2000 Frontier (Supercharged) Build and Adventures - Babe the Blue Ox

Wahayes83

Member
Hey @Wahayes83 , that's awesome! Did you end up getting that Frontier? Would love to see a picture of it. I nearly picked up 99 of my own when I was looking for a daily driver... but just couldn't justify it. it would have turned into another project.

Yeah, that's me! Coastal Offroad hit me up after I posted some pictures of the truck and asked for some - they didn't have any good pictures of the bumper since they had updated it. So I gladly sent them a couple.
Yes I did ! It's an extra vehicle for me and will end up being my sons first truck . Needs a paint job and some misc stuff but overall really solid... also if you're in utah offroading let me know , I may join you sometime
 

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paulforeman

Active member
Yes I did ! It's an extra vehicle for me and will end up being my sons first truck . Needs a paint job and some misc stuff but overall really solid... also if you're in utah offroading let me know , I may join you sometime

Awesome! Glad to see you already out enjoying it (watched your skyline drive youtube video). These trucks are getting harder to build due to the dwindling suppliers, but hit me up if you want any tips! 4x4parts.com is one of the "only" places that sells parts for them anymore, but many of their parts are name-brand parts that they file the names/Part numbers off of, and I've figured out what a lot of them are and where else you can get them (for cheaper). Torsion bars, springs, bumpers, shocks, etc can be sources easily elsewhere if you have the part numbers, so of which I've recorded.

anyways, I digress. Glad you're enjoying it already. Makes me want to get another one :)
 

paulforeman

Active member
Not a lot of building or maintenance recently, but had a few more short trips.

Barbour Fork
Went out to Barbour Fork near Idaho Springs, CO. with a few folks. This was a fun trail with a lot of decent obstacles. We had myself, my brother in his 2004 4Runner (recently did a lift and bigger tires), my buddy Nick who's been on many trips with us, and Eric with his fully built Rubicon (lockers, 37s, skids, etc - no joke kinda rig). He did us all a favor and still had his "small tires" (35s) on from the winter.

Here's a few pictures of that day.
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Lots of wheel lifts and good lines. Of course, I'm usually the one taking pictures so there aren't many of my truck; still a good time and I'm still just drooling over the 4:1 low range gears.


Salida, CO.

Also got out to Salida for a few days and ran pretty much all of the "Bonanza OHV Tour" routes, except for maybe 2. Left something for next time. Lots of good mining history. And the trails - man, they were rocky/shale, narrow, and loose. Almost no room for passing full size vehicles. Fortunately we ran into very few people on the harder sections of trails. These hills were some of the most sustained steep climbs I've done in the truck ever probably. Again, very very glad I have the 4:1 low range gears now. Made a difference between making it and not making it on some of trails I think.

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My brother blew a sidewall on the first climb of the trip... not a good sign. But didn't have any more problems for the rest of the trip.
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Top of one of the shelf road passes.
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Extra credit hill - views at the top were definitely worth it.
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Really good trip overall - left a few things to go back and see another time.

That's all for now - not a lot of big projects planned for the truck right now. Mainly just driving it. But that's what the build is for! Don't forget to enjoy the progress along the way, wherever you are in your build.

Cheers.
 

paulforeman

Active member
Red Cone, CO
If you've been around the Colorado 4x4 world at all, you've probably at least heard of Red Cone. It's a very cool and decently technical trail.
Short summary - we made a 2-day trip (was supposed to be 3!) out of camping and wheeling around the Red Cone area. We planned to do Red Cone, Webster Pass, Saints John, Middle/North Forks Swan River, Georgia Pass, and Michigan Creek.

Day 1; got up there in the rain/snow, found a soggy camp spot, got a fire going, made some dinner, and went to bed.
Day 2; woke up, ate breakfast, and headed up Red Cone. We were about the 1st folks on the trail which is always the goal for us on busier trails like this. It's a fun and technical climb. Was with my brother in his 4Runner again. Here's some pictures.

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It's a fun pass. Get up there early to beat the rush. It's much better that way. We made it down to Webster Pass and then finished off Webster Pass towards Montezuma, CO. Had lunch and started up Saints John. The trail is a steep climb and beautiful scenery.

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Right at the top, at the highest point, the truck just dies on me. We do some investigating, pull the timing cover, and sure enough, the Timing Belt is broken. At like 12,800 feet... So my brother flat-towed me up to the next trail intersection (a couple mile at least).
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At this point, I have no power brakes and no power steering. But we need to get off the mountain. Snow rolling in and don't really want to leave the truck and try to come back later. So we get going down Deer Creek (another trail) that's pretty much all down hill. We were able to coast the truck down much of the trail while wrestling the steering and brakes, using the parking brake to supplement the brake pedal. My brother occasionally had to push or pull the truck on slight up-hill sections, but ultimately, after about 5 miles of trial, we got the truck off the mountain and coasted into Moutezuma, Colorado. The trail was pretty easy except for a few switchbacks that were tricky with no power steering. But we made it down.

