Supercharged 1st Gen Frontier Build and Adventures - Babe the Blue Ox


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2000 Nissan Frontier, CC, SB, 4x4, 5-speed manual, 3.3L SuperCharged V6
On instagram? Follow me @_paulforeman - mostly truck and adventure pictures with some other life/people pictures as well.

ORIGINAL BUILD THREAD on ClubFrontier forum.

I will keep my original thread going on the Nissan forum, but I think that I may have some more interest on this forum. My build and adventures are probably more in-line with peoples' interests here, so I'm going to adding my build thread here too. If you like the truck, go check out my other thread for some of the other things I've done to the truck. I'm not going to copy everything over, but it's worth reading (in my opinion). It's all there (and kinda wordy - sorry).

SO, here it is. My name is Paul and so the name "Babe" was suggested to me by a friend who aptly noted that, like Paul Bunyan's Blue Ox, I am named Paul and the Frontier is kinda like my Ox (conveniently, blue). I bought the truck in August of 2016 from the 2nd owner. It had 160,000 miles on it at the time, but no leaks, dealer maintenance, etc. I originally got it as a work truck for my previous job and didn't really foresee ever using it for off-road playing (other than the usual mountain biking and camping trips, etc). HOWEVER, after one of my friends took me out wheeling, I was hooked. I don't have a lot of pictures of the truck as it was when I bought it, but I'll put some in the thread somewhere if I run across any.

Recent/Favorite Pictures:

Moab, UT. May, 2019

Tincup Pass, CO. July 2020

Imogene Pass, CO. July 2020

Colorado Front Range. Jan 2021


Exterior Modifications:
Engine Performance:
  • Clutch start cancel over-ride switch.
  • Supercharger installed from 2003 S/C Xterra
    • Rebuilt by Jon Bond Performance with ceramic rotor coating and 2.4" pulley (downsized from 2.65" factory pulley)
  • ECU Swap from 2003 S/C Xterra
  • Cheap Amazon-special Long-tube stainless headers
  • Magnaflow catalytic converters
  • Walker Dynoflo 2.25" inlet/outlet muffler
  • JVC bluetooth head unit
  • Cobra CB
  • LED dash lights conversion
  • Custom cup holders for larger items
  • Infinity door speakers
In Progress:
  • Planning to install a Wilwood master cylinder and brake proportioning valve - hopefully increased stopping power.
  • Steering gearbox is starting to go out - may pick up a junk yard one to rebuild and swap in.
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Some early photos.

She got a lot of use hauling bikes around to different MTB trails throughout Colorado and Utah.

Anyways, check back soon. I'm not sure if I'll transfer all my posts over or not. Looks like copy and paste works well including hyperlinks and images, but maybe it's a waste of people's time to try to sift through them. If you're reading this and you're interested, let me know and I can put my old build thread posts up here too. Otherwise, I'll just pick up where I left off on the Frontier forum.

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Bunch of little items...

1.) Got out in the new tent
a week or two ago. Here are a few pictures of that:
Headed out of Denver at 9:30pm. Hit the trailhead by 10:30ish... You can't see it well in the picture, but it was raining/snowing on us (first week of October).

2). More broken parts... Managed to mangle another idler arm... I didn't think I was driving it that hard, but apparently I was...

Got that warranty-replaced since it's a Moog. I think I'm going to try to weld a gusset onto this one and see if it keeps it from bending so easily. If I get that done, I'll put pictures of it up here.

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3). Prototype of a power outlet setup I've been thinking about... 12V lighter outlet, USB outlets, and volt meter to the back of the compressor box. This was a rough draft. Got a plan to make it better (maybe this week) and add more functionality to it. This is how I'm powering the USB lights in the tent. Was originally running a USB to the lighter outlet up front, but I added this for easy of use and because the USB going through the window wasn't very efficient or clean.

4). NEW LEAF PACKS COMING SOON. I got some new ARB (Old Man Emu) leaf springs sitting on my bench right now. Got bushings for them, but one of the eyelets is much bigger than the bolt on my truck. I would just drill the hole out and use a bigger bolt, but my rock sliders are welded on, so I can't actually get a drill bit in line with the bolt hole (gas tank blocks it from the inside of the frame rail). I got some 303 Stainless bar stock and I'm going to make some eyelets this weekend at a machine shop I can get access to and hopefully get back out on the trails soon!

