Do you remember when you were 23 years old? Or maybe it's that you aren't quite there yet. How many of you have had 10 well-built trucks in that time? Kyle Phillips' '04 Nissan Titan is the tenth truck in his string of modified vehicles. Kyle has been working hard as a Harley-Davidson technician for a number of years, and through hard work he has been able to afford to get himself involved in the money-pit hobby we all know as off-road vehicle modification.
During a recent trip to the desert, a buddy of Kyle's introduced him to Gary Farrell, owner of NCD Customs. Gary's red Nissan Titan graced the pages of Off-Road's April '06 issue when it showed us just how well it could perform in the dunes outside of Palm Springs, California. Gary was working with the guys at Boneyard Fabrication in Ventura, California, on a new cantilever suspension system that instantly piqued Kyle's curiosity and interest. Eventually, all three parties and their respective bodies of knowledge teamed up to craft one beautiful off-road machine.
The next time you're out in the desert, spend some time looking underneath the rear ends of some of the prerunners and see how many are running a cantilever suspension. You'll quickly learn the answer is not many. The reason why you don't see it very often is typically cost of fabrication. Boneyard Fabrication wanted to step up and create something different that would also produce great wheel travel and stability for truck owners who like to go fast in the dirt. Boneyard also did its best to keep the cost as low as possible for consumers. The rear suspension on Kyle's Titan was fabricated and installed by Boneyard; this included all welding and frame boxing for extra strength. Because the tension and load points of the rear end are dramatically changed for this type of suspension, additional strength concerns needed to be addressed. The rear shackles and hangers had to be relocated 3 inches rearward, and all frame sections needed to be completely boxed in to assure the frame would not be the failing point. NCD Customs fabricated a beautiful set of billet pivot boxes to really make the suspension look trick. Another advantage to running a system like this is the ability to gain wheel travel while still keeping the suspension under the bed of the truck, thus leaving the stock bed intact to carry a full load of equipment, dirt bikes, or whatever else.
The shocks chosen for the rear are King 2.5x12.5-inch double-bypass shocks with reservoirs and 2.5-inch King air bumps with 4-inch stroke. Together with a set of Deaver Spring leaf springs, they achieve a travel measurement of 18 inches. That's a ton of wheel travel for an under-the-bed suspension system. All the tube work was performed by Boneyard using 1.75-inch by 0.120-wall 4130 chrome-moly tubing.
Up front, the suspension includes NCD Customs' Titan long-travel kit. The kit uses 4-inch-wider-per-side, billet-aluminum upper A-arms that also relocate the wheels 1 inch forward for extra tire clearance at the firewall. King 2.5x10-inch coilovers are used, running 600-pound coil springs in conjunction with King 2.5-inch air bumps with 4-inch stroke. The suspension lifts the front of Kyle's truck 5 inches and is fully adjustable. We measured the travel for the front end at 16 inches. Combined with the rear, this truck had no problem roaming the Barstow desert for our photo shoot. We pushed the Nissan pretty hard and never felt out of control, and even through some of the tougher sections the suspension soaked up whoop after whoop with ease.
The tire-and-wheel combination Kyle chose includes Pro Comp Xtreme Alloy 17x9 wheels that have a backspacing measurement of 4.5 inches and a set of 31x12.5R17 BFGoodrich M-T tires. Glassworks Unlimited provided the front and rear fiberglass fenders which give enough clearance for Kyle's 37-inch meats. Mike's Auto Body laid a fresh coat of silver paint on the Glassworks panels to match the rest of the truck's body. Like the rest of the tube work, the front bumper was constructed of 1.75-inch 4130 chrome-moly tubing by Boneyard Fabrication and holds a set of Hella Rallye 4000 off-road lights. The front skidplate is made from 3/16-inch aluminum.
The remainder of this truck is basically stock, but it won't be for long. If you attended the last Off-Road Expo in Pomona, California, you may have seen his truck on display. In order to make the show, everyone who contributed to this project had to work day and night for seven days straight to get everything fabricated and installed in time. Hard work does pay off - this Titan is proof of that.