NEVER QUIT Overland's Extreme Isuzu NPR Build & 4x4 Conversion

Several weeks ago, Matt at Angry Iron Metalworks in Georgia, was contacted by NEVER QUIT Overland, to explore the possibility of getting a 2019 Isuzu NPR crew cab, converted to 4WD.

After seeing and driving Matt’s newly completed 4x4 conversion using a 2015 NPR crew cab, (see link below to the truck we drove) we were blown away by the fit, finish and craftsmanship, as well as how well the truck drove, even without a bed or box installed. The ride is leagues ahead of the stock NPR and far better than any other 4x4 cabover camper, that we have driven. NQO came close to purchasing Matt's 150” wheelbase NPR chassis cab...

https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/2015-isuzu-npr-crew-cab-4x4-ultimate-expo-vehicle.199742/



However, we need the 176” wheelbase version to fit the 15’ custom box we are building, so NEVER QUIT asked Matt to undertake another 4x4 conversion, this time using a 2019 NPR that we have purchased. Ours will be similar to Matt's truck (above), but will be tailored to our needs.

After a discussing numerous details for this conversion with Angry Iron Metalworks, NEVER QUIT Overland purchased a 2019 NPR V8 Crew Cab for our conversion. There were no constraints placed upon this build, allowing us to create the ultimate cabover 4WD. As most of you know, Isuzu does not offer the NPS in the United States, however, we know that the NPS has neither the capabilities nor the quality fabrication that our truck will have.

Build Start Date: February 2019

Initial plans are to have the chassis cab completed before the Overland Expo West event in May, then to add a 15’ x 7’ x 7’ box with plenty of room for dogs, kayaks, surfboards and two (tall) adults. We plan to have the camper box completed and installed by September 2019.

Everyone seems to want to know what parts are going into a build, why they were chosen and what the cost is to do a build like this. So, we are going to try to provide some of that information.

This is not a DIY build and we, the customer, NEVER QUIT Overland, has very specific requirements, many of which have determined the design of the truck and the parts list you see below.

www.NeverQuitNever.com and www.NeverQuitWorldTour.com put on free large scale running events for deployed members of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as large scale events in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The truck will travel for events and more throughout North, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa with its owner who has lived and traveled to over 55 countries over the past 48 years.

Please feel free to leave constructive criticism or to ask questions about the parts and build process, which will be spread out over three phases and will probably take 8 months to complete, in total. Without further ado, here is the proposed parts list, along with our initial cost estimates.

AXLES:

Front: Dynatrac 80 with 4.88 gears, Eaton E-lockers, 8 on 6.5”, setup for custom leaf springs.

Rear: Dynatrac Pro Rock 80 with the same parts, except four link suspension instead of leaf. The Pro Rock 80 was chosen for its weight carrying capacity. (#11,000)

Approximate cost: $20,000, exclusive of link suspension, custom leaf springs, and installation.

TRANSFER CASE:

A Trail Worthy Fab HERO transfer case was chosen after discussing this project with another transfer case builder, who was honest in stating their case was not the right product for this application. The HERO case can be found in diesel drag trucks, KOH/U4 cars and rock bouncing buggies around the country. You do not want a transfer case failure in the jungles of Nicaragua, so, overkill it is.

The TWF HERO transfer case will be divorced for two reasons: A small drum parking brake is mounted on the tail shaft of the 6L90E transmission, which multiplies the braking force by the ring gear ratio (4.10). Secondly, tearing apart a perfectly good, brand new transmission to swap a 4WD tailshaft onto it, just does not make sense. There is some evidence that Isuzu's version of this transmission is a bit of a hybrid and that the 4WD tailshaft found in Silverado and Tahoe vehicles, would not bolt up.

Approximate cost: $5,000 retail, per TWF website. Andy is a great guy and provided excellent customer service.

ABS/EBD:

ABS Tone Rings: Isuzu uses a 56 “tooth” tone ring on both axles; though the front has holes and the rear has teeth. Dynatrac has a 55, 48 & 60 tooth rings, but no 56. So we will purchase new 56 tooth rings, and Dynatrac will install them during the build, gratis, allowing us to retain the factory Isuzu ABS and EBD on our NPS.

Approximate cost: $600, tone rings only, from Isuzu dealer + Dynatrac's installation cost.

SHOCKS / SPRINGS:

Dampers, Front and Rear: King Shocks combined with custom air bag system in the rear, allowing ride to be adjusted for road conditions or changes in vehicle weight. Dampers will be bumped and strapped for safety and longevity.

