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The Pines to Spines SFD kit


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After a long period of R&D followed by successful installs on the initial test group, who have racked up considerable mileage, hardware is starting to make its way out into the world now and we felt it was time to make a thread dedicated to our Pines to Spines SFD kit. This will be the official thread where you'll find a showcase of the rigs that are running our hardware and testimonials from them should they choose to participate in the discussion. 

 

Both 3" & 4" kits include:

 

- 2x P2S Strut spacers

- 2x engine spacers

- 4x subframe spacers

- 1x panhard bar drop bracket

- 1x steering extension with universal joints

- brand new fasteners (OEM hardware is retained)

 

You will need to purchase or fabricate-

 

- Longer brake lines

- power steering hardline support bracket

- extended sway bar end links

- a missing link 

 

Note- OEM fitment skid plates will not be able to be retained. You will need to fabricate or purchase a SFD specific set.  

 

If you're interested in a kit please DM both @TowndawgR50 & @hawairish in the same message ( you can add multiple recipients to a DM) and we'll get back to you as soon as possible with availability and pricing. 

 

 

@02_Pathy

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@Ravens794

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@Stpickens

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@Rockit

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Edited by TowndawgR50
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And then there’s me. I’ve treasured mine so much I’ve been savoring the experience & admiring them in a box for over a year! I’ve got to keep to my MO of a 2yr modification process. I’m the turtle of R50 modification!

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This really makes me wish my Pathmaker wasn't rapidly rotting away at this point. I've been looking for a clean, low mileage R51 or Armada since I have 2 growing kids and a 65lb lap dog, but this makes me want to look for a clean R50! Ohhh, decisions, decisions...

Sent from my Mobile Communications Device

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I’m very interested, sent a message. I’m new to this site so not completely sure if it went through.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

74915D45-C313-4367-8A50-7090CC959172.jpeg

Edited by tommacdon
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I’m very interested, sent a message. I’m new to this site so not completely sure if it went through.

Hey Tom - post up a pic of your truck! It looks good - I’ve been hearing from people seeing it on the road! You can just edit the above & add a pic. Or go to the new folks thread & post an intro.

 

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7 hours ago, RainGoat said:

And then there’s me. I’ve treasured mine so much I’ve been savoring the experience & admiring them in a box for over a year! I’ve got to keep to my MO of a 2yr modification process. I’m the turtle emoji217.png of R50 modification!

 

Lets change that!

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Just now, tommacdon said:

Raingoat- ok thanks, I added one but the site was pretty restrictive with the picture file size.

 

Try using an image hosting site like flickr or imgur. There is a guide here:

 

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Dang, where is the easy button.

Actually, it’s worth paying the little extra for TapaTalk Pro ($15 lifetime)- simply for the ease of picture posting. At 4 years & a half dozen or more forums for me, it was well worth it. I have zero problems posting, as easy as hitting the icon & selecting the size I prefer. Check out Expedition Portal & Overland Bound plus I’ll bet there are some sailing ones.

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So after one day of this thread being started, we've had a great amount of interest in kits!  We're trying to respond to everyone as quickly as possible.

 

As a heads up, we should mention that we're going to try to fulfill requests for kits in batches.  Right now, we're basically down to a partial kit from our original batch of 8 kits, and we're in touch with the guys who we can help in the near term.  As for the next batch, we're looking into new material costs, kit interest by size, and our schedules to see what we can pull off in short order.  Since we plan to have a bit more variety in kits, this should also allow us to keep a few other items in stock or sell components separately, since there's also been a good amount of interest in that.

 

I also want to request you post up any questions you have about the kit here, so we can share answers with the community.  We've already gotten a few really good questions in PM's...there's a lot to know about SFDs, that's for sure, and historically, this information has been scattered around for the past decade.  We hope to consolidate all that information here.

