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autofakt

My potential build - 2003 LE R50 4x4

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I got this pathfinder for $500 at the auction since I've been wanting to build a mild off-road vehicle for some time now.  After doing some research I just want to check with you guys if its worth putting money into the LE version or should I just sell it and get a different platform/version.  After reading a bunch of forums I still dont have a clear answer.  I now know that this R50 doesnt have the rear LSD and it only has the 4.3 gears.  It also has the auto switch 4x4 on the dash instead of the floor switch which appears to be the less desirable option although im not entirely sure if thats correct.  My goal is to take be able to take to Mammoth Mountain(snow), some offroad trails with water crossings, and still be able to drive it around town if needed.  I have a few other cars so the last part is not essential.  Ive included some picture of what my end goal is but I dont want to go spending money if in the end I have the wrong configuration and the off-road capability is subpar.  I know this model is not able to rock climb since it has no solid front axle so I dont have unrealistic expectations.  Just want to be able to keep up with more expensive off-road vehicles.  Also what mods would I need to make to increase the off-road capability in the drivetrain?  I should also add that I dont want to throw crazy money into this project but rather have a budget build with off-road results to show for it.  I have access to cheap mechanics so swapping diffs or suspension parts from the junk yard is not a big deal.

 

ftms_XCakQtPS0.jpg

ftms_Ft3kQK6ws.jpg

Picture1.jpg

 

5942774e0edea058f537a52a2cded64c.jpg

 

Edited by autofakt
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3 hours ago, autofakt said:

I got this pathfinder for $500 at the auction since I've been wanting to build a mild off-road vehicle for some time now.  After doing some research I just want to check with you guys if its worth putting money into the LE version or should I just sell it and get a different platform/version.  After reading a bunch of forums I still dont have a clear answer.  I now know that this R50 doesnt have the rear LSD and it only has the 4.3 gears.  It also has the auto switch 4x4 on the dash instead of the floor switch which appears to be the less desirable option although im not entirely sure if thats correct.  My goal is to take be able to take to Mammoth Mountain(snow), some offroad trails with water crossings, and still be able to drive it around town if needed.  I have a few other cars so the last part is not essential.  Ive included some picture of what my end goal is but I dont want to go spending money if in the end I have the wrong configuration and the off-road capability is subpar.  I know this model is not able to rock climb since it has no solid front axle so I dont have unrealistic expectations.  Just want to be able to keep up with more expensive off-road vehicles.  Also what mods would I need to make to increase the off-road capability in the drivetrain?  I should also add that I dont want to throw crazy money into this project but rather have a budget build with off-road results to show for it.  I have access to cheap mechanics so swapping diffs or suspension parts from the junk yard is not a big deal.

 

ftms_XCakQtPS0.jpg

ftms_Ft3kQK6ws.jpg

Picture1.jpg

 

5942774e0edea058f537a52a2cded64c.jpg

 

Both the vehicles pictures have 4" subframe drops, which need to be custom made. 

For lift, I would recommend Fleurys 25 mm strut top spacers with AC front springs and LR 9447 rear springs with Procomp ES326500 rear shocks. 

This will give you 3" lift all round.

You will then need 0 offset 16x7 wheels, which allow you to fit 265/75r16 tyres.

Fleurys also makes skidplates. 

For a front and rear bar I would recommend coastal offroad, their front bar is winch compatible.

 

If you want to lift the front higher than 2" springs with a 1" spacer for 3" total, then you need a subframe drop.

For the 3" lift above you should also fit manual locking front hubs. 

Personally I prefer the auto mode transfer case as AUTO is excellent for wet roads and snow. However be careful with auto mode and manual hubs as you need to have them locked when using auto...

I found the rear lsd in my r50 good but it wasn't the be all. Taking out the rear sway bar and fitting the procomp shocks made the biggest difference as the give you 11" of shock travel without having to move bumpstops, for mega flex.

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Excellent advise above

 

 

I would also add the front Lokka to your list of mods since you mention you have access to cheap mechanics to do the swap for you. I’ve heard great things from those that have them installed, and I’m looking to add one to mine soon. 
 

 

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I wouldn't call it the pick of the litter, but for $500, you did good! You're not missing much with the LSD, by '03 Nissan had dumbed them down so far that they have less breakaway torque than what the lug nuts take. The first couple years of Xterra had better LSDs that I'm told will bolt right in, provided you match the gear ratios (or take the opportunity to swap both diffs to the 4.6 ratio if you're planning to run larger tires). The LSDs can also be rebuilt to higher specs if you're willing to tear the rear end all to bits. If you're not in a hurry to lift it, these guys are working on a subframe drop kit, though they're not cranking them out yet. The electronic transfer case is too complicated for my tastes and requires special care if you run manual hubs (like Kiwi said), but they seem to hold up alright, and they actually have a lower low-range ratio than the standard box (2.596 vs 2.020).

