Babe the Blue Ox - Supercharged 2000 Frontier Build + Adventures

paulforeman

Member
Gas Hood Lifts

Couldn't find a hood strut kit for the 98-2004 Frontier. Found a kit in Australia for the equivalent truck ("D22" or "Navara"), but that obviously wasn't an option. Shipping is rather cost-prohibitive on those... I looked up a couple youtube videos for various other vehicles, plus I looked at our 2004 4Runner and got a good idea of how it should work.

It worked out super well. And by "super well," I mean "it barely fits," but it works awesome. Here's my parts list:

L-bracket mounted. Used this bracket to get the end of the gas strut far enough down to clear the hood hinge bolt.




Light bar bracket mounted through the fender and body panels. There is a gap, so I threw some spacers in between the fender and body flares to keep them from crushing and to add support. Anti-seize grease on the ball studs.



On the driver side, the strut only clears the ABS hard lines because the strut doesn't close all the way when the hood is down. I could move the L-Bracket, but it works like it is, so I'll probably leave it.

Bottom line, I know most people have hood struts from the factory (both my other cars do) but I'm happy I could make it work with the parts I had laying around and it only cost me about $6.00 in new hardware.

Cheers.
 
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paulforeman

Member
New Rear Bumper Addition

I finally got around to doing this. Modified my Shrockworks rear bumper to make it more of a high-clearance style with additional protection underneath for the rear quarter panels. I cut a straight line across the bed-side from tail light to the wheel well. Did a rough mock-up with cardboard to figure out what material sizes I needed. Tacked everything together on the truck and then removed to bumper and welded everything up. All the material is 3/16" hot-rolled steel (matches Shrockworks thickness). I ordered from Metal Supermarkets. GREAT place to order stock if you ever need anything. I used them for everything. No minimum order, and they have everything. Total order cost was ~ $110.

Qty 2 of 9" x 26" plate (cut to make bottom of bumper and upper bumper braces)
Qty 2 of 3" x 26" plate (lower side plates)
Qty 4 of 4" x 26" plate (upper side plates and top plates).










I think that with the side plates braced against the frame-mounted rails, it should be plenty strong enough to take light side impacts without boxing it all in. To keep the bumper completely bolt-on, I couldn't box it in or else I wouldn't be able to get a wrench in there to tighten the bolts.

I used Trim-Lok Edge Trim on the bottom edge of the body that I had cut off which came out well.






I am NOT a fabricator, so the welds are not all super pretty, and the paint work is average at best. BUT, I'm really happy with my design and the overall fit. I didn't match the body-panels super well, but I'm going to add a kick-out for additional protection later and that will compensate for the bumper not matching the body lines perfectly.

I also got the driver side painted too. The body work and paint are not pretty either, but it only took me a couple hours with a paint match kit. I'll buff it up later next week and blend it a bit and that will help. BUT it's blue again, and that's all I wanted.






Thanks for reading. Cheers.
 

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paulforeman

Member
Nicely done. It looks pretty stout as well.

Item noted, is you have a shelf to hold mud so keep an eye on that.
Thanks. Yes, I thought of that. I used a hole saw and cut drain holes it in after mounting it up. I also cut a long, narrow slot to allow a ratchet to go through the bottom plate and get on the bolts easier. I will probably get some short mudflaps to put over the front end to *TRY* to keep mud out, but it's somewhat of a lost cause and mud will end up in the bumper anyways. The drain holes are a nice access spot to get a pressure washer nozzle up in there though. That should do the trick to keep it clean.
 

paulforeman

Member
Summer Trip Series - Steamboat, CO

Just got back from a couple trips and I'll post them here.

First trip was 3 days, 2 nights near Steamboat, Colorado. We had awesome camp spots, did a recovery of a camper trailer that had slid of the road, and got some mountain biking and hiking in. We got out with another couple we've been friends with for years; they have a 2001 4Runner. Photos here:

First night, just trying to get to camp. Muddy road, driver of the truck had gotten stuck and tried to back out. Trailer slid off the edge and was being held up by about 6 Aspen Trees. We ran the winch cable across the road to a snatch block and were able to slide the camper sideways across the slick mud back onto the road and get the truck moving again. My truck was tied off to a tree as an anchor. We used the Smittybilt 9.5k XRC winch, Warn 20,000 lbs snatch block, about a half dozen shackles, and 3 static straps (8-foot, 20-foot, and 30-foot). It was actually a ton of fun, but a bit stressful since the trailer was so heavy and being held on the road by trees...


Beautiful and quiet camp spot near Steamboat, Colorado


Airing down before hitting the 4x4 area somewhere along the way to camp.


Hiking in Eagle's Nest Wilderness - Gore Range mountains in the backdrop.


