Babe the Blue Ox - Supercharged 2000 Frontier Build + Adventures

paulforeman

Member
A few small things

I got some more height adjustable feet from Sherpa Equipment Company for the cab rack. The topper rack already had the adjustable feet, but the previous mounts on the cab were a set height and I wanted to lower everything down as low as possible. With the adjustable feet, I lowered the rack about 3/4", which doesn't sound like a lot, but it made the gap between the side rails and the roof go from 1.25" down to 1/2" and I'm happy with that.




Additionally, I've been going back and forth on whether or not to keep my sway bar on the front. It seems to articulate just a bit better off road, but getting to the trails is pretty sketchy with it off. Although I usually drive very carefully on the highway, I decided that in order to keep the truck as road-worthy and safe as possible, I should keep it on. The Mevotech Sway Bar End Links I have been running are pretty much crap (the rubber seems ok). They loosen up over time, and the hardware is too wimpy for actually using off-road. I got some 7/16-20 bolts and lock nuts and put it in place of the original hardware. One of the rubber bushings had gotten pretty cut up when the hardware loosened up on my last trip, but I had some spares hanging around.

Got them all buttoned up. The spacers I used are actually some spare stainless shock eyelets I had from a different project. They seem to be working really well so far.


Snow Wheeling

Took a quick trip out in the snow this last weekend. I recently picked up 4 pairs of "used" snow chains off of Craigslist (they'd all be used a total of 1 time each). Both me and my buddy are running 33's at about 14psi. Both running chains on the rear axles. It was really fine powder that was crusty on top from the wind. We had a blast and the chains did amazing. Here's a few pictures of that.







That's all for now. Hoping to get some more snow wheeling trips in soon.
Cheers.
 

(none)

Adventurer
Looks like a great time!

I will mention, losing the front sway bar also smooths the ride, particularly on rough/dirt roads. I took my sway bar off my frontier when i went to the OME suspension, but i do really feel it when loaded with the RTT.
 

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paulforeman

Member
Looks like a great time!

I will mention, losing the front sway bar also smooths the ride, particularly on rough/dirt roads. I took my sway bar off my frontier when i went to the OME suspension, but i do really feel it when loaded with the RTT.
I hear ya, and I share the experience. I had, however, one necessary on-road maneuver in particular that nearly sent me into the wall on the highway when I was loaded up with the sway bar off. I guess that scared me just enough to convince me to put it back on and live with it. I'm running dual compressors and 5 gallon reservoir for on board air. At the risk of being a complete sell-out, I do usually air down at the drop of a hat. Doesn't take me long to air up at all with my setup, so rough roads are usually not a problem at 15psi, with or without the sway bar. I'm kinda trying to figure out a good quick-disconnect, but there isn't a lot of room to work in there...
 

SnowJunky

Observer
Awesome truck man! I was wondering if you are having any knock sensor issues with the super charger installed? I have been thinking about putting one on my xterra.
 

paulforeman

Member
Awesome truck man! I was wondering if you are having any knock sensor issues with the super charger installed? I have been thinking about putting one on my xterra.
I have not had any knock sensor issues. I replaced it preventative when I did the supercharger install. FYI, it's not as simple as "getting one," haha. It's a lot of parts to switch, including most/all of the intake, main shaft pulley, AC compressor, ECU and many others. PM me if you're seriously thinking about it and I can give you a list of everything you'll need to do it! It's totally worth it though.
 

SnowJunky

Observer
I have not had any knock sensor issues. I replaced it preventative when I did the supercharger install. FYI, it's not as simple as "getting one," haha. It's a lot of parts to switch, including most/all of the intake, main shaft pulley, AC compressor, ECU and many others. PM me if you're seriously thinking about it and I can give you a list of everything you'll need to do it! It's totally worth it though.
Oh I know its not just an easy straight install haha. I have actually considered just buying a Vg33er and doing a full rebuild before swapping it in as I am not too far from the 200K mark. I am still going to PM you, would like to do some window shopping to way the options.
 

paulforeman

Member
No real updates... but still having fun with the truck.

No real update on the build itself. Been enjoying the work I've put in by doing a lot of wheeling. I've gotten out to the snow several times recently. Here's a few photos from the last trip. Super cool weather. It was foggy and cloudy in town all day, but we were above the clouds with beautiful spring weather. Didn't make it to the end of the trial on account of some vehicle limitation (snow was too deep).


Main plan for future "build" progress for now is trimming up the front wheel wells a bit more so that I can clear tire chains on the front tires as well. I have a bit of tire rubbing now as it is, so I need about 1" more clearance on the back side of the wheel well to ensure the chains don't catch. Nothing a hammer/grinder can't fix. I think we may have been able to break through the last snow bank if at least 1 of us was able to chain up both front and rear. In order to avoid getting 2 all the vehicles stuck at 1 time (we only had 1 winch across the group), we abandoned the effort to get through the drift for now.

