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First Nissan Build Advice.
I'll admit I have been stocking this forum from the shadows of the internet and decided today was the day to join. I also understand that my questions have most likely been asked and answered at least a dozen times so don't hesitate to point me to an existing thread. About a year ago I picked up my first 4x4, an 02 SE, automatic with 117k on it at the time of purchase. I've offroaded a few times in my uncle's 3rd gen 4runner and '85 Landcruiser but have not had the opportunity to have a rig of my own until now.
On the highway, the Pathfinder is a rocket ship compared to the 4runners. Even while driving at elevation the Pathfinder still out performed the 4runner climbing mountain roads. I'm 'whipped for the VQ35de. Harsh winters are common here in Nebraska and the Pathfinder handled the snow/ice this year without a hiccup. With harsh winters comes the salt on the roads. The amount of rust on the undercarriage is not terrible given the vehicle has been in the southeastern part of Nebraska its entire life. However, the plastic fender flares are packed with dirt and also trapped a lot of moisture causing some rust on the body around the wheel wells. Poor design, IMO. (see attached photo) Overall, I'm highly satisfied with my purchase and can't wait to get started on making it my own overlander.
Has anyone here ever coated the bottom half of the body with bed liner? How did it turn out? Do you regret the decision? I plan on removing the flares, cutting out the rust and trimming the well up to fit 31's and coating the bottom 1/4 or so of the body with bedliner to prevent further rusting.
Has anyone here ever installed an air locker or e locker for either of their diffs? Which brand/model did you go with and why? Have you experienced any problems with the vehicle since installing the locker?
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. Send me your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!
I think one of the big concerns with coating the undercarriage in something as thick as bed liner is that it'll trap moisture. Over time if the bed liner receives chips/cracks that let moisture in and then not out, you could have a rust nightmare on your hands. Often it can be better to have your normal painted metal so at least it can breath. I've never lived in a rusty area, but people say really good things about annual coatings of oily rust preventatives.
First off, best to start a thread for this, the status update thing is kinda awkward to read and use.
I've seen a few threads on bedlining the sides, not sure about underneath, but yeah, if it comes unstuck it'll make a lovely moisture trap. A friend of mine bedlined the sides of his S10 Blazer and it's worked out pretty well for him. Hides some questionable bodywork, too.
Ratcheting or air lockers are available for these. IIRC the ratcheting ones install in the open diff carrier in place of the spider gears, the air lockers replace the carrier entirely. The front's an R200A and the rear is a 33-spline H233B, if that helps. There was also a factory limited slip that can be rebuilt for better lockup, or IIRC you can use the 3rd member from a first-year Xterra (higher breakaway torque than the R50s got). The later years of R50 really got hosed with their LSDs, they have much lower breakaway torque than earlier models. Hawairish has done some great writeups on messing with axles.
Echoing Slartbarfast's suggestion to start a thread if you haven't already...it's the best way to get some visibility.
Regarding traction devices, I've run open/open (front/rear), lunchbox/re-packed LSD, and am currently air/air locked. I've also done a fair amount of research on available e-lockers. Any one of those devices by itself is a great improvement over an open/open setup. I do enjoy the selectability of the air lockers, and have not encountered any adverse effects, but I personally hate doing pneumatic work now because of them (and they also require as much electrical work as e-lockers). Given the chance to do it again, I'd probably go the e-locker route...cost-wise, it pretty much nets out, but the advantage of an air setup is that it often adds tire-inflation capabilities depending on the chosen compressor.