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Breaking New Ground

Posted in Features on June 2, 2004 Comment (0)
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The first time the OR staff testdrove Nissan's first entry into the fullsize truck market, the Titan, we had the same reservations that most folks did. Our questions about horsepower, towing capacity, styling, fit, and finish were squashed, however, the moment we got behind the wheel of the all-new pickup. The power was there in spades. The transmission shifted so smoothly, we didn't even feel it move from First to Second gear, and we'll be damned if it wasn't a great looking truck.

The next obvious questions were how good would one of these bad boys work off-road, and what would the truck look like with a smart lift and a big set of donuts. CST Performance Suspension in Riverside, California, gave us our first real dose of Titan off-road action shortly after last year's SEMA convention with its as-yet-unreleased long-travel suspension system and styling changes for its R&D mule. The truck looked the part of a real off-road warrior and indeed performed accordingly. In fact, it's probably the first bolt-on suspension system that has ever made this editor think about buying a new truck just so he could install a new suspension. It's that good. No matter how big the whoop, table top, or rut owner Chris Robinson railed the truck through, the BFGs were bound and determined to stay on the ground.

The reason for the spectacular suspension action is CST's commitment to R&D and tuning. The Titan's independent front suspension and considerable frame and body dimensions gave CST plenty of room to fabricate a set of 4 inches wider than stock tubular A-arms with provisions for not only a 2.5-inch Fox Racing Shox coilover, but also a triple bypass damper. The upper and lower arms are built from DOM tubing and are connected via a set of fabricated lift spindles that pivot on spherical bearings. The combination provides super-plush suspension action, 8.5 inches of lift, and 14 inches of suspension travel. While touting big numbers does nothing, watching this truck rip across the desert drives home the point that this setup works.

The rear suspension is much simpler. The crew at CST fabricated the bedcage in a matter of hours, adding upper mounting locations for another pair of Fox 2.5-inch-diameter, 16-inch-stroke triple bypass dampers. A new multileaf spring pack from Deaver locates the rearend, giving it plenty of bump and droop action. The rest of this ride is just as cool as the underpinnings. Starbucks Customs of Riverside, California, kicked down the slick paintjob. Glassworks Unlimited provided the flared fiberglass fenders, and Wired for Sound of Murrieta, California, did right by the interior. As with the full-custom prerunner-style vehicles that have already rolled out of the CST facility, this one kicks butt and takes names.

Specifications
•Owner/hometown : CST Performance Suspension/Riverside, California
•Year/make/model : '04 Nissan Titan
•Suspension : Rear: custom long-travel IFS with Fox Shox coilovers and triple bypass dampers; Rear: Deaver leaf springs and Fox Shox coilovers
•Wheels/tires : 17x8-inch KMC with simulated bead locks/ 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Baja Project T/As
•Accessories : Glassworks fiberglass fenders; Fiber Images carbon-fiber hood; B-Cool Billet grille; paint by Starbucks Customs in Riverside, California

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