Nissan Frontier solid axle swap

rondo

rondo
Location
Boise Idaho
Time for a build thread, in case there are any Nissan fans out there :ugh: haha
This is a 2000 Nissan Frontier that i had a shop put dana 44s and king coilovers in in 2001. I've put over 50k on solid axles and don't regret it, but the build had always been of poor quality. Finally after busting axle shafts, u-joints, alloy stuff, wearing out ball joints, i could go on and on, i figured it's time for dana 60s.

I used to get work done at misconception motorsports (I love JR!) but since he closed i've been hosed by a couple of shops in Utah which will remain nameless (they are out of business now). I admit to being over my head on this level of fab but that's okay. This is my second build which means i know enough to be dangerous. I welcome tech tips and opinions.

The specs: 3.3 V6 auto, with 4:1 tcase gears and SYE. I built the custom rear bumper and tire carrier. Front bumper is ARB with warn winch. (i'm thinking about selling the bumper and building a tight integrated winch and stinger to increase approach and decrease weight).

Axles: 91 F350 Dana 60 front and 78F250 rear Dana60 (from Yoda) rebuilt by Tyler at rollover motorsports with 5.38s and ARBs (parts from alljeep.com).

high steer arms and link Heims from Harshterrain.com. The tie rod, drag link, track bar is Ben Hanks racing and 1.25x120wall and 1.50x120wall, with 3.4 heims and misc. brackets. Other brackets from sniperfab, polyperformance and ballistic fab.

Dana 60 rear conversion to disks rufftuff specialties brackets and autozone chevy parts.

Front axle narrowed 3" (to match the rear) by advance 4wd, who also provided new u-joints and spare resplined shafts. Thanks Randy.

Except for getting the gears rebuilt, this is all garage built and it's been a work in progress since october. My goal was jan to get it done :rofl:

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It's cold working on it in an unheated garage. I have no friends to help!

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parts laid out!

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front is a 3 link with upper link outside of the frame. Only place it would fit?:(

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rear axle wasn't too bad; ditched the heavy drums and snagged a spare 30 spline shaft (yeah i didn't go to 35 spline, here it comes heh heh
 
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Herzog

somewhat damaged
Admin
Location
Kamas, UT
Way cool. I know those nissans don't have a lot of extra room under the front for that kind of stuff. Makes for a fabrication adventure. Keep us posted.
 

rondo

rondo
Location
Boise Idaho
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Harsh Terrain arms from an old high school bud of mine.
Tie rod is pictured; on some advice i've put the drag link into the second (empty) hole. Any reason why it wouldn't work there?
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ballistic fab diff cover; didn't realize i had to weld it when i bought it online, no biggie i guess but i hope it doesn't leak :eek:
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Testing the suspension flex; found i needed taller tabs to mount the coilovers, BHR made them custom for me, thanks!
Track bar mockup is in and i think (hope) it will work where it is; made it too damn short -_-
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Biggest PITA is getting the Track bar to clear the oil pan; since this rig has only 3" of up travel it won't be a problem. Upgrade in the future, i'd love to put on some 14 coilovers but making room under the hood will be the biggest challenge :(

In my research i've heard of Nissan weenies that put in a Chev master cylinder; hope that works or i wonder what i should do there?
 

spencevans

Overlander
Location
Farmington
I love it, doing a SFA and coilovers on my Mitsubishi was the best decision I ever made for my truck. That's alot of axle for such a little truck. I can't wait to see the finished product.
 
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rondo

rondo
Location
Boise Idaho
update on frontier sas

Updates:

junker is now fully welded and i'll fix up the brakes this week. Still need to check steering and ensure it turns left and right evenly. Here's some updates.

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Caddy calipers for the rear with integrated parking brakes. These don't come with arms, so got some from Advance 4wd (pictured).

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Coilover mounts and coils bled and done finally! Disassembly on these was cake. Only issue was threads were beat on one of them and spent an hour with a file to get it back together. Next one literally took 7 minutes start to finish to disassemble, bleed, fill with oil, reassemble. And i've never bled one of these before.

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Fab'd up some rock sliders. Last pair were bolted to the frame. This time just welded.

Made some custom shock mounts. Brake lines done at EVCO.
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Also made spare tie rod and drag link. Driveshafts made at Gaylons in Utah. He took the 3 I had, fixed them up, and built up a brand new one for the rear for about $550. that's 4 total. Yeah, i like spare parts :D For the record, these guys were AWESOME, FAST AND PROFESSIONAL!

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Front suspension shown right before bolting junk up. With advice from Carl and others, I moved the track bar mount as far out as I could with it still clearing the coilover with suspension travel. It's about 85% the length of the drag link. Hope that's enough :eek:
 
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rondo

rondo
Location
Boise Idaho
runs and drives great!

Runs and drives great. Took it for a test drive on a rough piece of hwy and at 65 there were no strange issues. No sway or bumpsteer and i am pleasantly surprised :p It turns way better than it did with d44s.
Even with the POS tires that i bought here, which have all gone flat (and had to be fixed) it seems to track well. Brakes are a bit mushy so a new MC is in its future. Anyone care to offer advice on that?

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I think the stance is about right. With the slope of the driveway its hard to tell but i set it up a bit nose down which i prefer.

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I had to RR the tire carrier since i let my neighbor Chuck drive it in Moab and he ripped the tire off. Since i don't run a shell anymore i just set it inboard.

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I feel good about the stance, don't think it's too tall.

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Spare parts made, modified: extra tie rod, drag link, front and rear drivelines, and suspension link.

I'D LIKE TO PUBLICLY THANK CARL AND ROCKMONKEY FOR COMING OUT AND GIVING ME WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE GREAT ADVICE. THANKS!
 
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SAMI

Formerly Beardy McGee
Supporting Member
Location
SLC, UT
Definately sweet!!

A guy over on ThenewX/org has been going to town on his Frontier as well..

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xj_nate

Poser
Location
UT
thats a cool build i love sas'd anything, the only advice i could give is to put the rear shocks vertical or as close to it as possible... a bunch of guys on here hounded me about the shocks on my old xj buggy that were mounted similar to that and i later put them vertical and wow it was a huge change in handling! i guess its because it improves the shocks ability to dampen. not trying to be a jerk or anything at all it was just one of those things that made a real difference for me so i try to spread the word :D
 

skippy

Pretend Fabricator
Location
Tooele
Is the upper link being on the outsid eof the frame a bad thing ??? as long as the geometry is all good still
 

rondo

rondo
Location
Boise Idaho
On my build i chose to put the upper link outside of the frame. This resulted in a decrease in turning radius. I chose to do this because if i put it on the inside of the frame i woul have had to reroute the exhaust. When i was doing it i was in a bit of a hurry and on a budget. If i could do it over i'd put it inside the frame rail. As far as geometry no it makes no difference. It was a trade off for convenience.
The truck has worked out fine; i've driven to Fort Bliss and wheeled some of the hardest trails in Las Cruces while i was down there and it worked great.
 
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