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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone from the high desert of New Mexico!

New Nissan Titan owner here. I am a recent transplant from the Tundra forums along with prior engagements on a number of 4Runner, Chevy, Ford, Dodge/Ram, Jeep, Land Rover, and other forums with my many past builds (you can google "Desert Dawg" to find some of them if so inclined). But this is my first Titan and wanted to to show what I have been able to do so far.

First, I purchased this 2018 Titan PRO 4X brand new primarily for my business. I wanted the PRO 4X package since I actually take my vehicles "off-roading" in the mountains and deserts of northern New Mexico as well as Colorado on a regular basis. I also wanted my build to be consistent with my past projects in which I strive to build a daily driver for business, family, and light hauling use but with enough chops for moderate off-road adventures.

I am really enjoying this vehicle. I went fully loaded including the leather heated/cooled seats, Fosgate audio, and all of the other goodies and so far really happy with it.

The problem I found after my purchase is that there are very limited aftermarket items available for the new gen non-XD Titans (although still limited, it is much better for the Titan XD models). One of the first things I did was to replace the Bilstein-based suspension that comes with the PRO 4X package with a more capable ICON system along with larger, more aggressive performing tires while pushing the wheels out towards the fenders more along with adding a great sounding exhaust system from Magnaflow. I also custom fabricated some light mounts since I couldn't find any light bars for these trucks yet.

As it currently sits:



My modifications to date include the following:

• Nissan-ICON 3-inch Suspension Lift System
- Adjustable ICON 2.5 Series coil-overs
- ICON 2.0 Aluminum Series rear shocks
- Custom ICON rod end bearings
- ICON Delta-joint upper control arms
- Rear lift blocks
• Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires
- LT285/70R18 (34 –inches tall)
• Borla Billet Aluminum 1.5-inch Bolted Wheel Spacers
• Bodywork Trimming
- Lower wheel well sheet metal, fender flare, and liner
• PIAA 6-inch Off-Road Lights
- 520 Series All-Terrain Pattern (ATP)
- Custom fabricated light brackets
• Air-on-Board LED Light Bar Switch
• MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Catback Exhaust System
- Polished Tip
• RetraxPRO XR Locking Aluminum Retractable Bed Cover
- Integrated Trax Rail System
• AMP Research Power Retractable Side Steps
• Maxout Chrome Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
• Falcon Zero F170HD+ Dash Cam with GPS
• Escort Max 360 Radar Detector
• VIAIR 400P Portable Air Compressor






I will add more items and pics as I get them. In the meantime, happy to be here and hope to hear from folks!
 

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Great looking ride Desert Dawg! Below is my build page (needs to be updated a bit) and current photo of where it stands at the moment. I’m always looking for and researching new ideas and upgrades. Will be following you for sure!

https://www.titantalk.com/#/topics/415601
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great looking ride Desert Dawg! Below is my build page (needs to be updated a bit) and current photo of where it stands at the moment. I’m always looking for and researching new ideas and upgrades. Will be following you for sure!

https://www.titantalk.com/#/topics/415601
Thanks BIGSTUF; you have a good looking rig too! I tried following the link but it took me to the forum front page but saw your build in the signature. Love the way this 1/2-ton drives compared to my Tundra as the Titan is more responsive with great steering feel too.
 

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oh boy this thread is gonna be litty!!! i've followed your builds for a while, can't wait to see how this one ends up. Solid start too.
 

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i'm guessing you did significant trimming at the Pinch Weld (PWM)? "Lower wheel well sheet metal, fender flare, and liner"
those Boras set off those stock wheels perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i'm guessing you did significant trimming at the Pinch Weld (PWM)? "Lower wheel well sheet metal, fender flare, and liner"
those Boras set off those stock wheels perfectly.
oh boy this thread is gonna be litty!!! i've followed your builds for a while, can't wait to see how this one ends up. Solid start too.
Imagine seeing you here! :cheers:

Thanks man, always good to see a friendly face!