 

In the meantime, let me expand on a few of the required items/purchases that TowndawgR50 mentioned in the initial post.  These are the parts that most guys may already have, or have access to (via other posts around the forum), that we've ultimately decided to not include with the kit.  In most cases, we can help with source or fabricate the parts, but the parts just haven't been deemed "kitable" for one reason or another.

 

Also, we've got an instruction guide that'll go into much more depth than here.  If you need further clarification, let us know.

  • Longer Brake Lines: The SFD requires longer front brake lines, simply because of the nature of the kit.  Custom braided lines can be sourced from various retailers, but 2008-2017 Rogue brake lines (OEM or aftermarket) can also be used.  I run Rogue lines on my truck, and TowndawgR50 runs custom braided.  Same is true for the rear brake lines, though this is SFD-agnostic.  98-04 Frontier 4wd and 00-04 Xterra 4wd rear lines are a suitable replacement (also what I run).  
  • Power Steering Hardline Support: There's a high-pressure hard line that runs between the power steering pump and rack that has a mounting point on the crossmember.  The hardline is actually a hardline that has a heavy duty hose crimped to it, and there's a factory bracket near the union of the two line types.  When the SFD is installed, that bracket must be detached from the crossmember to allow for slack on the line when the subframe is dropped.  We've chosen to not include a universal bracket for this because relocation of the line has been rather variable on all our installs.  The length of the bracket doesn't correspond to the height of the SFD because the steering rack has to be rotated a few degrees, and the line may need to be hand-bent a tiny amount to either allow for slack or clear the bolts on the rack bracket so they can be accessed for high-torque tightening.  In the end, the final relative position of the OE bracket can be 2"-4" from the crossmember, and may also move forward relative to the cross member another inch or so.  Additionally, the racks between early and late model R50s were different, as were the lines, positions, and even the bracket itself.  Ultimately, no single bracket would work in every situation, so it's best that the installer make a simple bracket once the installation is complete and the resting position is determined.  The bracket can be as simple as a vise-bent strip of aluminum or other similar strapping with a pair of holes.  No matter the approach, this line should be secured, as vibration in the line may cause stress at the banjo fitting.
  • Extended Sway Bar Links: This applies to the rear suspension only.  OE-length front sway bar links are fine, since the sway bar positions are relative to the subframe.  We can provide extended rear sway bar links, but they are not included with the kit since they're based on the amount of rear lift (which isn't a factor for SFD installs).
  • Missing Link: Most people know about these and have one installed in some shape or form.  For those not familiar, we're calling it a structural device that reduces flexing on the subframe by linking the lower control arm rear mounting points.  This was not a factory item, but this community has long agreed that it should've been one, if for nothing more than to stiffen up the front or mount skid plates to.  However, we have deemed the ML as a required item that must be either purchased or fabricated because the nature of the install increases leverage on the chassis where the rear extensions of the subframe are mounted.  And yes, we have seen a failure on an SFD-equipped truck that did not have a missing link installed.  Notably, we don't have a specific ML product, but it's something we can fabricate.
  • Skid Plates: These can't be reused because the mounting positions will have changed.

I also want add notes on the following items:

  • Existing Strut Spacers: most guys are already running static strut spacers, which means the OE strut mount has been modified to accommodate longer bolts.  Our strut spacers are designed to use the OE studs on the mounts, which means that it may be necessary to disassemble the strut to remove the bolts.  We are able to provide a set of bolts and nuts to replace those for a small fee.  Alternatively, if the OE studs were retained, they can probably be reinstalled if the OE mount was not further modified (i.e., drilled, welded).  Otherwise, new mounts may be purchased from Nissan dealers.  Existing spacers should not be stacked with our strut spacers.
  • Camber Adjustment: Our strut spacer do feature a slotted body that allows for some amount of camber adjustment.  However, these are primarily used for gross adjustment only; it's highly unlikely that an alignment shop will touch these for service work.  The use of camber bolts is highly recommended, and may be required to dial-in alignment.  The guys in our initial group have not had any issues getting a shop to align their trucks with a single set of bolts (I want to say one of the trucks didn't use camber bolts at all).  Our trucks use 14mm bolts.

