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2002 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD V6 manual transmission 133k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
TL;DR - original suspension, butt sagging with weight loaded up in the back. Want to add a leaf (or more?) and get new shocks while retaining stock ride height and supporting weight.

Hey folks,
I built a drawer system/convertible sleeping platform for the back of the X, and when its loaded up along with all the other overloading junk that ends up on the roof rack my 2002 4WD my butt is really sagging. Also getting a lot of suspensions squeaks from the rear and my rear tires are cupping a bunch.

I'm due to replace a lot of the suspension parts anyway, so I was thinking of adding a leaf to help compensate for the added weight as it's been suggested all across this forum. But I'd also like to get some Bilsteins back in there for a comfier ride and because I'm pretty sure the stock ones are garbage now.

My truck is not lifted, nor do I plan on lifting it. It's my DD that I take on light to medium overloading adventures, no crazy wheeling. So if I wanted to retain a stock ride height ( or a slightly higher rear end, I wouldn't mind a bit of a steeper rake), would y'all recommend just a single leaf added or more than that (considering the extra weight of 100- 300lbs I find myself hauling around) ? And then to make sure I got shocks that would travel enough for the extra rear lift I might get, would the 4600 or 5100 Bils be the better option?

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this from the Xterra gurus before I pull the trigger on a leaf/shock combo.

Thanks y'all!
 

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2001 Xterra 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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I used to have an F150 that I was using to haul different things around. At first, an open bed was fine, but then I needed tools and parts. I found a cab-over camper that I bought set up to haul my tools and any parts I needed.

In short order, I discovered that I was blinding people at night and the handling was terrible. Even putting LT tires on the rear and keeping the P-series on the front (it came with them), I needed more.

I bought and installed a set of Firestone air springs and ran the tubes to the rear bumper, keeping them completely separate. When I aired them up so that the truck sat level, it would hold the weight quite nicely, the ride was comfortable, the handling was acceptable, and the lights were on the roadway.

AAL means it'll squat when it reaches a certain amount of load, and then take longer to squat further. Air springs are completely adjustable to the load, and by keeping the tubes separate, never did the air from one side go to the other. I could level the truck left-to-right as well as front-to-rear.

If I needed to haul more than my stock suspension could carry, I'd consider air springs again in a New York minute.
 

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2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
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5100’s for the socks and I’d probably contact Alcan and talk to them about leaf packs as add a leafs are very hard to predict ride height correctly
 

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The 20 year old springs are probably sagging. When I got new rear springs it brought the rear up on my X.
 

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2002 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD V6 manual transmission 133k miles
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
5100’s for the socks and I’d probably contact Alcan and talk to them about leaf packs as add a leafs are very hard to predict ride height correctly
Thanks, RacerXXL. Does this mean you'd suggest just replacing the whole pack via Alcan as opposed to adding a leaf?
 

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Registered
2002 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD V6 manual transmission 133k miles
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I used to have an F150 that I was using to haul different things around. At first, an open bed was fine, but then I needed tools and parts. I found a cab-over camper that I bought set up to haul my tools and any parts I needed.

In short order, I discovered that I was blinding people at night and the handling was terrible. Even putting LT tires on the rear and keeping the P-series on the front (it came with them), I needed more.

I bought and installed a set of Firestone air springs and ran the tubes to the rear bumper, keeping them completely separate. When I aired them up so that the truck sat level, it would hold the weight quite nicely, the ride was comfortable, the handling was acceptable, and the lights were on the roadway.

AAL means it'll squat when it reaches a certain amount of load, and then take longer to squat further. Air springs are completely adjustable to the load, and by keeping the tubes separate, never did the air from one side go to the other. I could level the truck left-to-right as well as front-to-rear.

If I needed to haul more than my stock suspension could carry, I'd consider air springs again in a New York minute.
Interesting, I didn't even know about this. How do hairsprings hold up though? seems fancy and more prone to busting somehow. Also I'm guessing its more expensive and difficult to install?
 

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2001 Xterra 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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770 Posts
Back in 2000 they cost around $300 and I installed them myself. Easy to do. Bolt the top plate to the frame above the axle, bolt the bottom plate to the axle, add the air spring, run the hose.

You may have to drill into the frame, not sure, but most frames are not boxed, so you have access to the backside. I don't recall if I had to drill or not, sorry.

Here's an image for some Firestone "2525 Ride Rite" air springs that look very much like the ones I used. The Amazon price is about $350.

As far as life expectancy, I would think they'd last about as long as a set of tires that gets exercised but without the treadwear being an issue.

76825
 

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2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
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Thanks, RacerXXL. Does this mean you'd suggest just replacing the whole pack via Alcan as opposed to adding a leaf?
Yes replace. They are not cheap and they are going to ask you a ton of questions but they make great kit.
 

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2001 Xterra 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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I'll piggyback on @RacerXXL's comment. If your stock springs are so weak that they're sagging before a load is added, replace them. You need to anyhow, and if doing so fixes your problem, then you have the simplest solution right there.

Next, if you still need more capacity, then you have the choices presented: AAL or air springs.
 

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2002 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD V6 manual transmission 133k miles
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Discussion Starter #10
Yes replace. They are not cheap and they are going to ask you a ton of questions but they make great kit.
yowza, not cheap is right, but does seem like replacing with Alcan will keep my rear suspension solid for the rest of the truck's lifespan. Think I'll pull that trigger. Thanks for the recommendation!
 

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2002 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD V6 manual transmission 133k miles
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'll piggyback on @RacerXXL's comment. If your stock springs are so weak that they're sagging before a load is added, replace them. You need to anyhow, and if doing so fixes your problem, then you have the simplest solution right there.

Next, if you still need more capacity, then you have the choices presented: AAL or air springs.
Looks like Alcan will be able to build me springs that give me the extra load capacity I need and then some. Now I just have to wait 6 weeks to get them :cry:
 

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TL;DR - original suspension, butt sagging with weight loaded up in the back. Want to add a leaf (or more?) and get new shocks while retaining stock ride height and supporting weight.

Hey folks,
I built a drawer system/convertible sleeping platform for the back of the X, and when its loaded up along with all the other overloading junk that ends up on the roof rack my 2002 4WD my butt is really sagging. Also getting a lot of suspensions squeaks from the rear and my rear tires are cupping a bunch.

I'm due to replace a lot of the suspension parts anyway, so I was thinking of adding a leaf to help compensate for the added weight as it's been suggested all across this forum. But I'd also like to get some Bilsteins back in there for a comfier ride and because I'm pretty sure the stock ones are garbage now.

My truck is not lifted, nor do I plan on lifting it. It's my DD that I take on light to medium overloading adventures, no crazy wheeling. So if I wanted to retain a stock ride height ( or a slightly higher rear end, I wouldn't mind a bit of a steeper rake), would y'all recommend just a single leaf added or more than that (considering the extra weight of 100- 300lbs I find myself hauling around) ? And then to make sure I got shocks that would travel enough for the extra rear lift I might get, would the 4600 or 5100 Bils be the better option?

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this from the Xterra gurus before I pull the trigger on a leaf/shock combo.

Thanks y'all!
I tow a trailer and replaced shocks to Bilstein and added air bladders. I know there are a lot of opinions on air but I like being able to level the Xterra, 100,000, 07. No handling difficulties.
 
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