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Community: Translating Intakes

Thanks to community member Chris Gregg for writing this article!

 

Translating Intakes

Before starting this process, I spoke with other enthusiasts about their experience modifying automotive intakes. I wanted to know how they decided which intake to run, what information they wish would have been available from the start, and are there things they still find confusing. Given the inherent differences between engines (number of cylinders, engine displacement, single vs double overhead cams, etc) and the application of more complicated intake designs (single throttle body vs dual throttle bodies), it’s difficult to address everything someone might need to know about intakes in such a brief article. Therefore, we will be speaking generally on how intakes work, establishing the “rules of thumb,” so you can have an accurate understanding and ultimately make an informed decision for your particular application.

At a glance, factory intake systems still resemble early versions when fuel injection was at its infancy. You have a box that filters the air, an intake tube creating a pathway for air to travel between the filter box and engine, a throttle body controlling air entering the upper intake plenum, the upper intake distributes air into individual runners leading through the lower intake manifold and subsequently enters the head(s), where the air is finally directed into each cylinder by way of the intake valves. The role each component plays in affecting airflow into the engine is indeed complex. Adding to that complexity, modern engines incorporate systems like variable length intakes, swirl valves, and air straighteners that go unseen by most enthusiasts. How intake modifications subsequently affect engine performance is often based on the notion factory designs are restrictive and therefore diminish power and performance. Although this is often true for older vehicles (1980’s and 90’s), modern intake system designs have become progressively better designed and tend to flow air beyond what the engine needs under normal daily use. So then why does replacing the intake tube and filter on newer vehicles result in driver observations of improved throttle response and acceleration? Intake design is a balancing act between multiple factors for manufactures. A few examples being production cost, fuel economy, durability/longevity, and how changes impact the engine’s power-band. Just because a system flows well does not mean it performs equally across the power-band or that it is without limitations. To understand why a modification results in an improvement, we really need to know where the factory system least efficient?

As we begin talking about efficiency, it’s necessary to understand the relevance of atmospheric pressure, which is estimated at 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level. Of course, atmospheric pressure will differ based on various factors such as elevation above sea level (less than 14.7) or below sea level (greater than 14.7 pounds per square inch). During a cylinder’s intake stroke as the piston travels down, air pressure is decreased inside the cylinder. The speed at which this occurs creates a sudden pressure difference between the low pressure at the cylinder compared to the higher atmospheric pressure outside of the intake system, resulting in air being drawn into the cylinder. Because engine cylinders access air through the intake system, they are not directly open to the atmosphere and subsequently will not see full atmospheric pressure – meaning a decrease in pressure at the cylinder occurs. The efficiency of the intake system ultimately determines how much atmospheric pressure is lost at the cylinder. The extent that an intake system either decreases pressure (bad for efficiency and power) or increases pressure (good for efficiency and power) is referred to as volumetric efficiency. Any part of an intake system that restricts airflow (slows it down) is considered a reduction to the intake’s volumetric efficiency. By identifying barriers and making changes to improve the intake system’s volumetric efficiency (achieving pressures closer to 14.7 pounds per square inch), we will subsequently improve engine performance because we have decreased the amount of pressure loss through the intake. To determine what causes intake restrictions/decreased pressure, let’s get a little more in-depth about behind-the-scenes functionality of factory intakes.

 

The starting point for air entering the system is the intake air box, which is at the furthest point from the engine. The primary purpose of the intake box is to house the air filter (more on that a little later). Depending on design, these boxes may draw air from outside the engine bay via a short tube running into the fender or location in front of the radiator/behind the grill. Intakes that draw air from outside the engine bay are referred to as Cold Air Intakes (CAI). In other vehicles the intake may pull air from the engine bay; possibly drawing air from behind the headlight, so that while the vehicle is stopped warmer air is collected. Once moving, the cooler outside air comes in around the headlight and grill making this intake design what is referred to as a Warm Air Intake (WAI). You will often see people refer to any intake that draws air from inside the engine bay as a Hot Air Intake (HAI) because air temperatures under the hood are naturally hotter than the air outside the vehicle.

It is important to understand where an intake system draws air in. Simply, warmer air reduces the power output of the engine while cooler air will increase power output. This is due to the fact cooler air has increased density; allowing a greater volume of air molecules to be packed into the same space. The benefit of cooler air is factored to be one horsepower for every ten degrees of change. Naturally this works both ways: consumption of 10* warmer air will result in one horse power loss and 10* cooler air will result in one horse power increase. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when you figure air inside the engine bay can easily be 40* (or more) hotter than the air outside of the vehicle, you can see how temperature alone can result in a change of four horse power. For this reason, it is important to ensure the intake you choose is drawing air from the coolest source possible. Considering your typical daily routine, how much time do you spend sitting in slow moving traffic, higher speeds on the interstate, or off-road at low speeds and higher rpms/greater engine load? These are necessary questions to ask yourself in order to determine how to approach upgrading your intake system.

The next component is the intake pipe, which is effectively the super highway for air traveling from the air box to the throttle body. The intake pipe has several important components to note. First, the mass air-flow sensor (MAF) will look like a small box or “fin” with a group of wires plugged in to it. The MAF sensor reads a percentage of the air volume entering the intake as well as air temperature then communicates these readings to the engine control unit/module (ecu/ecm) in order to assist in maintaining proper fuel management. Specific to the ability of the MAF to properly function is the internal diameter of the intake pipe. Pipe diameter is often ignored when installing an aftermarket system, yet is critical given the MAF sensor is calibrated to measure a set percentage of incoming air volume based on the internal diameter of the pipe. If the aftermarket pipe was to have a larger internal diameter, instead of the MAF reading 10% of the air volume as calibrated, it may now only be reading 6%. The consequence is a leaner air/fuel mixture where the engine lacks sufficient fuel. If significant, a lean condition will inevitably cause damage to the engine. Another component of the factory intake pipe may look like a larger “box” attached along the side. This hollow box is called a Helmholtz Resonator. The Helmholtz is basically a muffler for the intake system, which significantly reduces intake noise. Although it is easy to assume the Helmholtz creates a restriction to airflow, the design places it on the outside of the intake pipe and therefore creates no impairment to the air traveling through the system. When installing an aftermarket intake, this component is excluded, becoming the primary reason intake noise is now more audible. It’s a common misconception that increased noise from an aftermarket intake is solely the result of increased airflow.

