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2014 Xterra PRO-4X
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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My 2014 Pro-4x suspension is stock, except that I added some SumoSprings to keep things level when I use my motorcycle hitch carrier.
I don't plan any "hard" off-roading but I have used it on dirt roads and sandy washes. Basically, I use the truck to get me to places where I unload and use my dirt bike. And once in a while I do take an easy trail to bring my wife out for an easy picnic. IMO, the truck rides well now (44k miles on the stock suspension with new sumosprings) and I wouldn't want to make it any harsher.

But it's possible I want to go on slightly more rugged trails and maybe a bit of lift would make things easier. For instance, I was recently I was invited on a guided off-road tour that requires "10 inches of minimum ground clearance (from the lowest point under the vehicle)". I'm don't think I'll take that tour, but it got me thinking about a small lift. I mean, an extra inch or two of clearance is better than not having enough, right?

That said, I am aware of the negatives of getting a lift that I might not really need. I'm fairly short and a lift will make getting into the truck a little harder, loading the bike onto the hitch carrier harder, maybe even reaching the hatch a bit tougher on uneven ground. I expect it might negatively effect the gas mileage. And might even make the ride harsher, unloaded.

So... is it possible to get a small lift, say 1.5 to 2.0 inches and still not mess up the comforts of the stock suspension too much? Or should I stay stock?

Anyone have any comments to help me choose?
 

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Small lift or cheap lift? There are different kinds of lift.

Yes 2” lift is worth it for me, I prefer the higher hatch clearance. And clearance on the trails. Travel distance, ride/suspension stiffness, bottoming out, all addressed or ignored when adding a lift.
 

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Registered - From Westminster, CA, USA
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I put a 2” lift because my suspension was worn (130k). New shocks, coils and springs.
And I really like the upgrade.

if you like the way it rides now , shoot, keep it as is.

maybe look into aluminum skid plates?
That way you’re protected if you go on tougher trails, and it’s not gonna sink you’re ride height too much with them being light weight.

If you decide to upgrade, all dogs off-road is excellent. Customer service and shipping/product selection has all been great in my experience
 

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I did pretty much exactly this. My experience has been wicked due to using quiklifts on a 2wd, the lift went up too much in front causing a cascade of part by part sourcing to even out the rear lift / rake.

Buuuuuut, for a 4x4 it'd be a piece of cake. Rancho QuikLifts front, and some longer matching RS9000 series rear Frontier shocks plus new OME CS061R leafs would put u in the 1.5" range. The benefit of this is adjustable damping all the way around. Can be set to soft or hard depending on ur activities. I've found the appeal of that is pretty great.

Whole thing can be had for right around $1k and the shocks are lifetime warrantied. 2wd issues notwithstanding, I love the setup. AFAIK it's the only adjustable damping system out there that's not wildly expensive. Good luck!
 

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I'm a big fan of a suspension upgrade vs just a lift. In the case of my OME (Old Man Emu) setup, it's not just a small lift (~1.5") it is a better suspension that helps the truck handle better in all situations, whether on road or off pavement. It is a slightly firmer ride but I prefer that. Definitely more stable when loaded up with some gear.

The clearance improvement is helpful, but also the increased approach / breakover / departure angles are helpful when crossing washes.

A suspension upgrade (with mild lift) would probably be the first thing I would do before any other major modifications if I bought a new to me Xterra. So yes, it's absolutely worth it IMO.
 

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2014 Metallic Blue X
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I'm not sure what tire size you are running, but if its 265 stepping up to a 285 is a pretty easy way to gain some ground clearance while on stock suspension. Might need to do the melt mod to get them to fit but its usually pretty painless. Plus it keeps your suspension stock so it doesn't change the ride much.
 
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In factory form an xterra is a very capable vehicle. With this being said. You really have not tested your X to see if a lift fits your needs or not

In my case, I would be ok with an upgraded skid and no lift.
 

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^ What he said.

My current Xterra is on completely stock Pro4x suspension, no lift and I have BFG KO2s in a 285 and I've gone everywhere I've needed to go. I've even walked right up some obstacles I was sure I'd bottom out on. Start wheeling as it is, you'll be surprised.

One thing to remember is that yes, a lift will give you more ground clearance for the undercarriage, but you're limiting factor will be your rear diff and front control arms (to a smaller extent. You can have 15" inches of lift but if you're still on stock tires your rear diff will still have stock clearance. That's why I've never fully understood guys that go for a 2" lift but stick with 265's - their rear diff clearance never changed. By simply going to 285's you've increased that rear diff clearance by roughly 0.75". 1.5".

Personally, I'd invest in skid plates before a lift. But that's also because the type of "wheeling" that I do doesn't call for much articulation.
 

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Just to add, last labor day weekend we took our X to Colorado and did Cinnamon Pass, part of Mineral Creek, and Poughkeepsie Gulch with the only mods being sliders and 285s. Main reason I got a lift is because my suspension was tired, bottoming out on small bumps in the road, and it was on sale for not much more than buying everything to replace the stock stuff.
 
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That's why I've never fully understood guys that go for a 2" lift but stick with 265's - their rear diff clearance never changed. By simply going to 285's you've increased that rear diff clearance by roughly 1.5".
I look at the handling improvement of a suspension upgrade as almost more important than the small lift that comes with it, but the approach / departure angles benefit from a lift even if the rear diff clearance doesn't.