Yes, had to work the PWM; banged away on lower sheet metal lip to roll it back, trimmed the fender flares, and then the liner. I tucked the liner behind the rolled sheet metal lip so it is pulled back and secure without deforming the liner. Also, painted the lower lip to ensure no rust and to blend it all in. Looks good and no rubbing but definitely could not fit anything larger than the 34 inch tall tires. Since I wanted to keep the factory PRO 4X wheels but also wanted a better stance by pushing the wheels out to the fenders, I purposely kept the tire widths fairly narrow too.

But I think I got close to the overall look I wanted. Thanks!
 

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Imagine seeing you here! :cheers:

Thanks man, always good to see a friendly face!

Yes, had to work the PWM; banged away on lower sheet metal lip to roll it back, trimmed the fender flares, and then the liner. I tucked the liner behind the rolled sheet metal lip so it is pulled back and secure without deforming the liner. Also, painted the lower lip to ensure no rust and to blend it all in. Looks good and no rubbing but definitely could not fit anything larger than the 34 inch tall tires. Since I wanted to keep the factory PRO 4X wheels but also wanted a better stance by pushing the wheels out to the fenders, I purposely kept the tire widths fairly narrow too.

But I think I got close to the overall look I wanted. Thanks!
I cant stay away, I miss my 1st gen so much, and heck i've got a lot of experiences with the 2 titans i had, might as well stick around and try and help when i can...or just troll
 

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Yes, had to work the PWM; banged away on lower sheet metal lip to roll it back, trimmed the fender flares, and then the liner. I tucked the liner behind the rolled sheet metal lip so it is pulled back and secure without deforming the liner. Also, painted the lower lip to ensure no rust and to blend it all in. Looks good and no rubbing but definitely could not fit anything larger than the 34 inch tall tires. Since I wanted to keep the factory PRO 4X wheels but also wanted a better stance by pushing the wheels out to the fenders, I purposely kept the tire widths fairly narrow too.

But I think I got close to the overall look I wanted. Thanks!
I too have done the PWM and that took care of my rub WITHOUT spacers. However, I have 2” Bora spacers instead of 1”. Went with that size because I also purchased a set of 2” fender flares. Unfortunately, now I’ve got some significant rub in the front. So I have been mulling over a full NorCal Mod. But we will see...
 

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I can’t even wrap my head around buying a 45,000 to 75,000 dollar truck then dropping another 5-30,000 on after market mods lol. I am not knocking anyone if you got the cash and your not starving your kids to do it more power to ya. I guess I am just Jealous lol. Awesome trucks you guys. I just want a 120-170 dollar noisy muffler and I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna afford that.....okay actually how I can get it pass the Mrs.


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Discussion Starter #10
I too have done the PWM and that took care of my rub WITHOUT spacers. However, I have 2” Bora spacers instead of 1”. Went with that size because I also purchased a set of 2” fender flares. Unfortunately, now I’ve got some significant rub in the front. So I have been mulling over a full NorCal Mod. But we will see...
Yeah, I was hoping to avoid the NorCal Mod; I figured the 2-inch spacers would be too much especially for the 1/2-ton size anyway. Be curious to see how yours turns out but I think that would do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I can’t even wrap my head around buying a 45,000 to 75,000 dollar truck then dropping another 5-30,000 on after market mods lol. I am not knocking anyone if you got the cash and your not starving your kids to do it more power to ya. I guess I am just Jealous lol. Awesome trucks you guys. I just want a 120-170 dollar noisy muffler and I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna afford that.....okay actually how I can get it pass the Mrs.


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Yeah, I hear you on the spend side, for sure. While I can afford it, I still always budget for mods from proceeds arising out of sales of my former vehicles. I have owned over 70 vehicles and have built up a good portion of them (trucks and sports cars) and typically do very well on resale (I say typically but not always...lol); there is quite the market for well-done builds that are very functional, aesthetically pleasing, and retain daily drivability. Of course, that is very subjective and not everyone appreciates all of them. But I have had a professional hockey player, several doctors and law enforcement folks engineers, etc. fly out to purchase mine. I even had several vehicles featured on vendor and auto sites here in US and in Europe. I think I have still some featured with Nitto Tires, N-Fab, Gobi Racks, and so on and been sponsored by some. Search “Desert Dawg” on Pinterest as some of my more recent ones are shared there with some taken off vendor sites.

