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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi ladies and gentlemen (and the guy over in the corner who really needs his own category).

I just bought a new-to-me 2012 Titan SL Crew Cab 2WD. My previous truck was a 2003 F-150 that gave me 289,000 trouble-free miles before a dude in a borrowed Toyota decided to rear-end me at 80 MPH on I-35 one morning. Predictable, the insurance company deemed it a "total loss," rather than pay to replace the bumper, tailgate and trailer hitch. After a bit of arguing, they came through with a pretty good offer and we settled the deal. After a bit of searching, I found and bought my Titan.

Now, I'm one of those types who can never leave well enough alone when it comes to my vehicles. I have the modding bug and I have it bad. I have a Suzuki V-Strom and a Mazda Miata that are both heavily modified.





I don't plan on going to the extreme I have on the Miata with the Titan, but I still have to "make the truck mine." So, I figured I'd start a thread to chronicle the changes. I'm starting small with some maintenance an repairs, but more is sure to come as I delve into the word of Titans.

For starters, here she is as I purchased her:








 

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Discussion Starter #2
The first thing I did was strip off the limo tint "eyebrow" that the previous owner had installed at the top of the windshield. It was so dark I had to duck down to look under it just to see if traffic lights were red or green. The PO was pretty short, so maybe he didn't have that problem, lol.

Next was to get some use out of the super-cool storage box that Nissan built into the side of the bed. Mine was missing the shelf inside, and the price to replace it was WAY too high. So I found a tool bag that fits the space perfectly. It's loaded up with my trailer hitch and locking hitch pin., 6 ratchet straps, jumper cables and a roll of shop towels.



 

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Discussion Starter #3
I bought some clean-up supplies like leather cleaner and conditioner. I also ordered some Honda Shin Etsu grease to lube the tracks on the rear windows (they're running way too slow) and the sunroof. Shin Etsu is made from pixie dust and unicorn fat, and is the best stuff ever for this purpose. I'm also doing a general, all-over cleaning, both to clean the truck and to get to know it and it's various features.

Since the OEM headlights and fog lights are all hazy, I ordered new ones. I've been down the road with polishing headlights and it just doesn't last long enough. Along with the new housings, I ordered HID main bulbs and LED signal/indicator bulbs. Those should be a fair upgrade to the 8 year old OEM lighting. The tails will get replaced eventually, too. I just have to decide what look I want.

Both bumpers need replacing, with a little PDR at the rear right corner. They don't look horrible, but the dents thay have stick out like a sore thumb to me. I can't decide what to do for a front plate mount, as there isn't one right now, or if I should just continue to go without. I also want to add a leveling kit to the front. I like the OEM 20"wheels, so those will be staying.

Eventually, I'll do a full A/V system upgrade. I'm planning on adding a 10" Android touch-screen stereo/Nav system and back-up camera. I'll tie it in with the existing rear monitor for my son to watch movies in the back. The Rockford Fosgate speakers will get a full upgrade treatment as well. But that's probably a few months away.

So that's where I am right now. I'm excited to get into the Titan and make it mine. I'll keep this thread updated as the truck evolves,

Cheers!

Rex
 

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Congrats on the new ride. That mod bug is dangerous.

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, OKC.

I haven't even looked into performance mods yet, Ken, Thanks for the advice. I'm sure that's a road I'll end up driving down sooner or later!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I started this morning with a little light maintenance. First, I replaced the air intake filter. I was actually pretty clean, which makes me feel good about the previous owner's maintenance habits. The oil and filter were done very recently, so all good there. The owner's manual suggests new plugs at 120K miles, so I'll add that to the docket, too.

While I had the hood up, I vacuumed out all the leaves, acorns and catkins that had fallen into the cowl area from the PO's oak tree.



That was a preview of what to expect from the cabin air filters...

Your cabin air filters are supposed to be changed every 15K miles, but I would bet that the majority of vehicles are still rolling around with the originals from the factory still in place and clogged all to hell. Most people just don't think to change them. In fact, most people probably don;t even know they exist! Anyway, old. clogged cabin air filters can decrease the efficiency of you AC and lead to funky smells inside your truck. If you don't know how to change them, here's a link to a great how-to video:
It's really easy and only takes a few minutes to do.

