Diy- 2wd to 4wd conversion (Pic Heavy)

Nesty Oct 4, 2013

  1. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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    If you feel comfortable taking a challenge here is a little something. Those of us who don't want to buy another xterra to have the luxury of a 4wd, here is a way to convert the Gen 1 X from 2WD to 4WD. Now, this conversion was done on my Gen 1 2001 Nissan Frontier 3.3L Desert Runner Auto transmission but the same principle and parts apply to the Gen 1 Xterra 3.3L from 99-04 including the manual transmission. The great thing about it is that almost all the parts are direct bolt on. You can find most of these parts in the salvage yard but make sure you know what you are buying depending on the condition of the parts, especially the transmission. If the parts are rusted or look like they are in rough shape, I would recommend refurbishing (optional).Air tools are recommended to make the job easier. I apologize for not having very detailed pictures for some of the instructions, this was done in 2011.

    Installation time: 2-3 days
    Estimated cost: $1800-2500 (depending where you get the parts )

    List of Parts :
    - Nissan 99-04 4WD transmission with torque converter
    - Nissan 99-04 Transfer Case
    - 4WD Transmission mount
    - Transmission crossmember
    - Front Differential with Diff supports ( front diff crossmembers)
    - Passenger & Driver side CV axle
    - Driver & Passenger Hub assembly
    - Front drive shaft
    - Rear 4wd drive shaft (shorter than the 2wd drive shaft)
    - Transfer case shifter
    - 4wd Center console with dust boot
    - 4wd heat shield with dust boot (goes under center console)
    - 24" of Green 14 guage wire (for speed sensor extension)
    - Red crimp barrels and heat shrink (optional for adapting 2wd transmission harness to 4wd transmission)
    - Transmission cooler (optional)
    - ACE hardware bolts ( depending if you didn't receive them with your 4WD components)

    I refurbished my parts because the parts had a lot of rust on them and it wasn't too appealing either.

    Before refurbishing:

    Front Diff:
    [​IMG]

    Front Hub Assembly (Driver and Passenger)
    [​IMG]

    Front Diff Crossmember supports:
    [​IMG]

    Transmission with Transfer case and 4wd shifter:
    [​IMG]

    Wire brush or sand blast the outside of the parts if you want to repaint them and remove the rust
    [​IMG]

    After refurbishing:

    Here you can see all of the parts you will need for the job. I recommend spreading them out like this before you start so it can be more organized and easier to install
    [​IMG]

    INSTALLING THE COMPONENTS:

    This is what the 2wd system looks like installed in its place:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is where the front differential will be placed and the mounting tabs:
    [​IMG]

    1) Remove the rear drive shaft ( this is the old drive shaft removed and compared to the 4wd drive shaft):
    [​IMG]
    2) Remove the starter
    3) Carefully loosen up both torsion bars and remove them along with the rear Torsion bar Crossmember. Be sure to completely loosen them up before removing!
    4) Place a regular jack with a block of wood/ Transmission jack (recommended) under the 2wd transmission to support it
    5) Disconnect Transmission hiring harness located in the passenger side of the engine compartment, in front of the windshield wiper motor, next to the cruise control module. There should be 3 grey plugs and 1 Brown plug stacked.
    6) Disconnect the transmission shifter located on the passenger side of the transmission.
    7) Drain the Transmission fluid.
    8) Disconnect the transmission fluid line located on both sides of the 2wd transmission.
    9) Loosen up 4 bolts that hold the torque converter to the flywheel. It can be easily accessed through where the starter was at. Use a 14mm socket for this.
    10) Remove the the bolts that hold the transmission to the engine (there should be 6)
    11) Carefully Remove the 2wd transmission
    [​IMG]