Depending on the factory intake design, it’s worth mentioning a couple other important engineering aspects to pay attention to. You may observe a honeycomb or cross-hatched screen at some point along the intake pipe, before and/or after the MAF, or immediately after the throttle body. These air straighteners are purposeful and necessary due to their ability to stabilize airflow. Air turbulence can be problematic because it acts as a type of restriction, causing decreased air volume further along the intake path or interfere with the MAF reading properly. Despite the straightener appearing to be an obstruction, it actually serves to increase volumetric efficiency by stabilizing the incoming air, improving intake air velocity, and inevitably aiding the air in forming vortexes (little tornadoes) further along the intake path. These vortexes are actually very organized and stable pockets of compacted air, a critical part of the airflow dynamics inside an intake. Second, inside the air box, you might observe a short section that is wide and turned outward at the opening, then narrows down to the same diameter as the intake pipe. This “bell” shaped opening is referred to as a velocity stack and aids the transition of air into the intake. Velocity stacks are like interstate on-ramps. Their purpose is to transition particles from a slow moving/high pressure side to the fast moving (high velocity)/low pressure intake side. Just like an on-ramp: the goal is to accelerate as you enter the flow of traffic on the interstate. Once on the interstate you have a greater volume of particles that are also traveling at a higher velocity. Another benefit of velocity stacks is that the transition of particles is smoother (less turbulent). As we have already discussed with air straighteners, reducing air turbulence is critical for maximizing airflow in order to get the most from your intake.

As we begin to consider installation of an aftermarket intake we need to take a look at the air filtration system. Inside the factory air box you will find a “drop-in” panel filter. The panel filter is designed to clean the air coming into the intake; removing dust, bugs, pollen, or other contaminants. Although they do a great job, factory filters tend to be restrictive and contribute to lower volumetric efficiency. Further consequences of a restrictive filter is that it takes more energy to pull air through. With the engine having to work harder drawing air in there is inherently a small loss of efficiency and power. Comparatively, performance filters offer a less restrictive material for significantly improved airflow and increased volumetric efficiency at the cost of filtration.

The most common filters you will see are the “oiled” or “dry-flow” filters. Aftermarket systems will include one or the other, with a select few giving you the option of which filter style you prefer. Oiled filters use an application of oil on the material to increase filtration by trapping contaminants. Dry flow filters refer to the absence of oil being used, leaving the material alone to trap contaminants. Both do an effective job at filtering, yet you will still see a lot of debate about which is best. The main argument centers on the use of oil and potential for it to damage your expensive MAF sensor. The reality is oiled filters don’t cause a problem when they are new. Problems result when owners remove the oiled filter, clean them, and then reapply fresh oil. Failure to allow the material to dry properly (Oil and water don’t mix!) and/or over saturation during re-oiling is to blame for oil being pulled from the filter material and coating the sensitive MAF; inevitably causing a failure. In the end, it’s up to you as the buyer to determine which best suits your needs. If you are comfortable cleaning and reapplying oil, then those types will work well for you. If you are not as comfortable, or simply wish to avoid the more extensive and costly cleaning process required of oiled filters, then the dry flow is likely the better choice. Additionally, given reduced filtration, use of an aftermarket filter should be given careful consideration if you live in an area with higher levels of dust, pollen, or other contaminants in the air.

If we were to simply install a less restrictive panel filter in the factory air box, we know it will reduce the amount of work the engine is doing to pull air in as well as improve the volumetric efficiency of the intake system. Now that the engine isn’t working as hard and the intake system is more efficient, a small amount of power is reclaimed, resulting in an estimated improvement of 3 to 5 horsepower and torque on most engines, specifically those with little to no other modifications. Certainly, factory engines that have larger displacement or are performance tuned from the factory may see more. Generally speaking, this is the maximum benefit that should be expected from installing a less restricting filter alone. This means simply upgrading from the factory drop-in air filter could achieve the same amount of power as installing a full aftermarket intake system. Depending on application, when a performance drop-in filter will typically cost less than $50 as compared to the majority of intake systems are over $150, that translates into a good amount savings for other mods that could add to your driving enjoyment. So under what circumstances does replacing the entire factory intake air-box and tube have any benefit?

The factory intake itself can cause restrictions to airflow. These restrictions may be the result of build quality (material intruding into the intake path), pipe diameter, the number and severity of bends in the pipe, or poorly designed transitions between air passages. As the number and extent of restrictions increase, the more air volume and velocity will be reduced, resulting in lost efficiency. When looking at aftermarket options, systems that offer an improved build quality and a design that reduces the number and severity of bends is preferred. There is definite truth in the saying the best way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. So the more direct an intake path you can achieve, you can also expect increased air velocity and improved volume. Something else to consider when looking at aftermarket intakes is the construction material. You will notice they are most often made from either aluminum or plastic. Depending on your vehicle, the material could be a significant factor to consider. Aluminum will be more susceptible to absorbing heat from the engine bay, subsequently transferring some of that to the air flowing inside and increasing air intake temps. The pathway/location of the intake pipe will play a role in the extent heat affects the pipe, and should be considered when deciding which intake to buy. Keep in mind with certain applications, aluminum intakes will have little to no impact on intake air temps, so definitely don’t exclude aluminum as an option for your setup. This is an excellent example of how vehicle pages and forums can offer valuable information regarding different intake designs specific to your vehicle.

In regard to further stabilizing airflow for maximizing air velocity and volume there are a couple things we already know will work. You may have noticed that some aftermarket filters have a large opening where it is supposed to connect onto the intake. This opening is purposefully designed for a bell mouth/velocity stack. Velocity stacks are a fairly common component that are added to join intake pipes and aftermarket cone filters. As we already discussed, bell mouths help to smooth airflow as it transitions from the air filter into the intake pipe, further increasing air intake velocity as well as volume. While not all aftermarket intakes will have a velocity stack as part of the system, those that do are likely to outperform other intakes, specifically in the higher rpm range. For the truck community, the application of a velocity stack is less critical for low end power, but it will still function to smooth out airflow entering the system as well as provide a benefit to power in the upper rpm’s at no risk of losing power on the low end. A second way to stabilize airflow is to use an air straightener. While most aftermarket intakes fail to include these, likely due to added complexity and cost, they can be purchased individually and added into the system. Depending on the engine and other mods, you might expect to see 2hp from use of a bell mouth and/or air straightener. I think it’s important to emphasis, like all the other modifications we are discussing, bell mouths and air straighteners don’t “add” power, they reclaim power otherwise lost to inefficiencies inherent in system. By stabilizing airflow you can improve the MAF’s ability to monitor incoming air, increase air velocity as well as volume, and you allow the best conditions for vertices to form along the air path. This further enhances overall volumetric efficiency for the intake and provides engines the best opportunity to make the most power – limited only by restrictions elsewhere (ie. exhaust and tuning).

When considering intake options it’s necessary to discuss differences regarding intake length and the effect on engine performance. Although intake length should be viewed as the distance from the cylinder to the entrance of the intake system, any modification that increases or decreases the points between A and B applies to this topic. Simply, a shorter intake path will improve engine power in the higher rpm’s where a longer path will improve power in the low rpm’s. It’s worth noting, through the years more manufacturers have incorporated intake manifolds that are designed to offer the benefit of both. These variable intake air systems effectively shorten or lengthen the distance air travels before entering the combustion chamber. The result is a vehicle that benefits from both sides of the equation: allowing improved power down low when pulling out from a stop and once accelerated, shifting that power to the higher rpms where it is then most needed. The easiest way to alter intake length is to change the intake pipe itself. For truck owners that need low-end power for hauling, towing and climbing, keeping with a longer intake path is best. Conversely, lighter vehicles that benefit from power in higher rpm’s will benefit from a shorter intake path. While your factory manifold may use a variable intake, changing the intake pipe length will still have an effect on where in the rpm range engine power will exist. It’s worth emphasizing that typically you will not be gaining or losing power running a shorter or longer intake. You are simply moving that power up or down the rpm range of the engine. Once again we are back to the question about what you need from your vehicle given how you use it. Something to consider with shorter intake designs is the loss of a sealed air box which increases filter exposer to contaminants and allows the consumption of warmer air. Of course, if you want more power in the higher rpms, then it’s likely you will be traveling at a higher speed where increased airflow will drop under hood temperatures. At slower speeds, heat will further diminish engine power on the bottom end.

