Nd4SpdSe 2001 Frontier turned Expedition Trailer - "The Frontrailer"

Nd4SpdSe Mar 17, 2015

  1. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    33,363
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    Man. You have the best adventures.

    And I agree. Having a dedicated camping trailer is the goal. Like you said, it makes it easy to just hitch up and go.
     
  2. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Heh, thanks.

    I love the X. It's as much of a toy as it is a tool, a tool for life really, and you can do great things if you use it. It's got a great capacity, ability and capability to do many things and enrich one's life. Some people complain about the hobby about modifying vehicles as a waste of money and time, but there's many, many things that you can't put a price tag on. It's stuff like experience and experiences that make it all worth while. The stuff we learn, places we see, the people we meet along the way and thereafter the stories we have to tell.
     
  3. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    For those that see them posted on the Facebook Xterra groups, Manny has been making up illustrations of members trucks in his spare time. I asked him to do mine, and he was more then willing to, admitting he wanted to before I asked him.

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    I think they turned out absolutely great! If anyone wants any Frontrailer paraphernalia, or from other members trucks, you can check out his shop, and probably easily contact him to get him to make you stuff of your own.

    https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/2536732-2003-nissan-xterra

    Also, a few new things have arrived!

    A great find thanks to my good friend Fred. A Xantrex 2000w pure sine wave inverter. I know it's been part of my plans for this trailer, but hasn't been a priority. I was thinking about the Canadian Tire 1000w model for the price (when it comes on sale) thinking that it'll be handy, but I don't want or need a large amount of AC power, nor want to include many systems that depend on it. I did want to go the pure sine wave route for it's efficiency, especially the trailer being more dependent on battery power and slower recharge capability. But $200 for a lightly used (about 6 months) Xantrex is a steal when they sell for about the C$600+ range. It's not the most robust version for cold under freezing and humidity, but I'll just be smarter on the installation. I don't see myself really needing this in the winter, and more for extra functionality in the summer, which will be why I'll be connected to the same battery as the Webasto. Besides, if I need something, I do have the 1500w modified sine wave in the Xterra that does that job just fine. To be honest, I have no clue when I will be installing it, and exactly where and how, but it's no rush, and I'll let it simmer and figure it out.



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    The piece I was most anxious to get was my Dexter 1000psi electric-hydraulic brake actuator. I know the trailer is illegally heavy for the truck without brakes. It does tow and brake fine, and I would just call it fine. This piece is the last of the "big 3" pieces, the more expensive parts of the trailer build. First being the awning, and the second being the Webasto. Ordered it from the USA and picked it up across the border. It cost me about half the price then buying it locally in Canada. It cost me about C$680 while everyone locally wants C$1100+, with tax puts it over C$1200. Amazon Canada they have it for C$999. Huge difference. I'll still need to get a brake controller, and I'll redo the entire brakes on the axle, including the cylinders since they've never been used in the last 3 years of my ownership, and the truck sat for a year prior to that, I'll do it some good to do a proper refresh so that it's not for nothing. I'll still need a brake controller, and that Redarc Tow-Pro Elite looks like the perfect option for use and install. I'd like winter to get the heck out of here ASAP so that I can pull the trailer into the back yard and spending some nice time outside in the sun and making up the braking system. I'd like to get this up and running for an overland meet in Quebec the weekend of 15-17 of June since it may have to do some real off-roading, depending on what they decide. I still have like 3 feet of snow in my back yard, urgh...


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  4. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    I also got the next big piece for getting functional brakes on the trailer, is to actually have a way to control them. I've been thinking about installing a brake controller in the Xterra almost since the start, but not only did I have no need, but I couldn't really decide on where to install it without being in the way. It's been more on my mind since I started the trailer project, knowing I had plans for brakes eventually. She toes it well, but illegally overweight for not having brakes, and the braking could be better for panic stops. Although I still hadn't figured out where to install one that my knee wouldn't hit it, or get in the way of my center cubby storage since I do find it handy, especially since I did install a deeper version from a Frontier since removing the OEM Rockford-Fosgate amp that was behind it when I upgraded the stereo.

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    First day of the year in shorts! While we did host a mother's day lunch for the girlfriend's family, I did get some time in the afternoon to start prepping to get some work done before truly starting the seasons. Weather is on the up and time to take advantage of it!

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    The reason why I went with the Dexter was the size and shape. It gave me the best mounting options for my setup, and so far, everything is going exactly as planned. It fits nicely underneath the floor for the tongue storage tray.

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    Test fitting the brake actuator. I was thinking that the best place to mount it was going to be here, but I wasn't sure how it was going to work out. Ironically and gladly, it fits perfectly! This is a tray I had made to mount and secure a single battery when I had first started this project. I had left it there after making a proper battery tray and moving them up towards the front, thinking there was no real reason to remove it until I had to. Well it couldn't of worked out better with only a small modification to cut away a small piece just to clear the hydraulic line fitting.

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    Picked up most of the braking components. Drums, pads, spring kit, cylinders and the line with a few fittings. I'm still missing the flex line and associated fittings, but should come in within the next day or two.

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    First time the wheels have been taken off in a few years. Time to get this started.

