NJ 2000 frontier build | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

NJ 2000 frontier build

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Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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So I’ve decided to do a little build thread on my frontier. I love this truck and I thought I would share it with you guys.

In the beginning and some of the story of the truck

I picked this truck up in 2018 with about 130,000 miles in it and a lot of problems. It wasn't pretty, sounded horrible, ran like doo doo butter and the inside smelled like a gym locker, but I got it for scrap metal price.

Issues that needed immediate attention included:
The wiring harness for the transfer case and transmission was melted
The exhaust needed to be completely replaced (manifolds, O2 sensors, everything)
The first gen frontier/xterra fuel tank seal leak

The truck didn't have 4WD but would randomly try to engage it anyway...often on the highway going 60-70mph. This was not an enjoyable experience and eventually the front hubs were destroyed. Although the truck was rated at 16-19mpg I was getting between 9 and 11.

Everyone I knew thought I was crazy...INSANE for getting this truck.

Attached are the original pictures I have of it (I think all screenshots)...

Now I’d like to rewind a little bit…
I used to have an XJ (actually I’ve had 2 but anyway…) it had a lift and either 31 or 32in MTs. I had a loaded up storage basket on the roof and solid pair of spotties on a bull bar… I took this thing EVERYWHERE
I loved this truck (my first XJ was kept stock). Sadly I fell asleep behind the wheel and rolled it down a hill after the passenger rear corner tagged a phone pole and spun the truck 360 degrees. I was totally unharmed from the accident but heartbroken. Since then (Aug 2015) I started looking for a replacement.
But I also couldn’t justify $10k on a 20-30 year old jeep…

I also wanted to be able to have pick up truck utility. I was torn but I was sure eventually the perfect truck at the right price would come around…
 

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Dusther210

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Modification summary

Engine
JDM VG33E
Amazon snorkel
K&N drop-in filter
Amazon exhaust manifolds
1999 frontier downpipes
Walker Y-pipe and muffler

Armor
Schrockworks front skid plate
Schrockworks engine/transmission skid plate

Drivetrain
Manual locking hubs
Front and rear differential breathers

Tires
265/75R16 Milestar Patagonia MTs

Suspension/ Steering
4x4parts idler arm brace, HD tie rod adjusters, adjustable rear leaf shackles and single ply AAL
Bilstein 5100 shocks

Lighting
AUZKIN 7in LED fog lights
Amazon 2in LED flood lights for 360 area lighting
Amazon 2in LED spot lights and ditch lights
2 HFT battery powered LEDs for lighting in the bed
(every factory light on the truck has been converted to LED)

Comms
QYT 8900D with a firestik 1/4 wave antenna mounted over the tail light

Recovery
Viair 20007 air source kit
48" Hi-lift jack with a 30ft strap and an 8ft tree saver
2 Amazon traction boards
Amazon portable jump starter
Jumper cables #redundancy
HFT 5 gallon metal jerry can
HFT axe
HFT Bolt cutters
USGI folding shovel

Misc
ARE camper shell with Thule crossbars
Bed storage design copied from Paul Foreman (instagram @_paulforeman)
Hasika 270 awning
Bed mounted IFAK
First Aid (boo boo) kit behind the back seat with the spare fluids and parts
Bed mounted fire extinguisher
Home depot bucket with Husky bag and an Amazon pop up privacy tent
Mesh pop up laundry bin from Walmart for a garbage
OVS TMBK RTT




The to do list:
Schrockworks front bumper
Schrockworks rock sliders
Raptor liner paint job
Custom Rear bumper with swing-out tire carrier with a place to put my jerry can and maxtrax
ARB rear air locker
ARB front air locker
4x4parts upper control arms, ball joint spacers, front differential drop bushings
a more permanent bed lighting solution
Badlands 12,000lb winch
"$75 dual battery setup" with another Optima red or yellow top
4 Maxtrax
Ryobi 14in electric chainsaw
Some kind of solar generator to run and charge some camp items

Some of this stuff isn’t exactly a modification to the truck but I thought it’d be good to mention
 
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Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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The issues:
Chronic PNP CEL
Chronic crankshaft position sensor CEL
Nissan discontinued the automatic locking hubs
The fuel tank seal leak recall
The tail light bulb recall
Sunroof leak


I will be updating how these were resolved




PNP CEL
resolved 19 Sept 2021. the bushing around the PNP switch/ sensor was missing. JJ Automotive made a bushing and the truck is totally different now. It's even easier to get into 4lo

CKP CEL
possibly resolved by replacing the distributor (as of 2 Sept 21)

Auto locking hubs
replaced them with manual locking hubs in spring of 2020

Fuel tank recall
done for about $900 in 2020

Tail light recall
I just modify the bulbs, its been working since 2018

Sunroof leak
still unresolved as of 2 Sept 21
 
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Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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Dustin
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Helms
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KD2UNH
The mission, goals and some of the story of the truck.