    12)Attach the transfer case to the 4wd transmission (if separated)
    13) This is step only applies to those who get a 4wd transmission with the wiring harness cut. Cut the 2wd harness close to the transmission side as seen in the pic above. Strip all wires from both the 4wd transmission and the 2wd wiring harness. I recommend either soldering it then heat shrink or use crimp barrels and then using heat shrink for water protection. The difference between the 4wd harness and my 2wd harness was a orange wire that is used for the transmission temperature sensor which I didn't have in the original system. All other wires should match color to color. Here is a picture of how I did it:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    14) Once wiring harness is completed, The speed sensor wiring must be cut and extended 14-16"
    15) The gear shifter bracket didn't come with my 4wd transmission so I used the original 2wd bracket, flipped it and cut off the bent tab with two screw thread holes. Bracket (black Bracket) is seen flipped in the picture of step #13
    16) Begin to install the 4wd transmission and transfer case. Ensure that the torque converter is set all the way in its place before attaching the transmission to the engine or it will not settle in properly. You can do this by spinning the torque converter around while pushing inward untill you feel it slip in its place three time. You should feel and hear three clicks. Make sure you have all the bolts and tools in hand as you are installing transmission to make the task faster.
    17) Once the 4wd transmission is attached to the engine, connect the torque converter to the flywheel.
    18) Attach the transmission mount to the transmission. Then attach the Transmission crossmember to the original crossmember bolt holes. Be sure to add a second bolt since the 4wd crossmember has two bolt holes
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    19) Connect the Wiring harness back to the 4 plugs in the engine compartment as well as connect the transmission fluid lines
    20) re-Install the torsion bars and torsion bar crossmember and be sure to tighten the torsion bars once again and to make sure the ride height is correct after the conversion is complete.
    21) Install rear drive shaft
    22) Remove the most forward crossmember held by 4 bolts horizantally
    23) With the Front Diff Crossmembers attached to the Front Diff, Raise into place using a jack and connect all 6 bolts that hold the front Diff. Make sure to run breather hose to the top of engine compartment.
    [​IMG]
    24) Attach front Drive shaft from the transfer case to the Front Diff
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    25) Remove old 2wd hub assembly be removing the following:
    - Upper and lower Ball Joint
    - Brake Caliper and bracket
    - Shocks ( to make it easier to install CV axle)
    - Outer Tie Rod end
    - ABS sensor/or disconnect complete cable from system

    [​IMG]

    26) Install the 4wd hubs and attach CV axles to front diff by re-installing the following:
    - Upper and lower Ball Joint
    - Brake Caliper and bracket
    - Shocks
    - Outer Tie Rod end
    - ABS sensor/or disconnect complete cable from system
    - Attaching CV axles to front Diff

    [​IMG]

    27) Remove both passenger and driver seats and remove center console, Gear shifter, and heat shield under Shifter
    28) Install the transfer case shifter and 4wd heat shield with boot.

    [​IMG]

    29) Re-Install interior

    This is what it should look like under when complete:

    [​IMG]

    Optional:

    You can install a transmission cooler but its optional. Here is where I placed mine:

    [​IMG]

    Take it for a test drive and ensure that everything is functioning properly. You should get the car re-aligned since you removed and re-torqued the torsion bars. I didn't put the 4x4 light on the dash to work because you need an extra cable to connect to the dash. It doesn't bother me not having the engagement light on. But its an option you can install
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
  2. yellowx16

    yellowx16 Need Bigger Tires Founding Member

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    nice work, great write up! I'm sure lots of people will find those useful
     
  3. BigTim55

    BigTim55 Banned

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    How much of this will work on a 2nd gen?

    Sent from the great beyond
     
  4. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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    As far as I know the removal and installation for the components are nearly the same. Now, the biggest and most important piece that change between Gen 1 and Gen 2 are the way we engage into 4WD. Gen 1 are manually engaged. Gen 2 have the electronic shifter. I know you need to find the entire wiring harness for the 4WD transmission and transfer case including the electronic shifter nob but I'm not sure if you have to change the ECU, add a 4wd module or not. I have never looked into it. I have to look in the wiring diagrams of the Gen 2 and see the difference.
     
