"The Moose" 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Build Thread and some stories MNCarl


The Moose
"The Moose" 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Build Thread and some stories MNCarl


"The Moose"
2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

MNCarl 2012 Pro-4X / The Moose

Username: MNCarl
Year: 2012
Trim: PRO-4X Luxury Package
Color: Lava Red
Truck Name: The Moose


CoverCraft SeatSaver seat covers (front)
Garmin 2730 GPS with XM Radio
10" Samsung SM-T580 tablet PC mounted to dash
Weather tech floor mats front and rear
Xterra off-road lamp switch

Leer 100XQ Cap/Topper with Thule rack system, removable front window
ACI Off Road Spot lights, 42W 8 degree spot beam pattern, 2800 Raw Lumens
Tailgate seal/weather stripping
EZDown Tailgate strut
Redline Tuning QuickLIFT Hood Struts
Ziebart rust proofing
GrillCraft black mesh grill
Antec Sliding bed tray
3M Clear Bra Film on hood
Nissan Chrome Tailgate Applique (Remove?) was on truck when I purchased it used.

Shrockworks Front Bumper
Shrockworks Rear Bumper
Shrockworks Sliders
Shrockworks Radiator Skid
Shrockworks Engine Skid
Shrockworks Transmission Skid
Stock Pro-4X Transfer case skid and stock gas tank skid
PRG Rear Diff cover

CB radio Cobra WX ST
Ham radio Yaesu FTM-3100

Roof Top Tent:
Tepui Explorer series Ayer 2

Magnaflow 15580 SS Cat-Back Exhaust (Drone included)
Extended Stainless Steel Brake lines

Front-Radflo Extended coilover W/650lb spring , SPC upper control arms , 1" top lift spacer.
Rear-Bilstein 5125 Shock for 2-3" lift, Stock leaf with PRG Deaver 2"lift, Two leaf (add a leaf) & PRG lift shackle at highest height setting.

Winch: Superwinch TS9500 with steel wire cable
High-lift Jack , mounted to utili-track
High-lift off-road base / foot
High-lift Neoprene jack cover
Shackles x2 cheapo 3/4 inch
Recovery Strap 3" x 30'
Tree Saver Strap

Tires & Wheels / Rims:
2012 Stock PRO-4X rims W/ BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 LT285/75-16 E (Summer /Off-Road tires)
2014 Stock PRO-4X rims W/ Cooper Discoverer M+S LT285/75-16 (Winter / Snow Tires)

Winter config:
Removed Leer topper
Added Access tonneau cover
Swapped rims and tires
Swapped out the original 2012 tailgate for a 2014 tailgate with the wing/airfoil (plasti-dipped black) , it was white in color off a base S model Frontier

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The Moose
The short story....
A while back I traded in a pretty much stock 2012 Nissan Frontier SL crew cab / long bed for a modified 2012 PRO-4X crew cab.
Old Truck:

The long story.....
Approximately a couple / three years ago I had purchased a used Silver 2012 Nissan Frontier SL Crew Cab long bed to tow my little Lund fishing boat. All was great until I had seen and read about all upgrades , mods and off-roading fun everyone on the forum website clubfrontier.org was having. So I thought I will lift/upgrade the suspension on my existing silver 2012 Nissan Frontier SL CrewCab Longbed, and maybe get some Shrockworks bumpers and armor.

