07BlackSpecV's Junior Overland 2008 Nissan Xterra


Have been reading around here for a couple years now. I am trying to begin planning for my first trip this year in the October time frame. Would like to spend a week along the coast of Lake Superior.

When I was younger I was always interested in offroad vehicles, it was never the rock crawling kind either. I have always been intrigued by the safari rigs of Africa. To me they always oozed a sense of adventure. Through high school and college I was into cars that stayed on the road and moved a little faster. I daily drove and modified a 2007 Nissan SER Spec V and it was a lot of fun, still is, but I knew when I had my big boy job I'd want to get another vehicle that was a little bit more rugged. So after I graduated and ruined my daily with racing seats and coilover suspension I went out and bought my 2008 Nissan Xterra. The rest is history in the making for me. I'm learning as I mod, I try to bring back some experience and knowledge from every trip I go on.

- AFE Dryflow Air Filter
- Amsoil 5w30 XL
- Amsoil EA Oil Filter

- N/A

-ARB Differential Breather Kit

-ARB Bull Bar w/ARB Fog Lamp Kit
-White Knuckle Sliders
-Maxterra Rear Bumper with Tire and Jerry Can Carrier
-Shrockworks Rear Diff Cover

- RockyMountainX Front Recovery Points
- Warn Gen II VR10s Winch w/Factor 55 Prolink and Factor 55 Offset Fairlead
- ARB Essentials Recovery Kit (Snatch Block, Snatch Strap, Tree Saver, Gloves)
- ARB Snatch Strap in Blue Ridge Overland Gear Strap Bag
- ARB Winch Line Damper
- ARB Tire Puncture Repair Kit
- ARB EZ Deflator
- ARB CKAM12 Compressor
- ARB Tire Inflation Kit
- ARB Inflator
- Blue Ridge Overland Gear Air Tool Bag
- Maxtrax with Blue Ridge Overland Gear Bag
- Hi Lift Jack with handle keeper
- Hi Lift Tube Bumper Mounts
- Kidde Fire Extinguisher
- Surplus NATO Gas Cans
- Trasharoo

- ARB OME HD Coilovers (F)
- ARB OME Dakar Leafs with HD AAL (R)
- ARB OME Shocks (R)
- Removed Rear Sway Bar
- SPC Camber Bolts
- EZAccessories 6x4.5 to 6x5.5 1.5" Adapters
- 16x7 +39 Bronze Nismo TE37x's
- 285/75/16 Falken Wild Peak AT3w's

- Mudflaps Removed
- Side Steps Removed
- WeatherTech Bug/Stone Deflector
- WeatherTech Window Deflector
- 4' Firestik II CB Radio Antenna w/ Tunable Tip, SS HD Spring, SS Door Jam Mount
- Totron DC 40" Combo Light Bar
- Gobi Passenger Side Ladder
- Gobi Ranger Rack
- Gobi Awning Brackets
- Overland Equipped add on Ladder Steps
- Airflow Snorkel
- ARB 2M Awning
- ARB Simpson III RTT

- Lanzar Double DIN Headunit with SatNav
- Ram Mount X Grip Cell Phone for driver
- Ram Mount X Grip IPad Mount
- Factory Signal Stalk with Fog Light Switch
- OTRATTW 40" Light Bar Switch
- Weathertech DigiFit Floor Mats
- SuperBriteLED's 3175 Festoons for Map, Dome, and Cargo Lights
- Wix In Cabin Air Filter
- Cobra 75 WX ST CB Radio
- Para Cord Headrest Handles
- Blue Ridge Overland Gear Visor Organizer
- Raingler RIXN
- DepHep Window Molle Panel
- McMaster Carr 175# Replacement Hatch Struts

- Nismo License Plate Frame rear
- Thule Porta Haul Kayak J Racks
- Yakima Two Timer Bike Rack


When I picked her up:

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2014 I was still pretty stock. My buddies and I piled into the truck and took it up to the Rally America SnoDrift in January. Learned some great lessons in navigating, snow driving, and recovery. Then in September I got out on a trail to really start learning some skills at Southington Offroad Park. It was a great time.

