Suspension lift or armor? - Nissan Xterra Forum
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#1 Old 02-19-2013, 02:25 PM
dmski
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Suspension lift or armor?

Hey all,

Been able to offroad quite a bit and love it. This is a question for future progress as I enjoy the stock setup now and would rather work on skills but everyone likes to look into the upgrade goodies. Most likely I'll end up buying or building sliders as that's the most vulnerable part as of now, but I'm thinking if I budget properly what would you do.

My question would be if you had to do it all over again, would you go straight to a suspension lift of about 2-3" or armor your x up (all undercarriage skids, sliders and a front bumper). If I did the suspension lift, does anyone know of a link with everything you would need to to piece together a lift kit including bilsteins?

Show some pics/build threads if ya want. Thanks for the help!

D

2000 Xterra XE 5-spd

Build Thread: http://www.clubxterra.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51338
  • [X] Light Bar with 4 Hella Lights
  • [X] 2 Rear Flood Lights
  • [X] CB/Firestick Install
  • [ ] Relocate Rear Axle Breather
  • [ ] Lobo Rack
  • [X] Seafoam
  • [X] Mudflap/sidesteps delete
  • [X] Window Vinyl
  • [X] Front Tow Hook Replace
  • [X] Tow Hitch Install
  • [ ] Rock Sliders
  • [ ] PML
  • [X] Front Winch Bumper/Plate
  • [X] Full 120xxx Mile Service
  • [X] Rear Cargo Organizer
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#2 Old 02-19-2013, 03:40 PM
robcarync
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If this is your daily driver...and you are more concerned with damage...not just body damage...but snagging your differential or t-case on a rock...and can't afford down time...go with armor.

I personally went with a lift first...as I didn't think I would really do much offroading that would be 'dangerous'. Heck, I'd still have the stock bumper if mine didn't break on me (already raggedy from previous owners collision)...but I'd do sliders and skids....and instead of a bumper....do a lift. Stock bumper is...yeah crappy and plastic...won't hold up per se...but I also look at it and say...it's plastic...who cares if a gouge a hole in it as long as I don't stab my radiator, etc

You can click my build thread below...I just recentlly threw on a tube bumper and am waiting on skids to be fabbed right now....Skids aren't flashy or sexy....but since this is my only car to drive...I can't take any chance of snagging a rock here and there

www.4x4parts.com

you have options for a suspension lift...I did the adjustable shackles (2.125" of lift for rear) and the UCAs (3" lift for front)...That gave me the ability to lift the front a little higher and remove some of the rake so I am not nose diving. I also got my 3" bilsteins there.

You can also do a small PML...just get regular old shackles for the rear, and adjust your stock front some...~1-1.5" of lift for cheap


2004 Xterra 4X4

32" Cooper Discoverer ATP | Lokked and Dropped Front Diff |2.125" Lift Shackles | 3" UCA's | 3" Bils | 2" BL | TC IAB | Bandit 4x4 Idler Arm Bushings | Custom Bumpers | Shrock Sliders | RSB Delete | Snorkel | Cobra 19 DX III CB | 4' Firefly

Building my X


How To: < Remove Rear Sway Bar > < PML > < Re-Index Torsion Bars > < Lokk and Drop >

Last edited by robcarync; 02-19-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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#3 Old 02-19-2013, 03:55 PM
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If I did everything all over again the only thing I would have changed would have been getting the articulating package. I started with the body lift, because I originally planned on getting sliders as my first big upgrade. I wanted to have the bodylift out of the way so I could get the sliders with the lift option. however my plans and money situation changed since I started modding and I ended up with the body lift first, suspension lift second, tires and wheels third, and now I am starting on armor. I picked up a used gas tank skid, and am planning on either fabbing all my parts from here on out or getting them second hand. I try to think long term, but sometimes good deals come up, or I suddenly find myself with enough cash to buy something I didnt expect to have the money to get, or something breaks and I have to spend my money on unplanned mods. so plans always get changed. I want armor in a bad way, but its just out of my reach until tax season is gone and I get the timing belt finished on my wifes car. and unlike rob, I am lucky enough to have another vehicle if this one breaks something. I have been rolling for a couple of months on a leaky heater core, exhaust manifolds are cracked all to hell, air conditioner doesnt work, and my intake was cracked behind the MAF, so I ended up buying a volant a few weeks ago so my truck would run right.