Fast forward about a year...one day while trolling craigslist one day looking for Frontier items , I had seen an ad/post from a guy right in my neighborhood selling a stock rear bumper because he had purchased a Shrockworks rear bumper. So I messaged him through CL and said hey I am a fellow Frontier owner and live just down the road from you...do you mind if I come over and look at your new rear Shrockworks rear bumper as I have never seen one for real /in the flesh. So I went over to Sam's house and there it was, a lifted Pro-4X with Shrockworks sliders, rear bumper and some other mods/upgrades. I was amazed and in envy of Sam's truck. After that first meeting with Sam I would stop by his house once in a while to say hi and check out his truck, contemplating what mods I was going to do to my CC LB.
Now fairly recently I was on the internet trolling local Toyota dealerships websites to see if any of them had the new 2016 Tacoma(I had a way over my budget pipe dream about trading in my 2012 CCLB on a new 2016 Tacoma) I know, I know hit me with a rock please. While on the Walser Toyota dealership website I clicked on the "Used" vehicles for the heck of it and BAM! there is was right on my computer screen Sam's lifted Shrocked out 2012 Pro-4X , he must have traded it in. I immediately called the dealership and test drove it that day and then on my way home from work stopped by Sam's house to find out what the deal was ? Why did he trade it in? Was there something wrong with it? Sam was not home but I talked to his wife and she said no there was nothing wrong with the truck , Sam just wanted to trade it in on something different.
So the next day I went back to the Toyota dealership and traded in my 2012 Frontier for a 2012 Frontier LOL. I don't think the people at the dealer ship had any idea of all the aftermarket items added to the used 2012 Pro-4X they were selling off. It was hilarious...sales people: "Why are you trading in a 2012 Frontier for a 2012 Frontier?" ...Me: laughing inside my head "Um...This Crew Cab Long Bed is just to long , It is hard to park , I want a Crew Cab Short Bed....I wasn't really lying LOL. But I do miss my long bed sometimes.
I don't want to get into the dollars $.$$ too much here but with taking a hit on my trade-in value of my CC LB and the mark-up of retail price of the Pro-4X , I would say I came out pretty even on the money.... probably a little ahead. If you look at it like this: If I were to add all the aftermarket items Shrockworks bumpers, skids, sliders, Topper/Camper shell and many many more items to my CC LB that I traded in and I would not have a locking rear diff.

Stay tuned.... up next:
For sure:
Extended length Coilovers (Installed)
Upper control arms (Installed)
Tires 255/85-R16 Cooper ST MAXX ...Ended up getting new 285/75-16 BFG KO2's off craigslist (Installed)
Additional Shrockworks armor: Transmission(Installed) , Transfer case , and Fuel/Gas tank skids.

On the radar:
CB radio *Installed Done*
Winch *Installed Done*
Double din Android head unit *Went with a 10" android tablet Done*
Gone Moab?
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The Moose
Gathering parts for more lift / better suspension.

Spring time 2016

This post is from February 2016 from my build thread on www.clubfrontier.org
I have had my truck for a while and the stock suspension (Stock Bilstein coilovers with a 2" spacer lift)was pretty much shot from all the extra weight from the shrockworks bumper and skids.
I was going to buy some TJM extended coilovers and SPC UCA's from Nisstec Lifts but every time I called Nisstec the TJM coilovers where always on back-order from Australia.

Then this happened.....
I was driving my daughter to gymnastics practice and out of the corner of my eye I see this:

A Titan swapped Xterra parked outside a local bicycle shop.
So I went into the bike shop and asked the guy behind the counter who's Xterra that is in the parking lot ?
So the guy yells out hey Xxxx it's another guy asking about you Xterra.
Mr. X comes out from the back and we go out and look at his Xterra and my Frontier and I tell him I just have a 2" coilover spacer on top of my stock Bilsteins coilovers and they are sagging and bouncy due to all the extra weight from the Shrockworks bumper and armor. So Mr. X tells me he has his pre titan swap extended length coilovers and upper controls arms.
So I ended up buying these from Mr. X

Needless to say the Minnesota winters and road salt had taken its toll on these rusty Radflo 2.0 extended length coilovers and the SPC upper control arms.

So I ordered new rubber bushings and ball joints from SPC and got to work on refurbishing the SPC upper control arms.
Ball Joint SPC part number 25001
Rubber Bushing SPC part number 25546

I took a saws-all and cut and removed the rubber bushings.

