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2002 4x4 Auto LE

 

I've owned it for about a year and I'm behind on lifting. I had always wanted to build up something beyond stock for over a decade and now is that time. I had always assumed I'd start with the lift then make a build page, but I'm gonna start this now since I have about half the parts in my garage and the remaining parts are in the mail right now. This will give me some opportunity to take feedback and suggestions from you all more knowledgeable folk before I start turning wrenches in a week or two.

 

About this vehicle, I picked it up last April when I needed something to replace my high mileage Altima with a slipping cvt. With my wife out of work at the time, I only had limited funds and for whatever reason vehicle prices were stupidly high at that time of year so I ended up with this 02 for $1500.00. The exterior is riddled with flaking paint, rust spots, dents, scuffs and scratches. The inside had grime, torn leather and lots of broken plastic. The death sway was very noticeable and I couldn't hear it's exhaust leak over the whiny pulley but there was no check engine light, water damage and the strut towers looked good. It was good enough to get around town for pizza deliveries by night and get me to my day job. Throughout 2019 I gradually spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars fixing it up. It and it's 2001 R50 companion can be found on Instagram as @dospaths where I document the endless repairs.

 

So the fun stuff:

 

Most of the above parts are in the garage. The rest (coils and shocks) are in the mail. The Warn hubs are from a salvage yard and were in rough grimey shape. They are diassembled and sitting in a jar of degreaser for the next couple of days. If they look ok when it's down to just the bare metal, I'll order a service kit from Warn to rebuild them. If not, I'll be checking out the Mile Marker hubs online. 

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y4mREUktJb0Cyhd3eZj7yt3b2OBLmTweIz3Z9hxh

y4mD-B_hK9HtuCIawzv3vvlLCgRlNoKplfnp4HV1

y4murZm2ciLEJEBgeAKi3LuvlVfRHuNKRkakPw14

 

My tenative plans are to start with the trailing arm bushings. I've been tagging the bolts with WD-40 about every other day and I'm going to borrow a heavy duty 120v impact gun for that. I'll use the sawzall to remove the existing bushings and assuming the trailing arms are oem or oem equivalent, they split bushings will fit right in those diameters.\

After that, I'll pull the shocks and coils out then put in the 9449s (hopefully without spring compressor), then put in the Bilstein 5100s. Any tips or advice for coil and shock installation (orientation etc) is welcome.

After getting warmed up on the rear, I'll do the struts next. I'll install the OME HD coils and the new strut bearings. Now, I know somebody on here will advise to not use a 1" spacer with those coils but I'm also open to the collective group opinion on that considering I'll be using manual hubs. So I'll either install the spacer with the struts or leave it out for a few months before revisiting the strut to put it in once the coils have worn in. Any installation advice is welcome too.

Install manual hubs.

I'll then put in camber adjust bolts and find a shop that understands what I've done and get an alignment. 

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Posted (edited)

I suggest leaving the spacers out entirely, but if you do feel the need to use them then definitely wait until later after the coils have settled. With manual hubs you can get around the CV binding issue for the most part, but they won’t save you off-road when the hubs are locked. Me personally, I want to know that my CVs won’t break when off-road under non-extreme conditions, so I went with the AC coils up front 

 

One thing to mention about rear coil installation, forget about spring compressors. I have done it twice, both in a tiny garage and on a two post lift, and never *NEEDED* to use the compressors.  It’s an extremely easy job. The first spring I did, I used them to help, but once I figured out how to drop the axle far enough I never needed them again. 
 

You just need to do 5 things in order:

 

1. jack up the frame where the front of the rear lower control arm is bolted

2. disconnect the shock at the lower mount

3. disconnect the sway bar end link (the bottom end of it)

4. The whole time you should have a second jack or the OEM scissor jack under the axle supporting it, and then lower it as far as necessary

5. Once its low enough, push UP on the coil (hard, it might be a bit rusted into place), then pull it out sideways, and reverse the process for installation.