September 2014:
I'm best man in my buddies wedding and he has a mostly stock JK and I have a stock X so I decided for his party we should go wheeling. We've always talked about going but never have. He had fun with his spacer lift and aftermarket bumper playing around and I had fun learning some lessons in how to handle my vehicle and how to approach obstacles. Really enjoyed Southington Offroad Park and now I REALLY need to get some 33's and my 2 inch lift finished.

We did the Upper Rim, Lower Rim, a lot of the sand dunes, some of the obstacle course, and the Lake Trail twice. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Only got stuck twice so I didn't think that was too bad. Only trail damage was a cracked fog light and I have spares of those so it was a good day! Now that I know what the truck is like stock it's time to get down to business.


In October we made a trip to Houghton/Hancock for LSPR. It was a great rally to spectate only rivaled by the amazing Northern Michigan scenery. It was a life changing event that helped seal my future goals for my rig and my quality of living.

October 2014:
Went to Lake Superior Performance Rally this weekend. It was about an 11 hour drive from my home base in North West Ohio up to the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. I go to the UP of Michigan a lot so a 6+ hour drive is no biggy...but getting to where we were going was like crossing another state...and along with it...more adventure.

The sights were nearly as amazing as the Rally itself. Something my group and I were totally unprepared for.

A brief stop to rest along Lake Superior.

Getting to some of the stages took us down roads like this:

But we got to see things like this, just a happy accident from Friday night in the driving rain.

I'm going to consider this my first 'overland' trip because, as a rally will force you to, we relied on the truck for everything and put 2000 miles on it in 4 days!

On the way to one of our Saturday stages:

After all the racing was done we had spotted a large dam just off the road. We HAD to check it out. Amazingly we were able to hike down to the base of it and stand beneath it. The views were amazing.

So farewell to Rally America this year. You have really opened my eyes to what I believe is a purer form of motorsport. In the process you've allowed me to experience some amazing new sights and places even in Northern Michigan which I thought I knew so well...There was so much more to see that I missed. I'll be working on planning an extensive Overland Trip of the UP so I can see as much of it as possible.

Until next year...

...but for now...man, I'm feeling it.

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The winter of 2015 saw a lot of change in a short period of time. With the help of a couple good friends we spent 2 solid days in my garage with a salamander heater to put on a 2" suspension lift from TJM and PRG, then we got the long awaited Nismo TE37x wheels wrapped in 285/75/16 Falken Wild Peaks installed. With the new suspension setup and rubber we were all ready to return to Sno*Drift in Atlanta, Michigan. It was a fantastic time!

January 2015:

Well it's already here and gone. Just got back from Northern Michigan and the wonderful Sno*Drift Rally. Braved Winter Storm Linus all the way back to base in North West Ohio. It was a great event and a great test for the new suspension and tire loadout.

We left on Thursday after work and arrived at our hotel in Grayling, Michigan by 10pm. We settled in, took inventory of our cold weather gear, and charged our camera gear.

We headed out for rally the next day. Things started off with me trying some poorly executed donuts in the parking lot and become stuck. The Xterra easily pulled itself out though.

Through Friday and Saturday we enjoyed a great Rally Weekend. The trade mark Bonfire Alley stage was held earlier in the day which I wasn't a fan of but the night stage on Friday was worth it.

Waiting for the stage to begin.

David Higgins and Craig Drew put on a show.

Saturday Morning at Camp 8

Cars start coming through at Bonfire Alley on Saturday.

Then I got the chance to redeem myself Saturday Night before making the trip home.

At the end we got to drive back home through winter storm Linus.

What another great race. I think my group and I are going to make this the year of the Rally.


In June I got to really put my new suspension and tires to the test. We made a return trip to Southington. Our rigs teaming with new upgrades all anxious to be tried out.

June 2015:
Well we missed our shot at going in May to Southington because of some scheduling conflicts but we made it this time. The new suspension and tires made an incredible difference between the last time we went and now. It was a lot of fun.