Current bushings are toast (knocking badly, rubber is shot). I would just do the bushings if the springs were good, but even with the add-a-leaf, they are sagging more and more all the time. Time to do it right. The new leaf packs look awesome and the eyelets in the rear are just big enough to allow me to keep my adjustable shackles (standard bolts instead of metric). Very excited about that.


5). 2nd Gen Twin: Found a 2nd gen Frontier that was done up similarly to mine (kinda... ) I don't like how tall his/hers sits. It had 33's and about a 3-inch lift. Looked good overall, but looks pretty top-heavy with that huge iKamper on top of the Front Runner rack.

Check back soon for the leaf springs hopefully.

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Welcome to Expo,
Quite a good looking and well built rig you have. I know I would definitely like to see more....
Thanks man! I'm always working on the truck (by choice or by obligation...), so there will definitely be more coming. Haven't quite decided if I want to do a retro-thread where I backward-chronicle all the stuff I've done... probably won't.


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New Leaf Springs (Technical background and custom parts)

I got the Old Man Emu springs installed this weekend, as well as a longer rear brake line.
Admittedly, this first part is lengthy... skip to the next post if you just want to see everything installed.

Here's my parts list:
Technical Stuff (*unless you're really invested, you can probably skip this part):
Ultimately, I found out through ARB Australia's website which leaf springs would fit my truck (Part Number: CS031R). No suspension options for the D22 Navara from 1997-2000 were listed, but I knew that the frame is the same from 1997-2004 Frontier (D22) in the US, so the 1997-2015 Navara (D22) in Australia should all be the same as well. The springs were listed under this category, so I reasoned that they would fit my 2000 Frontier.

Then, I couldn't get the spring bushings that were recommended by ARB for this leaf pack. Summit Racing can supposedly get them (part number OMESB105), but I called to get info and they said they would be ordering from ARB directly, and it could be up to 3 weeks. I didn't want to wait that long because my OE eyelets had both given up and the leafs were sliding around inside the frame mount during even the lightest of corners around town. I figured I could do it without the "right" kit. So after doing some research, I ordered several different bushing kits through 4WP from ARB, Energy Suspension, and Nolathane.

I ordered 3 different sets to cover my bases and make sure I had enough different bushing to make the springs would work, even if I had to cherry-pick bushings from different kits. Ultimately, the Bushing kit from Energy Suspension for the Nissan Hardbody (part number 7.2102R) fit perfectly EXCEPT for the front steel eyelet. Since this kit was nearly perfect, I didn't pursue getting the one that is actually recommended by ARB Australia (again, OMESB105 kit).

The Nissan Hardbody in the USA must have an M18 (18mm diameter) bolt for the front leaf spring mount. My truck has an M14 (14mm diameter) bolt in the front leaf mount. I would have preferred to just drill out the hole in the frame to fit an 18mm bolt except there are 2 problems; First, my sliders are welded on, so to get a drill bit lined up with the holes from the outside of the frame rail is not possible without cutting the slider off, then welding it back on. To do it from the inside of the frame, it would require dropping the gas tank to do the passenger side. I wasn't interested in doing that and it would have taken more effort than making a couple eyelets. And secondly, M18 bolts are actually kinda hard to find at a decent price... most hardware stores skip from M16 to M20... weird.

Oh well. I have a mechanical engineering degree so I have been around machine shops quite a bit, so I knew that I could easily make the eyelet I needed (22mm OD, 14mm ID, 70mm length). The ones that came with all the bushing kits were 22mm OD, 18mm ID (for the M18 bolt), and 70mm length.

Gathered all the parts on the list above, as well as some Stainless 303 1" bar stock that I got from Metals Supermarket (fantastic supplier). One of my brothers has access to a good machine shop around here, so we went in after-hours and lathed out some bushing eyelets from the round bar stock that I got. Check them out here. The gold-colored ones are the ones that came with the kit, the stainless ones are the ones I made. Perfect fit.

Alright, Expedition Portal's post length limit is killing me here...
Read the next post for the actual install.


