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When pavement meets dirt, Beautiful British Columbia
When life on tarmac isn't enough. This section is for 4x4 Offroad Events, Pics, Discussion. Places to test your truck, Techniques and Skills. Everyone of all skill levels are welcome. Got a wicked campsite you would like to share? Discover the great outdoors, gear discussion etc.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:13 AM   #1
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Introduction to 4x4 and the world of overlanding

so on a whim i went down to Plain,WA for the Northwest Overland Rally with a buddy, and had a BLAST. So i came back with a plan to get started overlanding, the wife and I have decided on a Nissan Xterra in the 2005 to 2007 Range and im wondering if any of you fellow revsceners out there have any recommendations on things to buy first and where to start getting setup for some nice overlanding

some questions you may be asking
- I want an Xterra because of my Loyalty to the Brand, I don't really like the look of a Jeep, a LR is too Expensive/Unreliable. and the Offerings from toyota are way to expensive, don't get me started on my experiences from Dodge/Chevy/Ford

-Thinking about a roof top tent definitely, and if anyone has any experiences with setup for cooking and those things.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #2
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Have you been to this site called Expedition Portal? They have tonnes of information related to overlanding from vehicle modifications to trip logbooks!
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:34 AM   #3
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The Xterra is a very good choice, i have one myself built for expedition. First thing you need to decide is how serious you want to get into it. Budget and if its mainly onroad vs offroad. But the first basic thing to do to increase its offroad capabilities will be better tires. Then mild lift if you have the garage clearance. Let me know if you want to know anything. Also check out thenewx.org. anything you need to know about xterra's.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:07 PM   #4
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How about a Tacoma? Heard great things about them for overlanding.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:09 PM   #5
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Tacos are great trucks, my dad has a 07 and a 2011 and he loves them.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:44 AM   #6
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is it just you and the wife?

how long do you plan on being off grid?

do you plan to travel alone or with another vehicle?

my personal recommendation would be to go with a land cruiser or 4runner.

here's a good read on expedition portals top 10 vehicles:

Top 10 Used Overland Vehicles | Expedition Portal

if i were looking at an overlanding vehicle right now i'd probably see if i can bring a 100 series from the states and build that. HUGE international support for the vehicles. i've seen plenty of 4runners and land cruisers drive from alaska to argentina. excellent reliability with lots of aftermarket goodies to get you where you need to go. if not a 100 series land cruiser i'd probably opt for a tacoma
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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Its just me and the wife, probably 2 weeks at a time, and some weekend trips in the winter, we are going to travel with a buddy who has a Series I Land Rover Discovery, i want to be as independent as i can, this will be a purpose built rig that will see only light DD use (when my spec is down and out) looking to put 30s on it, mild lift, rock sliders, winch, roof tent maybe, possibly a rollout awning, ARB Cooler, second battery

that should probably deal with my budget for a while. OH and so the wife is happy, it has to be the Construction worker yellow color.
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:40 PM   #8
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probably do with 33's. But maybe it does not apply to over landing. But it will help you clearence between ground and axle
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:44 AM   #9
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i just thought 33s would be MASSIVE. wanted to stick with something a little smaller, be able to fit in underground parking still :P
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seekerbeta View Post
i just thought 33s would be MASSIVE. wanted to stick with something a little smaller, be able to fit in underground parking still :P
i have a 3" lift with 35s i fit in all underground parking lots that i have gone, but then i dont have a roof rack or anything like that so yeah
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:04 AM   #11
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i have 33's on at 3" lift and i always smash into the parking warning pipes. I do have a roof rack and sit about 6'8 aprrox to the top of the roof rack
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:17 PM   #12
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33's arent all that bad.

my suggestion is to go with a flat baja expedition rack

here's a pick of one conveniently on top of an 80 series lc



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Old 08-28-2014, 02:19 PM   #13
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I'm Toyota loyal so I'd say a Taco first, then Land Cruiser, then 4Runner. I have a gen3 T4R myself. If you're stuck on the XTerra see if it has the trans cooler running through the rad. If so, block it and get a TruCool/Hayden/B&M trans cooler. Yota guys refer to this as the "pink milkshake" problem and I've heard that the Nissan's can suffer from this as well.

33's are a nice size tire. You don't need a big lift to run these as you can do some pinch weld pounding and trimming to get clearance.

