DMSKI's 2006 Xterra

Dmski

Adventurer
With winter coming it seemed like a good idea to get the interior sleeping arrangements set up finally. Since I added drawers in the back I no longer had the flat open space to lay out in like I used to. Fixed that with a little spare wood and carpet!


It lays just on top of the folded forward seats with removable legs in the center for support. Storage underneath for some gear.


I split the 48x48 sheet I had laying around in half to allow for just one side or two sides to be used depending on if the wife joins. It fits perfectly on top of my drawers when not in use (or I'd just pull them out when I'm not camping with them).



We are attempting a portion of the WABDR this weekend so I'll see how this goes!
 

Dmski

Adventurer
This past weekend my buddy and I finally decided to try out section 2 of the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route (WABDR). Saturday morning we packed up the cars and the wives joined us for what would be a great trip of exploring some of the most scenic trails east of the mountains. Weather looked clear but cold so we were in for what should be excellent views. Our trip began in Ellensburg where we took the old Durr Road out towards Umtanum ridge.

Shortly after pulling off we aired down to around 20PSI which saved our rigs and backs for the next two days of rocky trails and washboard roads. We quickly gained elevation as we rose up the mountain side to our first ridge and cell tower. After a much needed stretch break around 11AM at the towers, we hopped back into the rigs and turned west, driving along the ridge.


We slowly lost elevation as we bounced our way along the ridge. We could see for miles in all directions. We only passed one truck, a Hummer H3, the entire time we were on this section of the ridge which was refreshing. You certainly feel alone out there!





The ridge soon turned into some pretty steep downhill into the valley floor. Most of the WABDR section hardly needs 4WD, although I'd say higher clearance is nice on some of the washouts and rutted tracks. During this section we used 4lo only a handful of times to control our speed going downhill to save our brakes.


At the valley floor we drove on pavement for a 1/4 of a mile to get to the next dirt road leading south to our second ridge. Once again, we started heading up some steep hills rising a couple thousand feet and approaching the summit of Clemens Mountain and the second set of cell towers of the trip. It was around 3PM at this point, and a good time to eat a quick snack and stretch.



We were now looking at a stunning view of highway 410, Rainier and the mountains beyond. Below was a plateau just above Nile, WA. This looked like a promising place to sleep for the evening. The wind chill was getting to us on the mountain so it was time to head down. The steep descent into the plateau below was stunning. If it wasn't for the fir trees, this landscape honestly seems like Serengeti (or at least as close to it as I could imagine, having not been there personally).


Once down we opted to setup camp along the tree line just a few miles above highway 410. A fire was necessary as the temps began creeping down into the 30's as soon as the sun set. Dinner for the evening would be teriyaki chicken, salad and potatoes. Such a good camp meal!



We chatted for a few hours sipping on Kahula and hot chocolate before finally calling it an evening. Both of our rigs were setup for sleeping inside, which worked out extremely well with the new setup I created in the Xterra.

The next morning was a COLD one. Frost covered our campsite and the windows of the rigs. We slept in a little which felt great, but ultimately would set us back on completing the entire section 2 of the WABDR. Funny enough, heading down the mountain (while being a good place to camp) ultimately led us to not finding an outage to 410 on any of the trails we tried. We spent almost two hours wandering the plateau trails but found them to be either blocked in by gates or mounds of rocks and dirt. We were forced to backtrack up the mountain where we found the main trail leading down the ridge and ultimately onto 410. At this point it was too late to continue south to Packwood over Bethel Ridge. Due to our time constraint, we opted to turn north and take a few new trails back to Ellensburg.



The giant loop we ended up taking took us a total of 80 miles on dirt. Not bad for a quick weekend getaway. This is quickly becoming a favorite area of mine and we would love to get back there and explore all of the offshoot trails in the area.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
This was posted over TNX but I'll throw it over here as well. We spent the day snow wheeling up to a snowshoe trail off of Beckler Road/Highway 2 area this past weekend. What a great time!



I realize now that I will be looking to invest in a better shovel (bent mine while digging out of snow) as well as a radiator skid to keep this crunchy snow from doing any damage to the radiator/oil filter. We got close, but it didn't cause any problems.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the Falken Wildpeak AT3W's. I have not had a chance to get them into deep snow yet but these things just ate it up. I was at 20PSI and they did quite well. The snow quality sucked (freezing rain leaving a crusted top layer that gave way to powder underneath) so no telling how it would go if you left the wheel tracks.

Photo cred from AlbatrossCafe:



Coming out:


I also took away from this trip to that it's not recommended to snow wheel alone! We ran into a dude stuck up there overnight in his FJ with no coms. Later that day when my buddy got stuck his winch didn't work which would have really sucked if he was alone.