This obviously cut our trip short. I got a tow home. Took the truck apart, and did the timing belt kit. It just failed. It had been 70k and about 5 years. FSM says 105k miles, and the belt definitely should not have failed that early. Oh well. I'll probably just do the next one at 60k to be safe.
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I know that this is an interference engine (at least, all the documentation I can find says it is). But maybe just barely. I know lots of other people have had broken timing belts and just been able to replace them and move on. So did I. Just did the kit and the truck fired right up. No bent valves, etc.
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Had it back on the trail a week later. Glad it's running good still!

I'll get another update on the Fall trips up here soon.

Cheers.
 

Andrew_S

Observer
Ooof, tough break.

Have you considered the roots blower may possibly be the cause for premature failure? Bit of a reach but maybe the extra torque/revs would lend itself to a reduced service life. It would be interesting to know if the xterra timing belt interval is shorter.
 

DLM

New member
Paul, as always, good trail report and beautiful pics! Sad to hear of the broken timing belt, but glad you were accompanied by your bro and made it down the mountain o.k. It looks to be an aftermarket belt that broke?
 

paulforeman

Active member
Ooof, tough break.

Have you considered the roots blower may possibly be the cause for premature failure? Bit of a reach but maybe the extra torque/revs would lend itself to a reduced service life. It would be interesting to know if the xterra timing belt interval is shorter.

Heyo - That's a good point and I've definitely thought about that! That supercharger is an OEM setup for that particular engine and the factory also recommends 105k for the S/C models... The blower, although a big improvement over stock, is pretty wimpy as far as superchargers go. The "extra torque" is still not that much...

But 105k miles is also a longer period than most manufacturers recommend. And since I primarily use the truck for wheeling, low range, etc., it has a lot of engine hours for not as many miles.

So who knows... I used a Mitsuboshi belt for this go-round which I think may have been one of the OEMs and I'll just do it again at like 60k probably!

Paul, as always, good trail report and beautiful pics! Sad to hear of the broken timing belt, but glad you were accompanied by your bro and made it down the mountain o.k. It looks to be an aftermarket belt that broke?

Hey man, good to hear from you! Yes, the belt that broke was not OEM - it was a Gates belt (and indeed, a full Gates timing kit) that I put on there shortly after I got the truck. I actually even had a shop do the work at the time because I didn't have the bandwidth to do it myself, so I'm pretty sure it was done correctly, etc. The mechanic who did it is a very reputable guy who has done a lot of these.

Interestingly, this time, I went to the dealer to get "OEM" parts and the timing kit they gave me was just a Gates kit packed in a Nissan box... so I opted for something else. I pieced the kit together with part manufactures I like. NSK bearings, Mitsuboshi belt, AISIN water pump.

Honestly, that's the first time the truck has ever left me stranded on the trail. I was probably over due for something like that to happen!
 
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Andrew_S

Observer
Heyo - That's a good point and I've definitely thought about that! That supercharger is an OEM setup for that particular engine and the factory also recommends 105k for the S/C models... The blower, although a big improvement over stock, is pretty wimpy as far as superchargers go. The "extra torque" is still not that much...

But 105k miles is also a longer period than most manufacturers recommend. And since I primarily use the truck for wheeling, low range, etc., it has a lot of engine hours for not as many miles.

So who knows... I used a Mitsuboshi belt for this go-round which I think may have been one of the OEMs and I'll just do it again at like 60k probably!

Yeah I couldn't come up with a "great" reason for the blower, but was curious. That was going to be my next question, duration. IIRC honda specs 120k km's or 8 years, for certain models. Lucky go of it with no valve to piston contact regardless.

Love the adventure/wheeling pics. Can't wait to see more.
 

paulforeman

Active member
Oh man, I'm behind on this forum... I've posted a few times on ClubFrontier, but forgot to copy the posts over to here. I'll get them moved over this week. For now, here's a few trips form 2022 that I hadn't posted yet.

Fall 2022 Day Trips
After the timing-belt fiasco all the way back in August 2022, I got out and did a few more trips to test it out. It's running strong and I'm glad it's working well again.