    SAKS likes this.
  5. Roadwarrior

    Roadwarrior Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Wow, I'm impressed. Rep coming your way
     
  6. Xterraforce

    Xterraforce <img src="http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u7/ra Founding Member

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    Nice write up. I know a couple of guys who want to do this already. This will help a lot. Rep to you sir
     
  7. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    loe this DIY thread. Will be doing this to my X soon. I have held off due to over complicating things but with your DIY it feels much more doable now.
     
  8. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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    Sure thing. If you need any specific pictures of certain components or installation process, I'll be glad to post them up. Over all it was a very fun project and not as hard as i thought it was going to be. To be honest the gathering and preparing the parts took more time and was more of a hassle than installing it
     
  9. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    I am in the process of gathering all the needed parts. Got a tranny with tcase and the front dif. I am having trouble finding the correct crossmemebers. Where did you find yours? Also could you give more pics and details on the before and after of the cross members? Thanks.
     
  10. xterror04

    xterror04 Site sponsor Founding Member

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    He got all of his parts from one truck at a salvage yard... He shows a picture of the cross members off the truck and on the truck... What other details are you looking for?
     
  11. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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    Most of the parts did come off two different trucks in the salvage yard like xterror said but the cross member for the 4wd tranny was cut on both and it was very difficult to find online so i ended up going to nissan and ordering it from them. it was around $85 if i remember correctly. As far as the crossmembers for the front diff, if you didn't get them with the diff itself then you can order them from nissan which is usually where i got some of my stuff:
    http://www.courtesyparts.com/-c-532_14_115_503.html

    the stock front crossmember is used as part of the front diff
     
  12. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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  13. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Thanks for the info. Also did you have to get new control arms, brake rotors, and calipers?
     
  14. Cyclemut

    Cyclemut Wheeling Founding Member

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    I did the same swap, making my '02 4WD.

    I went a step further though and added the t-case harness too. It plugs into the engine harness. The engine harnesses already have the wiring in them to accept the t-case wiring, so that part is plug-n-play.

    Then, halfway down on the passenger's side of the center console, there are several connectors. The wiring from those connectors are missing the indicator light wiring for the instrument cluster, so I ran wires from the instrument cluster to connectors at the console in order to get the 4WD indicator to work. And yes, the instrument clusters are all the same between the 2WD and 4WD versions (verified by Nissan Parts CD). After that, when I shifted into 4WD, the light on the dash lit up.

    I'll get the pages with the connectors and whatnot tonight and post them up so that others can also complete the conversion, making the light come on. It's quite satisfying to see that light come on after all the hard work. Satisfying indeed.

    The lower control arms are the same, the rotors can be unbolted and bolted back into the 4WD hub and the calipers are also the same. I used the same brakes, same rotors, same calipers and never unbolted the lower control arms. I did get different torsion bars, but only because my old ones were sagging, even after being adjusted several times for the PML.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  15. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Thanks for the info. I would love to have the light working and looking forward to the info. That's nice to know about the brakes and such. I did notice you only said the lower control arm. Did you have to replace the upper?
     
  16. Cyclemut

    Cyclemut Wheeling Founding Member

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    Nope, all the control arms work and don't need to be touched. I only mentioned the bottom because you asked about those specifically.

    Steering stayed the same, brakes, brake components, brake lines, even wheel bearings, are all the same. You need to swap the hub assembly and the knuckle, but everything else bolts on the same.

    So, first you have to run a power wire from fuse 11 (I just used a scotch-lock to connect to the wire off the back of the fuse panel by the driver's left knee) to connector M59, position 11, wire color white/black tracer. You can tap directly into the harness on the other side of the connector with another scotch-lock if you want to make it easier.

    [​IMG]

    Then, you have to run a wire from M58, position 2, brown wire, up to the instrument cluster white connector, position 6. For the connection at the instrument cluster, you need to find a similar wire connector or somehow get the wire to connect with the terminal once it's installed back on the cluster.

