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1990 Nissan Pathfinder - All Grown Up

Posted in Features on January 5, 2015
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When Steven Lutz was five years old, his parents purchased a brand-new ’90 Nissan Pathfinder. Little did he and his parents know, the Pathfinder would still be a part of the family 25 years later, though in a significantly different form.

You see, the Pathfinder you’re looking at here is the same rig his parents purchased all those years ago. Steven is now the owner of the rig, as well as the owner of Rugged Rocks Off Road, a company that says it’s “a leader in pushing development of Nissan off-road aftermarket performance parts.”

“I grew up riding in this Pathfinder, and it was what was used to get me to preschool. It ended up being my first car, and it eventually got built up with the rise of Rugged Rocks Off Road, and it’s now synonymous with the Rugged Rocks company and brand,” Steven says.

The solid-axled, 37-inch-tire-shod SUV is no over-the-top, big-dollar rig. It has in excess of 300,000 miles on the ticker and is regularly used off-road and as a daily driver. The Pathfinder and Steven have spent the majority of their life together, and it’s clear that they’re both all grown up.

The faithful VG30E 3.0L V-6 engine has racked up over 300,000 miles and still resides under the hood of the SUV. Steven is currently making plans to swap out the factory block for a 3.3L V-6 from a ’00 Frontier. For now, the engine’s mods only include a set of free-flowing Doug Thorley headers and a custom exhaust made from 2.25-inch-diameter tubing.

At A Glance
General
Vehicle: 1990 Nissan Pathfinder
Owner: Steven Lutz
Stomping grounds: Fontana, California
Build time: Six years

Drivetrain
Engine: Nissan 3.0L V-6
Transmission: FS5R30A five-speed manual, AMSOIL fluid
Transfer case(s): Advance Adapters Atlas II, AMSOIL fluid
Low range ratio(s): 5:1
Crawl ratio(s): 107:1
Front axle/differential: Diamond Axles axlehousing, Dana 60 kingpin inner “C’s,” Reid Racing steering knuckles, Revolution Gear & Axle axleshafts, Yukon manual locking hubs/Nissan 5.57 gears, ARB Air Locker, AMSOIL gear lube
Rear axle/differential: Stock Nissan, Rugged Rocks truss/Nissan 5.57 gears, ARB Air Locker, AMSOIL gear lube

Suspension
Front: Rugged Rocks three-link, 14-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner dual-rate remote-reservoir coilovers
Rear: Rugged Rocks four-link long-arm, Rubicon Express 5.5-in-lift coil springs, Bilstein 5125 shocks
Steering: Rugged Rocks-fabricated pitman arm, Artec Industries high-steer arms, spherical rod-ended tie rod and drag link

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 37x12.50R17 LT BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
Wheels: 17x9.5 Allied Wheel Components RT81 beadlock

Miscellaneous
Armor: Trail-Gear rocker protection
Cool stuff: Solid axle conversion, mostly stock body, rear swing-open tire carrier

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