And upping tire size from 32" to 33" gets you about .5" more rear diff clearance, not 1.5". Your clearance increase = one half of the diameter difference. To get an extra 1.5" of diff clearance from tires you'd have to increase tire diameter from 32" to 35".

Edit to add some real world measurements from my Xterras:

BFG KO2 265/75R16 (nominal 32" tire) clearance under rear diff = 9.5"
BFG KO2 285/75R16 (nominal 33" tire) clearance under rear diff = 10"
 

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In factory form an xterra is a very capable vehicle. With this bring said. You really have not tested your X to see if a lift fits your needs or not

In my case, I would be ok with an upgraded skid and no lift.
This. Honestly, get the Xterra out on several trails first. See what it can do and then decide what you need. 285/75 tires is a great place to start. Skid rails and skid plates could be just as useful as a lift and not impact performance as much as a lift.
 

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I look at the handling improvement of a suspension upgrade as almost more important than the small lift that comes with it, but the approach / departure angles benefit from a lift even if the rear diff clearance doesn't.
We're talking MILD off roading here, not crawling up and over obstacles. My point was ground clearance, and ground clearance only.


And upping tire size from 32" to 33" gets you about .5" more rear diff clearance, not 1.5". Your clearance increase = one half of the diameter difference. To get an extra 1.5" of diff clearance from tires you'd have to increase tire diameter from 32" to 35".
You're correct-ish. A 265 is typically a 31.5" and a 285 is around 32.8, so about 0.75" difference, but that's splitting hairs. I referred to overall tire size and shouldn't have. Edited.
 

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Agree w
I look at the handling improvement of a suspension upgrade as almost more important than the small lift that comes with it, but the approach / departure angles benefit from a lift even if the rear diff clearance doesn't.

And upping tire size from 32" to 33" gets you about .5" more rear diff clearance, not 1.5". Your clearance increase = one half of the diameter difference. To get an extra 1.5" of diff clearance from tires you'd have to increase tire diameter from 32" to 35".
was gonna say the same.
The upgraded suspension overall is the key benefit
 

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‘06 Super Black S 5AT & ‘10 Knight Armor OR 5AT
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Sliders*, skids, and 285’s before a lift.

Unless, as mentioned, you get a lifted suspension for near the cost of oem height to potentially replace tired components.

But keep in mind that as you lift the $ factor shoots up FAST.
Lots of “add ons” to get the happy, not clunky, easy to align, lifted bliss.

*There’s sliders that have steps built in, fyi.
 

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I have done this thought experiment a bunch (I am not lifted). Going through my head again because I am probably needing new coil overs soon anyway. For me it always comes down to price and available product.

The best "cheap" way by most opinions around here is 1/2 inch spacer + 5100's set at an inch which gets you 1.5 inches in front. Everything I have read is that it should ride close to stock, but not perfect because your still preloading the spring.

If you want it to actually ride better the next step up is new springs. OME has a 1.5 inch coil spring, but most who have had them over the years say they sag pretty quick, which used to pretty much leave you with Radflo's which are pretty expensive for a "small" lift not to mention they seem not to last all that long.

ADO has recently come out with their 2 inch coils, which means you at least now have a choice of something reasonably priced - however they haven't been around all that long so we will need to wait to see how they hold up.

If your going to lift 2 inches then you likely need cam bolts - so your now likely cutting out the lower control arm to get the cam bolts out so add control arms to your budget, along with the time to swap them. At 2 inches some guys do run into coil bucket contact, which means new upper control arms. Your little lift just became a lot of money.

If anyone has a better solution to this please share.
 

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2014 Xterra PRO-4X
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great feedback people!
I really have to think this through.
My truck has 275/70-16 on it from the previous owner. So I'd probably only gain 1/4" with a 285/70.
But it's still worth getting the 285's when I need new tires, I'm just not going to rush it for the 1/4 inch.
Interesting all the comments on skids before a lift... are the stock Pro-4x skid plates that worthless?
 

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Interesting all the comments on skids before a lift... are the stock Pro-4x skid plates that worthless?
Have you been under there to look at 'em? They're not great. Like, maybe 20 gauge steel at MOST. They'll scrape over stuff and protect from light abrasions. But I really doubt their effectiveness on a hard hit.
My partner's Jeep Renegade's plates are twice as thick as my Xterra's XD
 

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Re: Factory skids.

In regards to the factory skids being worthless or not, I would say it depends alot on what sort of offroading your going to do. The factory skids are little more than stamped sheet metal. If your not planning to bounce your X over rocks or other hard items, the skids may be of some assistance as sliders of sorts.

A cheap option for those riding established trails ( my area of the country) is to place a couple factory skids together .
If your wishing to roll / bounce over rocks, this is definitely not a choice.
Basically, be honest with your intent and choose accordingly.
Loading your vehicle down with unneeded weight is not a good option in todays gas crunch.
 

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Re: Factory skids.

In regards to the factory skids being worthless or not, I would say it depends alot on what sort of offroading your going to do. The factory skids are little more than stamped sheet metal. If your not planning to bounce your X over rocks or other hard items, the skids may be of some assistance as sliders of sorts.

A cheap option for those riding established trails ( my area of the country) is to place a couple factory skids together .
If your wishing to roll / bounce over rocks, this is definitely not a choice.
Basically, be honest with your intent and choose accordingly.
Loading your vehicle down with unneeded weight is not a good option in todays gas crunch.
To add, I'd say the factory skids are just fine for overlanding or maintained trails. That's all I have and all I've ever done and I've never had an issue even with some moderate rocks and wheeling.
 
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