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Installing the Springs

I removed the old springs and yeah, the bonded rubber eyelets were in bad shape. One of the eyelets literally fell out when I dropped the spring out of the frame. The other one was close... They gave out pretty suddenly a few months ago and they've been clunking badly. Needless to say, I'm glad to have this done.

Removed the rubber eyelet and metal cup from the upper shackle mount on the frame (fun times). The urethane bushings fit great in the fame and springs. BONUS - the eyelets that came in the kit for the shackle end of the spring were slightly over-sized on the ID. They fit a 1/2" bolt perfectly, even though they are designed to fit the factory shackles which have an M12 bolt (0.4724 inches). I can keep using my adjustable shackles with 1/2" hardware without any modification to eyelets. Got all new Grade 8 standard and 10.9 metric hardware for the springs and mounted everything up.

New U-bolts:

Wheel on the ground, brake line installed and bled:

I'm probably going to add some height using the adjustable shackles after driving it for a bit. I'll let everything settle (if it's going to), then dial in the final ride height of the rear. I would highly recommend these springs if you're still running a 1st gen. They're much more responsive and the overload leaves make the springs more progressive than the factory setup. The worn-out Add-A-Leaf setup I had was sagging, bushings were shot, and overall, they were pretty apathetic when going over bumps. These new springs cured all those things for sure.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.
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Hand Tools I Carry

Alright, this is going to be quick, and mostly pictures. I am not going to make a detailed list of every tool I have in my truck. You can probably pick out most of the items from the pictures.

So, for hand tools, I have these. Mostly pretty standard stuff. My ratchet and breaker bar fell off the edge of the tailgate and I didn't notice, but yes, I do have a ratchet for all those sockets. My favorite part is that I've gotten everything to fit into 2 ammo cases and a concrete test cylinder (I used to work for a geotechnical firm and have a bunch of these left over. Some of my favorite containers for many uses). Everything fits behind the back seat of the truck.



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Recovery and other Gear

I carry a lot of recovery gear in the topper. This picture is missing some items (rope, bungees, cam and ratchet straps), but you get the idea.

So, where do I put it all? Well check it out!

The RotoPax goes right behind the wheel well. I added a little 2x2 to the bedside to give the container something solid to back up against (note all the additional holes from previous projects).

Then, for all the small stuff, I custom mounted a Yakima Basketcase roof backet to the inside of the topper. It is all really very low profile and it stores all of my recovery gear fairly comfortably. It is mounted to a short piece of Thule crossbar at the rear (towards the front of the bed). That bar is then u-bolted to some simple gate hinges that I found at Ace Hardware. The hinges bolt through the roof tracks that are installed on the outside of the topper. The basket is supported at the back of the truck by steel cables that tie up to eye-bolts that are bolted through the roof tracks as well. I have eye-bolts on the edges of the basket as well, so when I lift the basket up, the eye-bolts line up and I throw some hitch pins through them.

I added steel mesh to the windows of the topper. These are just grill grates from Home Depot that I cut to fit the window. They serve a dual purpose; partly for extra security, but mostly for the ability to hang more stuff. Using various sizes of Quickfists, I've got my hatchet and bow saw mounted on the driver side, right above the RotoPax mount. On the passenger side, I currently have my shovel mounted with 1 Quickfist and a drop-in bracket at the end for the shovel blade to rest. This is provides easy, secure access for all of my larger accessories.

Recently added my air-tools to the inside of the steel mesh using hood support-rod clips I got cheaply on Amazon.

Basically, none of my gear storage is very fancy. It is, however, very space and time efficient for my particular use. I have been attempting to make my setup as efficient as possible for a while now, and this system all works very well for me. It's no ball-bearing drawer slides or Cap-Pack system (not that I'm knocking on those, both are good options), but they are light weight and fast options for my use.

If you haven't done so, I'd encourage you to check out my Original Build Thread (<<< link) on Club Frontier if you're interested in more specific details on how I have all this gear secured. The post length limit here is much shorter, so I don't have room to put everything in and I don't want to make 6 posts on the same topic.



Nice build thread. Curious of your opinion on the Roofnest Falcon. I like that its lighter, but wondering about the struts being on the outside. Other threads questioned their quality, but that was on older and other models