Regardless of the intake design you choose, pay close attention to filter placement and the potential for exposure to moisture. If the intake setup places the filter low on the vehicle or leaves the filter open it will be susceptible to submersion. If the filter is placed higher on the vehicle but remains exposed, it is still susceptible to water coming around the headlight and underneath the hood when raining or submersion if traveling through high water. The inherent design of true “cold air” intakes place the filter inside a boxed housing; reducing the ability for water contamination and submersion. Therefore, anyone looking for off-road adventures, choosing an intake that best protects the filter is ideal. It should go without saying, if water reaches your intake it is expected to also reach your engine, which would be catastrophic.

A critical component for off-road enthusiasts that builds on cold air intakes is the use of snorkels. Snorkels improve the intake’s ability to draw in air from the coolest source available. Not only is air pulled from outside the engine bay, it’s taken from an elevated position away from the heated asphalt/ground, and away from the vehicle’s body panels. Despite the notion snorkels are intended solely to keep moisture from entering the intake system during water crossings, they are also effective at providing the coolest air intake temps while also extending the intake path. As we have established at this point, these factors further benefit power in the lower rpm’s. However, there are limits – you can’t just keep extending the intake and it also continue to increase low end power indefinitely. Regretfully, there is a trade-off. Because we are adding bends to the intake path, there will be some degree of loss in volumetric efficiency. For this reason, the length associated with snorkels are not benefiting engine performance as much as the fact cooler air is being accessed. Given that snorkels can help drop intake temps several degrees, gains of 3 to 5 horsepower are reasonable, especially when compared to power achieved pulling air from warmer sources. Keeping in mind, under engine temps can get exceedingly high during off-road activities where little airflow and high engine rpms occur for extended periods of time.

Hopefully, this article has provided insight into the complexity of intakes and will aid in your search for the setup that best suits your needs. Once you have a clear picture of what your needs are, it definitely makes it easier to weed through the marketing behind generic descriptions and big claims manufacturers publish about their products. However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding knowledgeable resources. Although many look to the social media groups for answers, these tend to be micro-responses, subsequently lacking the depth and comprehensive knowledge which can be found elsewhere. Above all, don’t hesitate to ask for additional resources or research on your own to further educate yourself. Without question, the guys at Alldogs Off-Road have the experience and knowledge to help get you the answers and products you need! Good luck and stay safe!

Special thanks to Jake Justice, Virginia Gregg, and Douglas Sands!

 

 

Guides: How Large of A Tire Can I Fit On My 2nd Gen Nissan Frontier?

How big of a tire can I fit? :D

Awesome, you've just lifted your truck 2" with one of our ADO Complete Kits and now it's time for some new rubber!  A common question that we see being asked is "how big of a tire can I fit on my truck?  While this guide isn't going to directly answer that question for you, it will help you when it comes to making wheel and tire purchasing decisions for your lifted second generation (2005-2020) Nissan Frontier.  

Can I fit 33's?

Most guys and gals when looking for new tires for their 2nd gen Frontier are looking to fit a 33" tire.  33" tires give great ground clearance, fill out the wheel wells nicely, and (most importantly) do a better job of rolling over imperfections on the road and on the trail.  33" tires are certainly doable, but there are a couple things that you want to be mindful of - tire width and wheel offset.  These two variables (along with the amount of lift you're running) play a significant role in whether you'll end up with rubbing or clearance issues.  

Gimme the deets!

Tire width refers to the first series of numbers in a metric tire measurement - for instance, the "265" in 265/75r16.  This is a metric value for width of the tire, represented in millimeters.  The second series of numbers refers to the tire height.  Tire height is represented as a percentage of the tire width - for instance, the "75" in the given example means that the tire height is a value that is 75% of the tire width.  The final series represents the wheel diameter the tire is manufactured to fit - for instance, a 16" diameter wheel.  

Wheels are manufactured to specific dimensions which include: wheel diameterwheel widthbolt pattern, backspace, offset, bore diameter, and load rating.

2nd gen Frontier's most commonly come from the factory with either a 16" or an 18" diameter wheel, depending on the trim level of the truck.  The factory width is 7" on the 16" wheel and 7.5" on the 18" wheel.  The bolt pattern is a 6x4.5", also represented as 6x114.3mm.  The bore diameter on a 2nd gen Frontier is 66.1mm.  The factory 16" and 18" wheel is a +30mm offset. 

Goodness gracious, that's a lot of info!  No sweat though, we just want to focus on tire width and offset right now.  We've defined tire width but we haven't defined offsetoffset is the distance from the hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel.  In practical terms, the offset value is what determines the amount of wheel and tire "poke" you have, or how much the wheel is positioned inward or outward of the wheel well, and is represented in millimeters.  The lower the offset value, the more the wheel is positioned outward of the wheel well.  Common offset values range from +30mm to -15mm.  

So what's the rub?  Well, boys and girls, the recipe for rub is a wide tire and a low/aggressive offset.  For instance, a 285mm tire width and a -12mm offset.  The principle at work here is that as you push the wheel out of the wheel well it has a greater arc of swing.  That combined with a wider tire reduces the clearance needed to make turns at full lock and makes for an unhappy driver and inner fender.   

So, what do you recommend?  

There are some things that can be done to help reduce the risk of rub.  One popular modification is the "melt mod".  This involves using a heat gun to heat up the plastic inner liner and remolding it to give additional clearance.  Sometimes it's necessary to get a little snippy and trim the inner liner for clearance.  If you're running an adjustable upper control arm like SPC UCA's along with adjustable lower control arm bolts, it's possible to shift the lower control arm fully forward to give clearance. 

Our basic recommendation is to not run an offset lower than +10mm and to not run a tire width greater than 285mm.  We're really big fans of 255mm and 265mm tires at ADO.  

Where's the chart?!

Keep in mind this chart is for reference purposes only.   

