A New Fun Tier: Will’s Solid-Axle 2002 Nissan Frontier

    A New Fun Tier

    Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

    When it comes to midsized pickups on the trail, Toyota seems to rule the market. However, that doesn’t mean there are not some formidable contenders. The challenge for many usually isn’t the want to build other midsized pickups, but rather the lack of aftermarket support that is holding them back. However, Will Saric’s ’02 Nissan Frontier is a prime example of just how far you can take a mini-truck by searching out the right parts.

    Having owned the truck for 10 years, Will, an FAA A&P mechanic has steadily transformed the Nissan from a high school daily driver to the trail machine it is today. Starting off with a base-model extended cab SE version of the truck, he understood that for the truck to handle his projected tire and adventure goals, the original independent front suspension would need to go. Having the know-how but needing a little help with the execution, Will worked with RPN Offroad in Goode, Virginia, to convert over from IFS to a solid front axle.

    We caught up with Will on some trails in North Carolina. Watching the Frontier work off-road was just as impressive as the level of build quality that runs throughout the truck. While most of the modifications have been done to help the off-road performance of the truck, Will states a cage is one of the next things on the to-do list to increase safety. Though it may be unconventional, we enjoy seeing high-quality builds such as this one mixing up the off-road landscape.

    At a Glance

    Vehicle: ’02 Nissan Frontier
    Owner: Will Saric
    Stomping grounds: Greensboro, North Carolina
    Build time: 10 years

    Engine: 3.3L Nissan V-6
    Transmission: Jatco RE4R01A
    Transfer case: TX-10A
    Low range ratio: 2.02:1
    Crawl ratio: 31.39:1
    Front axle/differential: Diamond Axles housing, Yukon Gear & Axle hubs, solid spindles, Reid Racing knuckles, ARP studs, H233B third member, 5.57:1 gears/ARB Air Locker
    Rear axle/differential: Nissan with H233B third member, 5.57:1 gears/ARB Air Locker

    Front: Rugged Rocks Off Road SAS kit, Barnes 4WD three-link, Currie Johnny Joint rod ends, 2.5-in 14-in-travel Sway-A-Way coilovers
    Rear: Custom Alcan Spring 6-in-lift springs, King 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks
    Steering: PSC Motorsports pump and fluid reservoir, Redneck Ram steering gear and cylinder

    Tires: 37x12.50R17 Cooper STT Pro
    Wheels: 17x9.5 Raceline Monster beadlock

    Armor: RLC Welding & Fabrication front bumper, ShrockWorks sliders, RPN Offroad rear bumper
    Cool stuff: Wilwood front D52 front calipers, R1 Concepts front rotors, JE Reel Driveline front driveshaft, Flex-a-Lite fans, Optima YellowTop Battery, Cobra 29 LX radio, ARB onboard air and recovery gear, 48-in Hi-Lift Jack, Factor 55 ProLink
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