R50 Pathfinder Progression/Trip Thread

RG5384

Observer
Trip Report:

Left for York PA to stay with some family on Friday evening. It would normally be about a 2 hour drive but with the traffic on the beltway and the rain it pushed it to closer to 3. No matter, we arrived in without incident. The first thing I noticed is when it is loaded down the suspension no longer feels "squishy", and bumps on the highway don't upset it near as much as they used to, most notably there is no more bottoming out when going over dips etc. Saturday morning I woke up around 6, had breakfast and hit the road solo while my wife and kids enjoyed seeing her aunt and uncle in PA. I arrived at Rausch Creek Off Road Park around 8:15am, and promptly found the group to meet up with, and we all started prepping the rigs to convert from street to trail. Given that my manual hubs STILL haven't arrived(thanks Race-Mart for telling me they weren't in stock when I ordered...), and I haven't bought my rear disconnects yet, the only item prep I had to do was to air down. I decided to take the Grabber AT-2's down to about 17psi for this run.

After what seemed like an eternity of chit chat and prep(in reality was probably 45 minutes), we hit the trails. Boy, was it slick out there. There was approximately 1ft of snow that was being melted and re-frozen by the rain that was falling. In our lineup there were 2 JKU's, an XJ, an xterra Pro 4x(sweet rig...), what once was a TJ but now more resembled a buggy, a chevy K-5, and a couple other wranglers as well. I was originally worried about how my lowly pathfinder would hang, but those concerns were quickly washed away. It seems that tire choice in these conditions was fairing far more important than lockers, ground clearance, or gearing, as my pathfinder was having no issues in sections that some of the more modified rigs were either getting stuck in, or almost getting stuck in. In fact, at one point we had 4 out of 9 vehicles stuck in the snow, and shockingly I was not one of them!(yet). I should also mention that aside from one other driver I probably had the least experience driving off road out of the bunch.

After this a group of the more modified vehicles took off to run a rocky black trail, and us lame fellos decided to trek on the green until the trail met back up. Well, along the green trail there was a section called the "quarry" that looked like an easy downhill slope leading to a very mild looking uphill rock section that would bring you back up to the main trail. Needless to say, this was too tempting to resist. Going down was uneventful, but what I didn't see(or adequately check out), was that the rock hill was totally covered in ice. Needless to say, that didn't work, so back up the snow slope I *tried* to go. After rocking back and forth I had adequately built up ice blocks on each side of all four tires, so out came the sledge hammer. Once I sledged all the ice apart, I was able to get moving again. Lots of skinny pedal combined with 4 low and the shifter in 1 got me back up the hill, just as one of the Jeeps was starting to descend out of pity to winch me back to the group. It should be mentioned that the Xterra followed me down but with the locker and 33" duratracs did not have any of the issues I did trying to get back up...

So, once we were all back into one main group again we trekked on uneventfully up until the next blue-black section, and myself, the buggy like TJ, K5, xterra, and one of the modified wranglers decided we were going to try to tackle it. Within 50 feet of the trail head the modified Wrangler was stuck, and we also realized that there was about 2ft of very loose snow on this trail hiding some very large rocks and boulders. The xterra, K5, and I all decided to bail at this point. Unfortunately for me and the Xterra, it involved making a very precarious 3 point turn, at which point I realized that whatever traction I had to go forward down the hill was non existent when I tried to back up. I left the hill attached to the TJ buggy, and the xterra was able to turn itself around with lots of very careful spotting.

The last trek of the day involved a very fun blue section that everyone was impressed I was able to get up without being winched, as it gave the lifted K5, one of the 2 door wranglers, and a stock JKU quite a bit of difficulty to get up. In fact, the stock JKU had to be winched up ultimately, and unfortunately on the way down jumped out in front of a tree and dented his rear fender(the sad part is this is a brand new 2015 still wearing temp tags...).

