Excuses4excursions 04 Xe 4x4 Build

excuses4excursions Jan 17, 2020

  1. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Hey y'all,

    Welcome to my build thread. Whether or not this gets a lot of attention, my main purpose here is to document the things I've done so I can see the progress and keep tabs on my own build. I do love my pictures so hopefully y'all enjoy as well!

    Bought my X for $2,500 about a month ago. It had 204,xxx miles, a couple previous owners, and was basically stock besides someone upgrading the tires from stock to 265/75/16.

    Pros from purchase:
    had new radiator and radiator hoses
    paint was perfect
    very few scratches or dings
    everything was stock, means nobody tried messing with much
    **undercarriage looked like it just rolled off from factory**:D


    Cons from purchase:
    serious fade in exterior plastics
    mean oil leak out of the cam seals
    check engine light for cats and knock sensor
    hole in muffler
    steering wheel is very worn
    steering in general is like a boat


    Build Plans:
    My plans are somewhat simple, but starting with a very capable vehicle and an almost perfect body, I knew this was worth putting my money and time into for a serious build. Even if with the high miles, the perfect undercarriage and bones of this X would be worth putting in a new engine if it ever came to that. With that being said my goal is to use this vehicle as a daily driver and weekend overlander. Something that can handle some light-medium offroading and easy miles on the highway, all while being my daily driver.

    Current mods:
    -2006 Toyota Tundra 17x7.5 wheels with 275/70r17 BFG KO2's

    What I have pegged for mods are as follows:
    -PML + 3" suspension lift with UCA and Bilstein 5100's
    -offroad front and rear bumpers, with sliders, winch, and tire carrier
    -upgrading all steering components to heavy duty where possible
    -headers with high flow cats/no cats

    Picture from day of purchase:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Current representation:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
    BCXterra and TerryD like this.
  2. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Within the first month of owning my X I had to get that oil leak fixed. My driveway was looking like a oil-change shop and I lost about a quart of oil in a month. Plus with it hitting 200+k miles I knew the timing belt service was probably due and to be safe it should be done. Which is a great excuse to get into the cam seal and have that replaced. After watching videos on doing the timing belt service myself, and reading a lot on forums about it. I decided to get a quote at a local shop just to see how much it'd be. I have an Asian Auto specialist shop right down the road so I figured they should have some good experience. Talked to the guy at the shop and he quoted me $550 including parts and half/day for labor. After weighing doing it myself versus having the pro do it, I decided to have the pro do it out of convenience and so if something went wrong he has a warranty for 12 months/12,000 miles and when it comes to timing on an engine that's worth it to me.

    All said and done now I'm SOOOO glad I took it to him. First off, he was an actual pro with decades of experience and he owns his own shop where its only him and his wife, and he works on one car at a time giving it all his attention and expertise. Secondly the number of things he caught and fixed for me were astounding and many of which would have thrown me for a loop if I tried the work myself. Apparently the person who replaced the timing belt before on this Xterra, had the crankshaft off one timing notch, and then cranked the distributor timing to make up for it. Needless to say I had crap for engine power when I bought it and seriously thought that it was just how older Xterra's drove (heard a lot of complaining on forums about the lack of power in gen 1's).

    On top of all that the previous "mechanic" gouged some scratches into the camshaft trying to get the old seals out which is why the seal was leaking. My guy said he's seen it before and had a trick up his sleeve by shaving the new seal down so it slid onto the shaft a little further back and hopefully behind the gouges so they no longer caused an issue. And then he continued on about how some of the bolts for the covers were missing or put in the wrong holes and some of the nuts for the pulleys weren't even tight. In a nutshell the previous "mechanic" did a piss poor job at a timing belt service and royally screwed it up.