Wheel    Metric Tire Size    Diameter    Width    Notes    
16"  255/85r16 33.5 10.1" Skinny 33", Fits w/ Minimal Trimming w/ SPC UCA's and Cam Bolts
  265/70r16 30.6" 10.5" Stock SV Size
  265/75r16 31.6" 10.5" Stock Pro-4x Size, Recommended with ADO Rckilla
  275/70r16 31.2" 10.8"  
  285/70r16 31.7" 11.3"  
  285/75r16 32.8" 11.3" Melt Mod & Trimming Required.  Beware of Aggressive Offsets. 
17" 245/75r17 31.5" 9.7" Common Jeep Take-Off, Easy to Find and Inexpensive
  255/75r17 32.1" 10.1"  
  255/80r17 33.1" 10.1"  
  265/65r17 30.6" 10.5"  
  265/70r17 31.6" 10.5" Very Common, Inexpensive
  275/70r17 32.2" 10.8"  
  285/70r17 32.7" 11.3"  
  285/75r17 33.8" 11.3" Will Require Significant Work to Fit
18" 265/60r18 30.5" 10.5"  Stock SL Size
  265/65r18 31.6" 10.5"  
  265/70r18 32.6"  10.5"   
  285/65r18 32.6" 11.3"   
  285/70r18 33.7" 11.3" Will Require Significant Work to Fit
Projects: ADO Forged Steel Upper Control Arms

Guys, you've been looking at lift kits. Everybody is telling you that in order to run the lift you want to run you'll need aftermarket upper control arms: "Your caster is going to be whack". So, you hit your favorite forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits to find the recommended brands. You get some info and hit your favorite retailer. You see the price... W.H.A.T.?!

Here's the thing - quality aftermarket upper control arms are expensive. Really expensive. They range from $500 to $800 to the end user and in most cases they're required if you're running more than 2" of lift on a vehicle with independent front suspension. We're here to tell you it doesn't have to be this way.

We can bring you upper control arms which correct for lift. We can do this for almost half the cost. We can do this leveraging American manufacturing and North-American raw materials. We've been in the automotive aftermarket industry for a decade. We can do it all. Well... almost all. What we can't do? Tooling costs.

 

Sound like something you'd be interested in?  Check out our Ingiegogo crowdfunding campaign!  We're crowdfunding in order to overcome the steep tooling costs required to produce closed-die forgings.  Link HERE for more info:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/american-made-forged-steel-upper-control-arms#/

If we can hit our goal before the close of the campaign we will be having UCA's manufactured for the following applications:

To help make this project a reality we've applied for and been awarded a grant from the State of Nebraska.  We're really excited for this project.  Help us get the word out there and help us make this project a reality!

 

Community: Get involved, get outside!

Are you looking to get your 4x4 outside and adventure but don't know where to start?

We've selected three offroading clubs across the US who share our passion for conservation, offroading, and adventure.

US East -

Central Appalachian Mountain Overland (CAMO) is a gathering of like minded individuals with shared love of outdoors, camping, offroad, and exploration. They pride themselves in being family friendly and planning beautiful routes though Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and surrounding areas.

US West -

NORAC 4x4 is centered around one core philosophy:

"We all are here for one reason and one reason only, our love of the wilderness, our want to do something good for the public, and to have fun wheeling."

NORAC (Nissan Offroad Association of Colorado) was founded by Nissan Offroad enthusiasts, but welcomes anyone who shares in their mission of conservation, community service, and offroading.

Midwest -

Flatlands Overland and Offroad (FLOOR) is local to Alldogs HQ, and exists to bring enthusiasts together, and get people outside.

 

These clubs are more concerned with the quality of members rather than the brand of vehicle they drive. We hope you can get involved with one of the groups and make lifelong friends as well as help keep our forests clean for those who come after us.

Tech: Cheap Shock Showdown / Cross Reference Chart

Hey guys!

We've spent some time compiling the extended and collapsed lengths of a number of budget-friendly aftermarket and OE replacement shocks and struts.  This is important information as it represents the amount of wheel travel a shock or strut will allow in a given application.  Note that this data isn't exhaustive and/or tell a full story about which is "best".  Besides the information recorded here there is data which we haven't had the opportunity to document such as force curves of each dampener, shock shaft diameter, shock body diameter, the quality of the seals used, the type of oil used, etc.  We hope to acquire a shock dyno in the future to provide the data necessary for a consumer to make educated purchasing decisions.  

Note that measurements provided are in inches and that these measurements are eye-to-eye or eye-to-stem measurements as provideded by a manufacturer.  Also note for Toyota 120 and 150 Series applications the Toyota 4Runner was used and for some applications some manufacturers may call for a differing partnumber (there may be differences in valving but the lengths are the same from T4R to FJ to GX).  

 

2G Tacoma Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-239370 22.56 17.03 5.53 Limited Lifetime
OME 90021 21.38 16.26 5.12
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-220 21.97 16.93 5.04 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71371 22.39 16.89 5.50 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341340 21.73 17.59 4.14 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51739 21.36 16.79 4.57 Limited Lifetime
           
2G Tacoma Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-186728 22.94 14.02 8.92 Limited Lifetime
OME 60091 23.58 14.17 9.41
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-705 23.82 14.25 9.57 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37270 22.20 14.06 8.14 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 344410 22.32 13.50 8.82 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G63885 22.24 13.56 8.68 Limited Lifetime
           
3G Tacoma Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-263108 22.22 17.58 4.64 Limited Lifetime
OME 90021 21.38 16.26 5.12
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-220 21.97 16.93 5.04 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71371 22.39 16.89 5.50 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341340 21.73 17.59 4.14 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51739 21.36 16.79 4.57 Limited Lifetime
           
3G Tacoma Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-186728 22.94 14.02 8.92 Limited Lifetime
OME 60091 23.58 14.17 9.41
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-705 23.82 14.25 9.57 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37280 22.40 13.76 8.64 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 349010 22.64 13.54 9.10 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G64006 22.75 13.81 8.94 Limited Lifetime
           
Toyota 120 Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-239370 22.56 17.03 5.53 Limited Lifetime
OME 90021 21.38 16.26 5.12
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-220 21.97 16.93 5.04 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71371 22.39 16.89 5.50 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341340 21.73 17.59 4.14 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51739 21.36 16.79 4.57 Limited Lifetime
           
Toyota 120 Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 33-187174 23.50 14.91 8.59 Limited Lifetime
OME 60004 22.83 14.01 8.82
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-705 23.82 14.25 9.57 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37270 22.20 14.06 8.14 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 344410 22.32 13.50 8.82 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G63885 22.24 13.56 8.68 Limited Lifetime
           
Toyota 150 Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-196499 22.48 17.58 4.90 Limited Lifetime
OME 90010 21.38 16.26 5.12
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-700 21.85 17.01 4.84 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71371 22.39 16.89 5.50 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 340085 21.81 17.57 4.24 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51739 21.36 16.79 4.57 Limited Lifetime
           
Toyota 150 Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 33-187174 23.50 14.91 8.59 Limited Lifetime
OME 60080 23.74 14.49 9.25
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS59-705 23.82 14.25 9.57 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37270 22.20 14.06 8.14 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 349185 21.61 13.14 8.47 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G63885 22.24 13.56 8.68 Limited Lifetime
           
