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350 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Joleen, after the Zac Brown remake

Updated......Atlas finally showed. Highly unsatisfied with my AA experience.

Intro Comments: This is going to be a long evolutionary process but I figured I might as well get the process started. Parts list:

Username: mulemarine

Truck Nickname: Joleen

Make: Nissan
Year: 2005
Model: Xterra
Trim: Off Road 6MT
Color: Night Armor


Drive Line:
Rear Dana Super 70 off 2004 3500 express van. ($150 from craigslist)
Front Dana Super 60 from 2006 F350 Super Duty. ($300 from craigslist)
63" Chevy 2500 rear leaf springs ($75.00 from junkyard)
FOA 14" coilover shocks ($200 craigslist brand new)
Rear Detroit ($200 Ebay. Military Surplus)

Wheels and Tires:
16.5" Goodyear Wrangler MT miliary OZ tires, for now. ($150 a piece 90% tread from trailworthy fab. Great guys to work with!)
16.5" hummer rims. ($50 a piece
Future tires hope to be 40" pit bulls.

Mounting equipment (I bought most of this to save fabrication time):
Ruff Stuff Ideal Chevy 63" Spring Swap. ($230)
Ruff Stuff Front 3 link coil spring mounting kit. ($750 with discount Ouch!)

Still Needed:
Locker front
5.13 ring and pinion front
Front and rear driveshaft


Now for the fun stuff:

Front and rear axles just waiting for a home:

16.5 Hummer rims:

Pre-fabbed mounts (Saved a TON of work):

Preparing the front axle. F250 D60 SD has a lot of extra meat to clean off before it can be used:

Somehow these guys will fit:

Won't be needing this anymore:

Setting up the rear. Tires tuck better than I thought they would for a full size D70:

With the 67" Chevy springs mounted:

Finished the rear and backed it out of the garage to start on the front. Ass end stuck up so high I had to use about six ratchet straps to squat the springs enough to get her out of the garage.

Front end. Hover mode engaged:

Won't be needing this anymore either:

Framed needed some stiffening after cutting out the massive IFS crossmember:

Wrestling the massively heavy D60 into place:

Going to another home:

New trans crossmember and link mounts:

Measure, cut, weld, test. Measure, cut, weld, test.....over, and over, and over again:

Ran into a hiccup. At droop the springs were rubbing the frame so I had to modify the mounts and push them out a good six inches:

For some reason this was the scariest part for me. I wanted to make sure my coilover mounts would be solid, but did not know if people typically drilled the frame and pushed the mounts through, or if it was ok to just weld plates to the frame. I opted on the side of caution and did both:

Track bar mock up:

Finally standing on her own four feet, again:

Limit straps:

She's finally starting to take shape. She sits way taller than I was hoping she would. To be honest, I had no realistic idea of where she would sit with the 14" coilovers. I could lower her down several inches if I had extended the coilover mounts into the engine bay, but my time is running out before the wife takes the garage back for the winter time:


After what seems like months (12 actually) she sees daylight again. I decided to go the other way with and get in touch with the Latino cutlure. Bagged all four corners and added super low profile tires :):

OK, J/K......I actually had to compress the rear springs about 1.5 inches to squeeze her out of the garage. Ya, I drove her out on the rims, I'm sure the neighbors were wondering WTF? I had some trouble getting the O-rings to seat properly on the splite rims so I didn't get all four tires back on before I ran out of daylight. Unfortunately I had to leave one hanging so I'll post up some pics once I get all four shoes put back on her tomorrow.

Left to do (It never really ends does it?):

Fit rear shocks (need a forklift, or an incline to stretch her out a little bit)
Air compressor (For zip locker)
Atlas 2 (On hold for now)
Brakes still not as firm as I would like them.
Looking forward to getting this thing on the road, and off road and letting her stretch her legs.

Build has been on hold for a while. My wife and I celebrated our fourth child in April. Between the new kiddo and finishing my Masters Degree I've been stretched thin. I did get the chance to stretch her out a little bit this weekend. Front limit strap still had a small amount of slack in her. I need a steeper and bigger Still need a measurement for my rear shocks.


TNX Senior Administrator
20,667 Posts
:headbang: Nice start to a mighty fine Xterra Page, mulemarine.

350 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Reworked the rear shackles a little bit to give them a little more clearance. Was able to pull her out of the garage. The garage got get a good cleaning before starting on the front. Looks like a sawzall is going to be my friend for most of the Anyway, few pics:

I had to let all of the air out of the tires, and compress the rear springs about 3 inches to get it out of the garage. You can still see the ratchet straps and the jack under the axle prior to be reseating the bead.

Back in the garage she goes and started on the front:

This last image tells me I need a bigger garage to fit all my junk. Ugh...

350 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Been a while since I updated the thread. Build has been kind of slow the last few weeks but, finally, it's starting to pick up again.

I started unbolting everything, accept the front diff, fighting 10 years of dirt and grime when I finally decided enough was enough. Brought out the sawzall and the grinder again:

Most everything chopped out. Just need to build a front crossmember and cut the stock one out.

Mocking up the front crossmember:

After installing my new crossmember it came to me that I think the mounts are going to interfere with my steering box.

OH well, on to more destruction. Chopping out the stock crossmember. Sure wish I had a cutting torch. I was just barely able to squeeze the sawzall in there to get most of it chopped out:

One last smack with the hammer brought it down.

Started mocking up the front D60. Holy smokes this thing is a lug. Think I'll head down to trail worthy fab tomorrow and pick up two more tires. Had trouble keeping the axle on the stands while playing with the pinion angle. This week I plan on getting a final placement for the front axle and adding a second crossmember in there somewhere. I used 1.75 dom but when compared to the girth of the stock crossmember I feel as if I should add a little more reinforcement.


350 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
A little teaser, it's been a while since I last posted progress. (hope this turns out ok, posting from my phone)

Need to clean the axle up and throw some paint on after I reinforce that top link and panhard bar mount a little more. I'm really hoping to disengage hover mode this weekend. Need to figure out the power steering (to and from the pump), find someone to build a driveshaft, and grab some front brake lines and i think she'll be about drivable.

350 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
For the first time she stands on her own four wheels. Still a lot of cosmetic work to do but she's coming together. Pretty sure I'm going to have to build a custom front driveshaft with a pillow block. Otherwise, only thing left is gears, driveshafts, and break lines and she's ready to rock and roll....oh, and some spray paint :)

She actually sits A LOT higher than I was shooting for originally. I was really wanting to keep the center of gravity to a minimum, but I didn't want to take the added time to extend the hoops up further into the engine bay. Probably going to have to live with it for now until I get her out of the garage. The wife is getting a little impatient wanting her parking spot back :).
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