 

For the right side the process is identical, but you also have to undo the right side bolt for the panhard rod as the last step to get enough droop. Only thing to watch out for is the brake lines. They will be slightly tensioned at the necessary droop for 9449s but not to the point of damage. Still worth it to be careful though, as I have no way of knowing the condition/length of your specific brake lines 


For the front, just make sure that all notches and marks are oriented correctly in the struts, and that you use OEM parts for the bearings and mounts

 

Edit:

 

Almost forgot to mention!

 

You have the AUTO Tcase like I do, so be aware that it will hate the addition of manual hubs. Mine has been giving me some trouble since I installed the hubs, the computer is confused about the lack of “correct” sensor data coming from the front and you’ll probably see a 4WD warning light after a long stretch of highway, and maybe other weird stuff. 

 

You will also have to consider the fact that with the hubs unlocked, your TCase won’t be pumping fluid around because the pump operates by way of the spinning front shaft under normal locked conditions, so it’s best to lock them a few minutes before switching to 4wd so that it has time to circulate the fluid. 

Edited by PathyGig12
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I did a write up on replacing rear bushings, you will have to remove the locating tabs inside the front pocket for the lowers, I tried to grind the 1st one with a dremel, that took a long time, then just used a small chisel/hammer on the remaining 3, quick & easy.

I still have to do my panhard, swaybar, shocks, & I have the 9447s on the way to complete the rear, then on to the front!

I've yet to order front lift, but am planning to use the same set-up!

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4 hours ago, BamaQX402 said:

I did a write up on replacing rear bushings, you will have to remove the locating tabs inside the front pocket for the lowers, I tried to grind the 1st one with a dremel, that took a long time, then just used a small chisel/hammer on the remaining 3, quick & easy.

I still have to do my panhard, swaybar, shocks, & I have the 9447s on the way to complete the rear, then on to the front!

I've yet to order front lift, but am planning to use the same set-up!

I'll be sure to look up the write up. I was kind of hoping somebody had one somewhere.

 

@PathyGig12 Thanks for the advice! That will save me tons of headache. I'll heed your advice and wait to install the spacer. Would running 2wd with hubs unlocked damage our Auto transfer case? I sometimes go places that require a couple hours of steady driving on the interstate

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49 minutes ago, Dbot said:

I'll be sure to look up the write up. I was kind of hoping somebody had one somewhere.

 

@PathyGig12 Thanks for the advice! That will save me tons of headache. I'll heed your advice and wait to install the spacer. Would running 2wd with hubs unlocked damage our Auto transfer case? I sometimes go places that require a couple hours of steady driving on the interstate


Nope, its not supposed to damage anything. That’s the way you’re supposed to use them. When the hubs are unlocked you can ONLY use 2WD. If you need to switch to AUTO or 4Hi then you have to get out and lock the hubs first. 
 

Now notice I say “not supposed to”.....

 

What I said about the 4WD warning light is true in 2WD with the hubs unlocked. You’ll be on the highway for a while and it will come on randomly and then be gone after you shut off the truck and start it back up again. There isn’t any damage as far as I can tell, but the light reflects the fact that the computer is confused.
 

The problem is that I’m not really sure what happens when the computer is confused, its very possible that it could still be attempting to send power to the front intermittently even though it’s not supposed to in 2WD mode. If it is, then that may or may not be damaging for the TCase. Anyway my main point about the manual hubs was that you are going to have to keep in mind the possibility of strange transfer case behavior. I’d love to hear from others who have the AUTO case and see if they have had any long term issues show up with the manual hubs

 

The good news is that I haven’t yet heard of a case of someone breaking their truck directly as a result of using the manual hubs, so overall I would still recommend them to save yourself some money on CV boots and gas. Just know that it’ll be a slightly uneasy peace of mind

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Nope, its not supposed to damage anything. That’s the way you’re supposed to use them. When the hubs are unlocked you can ONLY use 2WD. If you need to switch to AUTO or 4Hi then you have to get out and lock the hubs first. 
 
