Titan swap too much for just overlanding?

Trying to decide what lift to go with and wanted to hear from some folks that have a TS (just using the LCAs) on their Riggs or extended travel kits like the MK84 at Nisstec.

I've got a DYI GFC style camper on my 16 Fronty. It's not a DD it's just an adventure rig. I spend most my time on the highway but I do usually drive fast on roads that allow it (40-50 on crappy washboard roads). I don't really go wheeling, sometimes scenic drives, but mostly driving crap roads in AZ most the year to go places to hike/camp. Once or twice a year I do a long trip, last was going up to the PNW but I do go to Utah a good bit. I did get in over my head recently on a head trail that claimed a mud guard, bet the factory rad skid up and gave me a few scratches on the belly, just a really crappy rocky jeep trail where my GF had to get out and spot me a lot. So that got me thinking it's probably time for a lift and skid plates before I screw up too much.

So my biggest question is the Fronty still a decent highway driver with a TS? I tend to cruise the highways here in the SW at about 80. I don't plan to get bigger wheels, just keep the stock rims and maybe go up a size in tire when it's time to get new ones. I'm not too worried in the price difference of the TS vs like a 3" MK84 (which is what I'm thinking if doing if I don't do a TS) I'd rather just cry once. I just hear the TS is the biggest bang for your buck. Appreciate anything you can add.
 

broncobowsher

Adventurer
Titan swap is lower control arms, upper arms, inner tie rods (or the whole Titan rack or tie rod extenders), and axle shafts.
Axle shafts can either be aftermarket if you want to spend money, QX80 using off the shelf parts, or if you want strong stuff you use a Titan front differential and axle shafts for the upgrade (matching axle ratios may be an issue with the Titan front differential)

Had one once. The tires outside the body do have issues that many people overlook or ignore. Won't admit that there modification actually has a down side. That is the tires throw stuff along the side of the body. Some states it isn't legal to have tires past the body, that may be an issue. The road spray will ensure the sides are never close to clean. This includes the side view mirrors. Like to drive with the window down and the arm on the window ledge, wear a leather jacket as the sand and fine gravel spit off the tires will be pelting your arm. And hope a rock doesn't pick the perfect time to eject itself from the back tire and spit itself at the side mirror.

While they can be good for a bit more travel and a bit more speed on bad stuff, there is a price to pay for that.

If doing the Titan front axle and the ratio doesn't match, get the rear axle as well. Some new spring perches and a few other little modifications and it fits. Even the shocks will bolt up. Now you can run the Titan front knuckles, get bigger brakes, and have a wider selection of wheels.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Any lift plus a bump in tire size adds stress to the original equipment.
At least with the Titan Swap you are adding components from a bigger more powerful truck so one could say, you are adding strength. By keeping the stock rims and only bumping up a tire size or two, I'd say you are getting the best of both worlds BUT your fuel economy, range will take a hit, especially at 80mph.
 
Titan swap is lower control arms, upper arms, inner tie rods (or the whole Titan rack or tie rod extenders), and axle shafts.
Axle shafts can either be aftermarket if you want to spend money, QX80 using off the shelf parts, or if you want strong stuff you use a Titan front differential and axle shafts for the upgrade (matching axle ratios may be an issue with the Titan front differential)

Had one once. The tires outside the body do have issues that many people overlook or ignore. Won't admit that there modification actually has a down side. That is the tires throw stuff along the side of the body. Some states it isn't legal to have tires past the body, that may be an issue. The road spray will ensure the sides are never close to clean. This includes the side view mirrors. Like to drive with the window down and the arm on the window ledge, wear a leather jacket as the sand and fine gravel spit off the tires will be pelting your arm. And hope a rock doesn't pick the perfect time to eject itself from the back tire and spit itself at the side mirror.

While they can be good for a bit more travel and a bit more speed on bad stuff, there is a price to pay for that.

If doing the Titan front axle and the ratio doesn't match, get the rear axle as well. Some new spring perches and a few other little modifications and it fits. Even the shocks will bolt up. Now you can run the Titan front knuckles, get bigger brakes, and have a wider selection of wheels.

I'd only be going as far to use the titan LCAs and after market UCAs. Currently no desire to swap out more. If I chased the rabbit down that how I might as well go buy a titan (well maybe not in this used car market).

I'm aware of the wheels sticking outside the fenders and spraying the side of the truck. I've already got a ton of pinstriping so can't say I'm babying the paint job anymore on it.
 