    Now after hearing about this over the phone and being told this half day job turned into a day and a half job, I was expecting a much larger bill. But being the actual honest local shop that he is, he only charged me what he quoted me and after all that work I walked out with $630 tax included. That was T belt, tensioner, water pump, cam seals, crank seal, and thermostat replaced. As well as the work on the crankshaft and seal to fix the oil leak. And now the X feels and drives so much better with actual get-up-and-go power (I mean nothing crazy but at least enough to get on the highway with a short onramp). Very pleased with the shop, the choice to take it in, and now my Xterra.

    Now with the largest of the maintenance taken care of, on to mods!!:D
     
    TerryD and TheCrabby1 like this.
  3. TheCrabby1

    TheCrabby1 Sliders Supporting Member

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Burtonsville, Md
    Sound's like your well on your way and have a good plan for future mod's. I added some 265/75/16 wildpeak's a month ago and i'm really liking them. They keep good traction in the rain , just waiting for some snow to see how good the 3 peak/snowflake rating really is. They seem quit , but i have a flowmaster 40 so I can't HEAR $CHITT !!
     
    TerryD likes this.
  4. paulforeman02

    paulforeman02 Test Drive

    Messages:
    20
  5. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Checking it out now paulforeman02. I also saw your post on a thread here about toyota wheels on a nissan. That post really helped me out! Very surprised more people haven't talked about toyota wheels on our nissans as much.
     
    paulforeman02 likes this.
  6. reaver

    reaver First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    Caldwell, ID
    Welcome! Sounds like you not only got a good deal on the xterra, but found a great mechanic to tackle things you don't want to do yourself. Those are hard to find.

    None of the pictures are showing up on my end, but I can't wait to see what you do with it.

    I've been dailying my Xterra since November, as my truck has an abs issue that makes me uncomfortable driving it right now. I have to wait until it warms up (no garage) before I fix it. In that time I've completely fallen in love with the Xterra.

    People on these forums know these rigs inside and out, so if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
     
    TerryD likes this.
  7. BEEFY

    BEEFY I Smile when Gasoline Can Freeze

    Messages:
    2,749
    Location:
    Prince George, BC, Canada
    Looks like you are getting all the maintenance done. Once that's done, then the fun mods can starts.
     
    TerryD and reaver like this.
  8. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    First mod purchase for the Xterra... and it happened to be from a Toyota... ban me now I suppose lol. Can hear it now: "Blasphemy!!"

    Found a killer deal on FB marketplace for these 2006 Toyota Tundra wheels. Bought em for $200, and they had 275/70/17 BFG KO2's on them. Tires have like 20% tread on 'em if that so they will last only a couple months once I get them on. But it'll be long enough for me to try them out and I figured if I don't like the look of these wheels I can get most of my money back selling just the wheels alone.

    Did my research before buying and for those interested:

    2006 Toyota Tundra stock alloy wheels are 17x7.5" with -18 offset and 5.0" backspacing (vs. my stock 16x7 wheels with -38mm offset and 5.5" backspacing). So I should get about 1/2" of poke over my stock's. Most Toyota wheels (including these) have a hub bore size of 106mm, where my X has a 100mm hub bore size. I'll be buying 106mm to 100mm hub rings to make up the space difference, even though Toyota wheels are lugcentric and I could probably get away with just the lug nuts centering the wheel on the hub. Which brings me to the lug nuts, stock lug nuts from the X are acorn shaped and the Toyotas are mag seat shaped. Crossing different lug nut shapes is no good and while I did get the Tundra lugs in the deal, they won't work because Toyotas have a M12 x 1.5 thread size and the X lugs are M12 x 1.25. Still no biggie, M12 x 1.25 mag seat lug nuts are orderable online. Also online I found replacement hub caps for the center of these wheels that don't have the Toyota badge glued on! So replacing those will hopefully avoid the puzzled looks I get of Toyota badged wheels on an Nissan lol.