Just a campfire shot.

Didn't get a lot of 4x4 routes in on this trip. That wasn't our primary goal. But it's been so much fun to be able to get to see places like this thanks to the truck!
 

paulforeman

Member
Summer Trip Series - Telluride/Ouray (San Juan Mountains)

Ok, if you've ever been to the San Juans or seen pictures, you know it's an astonishing place and that there are some awesome 4x4 opportunities there. My brother is getting ready to move out of the state of Colorado, so we decided if there was anywhere he should see before leaving, it's Telluride an the surrounding areas. We linked a lot of trails and various places and they're listed in order below:
  • Tin Cup Pass
  • Cumberland Pass
  • Silver Jack Reservoir
  • Owl Creek Pass
  • Imogene Pass
  • Gold King Basin
  • Ophir Pass
  • Engineer Pass
  • Los Pinos Pass
We ran a lot of other short routes and explored a lot of offshoots from the main trails, but those were the big sections. I had 600 pictures and videos by time we made it back to Denver, so it's hard to sort through and give a good representation of the trip with just a few photos, but I'll try!


St. Elmo, the Eastern end of Tin Cup Pass, which is where we started.


Top of Tin Cup Pass, obviously. If you didn't flex on the sign, did you even go?


Descending Tin Cup was a riot. I'm looking forward go going back and doing it the opposite direction some day.


A rare photo of me - setting up the Roofnest (I broke one of the zippers. Oops).


Ascending Imogene Pass from Ouray - the direction that I prefer. There were several good creek crossings, but this one was the coolest I think.


Near the top of Imogene Pass. The trail has a lot of "trail braiding" where you can choose from a lot of line options. Such a fun area.


This one has been on the bucket list for a few years. We got rained out last time we attempted it 3 years ago and haven't been able to make it back since. I was pretty happy to be able to make it out there this year!


One of the coolest camp spots we've had a in a long time. Dense trees made it very damp and cool, plus it was near the end of this road, so no traffic coming through.


The scenery and contrast between the plants and the rocks always stuns me.


One of the basins we had lunch in. The water in this area is always so clear (or sometimes bright green or deep blue).


Marmot on the way up Imogene - they're everywhere up there. This one was rather curious what we were going to feed him (nothing).


An Elk my brother spotted in a marshy field (she was still laying down and he spotted her).

We saw so many things that I just don't have time to detail here. The wildlife is very active down there and it's quite incredible to watch them. We saw a momma moose with a calf but weren't able to get good pictures. We also met some awesome people and saw a ton of other cool builds, from mild to wild.

Anyways, this is the main reason I continue to build the Frontier. As much as I enjoy it from a hobby perspective, it's main purpose is to get us out into places like this to see things I'd never get to see otherwise.

Cheers.
 

jpat30

Adventurer
looks like an awesome trip indeed. And you are so right, going to these places and seeing these sights is why we do what we do...
 

paulforeman

Member
HID Headlight Retrofits

SO, I kinda cheated on this upgrade. I had a guy from Instagram (fellow 1st gen Frontier owner) build me the housings. I could have done it myself, but I just didn't have time and I'm currently living at my in-law's house (moving - between houses right now) and my mother in law doesn't allow car parts in her oven, lol. I'll put links to all the parts I used at the bottom of the post.

Here's some pictures of before and after:

Original OEM housings with LED Bulbs (don't worry, I had them aimed correctly and never got flashed by oncoming traffic). Honestly not bad, but I wanted something better.






HID Retrofits:






Driver's side hid housing is a bit crooked (5 degrees maybe?). The guy who built them did a great job in quality, but building them without having the truck there, he did the best he could. I'm still really happy with the product.


Passenger side ballast/ignitor (need to clean up wiring).


Driver side ballast, plus hid relay control element. Tight fit, but still a fit! Ignore the random blue wire - it's a temporary ground for something else.

The light output is awesome at night and the whole upgrade didn't cost all that much.

Headlamp Assembly
Mini H1 Projector + Turbine Shrouds
H1 HID Kit - 35W ballast, 5000K lights, 9007/9004 harness.
 

paulforeman

Member
Wheeling/Camping 1-nighter

Went out with my brother from Oklahoma on a few trails this week. If you're familiar with the Colorado Front Range, you'd know them. Ironclads and T-33 Plane Crash trails. These trails are both pretty rocky and technical, with T-33 being a really fun challenge with lots of bigger features.

Photos below:

Washed out side-spur from our main route.

Camping by a creek the night before hitting the trails.

My brother's running toytec superflex rear coils - they do really well on this stuff.
\
Tight spot with a steep off-camber step-up...

Sometimes you gotta get on it and bump it up these obstacles.