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    What was left of the original braking system. Wasn't sure how I was going to go about doing this when I had planned for this build, but left it in case. Now, it'll all going to get removed, brackets and all. Time to start anew.

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    I have no idea what's the state of the brakes, and they haven't been used in over 4 years. I've had it for over 3, and the truck sat for a year prior.

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    Brakes were about half way worn. Seems to of have no leaks, but the parking brake system (which is totally different them from the Xterra) is completely jammed. The whole system does look old like it sat, not surprised

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    Everything removed. Bolt from the brake cylinders snapped of course, all of them. Will be giving it a quick clean up with the wire brush. I don't want to jinx myself and spend too much time on cleaning it up and painting it until I have it all working and am happy with the system. I'll give it and the axle a whole bunch of TLC one day. Probably the day I work on the suspension and will have the axle completely unbolted at that point.

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    A whole new kit installed, on both sides of course. I removed the parking brake hardware, but will be keeping it in case. I'm undecided if I use the hydraulic system for the parking brake, or rebuild the cable system.

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    Tension adjusted and the drum installed. I'm not a fan of the color, looks more green in person. I'll have to clean those up and give it a coat of black caliper paint.

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    Time to work on the hard lines. Here's the original one, the shorter section runs to the passenger side

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    I'll be centering the brake distribution block, so each side is equal length. It makes it easier to mount and install, and I don't need as long for the flex line. I'm not sure if there's a difference and having it center will reduce any natural biasness from one side to the other, but it definitely won't hurt.

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    It's been about 3-4 years since I first and last touched hydraulic lines. I redid the clutch line for the Xterra those years ago. The first took me a while to figure it out. The other (drivers) side was much quicker.

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    And the lines connected to the distribution block, which is part of the flex line. It's an aftermarket replacement for the OEM Frontier brake flex line. I used a nut to use as a spacer to raise it to clear the top of the diff. I'm not a fan if doing that, looks half-assed, but again, I want to make sure it all works before getting into the finer details.

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    The original line went in back of the diff, while I decided to run it so that it's not the furthest point to avoid any rubbing, like on the spare tire. I may redo them to follow more of the curve of the diff, but again with little experience, I want to make sure it works and especially, that my flares don't leak.

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    I also grinded away the clearance necessary for the hydraulic output of the brake actuator, cleaned it up with a wire brush and primed and repainted it.

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    I finished up the hydraulics Monday like I wanted to. You may excuse the odd loop. I decided to run the main line inside the tubing with the wiring to protect it, but was worried that if I was to have a leak, that the fluid would follow the line, so I made a "drip loop" in case. There's nothing to say I can't do back and redo the line, and it may be here where I would "T" into for a hydraulic hand brake. I honestly don't know if this is possible. With the information that I can find on hydraulic parking brakes, they either have their own reservoir and people use install a second set of calipers (largely referring to drift cars), or there are versions that let the fluid pass through when not in use. The issue I have with this is the brake line I would have to run up to the tongue and back. Maybe I'll rebuild the cable parking brake setup, but I'll let this idea simmer for a while in the meantime. Fortunately all went well and I was surprised to of only had one leak where the hardline joined to the flex line. Despite trying a few tricks to fix it, I ended up having to chop off my flare and do it again from scratch. It's probably from working underneath upside down. Once that was redone and tightened down, all was good. My girlfriend ran the pump to help me bleed the system and all seems good so far. I'm actually really anxious to try this out, really see what it's like to tow the trailer that can brake. but the next step is to get the controller installed in the Xterra.

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    And yesterday evening I worked and completed all the wiring. Was hot but a bit windy. It's not going to be nice the next few days to decided to use this day to finish this up. Picked up the wiring I needed after work from my local trailer supply shop and got to work. The E/H actuator uses standard trailer wiring colors, which pisses me off cause I hate using black for power. It wanted power directly from the vehicle source. White is connected to ground. Blue of course went up the harness to the 7 pin trailer connector that will get feed from the brake controller. I also had another 7 pin connector on hand, so I replaced it. The old one was showing some signs of corrosion on the pins, so I figured it was a good time to swap it out to ensure a good clean connection, and I also did a much better job at sealing up the wire end and retaped up the wire loom.

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    Yellow is for the breakaway switch, so I ran a pair of yellows up to the tongue to the switch. From there, one was connected to the yellow on the E/H actuator dedicated to the breakaway function, and the other was connected directly to one of my batteries. Specs lists a battery of a minimum of 9Ah, so my car battery will more then suffice. I may work a system in the future to use power from both batteries as an extra redundancy, but that'll be when I do a total reorganization of the electrical system. This is all designed to be expandable and reliable, but it's not the permanent setup since I'm still making it up as I go along.
     
  5. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    33,363
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    I hate you. I love your build. But I hate you. You're building my dream trailer. If I can ever get a front end wrecked 2nd gen Fronty, I'm doing all of this.
     
  6. kirk

    kirk I once rented two prostitutes at the same time Supporting Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Allen, Texas
    Man thats fantastic. I get happy every time I open this thread. Like he said, you have the best adventures.
     
  7. kirk

    kirk I once rented two prostitutes at the same time Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,709
    Location:
    Allen, Texas
    Also, thank you for all those pics that allow me to live vicariously through you. Fantastic.
     

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