    The tires themselves being a 275/17/70 come out to about 32.2" x 10.8" tire which will give me about half an inch taller and wider of a tire (current setup on 265/75/16 or 31.6" x 10.4"). This might give me a little bit of issues over the tire size I have now, due to the backspacing pushing them out another 1/2". I don't think it'll be more than cutting some plastic, as I don't have any rubbing issues with the 265/75/16's right now. Plus with the 275/70/17's very worn that'll make the diameter help me out some. I'm gonna try putting them on soon, once I get the lug nuts and hub rings in the mail, but I also have a 3" suspension lift pegged for purchasing in the next couple of months. So I may do it all at once to save from cutting anything now that I might not have to cut after the lift.

    Here's a few pics of the wheels sitting next to the X, not installed obviously. I was worried about how they would look, but I actually think they will look really good! I originally wanted some black steel wheels in 16" so I had a little more meat on the wheels. So many of the offroading Xterra's go for that look and I really like it, but when I saw these 17's they caught my eye for some reason. Hopefully they give me the offroady look while also staying somewhat "civilized" for my daily driving.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. harryron

    harryron The Grumpiest of Mid-Westerners Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,407
    Location:
    ohio
    You might want to look into a body lift. If you piece it together it can be done for under $100. I have pieced on together with a extended upper radiator hose for right around $85 but never installed it.
     
    excuses4excursions likes this.
  10. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I took your advice and checked out body lifts. I'm going to try the PML first and see what my fitment situation is. If its close I may just trim the plastic and not do the body lift. But at the same time I'm noticing the 275/70/17's are not a very popular size and going up or down to 285/70 or 265/70 are way more popular. Going down to 265/70/17 would give me the same size tire as what I have on now (265/75/16) so no fitment issues but less sidewall, and going up to 285/70/17 would give me a true 33" tire but then requiring the body lift.

    For whatever reason I'm reserved to do the body lift. I know it's cheap and easy, but from what I've seen there can be some issues doing it with heater core inlets breaking and such and in all honestly I'm not a fan of the looks (mainly the more noticeably visible frame). If I keep my tires under 33" I shouldn't need to worry about a body lift and that would also keep my gas mileage reasonable and less wear on the axles/bearings/steering comps

    I guess what it comes down to is do I want it to be more Daily Driver (with a set of 265/70/17's, and only a pml/susp lift), or get worse gas mileage but better offroadness (with body lift, 285/70/17's)

    ...decisions, decsions :confused:...

    The good news is I don't have to decide soon. My wife and I are looking to buy a house which pushes some of my build plans back a little bit.
     
  11. 13ADVX

    13ADVX Bought an X

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    PA
    go up and add the body lift!
     
  12. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    You're looking at about an inch of difference in overall height. What's the difference in tire weights for those sizes?

    I say go with the slightly smaller tire of you don't like the body lift idea. If you are reserved about it and do it anyways but have trouble, you'll really be pissed imho.

    You might try to find some used tires in the smaller size and see how you feel about them on the vehicle as well before you go all in on new tread.
     
  13. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm looking at Falken Wildpeaks and the weight difference is substantial. Where I'm at now with 265/75/16 P tires is about 44lbs. Going up to LT265/70/17 is about 53lbs and LT285/70/17 is 59lbs. To go up 15lbs a tire would really slow down my X and kill my gas mileage. The more I think about it the more I want to go with 265/70's.

    I got the new lug nuts and hub spacers in the mail so maybe this weekend I'll slap those wheels on and just see how I like them. Who knows I might not like them and sell them for 16" steelies

    Stay tuned
     
  14. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Well slapped them on today, and I am loving the looks. Will definitely stay with these wheels, just need to repaint them and get new tires. The 275/70r17 size that came on them are actually a pretty nice size. Gives me enough sidewall for wheeling but doesn't overdo it so I can also blend in a little with the city-slickers at work. There's enough tread on them that I can run them for a month or so and make my decision whether or not to stick with this size or go up/down.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Difference in lug nuts needed to pull this off:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Hub bore adapter (106mm to 100mm):
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    TerryD likes this.
  15. RxnNic66

    RxnNic66 First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    TX
  16. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Sorry for the long pause in updates, finally bought a house amazingly amounst all this Coronavirus mess, got moved and somewhat settled in. Aanyways over the last few months not a lot got done on the build but I did manage to get some rear backup lights installed.
    [​IMG]

    I like em and they work great! I wired them up to a switch because I daily drive this and wanted control over when to flip them on.