Miner's Gulch to Kingston Peak, September 2022
We ran Miner's and Kingston solo to test out the timing belt and some other maintenance items. Miner's Gulch is a washed out trail that changes frequently due to the creek running straight down the trail. It has some flowing water on it so it was slippery. But a very fun challenge overall with a lot more "rock crawling" than I usually do, so it was a good time ⬇⬇
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Kingston Peak was cold and windy but we had a good time. Not a lot of folks out there, so not a lot of traffic to contend with. It's steep and rocky, but a fun trail and well worth the views ⬇⬇⬇
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After a few shake-down runs with the new timing belt to build some confidence in it, I was comfortable taking it out for some big trips again.



Crested Butte, CO. October 1, 2022
We went to Crested Butte to check out the iconic Schofield Pass and some other trails in that area. The crew included the Frontier, Eric in his 2007 Rubicon on 37's (lockers, big lift, etc.), and Cody from the Xterra forum in his Turbo 1st gen Xterra (check out his build thread on the XterraNation forum). Both these guys have probably made this thread before, but it was a fun crew.

We camped out on Paradise Divide on the way up to Schofield Pass. What a beautiful part of the country! Snow and rain in the evening, but made for a beautiful morning!
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Snow on Cottonwood Pass on the way from Buena Vista to Crested Butte ⬆⬆


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Foggy morning to wake up to ⬆⬆
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Clouds kinda hung around all day. Absolutely stunning ⬆⬆
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Part-way up Paradise Divide on the way to Schofield ⬆⬆
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Right below the actual Schofield Pass on the way down to the iconic "devil's punchbowl." ⬆⬆
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The iconic "tippy" spot right above the punchbowl. Cody's Xterra has front and rear ARB lockers, 4:1 low-range transfer case gears, 5-speed manual, and 32s (on his way to 35's with custom front suspension or maybe a solid axle) ⬆⬆
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This spot was tippy but went well. The tent makes the truck more top heavy unfortunately ⬆⬆
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Beautiful view of the punchbowl ⬆⬆
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\
Beautiful time of the year to be in Crested Butte. I think we'll go back to Crested Butte every fall from now on.
Should have a few more build updates soon. Got a few projects coming up. Different upper control arms, new tires/wheels, and some maintenance things probably.

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

paulforeman

Active member
Been a while - Upgrades and other projects.

It's been a busy summer of working on the house and working on a lot of other cars that aren't mine. The truck is still running well and I've found some time to do some upgrades this year.

1. Imported Navara Upper Control Arms (February 2023)
Found a set of imported D22 Navara upper control arms on Facebook marketplace. They're from a company in Australia called Black Hawk. They use OEM Nissan ball joints and rubber OEM-fit bushings. They are much smoother on-road and over small bumps than the 4x4parts upper control arms due to the rubber bushings vs the polyurethane bushings in the Calmini and 4x4parts upper control arms, but do flex more off-road, so it's a trade off. Overall, I'm happy with them.
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2. Upgrade TrakMotive CV Axles (March 2023)
TrakMotive makes an extended-travel CV axle for the first gen Frontier/Xterra and I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on them. You can get them on RockAuto or from Napa Auto Parts. If you wheel your first gen, you may be aware that CV binding is a problem with these CVs since they're so short. Even with a differential drop, they still bind with extended shock and lifted upper control arms. I had talked to some other Xterra guys who have been running these for several years and I've yet to hear anything bad about them. They seem to hold up to just as much and more abuse than the OEM style CVs under regular conditions and the DO fix the binding issue caused by the differential-side joint at full droop. Some diagrams of the TrakMotive vs. standard CV axles below.
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3. New Wheels and Tires (March 2023)
The Goodyear Wrangler Ultraterrains were getting pretty worn out so I went ahead and got new tires and new wheels. Sold the old tires and wheels together, as that made it easier to sell a partially used set of tires. Went with some standard load P285/70r17 Mickey Thompson Baja Boss A/T tires on 5th gen 4Runner TRD wheels. I went with a Standard Load tire over an LT because Standard Load tires are lighter since the have less plies in the tread pack. These are 5-ply in the tread area instead of 8 like many LT tires are. People talk about "needing" LT tire for offroad, but sidewall is where most of the damage usually occurs, and these SL tires have a 3-ply sidewall. I've seen many LT tires only have a 2-ply sidewall. Most have 3, some have 5 (Wranglers with Kevar sidewalls do if I remember correctly). The point is this: for a small truck like the Frontier (*which originally came with 29 inch standard load tires, by the way), LT tires are unnecessary, even with the extra weight from bumpers, winch, etc.