When I got this truck I had a little car for a daily driver. I wanted something to drive in winter/inclement weather and that was a bit more utilitarian.

Ultimately this truck would be responsible for making sure I could get to church or home no matter what.

The truck quickly got put to work helping friends move. Also we had a freak snow storm one day and I spent my afternoon towing half the population of Paramus, NJ up a snow covered hill.

A few times a year the wife and I make the trek from NJ to DC. We have done this in the car plenty of times but there have been occasions where we were left lacking in space and comfort for 5-6 hours at a time. And then there was another snow storm that followed us the entire way home.
So glad we took the truck on that trip…

So in addition to winter commuter duties and weekend moving truck activities the truck now had the responsibility of getting us home from long distance road trips.

Then the lockdowns presented the perfected opportunity to…not be lockdown… anyway, we went all over NJ in search of cool places to take the truck.

They don’t exist.

So we traveled to America in search of opportunities and now both of us were hooked.

Each time we went out we reassessed our setup and plans. We tried new ideas and gear, it was a lot of fun. Best of all- it was great bonding time, refreshing and relaxing.

So now in addition to being responsible for getting us to church and home no matter what, and long road trips, and being a moving truck, this frontier became the family adventure rig
 
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Dusther210

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The wife and I got married in February of 2020, and soon after the truck started to experience "a lady's touch". Now that my wife was spending more more time in it the truck began getting some attention... and smelling better.

It got some bigger tires, a DIY bed slide (i might go back to this, was pretty nifty) and a giant roof basket from Amazon. This truck was still primarily for moving stuff around at this time so I didn't want all of the space taken up by adventure gear quite yet.

We joined Overland Bound and learned the truck is pretty capable. We had two wheels stuffed and two wheels hanging and the truck just tractored along.

I think this basket set up is why the roof rack is always squeaking now, I don't know if I would recommend it.

DB9F324D-E1E1-4E85-9FAF-8BBB2BFC107C.jpegA8663694-5D7B-455C-BD37-8E9B3FD7DE48.jpeg1246F0F2-68FF-4460-929E-11E314036C19.jpeg

IMG_2579.jpeg966F77CA-5BB5-4421-BB0E-018778FF4BB8.jpeg
 
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Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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After a very spontaneous but scenic afternoon adventure we decided to equip the truck a bit better for what we were asking of it. We picked up a Schrockworks skid plate package since my previous mechanic lost the stock skid plate. He did us a favor because those Schrock skids have been life saving!

We gave the truck a bit of a suspension lift (might do a 2" body lift in the future as well) but on one of our adventures we learned we still didnt't exactly have the breakover clearance we desired and it was a great excuse to pop off the side steps. We plan to pick up a pair of Schrockworks rock sliders.

We had a Harbor Freight air compressor, the large 200psi one, and it did a pretty good job of inflating the tires. It took a while but got the job done. It was about $60 if I remember correctly and I would definitely recommend it. During our trip with @NJRadioGuy it decided to stop working. We took the opportunity to swap it out with a Viair 20007 air source kit. As of writing this I haven't yet had a chance to really test it out. I did have an issue initially, but it turns out the 1st gen frontier bed is not a good ground source. Problem solved and now I'm in the process of making something to make airing up/down a little more convenient. The issue with the HFT pump was the ground wire got brittle and broke off. It now lives in the wife's Xterra and has been working great.

On our spontaneous trip we both thought we were going to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. So we scooped up a set of Amazon traction boards, a 48" hi-lift and some straps. On EVERY trip afterwards they have had some amount of use. One time the wife was driving and we got practice with the "hi-lift winch".

The truck went through many different phases, I made a drawer system which turns out is VERY heavy and eventually got scrapped and replaced by a setup similar to one I saw on Instagram. I also found a camper shell/topper/canopy (whatever you want to call it) for $300. it has been a life saver! I am considering making a shorter unistrut rack like the one from the White Mountain Yota Youtube channel and possibly putting the tonneau cover back on. Just the height of the RTT on top of the racks on top of the shell.

If anyone is wondering the lift is a single AAL from 4x4parts with the adjustable shackle from them too...actually I think all of the suspension is ordered from them. I gave the torsion bars a crank in the front and threw on all the HD steering/ suspension bits from 4x4parts.


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View attachment IMG_7823.mov





















































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Bonus video:
View attachment IMG_8145.mov
 
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Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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Engine and drivetrain mods

I will be posting how the snorkel was installed, differential breathers, the engine oil catch can...if I get a supercharger I'll put how I did that in here also.
 
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Dusther210

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Dustin
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Suspension and Tires

I'll discuss my experience with the different tires, and suspension components and setup here. I may draw comparisons to the wife's 2003 Xterra which runs different shocks, no lift and A/Ts


Tire reviews:

Westlake SL305 235/85R16

Westlake SL369 235/85R16

Milestar Patagonia M/T 265/75R16





Rear suspension summary:
If you have a D22 or WD22 get a single AAL first and go from there.

