a route I may go.

Kick *** truck and I look forward to talking to you!


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823 Posts
Mr. Beef... May I ask how you knew what to buy for your SAS? The SAS mod seems to be completely custom as people do it differently each time.

I just bought a 2002 Xterra and I'm thinking about making it a dedicated trail rig/crawler. If I go that route, I'm definitely doing the SAS
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