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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Intro: In Norse mythology there are two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, that circle the globe every morning and then report back to Odin to tell him of all the things they saw. The Night Armour colour of the Xterra looks a bit like the colour of a raven when the sun hits their wings. The vehicle will be used to explore new places and learn new things, so I thought it a good namesake. Of the two ravens, I chose Huginn. Huginn roughly translates to “knowledge” while Muninn equates to “memory.” Well, anyone who knows me can tell you my memory is useless, so Huginn it is.


Username: - BBAW

Message Body: The intent is to build a back country adventure vehicle with solid off-road capability, while staying conservative in height and width. I was initially all gung ho for a Titan swap and 35’s, but the additional 6” of width took that idea off the table. Most of the trails in northern Alberta are made by quads and side-by-sides, and are therefore very narrow. There have been a couple of trips I’ve been on with friends where we barely squeaked through a series of trees and boulders, and a Titan width vehicle wouldn’t have made it.

I don’t want to get too tall either. Since a lot of our more remote trailheads are already a long ways past the last gas station, fuel economy is important. I don’t want to be at ½ tank before I even get off the highway.

Xterra's Nickname: Huginn

Year: 2010
Trim: Off-Road
Color: Night Armour
Mileage at Purchase: 118,000 km (73,300 miles)

Mods:

Suspension
Rear diff breather mod (put in by original owner)



Mechanical
Rad swap

Exterior
LED headlight upgrade

Interior
Centre console storage divider
JVC single DIN stereo (put in by original owner)
Garmin Nuvi 750 Map update
Kryptek Typhon Seat Covers
Heated Steering Wheel (all sorted out now)


Comments: I was very fortunate to find this vehicle with such low mileage in great condition, at such a low price. I had been shopping around for either an Xterra or a Wrangler, and this vehicle tipped the balance in Nissan’s favour. My initial queries about the 2nd Gen Xterra pros and cons and the immediate post-purchase work on the vehicle is in my Welcome Centre thread, Not an Xterra Owner Yet...But Might Be.

It's not going to be a fast build. I hate borrowing money, so I save up for the parts I need and buy everything with cash. I'm willing to trade time for interest payments. It means I have to put things off for a bit, but I have no wife and no kids (those ships have sailed I'm afraid) so I have nothing else to spend the money on. The plan is to complete the interior and stowage mods first over the winter, and then look to the more involved suspension & drivetrain mods once I have the necessary parts next spring. The immediate time frame is also going to include some smaller mods to enhance Huginn's capabilities as a DD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
There's a couple of really nice features of the Off-Road trim that I really like. I suppose the top of the list is the factory E-locker. I love the way the vehicle rides, especially after being in the passenger seat of a Wrangler for the past couple years (Jeep Girl will throw something at me if she ever reads this). It's a noticeable difference. There are a couple of things I need to fix however:
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Driver's seat has seen better days and has some noticeable stains on it. I can't say much, as I have sloshed my coffee all over the cab more than my fair share of times, but I still don't want my seats looking trashy. To sort this out, I've ordered some Kryptek Neo-Supreme Typhon seat covers with the storage pouches on the back from ShearComfort. I have never dealt with ShearComfort before, so I have no idea if they are decent firm or a gyp joint. I'll certainly do a review of the covers once they arrive, hopefully in the next two weeks.

It also has the Garmin Nuvi 750 Nav option.
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I hate Garmin. I positively LOATHE Garmin. I use a lot of GPS at work, and I would rather pretty much any device other than Garmin. But this is what I'm stuck with, so I'll make the best of it.
I was able to update the maps using a free mapsource image. Of course this comes at the cost of doing address searches, but the Nuvi interface is so bloody annoying, making me type out the name of the city every single stupid time I want to find something, it's not a feature I use anyways. If I need to use the nav unit to find a place, I get the lat-long co-ordinates from Google Maps when I'm planning the trip, and I can enter those into a Nuvi twice as fast as I can a traditional address. So yeah, not my favourite but until I can find another unit I can fit into this cute little hutch (it's kind of neat, ngl) I'll have to make do with the Garmin.

Lastly, was the "absence" of the engine shroud. When I was researching how to do the rad swap, the Frontier in the video I watched had a two-piece shroud and not the once-piece I had. I assumed it had been removed by the previous owner. I was rooting around an 09 Frontier in the junkyard for some other parts I wanted, when I noticed the shroud piece I was "missing" was still available. So I grabbed it, it only cost me $2.