And here's what I found when I pulled the filters:



New filters ready to go... I feel better already!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
After the filters, it was time to give the leather some TLC. The seats in this truck are in amazingly good shape, so I just wanted to give them a quick wash and lotion treatment to help keep them that way.



After a little sweat and elbow grease, I was happy with the results. The seats didn't give up a lot of dirt onto the white towels, which means they were pretty clean to start with. Yet another indicator that the PO took good care of my truck for me.

While I was poking around the interior, I checked to see if I can add more grocery bag hooks in the back. I love that Nissan thought to add the bag hooks under the driver's side back seat, but thought it strange that they stopped there. Why not put then all the way across? So I unfastened the the bottom fabric to see what is hiding underneath.



Good news! Nissan actually has the mounting points under all three seats, even though they only installed the hooks under one seat. All I have to do is cut the holes in the carpet for the screw and the locating tab for each hook and I can have 6 bag hooks instead of only two!





I looked up the part numbers 89610-ZR00A for the bag hooks and 01455-0010U for the Torx bolt to secure them and placed an order from NissanPartsDeal.com, who had the lowest price on the the hooks. The total with shipping came out to just under $100 for 4 hooks and bolts. I know this a a small, nit-picky project, but I think it's worth it for the added usability.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While I was out in the driveway, FedEx showed up with the new top for my Miata! So that'll be a project for one of my days off next week.



I'm getting rid of the tan vinyl and going with a black cloth top this time. I think it will look much better with the graphics scheme I have put on my car. This will be my third time to replace a soft top, so I figure its will take me about 4 hours to do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So now I'm just biding my time, waiting for parts to arrive. I should get my VentVisors today. (Yeah, I know... They aren't the prettiest things, but with black leather seats and the hot Texas sun I need a way to keep the windows cracked open while I'm at work to avoid 3rd degree burns on my butt when I get in the truck!) Those will be a quick and easy install.

I should also get my new fog lights (with LED bulbs) today to replace the hazy, pitted originals. The bulbs are burned out in both fogs anyway, so I'll replace the whole dang things and call it good. The new headlights and HID kit will be here next week. I may just wait to install them until I pick up a new front bumper and do everything at once. The current bumper has a few small dings that are driving me crazy every time I look at them. That big chrome thing is just too prominent to have dents in it!

If my Shin Etsu unicorn grease gets here soon enough, I'll dig into the door panels today. If not, that'll be a project for tomorrow morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Well, the ventshades didn't work out. I had purchased the Auto Ventshade brand in-channel shades. After I already bought them, I read several reports about them causing the windows to auto-reverse when you try to roll them up. Yep! That's what mine did. So back to Amazon they go. Apparently, if you want shades that work, you have to spend 3 times as much on the WeatherTech ventshades, Oh well, I guess I'll do without until I decide if they're worth that much to me.

In the mean time, I grabbed my magical unicorn grease and went to work on the slooooowwwwww power windows. I won't chronicle the whole process of removing the door panels. There are already plenty of videos on Youtube to show how that's done. I will, however, say that I'm impressed with the vapor barrier that Nissan uses, It's much heavier than many I've worked with. Nice touch!



If you haven't had the pleasure of working with the black gunk they use to hold on the vapor barrier, let me warn you NOT to get it on your clothes. If it's not too hot, the stuff should stay together like a rope of chewing gum. If it is too hot, it will smear like tar and anything it gets on will be ready for the trash heap. Just peel the liner back far enough to get into the door. No need to remove it completely.



It's not really a day of working on your truck until you've made a blood offering to the wrenching gods! (It's either blood or giving up your only 10mm socket, and I still needed the socket.)



Once you get the doors opened up and peel back the vapor barrier, lubing the window tracks is really simple. You need some spray-on dry lube and your mystical Shin Etsu to do the job.



With the window rolled up, spray the dry lube inside the rubber channels on both sides of the window. Then rub down the center track with a thin layer Shin Etsu. This is easiest to do with your fingers. When you're done, you should have a thin layer of grease on all the contact surfaces, similar to if you were greasing a baking dish. (Don't snicker... you can work on trucks AND enjoy cooking, too!) The difference is instant and really noticeable.