Sidewall-ply-count is substantially more important than tread-ply-count for offroad use, especially if you air down and do rocky trails. These tires do really well in snow, as I've had them out snow wheeling a time or 2 so far. I like the look of these wheels too - maybe not as much as the old ones, but they'll do for now.
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Snow Plant Sky Tree Branch


4. Bigger Big Brakes (April 2023)
I put big brakes on my Frontier using Xterra Spindles, Xterra Rotors, and 300ZX brakes last year. I now put the original 2000 Frontier spindles back on and bolted the 300ZX brakes directly to the spindles to eliminate the need for the bolt spaces needed when using the Xterra spindles. This pushes the caliper slightly further out and allows you use 299/300mm rotors from the 2002-2004 Pathfinder instead of the 283mm rotors from the Xterra. Not a big difference, and I mainly did it to see if it could be done, as I had seen that it could. I ran into a few problems, in that the 300mm rotors I used actually interfered with 1 of 2 calipers, but not the other. This is probably due to poor casting and/or post-machining of the calipers that I got from O'Reilly. Maybe OEM calipers would fit better. Either way, it was really close, so I just split the caliper and ground down the surface where the rotor was rubbing. I only had to remove about 1mm of material and it's good to go now.
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That's about up to date for the Frontier as of today (July 2023).

Got a new daily driver, if you're interested.

2011 BMW 335xi
- Traded out the 2008 Acura TL for this 6-speed manual e90 back in November and been enjoying it!
Had to do an electric water pump, thermostat, heater hoses, oil filter housing gasket, Vanos solenoid gaskets, cam sensor gaskets, upgraded charge pipes, serpentine belt, idlers, belt tensioner, and a few miscellaneous things to get it back up to speed, but it's running well for the time being.
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Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle


It's a quick little car. I just recently got a factory upgraded tune on it to make about 325HP and 355ft-lbs of torque (supposedly; haven't dyno'd it). The car also does absolutely amazing in snow (came with a 2nd set of wheels with Nokian snow tires).

I'll leave out the house projects, since that's even further from the topics on this forum than the cars I just listed...
It's been a fun summer and I've been doing a lot of learning. Hopefully getting the truck out on some more trips this fall!

Cheers.
 

DLM

New member
Always enjoy your posts and creative approach to your build, Paul. Do you think there is a minimum lift required to run the TrakMotive CV axles or would they be o.k. for a 1-1.5" lift?
 

paulforeman

Active member
Always enjoy your posts and creative approach to your build, Paul. Do you think there is a minimum lift required to run the TrakMotive CV axles or would they be o.k. for a 1-1.5" lift?
Hey man, good to hear from you!


There's no minimum lift "required" to run these TrakMotive axles (they would work fine on a truck with no lift at all). That said, I think the benefit of the TrakMotive axles only really comes into play if you have extended travel upper control arms and extended shocks (which, if I recall, I think you do run 4x4parts control arms). With stock travel, you won't ever run into this problem with binding CV axles because the upper control arms bottom out before the CV binds up. But with more travel, you can run into binding CVs if you get a front tire off the ground in a wheel-lift or flexed-out situation.
Hope this helps!
 

paulforeman

Active member
Day Trips, Summer 2023.

I haven't been posting as much just because we only had a few outings this summer *(obviously not as many as I'd like). I also haven't been doing much to the truck, as it's running well. Been a busy year in other areas of life, but that's ok.

Saint's John, North Fork Swan River, and Georgia Pass
We ran this trail system in August. This was my redemption run since this is where my timing belt broke last time. I went with a bunch of Toyota guys (2x Tacomas, 2x 4Runners). Overall a fun and successful day. Didn't take a ton of pictures because, as always, I tend to forget... Beautiful day as always and everyone's rig's held up well.
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Saxon Mountain to Cascade Creek
I ran this trail system above Georgetown, CO with Eric in his big jeep. Saxon mountain has got about 30 switch-backs by time it's all said and done! We climbed very quicky to the top, then came down Cascade Creek (which was very chewed up and pretty gnarly). Followed path from green star, to yellow star, to red star in the screenshot below. It was a long bumpy route, but a fun time overall!
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This picture from the top (yellow star) of where we started (green star/George Town)
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We bounced down Cascade Creek as it was pretty chewed up. My rock sliders and rear bumper took a lot of hits but all held up very well. I whacked one of my hubs on a rock and broke the top cap and mangled the switch. These old Warn hubs were well-loved before they ended up on my truck, where they've lived for almost 5 years.

I picked up a new set of Warn hubs from O'Reilly Auto Parts over the cyber-Monday sale. They were 20% off and free 1-day shipping to home, so I went ahead and ordered a set. They included the required studs too. I'll get them installed this weekend probably.
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Hoping to get out to do some snow wheeling soon - Cheers!
 

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