 

My dad had an '03. It was comfortable, had plenty of power, and handled well, but the electronic throttle body was a bit laggy and the engine burned a ton of oil (not an uncommon problem on early VQs). It smoked like hell on warm starts, otherwise you'd have no idea it was burning oil until it ran out, so keep an eye on the dipstick. Hopefully yours is in better shape. If you've got the auto trans, you should pull the intake apart and Loctite the power valve screws as well, they tend to back out and fall in.

 

Before you start throwing mods at it, take it out, see what it's got, see if you like it. If you do, see what it struggles with and start upgrading there. There's lots of good info here and some nicely built-up rigs to get ideas from.

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Thanks for the info about the 4" lift and everything else, didnt realize it was that high.  Thats definitely out of the question then because thats not what I need and will cost too much.

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Thanks for the info about the 4" lift and everything else, didnt realize it was that high.  Thats definitely out of the question then because thats not what I need and will cost too much.

Do not combine any new aftermarket spring with a strut spacer unless you have a sfd. Your cv shafts will thank you.


Sent from my Pathfinder

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20 hours ago, KiwiTerrano said:

Both the vehicles pictures have 4" subframe drops, which need to be custom made. 

For lift, I would recommend Fleurys 25 mm strut top spacers with AC front springs and LR 9447 rear springs with Procomp ES326500 rear shocks. 

This will give you 3" lift all round.

You will then need 0 offset 16x7 wheels, which allow you to fit 265/75r16 tyres.

Fleurys also makes skidplates. 

For a front and rear bar I would recommend coastal offroad, their front bar is winch compatible.

 

If you want to lift the front higher than 2" springs with a 1" spacer for 3" total, then you need a subframe drop.

For the 3" lift above you should also fit manual locking front hubs. 

Personally I prefer the auto mode transfer case as AUTO is excellent for wet roads and snow. However be careful with auto mode and manual hubs as you need to have them locked when using auto...

I found the rear lsd in my r50 good but it wasn't the be all. Taking out the rear sway bar and fitting the procomp shocks made the biggest difference as the give you 11" of shock travel without having to move bumpstops, for mega flex.

 

I just put rear upper and lower trailing arms yesterday since they were both toast.   The rear would jerk when moving from Park to drive or reverse. I also looked into the Procomp rear shocks you mentioned but didnt see that model number on eBay.  Also what type of shocks would I need in the front for the setup you recommended?  Also any reason for the 9447 springs over the 9448?  I tried to skim the whole 13 page thread about it but still not sure. 

Edited by autofakt

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pmXe2zU.jpgG7SD0VJ.jpgBjVlkq6.jpgfXY7OOj.jpgRXhY40F.jpgZw0BiEO.jpg

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1 hour ago, autofakt said:

 

I just put rear upper and lower trailing arms yesterday since they were both toast.   The rear would jerk when moving from Park to drive or reverse. I also looked into the Procomp rear shocks you mentioned but didnt see that model number on eBay.  Also what type of shocks would I need in the front for the setup you recommended?  Also any reason for the 9447 springs over the 9448?  I tried to skim the whole 13 page thread about it but still not sure. 



you can use any OEM equivalent strut up front.

 

That thread takes careful reading in order to get the point. If you scan this link for the for different part numbers - 9446, 9447, 9449, and 9448, you can see the math for yourself. Each of those springs fit, but have different combinations of free standing height and spring rate. 9448’s lift the most out of those part numbers (~4”), and are usually paired with an SFD up front. 9446, 9447, and 9449 (~2-3”) are usually paired with 2”

lifts up front. Link: http://www.red90.ca/rovers/springinfo.html

Edited by PathyDude17
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On 5/11/2020 at 7:13 AM, autofakt said:

 

I just put rear upper and lower trailing arms yesterday since they were both toast.   The rear would jerk when moving from Park to drive or reverse. I also looked into the Procomp rear shocks you mentioned but didnt see that model number on eBay.  Also what type of shocks would I need in the front for the setup you recommended?  Also any reason for the 9447 springs over the 9448?  I tried to skim the whole 13 page thread about it but still not sure. 

I got my shocks off Summitracing. 

Front shocks, best option is KYB OEM replacement. Nobody makes extended ones.