For me I knew the places I would get to go with my truck on a regular basis were basically going to be muddy fields and creek bottoms on some of my friends land. Closest place with rocks to beat the bottom on is about 2 hours away and doesnt open again till april. hopefully by then I will have the money for my sliders and 1 or 2 more skids.

Apply dirt liberally, rinse and repeat


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#4 Old 02-19-2013, 09:22 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Great looking rigs as well. I'm building up to yours haha!

My goal is to be able to offroad a couple of times a month realistically. It is my daily driver, so going the armor route may be a good idea so I don't have to worry about it getting mangled and not being able to be used to get to work.

I've been looking at the PML, but I'd like to replace the shocks at the same time so I may as well buy the UCA's and go 2+" all around at that time.

2000 Xterra XE 5-spd

Build Thread: http://www.clubxterra.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51338
  • [X] Light Bar with 4 Hella Lights
  • [X] 2 Rear Flood Lights
  • [X] CB/Firestick Install
  • [ ] Relocate Rear Axle Breather
  • [ ] Lobo Rack
  • [X] Seafoam
  • [X] Mudflap/sidesteps delete
  • [X] Window Vinyl
  • [X] Front Tow Hook Replace
  • [X] Tow Hitch Install
  • [ ] Rock Sliders
  • [ ] PML
  • [X] Front Winch Bumper/Plate
  • [X] Full 120xxx Mile Service
  • [X] Rear Cargo Organizer
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#5 Old 02-24-2013, 10:43 PM
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robcarync, just went through your build thread and like the stance of your x. How does she do offroad with the shackles and UCA's? I'm liking that as a starting point.

Intender, would you recommend saving and going straight to the articulating package or should I go the route you and robcarync went? And also do you have a write up for your winch mount or did you do a similar one to the one on the how to section?

2000 Xterra XE 5-spd

Build Thread: http://www.clubxterra.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51338
  • [X] Light Bar with 4 Hella Lights
  • [X] 2 Rear Flood Lights
  • [X] CB/Firestick Install
  • [ ] Relocate Rear Axle Breather
  • [ ] Lobo Rack
  • [X] Seafoam
  • [X] Mudflap/sidesteps delete
  • [X] Window Vinyl
  • [X] Front Tow Hook Replace
  • [X] Tow Hitch Install
  • [ ] Rock Sliders
  • [ ] PML
  • [X] Front Winch Bumper/Plate
  • [X] Full 120xxx Mile Service
  • [X] Rear Cargo Organizer
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#6 Old 02-25-2013, 06:43 AM
robcarync
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I haven't had any issues at all off road...only been offroad a few times, but it handles great. The weak point of my build is easily the tires...I'm only running 32" all terrains...still handle great, but throwing some 33" mud tires on would make the difference. The suspension lift will raise your ride height and give you a little more ground clearance, but in my opinion doesn't DRASTICALLY enhance your off road capability.

My adjustable shackles don't flex as much as revolvers...but nothing does really. However, you also don't have the AAL pack to stiffen the springs either. The thing I really liked about my set up was that I had control over the front to back rake. I could lift the front 3" and the rear 2 1/8" and have a more leveled stance...I didn't want to lift the rear a full 3".

All in all, I am very happy I went with the adjustable shackles and UCAs. Definitely gave a lift that was visibly higher than a PML, had a more leveled rake, and didn't stiffen the rear springs. Combine that with some 3" Bils and remove the rear sway bar, and you have a good suspension set up. Recommend 100%+++


2004 Xterra 4X4

32" Cooper Discoverer ATP | Lokked and Dropped Front Diff |2.125" Lift Shackles | 3" UCA's | 3" Bils | 2" BL | TC IAB | Bandit 4x4 Idler Arm Bushings | Custom Bumpers | Shrock Sliders | RSB Delete | Snorkel | Cobra 19 DX III CB | 4' Firefly

Building my X


How To: < Remove Rear Sway Bar > < PML > < Re-Index Torsion Bars > < Lokk and Drop >
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#7 Old 02-25-2013, 11:45 AM
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The articulator package is nice, its gonna give your the best traction and stuff off-road due to their being more flex and all tires staying on the ground.

