My 03 Xterra XE expo build


Active member
Back in October, I decided it was time to build a dedicated rig for camping and expo duties. I looked at a few options, and decided I wanted to go with a first gen Xterra. I've always like the looks of them. I did consider 2nd gen models, as well as the xj, wj, and 4 runner, but decided the first gen is what I wanted. I liked the simplicity of the rig. Simple, reliable motor, manual transfer case, very few electronic gizmos were all important factors.

I managed to fine one that was completely unmolested, had 135k on the clock, and had a very good service history. For this, I paid a bit more, but I have no regrets letting go of 5800 George Washingtons.

I'm planning to build this in three stages:

Stage 01:
Rear tire carrier/swing out bumper
Comms (gmrs/cb) DONE
Skid plates
Steering upgrades
Roof basket
Locking roof box DONE
Sleeping platform

Phase 2:

3" suspension lift
Bilstein 5100 shocks
Transfer/gas tank skids
Front bumper

Phase 03:

Arb rear locker
Dual battery system
Other various mods (TBD)

That's all for now. The plan is to start doing some work on it at the end of next month, including getting the pml done, installing some upgraded steering components, and starting the roof basket and rear bumper build.

I'll be updating this post as I go. 20200125_111359_34.jpg

Recommended books for Overlanding

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following ...
by Paulo Coelho
From $10.47
Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $334.34
Morocco Overland: A Route & Planning Guide - Southern Mor...
by Chris Scott
From $29.95
Motorcycle Messengers 2: Tales from the Road by Writers w...
by Jeremy Kroeker, Ted Simon, Lois Pryce, Billy Ward,...
From $9.99


SAS it and call it a day ;) .
Totally agree with this statement. Best mod I ever did. Besides the 3-link front and rear. Drives like a dream.

Do the PML and save the money from the lift kit towards the Solid Axle Swap. It can be done for almost nothing after selling off the good used parts.


Active member
Looks like a great start. But $580,000? I can see the $5800 though. LOL
LOL. George Washington is on the $1 bill.

SAS isn't on my radar, at least not right now. For what I'm doing with the X, its totally overkill. That's doesn't mean I won't change my mind later though.

I should have my colorado fixed up this weekend, so I can finally start building some stuff for Gamora. I'm going to start with my sleeping platform, followed by the roof basket, then a rear tire carrier bumper.


Active member
What steering upgrades did you do?
As of right now, none. I have an idler Arm brace ready to go in, I've just not installed it yet. When my centerline eventually goes out, I'll probably replace it with a grassroots center link. I also need to order the HD tie rod adjusters.