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Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Intro Comments: My goal: A capable overland vehicle and photography platform.

Username: nworker
Ham: Yes Call Sign: N6HWW

Xterra's Nickname: PiXterra

Make: Nissan
Year: 2015
Model: Xterra
Trans: Auto
Trim: PRO-4X
Color: Brilliant Silver


- BullyDog Tuner w/ChargerCity Multi Angle Mount
- Volant Cool Air Intake Kit
- XTP Intake Manifold Spacer (Awaiting Install)

- Dual Odyssey PC1200MJT batteries
- DC Power Engineering 270A Alternator
- Upgraded ground and alternator wiring
- Valentine One Radar Detector
- Uniden PRO520XL 40-Channel CB Radio w/RoadPro RP-550 36" Ring Tunable CB Antenna
- Yaesu FT-7900R Dual-Band 144/440 MHz Ham
- Dual battery setup using Blue Sea ML-RBS Remote Battery Isolater/Combiner
- Isolating solenoid for winch
- Solar charge system
- Victron 75/10 MPPT bluetooth enabled charge controller
- 100W Flexible Solar Panel
- Cutoff relay for all house circuits​
- Two house circuits
- Front Cabin
- 11 solenoids behind center console
- 6 switches in headliner instrument cluster
- Front LED bar
- Rear LED bar
- Dust Light
- Rock Lights
- Rear Compartment
- 4 solenoids behind passenger cubby
- Smittybilt 2780 2.54 CFM Air Compressor in Wheel Well
- Inverter
- Rear cabin light
- Dometic CFX-65DZ Portable Electric Cooler Refrigerator/Freezer​

- Melt mod
- BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A 285/75R16 KO2
- Radflo 700 lb Coilovers
- OME Leaf Springs
- Removed Rear Sway Bar
- PRG U-Bolt Flip
- Timbren Bump Stops
- PRG Diff Bushing Kit
- Delrin Rack Bushing Kit
- PRG Variable Height Shackles
- 2 Degree Shims
- PRG Upper Control Arms
- Hellwig 500 EZ Level Helper Spring Kit

- Removed Mud Flaps
- Wade 72-69485 In-Channel Wind Deflectors
- Hi/Lo Beam 5000K Color Temp HIDs
- JDM 1200 Lumen Fog Light bulbs
- P&P 5 Piece 1/8” Skid Plate Set
- Rocky Mtn Xcessories Winch Mount
- MaxDesign Sliders
- MaxDesign Rear Bumper and Swing Gate with Rotopax mount
- LED Reverse and License Plate Bulbs
- Rotopax 1-4 Gal Gas, 1-2 Gal Gas, and 1-2 Gal Water
- Gobi Stealth Rack
- Gobi Passenger Side Ladder
- Gobi Hi-Lift Attachment
- Gobi ARB Awning Attachment
- ARB 2000x2500 Awning
- ARB Awning Room with Floor
- Thule Roof Box
- Raingler Roof Net
- Extreme Off Road Lighting 40” LED Light Bar
- 14.5" Kohree 90W CREE Led Light Bar
- LED dust light
- Trasharoo Spare Tire Trash Bag
- 2 PRO-4X Rims with Full Size Spares
- Smart Touring System Quick Fit Brackets

- Rear Diff Breather Extension
- No-Spill Oil drain system
- PRG Aluminum Front Diff Mount Inserts
- PRG Delrin Suspension Rack Bushings
- ARB m226 Aluminum Diff Cover
- ARB Front Air Locker

- Rugged Ridge Rear Grab Handles
- Kenu Airframe Smartphone Mount
- LED Dome Lights
- Heps Designs MOLLE Window Panel
- Heps Designs MOLLE Tailgate Panel
- McMaster-Carr 175 lb Rear Struts
- Raingler Interior Net
- Rubbermaid ActionPacker Storage Box, 8-Gallon
- Coleman 9-Quart Excursion Cooler
- Rexing V1 2.7” LCD 170 degree Dashboard Camera
- Rugged Ridge All-Terrain 82905.10 Black Front Row Floor Liner
- Coverking Ballistic Tactical Seat Covers

- WARN M8000-s Winch
- WARN Medium Duty Winching Accessory Kit
- Hi-Lift 48” Jack
- Hi-Lift Handle-Keeper
- Hi-Lift Off-Road Base
- Hi-Lift Lift Mate
- LITE-WAY Recovery Traction Mats
- Fiskars X15 Chopping Ax


GoneMoab 2016

Panamint Valley 2017



Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have not used the mats yet.

They are thinner than my friend's Maxtrax mats.

The question I have is: How will they perform when there is a void under them. They seem sturdy enough.

337 Posts
Wow. I am impressed with your build specs, a very utilitarian approach but still sexy. Many thumbs up.

Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Added Power to Rear Cabin

I recently installed a compressor in the passenger rear wheel well which required me to run power back to that area. While I was at it I put in a switch for a refrigerator. Here is my experience that might be helpful.
I used 4AWG welding cable for the line back from the battery to the wheel well.

I purchased a crimper and lugs for the cable.

Right after coming off the battery I put in a resettable circuit breaker.

I ran from the breaker over the front wheel well along the frame rail, over the rock slider arms for extra support and zip tied it all in place to the rear passenger side. I removed the interior wheel well liner which required laying down the back seats, remove the cargo tie down bolts and a handful of those christmas tree connectors and 1 or 2 hex bolts, on that is in the cargo cover receptacle. There is a screw hidden in the cargo cover bracket. I drilled a hole through the floor board and ran the cable into the vehicle. The cable is protected as it passes through the floor board with some fuel hose as a gromet.

In the rear wheel area, I installed a Blue Sea fuse block.

