'15 Frontier CC LWB, improvements for backcountry and roadtrips

colodak

Adventurer
I would suggest talking to the guys at www.nissteclifts.com regarding your suspension plans. As for a bumper with a receiver setup, you have two options, HeftyFabworks or WAM Bumpers. WAM makes one that can be setup receiver only, winch only, or both. Hefty may or may not still make their steel front bumper with that as an option.

As for a second battery, what are your plans for the bed? My build has been derailed for various reasons, but my plan, since I have a shell, was a custom in-bed storage system that would allow for installing a second battery as well as an on board air system.
 

TWX

New member
It's never finished, you just get more ideas
It was more because it would have been delightful to have been able to head off to the wilderness for a couple of weeks right about now.

I would suggest talking to the guys at www.nissteclifts.com regarding your suspension plans. As for a bumper with a receiver setup, you have two options, HeftyFabworks or WAM Bumpers. WAM makes one that can be setup receiver only, winch only, or both. Hefty may or may not still make their steel front bumper with that as an option.

As for a second battery, what are your plans for the bed? My build has been derailed for various reasons, but my plan, since I have a shell, was a custom in-bed storage system that would allow for installing a second battery as well as an on board air system.
For the front receiver, probably going to build something myself actually. I had originally started out looking at Roadmaster towing brackets but they use nonstandard receiver sizes and they've gone through multiple iterations just to improve their brackets for flat-towing on pavement, that tells me their product probably isn't really strong enough for winching if the truck gets stuck in sucking mud. Instead I found some pictures of a product that a European company called Taubenreuther makes, they have two versions:

Second-German-thing7.jpg

Second-German-thing3.jpg

They also made one with a slightly off-center receiver:

German-thing5.jpg

I intend to make something that is somewhere in between, the crashbar-replacement of the first, but with a center receiver like the second. This way the winch can be installed into one of those hitch-mount carriers, removed when the truck isn't going offroading for both weight savings and to reduce envionmental wear and tear on it, and to allow it to also be used in the rear of the truck.

Since starting this brainstorming I've come to understand that some don't consider deep-cycle lead acid batteries to be especially good for winching, that automotive starter batteries are actually better based on the demand-load and intermittency, and furthermore special charging equipment is required in order to ensure that a deep-cycle lead acid battery actually charges properly in a dual-battery setup. For now I'm going to go single-battery, and mull over what I'd want on a truck-based second battery. I might do the relocation of the power steering reservoir anyway though since it doesn't look like it's too bad a job.

It sounds like an aux battery's best application is for food refrigeration, which obviously means having a DC-powered refrigerator. Second best application looks like campsite lighting, and third would probably be for communications, such as allowing a ham radio to operate without draining the starter battery. I'm sure there are other applications too, but those may be more strongly based on having either a camping trailer or a truck camper canopy of some sort, which would probably best have its own battery/batteries, as opposed to having the battery in the truck, so it could possibly be disconnected or removed from the truck at a campsite.

So for now, an aux battery for me seems mostly to be a solution looking for a problem. I have a ham radio license so I could wire radios to such, and I could wire the interior 12V cigarette lighters to an aux battery, but lacking a camping fridge those don't seem to be enough to justify it at the moment.

Tomorrow I should have a whole bunch of anderson connector parts coming in. I have a slew of SB175 housings, I'm going to use the blue housings for the winch and jumpstart connectors, with environmental boots and caps on the truck and probably with a disconnect closer to the battery so I can leave those connectors unpowered unless needed. I ordered inserts for 1/0, 1, 2, 4, and 6 gauge, and I'm going to put the winch fuse assembly on the winch itself instead of at the battery as the 2/0 cable (that I will have to trim for 1/0 connectors to fit on) will more than handle the full power the fuses are rated for. This should help simplify under-hood wiring a bit too.
 

docwatson

Adventurer
Here is another example if you are going to build your own.


While many have the winch plate he did make one with a 2" receiver towards the bottom.
 

TWX

New member
Here is another example if you are going to build your own.


While many have the winch plate he did make one with a 2" receiver towards the bottom.
Thanks. Managed to save the photobucket pictures down despite photobucket's current nature.

What I'm thinking might be the easiest solution would be to take an existing tow hitch and change the end mounts to fit the front of the truck. This preserves the welds holding the drawbar-receiver to the crosstube, welds that are arguably more critical because they're shorter and all of the stresses are on them. The welds that hold the crosstube to the frame-mounting-flanges are important, but there's a longer linear distance of weld in those places and there are two points of contact so neither is quite as critical as the one in the center.

All that said, I'm wondering if I should to include other attachment points on the crosstube. I don't care for the high-lift jack attachment point they came up with in that xterra thread, but I'm wondering if including a pair of 1-1/4" receivers out near the ends of the frame would be handy for something like two points to secure such a jack, or for removable lights, or even something for a removable brush guard. Not sure.

I definitely want the crosstube to be concealed behind either the upper or the lower bumper, and it'll probably end up being behind the lower. One of those Taubenreuther units is mounted right in the opening itself, which would seem to hamper airflow a little:

German-thing9.jpg

I'd rather it be behind the upper but the frame is fairly low under the truck and is not in-line with the upper. Lower harms approach angle a little but I may be able to work on that depending on what kind of design I settle on.