Then I tried to remove the ball joints with a 32mm socket I rented/borrowed from O'Reilly auto parts. I could not get the 32mm nut on the ball joint to budge with multiple attempts , breaker bars , cheap-*** harbor freight air impact guns nothing worked. So I gave up and gave them to my mechanic neighbor, he just laughed and said no problem.
My neighbor brought the UCA's to his shop and removed the 32mm nut off the ball joints with a heavy duty impact wrench and to my surprise bead blasted the rust and flaking powder coat off.....sweet.

Old Ball joints and Bushing

Then this:
Naval jelly treatment
Paint prep spray/wax remover
3 to 4 coats of VHT epoxy paint,
2 coats Duplicolor spray on bed liner.
Note: Prior to applying the bed liner I masked off the UCA where ball joints and rubber bushings would be when assembled.

Installing the new SPC rubber bushings
If you don' t have a press you need
1/2" all tread
2 nuts
2 small washers
2 big washer
dish soap

Lightly coat the inside of the receiver ring and the edge of the rubber bushing.
Then start cranking making sure you angle it in toward the inside vent hole.


Did any of you SPC upper control arm guys notice the grease nipple?
Good news !!
SPC updated/ re-engineered there ball joints.
Grease nipple and some sort of spring mechanism to keep the ball tight.

I will soon be shipping the used Radflo coilovers into Radflo to be refurbished / re-built with 650lb or 700lb springs ....can't decide what spring rate I want. I am waiting to send them in , as I think you get a year warranty after the rebuild and I dont plan on installing the Radflo's until this spring after the cold Minnesota winter is done.
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The Moose
Off-roading, Chainsaws, and ATV's & minor trail damage

This post is from January 25th 2016....

Weekend Trip Report

So one way (of only a few) to legally off-road in Minnesota (the state where nothing is allowed) is to get special permission from the county to cut down some dying tree's on county land in north central MN where my buddy has a hunting shack/cabin.

My buddy Jerry asked me to help him cut down some tree's for fire wood at his place up north and said we needed to drive my truck back in the woods with a trailer to haul it out....I was like heck ya!!!

Had a little scare on the way up north to Jerry's Cabin late Friday night driving up hwy 65 thru swamp country. I went to pass a slow car (two lane highway) 34 degree's out, road appeared to be clean and dry until I go to pass the slow car my truck started sliding sideways from some magical swamp dew fog ice that was in the center of the road and in between the car tire tracks on the other lane. Jerry yells out ICE!! and I was sliding sideways at 60mph looking at the car I was passing (using all the driving skills I had) thinking oh my god I am going to slide right into them. I slightly over corrected and then started sliding the other way sideways then corrected back to forward/straight and completed the pass. All was well. I am guessing traction control saved me from rolling the truck or hitting the car next to me. My heart was jumping out of my chest. I have been looking at buying a dash cam now.

Jerry and I get up Saturday morning and head out in the woods to cut down some tree's

The Honda quad with snow chains on the rear tires was struggling in the snow. The truck was in 4-low sometimes fighting for grip and I was trying to keep my head from hitting the roof of my cab.

We arrive at the destination

The victim (tree)

All loaded up ready to head back

The load was extremely heavy, had to keep my momentum... truck was bouncing up and down all over the place.
But we made it back safely.

Jerry locking the gate (he got the key from the county)

It was quite the fun day, the only thing that would have made it better is if we would have shot some guns/target practice. Maybe next time we can make things go bang.

Minor trail damage
So I get back into town and drive thru the car wash then while drying my truck off I notice a bunch of condensation in my third brake light on the back of the cab. WTF ? So I climb up there and see my third brake light is cracked and a chip in the paint on my topper/camper shell where the topper camper shell flexed write into the cab from driving back in the woods, I am assuming it happened on the return trip with the heavily loaded trailer in tow.

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The Moose
Used Radflo coilovers re-built by Radflo with new 650# springs and SPC UCA install

From April 2016:

Used Radflo coilovers re-built by Radflo with new 650# springs SPC UCA install.