As stated above, we've got installation instructions, and all of the above points (and more) are covered in it more detail.  We're considering breaking out some the topics into smaller sections (it's a long read as-is) before posting links to PDFs and such.  But for now, we'll trickle out that information here so that it's a bit more public.

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I’ve always been interested in a SFD kit but wanted to see how others trucks were holding up to hard use after the install. 
 

Do we have any long term info on strength and how the subframe and engine spacers are affected by hard body flexing and other stresses? I remember hearing something about a failure even with a missing link installed and wanted to wait to see if that was an actual issue or not.
 

I don’t need the extra lift necessarily, but I want to do it to reduce the CV angles and save my boots. They keep splitting after only

 a couple months 

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5 minutes ago, PathyGig12 said:

I’ve always been interested in a SFD kit but wanted to see how others trucks were holding up to hard use after the install. 
 

Do we have any long term info on strength and how the subframe and engine spacers are affected by hard body flexing and other stresses? I remember hearing something about a failure even with a missing link installed and wanted to wait to see if that was an actual issue or not.
 

I don’t need the extra lift necessarily, but I want to do it to reduce the CV angles and save my boots. They keep splitting after only

 a couple months 

 

I've been running a SFD on my truck in some shape or form for over 6 yrs, and I've wheeled it hard.  Plenty of guys have had their own homebrew or even Krypton Fab kits for longer I'm sure.  But, I'm not sure what long term assessment will help answer your question, though.  SFDs have been around for well over a decade, and in a form that we've felt is inferior due to use of simple 4"x2" tube with high-radius edges.

 

I'm not aware of any failure with a missing link installed.  The failure I'm aware of was on a buddy's truck and it was without a missing link.  I installed the SFD on it in 2015, and the truck was in excellent shape; SoCal, rust-free truck.  The failure occurred in 2017.  We (my buddy and I) believe the failure was directly due to a hard curb bump on the passenger tire, which caused the sheet metal layers on the chassis to flex a little or possibly a compromise of the weld on the subframe.  Over time, it fatigued until failure.  The missing link in this instance would have absolutely resisted that force initially and would have likely caused the LCA to buckle instead.

 

Regardless, the ML is deemed required, and anyone running an ML would also greatly benefit from a skid plate, which also helps square up the frame further.  To some extent, I'd say a mid-skid is required if running a missing link to ensure the link itself does not snag anything while wheeling.  These are general things that become more and more important to have to best utilize the truck.

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32 minutes ago, PathyGig12 said:

Awesome, I appreciate the clarification. Not sure where I heard of failures, I must be thinking of something else

 

No sweat.  It's a good topic to bring up and clarify, especially here.  Every modification (or even repair, to some degree) is opportunity/risk to either improve or worsen the vehicle's capabilities, and in nearly every scenario—SFD or otherwise—upgrading one part usually means some other part is inherently "downgraded"...i.e., there's always a new weak link.  An SFD is like any other lift in that it raises the center of gravity of the vehicle, which increases rollover risks.  The fact that it moves the subframe away from the chassis also means some degree of flex is introduced, especially laterally in this case.  If the install is done correctly, the truck can perform safely, but it's never without other risks.

 

Something to also clarify, which was discussed in another thread and PM, is the introduction of driveline vibration and/or noise.  Lowering the subframe does change the angle of the front driveshaft, but to date, we've not heard of any complaints related to that.  However, the new angle can amplify vibrations if the bushings on the front axle support brackets are fatigued.  For most of us who run manual hubs, this can be mitigated.  In most cases, it's not a problem.