My last build on my Tundra was setup for more serious duty with a King suspension and lots of other goodies that I got to test out:



Anyway, I just enjoy getting outdoors with my 4x4s and like sharing in case I can give ideas. I usually post my off-road adventures on the forums so folks can see that I actually use them and not too much of a poser…lol. I used to have dedicated Jeeps and such but hated the fact that they mostly sat in the garage waiting to be used (my old Broncos where a testament to that). I rather have my sports cars sitting around waiting for weekend drives...lol. So if I am going to use my daily driver for my impromptu weekend adventures (I live very close to NM mountains and also to Colorado), it is very convenient to just load the family and go with a truck that is already well equipped. Unfortunately, the places I like to go are typically not too friendly with a stock factory truck (especially the newer ones with lower front ends and less clearances) without some enhancements. Even with that, my current setup will still need more tweaking if I want to go to my usual places.
 

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Yeah, I was hoping to avoid the NorCal Mod; I figured the 2-inch spacers would be too much especially for the 1/2-ton size anyway. Be curious to see how yours turns out but I think that would do it.
I HAD them installed prior to purchasing the Fuel Wheels and Nitto Ridge Grapplers. Looked great but the upgrade screwed that up FOR NOW smh
 

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Yeah, I hear you on the spend side, for sure. While I can afford it, I still always budget for mods from proceeds arising out of sales of my former vehicles. I have owned over 70 vehicles and have built up a good portion of them (trucks and sports cars) and typically do very well on resale (I say typically but not always...lol); there is quite the market for well-done builds that are very functional, aesthetically pleasing, and retain daily drivability. Of course, that is very subjective and not everyone appreciates all of them. But I have had a professional hockey player, several doctors and law enforcement folks engineers, etc. fly out to purchase mine. I even had several vehicles featured on vendor and auto sites here in US and in Europe. I think I have still some featured with Nitto Tires, N-Fab, Gobi Racks, and so on and been sponsored by some. Search “Desert Dawg” on Pinterest as some of my more recent ones are shared there with some taken off vendor sites.

My last build on my Tundra was setup for more serious duty with a King suspension and lots of other goodies that I got to test out:



Anyway, I just enjoy getting outdoors with my 4x4s and like sharing in case I can give ideas. I usually post my off-road adventures on the forums so folks can see that I actually use them and not too much of a poser…lol. I used to have dedicated Jeeps and such but hated the fact that they mostly sat in the garage waiting to be used (my old Broncos where a testament to that). I rather have my sports cars sitting around waiting for weekend drives...lol. So if I am going to use my daily driver for my impromptu weekend adventures (I live very close to NM mountains and also to Colorado), it is very convenient to just load the family and go with a truck that is already well equipped. Unfortunately, the places I like to go are typically not too friendly with a stock factory truck (especially the newer ones with lower front ends and less clearances) without some enhancements. Even with that, my current setup will still need more tweaking if I want to go to my usual places.


That’s awesome keep up the great work


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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Noel...after seeing the quote, I need to apologize for the wordy reply; too much of a car enthusiast so I can get carried away. My wife has developed a lot patience and sense of humor with me...lol.
 

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Glad to see someone else from New Mexico. I’m about 5 hours south of you in Lea County.

I’ve got the same truck as you except for I went with the solid pearl white instead of two tone. I also didn’t opt for the heated/air conditioned seats. I’m not a fan of them and would have been wasted money for me but I got everything else in it.