    [​IMG]

    Once the wiring is complete inside the cab, and you have the harness from the transfer case run up to, and connected, to the harness on the engine, then you can test it. Turn the key on, engine off, apply the parking brake (if the t-case goes into neutral, the vehicle can role, regardless if the transmission is in park or not), pull the t-case into 4Hi and make sure the light on the cluster lights up. If it does, put it all back together and have some fun. If it doesn't, verify you have power from the fuse going into the harness connector and back out of the harness (brown wire) when it's NOT in 2Hi, but IS in 4Hi, Neutral and 4Lo.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2018
  17. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Thanks so much for all this info. Almost have everything I need then it'll be time to get to work. Thinking about bed lining the underside while I have most everything torn out.
     
  18. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    I don't get this part. Can you please clarify this for me?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2018
  19. Muadeeb

    Muadeeb Bastard Admin from Hell Admin

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    He means "find a donor wire with the right pin and jam it into the socket". I'd probably ask a junk yard if you can grab that part of the harness. If someone were to ask for the gauge pod, they'd probably just cut the harness off anyway.
     
  20. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Ah. Thanks. Now. I get what he is saying.
     
  21. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    @ Cyclemut

    do you happen to have pics of which wire harness and where its at for the t-case hookup? i am installing now and not sure which connectors are for the tcase.
     
  22. footsteps71

    footsteps71 Bought an X

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    I am getting closer and closer to this.
     
  23. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Good luck. I did the swap as well as it's pretty straight forward except the 4wd light on the instrument cluster. I still can't figure that out. It's no boggy though.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  24. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    Oh if you need some parts let me know. I am doing a SAS conversion and will be getting rid of all my IFS stuff and my front diff.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  25. footsteps71

    footsteps71 Bought an X

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    Sweet. I've got a truck in Fredericksburg that a guy is pulling apart. I've got the package deal with the whole 4wd system, but I'll let you know if anything needs replacing! Thanks man!
     
  26. Dbrown016

    Dbrown016 Bought an X

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    Im going to get around to doing this one of these days.... My buddy just did the swap on his wrangler. I didnt know they made 2wd wranglers until i saw his.
     
  27. Pro-2X

    Pro-2X Suspension Lift

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    No way I would buy a 2WD JEEP. The front axle is the ONLY selling point for a jeep.
     
  28. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    Pretty much this.
     
  29. footsteps71

    footsteps71 Bought an X

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    Nesty, do you have any of the pics from this? I'm 85% of the way done, have the tranny/xfer case installed, the differential and Front driveshaft installed, and I had to order new disks and pads.
     
  30. Nesty

    Nesty Test Drive Founding Member

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    Just updated the pictures. Hopefully it helps
     
  31. akuria

    akuria Wheeling

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    This thread totally helped me when I did mine. The hardest part for me was removing the 2wd knuckles from my control arms. I ended up destroying all my ball joints and replacing them and even getting my upper arms.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  32. footsteps71

    footsteps71 Bought an X

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    I have prepared. I have new balljoint, the AC UCA'S and new camber bolts.

    And lots of grease
     
  33. Bursje

    Bursje Test Drive

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    2 WD to 4 WD

    I have had the Xe 2002 for about 2 years and recently got into an accident . Finding parts for my car was a HELL seeming that mostly Japanese cars drive here. So i got lucky and found an damaged 2002 SE 4wd and i got the idea to convert my 2WD with the parts to 4WD . Is it possible and will it be reliable ?
     
  34. footsteps71

    footsteps71 Bought an X

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    It is very possible, and so far has been VERY reliable. I installed a lokka and hardbody hubs, and she has been a BEAST. You can do it man!

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
     
  35. Matt

    Matt Test Drive

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    In case it helps - here's the parts you'll need. You'll also need the rear drive shaft, and CV shafts. Gen14WDparts.jpg
     

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