New 2014 Xterra Owner- Icedragonmx's trip reports

snekvasil

Adventurer
great build/pics

Awesome pics and build. I like the platform and how you're building it based on what you need. I had the Baja Claw on my X as well. Loved the tire, although they got a bit noisy toward the end. You probably already know this, but it's so important to rotate every other oil change to prevent cupping/uneven wear on the treads.

That area of the country is so gorgeous...I gotta plan a trip up there. Do you fish from your canoe?
 

xterraoffroad

Adventurer
Great pics, I have the leather seats as well, noticed that the passenger seat only folds flat with the fabric version. Any noticeable loss of power/mpg's with the 285's?
 

AL1

Observer
Lokka

Nice rig and great pictures. I dont know if you have considered a front locker yet, but I love me lokka. It fixes a common breakage point on the frontier/ xterra line and drastically improves traction. It stays unlocked while in two wheel drive and mine doesn't make any noticeable noise while turning. Even with just aired down 265/75 r16 bfg atko's I haven't had any issue with mud or deep sand. Install took me about 4 hours and i think I paid $300 for the unit. Def the best mod for the xterra / frontier.:smiley_drive:
 

icedragonmx

Adventurer
Thanks guys!

theBostonianX- I have very little time left before all the fun trails are under 3 feet of snow so trying to get some trail time in while I can! I do have the basic recovery gear but the winch would be a great addition! I am looking at maXterra's front bumper as the perfect platform for one--- http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/32841-maXTERRA-s-06-X?p=1694268#post1694268 The leather seating in the 2014 Pro4x won't allow for the front passenger seat to fold flat, I use the 8gal Action Packer to help with making room for me (6'4"er )

richard310- What type of land anchor? The winch is a big $$$$ investment but would be great to have the extras to make it work everywhere. Oh, frozen mud is real fun to clean up off the truck when sitting next to the streams, Lol

snekvasil- Thanks, going to look through your post, I hope you have some cool pics of yours posted with the MT Claws on. How did you find them on deep sand? I don't fish from the canoe but do use it to get into the backcountry on short trips. There is some great areas up here for both the 4x4 and Canoe trips--- Let me know what type of stuff your looking for, I could point you in the right direction with trails/routes. http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/forum/trip-reports/canadian-trip-reports/15716-7th-trip-report-ela-august-long-weekend-plus-a-day

xterraoffroad- No power loss with the 285/75/R16's, great with the extra grip too. I did notice that I didn't drag the belly on one spot I did before but there is not that much of a difference in size from the 265's. Word to the wise, use a heat gun and not a torch for the melt mod!

AL1- Have you found the front diff and axles to be strong enough for some aggressive rock fun with the Lokka locker? I had a dual locked Zuk prior and it is nice for the rocks to have that front locker! Just need to make sure I am not going to snap front axles/hubs etc. Can you describe or link an article on the "common breakage point"? Thanks
 

snekvasil

Adventurer
snekvasil- Thanks, going to look through your post, I hope you have some cool pics of yours posted with the MT Claws on. How did you find them on deep sand? I don't fish from the canoe but do use it to get into the backcountry on short trips. There is some great areas up here for both the 4x4 and Canoe trips--- Let me know what type of stuff your looking for, I could point you in the right direction with trails/routes. http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/forum/trip-reports/canadian-trip-reports/15716-7th-trip-report-ela-august-long-weekend-plus-a-day
I actually don't have any pics of my X on here. Right now I'm running BFG's All Terrains. They're ok...I honestly don't know why people love them so much. The Mickey tires are just badass aggressive. I never went through deep sand with them, but they ANNIHILATED snow. I honestly could not believe how well those tires did. I pulled trailers full of firewood through snow and mud without ever getting stuck (with the Mickeys). My X is pretty much all stock so I was only running 31s. I had to trim those stupid mudflaps because they rubbed. Those Baja claws were the best tires I have owned as of yet. I just put BFG KM2s on my 68 Chevy K10...I'm interested to see how those do in comparison with the Mickeys. Whatever the case, your X is sweet. Keep it up. I love your trip reports.
 

AL1

Observer
AL1- Have you found the front diff and axles to be strong enough for some aggressive rock fun with the Lokka locker? I had a dual locked Zuk prior and it is nice for the rocks to have that front locker! Just need to make sure I am not going to snap front axles/hubs etc. Can you describe or link an article on the "common breakage point"? Thanks
I don't wan't to give the idea that the front differential is weak or prone to damage in any way. For most applications, the stock r180 front differential will work fine and be 100% reliable. As far as I know, the common weak link is the lack of front end travel combined with weak spider gears. Breakage occurs when one wheel is lifted off the ground and begins to spin before reconnecting with the ground and gaining sudden traction, the weak, sand-cast spider gears shatter and split the case.