Getting ready

About halfway done with the drivers side.
Drivers side rear UCA bolt cut and removed.
Stock UCA out
Stock Bilstein shock/coilover removed
Coil bucket trimmed/ground

Install complete
Extended length Radflo's / 650lb spring
SPC upper control arms
1/2" coil lift spacer, about 1/4" actual height
What a long day, I did it all myself, except the neighbor had to help me cut the drivers side UCA bolt(needed someone to hold the bolt with a channel lock, while I saws-all'ed it.

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Welcome to Expo MNCarl! Nice write up, and great looking truck. If you ever get a chance, take some height measurements of your truck.


The Moose
Welcome to Expo MNCarl! Nice write up, and great looking truck. If you ever get a chance, take some height measurements of your truck.
Thanks for the welcome and complement bijanjames...
With your new topper...you, wreckdiver and myself have pretty much the same exact truck/build.

Front 23" from center of wheel hub to top of fender arch = 3" lift
Rear 23" & 1/4" center of wheel hub to top of fender arch = 2" & 1/4" lift

I just removed my topper (hanging in garage) and swapped out my new LT285/75-16 tires off and put on my extra set of rims & tires I run in the winter P265/75-16 so I dont have any good measurements for clearance under front skid and rear axle pumpkin ect.
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The Moose
New Bilstein shocks for 2-3" lift and 1" Coilover spacer lift install

From April 2016

New Bilstein shocks for 2-3" lift and 1" Coilover spacer lift install.

New Bilstein shocks for 2-3" lift install complete.
I did this solo ...so had to get creative with a homemade breaker bar.

I moved up on the PRG lift shackle from the middle position to the highest position.

I swapped out the 1/2" spacer for a 1" spacer.

I also ground the coil bucket down some more to insure the ball joint boot on the SPC upper control arm clears the coil bucket when I bring it in for an alignment sometime this week.

It was a very tight squeeze to re-install the Radflo coilover with the 1" spacer on top.

Well that is it for today...
Front 23" from center of wheel hub to top of fender arch = 3" lift
Rear 23" & 1/4" center of wheel hub to top of fender arch = 2" & 1/4" lift

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The Moose
Front and Rear Extended Brake Lines install

From April 2016
Front and Rear Extended Brake Lines and brake fluid drain and fill.
I borrowed a 10mm and 12mm Flare nut wrenches from my neighbor.
Install went well just very time consuming.

Unplugged the electrical connector from ABS actuator.

Installed the new stainless steel extended brake lines all four corners.

Front Brake lines old and new.

Drained / pumped out all the old tan/brown brake fluid all four corners.

Then I used my Napa Auto parts 5 dollar "One man Bleeder" I laughed at the guy at NAPA when he showed it to me, But then I thought for 5 bucks what the heck I will try it.....It works.
In this order:
Rear Right
Front Left
Rear Left
Front Right

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The Moose
I got a Sticker and got muddy

From June 2016
I got a MN DNR offroad sticker.

Went to a couple of DNR offroad parks over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Pic from the DNR off-road park trails (Spider Lake) in Northern Minnesota , notice the clinometer tipping/rolling near red.

Mud from the Minnesota Iron Range DNR off-road park in Gilbert MN , the red mud has "iron oar" in it and when it dry's out it is like cement and near impossible to wash off.

I love my truck

All the Shrockworks items did there job..... I gouged my rock sliders, rear bumper and skids on a black diamond extreme rock crawl at the Gilbert MN Iron Range ORV park.
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The Moose
Midwest Overland Society Northwoods Rendezvous

This post is from September 2016
Midwest Overland Society Northwoods Rendezvous rally, camping get together weekend.
M.O.S. are a great group of like minded people interested in vehicle dependent travel.



Thursday morning I started heading north from Minneapolis to Backus MN where the Midwest Overland Society was having there rally "Northwoods Rendezvous"
Wanting to take some back roads, state forest minimum maintenance roads and DNR ORV trails I drove to the southern entrance of Foot Hills State Forest off 24.
Then proceeded to the DNR ORV/Jeep trails.


