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1999 Nissan Frontier - Nissan Convert

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 1, 2009
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What do you do when you have a 2WD truck but a buddy convinces you that you need to be out wheeling 4WD terrain? If you are Greg Ahaszuk of Sahuarita, Arizona, you find a way to get a transfer case and another driven axle under your rig.

Greg picked up a bank-repossessed '99 2WD Nissan Frontier back in 2002 with the intent of making it a lowered street ride. After one trip out with that friend, John James, Greg changed his plans. He soon had some 31-inch tires, a 4WD rear axle, and a Fabtech lift kit for the front. With his new setup, he tackled what he could with a limited-slip rear-driven axle.

When time and funds allowed, Greg bought a salvage 4WD Frontier and cannibalized the steering box, transmission, and transfer case for a paltry $350. With a bit of dirty work and some fabrication, he had a 4WD sitting on 35-inch tires. Following the drivetrain swap, Greg built a tubular bed to replace the factory sheetmetal in back. It's a more appropriate body style for tighter trails, but still retains cargo hauling function for weekend camping trips.

In the end, all it took was one fateful weekend to turn this truck from a pavement pounder to a dirt chaser.

PhotosView Slideshow
Wheeling tight Southwest trails means venturing into ever tighter ravines where rocks seem to jump out and bang straight sheetmetal. Greg opted to remove his factory bed and replace it with a tubular cage and flatbed that still works for hauling camping gear into remote areas.

Tech Specs
1999 Nissan Frontier

Engine: Stock KA24DE 4-cylinder
Transmission: Stock 4WD manual
Transfer case: Stock with 3.92:1 Calmini gears
Front Axle: Dana 44, Lock-Right locker, Warn Premium hubs, 4.88 gears
Rear Axle: Stock 4WD H233B, spooled LSD (added friction discs), 4.91 gears

Front: Rancho 44044 leaf packs, Rancho 9000 shocks, custom shackles
Rear: Stock 2WD with Calmini add-a-leaf, custom shackles, Rancho 5000 shocks
Tires & Wheels: 35x12.5-15 BFGoodrich M/Ts, 15x8 steel wheels
Steering: Stock 4WD steering box, 3/4-ton Chevy TREs/DOM tubing, Rancho stabilizer
Other Stuff: Custom front bumper/skidplate, custom sliders and tubular bed, Krylon camo paint job

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