Any lift plus a bump in tire size adds stress to the original equipment.
At least with the Titan Swap you are adding components from a bigger more powerful truck so one could say, you are adding strength. By keeping the stock rims and only bumping up a tire size or two, I'd say you are getting the best of both worlds BUT your fuel economy, range will take a hit, especially at 80mph.
That's a fair point, a Titan Swap might not be quite as stressful to unmodified components as the 3" lift. I figure I'm probably taking some hit with adding a lift but if I was told the TS was 1-2 mpgs worse than just a 3" lift I'd probably pass. I get 15mpg as it is with the wedge camper on the truck. Not really looking to get 10mpg
 

llamalander

Active member
I have a Frontier with principally original parts and something like a 1.5"-2" lift to fit 33" tires on stock rims
It's a camping rig, not a rock crawler, but I like to camp at the end of really bad roads.
It's been like this for a few years and only now am I considering new upper control arms to fully accommodate the OME suspension kit.
Part of that is the bushings/ball joints are making noise and should likely be replaced.
The original "weak" C200k diff has an ARB locker and the 180 up front is stock. Up front are aluminum skids from Hefty.
This truck loves the Southwest and the long drives it takes to get there. Mileage is less than stock but usually at least 15 fully loaded.
More capable or more durable hasn't really been issues I've had to think about, which is to say you can do a ton just upgrading the stock suspension and tires-
$2k for OME suspension + UCA's and $1K on tires... what's a partial titan swap cost?
 
I have a Frontier with principally original parts and something like a 1.5"-2" lift to fit 33" tires on stock rims
It's a camping rig, not a rock crawler, but I like to camp at the end of really bad roads.
It's been like this for a few years and only now am I considering new upper control arms to fully accommodate the OME suspension kit.
Part of that is the bushings/ball joints are making noise and should likely be replaced.
The original "weak" C200k diff has an ARB locker and the 180 up front is stock. Up front are aluminum skids from Hefty.
This truck loves the Southwest and the long drives it takes to get there. Mileage is less than stock but usually at least 15 fully loaded.
More capable or more durable hasn't really been issues I've had to think about, which is to say you can do a ton just upgrading the stock suspension and tires-
$2k for OME suspension + UCA's and $1K on tires... what's a partial titan swap cost?
The base partial TS is $3k, that's with nisstec house brand coilovers(bilsteins I think), aftermarket UCA, I believe just an OEM titan LCA, longer CV axles, longer brake lines, and tie rod ends . I'm adding on another like $700 for HD leaf springs to help with the camper weight. I'm already running some Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrians which have been great. Only been stuck once in Escalante, Utah in some sand on a hill and that was probably just my lack of experience. I'm just looking to get a lift since my stock ride is starting to leave me wanting more.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
if I was told the TS was 1-2 mpgs worse than just a 3" lift
The lift won't be the issue. The issue is increased tire mass with the larger tire. I never tracked milage as I went up in size, I knew it was worse but never paid attention. Then I downsized the tires, from 33x10.50s to an old school 7.50R16, skinny and 31" tall. That one change I went from 17mpg to 22mpg. My son lives 300 miles away. I can now get there without a gas stop. An extra 95 miles of range. I'll never get floatation tires again.

Another advantage to the Titan Swap. The parts are all available from a Toyota dealer.
 
It’s not a bad set up if you do used titan parts and a titan m205. If you look you can find the m205 amd if you are putting new axle shafts in and regearing both f&r diffs (if you have a m220) it will meet your intent. Stay around 285s and it would be great. That was my plan before I bought a gladiator rubicon. I think I did the math, for everything it would of been like 3-5k including the regear. You don’t have to do it all at once either. Check out club frontier forum for a lot of good examples and parts/cost sheets. Some people can do a titan swap for as low as 700 some go over 5k.

side note, if you are interested in just bombing down forest roads, a titan swap isn’t completely necessary. If you are looking to make it a pseudo-long travel sure but there are much cheaper options if you are looking for just a better suspension. I would look at the bilstein 6112 front coil overs paired with their 5160 rear shocks with either the old man emu rear leaf pack or the alldog offroad leaf pack. The 6112 are adjustable 2.5” coil overs that are nice. That or just get an old standard OME and save a ton of cash and a much more stable and smooth ride.
 
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wreckdiver1321

Overlander
I'm a minority opinion here, but I'm largely against the Titan swap for a number of reasons, especially if you're not getting hardcore off road. If you're crawling with it, I'd say go for it, but otherwise I think it's unnecessary.

The extra width is annoying, like what @broncobowsher noted. It's less about paint damage and more about the dirt, mud, and rocks. All of that ends up all the way down the side, and even worse, all the way up the windows. With the windows open, there's a high likelihood you'll spray water and mud inside the truck. With them closed, you no longer have a window really. Plus there's the legality, as was mentioned. I do remember someone having a swapped Frontier and running 255/85s who didn't have as much of an issue, but it still wasn't perfect.