Follow the link below for a video on Flikr. The nearer window has already been lubed and the farther has not. You can really see how much slower the unlubed window is moving.

VID_20200528_161742.mp4 by Rex

So it was just a repeat for the other 3 windows and things are all smoothed out now. I to run to the parts store for a few fasteners, and then it started raining, so I a have a little buttoning up to finish off tomorrow. (Someone had previously opened up the driver door and had lost a bolt and 2 of the panel clips. :mad: )


That's it for tonight. Time to pour a drink and relax. I'll do the LED fog lights tomorrow.
 

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Hi ladies and gentlemen (and the guy over in the corner who really needs his own category).

I just bought a new-to-me 2012 Titan SL Crew Cab 2WD. My previous truck was a 2003 F-150 that gave me 189,000 trouble-free miles before a dud in a borrowed Toyota decided to rear-end me at 80 MPH on I-35 one morning. Predictable, the insurance company deemed it a "total loss," rather than pay to replace the bumper, tailgate and trailer hitch. After a bit of arguing, they came through with a pretty good offer and we settled the deal. After a bit of searching, I found and bought my Titan.

Now, I'm one of those types who can never leave well enough alone when it comes to my vehicles. I have the modding bug and I have it bad. I have a Suzuki V-Strom and a Mazda Miata that are both heavily modified.





I don't plan on going to the extreme I have on the Miata with the Titan, but I still have to "make the truck mine." So, I figured I'd start a thread to chronicle the changes. I'm starting small with some maintenance an repairs, but more is sure to come as I delve into the word of Titans.

For starters, here she is as I purchased her:








I have the same truck a 2012 SL but 4x4. It is completely loaded nav and DVD. Nav is useless. I would love to put a new head unit in it with a great Nav system. My truck is the dark Blue and I have toyed with putting some kind of stripe or stripes on it. Other than that I’ll be putting a new performance muffler on it. I did the vent mod and started the grounding kit the other day. I put Bilstein 5100’s on it too. Check the rear axle vent and the exhaust connection after the muffler the vent clogs and blows out your axle seals and or the rear pinion seal and the exhaust connection will break and possibly burn up your wire harness above it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks for the advice, Noel. I'll look into that. I definitely want this truck to last me a good long time!

I was planning to add some graphics when I found the right Titan, but I really like the white and chrome look on this one. I think I'm going too skip them, at least for now. My Miata has been through 4 different graphics setups before arriving at it's current look. Vinyl is cheap and fun to work with, so who knows...

For the stereo/nav, I have my eye on a Joying head unit. It's an Android 8.1 unit with a 10.1" touch screen display. GPS, WiFi, 4G, Back-up cam, Media player, Octacore processor... It's pretty much everything that our 8-year old factory units aren't. Along with the head unit, I'll do a full speaker upgrade. Plus I'll be adding a GPS enabled remote start system. Working for Best Buy definitely helps with that sort of thing, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A small project this morning. My OEM fog lights looked like they'd been sandblasted. Not surprising since Nissan decided to cheap out and use plastic lenses. Unfortunately, nobody seems to make quality replacements. So I guess we just buy cheapos and replace them every year or so. Maybe after I get some other, higher-priority projects done I'll look into retrofitting some Morimoto LED fog lights. I had them on my Miata for a while and they were amazing!

Anyway, here are some pics of the old vs the new:





I'll give Nissan this: they made replacing the fog lights super easy! Just urn the wheels to the side to get easier access and it's one 8mm nut and 2 clips. Couldn't be any easier. Since I was adding new housings, I went with 6K LED bulbs for the crisp, white light.



Makes the yellow of the halogen headlights look kinda ugly. Oh well, that will be corrected with new projector headlight housings and 6K HID bulbs in the near future.

