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Discussion Starter #1
Though I have had my truck for a couple of months, yesterday was the first time I actually got to wheel it off road. The results were a bit mixed...

Let me preface this with the following: I have a Gen I X that is an automatic. I have wheeled that thing everywhere. Moab, went to ECXC one year, have done all the Red River Gorge trails it would do (local trails in eastern KY) and the only damage it has ever sustained was a badly dented oil pan (at ECXC) and a badly dented gas tank(trail in eastern KY). A full set of home made skids solved those issues.

I also have a 1971 Toyota FJ40 with a 4 speed manual tranny that I have also wheeled a lot in (at least till I tore it down to "restore", but that's another story...)

My new X is a 6 speed manual Pro4-X. First observation? I have been spoiled by the auto tranny in the Gen I! I took the new X on a short, but intense uphill trail that is muddy clay and deeply rutted and the last half is a bunch of rocky shelves that have large boulders everywhere on them and in between them.
My old X with the auto and 31" BFG AT KO's would struggle to get up both sections, especially if it was wet but would do it if a bit of throttle was used in the appropriate manner. Over the rock section there was always a bit of slider banging, but knowing where to put my tires, I never banged anything underneath.

The new X was a joy on the muddy uphill rutted climb! It never seriously spun it's wheels and I did not have the locker engaged. I was impressed with that section. However when I got the the rocks it was a different story. I followed the line I have always used and of course landed on what I thought was the OEM step rails immediately. I stopped to see if I had actually bent them and was stunned to see that I had actually landed on the frame not the step rail. I knew the new X frame was 1.5" lower but did not expect it to truly make that much difference. It DOES. I had to take new lines to keep from smacking the frame multiple times. The passenger side step rail got bent pretty good, and I also bent the front mud flaps which I had completely forgotten about taking off. When I got to the last really bad section, the line I normally take wasn't happening. I kept stalling the truck trying to get over this one bolder that you MUST keep a wheel on or you will take out the gas tank when you slide off it and continue forward. This is where the locker came in handy. Engaging it allowed me to keep my line though I banged the crap out of the frame on both sides as I exited that section.

My conclusion? It's easier to wheel in an auto, duh, the new X frame is too low, and the new X could use a 4:1 transfer case :D for better control with a manual. The locker makes a huge difference in off road ability and the "traction control aids" actually do help in slick clay.

I ordered a set of Xoskel sliders which should be here before I go to Moab....
YMMV...
 

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Yup sounds about right....time for a lift!!
 

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My first time out I heard a loud noise but kept going. A little while later I had the chance to check and yep, bashed the frame. Done it about 2 more times since then.
 

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Good account of the first time! I also just wheeled my new Pro4X 6-speed manual for the first time. The difference is I rolled out of the dealers lot at 8PM Friday night and was on the trail by 9:30 Saturday morning. :D
I have had my automatic for almost 8 years so it took me a few obstacles/hills to get used to the manual. By the end of the day I was driving like a pro again.
I also rolled off the dealers lot with a 3-4" suspension lift and full skids. No sliders or diff armor though. My truck will never see step rails. IMHO - you are asking for body damage if you wheel with the factory step rails because they are bolted to the body. If you must have the step rails remove them for wheeling.
I smacked the diff so a Shrock cover was ordered last night. Fortunately, my quarter panels were never challenged but sliders are coming. Just have to decide which ones.
The truck performed amazingly and I really enjoyed the manual tranny and 3.69 gearing vs my old 3.13.
Congrats on the new truck and for getting her out on the trail! Hopefully, many more trails to come!
 

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Solution 1 - 33 inch tires. Ground clearance problem mostly solved.

Solution 2 - Throw the step bars in the trash, or give them to that guy at the freeway entrance instead of cash. They are held to the body with 12mm nuts, 6 per rail and the stamped steel L brackets are paper thin junk. Mine are now located at the bottom of a dumpster.

Solution 3 - spend more money than you have on mod after mod until your CC cards are maxed, your g/f or wife finds out, or you can't buy anything more to put on your X.

Solution 4 - drink lots of beer, go 4 wheeling and beat the heck out of your brand new X and leave it to rot, then collect the insurance money. Repeat solution 4 as necessary. :hello2:
 

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Solution 1 - 33 inch tires. Ground clearance problem mostly solved.

Solution 2 - Throw the step bars in the trash, or give them to that guy at the freeway entrance instead of cash. They are held to the body with 12mm nuts, 6 per rail and the stamped steel L brackets are paper thin junk. Mine are now located at the bottom of a dumpster.

Solution 3 - spend more money than you have on mod after mod until your CC cards are maxed, your g/f or wife finds out, or you can't buy anything more to put on your X.

Solution 4 - drink lots of beer, go 4 wheeling and beat the heck out of your brand new X and leave it to rot, then collect the insurance money. Repeat solution 4 as necessary. :hello2:
Pro4X comes with 32" tires. 33's won't do much.