I was thinking of doing a lot of the same upgrades to my pickup but have decided to leave it stock. It’s my daily driver and I rely on it a lot. I’m setting some money aside and I’m going to sell a couple bikes to buy a Can-Am Maverick X3 RS turbo-R for off-road fun. I can beat it up and just drag it home. If something happens to it, I still have a pickup.

It’s still a fairly good pickup for mild off-road play in its factory form. Ground clearance is fair, not great, and the factory tires are fair too. That’s the only thing I’m going to change. I’m thinking of trying some **** Cepek Fun country tires.
 

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Thanks Noel...after seeing the quote, I need to apologize for the wordy reply; too much of a car enthusiast so I can get carried away. My wife has developed a lot patience and sense of humor with me...lol.


My wife always questions my parts purchases lol. So far I’ve gotten away with it but once I put the exhaust on then I am sure it will be over saving that mod for last


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Discussion Starter #17
Glad to see someone else from New Mexico. I’m about 5 hours south of you in Lea County.

I’ve got the same truck as you except for I went with the solid pearl white instead of two tone. I also didn’t opt for the heated/air conditioned seats. I’m not a fan of them and would have been wasted money for me but I got everything else in it.

I was thinking of doing a lot of the same upgrades to my pickup but have decided to leave it stock. It’s my daily driver and I rely on it a lot. I’m setting some money aside and I’m going to sell a couple bikes to buy a Can-Am Maverick X3 RS turbo-R for off-road fun. I can beat it up and just drag it home. If something happens to it, I still have a pickup.

It’s still a fairly good pickup for mild off-road play in its factory form. Ground clearance is fair, not great, and the factory tires are fair too. That’s the only thing I’m going to change. I’m thinking of trying some **** Cepek Fun country tires.
Hey there neighbor!

Yeah, those Can Ams are perfect for some desert running so we see a lot out at the Rio Puerco along with the dirt bikes.

I had run the Cepek Fun Country tires on my old full-sized Bronco setup years ago so it was a not the newer gen design. Ran the BFG KM2s and Nitto Trail Grapplers which are great but noisy and a little squirrely in wet conditions. Been a fan of the Cooper STT PRO and Nitto Ridge Grapplers (which are best IMO since the Ridge Grapplers are the quietest for an aggressive design with really good on-road performance and turnkey off-roading use in loose sand/mud/snow conditions).
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I had an inquiry about installing the PIAA lights since there are no aftermarket light bars offered for the non-XD Titans yet. I simply fabricated the mounts myself with 10-inch long x 1/8-inch SS bars and 6-inch SS angled bars purchased from Home Depot; I drilled out the existing holes to fit larger 3/8-inch SS bolts and hardware. I painted the bars with hammer-steel gray paint and attached the bars to the existing frame bolts that are located behind the front sonar cover plates. The angled bars had to be drilled out more for the 1/2-inch PIAA mounting bolts. The bars extend through the slot between the top of the bumper and front grille; I also glued some rubber bump strips on the bars to keep the metal away from the paint. Eventually, I will remove the bolted mounts and have everything welded, filed, and powder coated for a more permanent fitment.

For wiring, I had to remove the front grille and snake the harness into the engine bay. I used wire loom until the wiring passes through the firewall so everything looks factory clean inside the engine bay. The light switch is an Air-on-Board LED switch that fits in a factory blank located in the dash next to the Cargo Lamp switch; again, everything looks like factory and works great!





 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
For the lift, wheels, and tires, I was trying to keep more of a factory look but also wanted better performance with a slightly more aggressive stance. Also, since I really like the factory PRO 4X wheels, I was not going to go aftermarket like on many of my other past builds.