From there I popped out of the north end of the Foot Hills State Forest and proceeded to the Bull Moose Trail


Super fun road/trails with lots of giant mud puddles/pools.
Sorry not many pics , I was using my phone as a GPS with google earth.
From the Bull Moose trail I connected to the Pine Mountain Forest road.


The plan was to connect the end of the Pine Mountain Forest (thru what looked like a two track trail) to the another State Forest service road that would lead me near the camp.
Looking at this plan on google earth prior to leaving it looked possible but when I was nearing the end of Pine Mountain road, it was a two track trail at this point with some forks in the trail left and right. So I just went right leading into a very over grown two track swampy area with a large downed tree blocking the trail.
I took this tree as a sign to give up plan "A"
At this point it raining , I am solo , no winch or come-along , So I had to reverse for about a city block until I had enough room to do a 5-8 point turn to turn around and go back the way I came from.
I then proceeded on asphalt roads the the Horse Camp arriving day early for the event on Friday.

My plan is to sleep in the bed of my pick-up with the topper.
I am about 5'10" and I have a short bed pick-up .... It actually worked pretty good , I slept at an angle in the truck bed and Saturday night It got down to 45 degrees so I got to use my candle lantern in the bed of the pick-up to take the chill out of the air prior to sleeping.

Friday we worked on setting up the off-road obstacle course just outside of camp in an over grown gravel pit.
Cutting a path back into the woods behind the gravel pit with off camber hills, cutting up logs for obstacles and setting up cones.
Here is Craig/Jeep rubicon with RTT coming out of the woods on a pre-run test of the obstacle course.


Friday night we did a night trail run ....I have no pics, as I was using my phone/camera as a GPS , but it was super fun (I have never done anything like that) and we all got to use our LED spot lights.

Saturday we split into two groups for the morning trail ride group "A" and I was in Group "Z"


About half way thru the trail I got to do a recovery!
Steve in an lifted Isuzu Trooper + 35" tires (with a bad starter motor/had keep the engine running or else) stalled engine on the Trooper near the top of a rather steep hill.
They hooked up the Trooper to my truck, I engaged my rear diff lock and gave her hell , pulled the Trooper up the hill and I dug two big trenches in the dirt with my tires. It was freeking awesome.
Sorry no pics of the recovery but here is a pic of Steve's Trooper.


Towards the end of the trail run we ran into some ATV's and side-by-sides coming the opposite way on the trail.
It just so happen to be where a fallen tree was blocking the trail.
Fortunately one of the ATV guys had a chainsaw.


Going up a hill, clino-meter on dash reached number 2


The pinstriper's hard at work.




Somewhere along the trail ride we kind of got turned around (lost?)
Craig in his Jeep (trail leader)went ahead and scouted the trail while the rest of us in in group "Z" waited.
So of course I had to offer everyone some Nissan breath mints while we waited for Craig to radio back.


After the trail ride back at camp there where several informative seminars, Trip planning, High lift jack, cooking, communication.
Here is Sean giving a welding seminar.


After the seminars my truck "The Moose" tackled the obstacle course, I drove and Brendon rode shotgun.
Entering the course, Craig was spotting.


Coming around the back side


Craig Spotting , Me slightly un-nerved at the right hand off-camber and having to turn left.


Again turning left with the truck leaning right felt very unnatural.


Exiting back to the gravel pit down steep drop-off hit my rock sliders


Departure angle at the bottom of the drop-off dragged/scraped my re-bumper.


And last part of the obstacle course position your front tire on top of a stump...I missed the stump on the first attempt.
Your wheels/tires are tucked in farther than you think. This was a good exercise.


Camp pic.... Tony , Tom and Forrest


Got up early Sunday morning and made it back home with no problems.
Spent a good part of the day cleaning the truck.




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