Approximate Budget: $1,600 plus installation, exclusive of links and bags

Front leaf springs will be custom made for this application once the camper box is completed and all fluids and gear are aboard. Possible vendors are Deaver, Atlas or Alcan and cost is estimated to be $1500-$2000, plus installation, front springs only, rear is links and bags or links and coils.

DRIVELINE:

Driveshafts will likely come from an vendor such as High Angle Driveline or Tom Wood's Driveshafts. Both of these shops have loads of experience building shafts for off road and unusual applications.

Approximate cost: $2500, including spud shaft for the divorced HERO transfer case.

CABLE SHIFTERS:

Cable shifters can be seen in the post linked above, on the previous build and something similar will be fabricated using TWF, JB FAB or NWF cables. This eliminates linkage and allows the case to be shifted easily and smoothly from the driver's seat.

Approximate cost: $1000 plus installation

TIRES & WHEELS:

Nitto Ridge Grapplers: https://www.nittotire.com in 285/75R18E. Load rating: #4,080. Well reviewed, very quiet on road. Tread between A/T and M/T. Two full sized spares will be carried on truck at all times. Cost: $2,000 (Includes sensors, w/ rebate)

Method's 305 Heavy Duty wheels. Load rating: #4,500. Color: Matte black. 18” x 9” wheel. Bolt pattern: 8 x 6.5. Offset: +18 Part #:MR30589080518H, Cost: $307.45 x 6 = $1,900

https://www.methodracewheels.com/collections/street-wheels/products/305-nv-hd-matte-black?variant=29570143297

WINCHES: Warn with synthetic line

Front: 16,500 pounds - Cost: $1,967.
Rear: 12, 500 pounds - Cost: $1,327
Total cost = $3450 including shipping

LIGHTS:

For all truck and camper lighting, we have chosen Vision-X lights. Please see post below for a detailed list.

Approximate cost: $4000 - $6000

SEATING:

Custom Scheel-Mann driver & passenger seats. These are the world's most comfortable and best made seats. Contact Toby at: scheel-mann.com

Approximate Cost: $5,000

MISCELLANEOUS:

Some of the work Matt will perform over the next 3 months, includes custom fabrication of the following:

BUMPERS: front and rear, with lights & winch support.

FUEL TANK: Add an OEM Isuzu 30 gallon (auxiliary) tank with a transfer switch, allowing the fuel load to be spread out some, providing 60 gallons total.

EXHAUST: budget is approximately $1200

A myriad of custom work will need to be performed to complete this one-off conversion with a few such items such as:

  • Skid plates – steel, alloy or UHMW
  • Custom steering linkage to allow push/pull to work on D60
  • Made to measure brake lines to mate NPR to Dynatrac axles
  • Rear Air Suspension (links and bags)
  • Engine and transmission tuning
  • Switchgear, likely from SwitchPro or InfinityBox, but currently TBD.

    Much of the fine detail has yet to be decided or is like to change as the build progresses, so we will try to keep this thread updated as progress is made.

That gets most of the major components out of the way. Our truck will be delivered to Matt's shop in about a week and he will start tear down then.

If you are a vendor or represent a company that would like to be a part of this build, please contact us for further details on our upcoming events and adventures.

Thank you for you interest; we hope that you follow along here: https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/never-quit-overlands-extreme-isuzu-npr-build-4x4-conversion.202717/

Facebook: Never Quit Overland

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neverquitoverland/
 
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I linked to Matt’s NPR 4x4 conversation, anyone know what ford leaf sprung front axle was rated for 6500lbs? 1999-2004 f550 is listed at 5400. I know super 60 is rated for 6500 but that is coil type axle..
 
Custom Scheel-Mann seats were ordered today with Toby, the US rep. A fine man. They will be delivered no later than April 15 to our Georgia build location. Scheel-Mann are one of the worlds most comfortable auto seats. The pinnacle of custom hand made auto seats.

See their selection at: scheel-mann.com

We would like to only use Vision X lights. They are powerful and rugged lights, with the option to have several mounting feet for extra mounting strength; they are the perfect overlanding light. It will be great to see the big Vision-X booth setup at Overland West this May along with their new lights.

All of the final measurements have been determined for the Dynatrac axles and the order was locked in for them to start production.
 
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Nice build sheet!
Do you know how Nitto grapplers respond to airing down for sand? I understand E rated tires can have pretty stiff sidewalls.
 
Thanks!

The truck is projected to be about 12 - 13k pounds, so we won't be airing down too much and will try out best to stay off soft sand and out of the mucky mud. Having two winches and some kind of recovery mat will come in handy, when we do get stuck.

Not knowing specifically where we are going or what we will encounter when we get there, it will all be part of the adventure.
 

mr jits

New member
Thanks!