Now notice I say “not supposed to”.....
 
What I said about the 4WD warning light is true in 2WD with the hubs unlocked. You’ll be on the highway for a while and it will come on randomly and then be gone after you shut off the truck and start it back up again. There isn’t any damage as far as I can tell, but the light reflects the fact that the computer is confused.



I completely agree with you on spacers and aftermarket spring. I also have the LE with auto tcase but have never had a 4wd light turn on during a long drive. I drive from California to Arizona several times a year. My theory is the front drive shaft still turns when in 2wd and hubs unlocked. I believe you have some type of grinding feeling in your gas pedal?


Sent from my Pathfinder

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3 hours ago, R50JR said:

 


I completely agree with you on spacers and aftermarket spring. I also have the LE with auto tcase but have never had a 4wd light turn on during a long drive. I drive from California to Arizona several times a year. My theory is the front drive shaft still turns when in 2wd and hubs unlocked. I believe you have some type of grinding feeling in your gas pedal?


Sent from my Pathfinder

 

Very interesting that you’ve never gotten the 4WD light. Have you tried driving above 75mph for 5 minutes straight? Usually this is when it happens for me. I’ll be going through Utah with their nice 80mph speed limits and blasting down the highway for a while and it’ll pop up on the dash. 

 

I think you’re right about the front shaft still spinning in 2wd with the hubs unlocked. I’ve suspected it for a while, that maybe there is still some friction in the hubs so that it doesn’t completely cut the CVs from the wheels, but still need to confirm by putting a camera under there. 
 

As for the gas pedal grinding, nope that’s not it. It vibrates even with my foot lifted in the air. I’m almost certain that my front shaft u joints are to blame in one way or another. Either there’s play in them or they weren’t properly fitted to correct run out (I’ve been told this is a bit tricky for this truck). Either way, if the front shaft is still spinning, that would explain why the vibration happens even with the hubs unlocked 

 

Anyway, I’ll shut up now because I dont want to steal this thread. My only reason for bringing it up was to make the OP aware of the weirdness that can happen with the AUTO Tcase 

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I heard a tale about the front propeller driving the oil pump in the auto tcase. I wonder if the tcase is getting hot and throwing the light.

 

 

Edit: I think that actually may not make sense because isn’t there an electric oil pump (secondary?) that kicks on when your moving slow in 4lo?

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2 hours ago, onespiritbrain said:

I heard a tale about the front propeller driving the oil pump in the auto tcase. I wonder if the tcase is getting hot and throwing the light.

 

 

Edit: I think that actually may not make sense because isn’t there an electric oil pump (secondary?) that kicks on when your moving slow in 4lo?

You’re right, the primary pump is run by the front shaft movement, but I don’t know how it works inside the Tcase when you’re in 2WD mode. Do you think it still needs fluid circulation even if it’s just making a direct connection to the rear and no transferring going on?

 

Good point about the secondary pump because it’s supposed to fill in the gaps when you’re in reverse or going slowly. But I don’t know if that’s kicking in when the hubs are unlocked or not. It would make sense that it could kick in if the front shaft WASNT moving at all (it would detect a slow speed and engage the secondary pump), but if it still has some intermittent movement in the front shaft then I’m not sure it would kick in.
 