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So after putting more thought into this build I am now interested in doing a SFD either early on or in the future.  If I decide to do the sfd is that typically done before the 2" coil lift or can it be done after the 2" coil lift?  Also I read here that I will need different rear springs if a sfd is involved(WJ).  So if thats the case will the LR 9447 not be needed anymore or will they still work fine?  Would it make sense to start with a 2" lift and see how that works for me and then potentially do a sfd if I feel that its lacking?  Will any of the recommend components go to waste with this route?  Will I have to redo a lot of work to install a sfd if I already have a 2" inch lift?  Also read a few threads where no sfd kit is currently available for the R50 and that you have to source the components individually.  I checked out Hawairish's thread about their sfd kits but not sure if any are available for sale.  How much are they anyway?

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A good quality 1.5-2” Spring Lift is really all you need. I’ve driven my truck almost 18 years & 100K mikes. I have done most of the CO passes except Black Bear and I’ve been all over UT, AZ & CO. All of that in a largely stock truck. Skilled driving & line selection will get you very far.

 

The last of the trial SFDs from Pines to Spines Offroad is sitting in my garage awaiting install; however, you honestly don’t NEED them, for me it’s an entertaining opportunity.

 

I would look at @02_Pathy / theblackpathfinder [iG] prior to his PTSO SFD for an optimal 2” lift build. I would drive it like that for a year or two & then reassess. If you want it then, I expect it will likely be readily available, though it will probably cost more than the rest of a spring lift combined and is much more work to install.

 

Put a good 2” lift together & hone your driving skills. You’ll have a great time, will be stopped by very little, and can then more adequately evaluate your need or desire for a SFD.

 

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On 5/9/2020 at 4:30 PM, KiwiTerrano said:

Both the vehicles pictures have 4" subframe drops, which need to be custom made. 

For lift, I would recommend Fleurys 25 mm strut top spacers with AC front springs and LR 9447 rear springs with Procomp ES326500 rear shocks. 

This will give you 3" lift all round.

You will then need 0 offset 16x7 wheels, which allow you to fit 265/75r16 tyres.

Fleurys also makes skidplates. 

For a front and rear bar I would recommend coastal offroad, their front bar is winch compatible.

 

If you want to lift the front higher than 2" springs with a 1" spacer for 3" total, then you need a subframe drop.

For the 3" lift above you should also fit manual locking front hubs. 

Personally I prefer the auto mode transfer case as AUTO is excellent for wet roads and snow. However be careful with auto mode and manual hubs as you need to have them locked when using auto...

I found the rear lsd in my r50 good but it wasn't the be all. Taking out the rear sway bar and fitting the procomp shocks made the biggest difference as the give you 11" of shock travel without having to move bumpstops, for mega flex.

 

Does any have pictures of this exact same setup and tire size?

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16 hours ago, RainGoat said:

A good quality 1.5-2” Spring Lift is really all you need. I’ve driven my truck almost 18 years & 100K mikes. I have done most of the CO passes except Black Bear and I’ve been all over UT, AZ & CO. All of that in a largely stock truck. Skilled driving & line selection will get you very far.

 

The last of the trial SFDs from Pines to Spines Offroad is sitting in my garage awaiting install; however, you honestly don’t NEED them, for me it’s an entertaining opportunity.

 

I would look at @02_Pathy / theblackpathfinder [iG] prior to his PTSO SFD for an optimal 2” lift build. I would drive it like that for a year or two & then reassess. If you want it then, I expect it will likely be readily available, though it will probably cost more than the rest of a spring lift combined and us much more work to install.

 

Put a good 2” lift together & hone your driving skills. You’ll have a great time, will be stopped by very little, and can then more adequately evaluate your need or desire for a SFD.

 Solid advice and Im pretty much going to do what your saying.

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Ok, so I started to clean up the engine bay because it had a bunch of oil leak residue on the lower parts especially all over the rack and pinion. Not sure where the leaks are coming from yet but its super clean now and I will be able to see shortly.  I did however notice that the vehicle is blowing smoke from the exhaust.  Its weird because it doesnt do it on start up and doesnt do it until the engine is at operating  temperature.  It also doesnt blow smoke unless you give it some throttle and after a short trip it stops completely even under load.  I was suspecting that it might be valve seals but since its not smoking right on start up I'm thinking that's not it.  Im going to change the PCV valve today because I'm sure it has not been done yet.  Optimistically hoping its not the rings but either way not worried because these engines, even thought I don't plan to replace it, are not that expensive($700).  Here is a video.

 

https://i.imgur.com/P6VzJjb.mp4

 

 

Edited by autofakt

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