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Author Topic: Hello from Santa Monica  (Read 7536 times)

AGSchu119

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Hello from Santa Monica
« on: March 06, 2016, 07:06:32 PM »
Hello all,

I am new to the forum and especially new to the OHV scene but am looking forward to using my X to escape the city. I am relatively new to the Los Angeles area but need to escape on the weekends and so I have been really enjoying reading through this site. Thank you for all the great information already and I look forward to being a part of this community. Anyway, I am a teacher here in West LA and so will be planning to add some mods slowly over the next year or so.

My first question: I have a 2008 Standard Edition, automatic, 4WD with 120k miles. Besides the fluid flushes and the obvious new tires, what are some typical first mods. My first thoughts are performance, not aesthetic. I want to eventually upgrade my roof rack, add some lights and perhaps a new bumper and skid plates, but I am mostly concerned with my high mileage and so high worn parts.

It seems the consensus says get new tires ASAP...mine are okay, but what about new shocks? I was poking around under the car today after removing the running board/step, and things just look old down there. Does anyone have any suggestions there? I may be looking to lift it a bit, but not so much that my current tires look ridiculous?

Anyway, I am sure I will have plenty of answers soon and I look forward to hopefully making it out for an excursion sometime. In the meantime, I have been researching places to drive. It looks like Asuza Canyon OHV Park is a fun place to go? Any other must drive beginner trails in the area?

Thanks so much!


CAWoody

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2016, 08:05:31 PM »
Welcome from the OC.  You picked a great platform to get your feet wet.  As for mods, tires are always a good start.  As you read more you'll find that there are a million different ideas and opinions as to how to outfit your new toy.  One thing I would highly recommend, since your rig is passed the 100K mile mark, is the cooling system.  Nissan has had problems with a little issue we call the strawberry milkshake of death.  The original radiators are notorious for blowing the seal between the coolant and the transmission cooling, mix the two together and you have the strawberry milkshake, very expensive to fix after the fact.  Check to see if your radiator has been replace and look into a bypass cooling system for your tranny.  Cheaper to fix now than after the fact.

Some great beginner trails can be found almost anywhere in So Cal. Azuza is fun if you like the mud and river crossings are easy.  Hungry Valley in GOrman is mostly OHV and motorcycles, but there are a few trails for trucks.  One of my favorites is Cleghorn Road in San Bernardino, we hit that trail a couple of time a year.  Big Bear and Lake arrowhead have any kind of trail imaginable, from beginner to "ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY!"  If you have a hankerin" to get out for the day, just keep an eye on the post or set set a date yourself, there's always somebody ready and willing to go and play in the dirt.

Check out some of the built pages and you can get some ideas for what you want your rig to look like or function.
Be careful when you follow the masses..... sometimes the "M" is silent.

AGSchu119

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2016, 08:59:03 PM »
Thanks CAWoody for the great information. I have a great repair guy here in Culver who may be helping me with a new radiator. Better safe than sorry right? Are there any trails into the mountains in Orange/Trabuco Canyon area? I have an uncle there so I was thinking of making a weekend trip of it sometime?

CAWoody

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2016, 08:06:55 AM »
Let me know when you are down.  Santiago Peak is an easy 4 hour run to the top of Saddleback Mountain down to Ortega Hwy.
Be careful when you follow the masses..... sometimes the "M" is silent.

JFanaselle

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2016, 08:52:11 AM »
Welcome from Murrieta! Sounds like you've got the right idea so far. I second CAWoody's thoughts about tires being a good first mod after you get that cooling system up to par. You'll eventually find yourself gravitating toward modifications that suit your style of wheeling and how you use your rig (Daily driver? Weekend warrior? Strictly off-road rig?, etc...).

Generally, people are going to advise you to improve your traction (tires) and get yourself a little higher off the ground first. It's not uncommon to start with some basic suspension mods and then upgrade as your needs and skill level evolve. Some people know what they want right out of the gate and just go for the best of the best right out of the gate, but most folks (especially those new to off-roading in general and/or those on a budget) will start slow and work their way up. My first major mod was upgrading to 32" Goodyear Duratrac tires and some Bilstein 5100 shocks with a cheap spacer/shackle lift. I paid about $900 for the tires from America's Tire, I purchased the shocks used (from someone who was upgrading) for $250, and I purchased the lift accessories for about $200.