The truck is projected to be about 12 - 13k pounds, so we won't be airing down too much and will try out best to stay off soft sand and out of the mucky mud. Having two winches and some kind of recovery mat will come in handy, when we do get stuck.

Not knowing specifically where we are going or what we will encounter when we get there, it will all be part of the adventure.
I found your build over on 'Mud and will be following along as you progress.
In regards to tire choice, I think you're going to have nothing but problems running an E rated tire on such a heavy rig. Sure, they look cool, but you are approaching the tire's max rated capacity with just the rolling weight of the truck.
I'd be taking a look at Michelin XZL wide base or XML (the LMTV is very close in to what you have planned) tires for your application.
Also, the rear axle on the isuzu may have an oddball wheel bolt pattern, but it's a beast of a full floater axle with drop out thirds (regearing is as easy as switching thirds, and there's a detroit locker available). The reality of any of these overland camper builds is that you'll never be doing any rock crawling, but will likely see mud and sand. Build with that mindset, not with any thought of articulation or an extra 1" of ground clearance.
 
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gait

Explorer
Thanks!

The truck is projected to be about 12 - 13k pounds, so we won't be airing down too much and will try out best to stay off soft sand and out of the mucky mud. Having two winches and some kind of recovery mat will come in handy, when we do get stuck.

Not knowing specifically where we are going or what we will encounter when we get there, it will all be part of the adventure.
I'm much lighter, at 4500kg. No tyre problems I think over-rated tyres must have helped. I don't have winches, air down is my first thought if stuck or struggling in 4wd. Friends with Oka (Aus 4wd) at your weight spend lots of time changing air pressure. Time of day also for hot sand in Aus. Maxtrax used once in clay/mud. Tyre chains never used, I carried 4 originally, 2 now. More important to me than 4wd is clearance and entry/exit angles. A little better than most local traffic is useful. Articulation useful for creek crossings, tight/squeezy tracks in forests, scalloped and water eroded tracks. We also didn't know what we would meet - 34 countries.
 

mr jits

New member
Mr. Jits,

It looks like the Isuzu axles are being replaced by a pair of Dynatrac axles https://www.dynatrac.com/axle-assemblies/prorock-60-axle.html.

The front will be a Pro Rock Dana 60 and the rear will be a Pro Rock Dana 80, both with lockers and an 8 on 6.5" bolt pattern, which is very common in the States.
Yes, I saw his intended build plan. My point being the Isuzu rear axle is as strong as the Dana 80, is easily regeared, and the hubs can easily be machined to accept an 8x6.5 bolt pattern for about $150. OP will be money ahead by keeping the Isuzu axle (the Pro Rock 80 is $5k+), which has parts support worldwide. The front has to be replaced to make the truck 4wd, and the axle choice makes total sense.
Builds like these (ground up builds) typically end up costing 5-10% more than planned. Why not save some money, particularly with an item that doesn't need to be replaced?
OP, I would also highly suggest going with an ARB over the Eaton. The Eaton's locker action is a little odd, particularly when you have to rock a vehicle. With the weight of the rig you have in your plans, I wouldn't trust a Dana 60 Eaton.
 
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DzlToy

Explorer
You won't be able to miss this thing at Overland Expo :D

I see that you changed the front axle to a Dana 80 and got your winches ordered (y)
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
Definitely one hell of a build sheet. Needs a diesel though. :)


Yes, I saw his intended build plan. My point being the Isuzu rear axle is as strong as the Dana 80, is easily regeared, and the hubs can easily be machined to accept an 8x6.5 bolt pattern for about $150. OP will be money ahead by keeping the Isuzu axle (the Pro Rock 80 is $5k+), which has parts support worldwide. The front has to be replaced to make the truck 4wd, and the axle choice makes total sense.
Builds like these (ground up builds) typically end up costing 5-10% more than planned. Why not save some money, particularly with an item that doesn't need to be replaced?
OP, I would also highly suggest going with an ARB over the Eaton. The Eaton's locker action is a little odd, particularly when you have to rock a vehicle. With the weight of the rig you have in your plans, I wouldn't trust a Dana 60 Eaton.
It doesn't sound like cost is all that much of a concern on this build.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
I stopped by Matt's shop yesterday to give him a ride to the dealership and pick up the new NPR. It was quite interesting to see the trucks side by side and to see the reaction of all the Isuzu salesmen and mechanics who seemed to be very interested in the 4WD conversion. Only one or two of them knew that an NPS was available in the ROTW.

We also took turns driving the trucks back to back; that was an interesting experience. I am looking forward to seeing this truck on the road.
 
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