"Lola" - WreckDiver1321's 2005 Frontier CC/SB Nismo Build and Adventure Thread

Hey man I love your truck. I am picking up a Pathfinder today (2012) with low miles. I am fighting the tires question but found some Pro-4x rims and thinking of OME with the 285/75R16 for the either the General Grabber AT2's or ATX's.

Any thoughts on the setup or other ideas?

Thank you in advance.
 

GNAR51

New member
Hey man I love your truck. I am picking up a Pathfinder today (2012) with low miles. I am fighting the tires question but found some Pro-4x rims and thinking of OME with the 285/75R16 for the either the General Grabber AT2's or ATX's.

Any thoughts on the setup or other ideas?

Thank you in advance.
Hey k2sb I've had a 2007 Pathfinder for a couple of years now. I have 285/75/16 KO2s with a 2-inch lift 2-inch front and 1.5-inch in the back on Bilstein 5100s. The front used to rub at full lock so I trimmed the wheel wells. Not pretty, but it works.
 
Hey k2sb I've had a 2007 Pathfinder for a couple of years now. I have 285/75/16 KO2s with a 2-inch lift 2-inch front and 1.5-inch in the back on Bilstein 5100s. The front used to rub at full lock so I trimmed the wheel wells. Not pretty, but it works.
Sounds awesome. Can you post some pictures from the side, angle and the cuts you made? TIA
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Guys, I am really sorry. I know I neglected this thread for a long time and never finished the story from Colorado, or told how this whole saga ends. Life got crazy for a while with a college graduation, a career change, a new baby, and a move. A lot has happened, and a lot of things changed. I apologize for leaving many people hanging and not getting this thread the attention it should have. Well, I'm here to catch everyone up. Buckle up, things get weird.

Where I left off, we had camped at high altitude on Last Dollar Road above Telluride. It was a spectacular camp and a great night full of fun with Dirk, but the weather rolled in during the night and left us with a healthy dose of rain. Waking up to the crazy weather was completely fixed by the unbelievable views.







We got to making breakfast, a homemade oatmeal enhanced by the Palisade peaches we had purchased in Dolores the day before.



We got our gear together, got dressed, and set out into Telluride, looking to get a quick cup of coffee at the local coffee house before heading for our main mission that day: Imogene Pass.

Imogene was a dream of a trail. Huge rock walls and narrow shelf roads winding their way up to huge alpine basins that hold decaying pieces of local mining history. The views were unspeakably beautiful, highlighted by the pure ecstasy that was the trail itself. Steep in some sections, rough in others, but mostly just a roaring good time enjoying the scenery, the history, and the challenge. Lola handled it all in impressive strides, never protesting the challenge. It was a great run, possibly the best I've done in my ownership of the truck. We got a lot of funny looks and thumbs-ups from Jeep and Toyota drivers.









We pushed on up the trail, fearing the distant weather pattern would be on top of us before we hit the top. Or worse, while we were standing on the summit. The final climb to the summit is an intense blend of steep, rocky climbs and dizzying shelf roads.





Eventually though, with light rain beginning to pelt us, we made it to the top.







We celebrated, took some pictures, and chatted with some other 4x4 people before turning back down the trail behind an old 4Runner. The route down was equally exciting and just as gorgeous as the drive up.





I did get the pleasure of meeting a fellow overlanding family traveling (bravely) in their well-built Land Rover LR4. Watching that rig eat up the trail was really fun, and immensely satisfying as a recovering Land Rover fan.

 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
We continued our descent, soaking in the awe-inspiring alpine scenery and exciting ruggedness of the trail.











Shortly after that last photo was taken, a steep rock ledge tested my departure angle and pinched the exhaust tip just a little bit. Luckily, nothing else was impacted and we continued on without issue. After several more fun obstacles, we rolled happily into Ouray.





We opted to eat lunch at the Ouray Bring Company, which was absolutely fantastic. It also gave us a great view of this old mining town.













We wandered around town for a bit before we aired up and headed back towards Telluride and our camp for the evening, opting against tackling Engineer Pass that afternoon in favor of a more laid-back day.