I was rather pleased with myself, only to see in replies to my Welcome Centre thread that I wasn't missing the shroud piece at all. Nissan discontinued it by the time they made Huginn, so I needn't have bothered. Had I looked closer at the mounts for it when I did the rad swap, I would have seen the plugs in the brackets, indicating that those brackets were never intended to be used. Here they are, minus the one plug I pulled out.
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But I already had the piece and went to the trouble of cleaning it up, so I put it in. We'll see how it does. If it causes me any problems, it'll become a frisbee.
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I love the aftermarket JVC deck that the previous owner put in. It really pumps out some great sound. The only problem was that it wasn't fit into the dash very well. Both the stereo casing and the plastic surface trim would vibrate and make really annoying sounds. (note: I hadn't bothered to correct the date since disconnecting the battery from the rad swap when I took this photo. This has since been rectified.)
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Thankfully, a thin layer of silicone caulking on the inside of the surface trim stopped that vibration, and some small pieces of foam shimmed above and below the casing stopped the stereo itself from buzzing.
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Had a bit of a set back. When Jeep Girl bought her Wrangler, it had a 10K lb Quadratec winch on it. The winch motor soon seized, so she took the synthetic line from it and put it on a Warn 8000 she got second hand. The shell of the Quadratec had been sitting in my garage since I helped her dismount it from her bumper.
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It initially looked like a Warn motor would bolt right up with the casing. The motor with a new synthetic line priced out to about $600 ($470 USD). That's less than half what a Warn would cost me new. Alas, it was not to be. The Quadratec was just another Chinese made knock-off, that while close, will not mate with a Warn motor. The only thing this winch is good for now is ballast. What's that they say about if it seems to good to be true? I'll probably get a Smittybilt winch later on in the summer, but I'll likely wait until right before the first trip to save the weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the headlights cleaned last week before the cold weather socked in.

Before:
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After:

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Also did something to sort out that rat's nest I had in the centre console. All the things I want to carry end up in a pile, and no matter what it is I want at that moment, it's always at the bottom. I had an old Pelican case lying around and salvaged some of the foam blocks from it.
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I made an insert to go on the bottom of the console that I could use to keep things standing upright and separated so I can find them easily. It's more for the things I like to have, but don't use very often.The foam isn't a perfect fit, so it bows in a bit when empty.

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Then I cut a flat piece to sit over top of this to create a second level for the things I use more commonly that I want at arm's reach. The piece sits a couple inches deep, so it gives me plenty of room for things like extra sunglasses, gloves, snacks, and what-have-you.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The upper control arms arrived!
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Now to put the money away for the struts and springs. I was planning on Bilstein 6112's, but they don't offer more than 1.5" or so of lift for an Xterra. I thought I could maybe put in a couple of 2" strut spacers and leave the Bilsteins at no lift, but the Bilstein rep said they did not at all recommend that, and spacers would void my warranty. TBH, I really don't know what the ride would be like with spacers that thick, so I'll go with 2" Radflos as Plan B. From what I've read on this forum, the Radflos are highly recommended, and by the time shipping is factored in cost about the same as the 6112's with the spacers, so I'm not overly broke up about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's getting a little chilly up here right about now and I noticed a thread in the forum about installing the heated steering wheel from a 2010 Pathfinder, and thought "I'd trade bone marrow for a heated steering wheel!!!"

I managed to get "the last one" from Ebay (they probably say that with everything) and grabbed the switch from a 2008 Maxima in the junkyard. I figure it'll fit quite nicely in the blank beside the off-road lights switch.

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And now the steering wheel has arrived! Apparently it even lights up too, so that's going to be pretty skookum when I get it all hooked up.

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Hopefully I'll be able to get that in next week. There are six wires coming off the switch and at this particular moment, I have absolutely no idea how I am going to wire that thing up. The how-to is more about the steering wheel itself than the switch. Thankfully Geoff The Wrench, who has already forgotten more about automotives than I will ever know, has decided to help me out.

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Hopefully I'll be able to get that in next week. There are six wires coming off the switch and at this particular moment, I have absolutely no idea how I am going to wire that thing up. The how-to is more about the steering wheel itself than the switch. Thankfully Geoff The Wrench, who has already forgotten more about automotives than I will ever know, has decided to help me out.