I'm just getting started on my T4R so keep us posted as I need some inspiration!!
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:01 AM   #14
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^ a very common mod for most guys with auto tranny.. lucky mine is standard so didn't have that problem. Us nissan guys call it the strawberry milkshake of death
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:55 AM   #15
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Yeah, Nissan has a few designs like that (QR25DE EGR) and i knew about the milkshake problem, one of the first upgrades i would do to it before bigger wheels would be to prep the transmission for the extra load. has to be automatic so the wife can drive.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:56 PM   #16
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You are well on your way sir!
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:07 PM   #17
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honestly i would probably run the smallest wheel/rim that will clear your brakes sufficiently.

i'd prefer having more sidewall for ground clearance and also when you air down it'll also make a larger contact patch.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:54 PM   #18
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So when is the next noob friendly 4x4 meet?
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Old 09-02-2014, 04:17 PM   #19
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Firstly, welcome to the awesome world of vehicle assisted backcountry camping!

Secondly, disregard the rampant Toyota fanboyism from everyone in this thread.

Thirdly, buy a Toyota.



Okay, so I'm a little bored this afternoon so you're all going to get my rambling thoughts on vehicles, camping and travel. Let me preface all this with, spend a few (countless) hours on Expedition Portal, the vehicle specific forums, the trip reports, the specific tech subforums and let the overwhelming sea of opinions and experience wash over you. Expo is probably the best overall (informative/civilized/helpful) forum I've ever visited and it's well worth making your new home. Now, for what it's worth, a lot of the advice there is going to be highly specific, as vehicles are built to very different specs depending on their home region and the areas that they will be travelling through. I'll share some of my thoughts on your questions and the comments in this thread now.

Let's start with vehicle choice. There is nothing wrong with an Xterra, a Frontier or an old Patrol. Now, that being said, I do not believe that they are the best choice for a serious overlanding vehicle in general. I feel like the main reason why older Toyotas in general are chosen as the premier overlander is worldwide availability of parts and expertise for fixing them. Odds are really good that when your Land Cruiser breaks down in Buttfuck Nowhere, Africa or Random Swamp, South America there will probably be parts within a few hundred kilometers of you, and at a much more reasonable cost than for example trying to source LR parts or shipping specific aftermarket components from a different continent.

This leads me to two points; A) being if you are travelling solely in the United States, Canada, or Baja California then availability of Nissan parts is going to be less of an issue for you, and frankly even the general ruggedness of Toyotas become less important the closer you stay to civilization. The vast majority of people are not going to get into the hobby of overlanding and immediately (or ever) set out to spend a year on the Pan-Am. Appropriate expectations while constructing your build are important as if you're like most people you will end up building and upgrading and rebuilding many times over the years as you gain more experience and as your needs change. B) entails not excessively altering your vehicle. Some thoughts on this: Broadly speaking, rock crawlers and boggers make for atrocious overlanders. For a general purpose expedition vehicle I would make a strong case for leaving the engine and suspension as stock as possible. Now I am normally the first person to say that body and spacer lifts should be avoided at all costs but for an overland vehicle I feel that it is the only lift you would want. Obviously you will desire a larger tyre for offroad clearance, but if you break something in the middle of nowhere or even just a small town somewhere think about how long it may take you to get a replacement 2-4 inch lift spring, shock with appropriate travel, aftermarket control arm, etc. I guarantee you that waiting a week and a half in a small village in northern Alaska for a part once will offset any increased enjoyment by being able to go to slightly gnarlier places the other trips.

In terms of North American overlanding I feel like the sweet spot tyrewise is going to be a 265/75r16 or preferably a 255/85r16 (equivalent 32/skinny33) tyre. There is generally decent availability of these sizes, we don't have much for deserts or other terrain where flotation from a larger, wider tyre is preferred over traction (disregarding winter travel, but that's a whole different set of needs again). You can fit those tyre sizes under a 4runner/Xterra/Cruiser with minimal or 0 effort and will get you to most any place you'd want to take your vehicle if it is your sole lifeline in the middle of nowhere. I'm a fan of an aggressive all-terrain for overlanding, currently I prefer the Toyo At-2's, Nitto Terra Grapplers and the Cooper S/T Maxx. I like my current BFG KM2's but I don't think I personally would put a mud tyre on a vehicle that was seeing expedition travel.