The easiest solution to this problem is the Lokka mechanical locker for the r180. It replaces the weak spider gears and eliminates free wheel spin at the same time. Doing this moves the weak link to the axle shaft/ cv joints but I have yet to see one of these fail under normal (non abusive) circumstances. However, if you broke an axle shaft or a cv joint, these would be fixable on the side of the trail where as a split casing would not be.

As far as aggressive rock crawling, I can't really say. I have done some moderate crawling that open diff tacomas needed to winch over, but I am a pretty conservative driver. I think you would be fine with 285/75s though. Most of the breakages have been on 33"+ tires and lots of wheel spin.

I probably didn't need the front locker, but I almost always wheel alone in remote areas and for $300 you can't beat it. If you have had a front locker before, you know how much of a difference it makes traction wise. I have never driven in snow or ice with this set up, but I love it for dirt/mud/sand and rock. You absolutely can't tell its there when in 2wd. You won't regret it.

Good luck, and have fun!
 
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icedragonmx

Adventurer
I actually don't have any pics of my X on here. Right now I'm running BFG's All Terrains. They're ok...I honestly don't know why people love them so much. The Mickey tires are just badass aggressive. I never went through deep sand with them, but they ANNIHILATED snow. I honestly could not believe how well those tires did. I pulled trailers full of firewood through snow and mud without ever getting stuck (with the Mickeys). My X is pretty much all stock so I was only running 31s. I had to trim those stupid mudflaps because they rubbed. Those Baja claws were the best tires I have owned as of yet. I just put BFG KM2s on my 68 Chevy K10...I'm interested to see how those do in comparison with the Mickeys. Whatever the case, your X is sweet. Keep it up. I love your trip reports.
Thanks! I can't tell you how happy I am to hear how well the MT Claws tires do in snow. We get more than enough of that here and it is the limiting factory on back country travel during the winter season! I have gear to camp in -40 but if the snow is too deep I am stuck on where to go. The BFG's will serve you well, they are a great all around tire that survives the rough stuff, I have had several set on my older toys. I did have to take off the mud flaps and do the melt mod to fit mine. They are a 33x11.5x16 size. I will try update as the trips get more interesting!

That Canoe is the best light weight solo tripper made today. The Keewaydin 15' pack boat in Textreme Carbon Fiber is a 27# dream come true for me! Light weight and crazy strong and will still handle the big nasty wind and waves for an open canoe. Great for a 230# guy and the gear for a long weekend or two week run. Goes fast and tracks true, turns nice, and handle the ugly stuff! Also will handle my jumps from the rocks and landing my *** on the super comfy seat with back support. I bought it due to the seat because of my bad back (Range Rover Back), the support over the longer days is great! If you have the $$$$, buy one! I did lots of trip reports on that site under my user name. Have a search around as there is a few good days on the water there. The Caddy Lake one was fun with the small craft warning and weather advisory!

 
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icedragonmx

Adventurer
I don't wan't to give the idea that the front differential is weak or prone to damage in any way. For most applications, the stock r180 front differential will work fine and be 100% reliable. As far as I know, the common weak link is the lack of front end travel combined with weak spider gears. Breakage occurs when one wheel is lifted off the ground and begins to spin before reconnecting with the ground and gaining sudden traction, the weak, sand-cast spider gears shatter and split the case.

The easiest solution to this problem is the Lokka mechanical locker for the r180. It replaces the weak spider gears and eliminates free wheel spin at the same time. Doing this moves the weak link to the axle shaft/ cv joints but I have yet to see one of these fail under normal (non abusive) circumstances. However, if you broke an axle shaft or a cv joint, these would be fixable on the side of the trail where as a split casing would not be.

As far as aggressive rock crawling, I can't really say. I have done some moderate crawling that open diff tacomas needed to winch over, but I am a pretty conservative driver. I think you would be fine with 285/75s though. Most of the breakages have been on 33"+ tires and lots of wheel spin.

I probably didn't need the front locker, but I almost always wheel alone in remote areas and for $300 you can't beat it. If you have had a front locker before, you know how much of a difference it makes traction wise. I have never driven in snow or ice with this set up, but I love it for dirt/mud/sand and rock. You absolutely can't tell its there when in 2wd. You won't regret it.

