Suspension Upgrade Help - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Suspension Upgrade Help

Hey everyone, I'm hoping you can give me a hand and thank you in advance for any and all help. And sorry if this has been beaten into the ground.

I have a 2015 P4X and looking to upgrade the suspension after 40.5k miles on the clock. I've searched for hours on end for the past week and have gone down too many rabbit holes to the point I feel more confused than informed. Before moving to CO 5 years ago, I had an '03 3series and lowering was more the case than lifting. And leaf springs/solid rear axle are a whole new world (I'm not trying to make my X into my bimmer). And I have read through the sticky on lift options.

My end game for the near future is to take away the wallowing that I currently have and take away the hard bottoming out in the rear (occurs even when it's just me the X). I have put on White Knuckle sliders and the hard bottoming in the rear DID occur before install. Most of my gear hauling is road/mtn bike related and the tool box/stand do weigh in around 75lbs, and got back into racing triathlons this year with a total of 3 Xterras for this season (related, but unrelated as to why I bought an X in the first place).

From what I've read and been told by Nissan, the stock Bilsteins are valved to ride softer. I'm 99.9% sure I'm upgrading to the 5100's front/rear and Not sure if with or without the top strut spacer, and making sure the second washer is installed so it doesn't blow through the bushing. The confusion on this comes with the springs. For the front, I cannot find a definitive answer on what the stock spring rate is (400lb, 450lb, or more) and is using the stock front springs adequate? I do want to to add more weight in the cabin with sound deading/dampening (floor, 4 doors, rear cargo area, and rear hatch... and yes, new struts will go in for the hatch).

I would not mind lifting, but I also will then void the warranty... so if a lift is called for, I do want to keep it under 2", so 1-1.5" is more than enough. I don't do enough hardcore of offroading to really need it; hardest would be Imogene or Orphir pass since I live/work in Telluride. The only other body armor that I purchased and is going on is the Shrockworks rear diff cover (called and ordered it yesterday, they had 2 black powder coated ones in stock), but that should not affect suspension. Would moving the front Bilstein spring mount up 2-3 notches with stock springs work or, again, going to a stiffer spring be better?

For the rear springs, I know AAL is a little less predictable for once its sagged versus an adjustable shackle, but will be able to be stiffer and costs more. Is adding a shackle with a helper spring versus a shackle and Timbren off road assist/Sumo spring accomplish the same thing? Would this work for my application? And if I'm going about 1-1.5" in the rear, would I need an axle shim to take care of any potential shimmying? With each .5in of lift, do you go with .5in wheel spacers (and yes, I know that would void other parts of the warranty)?

So to reiterate, I'm looking to get better than stock feel without the wallowing and hard bottoming out in the rear. Don't mind if the only option is to do a mild lift. The added weight I have currently is front 22in LED light bar in bumper (maybe 5lbs), White Knuckle sliders (~100lbs), bike tools/stand (~75lbs, but not always with me) and Kuat rear bike rack (~40lbs without bikes; 2 bikes max and they weigh 17-28lbs depending on which ride I'm going on, so ~55-60lbs is a safe bet for max for 2 bikes). I do want to add sound dampening/deadening so roughly an additional 125lbs.

As a side note, I am having braided steel brake lines installed at the same just to take away that mushy feel. I'm probably missing something to add, but I'm exhausted from searching.

Cheers!
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Last edited by Messe46; 08-11-2018 at 03:22 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 06:44 PM
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Talk to the guys at Nisstec. They can help you out tremendously.

PS.... check out the NORAC group on FB. Great bunch of people here in Colorado.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 08:01 PM
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I agree the options and possibilities for suspension upgrade/lifting is a little overwhelming. I was in a similar boat as you and I researched off and on for a few years trying to educate myself enough to make a decision. Last year, I finally made my decision and I couldn't be happier. I went with Old Man Emu (OME) coil springs and shocks in the front and new leaf springs and shocks in the rear. This totally solved my bottoming out rear-end problem. Now, even loaded down the back end doesn't sag at all; let alone bottom out. Handling is still great too. I wish I would have done it sooner.

I actually did the install work myself and it wasn't too hard. I made a video of the install and posted it here:

Parts List:
OME CS061R Dakar Leaf Springs (OME CS061R)
OME Bushing Kit (OME SB99)
Longer Rear Ubolts (N-X-UBK)
Xterra Rear Sway Bar ReLocate (SBR 3132)
Rear OME 60017 Shocks '05 Xterra Up (OME 60017)
Energy Suspension 9.11104 (ENE-9.11104)
Front OME 90003 Nitrocharger shocks
OME 2607 Front Lift Coil Springs
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Brunnie, I'll give them a call on Monday! They're CO based, right? I was also looking at PRG's website for info.

Maytawn, nice video with lots of good details. Do you have any added weight (armor, etc) in your X? I have thought of the idea of new leafs as well for the 2inches... more and more I think about it I might just go to the 2 inch lift and call it a day (if it voids a part of the warranty, it is was it is). Also, did you also end up with any vibrations at any speeds. I still want to be comfortable cruising down i70 at 75-80mph without any issues.

Cheers!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 04:22 AM
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The stock springs are roughly 500lbs from what I gathered on clubfrontier. For some reason 488lbs is in my memory. I know the Old Man Emu springs are 480lbs but they are a tad longer which means a bit more preload. The difference between the OME medium and heavy duty is the heavy duties are a tad longer still.

