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I dubbed this 2001 Xterra SE 'Nxterra' because its the Next Xterra Nissan SHOULD have given us...or at least the one I wanted them to give us. So now that this thing is finally running I figured it was time to put together a thread. I have tons of pics and info from when I started this build in May of 2013. I have used many companies but mainly Calmini for SAS kit, Down South Motorsports for coilovers, Ruffstuff Specialties for many, many, build parts, Industrial Injection, Colt cams, XDP and Diesel Power Products for many of my needs to rebuild and hop up the Cummins 4BT. What was supposed to take 6 months has now taken me almost 2 years and I'm not done yet haha. So I bought the Xterra after it had been hit in the A-pillar and right front wheel, which crushed the door, the lower part of the A-pillar and bent right side a-arms and broke ball joints and shock on the right side. I got it thinking I might fix the suspension and drive it while I collected parts to do a diesel motor swap but had a Dana 44 front axle and Dana 60 rear axle that already had a Detroit locker in it sitting around so decided to do SAS and spring over in the rear. So I immediately started to tear into it to do the SAS and then pulled the motor and tranny to finance the diesel build. I purchased the Xterra for $1300 and sold the motor for 1200 and tranny with transfer case for 600 so I started out this project in the positive...that has all changed since haha. I knew I wanted the most kickass Xterra out there so I started with the idea of SAS and Cummins 4BT (I had decided that was the motor I was putting in no matter what the project was) and then let the details work themselves out. I'll try to keep the pics in as best of chronological order as possible. Feel free to ask questions.

This is what the Nxterra started out as




I ordered the SAS kit from Calmini but they wanted too much $$$ for the shocks so I sourced them through Down South Motorsports who were very helpful and offered the best price on the coilovers I could find. I also sourced a set of rear shackels from Calmini and a Dana 60 simple swap kit from RuffStuff Specialties to do a SOA in the rear. While I waited for this stuff to come in I found a Cummins 4BT on ebay that needed rebuilt so I grabbed it and got it on its way out here from the east coast. I wanted the Cummins for its versatility as it is mechanically controlled so it could be put in anything and it's a tough little motor that can put out a lot more power than the diesel that Nissan had offered in other countries. Stock this motor put out 105HP and 265ft lbs of torque in the version I got. I am shooting for around 200hp and almost 500ft lbs of torque when I am done.




While continuing to wait I got started on getting all the pesky stock stuff out of my way as well as getting the rear axle in.




While getting all that crap out the simple swap kit for the back end came from Ruffstuff Specialties along with disc brake brackets and diff covers. The shackles also showed from Calmini so I decided to start with the rear axle swap.


 

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Started mocking up the rear dana 60, unfortunately I had no shop space at the time so most of the suspension work and axle swaps were done in the dirt out back of my parents place.



Got the rear axle painted with POR-15 and under with discs on.





I got a good deal on a set of 18" XD misfits with 35s on them (tires were marginal) so I snatched them up and leaned them on Nxterra to get a better idea of what it would look like. These wheels caught my eye and even now are still ones that I don't see too often but look mighty sexy to me.



By now its July of 2013 and my motor has shown up so I decide to get it torn down and see whats up. Turns out somehow #3 piston came off the rod and proceeded to beat the crap out of itself and the head where it broke a valve, bent pushrods, broke tappets, damaged the cam and left all sorts of junk previously known as parts in the bottom of the oil pan. I took the block to the machine shop to be bored as well as have the head gone through and it turned out the head was cracked so I would have to have a new head. Since the cam was damaged I decided to source a stage 2 cam from Colt Cams for this motor and try to make a little more power with it. I also decided to upgrade the turbo to a Holset HX30 and have Industrial Injection rebuild and mod my injection pump and do me a set of injectors to match...but more on that later.




So by first of August 2013 I had the rear axle in and wheels
bolted on, the front wheels are just propped up and my Calmini SAS kit had shown up so I decided to get started on the front axle. BTW the axles were from a '79 Ford F250 I had previously had so they were full width axles. Even then the stock WMS to WMS was 60" and WMS to WMS on these axles were at 63" so only 3" wider overall on the axles. Initially I intended to get some positive offset wheels but got such a good deal on the aforementioned wheels that I ended up with 0+- offset so they do stick out a tad further...oh well

 

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So by end of August I started the front end swap and had picked up some shocks for the back end, Fabtech Dirt Logic 2.5


Lots of cutting and grinding of old mounts and welds off, as well as fitting the long arm brackets to the new front axle. Because my axle was a little wider the brackets fit right over where the old leaf spring brackets were but that also meant that it had to go over a portion of the diff on the drivers side.



 

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Eventually I got all the brackets and crossmembers mocked up so then I pulled them back off to paint those portions of the frame with POR-15, my shocks also showed up from Down South Motorsports as well as the injection pump, turbo, and injectors from Industrial Injection.






Once I got the brackets welded onto the front axle I tore it apart to replace balljoints, seals, bearings etc and paint it all up with POR-15.