Overall I am absolutely ecstatic with the way the pathfinder held up, and so was everyone else I was with. On of the jeep guys asked if I had a butler in the back after looking at my leather interior, wood grain and seat heaters :) Unfortunately due to the rain and freezing cold conditions I did not get many pictures(and quite honestly the ones I have are terrible), but I've attached what i've got none the less.
IMG_1719.jpgIMG_1720.jpgIMG_1721.jpgIMG_1725.jpg



Lessons for next time:

Seat cover for the drivers seat
Spare sox and shoes(ended up with soaking wet socks and shoes)
Duck boots
Bring Towels
 
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Rebelord

Semper Fi
Very fun trip! Sounds like you had a blast! Plus you got to learn about the Pathfinder and its capabilities. Which, as stock these are quite capable. I've never wheeled in snow. Always been in mud in NC or down here in So. Flo or the desert sand and rocks out in AZ-CA-NM etc.

I would advise, some quality rock sliders. Whether bought or custom. Sneaky rocks and wreak havoc on our lower sides.
 

RG5384

Observer
Rock sliders are pricey(350ish). Right now I can either afford Swaybar disconnects(rear), and cb radio setup, center skid from 4x4 parts, or rock sliders. I will eventually get all of the above but for now it is a tough decision!!
 

Co-opski

Expedition Leader
Tire chains are a life saver if you need traction. I know Wrekdriver has some and I've used mine when things turn slick. Funny what these trucks can do stock with chains.
2013-03-27 11.34.04.jpg
 

RG5384

Observer
Excellent point Co-Opski. Currently i'm mainly wheeling in a group, and at least 50% of the guys have winches so getting un stuck hasn't proven to be a major issue(yet!). I went ahead and placed the order on amazon for a CB radio setup, and have an inquiry out to 4x4parts.com on how much the shipping is actually going to cost for the disconnects.

On another note, I finally cancelled my mile marker manual hub order from race-mart and instead ordered some warn 29091's from Amazon. It seems that the hubs from mile marker were stuck in some container off a dock while everyone was on strike, and the contingency plan to get me the hubs had them coming in sometime in May-totally unacceptable to me.
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
Good to get to know the capabilities of your rig, as mentioned. That strike was in my general area of SoCal, so every time I went to the beach, there was a line of cargo ships. Most of them come from China, so that should let you know where the MMs are coming from. Warns on the other hand are as far as I know made in the U S of A. Other than some cosmetic issues, I've had good luck with mine.
 

Rebelord

Semper Fi
As I tell others on NPORA. 4x4parts.com is 10mins from my work. They do charge outlandish for shipping. I can probably USPS flate rate most items for heck of a lot cheaper.

Sent from my Moto X
 

RG5384

Observer
Rebelord, that is very good to know thanks for volunteering that information. I have decided to pass on the 140.00 disconnects(after shipping), and instead will be trying to make my own. I can source all the components for both sides for $40.00, so to me that is worth the time and the gamble!

I noticed today I've got a noise returning in the front end that I don't like, and it is very reminiscent of swaybar links(which were just replaced). I get a slight clunk whenever I hit a small, sharp bump with one wheel at a time. I get no funny noises on speedbumps, only when one wheel hits something and the other doesn't. My fear is that the aftermaket Raybestos strut tops or bearings are not holding up. My wife and kids are going out of town so it will give me some time to diagnosis this noise, set up the CB radio, try to slow down the rear fender rust, and hopefully install the manual hubs and fabricate the rear disconnects. Of course, as I don't have a garage this all depends on if there is any wet stuff falling from the sky(I miss my garage terribly.....)
 

bushnut

Adventurer
before you replace the strut tops, I'd replace the sway bar bushings. I had the same noise and it turned out to be a $17.00 part. and about 20 minutes of work. didn't even have to jack up the truck.
good luck with the rust....its a never ending battle.
 

BirchHill

goat farmer
Rebelord, that is very good to know thanks for volunteering that information. I have decided to pass on the 140.00 disconnects(after shipping), and instead will be trying to make my own. I can source all the components for both sides for $40.00, so to me that is worth the time and the gamble!

