4 cylinder Nissan Frontier - new stuff

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4 cylinder Nissan Frontier - new stuff

Postby noseoil » Sun May 15, 2016 2:24 pm

We're doing a long trip for the first time this summer, so I've been looking at a couple of things for the truck. It gets good gas mileage (20.5 towing), but is low on power on hills & mountains, so we just drive slower & wait for things to work. It's a 2007 with 80K miles on the clock, but has been maintained well since it was new. It's a plain vanilla model with cruise, stereo & basic stuff & a manual transmission. Here's what we're doing on the truck for a couple of long summer trips.

The rear suspension is a bit soft with the hitch, camper, coolers, water & other stuff for a longer trip, so I'm adding a set of the Firestone air bags to help level things a little at the rear end. On our recent trip to New Mexico, I noticed some "squatting" for the first time due to some extra stuff & weight, so the air bags will take care of that for us. The truck is rated at 1/2 ton & 3500# towing capacity. It won't take much air pressure to even things out & a small bicycle hand-pump is all that's needed for a shot of air to level the truck.

New tires; I'd run the old set over 50K miles & they were 6 years old. I got a set of good Michelin radials at Discount with a rebate card, so we have some new sneakers on all four corners. It always amazes me to see & feel the difference in ride, handling & steering when new tires go on a vehicle. Not sure if we will get a bump in mileage, but the ride is very smooth now. Biggest worry with the old tires was a load at highway speeds in the heat. The freeways around us are littered with blown tires from the heat in summer. No worries now so this is checked off the list.

Brakes; we still have the original brakes in place & they have about 35% of their life left, but I'm concerned about stopping power on hills at speed, so I did a bit of digging & found a good deal on some better rotors (slotted & drilled) & better pads. I was concerned about brake fade at high speeds, since the trailer doesn't have its own braking system. At some point I may change axles & do a brake setup on the trailer, but for now we're in good shape. Hopefully the new brakes will make stopping a bit safer & better.

That's about it for this summer towing season. Belts & soft parts were done at 60,000 miles, along with a brake system flush, coolant replacement & synthetic lube in the rear end & transmission. New filters were just done. The suspension looks to be good still, so no shocks are being done this year. Next year I'll probably do all four corners on those as well, but for now we're about ready to roll.

This trip will be from Tucson to Wyoming & the Dakotas. In August, Bonneville is planned, so there's a few thousand miles coming this summer.
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Re: 4 cylinder Nissan Frontier - new stuff

Postby noseoil » Sun May 29, 2016 8:13 am

Make sure to get the right air bag system if you order online! I had to order twice, but they're in place now & I was able to return the 1st set.

I had a sort of funny vibration in the drive line, so it went into the shop for that. Bottom line was the carrier bearing was shot, split drive-shaft on the Frontier. I chose to have the driveline re-balanced, new U joints with zerks & a new carrier bearing installed. Better than new now, so that one's scratched off the list.

This week will be a new brake setup in the front. Drilled & slotted rotors, heavier pads & we're ready for the summer trips!
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Re: 4 cylinder Nissan Frontier - new stuff

Postby noseoil » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:58 am

Brakes are in & we've had our first trip with them & the air bags. Big difference between the airbags & the new slotted /cross-drilled rotors & ceramic pads. Better ride, firmer suspension with a better feel to it now, with the extra load of two coolers, the air conditioner & a small added generator. The brakes were tested on some 6% downhill grades & the pedal stayed firm, with no fade or other bad stuff to report. Just added about 15 psi to the air bags to level out the ride again.

These are two good changes you can make if you're a bit soft in the rear suspension or needing to replace front brakes anyway. Air bags were $320 & rotors with new pads were $205, both bought online. Lucky to a have a good mechanic at work, who did the completed job for $100 total labor for both installations.
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