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If you tow/haul with an Xterra, you need this...

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I sold my truck and inherited my wife's 2nd gen Xterra to carry my dirt bikes on a hitch carrier, and haul the family SeaRay runabout boat.  It has a ton of power for towing, but man is it squirrelly when you hit some big bumps towing at highway speed, or hit bumps with a bike on the hitch carrier.   I installed a Timbren SES system, which is essentially a no-maintenance hollow rubber hour-glassed shaped tube that acts as a progressive helper spring.  Wow, what a difference!  It's like an entirely different vehicle.  It rides high and firm with a bike on the hitch carrier even offroad, and the sway and bounce when towing a boat at highway speed is gone.  The impact on the unloaded ride is minimal--just a little stiffer when you hit a big bump.  Installation was a breeze (3 bolts each side), but it was a little tedious positioning the base so that the spring lines up perfectly with the axle.  If you use your Xterra to tow/haul, these are a worthwhile mod for sure!

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A lot of guys recommend this for the Frontiers too. Both are known for soft rear springs from the factory.

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My Frontier came with Bilsteins, and I replaced them with the same at 100k miles.  Never had any squirrelly or bouncing issues.  Based on talking to my buddy who also had a Frontier but with the regular shocks, those Bilsteins were the ticket.

That being said, the Xterra has a much shorter wheel base which amplifies any issues.

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17 hours ago, bassjam said:

My Frontier came with Bilsteins, and I replaced them with the same at 100k miles.  Never had any squirrelly or bouncing issues.  Based on talking to my buddy who also had a Frontier but with the regular shocks, those Bilsteins were the ticket.

That being said, the Xterra has a much shorter wheel base which amplifies any issues.

Yea it seems like the main choices are Bilsteins and KYB's gas-a-just.  Looking around for deals now.  I really wish KYB had a version of their adjustable damping shock for the Xterra.  I put the sports car version on my Miata and they were really impressive. Just turn the dial to dial the ride.  The Rancho shock appears similar, but it's kind of expensive and a fair amount of shock failures are reported on forums.  

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I need something like this for my Toyota RAV 4. The carrier is a bit much for it. 

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My Frontier came with Bilsteins, and I replaced them with the same at 100k miles.  Never had any squirrelly or bouncing issues.  Based on talking to my buddy who also had a Frontier but with the regular shocks, those Bilsteins were the ticket.
That being said, the Xterra has a much shorter wheel base which amplifies any issues.

Mine also has the Bilsteins. I have only put 11K on my truck in 2 years, so my leaves are still good. It’s just known that they’re soft and sag relatively early compared to other trucks, especially those that have a few hundred pounds in the back often. I’m going to do an AAL just for prevention of sag sooner than later. I also agree on the Xs. They seem to carry more weight over the rear end and this causes them to suffer more.

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2 minutes ago, cooldudesmd said:


Mine also has the Bilsteins. I have only put 11K on my truck in 2 years, so my leaves are still good. It’s just known that they’re soft and sag relatively early compared to other trucks, especially those that have a few hundred pounds in the back often. I’m going to do an AAL just for prevention of sag sooner than later. I also agree on the Xs. They seem to carry more weight over the rear end and this causes them to suffer more.

I think I remember reading on clubfrontier that Nissan changed the springs at some point.  I had a 2005 which was the first model year and if anything mine were on the stiff side and made the rear of the truck jumpy.  I sold it in 2017 with 190k miles, the rear springs were still fine at that point.  I actually towed and hauled a lot more with that truck than I have my current F150.  There was a few years I lived in a house with a cistern and was towing 500 gallons of water ever few weeks with that little truck.  And I pretty much always have heated with wood and regularly had the bed loaded with logs.

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Check out Roadmaster Active Suspension. I have it on my 2002 F-150 and pull a 24ft Camper-eliminates sway and squat-moves tongue weight to center of truck

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I think I remember reading on clubfrontier that Nissan changed the springs at some point.  I had a 2005 which was the first model year and if anything mine were on the stiff side and made the rear of the truck jumpy.  I sold it in 2017 with 190k miles, the rear springs were still fine at that point.  I actually towed and hauled a lot more with that truck than I have my current F150.  There was a few years I lived in a house with a cistern and was towing 500 gallons of water ever few weeks with that little truck.  And I pretty much always have heated with wood and regularly had the bed loaded with logs.

I’m really glad to hear that. I hope to keep mine for a very long time (20 years would be nice). My dad really got his money’s worth with his Ranger with 300K miles on the original motor and trans over about 23 years. I hope for a similar experience.

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3 hours ago, cooldudesmd said:


I’m really glad to hear that. I hope to keep mine for a very long time (20 years would be nice). My dad really got his money’s worth with his Ranger with 300K miles on the original motor and trans over about 23 years. I hope for a similar experience.

 

If yours is a newer model I'm sure you will get that life out of it.  I made the mistake of buying a 2005 which was a first model year, and I learned the hard way to never do that again.  Between the 90-100k mile marks I had the timing chain tensioners go out, the spider gears blew, and then the famous transmission/radiator cross-contamination problem.  The transmission then made it to 175k miles before it finally needed rebuilt.  But from what I understand those issues were all addressed by 2008 or so.

Even with those problems that was the best truck I've owned, and I almost regret selling it.  My current F150 is as boring as a refrigerator to drive; I only stepped up to it because I needed something that could comfortably fit 2 carseats and a preteen in the back seat.

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