I noticed today I've got a noise returning in the front end that I don't like, and it is very reminiscent of swaybar links(which were just replaced). I get a slight clunk whenever I hit a small, sharp bump with one wheel at a time. I get no funny noises on speedbumps, only when one wheel hits something and the other doesn't. My fear is that the aftermaket Raybestos strut tops or bearings are not holding up. My wife and kids are going out of town so it will give me some time to diagnosis this noise, set up the CB radio, try to slow down the rear fender rust, and hopefully install the manual hubs and fabricate the rear disconnects. Of course, as I don't have a garage this all depends on if there is any wet stuff falling from the sky(I miss my garage terribly.....)
Im getting the same noise on mine, keep us posted what you find.
 

BirchHill

goat farmer
Rebelord, that is very good to know thanks for volunteering that information. I have decided to pass on the 140.00 disconnects(after shipping), and instead will be trying to make my own. I can source all the components for both sides for $40.00, so to me that is worth the time and the gamble!

I noticed today I've got a noise returning in the front end that I don't like, and it is very reminiscent of swaybar links(which were just replaced). I get a slight clunk whenever I hit a small, sharp bump with one wheel at a time. I get no funny noises on speedbumps, only when one wheel hits something and the other doesn't. My fear is that the aftermaket Raybestos strut tops or bearings are not holding up. My wife and kids are going out of town so it will give me some time to diagnosis this noise, set up the CB radio, try to slow down the rear fender rust, and hopefully install the manual hubs and fabricate the rear disconnects. Of course, as I don't have a garage this all depends on if there is any wet stuff falling from the sky(I miss my garage terribly.....)
Im getting the same noise on mine, keep us posted what you find.
 

RG5384

Observer
I am sorry to report I was unable to find the source of the noise today. In fairness, I really didn't try too hard as the weather was below freezing-again. I don't know why every time I decide to work on this truck the weather has to be sub freezing, but I guess that's just the way it rolls. I checked the sway bar links, ball joints, and took my rubber mallet to everything I could find, I did not find any culprit. The fact it only happens if one wheel hits a bump independently has me doubting my original hypothesis of strut tops/bearings. It in theory would also rule out the strut itself, and the ball joint. In fact, it should be something that has to do with the front stabilizer, so before I waste any more time or sleep on this I am going to take bushnut's advice and swap the sway bar bushings. I am also going to change the rack bushings at the same time.

The other projects also suffered due to my unwillingness to work in the weather, so instead of fabricating disconnects I just swapped in the new rear sway bar link(the rattling was driving me mad...), additionally no progress was made with the rust over the right rear wheel.

That doesn't mean the entire day was lost though, as I did get my CB wired in and my front manual hubs installed. I went the totally lazy way with the hubs and did not even remove the tires, this is such an easy 15 minute per side job. It took me longer to dremmel out the center caps than it did to fit the actual hubs... As you can tell, the CB is wired in so that it is very easily removable, I will only have it installed for long drives or off road excursions, so the fact it looks somewhat hokey-doked doesn't bother me so much. I must admit I'm toying with the idea of installing it permanently below the radio, and fitting a smaller antenna to the back of the truck so that I would be able to have it in 100% of the time and also not have any issues with my parking garage at work. I guess it wouldn't be a project if it weren't ever-evolving.
IMG_1754.jpg
IMG_1758.jpg
IMG_1757.jpg

Next trip is scheduled for May 1st-3rd, it is a whole family camping/off roading trip so it should be telling if anything is still lacking on the truck.

Edit: Can anyone tell me why my pictures keep going sidewise??? I swear they aren't like that on my computer when I upload them....
 

marty1977

Adventurer
Great progress mate....with pictures it could have something to do with the size try to maybe make them smaller like maybe 1MB instead of 2MB (or whatever your camera is taking), just try to experiment a bit.
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
I suggest using photobucket to host your photos, it solved a lot of the image issues I had. Just copy the line over, and delete the URL, works every time.

Solid updates by the way, for me, finishing the center cap really made it look more complete. I'm sure you feel the same way. :elkgrin:
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
As Allof75 said, nice updates. I highly recommend photobucket, imgur, flickr, or the like to store photos and share them. It's super easy.
 
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