You're right on the money in terms of expectations from your second post in this thread about what you'll want. Sliders/skids are an absolute must for any vehicle that goes offroad that you want to ensure gets back home under it's own power. A full steel winch bumper or just a winch is a pretty debatable point. If you can justify the weight, giving protection to the rad is worth it but where you travel and whether there are lots of animals around will put that further up or down on the need/don't want but need/want scale. In my opinion the other completely necessary items for the start of the build are an isolated secondary battery setup with or without solar charging components, onboard air, a combination fridge/freezer (double compartment) by Engel, ARB or National Luna, and some sort of communication gear. RTT's and Awnings aren't quite what I would call essential gear. They're great to use and certainly improve quality of life on the road, but for me at least they're in that secondary category with stuff like onboard hot water. Out of those three at least I'd say that a RTT would be top of that list, followed closely by the ability to take a hot shower. This shows how regions travelled can change things though because in the desert I'd obviously prioritize an awning over hot water, which you wouldn't be able to use.

Earlier I mentioned communication gear. Go and get yourself and anyone else you'll be travelling with licensed as an amateur radio operator. Short of satellite phones or 406 MHz EPIRB it will give you the best possible chance in an emergency to contact the outside world and will dramatically improve vehicle to vehicle communications over CB, FRS, GMRS radios. PM me if you want more information on getting licensed or radio gear.

Anyways I've been rambling through various bullet points in my head for like an hour now trying to make a hopefully helpful post so I should probably give my brain a rest for a bit. I'll close with another confirmation that while I don't think that a second gen Xterra is a poor choice for you I will say that overall durability, aftermarket and OEM part availability, know-how and support is probably tipped in the direction of a Yota, but there are plenty of people who've made great Nissans too (too bad TuRD's photos are down, he had what I would consider to be optimal for your situation - http://www.revscene.net/forums/59997...06-xterra.html).


edit: I'll expand on all this later most likely as I'm not sure how much of it makes sense even... I was pretty drunk all weekend and my head isn't entirely clear yet. Sorry.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:05 PM   #20
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So now it begins!
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:18 PM   #21
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congrats on your new purchase.

here are some suggestions:

shrockworks front winch bumper


shrockworks rear bumper


Old Man Emu lift kit


toyo open country ct's



you'll want to replace the factory skids down the road and slap on some sliders. maybe re-gear and run air lockers front and rear. etc etc.

oh yeah, a gobi rack or baja rack for the roof and a nice roof top tent



happy modding
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Old 10-30-2014, 08:21 PM   #22
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^ aannnndddd there goes 10 grand.

Start small as I'm sure your adventures will be more mild in the beginning and progress as your experience requires more equipment.

Have fun, and be safe... And if you can travel with at least another vehicle.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:03 PM   #23
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Plans are as Follows

New Rock Sliders + Side Step
ARB Rear Airlocker
ARB Onboard Compressor
Aussie Locker for Front
Add a leaf to stiffen the rear
front winch bumper and winch.

that will be to start. i want to leave the tires on it that it has right now so i can still fit it in my garage
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:39 PM   #24
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I would go the opposite way with your lockers if I was you.

VERY much a pain in the ass to daily drive a 4x4 with a lunchbox locker in the front, your front end will pull you everywhere once you get up to speed in 4wd. Ask me how I know, I had Aussies f/r in my old Yota and although I could go literally anywhere driving down a snow/icy street in 4wd was a little hairy especially when I put the skinny pedal down.

That being said since you're already going ARB in the back you might as well save up for an extra month or two and just get an ARB in the front as well.
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Old 10-31-2014, 06:46 PM   #25
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i would leave the front diff open to be honest. ifs and lockers dont mix. ifs and from detroit lockers REALLY dont mix.

invest and get arb air lockers. that way you can just run the locker when you need it and it wont cause premature tire wear or added stress to your diff.

if you're going to run a front winch bumper AND a winch you will definitely want to upgrade the suspension FIRST or concurrently while doing that.

stock suspension and all that additional weight up front will get you the nose dive effect which can be dangerous.

my biggest piece of advise to you would be tires. good tires can get you further than a lift or lockers will with shitty tires.

i would go in this order.

1) suspension
2) tires
3) armor (skids and sliders)
4) winch bumper
5) lockers

honestly for the bulk of your driving you really wont need a locker. i have one in mine and i rarely use it. i would get a lift and a nice set of tires and start getting your feet wet. theres no real need for any of the other stuff until you start rock crawling or taking really difficult trails.
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