To lift or not to lift my R50? Is it worth it?

PrecisionX

Observer
So I just picked up a 2001 Pathfinder with 124k on it and I had all the plans to get new tires, lift it etc etc but I'm wondering at this point if I should even bother with a lift or not. The truck is my daily driver and I'm a big outdoors kind of guy and would wheel it on trails, the woods, winter stuff and what not but I'm wondering if the advantages of an OME 1.75 are worth it or not. I ran 245/75/16 on my stock 2004 and took my running boards off and didn't get any rubbing so I'd either get another set of 245/75/16 and keep it stock height (the bigger tires give it a teeny lift for ground clearance naturally) or get an OME kit, the only thing with that is obviously I can run bigger tires so I'd have to do the kit and and THEN get tires that wouldn't fit on stock height. Do the advantages outweigh the work? I'd just hate to get 245/75/16s only to kick myself because I didn't just do the lift. Sometimes rigs are just as good at stock height as they are at 1.75 lifted but obviously we know which looks better.
 

XPLORx4

Adventurer
Drive it on your favorite trails. If you find that you often scrape the undercarriage on your favorite trails, lift it. If not, then don't worry about it.
 

PrecisionX

Observer
That's the thing, I live in Massachusetts. I can see myself going out and finding trouble if I had the lift, I'd probably be more excited to drive it with a lift but I don't have any locations that I know I'd go. I'm in a transition of getting back into how I grew up which means camping and all that stuff but I can't see myself going on super technical stuff risking roll over or smacking into rocks. It's more of a need it and not have it vs have it and not need it type of deal. I'd hate to get tires, find out the hard way I'd need a lift and have to lose my tail on new tires. I'm trying to find out if the pathfinder capabilities drastically increase with an OME vs stock height and 245/75s
 

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XPLORx4

Adventurer
PrecisionX- Using the phrase "Drastically increase" while referring to the Pathfinder's stock capability vs a minor lift and slightly larger tires would probably be taking it too far. I would probably say "mildly improve". The type of unpaved driving you might do is critical in determining how you modify your truck. Will you drive off-road because you just enjoy driving off-road? Or do you drive off-road to reach some kind of destination (such as a killer campsite or fishing hole)? If it's the latter, you can plan your vehicle upgrades in sensible phases.

Start with larger tires that will fit without a lift, and make sure those tires have the appropriate tread for the type of driving you will do. If you need off-road traction, but also drive daily, want to maintain some modicum of fuel economy, and prefer lower noise levels, go with an all-terrain tire. Plan to reduce tire pressure to ~18psi when driving off-road. The ride quality and improved traction will be immense.

After you've become bored visiting your favorite off-road destinations and want to visit places where the trail is more difficult, then lift it, armor it up, get a locker, etc etc etc.
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
I run the tire size you mention with a leveled OME lift, and don't think it looks funny or anything at all. I've gone with this tire size twice in a row as a matter of fact, and don't regret my decision at all. It allows for plenty of tuck, and avoids rubbing issues. It's a very well engineered system, I think the OME lift isn't really a lift for tire size exclusively, as the strut's location in the pathfinder doesn't change much unless you add spacers. Very few tire sizes would fit with the OME that wouldn't fit stock without trimming or the spacers in either case.

I've run several trails, and have done at least 40k miles with both stock suspension with upgraded shocks/struts, and now OME springs with another notch up in rear shocks, and new front struts. The stock suspension does pretty darn well, the places it took me definitely surprised a lot of folks, myself included. My reasoning for going with the OME was not so much clearance, but the way that it handles a load, and especially a rough washboard road (which I run lots of). The amount of control and comfort which it exhibits with the lift is amazing, and I think the perfect blend between load carrying ability and smoothness. It really helps out the back end wander that these Pathfinders tend to have when hitting rough roads. Not only that, but having run some fairly technical trails with the setup, I can say that it performs extremely well if you take your time. The added clearance absolutely makes a difference, but it's the springrate that really makes it shine. That's why I suspect OME doesn't typically go for huge lifts, it's not the raw clearance that you need when you're overlanding, it's a combination of factors that allow it to be capable and comfortable over thousands of miles. Otherwise every Land Cruiser in Australia would be huge. Anyway though, the ride on pavement is excellent, I daily drive mine, and it doesn't ride like an old truck at all. No bounce, nothing. There's also no excess float like the stock tuning tends to have, so I think it strikes about the right balance. I think it actually handles better than stock, definitely cornering a lot flatter. The amount of rear flex available when you add extended shocks is quite surprising too, and I should add that I have had ZERO strut top-out issues with my setup. The gains which a lot of the tires that would fit with an OME versus stock would be fairly minimal for your rear diff anyway, the 245/75s already raise it. For that matter, there's few tires you can run with any 2" lift that wouldn't require some fender trimming, with the result being small gains in clearance at the diff, which I suspect you're unlikely to notice if you're driving roads to trailheads, FS roads, etc.

These are my impressions with the OME lift, but I have my specific reasons for going with it. Hopefully getting some feedback helps you decide, but what I suggest you do, is go with the 245/75r16s, and start hitting the trails you plan on running. See what you like or don't like about the way the Pathy handles it and go from there. If it gets the job done stock, and in a way that you like, there's no reason to change it. Keeping up with the Joneses is a waste of time and money, so just go with what you like, and post some pictures of your travels here. :)
 
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A lot more people get lifts just for the looks than for the use. And yes, getting a lift means you might also be tempted to go do more tough trails. Stock height can be a good measure to let you know your limitations. I bet you can have tons of fun with stock height. Lifting sometimes comes with a lot of cost.

But it is up to you, it already seems you have an itch about getting a lift. So go for it if you have the extra dough to spend. If not, keep it stock and go have some fun.
 

RG5384

Observer
For whatever it is worth, even if I didn't wheel mine I would like it better with the lift. I have the 4x4 Parts 2" lift(the one that some people complain is too stiff and complain of strut topout with). It rides better on the highway, can handle actually having people and cargo in it without bottoming out, and just plain looks better, especially with the larger tires(245/75/16). For the record, I have only topped out the struts maybe twice, and at that I hit a speedbump too fast intentionally, and once on an unexpected sharp dip while on a dirt road going fast than I should have been. Neither time did any damage seem to occur. To me the pathfinder drives way better and is much more suited to what I want with the lift. I feel it should have come this way stock....

Good luck with whatever you decide!
 
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