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2004 Nissan Frontier - A New Frontier - Tech

An '04 Nissan - Truckin' Style

John Mata Jr.
Feb 1, 2009
Photographers: Dan Ward, John Mata Jr.
Photo 2/31   |   Before
Stock is boring! We can all agree on that. The excitement generated from cruising around in a fresh-off-the-lot pickup lasts about as long as that new car smell does-sometimes even waiting out that period is a stretch.

Photo 3/31   |   Mounted and balanced, the 20-inch ICCE wheels looked perfect inside the Nitto Dune Grappler tires. Thanks to the 3 extra inches of the lift, we were able to clear a tire almost 33 inches tall. Now our Frontier looks ready for any obstacle thrown in its path.
When we received word that an '04 Nissan Frontier was in need of a little help pulling itself out from its stock syndrome, we made a few calls and gathered some great parts. Mini- and mid-size trucks are more popular than ever right now and we couldn't wait to show how cool a Nissan could look with the right modifications made. Since losing altitude wasn't in the cards for this 4WD truck, Calmini offered up their 3-inch lift kit, which included upper control arms, torsion bars, shocks, and rear blocks and shackles. Beneath the lifted suspension, we needed a capable and attractive set of rolling hardware, which now consists of 20x9-inch ICCE OTR-008 off-road wheels and 285/55R20 Nitto Dune Grappler rubber. The new look is stunning and the wheel and tire combo really set the truck off.
With the few extra inches in height, and a new pair of cross-trainers on, it couldn't hurt to put a little more snap in the Frontier's step. For the extra horsepower, we quickly dialed Doug Thorley Headers for some information on their exhaust system. We were impressed with the quality they put into constructing their pipes and factory-style hangers, so we quickly put in a request! While the wheels, tires, and exhaust made their way to our office, we made one more call to Volant Performance for a nonrestrictive cool air intake featuring their new PowerCore filter-the only 100,000 mile maintenance-free filter on the market. With the Nissan's bed crammed full of goodies, we headed due south to StreetWise Motor Sports, in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, where Doug, Michael, and Shawn ripped into the truck and altered it for the better. Take a look and see for yourself!
Photo 4/31   |   After
From The Driver Seat:With the taller suspension and larger wheels and tires, the Frontier definitely stands above the crowd. At the same time, the truck now rides a little stiffer than we had hoped, so there is a minor tradeoff to the improvement in its new, more aggressive appearance. We did run into a problem when trying to install the Doug Thorley exhaust system. The kit was made for a Crew Cab with a short bed and our Nissan is equipped with the optional 6.2-foot longbed. The longer kit was not available. Not to worry, since Shawn was eager to put his fabricating skills to good use as he extended the tubing and still maintained the exhaust's well-placed, factory hanger locations. We also ran into a bump in the road when trying to bolt on the ICCE wheels into the front hubs. We initially had the wheel centers bored to fit the larger than usual 4WD hubs, but our measurements were off and the centers would not clear. A second trip onto the lathe proved to be a necessity in order to mount the rollers-always remember to measure twice and cut once! Another observation we took note of was the Volant intake's lack of securing hardware. We aren't used to seeing the air duct and hosing act as mounting brackets. With the hood shut, the intake isn't going anywhere, it just seemed like a couple screws would have made the installation feel more complete. The little snags were quickly forgotten, however once the Frontier was up in the air and looking down on the poor 'ol stock Nissans.
Time Spent Working: 14 Hours
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Tools Needed: 15mm, 13mm and 9/16-inch wrench and socket, jack stands or lift, Phillips and flathead screwdriver, cut wheel and grinder.
Parts Used:
Calmini 3-Inch Suspension System #12513 ${{{929}}}.95
Doug Thorley Headers Exhaust $496.00
Volant Performance Intake $305.55
Nitto Dune Grappler Tires 285/55R20 $319.95EA.
ICCE OTR-008 20X9-Inch Chrome Wheels $339.00EA.
Total Cost: $4,367.30
(MSRP prices from Calmini, Doug Thorley Headers, and Volant. Nitto tire pricing is from Summit Racing and ICCE wheel prices were taken from Does not include tax.)


Summit Racing
Akron, OH
Volant Performance
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
ICCE Wheels
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Doug Thorley Headers
Corona, CA 91720
Calmini Products, Inc.
Bakersfield, CA 93313
Street Wise Motor Sports
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688


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