Since I do take my daily driver vehicles off-road, I prefer coil-over lift systems (which provide better on-road and off-road performance) so I try to refrain from going with true drop-bracket lift kits (which require cutting/welding, typically result in a higher center of gravity which reduces on-road performance, and provide limited enhanced off-roading performance although they do afford more room to run larger tires); I have certainly used them in the past (i.e., Rancho, FabTech, ProComp, BDS, etc.). At the time of my Titan purchase, the only suspension systems offered for the non-XD Titans were the Rough Country 3-inch system (that uses a front spacer system which restricts off-road performance) and a 6-inch lift which is fine for getting the lift and stance but is too high and designed mostly for street use and light trailing and not very suitable for moderate off-roading on harder mountain trails or desert running (not to mention that RC components and similar systems are not in the same league as Rancho or BDS, etc. so not confidence inspiring when you're traversing a mountain trail at +12,000 ft....lol).

However, I do find the newer drop-bracket hybrid systems intriguing that integrate quality drop-bracket components with higher performance coil-over suspensions like the BDS 4-inch coil-over systems that keep the center of gravity relatively lower but provides the performance of the Fox 2.5 Series remote coil-overs and allowing up to a true 35-inch tire; unfortunately, BDS (like most of the other higher quality suspension manufactures) do not yet offer anything for the newer non-XD Titans. So I opted for the Nissan-ICON package that utilizes the ICON 2.5 Series adjustable 3-inch coil-over system (with ICON UCAs) and rear ICON shocks. You cannot purchase this system directly from ICON as it is only offered through participating Nissan dealerships but the goods news is that the system is fully warrantied by Nissan. ICON is a well respected, quality, high performance product similar to Fox and King. The downside is that the package also includes the additional Nissan components such as the side steps and sport bar that is mounted in the bed (which limits bed covering options). So I ended up selling the unwanted components back to the dealership. Once installed, the vehicle was realigned very closely back to factory spec.




After installing the ICON system, I also needed a slightly larger, more aggressive tire that would serve me well both for daily driving and weekend-warrior duty. Over the years, I have run several brands and tire types including BFG (KO, KO2, KM2), Cooper (S/T Maxx, STT PRO), Nitto (Trail Grappler, Rigde Grappler), Goodyear (Duratrac), Cepeks (Fun Country), General (Grabber), Yokohoma (Geolander) among others. My all-time favorite tire to date is the newer hybrid (relatively speaking) Nitto Ridge Grappler as it is very quiet even at highway speeds with no intrusive humming, provides great dry handling performance and turn-in feel, and superior wet condition performance in rain, snow, and ice. On top of all of that, the Ridge Grapplers are excellent moderate off-roading tires for loose sand, slippery rock/hard pack mud, and boulder trails. The only condition I have not tested them on is in deep mud where they probably won't do quite as well as a true mud tire. But I am not setup for deep mud trailing anyway since I purposely maintain a lower center of gravity with under 35-inch tires specifically for trails in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains (and the fact that deep mud in the Southwest is a rare occurrence anyway...lol).

The Nitto Trail Grappler tire I selected is a LT285/70R18 size which is basically a 34-inch tall tire. However, to get the stance I wanted, I also installed 1.5-inch BORA bolted wheel spacers all around. This required removal of the front mud flaps, substantial trimming of the fender flares that extend in the wheel wheel, performing the Pinch Weld Mod, and cutting the wheel liner so it would tuck back in behind the folded sheet metal. I sprayed painted the mod so everything blended in for a clean look. Being able to tuck the liner further back behind the sheet metal lip created during the PWM meant I didn't have to heat up and warp the plastic liner; very clean result and no rubbing at all on any components or body parts. I do have very mild rub on the liner at hard lock turns when backing up but no rubbing at all during hard forward turning. For off-roading, the tires have plenty of clearance for full wheel articulation with the new suspension and allowing the treads to unpack.







Will be interesting to see how this setup performs once I get it out on the trails. My previous Tundra build utilized the King OE Performance system with adjustable King coil-overs and extended-length shocks with remote reservoirs all around married up with Total Chaos UCAs and other good stuff so I know my Titan setup is not quite as built-up. But my previous system was also slightly over-built as you really can't take a full-sized rig too fast on desert runs without a long-travel kit anyway; the new Titan ICON Stage 1 based system will still provide much better performance over the factory Bilstein-spec offerings.
 
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