I mounted four relays on the wheel well.

From Otrattw, I built a four position switch block and mounted the switches on the wheel well cover in the recess to protect them from being bumped. I powered their lights using a line running down from the dome light. I figured I would have the hatch open any time I wanted to access the switches.

Here is the finished installation.


Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Dust Light

Ordered parts and got my dust light mounted. Thanks to all who helped me track it all down.

First I had to get a custom rocker switch cover:

I ran four circuits through the roof grommet during my relay install project. Turns out the gobi rack has four cables running through the tubes from the front to the back. I used one of the lines for my rear facing LED light bar. I used the second one for the dust light. Both lights use the body ground to complete the circuit.

I decided to use this light bracket:

I ordered two and ended up using one. There just wasn't enough room to keep two out of the way. I think one will work fine. I used a dremel tool to cut the mount back a bit to get around the tube welds. It is really strong and for the size of the light it is a bit over kill.

I ordered this light:

I had a friend cut a backing plate in which I drilled a 1/2" hole for the cable to pass through. The light is attached to the backing plate with two #6 screws.

The light has several blinking configurations selected by grounding the yellow wire. I picked the long blink, trimmed the wire, crimped the wire into a butt connector filled with silicone, and wrapped the whole thing in some silicone filled shrink tube. I think it will be water tight.

Final installation:

I added double sided tape to eliminate the tie wraps.

Professional Amateur Wanderer
453 Posts
Curious, which front LED light bar did you install? I am awaiting my GOBI rack now, and realized I need a light bar. Bumpers and winch are a go, installed everything by myself.

Professional Amateur Wanderer
453 Posts
Thanks for the info. I have yet to hear back anything about the group buy from TrailDuty for the Gobi rack. I hope it arrives in time for the next adventure.

Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
2nd Battery Project

A couple friends asked me to post pictures of my second battery installation. I basically followed How-to: Dual Battery Install - Under the Hood ( I won't go over the basic design as GeoXplorer did a fantastic job. I'll a rundown of the differences. The hardest part is fabricating a new Power Steering Reservior mount and a new battery tray. I have a friend who welded the tray.

Here is the final result:

I have two house circuits: One house circuit runs into the cabin to 11 solenoids behind the console with a branch used to power light bars, dust lamp, and rock lights. The second house circuit runs to the back a bank of 4 solenoids with only one currently used to power an onboard compressor in the wheel well. To keep the house circuits from draining the battery, I used the tail light control switch a solenoid to activate the house circuit.

I installed a second battery separated from the main to allow me to run the house circuits without worrying about draining the main battery. I used a pair of Odyssey PC1200MJT batteries.

The first decision: Where to put the Power Steering Reservoir (PSR)? GeoXplorer moved his toward the firewall and ChrisHaynesUSA had his moved closer to the side of the engine compartment. After much internal debate, mostly about how to plumb the PSR, I decided to move it towards the firewall.

The next problem: I couldn't find any 9/16" hydraulic hose after searching and inquiring. I went with 5/8" and wrapped the PSR and the metal hose with Silicone Self Fusin stretch tape to take up the 1/16" extra clearance. There is no pressure to speak of on the hose, so it is a matter of creating an oil tight seal.

Now the PSR bracket. I used I ended up using 2"x2"x1/16" Aluminum angle. I drilled the holes as described and then used a piece of copper pipe as a spacer rather than do the bending of GeoXplorer. Not the best solution, but it worked. The rubber bushing is compressed and I used Locktight Red to make sure the nut wouldn't loosen. It is really sturdy.

More importantly, there are no leaks.

For the battery tray, I liked one of the solutions using shelving channel 2 1/4" x 1 1/2" 14 gauge. My friend cut and welded up the tray. I took the tray and mounted one bolt on the wheel well.

The next two required additional welding. As a second mount point I cut the material and then bend down a tab.

Finally, for the third point, I used some shelving material welded to the tray and a nut welded to the back. All of this was powder coated.
To mount the battery switch I had another piece of shelving welded to the side of the tray. Here is the result:

I went with the Hellroaring Battery Isolator BIC-95150B to isolate the batteries and provide charging for the auxiliary battery. I mounted the BIC to the wheel well next to the 100 AMP house circuit breaker.

For a battery hold down, I used aluminum channel:

Here is the finished project:

An important tool was a cable crimper.

It really helped that I could make any cable.

Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Winch Solenoid Installation

I talked with Surf and Sand on the Black Rock trip to get another brain on the fusing. He said what I had looked good. He recommended having a disconnect switch for the winch. "It is important the winch only run when you want it to run. " Makes sense to me...

I ordered this solenoid:

I then visited my local electronics store and picked up a switch and a cool switch cover. I did some careful measuring and found the solenoid would fit on top of the battery. Here is what I ended up with for the mounting and the switch.

And here is the switch fuse:

Works good and now the winch is offline until explicitly engaged :smile:

Desert Explorer
330 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Front Locker

It never pays to get to talking with a fellow gear guy. I was talking with @LNXPenguin when I decided to get an ARB Front AirLocker. I ordered it and this week I got serious about installation. After exchanging messages with @Mr. Bills, I found Kenny in San Bernardino who was recommended by Steve at Rugged Rocks here in SoCal. With an installation date negotiated, it was time to install the compressor and the switches.

First the compressor:

Word to the wise, you have to install the valve before the pressure switch and all before putting back in the air box. It took me taking the airbox out a couple of times to get it all together. Oh and I used the Permatex 80631 Thread Sealant with PTFE to make sure I had a good seal on the fittings.

Then the wiring and switches:

Looks good and holds air!

Next I took off two armor plates so we can get to the pumpkin, and then it is off to Kenny's place.
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