Good luck, and have fun!
Thanks for the heads up on the spider gears! My days of rebuilding broken lockers and Ring and pinion gears and drive shafts etc. etc. on the trail are hopefully over now that I have calmed down. It is nice to know what the weaker links are just in case I do get energetic during a rock trail. I think I do understand what you are trying to say with the upgrade to the front locker. I am very familiar with that design as we did a lot of product testing for Lock Right Lockers at the start of their production and found the factory side gears to be the weak link in the Zuk's. They corrected that by providing the replacement side gears on the later units. It's weird to start in a new truck and not know all the finer points on the system. I will take the winter without the front locker before I start messing with modding the drivetrain. I still have to do my first oil change as I am only at 3800km right now! It would be a great thing with front and rear lockers for the trail!!!!!
 

icedragonmx

Adventurer
Late with the pics as I have a few month to catch up on for pics so I will keep them short…

Just a few from March with trying to corrupt a shooting buddy with the 4x4 stuff, a good test for the tires in loose gravel/sand






April was fun as the snowpack was down and the trails were starting to open up. A run to a favorite spot was in order…

Some ice and snow still around for this trip.


Water was moving in the fast spots


A few frozen lakes yet

Tried the rocks fully aired up and did ok.


Not much of a beach yet and a bit of snow in the shade

These two were walking through while I was having dinner.. too cool


Testing out the sleep arrangement, cozy with the right sleeping bag and thermarest under!

The next morning I found out how deep the snow was! Lol I need better recovery gear as this was too much fun…

The trail out


Made easy with the better tires

A bit of rappelling fun at one of the local cliffs

And pics at the falls again



One of the canoe trips in June to the ELA area in Ontario,






Getting tempted to go for a longer drive to the West Coast…
 

icedragonmx

Adventurer
So about that trip west…(real reason for the photo dump above)

Decided to give this Xterra a test and see how it would work for longer trips, Winnipeg to the West Coast (Vancouver Island) and back with a few side adventures along the way…Over 5200km in the Xterra at full weight and heavy speeds with the Keewaydin 15 pack boat with on top.

Did get pulled over after hitting the Alberta sign for a check on the boat for unwanted travelers. Zebra mussels are a invasive species to be stopped at all points of entry. http://www.protectyourwaters.net/hitchhikers/mollusks_zebra_mussel.php




Did not want to bring these guys in to pollute a fresh lake. This was a sample boat drain vent provided by the road side team. Clean out your boat before going to new areas!!! The crews here were great and very informative.



A heavy load of fun gear with this time. Water stuff, rock climbing and 4x4 recovery gear and regular camping and tourist stuff too as well as food/water etc. for the 10 day trip.



After finding out all the sites were booked for at least 5 hours around I had to stop on a pull out for the night. Can't stealth camp with a canoe on top! LOL



After a long Day of driving to Moraine Lake Alberta from Winnipeg Manitoba I woke up to a “nice” surprise! 2” of wet snow! It had been crazy warm prior to my leave so this was a bit of a shock but still made for a few fun pictures.



The starting point at Moraine Lake and a few select pictures from the hundreds I took that day at the different lakes…


Crazy color to the water, was very breathtaking!

At the far end of the lake looking back

And back again at the start


Then a jump back in the truck and on to Lake Louis to try for a few more pics, the overcast sky did make this difficult but tried for a few good pics. Was so tired from the drive the day before it took half the paddle to realize I was still wearing a small 30lt waterproof backpack while in the canoe!
At the far end of the lake


And back at the landing as I needed to be on undeveloped land for the water access. Ended up walking through a huge crowd of tourist at this point. Was still great fun!


The next stop for the day was up by Jasper at the Mount Edith Cavell upper Glacier Lake. I was hoping for a picture within a waterborne ice cave but that had collapsed prior to this year. Still was a crazy hike up to the lake following the washout ravine from the 2012 avalanche and resulting overflow. The road and parking lot have been repaired and are in great shape now!

To start was a uphill hike that was approx. 1.1km long…




When I got close to the lake I could see ice on the surface and was worried that my plans were ruined. Luckily there was open water closer to the Glacier face so a little more hiking was required.



Finally in the water. Very cold water that should not be messed with! I would not last long if I tipped in this stuff!!!! I did have my PDF and small dry bag with extra dry cloth but no getting silly here.





 
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icedragonmx

Adventurer
I could hear the ice moaning within the main glacier and with a few rocks falling from the top overhang it was time to get back to shore







Can you tell I was happy with this day?




A drive towards Wells Grey Provincial Park ended the day and then the next day was spent exploring the many waterfalls and sites at Wells Grey before running the last Ferry onto Vancouver Island at 1045pm.









On the island the West coast had a whole different style that required a bigger boat for the trip out to say hi to these guys…





Was a much bigger trip but just a few water/shoreline pics and a few from all the tourist stuff!




 

icedragonmx

Adventurer
Avatar Grove was a neat spot!





And the true West coast near the botanical gardens





And by Ucluelet and Tofino etc.


Including a mortgage burning party with my Folks watching as I burned a copy of the completed loan! Yaa! Having my cake and eating it too!


One night in the tent all the rest of the camping was in the back of the truck. Just enough room there for me and gear, the tent was huge compared to the truck

 
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