Leaving Ouray, everything felt fine. Upon heading up the hill outside Ridgway, it was evident we had a problem. Fluctuations in throttle position produced a clunk, a grinding noise, or nothing at all. I had noticed the noise previously, but I had believed it was due to dirt in the brakes or something minor of that nature. I pulled over at a wide spot and crawled under the truck to assess the situation. I could not locate the source of the noise. I tied up some loose wiring, thinking maybe it was rubbing on the driveshaft. Inspections of all 4 U-joints found them to be in good shape. The transmission and transfer case were operating normally, and neither were excessively hot. The brake pads were not worn. I did what I thought may help before attempting to drive further. The problem had not gone away. Frustrated, I turned back toward Ridgway and the closest cell service.

It being a holiday weekend as well as the Telluride Film Festival, the next several hours were a major debacle. I could not find a towing company that would assist us through my insurance. Ridgway did not have a mechanic, nor a 4x4 specialist of any kind. Frustratingly, it seemed Ouray did not either. It seemed Montrose was our best bet, as they had a local 4x4 shop that could help us out. To add to our problems, the holiday and film festival meant all the nearby hotels were booked solid. I had my mom on the phone trying to sort out a place to stay while I tried to locate a tow truck to come assist us. I managed to get hold of a few people, but most were unable to assist. Frustrated, I decided our only option was to limp slowly towards Montrose in the falling darkness.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Just outside Ridgway State Park, we received a phone call from a towing company we had contacted earlier. They told us they had tracked down a driver and the appropriate wrecker to transport us into Montrose. I found a place to stop and awaited our rescue.

During the wait, I crawled under the truck again in the hopes that I could figure out what the problem was. I was testing everything and inspecting every single inch of the truck. Front diff, transmission, transfer case, U-joints... During my u-joint test, I tried pushing up and down on the rear u-joint to check for play. To my surprise, the driveshaft moved up and down. I tried it again, my hopes rising that a quick u-joint swap would fix our problems. Then my heart sank as I watched the pinion collar at the differential move up and down. It was clear, my pinion bearing had failed.

The rest of that night was an emotional blur. Getting the truck loaded on the wrecker, driving into Montrose, and getting into our hotel. I spoke with several folks from the Boulder Nissan club and found a potential ally in helping get the truck fixed. Huge thanks to Bill Eirish, who spoke with me at length on the phone, trying to sort out my problem. He was confident my spider gears had failed, and was calling around trying to find parts and assistance for me so I could get back on the road. Imogene Overland Provisions also contacted me offering their help. I want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to offer their help. It was so great and so helpful just to have so many people offer their time. I appreciate it immensely.

The other problem: we had left all of our gear outside Telluride. Our tent, our bed, our table, our chairs, everything was now sitting outside Telluride. We were currently stuck without transport in Montrose, waiting for a 4x4 shop to assist us on Tuesday morning. Due to the fact that our Oztent is massive when closed up, we then realized we needed a large vehicle to haul our tent back to Montrose with us. Given that we needed to meet my family for a wedding, we had to be in Denver at a fixed date, so there was a distinct possibility that we would need to leave Lola in Montrose while we headed north.

After calling a number of car rental places, we realized a Subaru Outback would work for us thanks to a roof rack capable of handling the Oztent. We made the arrangements, knowing it was possible we were driving this car back to Billings, caught a hotel shuttle to the Montrose airport, and picked up our car before heading back towards Telluride.

We drove our rental Subaru up Last Dollar Road and collected our gear as the rain began to fall again.





Not wanting to miss out on the coolest part of Colorado during our trip, we decided to use the car to explore the San Juans rather than mope in our hotel.







We left Telluride behind us for good and returned to Ouray to drive along the aptly-named Million-Dollar Highway towards the old mining town of Silverton.





Silverton turned out to be an awesome place, with great little shops and an amazing place to grab a pizza. We explored the town and talked about where our trip would take us. I did some reading and decided I didn't want to miss out on all of the backroad stops, so I gathered the family into the car and headed up a gravel road. We were taking our rental Subaru to Animas Forks.

The Animas Forks ghost town sits in an alpine basin above Silverton, generally only visited by 4x4s and dirtbikes. I decided the terrain was simple enough to handle in the Outback, and I was right. We rolled slowly into Animas Forks and were checking out the abandoned structures as yet another rain squall started rolling through.

