Views from the top:
 

07BlackSpecV

Adventurer
We are loving our AT3Ws still on the JKU and my Xterra. Ate up running between spectator stages at the Sno Drift Rally a couple weeks ago. After seeing more pics of your rig I regret not doing a Titan Swap but oh well. Truck looks really good man.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
We are loving our AT3Ws still on the JKU and my Xterra. Ate up running between spectator stages at the Sno Drift Rally a couple weeks ago. After seeing more pics of your rig I regret not doing a Titan Swap but oh well. Truck looks really good man.
Thanks man! Your rig and write up on those tires are what made me decide to really give these tires another closer look. I'm glad I did! Great onroad behavior and not too loud, and offroad and in snow they are fantastic. I don't really rock crawl but I have yet to find a place where these falter. My only complaint is that they don't come in a load range C or D as the weight is up there with this tire and wheel combo.

And it's never to late to Titan Swap:p It has been a great benefit across the board. Capability, gearing, wheel travel, larger front diff, and looks all make it worth it in my book. The downsides are the mud and dirt spray all the time, and my choice in budget front coilovers could be improved on.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
Just an update. The truck runs great since titan swapping but I haven't gotten offroad as much as I've wanted to. However the truck is starting to show its age a little on the exterior. General paint cleanup and pulling some of the painted parts to respray will be my next few weeks worth of chores. The roof is starting to chip up paint right in the drain grooves as well which I will need to address. I'm thinking of pulling the roof rack and monstalining the roof in a similar blue or black color. I wonder if no roof rack would be a fun look to try, or if now would be a good time to invest in a different more robust style roof rack. Seeing as I'm likely keeping this truck for a while, I'd like to keep my options open for a RTT and higher load carrying capacity with fuel/water up top.

Anyone have any thoughts on the best/affordable options? I like the frontrunner racks, but not the price tag.
 

07BlackSpecV

Adventurer
There just aren't a lot of options out there that I know of, I LOVE the look and use of my Gobi and fully plan on buying once for our JKU as that continues it's build and eventual replacement of the Xterra. All that said, frontrunner for a non-Jeep is the way to go. The modularity is undeniable. The price tag is painful but it'll be worth it.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
There just aren't a lot of options out there that I know of, I LOVE the look and use of my Gobi and fully plan on buying once for our JKU as that continues it's build and eventual replacement of the Xterra. All that said, frontrunner for a non-Jeep is the way to go. The modularity is undeniable. The price tag is painful but it'll be worth it.
It's crazy how many options are available for the jeeps/taco's. I get a little mod envious sometimes, but I like how unusual our Xterras and Frontiers are so I'll live with it. Glad to hear you like your Gobi! Maybe if I could find one used that might be the way to go. I'm beginning to plan a weekend for at least removing and lining the roof. But I'm running out of free weekends these days...
 

Dmski

Adventurer
Update. With the addition of a HAM and my last LED bar swap, a little cleanup was necessary in the wiring department. What a pain that was... This has absolutely convinced me to plan my future wiring jobs carefully and to do it right the first time because cleaning up bad wiring sucks!

Anyways, what I did was remove my transmission gauge (no longer needed as I now have a Bully Dog Tuner) and migrate the usb charger and volt meter to under the steering column.



This freed up space in the center console for the HAM radio to get mounted. I picked this guy up off ebay and it should work out perfectly. Kenwood TM 271 model. I will be mounting my antenna off of the front right tab on the ARB bumper as soon as I get the NMO mount for it.




I merged all of the battery to switch power that I had into an internal bus under the dash (it is a fuse box that I had laying around that I just used jumper wires to transfer power).



This freed up space on the Blue Sea Fuse box in the engine compartment for the HAM radio power (direct to battery) and made wiring a lot more simple/easier to troubleshoot.



And I finally labeled and loomed everything!



Lastly, I grabbed some Home Depot pre drilled angle iron, sprayed it black, and mounted this on the passenger side using the preexisting bolts and some plastic spacers to act as a relay bank. I'd like to clean this up a bit more but for now it works and is organized and labeled.



Having everything loomed, no more spaghetti wiring, labels on everything and just a better thought out setup makes me feel a lot better and makes troubleshooting much easier. It's funny, my initial wiring job was pretty good, but it's when you start adding an extra light here or a CB radio there that the wiring can quickly get out of control... Now it's much simpler to add an extra power wire from the blue sea fuse box if I ever felt like adding extra stuff later on (hopefully no). Lessons learned.
 
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