    I went with some cheap Amazon Nilight brand because 1. they were $20 lol and 2. the reviews made them sound like they weren't crap. I guess time will tell and if they need replaced or get hit by something another $20 to replace them wont break the bank
     
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  17. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    On the back burning but not for long is a PML, newer tires, upgraded steering comps, and then an alignment. But even before all of that I've got a local fab guy working on a winch plate for me!:D Very excited about that and he's also throwing in a Smittybilt XRC 9500 winch for a deal on the whole setup. Pictures will absolutely follow here soon...
     
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  18. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I wanted a winch so bad since I do a decent amount of exploring solo, and for the sake of not relying on others to get me out of situations. But I couldn't bring myself to spend $1000+ on a full front bumper plus another $3-400 on a winch. So I had a local fab guy help me build a winch plate that worked with the stock bumper. Took out the silver piece and that exposed the two frame horns. From there he developed from scratch a plate and brackets that worked with the 3 bolt holes on each frame horn. He added some of his artist taste but at the end he had for me a sweet winch plate with recovery points and light pods mounts. He also had a Smittybilt XRC 9500 winch laying around that was used only a couple of times that he threw in for the deal. Best part about it all was that he only charged me $450 for all of this!!! That's custom winch plate, winch, and led pods all installed! I'll be working with him some more for thing like rear tire carrier and sliders in the future but overall very happy with how it turned out. Adds a little protection with the tabs that stick down, but also might have him trim those down some to get back some of my front angle.

    Also I took out the foglight pieces, looking to hook up some pods in there as well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,185
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    That's pretty sweet!
     
  20. excuses4excursions

    excuses4excursions Test Drive

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    No pictures for this next install, but needed to do the drivers side valve cover gasket. Oil was leaking on my exhaust manifold and causing smoke and a terrible smell when driving. Plus its leaving oil spots on my new driveway and I can't have that. So while taking care of the valve cover gasket, I replaced about 90% of the vacuum lines that were all weather cracking and the coolant lines that I had to cut in the back to get the plenum out. I also installed a intake manifold spacer from Past Power Innovations. I'm not expecting much improvement but figured since I was in there taking the plenum off it was worth a shot at a little better performance. These 3.3l's just are boats for acceleration. For $60 it wasn't too bad of a hit if it doesn't.

    Once I got down to the lower intake manifold, I was planning on taking that off to get to the knock sensor that's been needing replaced since I bought the Xterra. But after having to drill out two of the upper intake manifold allen bolts, I really didn't want to do that again on bolts I didn't have replacements for. Plus I heard getting the injectors seals to seal up again could be a risk, and at that point it wasn't a risk I wanted to take. Taking all of this back apart is something I never want to have to do again on this engine! So I scraped that plan and knock sensor relocation it is!

    After getting everything replaced and back in place, the EGR tube took some readjusting to make up for the difference in the spacer height now. But everything's sealed up and running good! I notice maybe a slight improvement in throttle response but nothing to write home about. Overall the spacer will stay in for now.


    On a completely different note: I just ordered 4x4parts 3" suspension lift!!! Can't believe I'm at the point in my live that I spent $1200 on suspension parts lol. But overall I needed shocks real bad and a IAB so it saves some money buying everything at once versus spread out over the next few months or years. Plus once and done for install work. VERY excited to get it all in the mail, stay tuned!!
     
    reaver, paulforeman02 and TerryD like this.
  21. paulforeman02

    paulforeman02 Test Drive

    Messages:
    20
    Nice looking winch mount. Good idea to have one if you're adventuring alone. Plus in a group, its good to have a few winches to go around. I'm excited for you to get that 3" lift on. You'll like it. Good luck!
     

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