As I added things that made the rig heavier and as my wheeling style evolved into more of an overland exploration type, I've changed or added suspension components along the way to increase the capability of my rig. My next mod will be to upgrade to a 33" tire, as I no longer commute in my Xterra and prefer the larger tires (you'll find that 33" is the most common size around these parts, even for people with short commutes, because it's as large as you can go with a stock rig and very minimal modifications and performs pretty close to the factory size tires on the street). Once you hit a few trails and start to understand the capabilities of your rig and your wheeling style, you'll see where you need to upgrade, and the folks on this forum can help you understand what options exist to get you there.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 09:25:29 AM by JFanaselle »

Ghost65

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Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2016, 08:58:25 AM »
Excellent post Tim.

I would second the research into your cooling system.

A $700 radiator replacement will save you a $4,000-$6,000 transmission repair...not an if, but a when.

Also a good time to perform a transmission drain and fill with S-Matic fluid for prolonged trans life. About $8-10 a quart through Nissan, and an easy driveway operation.

Lots of threads on Thenewx and I think even a post in my old (GhostX) build thread about this.

The Xterra had much smoother shifts post drain and fill.

Get this necessary stuff out of the way so it doesn't deplete your mod budget for the important things...tires, suspension, skids, etc.

Xterra's are awesome rigs, and with some extra care, higher mileage units will go forever.

Good luck, and welcome from Escondido!!


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RBduffer

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2016, 11:12:13 AM »
Welcome from Fallbrook.  You've already heard from the smartest guys.  Take your time and look for deals.  That's half the fun!  Oh yeah, just get out there every chance you get.  That's the best way to see what you need/want.  Don't let those tires stop you, you will be surprised ;)
Of all the things I've lost...
I miss my mind the most

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beedee

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2016, 12:52:27 PM »
Let me know when you are down.  Santiago Peak is an easy 4 hour run to the top of Saddleback Mountain down to Ortega Hwy.

I'd love to get in on this run as well!!!

And to the OP, welcome!!!

Alex

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 01:03:12 PM »
Welcome from Riverside/Moreno Valley!

CVXTERRA

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2016, 05:56:17 PM »
Welcome from Pasadena!

AGSchu119

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2016, 07:14:58 PM »
So I took the car into a trusted mechanic (not a specific Nissan dealer or mechanic) to check things over today. He said everything looks good. I asked him about the coolant into the transmission issue and he checked over things thoroughly. It looks like I have the original radiator. When this transmission issue happens, is it an all-at-once type of thing or is a slow leak/mix over time? Or is it even an either or type situation?

Just to post, the tires I have are Goodyear Wrangler RT/S P265/70R16, 30"s. They came with the X and seem to have a reasonable amount of tread. For dry dirt roads, will these do okay for now?

If so I am starting to save for a radiator swap to forever save that issue, and then investing in the odds and ends I need for adventure (seems like a jack, tow strap, shackles, shovel are a good start, besides the odds and ends that anyone should have even camping?)

Thank you all for your hellos and such good information. It is nice to be a part of this so soon! For now I will be looking at photos of all of your X's to see where to go next!

Riz98

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2016, 01:45:10 AM »
Welcome from San Diego.  Look forward to seeing you out on the trails.

nworker

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2016, 04:44:24 PM »
Welcome from Pacific Palisades. I'm just up the coast.

Do the radiator bypass, or replace with a new one, now. It would be such a bummer to get bitten by SMOD.

AGSchu119

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 08:57:36 PM »
Thanks nworker. I am a little nervous to attempt this bypass myself as I am handy with tools (fixing boats mostly) but not as much with cars. I have read as much as I can, and looked at all the pictures, so I am going to check it out and maybe give it a shot this weekend.

SyK0

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Re: Hello from Santa Monica
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2016, 10:04:52 PM »
Welcome from Orange County! Upload some pics of your new beast!

Let me know when you are down.  Santiago Peak is an easy 4 hour run to the top of Saddleback Mountain down to Ortega Hwy.

I would like to caravan with ya'll to the top of Saddleback please!

 


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