It really depends on your use case how far you want to go. The stock Frontier is only slightly higher off the ground than a Ferrari, so it really benefits from 2"+ of extra clearance.
  • For forest roads and light off road work, a mild lift like the OME or 6112s is a good bang for the buck method that will get you everything you need. I can attest to great ride quality with the OME, plus it saves you money and complexity.
  • For mild to moderate off road duty, You'll definitely want to step it up a bit. My favorite combo was the OME kit plus a 1.5" spacer and SPC UCAs. The ride was awesome, and I ended up at just shy of 3" of lift fully loaded. @bijanjames had the same setup on his and had similar feelings about it. I know plenty of people who love the Radflos or similar adjustable coilovers, but I just never got a quality ride out of them, though moving to Icon or King may be the difference. Sticking to a 265/75R16 and 2 to 3 inches will take you a lot of places and is my personal suggestion to minimize wear and tear long term. Going with bigger tires will start eating through components faster.
  • If you want to get into rougher terrain, you should aim for a 3" lift and go up to 33s, but just know that you're shortening the life of everything a fair degree at that point. There are certain upgrades you can do, but you're starting to work at the limitations of the platform without significant investment. I highly recommend getting into the tougher M205 front diff with V8 Pathfinder CVs (stock width setup with the Titan front diff) or putting a locker in the R180 if you plan on going to a 33 inch tire. It's just too much torque for that diff to handle in stock form. If you're loading it heavily, either stick to a smaller tire or regear immediately. I'd also look at upgrading the brakes, as mine were pretty bad by the time I sold mine with all the extra weight and tire mass. I know that a few people sell a brake upgrade kit, I'd really look hard at that. If you can, stick with a 255/85R16, which will be lighter and easier for the truck to handle. If you're looking more at crawling and serious off road work, then the Titan swap is a good way to go. It's not perfect, but it's all about where you want to place your compromise.
There's a few other facets for consideration as well, like your thinking of getting into some skid plates. I would urge you to stick with aluminum if you can swing it. For lighter to moderate use, aluminum is just fine and saves a significant amount of weight, which in my opinion is absolutely necessary to do when building out a Frontier or any other midsize platform. I did a lot of wheeling in my Frontier, and all I had for armor underneath was an oil pan skid, which I found to be adequate for my uses. I did ditch my sliders at one point and found them to be mostly unnecessary for what I did with it (MOSTLY), so if you don't need them, don't add the weight.

Based on your initial post, it doesn't sound like you're really 4 wheeling the thing too much, so I'd suggest looking at the OME kit with an upgraded rear leaf pack for suspension. Without the extra spacer, you'd get about 1.5" of lift and a little more load capacity for camping gear. I'd stick with a 265/75 tire, and use the money you're saving to get some aluminum skids from Hefty Fabworks as an insurance policy. For general-purpose rough road camping, that setup will take you a lot of places with zero fuss and minimal investment. More money for for food and beer.
 

sideburns

Idaho 2019 Nissan Frontier CC LWB
I'm going to also go anti TS. The benefit is an extra inch of lift and 2-3" inches of travel. Worth it for rock crawling or fitting 35" tires, but not anything else. Downsides are numerous as other have pointed out, mitigating them will get expensive fast(regears, fiberglass fenders, diff swaps). Don't try to make a Frontier into a Gladiator or Raptor, just buy the Gladiator or Raptor.

There are numerous 2-3" kits with upgraded springs and shocks for $1500-4000. Radflo's with UCA's and springs will give 2-3" lift, a bit extra travel, and eat up dirt roads at high speed just fine. My All Dogs Offroad springs with Bilstien 5100's runs washboard roads just fine at high speeds, they do fade after many miles of 45-50mph washboard though. So I'll probably switch to Radflo's in 2.5" or remote res once I kill these 5100's.
 

Bigfnhammer

This could be anywhere
No regrets on my titanswap, for everyone saying the tire poke causes a dirty ride.. boohoo thats what fender flares are for, I run some long johns and theyre fine. truck still gets dirty but you didnt buy a truck for "overlanding" to look shiny and pretty on pavement.
the ride quality alone in being able to ditch the front sway bar while maintaining on road stability is worth it. the fact that it adds 5 inches of suspension travel and strengthens pretty much to whole front end is a bonus.
I think it should have come like this from the factory.
 

Dmski

Adventurer
I've done multiple renditions of suspension and driveline setups on my truck and while I love my titan swap, it would be overkill for your application. The best budget setup I had at one point was OME MD leaves with PRG extended shackles and 1.5" spacers on OME coilovers and SPC UCA's similar to wreck and it was fantastic and wheeled really well. You can even do the M205 swap with pathfinder axles in this stock width format if you need the diff strength but I say leave it.
 
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