Nissan D40 Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-187053 15.26 10.55 4.71 Limited Lifetime
OME 90003 15.35 11.30 4.05
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS45-642 15.16 11.26 3.90 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71102 15.56 10.99 4.57 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341467 14.96 11.02 3.94 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51766 15.56 10.99 4.57 Limited Lifetime
Nisstec MK84 N-MK84-CO 15.50 10.82 4.68 1 Year
           
Nissan D40 Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-187152 21.65 13.84 7.81 Limited Lifetime
OME 60017 22.01 13.78 8.23
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS45-645 21.85 14.13 7.72 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37273 21.08 13.43 7.65 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 345067 21.06 13.38 7.68 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G64031 21.19 13.50 7.69 Limited Lifetime
           
Nissan 2GX Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-187053 15.26 10.55 4.71 Limited Lifetime
OME 90003 15.35 11.30 4.05
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS45-642 15.16 11.26 3.90 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71103 15.56 10.99 4.57 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341468 14.96 11.02 3.94 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51765 15.56 10.99 4.57 Limited Lifetime
Nisstec MK84 N-MK84-CO 15.50 10.82 4.68 1 Year
           
Nissan 2GX Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel
Warranty Duration
Bilstein 5100 24-187169 20.87 13.54 7.33 Limited Lifetime
OME 60017 22.01 13.78 8.23
3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS45-645 21.85 14.13 7.72 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37276 20.25 12.80 7.45 Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 345068 20.15 12.87 7.28 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra 69595 20.34 12.83 7.51 Limited Lifetime
           
Mitsubishi 3G Montero Front Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel Warranty Duration
Bilstein 4600 24-062718 18.58 16.65 1.93 Limited Lifetime
OME 90006 18.66 12.99 5.67 3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS43-783 18.58 13.11 5.47 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 71357 18.69 12.92  5.77  Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 341251  18.58 13.58 5.00 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G51839 18.58 13.34 5.24  Limited Lifetime
           
Mitsubishi 3G Montero Rear Partnumber Extended Length Collapsed Length Travel Warranty Duration
Bilstein 4600 24-062725 22.30 13.98 8.32 Limited Lifetime
OME 60017 22.91 15.12 7.79 3 Year / 37k Miles
Dobinsons GS43-784 22.64 13.98 8.66 2 Year
Monroe Oespectrum 37250 23.20 14.00  9.20  Limited Lifetime
KYB Excel G 344300  22.68 13.86 8.82 Limited Lifetime
Gabriel Ultra G64036 22.67  13.66  9.01  Limited Lifetime
Guides: What are Aftermarket Upper Control Arms and When Do I Need Them?

What are Aftermarket Upper Control Arms and When Do I Need Them?

 

Anyone who spends more than 5 minutes on an offroad forum will find the topic of aftermarket control arms, also known as UCA, discussed quite a bit.  But you may wonder: what does an upper control arm do?

Upper control arms are found on independent front suspension (IFS) vehicles and generally connects the top of the spindle to the frame.  The UCA is generally not a load bearing piece of an IFS suspension; rather, its purpose is to guide your spindle in a pre-determined motion when your suspension cycles up or down.  Load is usually handled by the lower control arm, which connects to the lower portion of the spindle.  

 

What makes an aftermarket UCA an upgrade over my factory arm?

There are 3 major differences between a factory UCA and an aftermarket UCA:

Strength:

Even though the upper control arm may not support load there will still be a degree of forces transferred through the spindle into the upper arm.  A number of OE style arms are formed from sheet metal (for instance, in Nissan and Toyota applications).  Aftermarket arms are usually made from DOM tubing or they're forged in steel or aluminum rather than being formed in sheet metal.  Sheet metal arms are advantageous for a OE manufacturer, they can be mass produced in huge quantities quickly and inexpensively.  Aftermarket arms are fabricated in smaller batches and are generally more expensive due to the materials being used.  You'll notice the difference in cost if you look up your vehicle on Rockauto or other OE parts houses and compare to aftermarket arms.  Aftermarket options are significantly stronger than factory arms.

The pivot point, where the UCA meets with the spindle is also much stronger in aftermarket options. This pivot point takes shape in the form of a ball joint or uniball.  We generally prefer ball joints in most cases (especially if they're user-greasable), as the pivot point is booted to prevent the ingress of dust, dirt, and road salt.  They require less frequent service or maintenance.  Uniballs are generally found on high performance / racing applications and aren't a great option for daily-drivers or weekend-warrior type builds.  They have a shorter service life than ball joints and are known to be noisy as they wear through their teflon liner.  

Clearance:

A common problem with factory upper control arms can be limited clearance at the coil bucket and at the spring.  This is an especially common problem in Nissan Frontier and Nissan Xterra applications and is commonly referred to as coil bucket contact (or CBC).  Aftermarket UCAs are designed to provide the clearances needed so you can beef up your suspension and not have to worry about your UCA contacting suspension components it shouldn't. 

Geometry Correction & Adjustability:

Most aftermarket arms come built with extra caster so when you beef up your suspension, you can keep your alignment in spec.  This is done by slightly altering the geomertry of the spindle.  Aftermarket options from Dirt King, for instance, have this correction statically integrated into the UCA and it is non-adjustable.  Aftermarket options from SPC are manufactured to allow for an alignment shop to adjust caster and camber by shifting the position of their unique ball joint design.  

 

 

When do I need aftermarket Upper Control Arms?

There are lots of misconceptions about when you need aftermarket upper control arms.  You will often see blanket statements on forums or Facebook groups such as “If you have X amount of lift, you need aftermarket UCAs.  No questions asked”. 

The answer to this question ultimately comes down to how you chose to lift your vehicle. 

Preload Lifts and Lift Springs:

If you lift your vehicle with lift springs or preload (for example, with Bilstein 5100 front struts or OME / Dobinsons front lift springs), your suspension will still cycle in the exact same range of motion.  This means that your full droop location and your maximum compression position will be the same.  Lift springs / preload simply make your vehicle settle at a different spot in your overall suspension stroke. 

Spacer Lifts & Extended Length Coilovers:

If you chose to lift your vehicle by increasing the extended length of your shock, your range of motion will change (for example, Radflo extended travel front coilovers or a Rough Country front strut spacer).  Lengthening your shock means you will have the same amount of travel, just moved down in position.  For instance, if your OEM shock is 18” extended length and 13” collapsed length and add a 1.5” tall spacer to it, your extended length is now 19.5” and your collapsed length will be 14.5”.  Overall stroke remains the same but requires your upper control arm to drop lower to compensate for the change in position / increased length. 

For Nissan applications, people find their OEM arm will crash into the top of the coil bucket when using spacer lifts or extended travel lifts (coil bucket contact / CBC).  For Toyota applications, the arm can end up contacting the spring.  Both are not ideal and can be solved by installing aftermarket upper control arms. 

 

What style of Aftermarket UCA is best for my application?

There are two primary styles of aftermarket upper control arm.  The first uses bushings at the frame mount with a booted ball joint at the spindle mount.  The second uses heim joints at the frame mount with a uniball / spherical bearing at the spindle mount. 