If you have $1800-$2000, get the OME kit and some Timbren Offroad bumpstops and you will be all set. If you find the rear needs a bit more capacity then there is an HD leaf you can add on the rear. If you didn't want to run with OME in the front, many people set 5100's (using stock springs) at 1" lift and add a spacer for an extra 1", but you can just leave it at 1" also. For the rear, if you again didn't want OME, Ruggedrocks has a 4-leaf pack available that will lift your rear by 2.5" but also help with capacity. You can match those with either 5100's or 5125's rated for 2-3" of lift. I think you should still consider the Timbren's regardless of setup.

Also why are you worried about warranty? The only warranty the above voids is the suspension, but you are changing the suspension anyway. It's not like you will blow out an OME shock and try and warranty it through Nissan for a 4600 Bilstein right?


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhullD View Post
The stock springs are roughly 500lbs from what I gathered on clubfrontier. For some reason 488lbs is in my memory. I know the Old Man Emu springs are 480lbs but they are a tad longer which means a bit more preload. The difference between the OME medium and heavy duty is the heavy duties are a tad longer still.

If you have $1800-$2000, get the OME kit and some Timbren Offroad bumpstops and you will be all set. If you find the rear needs a bit more capacity then there is an HD leaf you can add on the rear. If you didn't want to run with OME in the front, many people set 5100's (using stock springs) at 1" lift and add a spacer for an extra 1", but you can just leave it at 1" also. For the rear, if you again didn't want OME, Ruggedrocks has a 4-leaf pack available that will lift your rear by 2.5" but also help with capacity. You can match those with either 5100's or 5125's rated for 2-3" of lift. I think you should still consider the Timbren's regardless of setup.

Also why are you worried about warranty? The only warranty the above voids is the suspension, but you are changing the suspension anyway. It's not like you will blow out an OME shock and try and warranty it through Nissan for a 4600 Bilstein right?
Thanks for the info, Phul! And I am leaning more and more towards a kit. As for warranty, a lift would void the warranty on the hubs, cv's, front diff, and possibly the transfer case because of the change in the geometry (at least according to the dealer). That's the only reason I'm trying to keep it conservative in lift height.

Cheers!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Messe46 View Post
Thanks for the info, Phul! And I am leaning more and more towards a kit. As for warranty, a lift would void the warranty on the hubs, cv's, front diff, and possibly the transfer case because of the change in the geometry (at least according to the dealer). That's the only reason I'm trying to keep it conservative in lift height.

Cheers!
A 1" lift is a non issue. Keep in mind the dealer has to prove that the suspension caused the issue. Hubs and CV's are a wear item and would likely never be warrantied anyway. The front diff is known to grenade before the CV's, so trying to prove somehow that the cv angle caused the diff to grenade is an impossible claim by the dealer given the multitude of cv angle changes going offroad and given how many hundreds (maybe even thousands) of r180's have grenaded and been replaced under warranty already.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhullD View Post
A 1" lift is a non issue. Keep in mind the dealer has to prove that the suspension caused the issue. Hubs and CV's are a wear item and would likely never be warrantied anyway. The front diff is known to grenade before the CV's, so trying to prove somehow that the cv angle caused the diff to grenade is an impossible claim by the dealer given the multitude of cv angle changes going offroad and given how many hundreds (maybe even thousands) of r180's have grenaded and been replaced under warranty already.
That's really good info to know! I've worked in the ski and bike industry for just about 5years and i've figured out what key words to use when warrantying something
Everyone was "just skiing/riding along" and then ____ happened!

Cheers!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Also, I double checked this afternoon the sag after the 40.5k miles on stock suspension. The front was at 34.5in and the rear was 35in (haven't checked the tire psi and could be slightly off, but running 265/75-16 Hankook Dyno-Pro's). Looks like I'm not too far off from stock from what I could find (can't remember off hand where that came from exactly other than a screen shot of one of the threads I found in the past week or 2).
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 06:36 AM
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Messe46, I had the exact same issue. Same year and model too. My rear sagged a half inch more than yours at 30k miles. I mainly use the X to haul my family to the mountains for skiing and mountain biking and the rear bottoming was getting dangerous, let alone annoying. Sliders would have made it unbearable.

I prefer stiff suspension. My DD is a Subaru WRX. So after exhaustive research, I went with Radflo 2.5 coilovers with 600# Eibach springs for the front and Alcan Spring custom leafs (2-1/2" lift plus 500#) for the rear with Radflo 2.0 remote reservoir shocks. I only installed it yesterday so I don't have a full review yet. But it lifted me 2-3/4" front and rear. I do have a mild driveline vibration at 30mph even though I installed a 3 degree axle shim. The ride is much better, but significantly stiffer. I will be adding White Knuckle sliders in a few days so I'll see what that does for the ride quality and height.

Hopefully I won't need it, but I expect a fight if I need drivetrain warranty work. Bottom line is the truck was broken before and Nissan called it normal. So either I fix it or I would have had to replace the truck. Fixing it is a lot cheaper than a new truck. Plus I really like this truck. No one makes a manual shift SUV anymore. Its the last of its kind.
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