Solution 4 is solid gold!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well it's not really "new"... Just new to me. :iconbiggrin:
I bought it used with 32K on it. My Gen I is a May 1999 (2000 model year) with 192K on it. I have also owned two Pathfinders, a 1991 and a 1995 both 5 speeds. Wife totaled the 1991( still driveable, but I sold it to a guy that chopped the top, added a full roll cage and he wheels it still), and rust got the frame of the 95 though I actually still have it.

I love driving a manual but unless you have super low gears, an auto is easier to wheel. The real reason I got a manual X was to tow. More control with the manual when towing in the mountains. I probably won't mod this X for hard core wheeling. I'll just stay on trails that don't require lifts to cleanly get through them. My FJ40 will be for the harder stuff if I ever get it finished.
www.globalsoftware-inc.com/coolerman/fj40/main.htm if you want to see My FJ40. Current state is the frame and drivetrain are all done but the body is about 1/2 done.
 

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The real reason I got a manual X was to tow.
All the guys i know who tow their race cars (1or2 at a time) Use an Auto.
My personal rule of thumb..

luxury car = auto
economy car =man
sports car =man
Truck =auto
eco "truck" = man

just my 2 cents

My X has 34's and a 2in lift. i have yet to take it down and nasty trails but i can't see having any clearance issues. I'll know for sure in 3 weeks. got a trip planed
 

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33s plus a 2.5 inch lift helps with banging on the rocks. Skids are also a must, if you don't already have them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is no doubt that an auto is "easier" when towing, especially if you get caught in a traffic jam going uphill, but with the auto in my Gen I in the mountains, you were either lugging it ,or over revving it trying to find the "right" gear. The 6 sp allows choosing the right gear for the grade while keeping RPM's more or less constant. Down hill descents are also more controllable with the manual. Another constant worry with the auto is trans fluid temp. Not an issue with the manual. :)

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to towing. Ask the guys with the diesels equipped with the Allison autos and you could not pry them from their cold dead hands!
 

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Auto's are for rental cars. A manual is for those who like to drive. ;)
 

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Auto's are for rental cars. A manual is for those who like to drive. ;)
I used to think like you when I had a manual transmission truck, but when I bought and started wheeling my auto X, I have come to appreciate the abilities of the automatic transmission. No stalling, and it frees up a hand for the radio or the wheel. I use the lower gear options a lot, and 4LO and 1st going downhill is AWESOME for speed control off road. On the road, downshifting in 2WD works fine. Yes, I have to monitor my transmission temps- but with adequate cooling installed it's almost never a problem.

I like both tranny types, but if/when I get a dedicated off road vehicle it will be a manual transmission!
 

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i love wheeling in my 07 OR manual. I found it a little tricky at first, but i have always loved manual vs. automatic. I find that you do have better control over speed, although it can be tough especially going up steep hills.
 

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I love my 6-speed manual. I do a bit of towing with it and find it does a great job. I also do a little 4WD action. Just yesterday I was towing a trailer through some muddy forest service roads, so off-road and towing at the same time. That was to take the bikes out into the woods. I played around a little and even found a line that crossed me up enough to pull a wheel a front in the air. That was intentional, taking a bad line on purpose to see how well it would take it, didn't miss a beat.
A couple days before I was taking the boat to the lake.

Now there are a caveats with having the manual transmission. I don't do daily bumper to bumper rush hour traffic. I concede automatics for that work. I don't do hard core wheeling, the rock crawler (back when I was into that stuff) was converted to automatic to make the hard stuff easier. But for simple off-road work the stick works great. I can do what an automatic can't, hold a gear other then low. I didn't get the xterra to thrash in rocks, I got it as a daily driver that can take me places as well, some off which involve non-paved roads and trails. In 3 years I have never put the Xterra in a place that required thrashing on it. But it has always been functional.

Now those who can't drive a stick (and there are a lot of you out there) shouldn't drive a stick. Just because you can make a vehicle move doesn't mean you can drive a stick. There are a lot of people operating a stick shift, but don't know how to drive them. You can usually pick them out as those who kill a clutch in short order.
Anyone can drive an auto, that is why they are rental cars.
 

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Everyone seems to forget you can still manually change gear in an auto if you want to limit speed downhill and use engine braking, just put it in something other than "D".
^^This, I can choose any gear I want and it will hold it.
 

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Auto's are for rental cars. A manual is for those who like to drive. ;)
I love to drive and prefer auto. I use to drive truck and switching through 18 gears over and over 13 hrs a day gets boring.

Only time I like standard is in a sports car.

Off roading I just put the auto in 2nd works great.

Should mention there has been no time off roading the X that I said to myself, geez I wish I had a standard for this "
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I love to drive and prefer auto. I use to drive truck and switching through 18 gears over and over 13 hrs a day gets boring.

Only time I like standard is in a sports car.

Off roading I just put the auto in 2nd works great.

Should mention there has been no time off roading the X that I said to myself, geez I wish I had a standard for this "
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Forget 18 drive it like a 9 there's no need to cycle all 18 all the time

Edit: I missed the part that said Use to drive trucks
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