We concluded our visit and returned to Silverton and the highway. Deciding there was more to see, we continued on into Durango, soaking up the scenery once more.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
The San Juan Mountains of Colorado sure are special, especially in the falling light. We briefly checked out Durango before heading back in the direction of Montrose.













We drove past some stunning scenery, made a few pit stops, and eventually wound up back at our hotel for the evening. We cooked a dinner, in our hotel, on our camp stove, and went down for bed.

The next day was a Tuesday and after the labor day weekend, so we drove Lola to Rockworx 4x4 shop in Montrose, a shop that specializes in 4x4 repairs and modifications. I explained what had happened and that we needed to leave the vehicle there for the repairs while we headed north. The owner was extremely helpful and very resourceful, and promised to inspect my truck first thing.

With time to kill, we decided to make a trip to a landmark I had not even intended on stopping at: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Thanks to our new home base in Montrose, we had extra time and close proximity, so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. In a way, I am glad we broke down and had to modify our plans. Black Canyon is a sight to behold.



These huge rock formations plunge into the earth at unbelievable depths, creating incredible shapes and twisted geometry that I hadn't seen before. This is not even mentioning the dull black and gray color palate that is unique to this area as well.









Many of the overlooks allow for a knee-shaking view down into the canyon. The perspective is almost impossible to understand in a photograph. Look at the size of the trees in comparison to everything else. The enormity of the place is impossible to overstate.









Upon leaving the Canyon, I received a phone call from Rockworx with the bad news: when the pinion bearing had failed, the pinion gear was able to come loose and rock back and forth. During the rocking, the pinion gear started chewing into the differential carrier, spitting tons of metal shavings into the gear oil. He said that while nothing had failed yet, it was likely that the gear set would fail sooner than later. Several teeth had visible wear, and he highly recommended replacing the ring and pinion. Gutted, I agreed to the repair, knowing that meant we would be leaving Lola behind and carrying on without her.

We returned to our hotel, packed, and checked out. The extent of the repairs meant there was no reason to stay in Montrose, and we could carry on with our trip north.

To cap off the day, and turn my spirits around, we took the scenic route among early fall colors exploring the more eastern reaches of the Gunnison River: Cimarron Canyon. While not as dramatic as Black Canyon, Cimarron is a uniquely beautiful place in it's own right. The continuous on-and-off rain made the drive very special.









Passing through Gunnison on the east end of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, we made plans for an AirBnB outside Buena Vista, our next port of call. We reveled in the scenery and moped about the damage to my beloved Frontier on our way north. We rolled into Buena Vista three hours later and checked into our adorable AirBnB before heading back into town for dinner at the brewery. We went down for bed that night, exhausted and weary from the excitement.
 
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Dmski

Adventurer
Ah man... So sorry to hear about the rear pinion failing. That really sucks and puts damper on an otherwise beautiful trip. Hope Lola get's fixed up and out on the road. Is the rear the 3.36 standard m226 gears? I'm guessing you have the old style 2 spider rear end still which may be why it failed? How many miles on her now though?
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Ah man... So sorry to hear about the rear pinion failing. That really sucks and puts damper on an otherwise beautiful trip. Hope Lola get's fixed up and out on the road. Is the rear the 3.36 standard m226 gears? I'm guessing you have the old style 2 spider rear end still which may be why it failed? How many miles on her now though?
It was a hell of an experience, that's for sure. I was hoping that trip would really restore my faith in her and reinvigorate my love affair with her. Didn't really work out that way, unfortunately.

Yep, rears are standard 3.36 in the M226/D44. The original gearset did have the 2-spider rear, and believe it or not they did not fail in this case. Everything was in good shape until the pinion bearing let go and the pinion gear started chewing. I briefly considered swapping in a different gear set since it was coming apart, but ultimately opted against that.

Last mileage I noted was just shy of 207k. This failure was in the neighborhood of 198k I think.
 

colodak

Adventurer
One thing of note, that everyone should learn, despite how horrible Facebook is, it's also a great source for finding local 4wd groups or vehicle specific groups should you have a problem in that area. Spot on contacting the NORAC people here in Colorado and Bill. There are a couple of 4wd shops in Ouray, but, being the time of year you were there, it can be difficult to get ahold of some of them. Luckily you were able to get towed into Montrose, there's a couple shops there as well as a Nissan dealer.
 
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