Either way, I don’t know if it would be tripping the 4WD light based on heat. I think it has more to do with the confused readings from the wheel speed and slippage detection sensors. I think over a certain speed the system just gives up and admits that it can’t reconcile the rear wheels doing 80 while the front shaft is supposedly not moving at all. If it was a heat problem I’d probably not have made it very far if the case was overheating for the thousands of miles on my recent road trips 

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I'll be sure to test it out on the highway once I get everything installed. I pulled my junkyard Warn 29091 hubs out of the gallon of degreaser they've been soaking in for a couple days and started reassembling them. Looks like one of them has a pawl that's escaped the hub body. Some sort of ring, snap ring or spring is not where it supposed to be. Looks like I'm going to have to figure out how to tear into the other one to see how all the components stack and snap together in order to identify what's wrong with the other one. Hopefully it's something simple that I can fix. Otherwise I'm going to have to play a game of 21 questions when my wife intercepts a brand new set of  hubs in the mail. I've got some time to work on them since Bilsteinlifts.com STILL hasn't shipped my OME HD coils yet.

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4 hours ago, onespiritbrain said:

I heard a tale about the front propeller driving the oil pump in the auto tcase. I wonder if the tcase is getting hot and throwing the light.

 

 

Edit: I think that actually may not make sense because isn’t there an electric oil pump (secondary?) that kicks on when your moving slow in 4lo?


 

 

1 hour ago, PathyGig12 said:

You’re right, the primary pump is run by the front shaft movement, but I don’t know how it works inside the Tcase when you’re in 2WD mode. Do you think it still needs fluid circulation even if it’s just making a direct connection to the rear and no transferring going on?

 

Good point about the secondary pump because it’s supposed to fill in the gaps when you’re in reverse or going slowly. But I don’t know if that’s kicking in when the hubs are unlocked or not. It would make sense that it could kick in if the front shaft WASNT moving at all (it would detect a slow speed and engage the secondary pump), but if it still has some intermittent movement in the front shaft then I’m not sure it would kick in.
 

Either way, I don’t know if it would be tripping the 4WD light based on heat. I think it has more to do with the confused readings from the wheel speed and slippage detection sensors. I think over a certain speed the system just gives up and admits that it can’t reconcile the rear wheels doing 80 while the front shaft is supposedly not moving at all. If it was a heat problem I’d probably not have made it very far if the case was overheating for the thousands of miles on my recent road trips 

 

 

as far as I know and can tell, the auto mode t-case is oiled by the rear drive shaft. Here’s the info I’m working off of:

 

Fleury’s gives context to this discovery in this thread: 

The actual origin of the info is provided by Morpheus in this thread (the pic has become broken in the last year or so, it used to show a parts diagram):


 

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Wow I feel a bit embarrassed now for spreading bad info. Oops!

 

I was told by many people that it was the front shaft that ran the oil pump in the Tcase, but if it’s the rear then I’m very happy! Means I don’t have to worry at all about running the hubs unlocked. Can we sticky that info somewhere so it’s not just buried in an obscure older thread?

 

I do have a bit of an issue with the conclusion in that thread. Someone said that you have no more AUTO mode, it’s either locked for 4WD or unlocked for 2WD.... 

 

But that’s not really true. When the hubs are locked you should be able to use AUTO mode as well right? Because the front shaft is spinning already and the clutch plates can engage whenever necessary if slippage is detected. Obviously you can’t use this mode when the hubs are unlocked, but locked should be fine because everything acts the same as it was from the factory

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16 minutes ago, PathyGig12 said:

I do have a bit of an issue with the conclusion in that thread. Someone said that you have no more AUTO mode, it’s either locked for 4WD or unlocked for 2WD.... 

 

But that’s not really true. When the hubs are locked you should be able to use AUTO mode as well right? Because the front shaft is spinning already and the clutch plates can engage whenever necessary if slippage is detected. Obviously you can’t use this mode when the hubs are unlocked, but locked should be fine because everything acts the same as it was from the factory


I would agree. Hubs locked = factory drive flanges = auto mode is usable 

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I looked at the FSM and the auto tcase main oil pump is sandwiched between the rear and center cases and is definitely driven by the main shaft which turns with the input shaft.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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On 5/17/2020 at 10:57 PM, Dbot said:

2002 4x4 Auto LE

 

I've owned it for about a year and I'm behind on lifting. I had always wanted to build up something beyond stock for over a decade and now is that time. I had always assumed I'd start with the lift then make a build page, but I'm gonna start this now since I have about half the parts in my garage and the remaining parts are in the mail right now. This will give me some opportunity to take feedback and suggestions from you all more knowledgeable folk before I start turning wrenches in a week or two.