Met a couple other Xterra owners while I was there also. Had a really good quick talk with them after airing back up. I still know my limits and I'm sure the truck is more capable than what I wanted to put it through. I'll learn up to it.


By now it is getting somewhat obvious. We live in Northwest Ohio but actually live in Northern Michigan. We drove up to meet with family in the Traverse City area for a weekend kayak trip. Hopefully within the next year we can make the relocation full time and really start to enjoy life.

Summer 2015:
Alright, lashed the kayaks up and headed north to the Traverse City area for the weekend.

My wife's Trophy 126 and my Heritage 12.5'.

I need some sliders and my Gobi ladder to show up...might make loading and unloading a bit easier.

I was a great day to be on the water though.

Elk Lake was a real joy to be on. Got plenty burnt even though I thought I had enough sunscreen. Also really like my Thule kayak saddles and strap system. My wife and I were pros at using it by the end of the weekend.


That brings me to current affairs. My wife let me order a Gobi Ranger Rack back in April and it showed up 2 weeks ago. We got it on the truck as quickly as possible. We cannot wait to put it to real use.

Topless Xterra, I didn't have a single nut insert break loose in the roof. I will say that is a major victory.

Just getting the rack bolted down.

Putting the finishing touches on the light bar and fairing.

I can't wait to start putting this new rack to use.

Next on the list...I found a single Nismo TE37x on ebay and so I snatched it up immidiately as a full size spare. Then I would like to get another matching Falken and a new rear bumper with tire carrier. It might be tight on timing but I would like that to be complete before October...I better start saving.


Great looking Xterra you've got there! Nice and clean. Looks like you've gotten to take it on many adventures. That's the point isn't it? Welcome!


Thank you for the welcome. I know most of you guys are way ahead of me. I just hope I can keep working on it and catch up some time!

Jack Stilts

Subaru Ambassador
Awesome! I love those racks.

You're speaking my language with all that upper peninsula talk. I spend just as much time up there. Just went to Elk Lake this past weekend! Much shorter drive for me, though ;)


Well vacation has already come and gone. We went for a week of adventure in the UP. Not really Overland but the Xterra, as usually, played a large roll in the ease of our travels.

All loaded up and ready to head north.

On the way up we made our usual stop at some outlet malls so we could gear up a little more. I managed to find a new hat as all my other ones are starting to look a little bad. The cross over the Mackinac Straits is epic as usual. A 5 mile drive over the beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron never gets old.

It was a beautiful first night on the island...in between rain storms.

We made use of our kayaks for sure. My wife and I made an effort to be on the water every morning by 8:30am. It was a great time.

The truck took us over to Tahquamenon Falls State Park where we made the 4 mile hike between the Lower and Upper falls. It was a day full of gorgeous scenery and realizing a start to some new adventures.

The Lower Falls

Upper Falls

Upon return we found the cabin had become full so we setup our tent in an appealing spot for the rest of the week.

Our final night consisted of a sunset ride in the family's 15' Boston Whaler Dauntless piloted by non-other but yours truly.

I really believe the Les Cheneaux Islands in the UP of Michigan may be on the list of most beautiful places to be. I feel very honored that I can come here to relax whenever my schedule allows. Everything can become an adventure when traveling between Main Land and Island.

The Gobi Rack proved itself to be a real work horse. It allowed much easier loading and unloading of the kayaks than I had anticipated. With one person up top to help lift and situate the kayak, the process really became a breeze. Also it makes for some pretty neat pictures.

Next on the list? A couple buddies and myself and our wives are hitting up some easy camping at the end of the month to give the gear we have now a test run and also try our camp cheffing. We are building up to our first overland trip, but with me, everything always takes some time.
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great rig! How do you like the TJMs? I was set on replacing my worn out factory suspension with an OME but after seeing your rig and the idea of extended wheel travel has me reconsidering!

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I like the TJM's. I know there is a thread on thenewx talking about the bushings blowing out early on the shocks. I haven't had that problem but I've been wheeling on them only once so far. The previous owner used them quite a bit before I bought them and they still look good. They also, with the medium duty springs, have a pretty fair ride.