Serious 2001 Nissan Frontier

    On the Trail of a Built Nissan

    Jay KopycinskiPhotographer, Writer

    Some years back Aaron and Natalie Pennell acquired the 2001 Nissan Frontier truck you see here, but it didn't look much like it does now with the exception of the factory silver paint. The truck had been 'wheeled quite a bit and pushed beyond the limits of the stock Nissan drivetrain. They soon realized they wanted to build the truck into something more that could get them across tougher trails in the Southwest.

    Since then, the IFS has parted ways with the truck, stronger axles have been added to linked suspensions, a stronger t-case has arrived, and rolling rubber has increased. Aaron has done a good majority of the build himself, working out of his carport.

    The Pennells now have a truck that is far more capable to get them out exploring their favorite areas in the backcountry. With a thoughtful approach to a tubular bed design, the truck can be set up compactly for tougher trails or reconfigured with more bed space for camping runs.

    Aaron is still pushing for a little more strength in the drivetrain, and we've seen photos of a Dana 60 housing he's started building as a replacement for the front Dana 44. He hasn't experienced a lot of carnage with the half-ton axle, but he's looking to push the truck harder and the 1-ton-rated axle he has planned will allow him to tackle tougher trails with greater confidence.

    This isn't your average Nissan Frontier, and it wasn't meant to be. This Frontier sees regular desert use and has been built for more serious pursuit of trail fun!

    Vehicle: 2001 Nissan Frontier
    Owner/Hometown: Aaron and Natalie Pennell/Tempe, Arizona
    Engine: 3.3L V-6 with factory supercharger
    Transmission: Stock Nissan four-speed auto
    Transfer case/low range: Atlas 2/5:1
    Front end: High-pinion Dana 44, Yukon chromoly shafts
    Rear end: Ford 9-inch, Dutchman 35-spline shafts
    Ring and Pinion: 5.38 (front), 5.42 (rear)
    Front Differential: ARB Air Locker
    Rear Differential: Grizzly locker
    Suspension: Custom three-link with panhard (front), Custom triangulated four-link (rear), 14-inch FOX Racing coilovers
    Tires: 37x12.50R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
    Wheels: 17x8.5 MB Razor aluminum
    Extras: Custom tubular bed, custom console with steering brakes, 2007 Nissan Xterra seats, custom winch bumper, and Warn M8000 winch