ARB's flexing out really well.

Lot's of 3-wheeling and front wheel-lifts on these trails.

The truck is definitely not built as a rock-crawler, but it's built well enough to tackle this kind of stuff. And we had a good time doing it. Nothing else to say about that.

I hope you are all finding time to go camp and play too. It's the season for it!
 

Dmski

Adventurer
How have in not read through this build thread! Some great photos and some awesome wheeling. I like what you've done with the truck. I have such a soft spot for the first gen xterra and frontier. Built like tanks, and about as fast too... But they have some timeless lines and styling in my opinion.

How do you like that roof top tent? I've been eyeing the hard clamshell style for a while for my xterra since I'm either on the ground or inside the truck depending on weather. Rooftop tent would just help so much in terms of space regained inside and fast easy setup/semi weather proof. Have you slept in it while snowing? I do a lot of skiing and on those good pow days will sleep in the truck and would like to know how RTT's do in snowier conditions.
 

paulforeman

Member
How have in not read through this build thread! Some great photos and some awesome wheeling. I like what you've done with the truck. I have such a soft spot for the first gen xterra and frontier. Built like tanks, and about as fast too... But they have some timeless lines and styling in my opinion.

How do you like that roof top tent? I've been eyeing the hard clamshell style for a while for my xterra since I'm either on the ground or inside the truck depending on weather. Rooftop tent would just help so much in terms of space regained inside and fast easy setup/semi weather proof. Have you slept in it while snowing? I do a lot of skiing and on those good pow days will sleep in the truck and would like to know how RTT's do in snowier conditions.
Thanks man. I like the 1st gens (and older Nissans) a lot. I feel "old" saying it, but I miss simpler times and this truck is pretty simple. No electronic controls, no traction control, and I have warn manual hubs and a 5 speed transmission. It's awesome. I love it.

The roof top tent is good. I've winter camped in this one, as well as my previous tent-style one. It's always pretty cold, but I bring wool blankets and a cold-weather sleeping bag. This particular tent condensates on the ceiling pretty bad. It was one of the first batch of this tent model made by roofnest. Maybe the new ones are better? But bottom line, to answer your question, it's been good in snow. Better than my old tent, and much easier to setup and close down when your hands are freezing.
 

silvarshooter

New member
Spotted you near empire today in the traffic jam while on my way back to grand county. Weird timing as I just went through your build last week. Love your truck! I was in my lx470 but have had a 98 xe king cab for over 7 years now. Great trucks.
 

paulforeman

Member
Spotted you near empire today in the traffic jam while on my way back to grand county. Weird timing as I just went through your build last week. Love your truck! I was in my lx470 but have had a 98 xe king cab for over 7 years now. Great trucks.
That's awesome! We were fresh off the trail and headed home. Cool that you spotted us.

Yeah, they're great trucks - really wish there was a bit more aftermarket support (or even dealer support) for them, but I guess that's partly what makes them special! Keep an eye out and flash me next time - I'm up in Grand often for the 4x4 trails and skiing The Jane.
 

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paulforeman

Member
Recent Updates

I've been busy recently - bought a new house and moved across town - been spending a lot of time in the garage getting shelves, benches, tool boxes, etc setup. I've gotten some things done on the truck too, but haven't had time to sit down and post stuff. So here it goes.

Supercharger Swap
Got another used supercharger on craigslist with much lower miles than mine - the one I'm running has been making a bit of noise coming from the snout - seems to be bearings going out. Picked up a suitable replacement and will send in the old one to be rebuilt, probably to Jon Bond Performance (if I can get them to call me back! They must be busy these days). The used one sounds a lot better.






Wheeling Trips

Went out to do Argentine Pass - have done it a half a dozen times before, but never made the top of the pass due to snow, time restrictions, or breaking the truck (prior to steering upgrade, I bend the idler hardcore on the lower section somehow). Went out early and got up to the top before wind shifted and smoke from the all the forest fires in Colorado blew in. Here's a few photos of that.










View of Grays and Torreys peaks from the notch at the top of McClellan Mountain.

Did a fun route that starts in one of the ski resorts in Colorado - The trail eventually gets super narrow and tippy - could maybe do in a side-by-side, definitely on a bike, but not in a truck. It was a cool route, but of course, I didn't get many good pictures. Here's a few anyways.






It was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains, and dropped to freezing in town overnight - got the earliest freeze in Denver in 60 years. But now, a month later, it's back to 90 degrees... weather...



Did a bit of wheeling the weekend following the snow - did Slide Lake near Leadville, CO. Made our standard stop at the Gilman ghost town overlook.









So, basically I've been busy, but finding time to wheel. Have gotten a few mods done, and a few more coming still - I'll add those soon!
 
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