Balljoint Arms:

This style of arm is the most popular.  The balljoint is booted and greaseable which makes it very resilient to debris and poor weather.  The SPC implementation also has a high amount of adjustability, as previously mentioned.  The bushings at the frame mount also help to dampen vibration and prevent the driver from feeling every little bump and jolt.  Modern ball joints are extremely strong and if well maintained will be very resistant to failure.   

Uniball Arms:

Uniball Arms are very popular in racing applications because the heimed frame mounts allow more forces to be passed into the vehicle which allows the driver to be more in tune with what is happening at the tire.  At 100+ MPH in the desert this feedback is very valuable.   The uniball is also the arm of choice for racing applications because a uniball generally has a higher range of motion than balljoints.  This allows suspension travel to be pushed to greater degrees.  This is not a concern in non-racing applications however; your axles / cv's / lower ball joints will bind far before an aftermarket ball joint will.  The service interval for a uniball is more frequent than a booted ball joint.   Experts recommend servicing your Teflon lined uniball once every 3-4 oil changes. 

Thanks for reading! We hope this was a good intro to upper control arms and how they work.  Below are links to some arms we offer on our site.  

 

Toyota Tacoma SPC Arms 

Toyota/Lexus 120 & 150 Series SPC Arms

Nissan Frontier/Xterra SPC Arms

Nissan Frontier/Xterra Titan Swap SPC Arms

Member Content: Spam, Beans, and 4x4s

Hey guys!  We asked one of the members of our cooperative to write up a guide on organizing group rides.  His name is Nick Cornell and he helps lead the CAMO group which is located on the east coast.  He's super rad, and this is what he wrote!

Spam, Beans, and 4x4s

 

Its glamorous really, the foliage has changed to a crisp auburn and fiery orange as a cool breeze blows through your cracked window. A steaming Columbian roasted coffee sloshing around in a fresh Yeti tumbler. A convoy of clean modern 4x4s walk over obstacles through the tree lines as a perfectly placed drone captures the best aerial footage. Long time friends together, headed to the perfect pre-planned camp location, soon to set up a large contained camp fire while drinking smelly IPAs and telling stories. Perfection. The night sky is so clear you can see the mil……….*THWACK* WAKE UP!

My name is Nick Cornell, I run Central Appalachian Mountain Overland with three close friends, Camden Nichols, Nick Palko, and Steve Vilbert. Central Appalachian Mountain Overland (CAMO) was something that just kind of happened. My group of friends was always interested in motorsports. We started off like any 16-19-year olds: With Riced out econo-boxes and Subarus. We didn’t really think it at the time, but looking back, it’s pretty comical. As we got older the cars went away and the 4x4s became the new flavor. I actually didn’t get rid of my riced out race red Ford Focus by choice, unfortunately, she met her demise by means of a 10 point buck. I purchased a 2012 Nissan Frontier. I think I still have the text messages that I sent to my friends shortly after bringing it home. Something to the tune of, “I’m leaving this one stock. Can’t believe how much money I wasted on that car.” ….Sure. Good plan.

Our very first trip was about as comical as an “overland” trip can be. I was in a bone stock Nissan Frontier, Camden was in a Red Cherokee from the thunder dome, Brennan was driving a full size short bed single cab F-150 from back when you were still dating cheerleaders, and Palko was in a brand new, sticker still on the back glass - Chevy ZR2 Colorado. I hastily downloaded a GPX file of a well known dual sport motorcycle route and we set off for West Virginia. I didn’t disseminate the maps to any of my friends and didn’t really even explain what we were doing and where we were going.

 

 

 

We pounded pavement into Dry-Fork West Virginia after a brief holdup to add some diff fluid and friction modifier to the Ford. I came over the CB (I think we had CBs for this trip) and said, “Hey guys, we turn right in a couple hundred feet.” A few seconds later, my eyes caught the trail and I jacked the brakes and dropped down about fifteen feet directly into the Dryfork River. (This was part of the trail) Now, it had been raining heavily in the preceding weeks and the river was high; however, this is a one way, my stock Frontier wasn’t turning around and I surely wasn’t backing up what I had just gone down. I clicked it into 4-Hi and gave it the beans out of pure fear and ignorance. Smashing and banging along the bottom of the river, the water began to creep deeper and deeper. I looked out the driver’s window to watch cool West Virginian River water splash up to my headlights. Full Pucker. Finally, 100 yards later, I was on dry land and the truck didn’t drown. One by one we all made it across and celebrated this small victory with a trailside beverage.

As the sun started to set and our stomachs started to crave camp food and luke warm, shaken beers. We decided it was time to find a camp spot. Well, suffice to say, the dead center of the George Washington National Forest doesn’t necessarily have a surplus of clearings. Finally, we came across a great spot, got a fire going, set up our tents, and started one of the best parts of the trip.

The following morning, we set off and continued East in the GWNF. *THWUB THWUB SCHREEECH THWUB THWUB* The Ford tossed a belt. “Tossed” is probably the wrong word. It was more like a fibrous explosion. No matter, Brennan had a spare. Sort of. The spare was his older belt that was in decent condition but it was sized just slightly off. Brennan deleted his AC so the stock belt size was incorrect. His off the shelf belt was working but slightly undersized. As we continued on, Brennan noticed his belt had come off once again. Upon inspection, we found that there were only 3 strands of belt surviving. Something was causing the belt to get tossed into a bracket near the water pump. Yikes. We were near Snowshoe WV at the time. I remembered that I had Gorilla tape in the truck. We tediously recreated a belt from the Gorilla tape as a Hail Mary attempt at getting us 40 miles North to Elkins to fix the truck and get home. Miraculously, the Gorilla tape held and we were able to fix the truck and return safely home to Pennsylvania.

At this point we were hooked. I learned a lot of valuable information from that trip and all of our trips to follow. Arranging an offroad trip or managing a club is a lot of work. Below are a few tips that will help you arrange an offroad outing or partake in one:

1.   Bust out the paper maps

  • When planning a route find a paper map source that fits the area that you wish to travel. Physically trace the route in a sharpie marker. Along the way, circle locations of parts stores, gas stations, beer distributors, and potential camp spots as well as any other points of interest. I love “Purple Lizard Maps.”

2.   You’re the captain now

  • Let’s face it, you’ve done all of the leg work, you sent out the gpx. files to you crew, encouraged everyone to download it, and alas, you’re the only guy with the route. Relax. Everyone is just happy they’re not at work. You can alleviate the pressure on yourself with a good co-pilot or a good heads up display of your track. I really like GAIA GPS. I paid for the pro version and purchased a 60 dollar tablet that has GPS capabilities from Amazon. *IMPORTANT* Download the base layers of the maps to your tablet. Cram the biggest card in that thing that you can and achieve the best granularity possible. This way, even without service, you can watch yourself follow your perfectly plotted path.