 

About this vehicle, I picked it up last April when I needed something to replace my high mileage Altima with a slipping cvt. With my wife out of work at the time, I only had limited funds and for whatever reason vehicle prices were stupidly high at that time of year so I ended up with this 02 for $1500.00. The exterior is riddled with flaking paint, rust spots, dents, scuffs and scratches. The inside had grime, torn leather and lots of broken plastic. The death sway was very noticeable and I couldn't hear it's exhaust leak over the whiny pulley but there was no check engine light, water damage and the strut towers looked good. It was good enough to get around town for pizza deliveries by night and get me to my day job. Throughout 2019 I gradually spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars fixing it up. It and it's 2001 R50 companion can be found on Instagram as @dospaths where I document the endless repairs.

 

So the fun stuff:

 

Most of the above parts are in the garage. The rest (coils and shocks) are in the mail. The Warn hubs are from a salvage yard and were in rough grimey shape. They are diassembled and sitting in a jar of degreaser for the next couple of days. If they look ok when it's down to just the bare metal, I'll order a service kit from Warn to rebuild them. If not, I'll be checking out the Mile Marker hubs online. 

y4m_eQzaD2aSktWu88WTyMNETiz5zs5pv_VPtRsZ

y4mREUktJb0Cyhd3eZj7yt3b2OBLmTweIz3Z9hxh

y4mD-B_hK9HtuCIawzv3vvlLCgRlNoKplfnp4HV1

y4murZm2ciLEJEBgeAKi3LuvlVfRHuNKRkakPw14

 

My tenative plans are to start with the trailing arm bushings. I've been tagging the bolts with WD-40 about every other day and I'm going to borrow a heavy duty 120v impact gun for that. I'll use the sawzall to remove the existing bushings and assuming the trailing arms are oem or oem equivalent, they split bushings will fit right in those diameters.\

After that, I'll pull the shocks and coils out then put in the 9449s (hopefully without spring compressor), then put in the Bilstein 5100s. Any tips or advice for coil and shock installation (orientation etc) is welcome.

After getting warmed up on the rear, I'll do the struts next. I'll install the OME HD coils and the new strut bearings. Now, I know somebody on here will advise to not use a 1" spacer with those coils but I'm also open to the collective group opinion on that considering I'll be using manual hubs. So I'll either install the spacer with the struts or leave it out for a few months before revisiting the strut to put it in once the coils have worn in. Any installation advice is welcome too.

Install manual hubs.

I'll then put in camber adjust bolts and find a shop that understands what I've done and get an alignment. 

I was looking at your list of parts, namely wheels, your link shows those have 4" of back spacing. I've yet to order a set (I was gonna get 15s) but from what info I've been gathering, we need 3.75" to clear the lower spring perch on the struts. Will 4" clear or are you planning to use wheel spacers?

 

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Hubs locked = auto mode is usable 

Since I’ve got the ATX14A, I’ve been following this topic for years. I would say there’s general consensus on the above. The real question is what happens if you run it in AWD with the front hubs unlocked. Some predict disaster while others think it will only be warning lights. We are still awaiting the day someone makes this mistake & can let us know. I believe one person reported warning lights only but I would want something more solid to know for sure.

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3 minutes ago, RainGoat said:


Since I’ve got the ATX14A, I’ve been following this topic for years. I would say there’s general consensus on the above. The real question is what happens if you run it in AWD with the front hubs unlocked. Some predict disaster while others think it will only be warning lights. We are still awaiting the day someone makes this mistake & can let us know. I believe one person reported warning lights only but I would want something more solid to know for sure.