Hoping to get that bit of work done on the Frontier wheel wells soon and get out to do some more snow bashing.
Cheers.
 
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paulforeman

Member
If you're interested at all in progress of my other projects, I've been spending most of my "build" time on some 4Runner projects. Built some low profile 1" x 2" extruded aluminum (80/20) crossbars that utilize the factory tracks for my brother's rig (2004 4Runner). Got a CB installed in his Runner too so we can stop carrying the hand-held 2-ways when he comes wheeling with us. A few pictures of the crossbars I designed/built here. I'm working on building the square ones for my wife's 4Runner 2004 4Runner right now. I'll get a few pictures of that when they're done if anyone is interested.


Anyways, maybe there is a better place to post this than in my build thread, but I enjoy all the projects I'm working on, so I figured maybe other people would too.
 

paulforeman

Member
Not necessarily part of the build, but I had a problem with my Warn manual hubs last time I went out. Background: I got these hubs 2nd-hand from another Frontier owner who was doing a SAS. I never replaced the bolts that he gave me with the hubs. I think the bolts were over-torqued and yielded at some point in their life, and since they are so old/used, I wouldn't be surprised if either me or the previous owner did that. It's possible that I left the bolts too loose last time I installed the hubs as well.

Anyways, as a result, I sheared/broke all 6 bolts on the driver side hub when we went out snow wheeling last time. The bolts stayed in place because of the center cap, but when I got back on the road, with the window down, I could hear the bolt heads "clinking" around on every rotation. I think I did it when I was powering up a hilll through some deep ruts. Bounded off the driver side (passenger side came off the ground even), and that was about the time we were forced to turn around by snow banks too deep to pass. Here's a picture of that incident.


To removed the broken studs, I used mini glue sticks, heated them up, then put them into the hole on the hub where the broken bolts are. After it cooled slightly (glue still tacky), I was able to use the glue sticks like a screw driver and just back the broken bolt studs out.



I'm surprised it worked, but it did.

THEN, like a fool, I decided to put it back together temporarily until I could get new hardware. I only had the bolts from the other side, so I took 3 of them from the passenger side and installed them in the driver side. In doing so, one of bolts twisted off below the torque spec (further confirming my suspicion that the bolt had been over-torqued at some point in their life).

This one wasn't so easy. I ended up having to pull the hub, drill out the bolt, and use an easy-out/bolt extractor to get the shank out. Not too big of a deal. I ended up having to pull the hub and do it on the bench, but that's okay. Saved me from having to go to the salvage yard and find a whole new hub.


So anyways, lesson learned. Slow down, think about what I'm doing. Ultimately, got new Grade 12.9 bolts at the hardware store, torqued them to spec, and paint-marked them so that I can check on them during a wheeling trip and see if they're moving around.

I'm adding the left over mini glue sticks and some spare bolts to my travel tool set.

Good luck out there. Don't be as impulsive as me!
 

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paulforeman

Member
New Storage Drawer

So I decided to ditch the topper-ceiling Yakima basket storage system. It has worked well for a long time, but as I've started using the truck for more seasons of wheeling (tons of snow wheeling this year), I've had to pick up some extra recovery gear that I didn't have before and the awkwardness of accessing heavy items from the basket is getting old... I had to admit that I'd outgrown the storage basket I originally built to hold everything. As a reminder, things were stored in this configuration:



I've been looking for something with more space, and was debating building a drawer system, but decided to go with an off-the-shelf drawer for several reasons, primarily durability. I considered a Pack Rat drawer from weather guard, but they're hard to find in the right size. An all-aluminum one would have been nice, but I couldn't find one used.

I finally found an Adrian Steel SA-20 floor storage drawer that is actually designed for work vans. It's 51" long, 20" Wide, and 12" tall. (If any of you know anything about the 1st gen Frontier beds, you may know the bed space is about 53" max length. It's not really a 5' bed, it's less.) These drawers are about $1300 new, but I found one on Craigslist for $300. New, never installed, with all the mounting hardware still included. Score. It's a bit heavy but I'm not too concerned about it since I'm not commuting in the truck anymore at all. I used the supplied plusnuts to mount the drawer directly to the bed. (The plusnuts are like rivnuts if you know what those are. Basically, you drill a hole in the sheet metal, drop the threaded insert in, and once they're installed, they crush up against the back of the sheet metal, supplying a permanent anchor. You can see the tops of them below. Pretty slick little things. I've never used them before, but I probably will after this! Plusnut installation animation.



Using the supplied spacers/standoffs, I mounted the drawer into the bed. I did the same thing in the back of the bed (after cutting through the bed liner.... it's not pretty, but it's super solid and very functional.

It has sooo much more room to store things. The slides are nice and I'm pretty stoked with the perfect fit.


I'm excited to get out and use it soon. It is definitely going to make recoveries and accessing other gear much quicker and easier.

Cheers.
 
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