The other project for today is getting a nail pulled out of the right rear tire at Discount Tire. At least I now know the TPS system works!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, I uninstalled the new fog lights. After getting a chance to drive with them at night, I realized that they are basically useless at actually putting light on the road. Not only do they feel cheap, they just don't work. So, as much as I don't like the "square peg in a round hole" look, I'm going to install the same fog lights I put on my Miata:

At $100, they don't cost substantially more more than the cheap round housings with LED bulbs added. The difference is, these things REALLY WORK! They are really bright and have a super sharp cutoff. Lots of light thrown way down low, without bothering oncoming traffic. I'll make some round mounting plates out of ABS to fit the stock cutouts, then reinforce the center hole with some big fender washers. With a couple of these wiring adapters the lights will be plug-and-play.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I received the new headlights today:



I had my choice of chrome or black. I decided to go for the chrome because I feel like it looks less "custom." While my Miata and bike are very obviously customized, I'm going for more of an "OEM Plus" look on my Titan. I want better, more modern looking lighting, but I don't want it to really stand out. The new lights have LED bars for DRLs and projector optics, but the chrome finish looks like something that could have originally been on the truck from the factory. In fact, I imagine that only a few "car guys" would even notice they aren't original.

To that end, I've also changed my plans for the fog lights. I found that Morimoto makes a version of the XB fogs that are designed for Nissans. Not for the Titan, of course, but close enough that I think I can adapt them to work in the original recesses.


They won't have the slanted lenses that match the angle of the bumper like the originals, but they'll look like they belong more than the square lights I showed above. the Morimotos will cost abut $50 more than the square lights with adapters, but Morimotos are super high quality lights that do a great job putting the light down where it's actually useful as a fog lights. Plus, the 10-year warranty gives me a lot of confidence.

I also ordered a new front bumper and just received my 2" front leveling kit. So I think i'm going to let the lights rest in their box until next week. Then I'll do the entire face lift at one time. No point in replacing the headlights now, just to remove them again next week to install the bumper!

So next week's project will be a face lift consisting of:
  • 2" leveling kit
  • New front bumper
  • Morimoto LED fog lights
  • New headlights with DRLs
  • HID kit in the new headlights
  • LED turn signals w/ resistors
  • Marco Tornado 150dB air horn (because the stock horns suck!)
This week's project (tomorrow) is going to be installing the new top on my Miata.

Tonight's project is eating the prime ribeye that's in my sous vide right now while I drink another Shiner Prickly Pear.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, I've learned a few cool features on my new Titan within the last few days. These are things that don't seem to appear in the owner's manual, but are nice to know about.
  • Windows down from key fob - Press and hold the unlock button and the front windows roll down remotely. They will stop rolling down when you release the unlock button. Unfortunately, you can't roll them back up remotely.
  • Windows up/down with key - If you insert the key into the door lock, then turn and hold the key in either direction, you can roll the windows up and down from outside of the truck.
  • Turn off the cargo lamp with the doors open - You can turn the cargo on at any time with the switch on the dash. But you can't disable the "on with doors open" feature the way you can with the dome lights. However, if the doors are open and you want the cargo lamp off, just flip the dash switch on and back off again. The cargo lamp will remain off until a door gets opened again.
  • Cargo lamp extended on time - If you turn on the cargo lamp manually, it will stay on until turn it off yourself or the battery saver feature will turn it off to keep you from killing the battery. (I've read anywhere from 15-30 mins.)
  • There are two "automatic" headlight settings - There's the standard light-sensing headlight setting, of course. But if you like to drive with your headlights on all the time, you can just leave them on and the battery saver will turn them off for you. (The warning chime will ring as you exit the truck.) The lights will automatically turn back on the next time you start your truck.
I know most probably won't find these features all that amazing. But remember, I'm coming to the Titan from a 17 year old Ford, so these are pretty cool features to me!
 

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Just a note on getting spark plugs. Stay away from the "incredible deals" you'll see on Amazon and Ebay. Chances are good that they are knock off's labeled as if they were genuine NGK's. We've seen a few cases of it over on the Armada forum and they have caused problems. Get them from a reputable parts place (AutoZone, O'Reilly) or somewhere like rockauto.com

If you haven't been on the rockauto site yet, give it a look. It's many folk's go to site for authentic parts at excellent prices. Also for changing the plugs, you'll want to get a 6" magnetic swivel plug extension for your ratchet. Getting to the #8 cylinder plug is no fun. I use that 6" extension plus another shorter swivel extension to navigate the angles.
 
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