Either way it’s bad news and I sure as heck don’t want to be the test case, but I think it would probably grind and overheat because of the clutch plates trying to engage the stationary front, but once engaged fully, it might not do any further damage because I think the CVs should just spin inside the hubs if any power was send to the front? But I’m pretty sure the issue is that you’d spend a lot of time in the overheating grinding stage because the AUTO mode is not a constant lock to the front, and so you’d get intermittent attempts to engage it depending on how the sensors interpreted the perceived lack of rotation in the front shaft and front wheels, and lots of attempted engagement means lots of time for the clutch plates to be grinding while mating to the stationary shaft

 

Thats my take anyway, could be totally wrong 

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5 hours ago, BamaQX402 said:

I was looking at your list of parts, namely wheels, your link shows those have 4" of back spacing. I've yet to order a set (I was gonna get 15s) but from what info I've been gathering, we need 3.75" to clear the lower spring perch on the struts. Will 4" clear or are you planning to use wheel spacers?

 

So those wheels clear the strut by quite a bit. I don’t have a picture yet but I’ll post one when I put those steelies back on. The downside is that they don’t tuck in the the rear when flexed and rub. I’m going to hope my upcoming lift will change the geometry to let the tuck but I won’t hold my breath

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RainGoat said:


Since I’ve got the ATX14A, I’ve been following this topic for years. I would say there’s general consensus on the above. The real question is what happens if you run it in AWD with the front hubs unlocked. Some predict disaster while others think it will only be warning lights. We are still awaiting the day someone makes this mistake & can let us know. I believe one person reported warning lights only but I would want something more solid to know for sure.

I know we’e talking about the auto Transfer case but I once put my other r50 into 4hi on its manual case without cv axles and it made an awful clicking noise. Only rolled a few feet like that and never put it back in 4hi until the axles were put back in. I can’t imagine what kind of awful noises the auto case will do

Edited by Dbot
Typo

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I'm not sure why your TX10A would've made clicking noises in 4H with no CVs. I've run mine in 4LO with the hubs unlocked many times (great for backing trailers) and haven't heard any unusual noises from it.

 

I had a look at the TF section of the '03 manual and it looks like the system's response may vary by what options the truck has, because the trucks without VDC get front end speed info from the front revolution sensor on the transfer case, and the VDC trucks get that signal from the VDC/TCS/ABS actuator, which I assume gets it from the wheel speed sensors. This might explain why some people have more trouble with blinking lights and pissed-off computers. I don't know what auto mode with the hubs unlocked would do with either setup (and I wouldn't want to be the first pig through that chute), but I don't think I've ever heard of someone's ATX14A actually blowing up because the hubs weren't locked.

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I don't think I've ever heard of someone's ATX14A actually blowing up because the hubs weren't locked.

True, however, I’m not sure I even know of an ATX14A with manual hubs. I’m planning on them for convenience of CV replacement on trail as@hawairish kindly gifted me his old Mile Markers.

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11 minutes ago, RainGoat said:


True, however, I’m not sure I even know of an ATX14A with manual hubs.

@mjotrainbrain ‘s QX4

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[mention=39321]mjotrainbrain[/mention] ‘s QX4

Ah, sadly no more

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True, however, I’m not sure I even know of an ATX14A with manual hubs. I’m planning on them for convenience of CV replacement on trail as[mention=36148]hawairish[/mention] kindly gifted me his old Mile Markers.

7f67b80822f12718e7d81a60b15e1af1.jpg

 

Mine

 

Sent from my Pathfinder

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Mine

I should have known, you arid climate bastards! Southern CA & AZ - oh, I’m green with envy.

Speaking of, I want to see a Sandstone Cyn shot of a Pathy in the next 2 years.

Good to know the Rugged Ridge hubs fit the LE too (did it require a spacer?)

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