 

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Once the front axle was all together it was time to mate the axle to the rig and my pops stayed up late one night helping me get it rolling before I had to go out of town so the first pics of the suspension in were in the dark. BTW my pops is 6'4", this thing turned out rather tall...






 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
By the end of November 2013 I had finally acquired some shop space and the Nxterra was now rolling so we loaded it up to take it to a warmer, drier setting where it would await the Cummins heart transplant, this also enabled me to get some suspension pics in the daylight.








At the time my younger brother had a '99 TJ Wrangler with 4" lift and 33s and the Nxterra dwarfed it so I had to shoot some pics.




After not much progress over the winter other than some work here and there rebuilding the engine, fast forward to March of 2014 and it was time to get the A-pillar on the Nxterra replaced. I do pretty much all my own work but body work is not my strong suit and I have a buddy that does it professionally so I worked out some trade work with him to the pillar done. So out of the shop and into the sun and off it goes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
While the Nxterra was gone getting the A-pillar done I took the time to really get into the motor and try to get it ready to swap in. Got the crank and pistons in, then the cam, new head showed up so I decided to paint it all. It got a coating of POR-15 black and then top coated with POR-15 engine enamel in ford blue. Matches the blue on the suspension rather well I thought.










Getting the motor and tranny (NV4500) and transfer case (NP231) took pretty much all summer and so did getting the A-pillar done. That's the tough part about trade work as it takes a back burner to his full time job but my buddy does damn good work and finally in August the Nxterra came back with a new A-pillar and a door that bolted on, shut, and sealed!
 

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October of 2014 I finally started fitting the motor in place to build mounts which took some cutting of the firewall and removal of the dash as the 4BT is pretty much just as long as the engine bay was. I also chose not to run a mechanical fan and will run dual electric fans instead.




Progress was slow and the motor went in and out multiple times and finally it was time to bolt the manifold and turbo to the motor as well as the transmission and put the motor in for the final time, once the motor and tranny was in I was able to put the transfercase in from the bottom and align the drivetrain to chassis and axles.



 

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In the meantime of this I have ordered all sorts of parts to get this thing together and have most of it at this point, including clutch hydraulics with custom master cylinder to tie to the xterra's stock clutch pedal rod, I will also be removing the ABS and installing a brake line lock into the rear brake line for a parking brake. I also have an intercooler that will mount in front of the radiator and a/c condenser. I also have dual battery boxes to hold yellow top Optimas. One goes where the stock battery did and the other I have welded in where the stock airbox used to be. In the past couple weeks I have got the battery boxes welded in, as well as mounted a sump in the bottom of my fuel tank and built a mount for a dual fuel filter/water separator setup that will mount on the frame rail. I also got my tie rod built with offset tie rod ends to clear my diff cover. The tie rod is 1.5" .250 wall DOM tubing with weld in ends from Ruffstuff Specialties.





So in the last week I have been able to get the radiator in and my coolant tubes built from silicone fittings and bent aluminum pipe from Silicone Intake Systems. The turbo is permanently on and oil feed and drain lines to the turbo are sorted. I also put the dual batteries in and built the battery wires out of 0 guage wire and ran a ground to body, frame, and motor so I never have to worry about good grounds as I will be running multiple lights front and back, a winch, and some decent audio equipment. My Hannemann 4" bulge fiberglass fenders also showed up.





 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)

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And that's pretty much how it sits. I still have a lot of work left to do to have it on the road but hope to have it driving in about a month. I am also running PSC motorsports hydraulic assist steering which I already have, pump and reservoir is mounted, I still need to build a mount for the axle end of the hydraulic ram. I already have the front bumper that is off a Toyota that I will be modifying to fit the Xterra frame as well as hold my 30" lightbar. I will also have a winch mounted in it. I have also ordered a set of P&P rear corners that will be here eventually and I will build the rear bumper which will have an air tank mounted on the back side for on board air. For a spare tire carrier I will be building a carrier that mounts to the hatch and will run dual dampers on the hatch to support the added weight. I will also be caging the interior, mounting fire extinguishers in the rear, as well as many more mods here and there. I will keep updating this now that its up. Hope you enjoy.
 

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Very nice build! Attention to detail is great!

Hope to see some driving shots soon

-Chris
 

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Very nice work. When I looked at the original photos of that engine, don't think I had ever seen one with the exhaust manifold and turbine housing that rusty. That thing must have been in some serious salt country. What are your plans for an intercooler? Didn't see one yet.
 

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Very nice work. When I looked at the original photos of that engine, don't think I had ever seen one with the exhaust manifold and turbine housing that rusty. That thing must have been in some serious salt country. What are your plans for an intercooler? Didn't see one yet.
I have a 3" core Mishimoto intercooler that will mount in front of the radiator and a/c condenser. Piping will be a little bit of a trick and I have to trim the backside of the grill but it will work


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I was also curious where your oil fill port is. Are you using the one near the lift pump? I know those valve covers don't have a provision for one and you have the plug in the timing cover.
 
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