The actual recevier(s) will likely be in the opening, since that would allow for pinning-in the various drawbars and their mounted accessories.
 

docwatson

Adventurer
What I'm thinking might be the easiest solution would be to take an existing tow hitch and change the end mounts to fit the front of the truck. This preserves the welds holding the drawbar-receiver to the crosstube, welds that are arguably more critical because they're shorter and all of the stresses are on them. The welds that hold the crosstube to the frame-mounting-flanges are important, but there's a longer linear distance of weld in those places and there are two points of contact so neither is quite as critical as the one in the center.

All that said, I'm wondering if I should to include other attachment points on the crosstube. I don't care for the high-lift jack attachment point they came up with in that xterra thread, but I'm wondering if including a pair of 1-1/4" receivers out near the ends of the frame would be handy for something like two points to secure such a jack, or for removable lights, or even something for a removable brush guard. Not sure.

I definitely want the crosstube to be concealed behind either the upper or the lower bumper, and it'll probably end up being behind the lower. One of those Taubenreuther units is mounted right in the opening itself, which would seem to hamper airflow a little:
I agree with modifying an existing hitch. Since you are modifying the mounting points, it wouldn't be necessary to purchase a Frontier hitch. Just one with a straight bar wide enough. I like the positioning of the first Taubenreuther vs the 2nd. I do like the idea of some auxiliary attachment points of some sort, be it 1-1/4" receivers or shackle mounts or tabs.
 

TWX

New member
I agree with modifying an existing hitch. Since you are modifying the mounting points, it wouldn't be necessary to purchase a Frontier hitch. Just one with a straight bar wide enough. I like the positioning of the first Taubenreuther vs the 2nd. I do like the idea of some auxiliary attachment points of some sort, be it 1-1/4" receivers or shackle mounts or tabs.
It looks like most modern conventional full-sized pickup trucks have frame rails that are 42" wide. I'll see what I can find for a hitch that has the correct method for mounting the drawbar receiver to the crosstube. Hopefully I can find something used for a low price but most of what's on Craigslist right now are sort of u-shaped, the ends turn-forward and only the center is perpendicular ot the frame rails. While such might work, starting with a straight one would probably be easier.
 

liliysdad

New member
The WAM Wincher setup works very similarly to the above mounts, and after installing mine this weekend, I am incredibly impressed with the design and quality. I am not sure, but if you are insistent on a receiver setup, WAM might be able to modify that design from a winch mount. Personally, I would much rather have a permanent mount, and the WAM does it as well as any I have seen.
 

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TWX

New member
The WAM Wincher setup works very similarly to the above mounts, and after installing mine this weekend, I am incredibly impressed with the design and quality. I am not sure, but if you are insistent on a receiver setup, WAM might be able to modify that design from a winch mount. Personally, I would much rather have a permanent mount, and the WAM does it as well as any I have seen.
My problem is threefold against permanent installation. First, living in the city I won't be in a position to use the winch often enough to justify the weight penalty to carrying it all of the time. It's not even a mall-crawler issue, in reality I probably won't use it more than a dozen times in its lifetime. Second, I want to be able to use it at either end of the truck, and a permanent mounting in the front precludes installing it into the receiver in the back. Third, I have a second vehicle that could benefit from having the option to use it, at least in back. Wife's '15 Renegade Trailhawk is a very capable vehicle for its size and price point, but as her daily-driver it's not likely to get any aggressive offroad modifications. Likely the best I'll be able to talk her into will be rock sliders, though she might be amenable to wheels and tires that could be swapped-on for special occasions. I'd even looked into some of the winch upgrades that had originated in Europe and South America for the Trailhawk, where they integrated some kind of winch into the structure behind the front bumper cover, but I cannot find any good information on what they did, and the consensus seems to be that they used a ATV or side-by-side winch, something very light-rated, not even really suitable if the Renegade gets stuck in mud.

So for now, my best best is a modular setup that I can remove when not needing it and could at least put into the receivers of both my truck and my wife's SUV.
 

liliysdad

New member
I can understand that...for me, I use mine a few times a year, not a lot. I will gladly traded the daily weight for the lack of a loss of ground clearance and approach angle, but everyone's priorities are different.
 

colodak

Adventurer
From guys I've talked to, and builds I've seen, the dual battery setup, with moving the PS reservoir gets mixed results, mixed feelings. The D40 Navarra sold in the rest of the world, comes mostly with a diesel, and typically only uses one battery, but the builds I see on those, they put the second battery in the rear. On the Club Frontier forums, I've seen a couple of people with dual batteries, and the second battery is in a box mounted in the bed, using Anderson or other connections.

As for lead-acid vs AGM for winching, everyone has a different opinion. The first time I ever heard that AGM is not preferred was about a week ago, but every build I see on Expo as well as on other forums, especially the Toyota builds, everyone is using an AGM battery, and when I see the builds from Australia, they are using AGM's under the hood and many are using Lithium for fridge and tub/tray power.

On my last build, I ran an Optima yellow top, I had a winch mounted to a front brushguard, in 10 yrs, I probably used it twice. I'm in the process of looking for a new battery for the Frontier, I'm looking at Odyssey, NorthStar and X2 as well as a few other AGM's. On thing I'm finding, I'm not overly happy with the size of the battery, Group 35, that is shown for us. I'm actually looking at a Group 24 either Odyssey or X2. The numbers are similar, but it's slightly larger, those maybe giving it a little more ability.
 
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