 

As for the rear driveshaft, keep in mind the SFD has no impact on the rear suspension.  If you exceed a certain amount of rear lift (let's say 5"), the driveshaft will be at a higher operating angle and may cause noise.  On my truck, I run 6" of rear lift (9448s + 2" spacers) and I have an occasional buzz when I feather on or off the throttle due to a brief load-loss between the driveshaft and pinion at the u-joint.  When load is applied between the two (99% of the time), I don't have any noise or vibration.  But again, this is not a result of being SFD'd...it's a result of too much rear lift.  Notably, we include a PHB Drop Bracket in our kits because it's presumed that if you need an SFD, you'll have an appreciable amount of rear lift that would benefit from a bracket (of course, this is something we can delete from the kit for those who already have a PHB bracket).

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/10/2021 at 9:57 PM, bertrenolds said:

Do you have any pics of a missing link? I'm not exactly sure what it looks like or where it goes and I'm curious. 

 

This is mine (pardon the underbelly mess):

 

IMG-6058.jpg

 

It's just a rigid link between the inner two bolts that hold the rear LCA bushing brackets.  They also make it convenient to attach a skid plate.

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@TowndawgR50 and I have started Batch 2!  Steel and hardware is on hand now, and we'll begin cutting some pieces later this week.  The current plan is to produce 8 kits (5x 4" and 3x 3").  A good amount of people have reached out to us since our initial post, so we'll be following up in PMs to those who have already expressed interest.  Kit pricing on this batch will be $849 for 3" kits and $899 for 4".  Despite a significant spike in steel and hardware costs across the board, we've decided to keep the same pricing we did for Batch 1.  Batch 3 may be a different story, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

 

We've also been asked about selling components separately, and we plan to do so this time around.  A la carte parts will include strut spacers and PHB brackets initially, but we can surely accommodate other requests at this point.  We also plan to offer rear extended sway bar links.  Pricing TBD on those items.

 

Batch 2 parts will see a few parts changes that help us improve our fabrication processes and the product.  Notable changes include gusseting on the subframe spacers for that extra ounce of strength, and redesign to the PHB drops to allow for 2 positions on the short drop (vs. 1) and 4 on the long drop (vs. 3).

 

Lastly, we've been discussing making missing links and motor mounts.  The ML we considered a core component, so it makes sense to offer it.  Motor mounts are something we've explored in the past, but put on the backburner.  But, as more SFDs start making it out there, it's the perfect time to inspect and/or replace the OE-style ones.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Typical overdue update.  We definitely appreciate all the interest we've had over PMs, and appreciate your patience both in replies and actually producing parts.  If we've missed a reply, let us know.

 

Had some slight delays over the last month due to our personal schedules, but production is still underway.  I think Jake and I both wish we had a lot more time to jam on this stuff than our day jobs.  Unfortunately, we're stuck doing work after/before work or on weekends, and in my case, it's generally loud work which means limited hours to avoid pissing off my neighbors.  But again, thanks for everyone's patience.  Current focus is getting a few of the strut spacers done since we've had a few guys asking for just these instead of kits.  Hoping to have those ready within 2-3 weeks, with kits soon after.

 

For those who don't know, Jake and I live 1400 miles apart, so we deal with shipping stuff pretty often, which also causes some delays.  The fun part is where we shove 30-50lbs of steel into USPS flat rate boxes and padded envelopes not designed for 30-50lbs of steel (max weight is 70 lbs, ha!) to capitalize on the great flat rate prices USPS offers.  Some recent packages were basically 30lbs of solid steel about the size of a half-loaf of bread.  I used to worry about them getting damaged in shipment, but then I realized we're the guys putting bowling balls in the postal system.  If it fits, it ships - USPS

 

In other news, we had a little setback on our supply of end links that we use for making the extended links.  We've reached out to a few guys, but we're still looking into suitable replacements.  Stay tuned on those.

 

We also spent some time rethinking some procedural items for installation, and one particular focus was the steering links.  A new approach we're taking is to include threadlocker and bits for securing the link, plus a basic hand tool for tightening them.  Since this is such a critical component, it's a simple way to make sure everyone has what's needed for the install, and it just ends up being a nice touch to the kit.

 

 

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