Front suspension summary:
Droop is necessary. Don't max out those torsion bars.

(More details and pics will be added to this as well)
 
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Dusther210

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Cabin setup for the curious (pics will be added)

The radio is QYT 8900D programmed with CHIRP

The head unit came with the truck, the USB broke on it and I accidentally broke the truck's antenna...so it's basically a big clock now lol. However we got a bluetooth adapter thing that also has USB for charging stuff but we play music through the head unit with it and I can make hands free calls now which is pretty cool.

The switch panel controls the auxiliary lighting. I am not too happy with the routing of the wiring, but i didnt have to do any drilling or cutting into the truck. It looks like if I put 35" tires on the truck it might be a problem, but for now it works.

The patches are important to remind me which truck I'm in and if I get pulled over maybe I get some leniency.

The glove box has the basic paperwork and gloves. shouldn't have anything else in there.

Center console has some pens and other useful quick access items.

Visors are for tissues and seat belt cutters/ glass breakers

Behind the seat gear (refer to picture)
Items held in place with velcro and velcro ties for the tools
 
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Dusther210

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The roof
If you can fill in the space any more and you can't go out, go up.

Lights, why, where and how.

What else do I keep up here, why and how
 
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Dusther210

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Camping
Because this truck was built for adventure and camping I figured I would just throw in a little box showing how we get down and how the truck facilitates that.

There's a tent and some other stuff. I will give my opinions on these things here


Overland Vehicle Systems TMBK3 tent
I think it's supposed to be pronounced Timbuk 3... I don't know
It's pretty big, kinda bigger than I expected. Setup was pretty quick and easy. Took my time, solo and including the time to fabricate brackets to install my rear auxiliary lights it took about an hour from the time I received the tent until the sleeping bag was in the tent and the truck was ready for adventure.

Also not that heavy, I lifted it onto the roof of my truck myself.
IMG_2256.jpeg
 
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GLOCKer

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Ha! First not reserved spot!

I remember when these 4-doors hit the US market and I fell in love with them (in NJ too!). They reminded me of the foreign market trucks I had seen overseas that looked like serious business for going places cars usually didn't. I'm looking forward to seeing how yours shapes up.

Oh, and I miss NJ food!
 

Dusther210

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4,765
Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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Dustin
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Ha! First not reserved spot!

I remember when these 4-doors hit the US market and I fell in love with them (in NJ too!). They reminded me of the foreign market trucks I had seen overseas that looked like serious business for going places cars usually didn't. I'm looking forward to seeing how yours shapes up.

Oh, and I miss NJ food!
Thanks! The Aussie d22 and the Ford Rangers in Afghanistan were initially prime inspirations for this build
 
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Dusther210

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4,765
Palisades Park, NJ 07650
First Name
Dustin
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Helms
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24720

Ham Callsign
KD2UNH
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Dusther210

Rank VI
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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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Dustin
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Ham Callsign
KD2UNH
Is that your ranger?? It looks very Australian lol
That truck is beautiful
Thanks! I love that damn truck! It's been a lot of fun so far.
I could definitely imagine seeing your truck on the next episode of 4WD247 lol


But it’s funny because I put NJ in the title of this thread because I feel the location of a build has a big influence on the direction and end result. Where do you usually go with your truck?
 
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GLOCKer

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I could definitely imagine seeing your truck on the next episode of 4WD247 lol


But it’s funny because I put NJ in the title of this thread because I feel the location of a build has a big influence on the direction and end result. Where do you usually go with your truck?
So far I've only been out in North Georgia. My eventual goal is to get out for trips to Utah, Arizona, and Montana.

By the way, I LOVE that damn YouTube channel!
2021-04-25 17.02.36.jpg
 

Dusther210

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Palisades Park, NJ 07650
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KD2UNH
I could definitely imagine seeing your truck on the next episode of 4WD247 lol


But it’s funny because I put NJ in the title of this thread because I feel the location of a build has a big influence on the direction and end result. Where do you usually go with your truck?
So far I've only been out in North Georgia. My eventual goal is to get out for trips to Utah, Arizona, and Montana.

By the way, I LOVE that damn YouTube channel!
View attachment 206876
That Kimberley trip was insane!!!

My frontier is the primary family adventure vehicle. About 4 times a year we do about 3 day long trips, just the wife and I. The routes are usually something like a BDR, nothing too extreme, we like to do that scenic and interesting stuff without trying to break the truck.

Although I hope one day we will be able to to do black bear pass and imogene pass but due to logistical limitations we will probably be staying East coast for all of our adventures. Maybe the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway, Georgia Traverse or some of the Trans-America Trail but those are a bit ambitious for a 3 day round trip from northern NJ.

A trip to something like Idaho, Utah, Montana or Alaska would probably result in me never going back to NJ lol. Our “big trip” we are planning for is a fall trip to NH and Maine maybe next year