3.   Can you hear me now?

  • Coms, Coms, Coms. This is always a topic of discussion and debate. Regardless of what you choose, it’s imperative that everyone in your group understands how important maintaining communications is. In our experiences, the trusty 2-way radio is the answer for a few reasons:

                a.  No one can mess it up
                b.  No installation
                c.  They cost 20 bucks
                d.  You can walk away from the vehicle and still maintain coms
                e.  Your spotter can hold his radio and guide you via radio

4.   Are ya’ made of spare parts, bud?

  • Bring spares of common failure parts. Belts, U-Joints, a headlight bulb, and anything specific to your rig that could be hard to find if you needed it. You will want to have an adequate tookit as well. A cordless impact gun can make a trailside repair go much, much smoother.

5.   The Shepherd

  • It’s nerdy but important: You need to have a brief driver meeting before you roll out. One of the most important trail rules to follow is that if you lose sight of the guy/gal behind you, you stop until you see them. This keeps everyone together. Make this well known before you head out.

6.    “That Guy”

  • There will always be one. He/she doesn’t listen, they don’t want spotters, they tear stuff up, they drive recklessly, etc. Get rid of that guy. While it’s awesome to have as many people as possible, its more awesome to not worry about “that guy.”

7.   "WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE”

  • You’re probably wondering how you get people interested in going with you. Well. I’m wondering the same thing. You’re going to find that there are a LOT of people who just simply build vehicles with no intent to use them. Seemingly endless folks “can’t get permission from their significant other,” and “ah dang, I’ve got the kid this week and also every week that you guys go out,” and “Dang next time dog.”  Don’t sweat it. People flake, it is what it is. CAMO has been fortunate enough to have a solid 10 members who are die hard. 

    Social media is the best advertisement. There are some groups who do it far, FAR more than we do. These are the types of groups that admittedly, I steered away from. Some of these groups charge money. I just ethically can’t do that. I don’t own these lands and don’t expect anything in return for leading groups through them.

8.   How many is too many?

  • This is a weighted question. If the route is wide open, few obstacles, and you have a lot of camping options, you can ride 20+ without issue. If its tight and slow moving with a lot of obstacles, you’ll probably want to consider limiting it to 10-15 trucks.

9.   MY LEG!

  • Oh yeah, by the way, if someone gets hurt, they’re probably going to look at you, fearless leader. I encourage everyone have a medical kit specific to their needs in their vehicle. I also strongly request that all members coming on a sanctioned trip send me a message disclosing any personal medical conditions. I personally am a safety professional by trade and train in emergency response, first aid, and emergency extraction. My wife is also an RN. Many of our members are servicemen as well which helps tremendously should something happen. Don’t just buy bandaids and throw an EMT sticker on your truck, and don’t pretend to be competent if you’re not. Bare bones minimum, you need to **TRAIN** on the use of a tourniquet, carry hemostatic bandages, and have an assortment of gauzes and bandages/tapes, etc. I personally also carry a suture kit but there’s an extremely small chance that I’d ever deploy it.

10.   Establish rules

  • It’s difficult to be a stickler when all you want to do is have fun. Most of your rules are going to be common sense. Make sure you stick to them and offer no exceptions. Enforcement is a team effort within your group.

11.   Where am I supposed to sleep?

  • There are innumerable variables that can and will arise when on the trail. Part of your pre-planning needs to be Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, etc camp locations. No one wants to wheel deep into the night. (except that one time, but that’s a tale for another day)

12.   Let it go, Let it GOOOOOOO

  • Its not going to go perfectly. Usually, that’s where the stories come from. Someone is going to break, get lost, roads closed, gates locked, whatever. Brush it off. You’re out doing what you love with people who are happy to be there with you. Roll with those punches and don’t be afraid to consult your crew for their ideas on the next best move.

If you’re interested in following our adventures, our Instagram handle is @cam_overland and our facebook group is Central Appalachian Mountain Overland.

Keep it rubber side down.

    - Nick Cornell

Guides: Alldogs Offroad Titan Swap Guide

What is a Titan Swap? 

Titan swaps, otherwise referred to as tswap, is a modification made to the 2005-2019 D40 Nissan Frontier or 2005-2015 Nissan Xterra which extends the track width of the vehicle and gives the suspension a greater amount of upward and downward travel.  This increased travel makes for a more capable offroader Long travel suspension kits are common in the aftermarket and are offered by companies such as Dirt King and Total Chaos but are generally very expensive to the end user Cost can range in the $5k to $7k range, after including custom length axle shafts and custom coilover shocks.   

Some wild cats have found that the D40 Nissan Frontier and Xterra are able to use OEM 2004-2015 Nissan Titan front end components to mimic aftermarket long travel kits for a fraction of the cost.  The D40 Nissan Frontier and Xterra share the same front suspension mounting points for upper and lower control arms as the Titan There are also OEM front axle shafts which can be sourced for tswap.  What all this means is that a tswap enables the end user to produce a long travel suspension at a fraction of the cost of an aftermarket setup.  It also means that the components are readily and inexpensively available if replacement is needed.  The Nissan D40 Frontier and Xterra are very attractive platforms for truly capable offroaders.   

Titan swaps generally will lift your truck approximately 4”.  They will also increase the track width of your vehicle about 3” on driver and passenger side.  Keep this in mind, as some users may want to run spacers on their rear wheels to increase rear track width.  tswap will increase your travel to approximately 8” to 12” (depending on the coilover option used).  A stock D40 Frontier or Xterra has 5.8” of travel!   

               

How Do I Titan swap? 

Titan swaps involve a bit of preparation, as there aren’t a lot of companies offering an all-inclusive bundle.  Those that do generally have significant markup, making the tswap more expensive than it needs to be.  Generally, the most cost-effective way to piece together a tswap is to purchase the necessary OEM components from pick-and-pull parts yards or from websites such as Rockauto or your local OEM parts place (Oreillys, NAPAAdvanceetc).  There are some aftermarket components which are necessary to complete a tswap – the primary piece being the front coilovers.  Companies such as Radflo manufacture coilover kits custom tailored to the appropriate extended and collapsed shock lengths needed to get the most travel out of a tswap.  For the true penny-pinchers, there is also an option to run 3rd gen Toyota 4Runner or 1st gen Toyota Tundra front struts, though this option doesn’t offer as much travel as a custom coilover.   

Here’s a parts list for all the necessary items to successfully complete tswap: 

Front Lower Control Arms  

  • OEM Titan, new or used.  If choosing used, make sure that your bushings and ball joints are in good condition.  If choosing new, we prefer LCA’s with greaseable ball joints such as Mevotech Supreme (CMS30116 & CMS30117). 

Front Upper Control Arms 

  • Must be aftermarket to achieve proper alignment and travel.  We prefer SPC UCA’s as they are adjustable and make proper alignment much easier.  The correct partnumber is SPC 25560.  They also include greaseable ball joints. 

Front Tie Rods  

  • OEM Titan inner and outer tie rods can be used.  Otherwise, aftermarket tie rod extensions can be used to extend OEM Frontier / Xterra tie rods.   