Try searching revolver shackles, TJ has a thread up with some really good info. on revolvers. I recently ordered revolvers for my truck. Still waiting on calmini UCA's to come back in stock. Im having trouble deciding on the AAl route though.

Id check pricing the kit together also, seems like when I checked into it piecing it together it came out cheaper. But I also already had bilsteins from a pml.

The route ive took my truck is pml, tires, sliders, different tires, now im finishing the suspension lift. I havent went full blown on the armor yet because thats added weight to a daily driver thats already hard on gas, you know?

work in progress

265/75/16 Cooper Discover ST maxxs
pro comp 7032
Calmini UCA's
prg deaver 2nd gen aal
4x4parts revolver shackles
grassroots 4x4 centerlink
3 inch bilsteins
bilstein steering stabilizer
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#8 Old 02-25-2013, 01:00 PM
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Just for the sake of being thorough, here is a pic of my rear suspension at full flex with the adjustable shackles. Not as flexy as revolver shackles (they increase articulation by unfolding and twisting), but they still flex well with the stock spring pack. Not bad at all offroad


2004 Xterra 4X4

32" Cooper Discoverer ATP | Lokked and Dropped Front Diff |2.125" Lift Shackles | 3" UCA's | 3" Bils | 2" BL | TC IAB | Bandit 4x4 Idler Arm Bushings | Custom Bumpers | Shrock Sliders | RSB Delete | Snorkel | Cobra 19 DX III CB | 4' Firefly

Building my X


How To: < Remove Rear Sway Bar > < PML > < Re-Index Torsion Bars > < Lokk and Drop >
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#9 Old 02-25-2013, 01:05 PM
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I started the same way you did 2 years ago, went out with the stock X and just tried to learn/get the feel of offraoding since it was all new to me. Then I put 30" BFG's on it and ran the same trails (at that time it was my DD, this was about a year). I got better traction but hit in all the same spots. I ended up with another car and some $$, and bought the 3" articulation package as the X was no longer a DD . Went back to the same trails, and WOW, what a difference. I crawled over everything I hit before with ease and have moved onto harder trails, I even got to pull the brother-in-laws rubicon out of a couple situations laetly. I recently purchased some rock sliders, 15" soft 8's and a transfer case skid, next I will be finishing off the skidplates, then moving up to 33" tires. I am debating the body lift right now, as im not sure if it will do anything at this point besides move the center of gravity higher then what it already is and I doubt I will go bigger than a 33" tire. Im pretty happy with how I have moved along, not sure I would change anything at this point.
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#10 Old 02-25-2013, 02:38 PM
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It all comes down to money in hand, and how soon you want to see gains on trails. if you are reaching your limit already with stock suspension and dont have a ton of cash to throw at it I would probably piece it like rob did. honestly the packages are not any cheaper than buying the pieces separate. The only reason I wish I had gone with the articulators over the package I got is so I wouldnt have wasted money on the rear shocks that will have to be replaced at some point if I get revolvers. If I had thought I would be interested in the revolvers I would have pieced it all together and went with the proper rear shackles so i would have them when it came time for the revolvers.

As for the winch mount, its my own setup. It was sort of an evolution of previous welded on mods I had done, but it involved about 50 dollars worth of 1/4 steel plate, the harbor freight winch mounting plate, and some cutting and welding and some more cutting and welding. I dont have a write up or a whole lot of pictures, but unless you have access to something that can weld 1/4 steel plate and dont mind welding directly to your frame I wouldnt advise it. Since mine was an evolution I spent a bit of money here and there over a year or so, the cost was about $140. It started off as a way to get a brush guard I bought to fit on the truck, and then a bit of modification to get it to fit after the body lift. After that I removed the brush guard to mount the winch and had to cut and weld a bit more, and then I had to cut a few more things to get the brush guard back on (I use it to strap down my kayak and wanted to mount some lights). But if I had known I was going to have the money for and the need for a winch when I started I would have saved up that money and spent it on getting a tube bumper built with the winch mount on it. I honestly never planned on getting a winch, but after going out solo the idea of getting stuck with nobody around changed plans, and I scrapped an old car to buy the winch. I love it when plans change

Apply dirt liberally, rinse and repeat


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