View attachment 131791
Looks like:
-Pin 1 is power in
-Pin 2 is activates the relay
-Pins 3/4 are for backlights I believe
-Pin 5 looks like a feedback from the relay to turn the "heated steering on" light on the switch
-Pin 6 is ground
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks!!!

That should save me a fair amount of time, for sure. If everything goes to plan, the new steering wheel goes in on Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great thread so far!
Thanks very much.

For the next few months, this isn't exactly going to be the most exciting build thread on the site. I'm doing the small things to the interior right now while I'm gradually collecting all the parts I'll need for the exterior and suspension.

Come April / May or so, when the parts are all together, I'm doing the tires, rims, front and rear suspension, and front and back bumper, all on the same weekend. It's going to be like an overnight transformation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Picked up the AAL kit from Alberta Spring & Trailer today.
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The next step will be the Radflos, which might have to wait until the next cheque. It depends. When I'm sitting here at the computer writing about it, it's quite easy to be patient and methodical, plan everything out and make a timeline for how long it's going to take to save up for all the parts I need.

But when I'm out in the shop looking at my little storage area of Xterra goodness, it's not easy at all. I start thinking things like "you know, I could buy those Radflos today. I don't need groceries. I could just eat froot loops and bologna for a week..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I got an add on for molle panels on the back of the seats to attach pouches and equipment. It comes with an assortment of black pouches that probably serve better on a SWAT member's plate carrier, but I've got them in the Xterra for now. The drop bag will probably hold wet raingear and I'll be filling the others with sunscreen, thermocell fule bottles, bug juice, and the various small odds and ends that would otherwise be rattling around somewhere and difficult to find when I actually need them.

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I am completely happy with the fit of them. They accommodate every feature of the seats, like the drivers side lower adjustment knobs, and the fold flat back of the passenger seat. They fit so nicely, it looks like I had the seat reupholstered.

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Jeep Girl was looking at some Smittybilt seat covers for the Wrangler that had the same sort of molle feature and I kind of scoffed at them at the time, saying the price was a bit rich for the final product she'd be getting. Then I turn around and spend almost twice as much on these. 🤐
But in my defense, I was looking for full coverage seat covers anyways to protect the upholstery from dust and dirt and grubby camping clothes and my sad habit of spilling coffee. These won't leave any parts of the seat unprotected like the Smittys, and I knew that a department store or "universal fit" set wasn't going to do what I wanted.

SheerComfort took a long time to make delivery, but they were within a couple of days of their ETA when I originally placed my order. Time will tell how they hold up over the long haul, but as far as fit and finish go, I'm very pleased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I got the heated steering wheel put in yesterday, but it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted. Geoff the Wrench graciously allowed me to use one of the bays in the shop while he worked on Trusty Rusty, his Dodge truck reclamation project.

Since my vehicle has an aftermarket stereo with steering wheel audio controls, the wiring in my connectors wasn’t stock. The how-to in the forums could only guide me so far. After that, I was trying to find out what parts of the connector did what with a power probe and I wasn’t entirely successful.

Neither could I figure out how to control the SWH with the dashboard switch. Even with the wiring diagram, I couldn’t make sense of it. I don’t know how to properly read the diagrams, nor do I know enough about automotive electrical. To make things worse, I ran out of time and needed to find a way to bring it all to a close before Geoff had to close up the shop. In the end, we just ran a wire off the IPDM that controls the re-defrost. Instead of the dedicated switch from the Maxima, the steering wheel heats runs in sync with my rear defrost.

It’s not a perfect match either. I’ve done something wrong, because when the steering wheel heat is on the audio controls and cruise control controls don’t work properly. It’s not that they don’t work at all, they don’t work properly. The first thing I’m going to check is the very last ground I connected. It was the last thing, I was in a rush, and I suspect it has come loose.

But in the meantime, at least I have 80% functionality. The SW controls otherwise function and the illumination also works, which is nice. I’m going to take another crack at it on Wed, so I’ll post an update if I get the problems solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is the stock wheel. It worked fine and I liked the grip and texture on it, but heat is heat and this one also had a visible scuff on the left side.

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Getting the wiring modified in the 2010 Pathfinder wheel. Thatbigmoose's how-to post is an absolute necessity for doing this.

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