Front Differential/Axles (Applicable to 4x4 Models 

  • If you plan on running the OE R180 front differential, you can source Infiniti QX80 axles as these have the correct extended length  (Rockauto P/N - NI8433).  Otherwise, you can find an M205 front differential from the Titan.  The M205 is significantly stronger than the R180 and will directly bolt into the Frontier / Xterra.  If the M205 is being used, Titan front axles are appropriate for use and you'll want to make sure you have the same gearing for the front and rear diffs.   

Coilovers/Struts 

  • OEM Titan and Frontier/Xterra coilovers and struts are too short for use in a Titan Swap.   They will not work.  Radflo has been making tswap-specific coilovers for the longest time.  They have ideal valving and extended/collapsed lengths and will net the most travel and the best ride of aftermarket options currently available. They come in 2.0”, 2.5”, and 2.5” w/ remote reservoir options.  They also have a variety of spring rates available to them.  Toyota 3rd gen 4Runner and 1st gen Tundra struts can be used to good effect but are generally a little too long and limit travel to approximately 7.5”.  With a custom tophat, travel can be extended to approximately 10”.    

Rear End 

  • Generally, you’ll want to increase the rear end height to level out your truck.  The best way to accomplish this is by a replacement leaf pack paired with extended shackles.  This will offer maximum articulation and the best ride.  If your stock leaf pack is in good condition, it is possible to use an AAL kit in combination with extended shackles to get the necessary height.  
If you're not interested in searching for components individually and you're looking for a one stop shop with all the necessary aftermarket pieces, we've got you covered! Check out the options we have below:
 
Tech: ADO / Old Man Emu / Dobinsons Spring Cross Reference Chart

Hey Guys!  Here's a helpful crossreference we compiled to help you find the right OME or Dobinsons springs for your rig.  

 

Position Type ADO OME Dobinsons Application Load Rating Static Load Increase
               
Front Coil D40-F-M 2607 C45-256 D40 Frontier / Xterra / R51 Pathfinder Medium Load +110 lbs
Front Coil D40-F-H 2608 C45-254 D40 Frontier / Xterra / R51 Pathfinder Heavy Load +220 lbs
Front Coil   2880 C59-276 3rd Gen 4Runner / 1st Gen Tacoma Medium Load +110 lbs
Front Coil   2881 C59-134 3rd Gen 4Runner / 1st Gen Tacoma Heavy Load +220 lbs 
Front Coil TOY-F-L 2884 C59-300 150 Series / 120 Series   Light Load +0 lbs
Front Coil TOY-F-M 2885 C59-302 150 Series / 120 Series / 2nd Gen Tacoma Medium Load +110 lbs 
Front Coil TOY-F-H   2886 C59-314 150 Series / 120 Series / 2nd Gen Tacoma Heavy Load +220 lbs 
Front Coil TOY-F-M3GT 2887 C59-448 3rd Gen Tacoma Medium Load +110 lbs
Front Coil TOY-F-H  2888 C59-352 3rd Gen Tacoma  Heavy Load +220 lbs 
Front Coil   2914 C43-124 3rd Gen Montero Medium Load +0 lbs
Front Coil   2915 C43-126 3rd Gen Montero Heavy Load +220 lbs
               
Rear Coil   2609 C45-255 R51 Pathfinder Medium Load +440 lbs
Rear Coil   2610 C45-257 R51 Pathfinder Heavy Load  +660 lbs 
Rear Coil   2889 C59-325 150 Series Light Load +0 lbs 
Rear Coil TOY-R-L 2895 C59-325 150 Series / 120 Series Light Load +0 lbs
Rear Coil   2895E C59-325 150 Series / 120 Series Light Load  +0 lbs
Rear Coil TOY-R-M 2896 C59-327 120 Series Medium Load  +330 lbs
Rear Coil TOY-R-H  2897 C59-329 120 Series Heavy Load +660 lbs
Rear Coil TOY-R-M 2898 C59-327 150 Series  Medium / Heavy Load +440 lbs
Rear Coil TOY-R-H  2899 C59-329 150 Series  Heavy Load +880 lbs
Rear Coil      C59-331 150 Series / 120 Series Super Heavy Load +1,100 lbs
Rear Coil   2917 C43-125 3rd Gen Montero Light / Medium Load +220 lbs
Rear Coil   2918 C43-193 3rd Gen Montero Heavy Load +400 lbs
Rear Coil     C43-195 3rd Gen Montero Super Heavy Load +550 lbs
               
Rear Leaf D40-FB-M CS150R L45-002-R D40 Frontier Medium Load +150 lbs
Rear Leaf D40-FB-H   L45-003-R D40 Frontier Heavy Load +550 lbs
Rear Leaf     CS151R L45-004-R D40 Frontier Super Heavy Load +830 lbs
Rear Leaf X-FB-M CS061R L45-8192-R 2nd Gen Xterra Medium Load +400 lbs
Rear Leaf TACO-FB-M EL095R L59-110-R 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma Medium Load +220 lbs
Rear Leaf TACO-FB-H EL096R L59-111-R 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma Heavy Load +615 lbs
Rear Leaf     L59-112-R 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma Super Heavy Load +1,200 lbs
Rear Leaf     L19-131-R 5th Gen Ford Ranger Medium Load +220 lbs
Rear Leaf     L19-132-R 5th Gen Ford Ranger Heavy Load +615 lbs

 

Last updated on 11/11/19!

Updates: We're halfway there!

Hi Friends! 

We're about halfway through 2019 and we're posting up to give you a quick status update.  A lot has happened since December and we're really excited to share with you! 

So far, we're smashing through our annual goals (and adding new ones!):

  • We've picked up an awesome building located at 2621 West M Ct, Lincoln, NE!  We're hoping to open the walk-in counter to the public in late July / early August.  More details to follow in the near future!
  • We're trimming costs!  We're transitioning from fulfilling your awesome orders with a distributor to purchasing inventory directly from manufacturers and handling fulfillment ourselves.  We've got a shipment of SPC adjustable upper control arms on the way and we're working on an order with ARB / Old Man Emu.  We're also working on an order with Radflo.  We're really excited to be handling inventory for you guys and having parts immediately available for locals! 
  • Some of you may have heard that we're bringing some new 2" lift leaf packs to market.  You've heard right!  We've got leaf springs in the pipeline for 2nd & 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma, 2nd Gen Nissan Frontier, and 2nd Gen Nissan Xterra.  Prototypes have been testing out in the wild for about a month and feedback has been great!  We'll also be bringing some add-a-leaf kits to market for guys and gals that don't need a full replacements!  They'll be added to site as soon as they're ready to ship.  Other cool parts coming as well, we'll annouce more details after prototyping!
  • We'll be adding a new employee to the roster soon and we'll be better equipped to interact with you guys on Facebook, Instagram, and forums!  Once we find this new friend, we hope you'll join us in welcoming them!

That's it for now!  We're trucking along and starting to think about 2020.  We'll post up our 2020 roadmap sometime in Q3 for your reading pleasure.  Until then; stay groovy, stay cool!