If someone asked me to describe what this truck is in one sentence, that description would be… an “All-Wheel Drive, Stick-Shift, Twin-Turbo, LS Swapped, Nissan Frontier Pickup. The long description is a bit more complicated and requires dissecting each of those bullet points. Let's do that below and give a better understanding of what makes this truck tick. And if you're just here for pictures and a bullet point build sheet, scroll all the way to the bottom...
The all-wheel drive system in this truck is very simple. It consists of a Chevy Trailblazer SS NP120 transfer case connected to factory Nissan differentials front and rear. This means that the entire system is a passive, fully mechanical setup. There is no computer vectoring torque to each wheel based on sensor feedback, just a simple Torsen T3 differential in the transfer case putting approximately 67% of the torque to the rear wheels.
However, the differentials in this truck are not stock Nissan Frontier diffs. This truck is using parts from the first generation Nissan Armada front and an Australian Market Y62 Patrol rear with a 3.35:1 ratio. This means the front differential is a M200 (200mm / 7.87” Ring) and the rear setup is actually a truly independent suspension with an R248 (248mm / 9.76” Ring). The beauty of the Nissan trucks of this era, is that all of the frames are built on nearly identical design specifications. The frame rail width, front suspension and differential pickup points, engine mount locations, trans crossmember location, and rear frame profiles are identical for every truck. This includes the Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder, Armada, and Titan. Because the rear frame width and profile are the same between these vehicles, the rear independent suspension subframes from the Pathfinder, Armada, and Patrol can be “bolted-in” to any of the other trucks. I say “bolted-in” because the actual mount points on the frame aren’t there, and the bend up and over the subframe is in a different location, so some creativity and fabrication is still required to mount the subframe. However, in terms of simplicity, it is still substantially easier than mounting a setup from a completely different vehicle and it is a suspension designed to work with the geometry of the front suspension.
Armada/Patrol parts were chosen over Pathfinder bits in an effort to increase the track width of the truck and get stronger parts overall. The front control arms and spindles from the Armada bolt up to the Frontier frame, but increase the track width by 5.7 inches. The Armada rear subframe is also wider than the Pathfinder subframe, allowing the rear track to match the front. The Armada/Patrol differentials are also larger than the Pathfinder parts, increasing strength behind the powerplant transplanted into this truck. The Armada was only available with either a 2.96 or 3.35 ratio, so the 3.35 is the shortest choice available.
All of the Armada suspension parts are stock in the Frontier, with stock rubber bushings, with the exception of a few minor changes. The front upper control arms are from SPC, and they’re adjustable for camber and castor, which was required with how much lower than stock this truck sits. The rear toe-arms / spring buckets were replaced with parts from SPL. Those arms are a hybrid of both R35 GTR and BMW stuff to make it work. The rear spring is no longer divorced from the shock as it normally would be in an Armada, but is now a true coilover. Those coilovers are from Viking Performance, and are their Warrior double adjustable units with 450lb springs in the rear and 1000lb springs in the front. The truck has been corner weighted with the total curb weight coming in a hair over 4500lb wet, with 58% of the weight on the nose and nearly perfect cross weights with driver.
One of the most unique parts of this build is the fact that the truck is a manual transmission with AWD. The transmission is a TR6060 from a 5th generation Camaro ZL1. This 6-Speed manual has a built in pump for plumbing in a transmission cooler, which has been mounted ahead of the AC condenser and is a Setrab unit with all 6AN plumbing. LOJ Conversions developed an adapter that allows the TR6060 transmission to mate up to the Trailblazer transfer case. This combination requires that the TR6060 be rebuilt with a C6 Corvette main shaft and rear extension housing. However, this transmission was further modified with a 31 spline Viper mainshaft, and the transfer case input was wire EDM'd out to the larger input spline to bolt it all together. The LOJ adapter then mounts where the Corvette rear differential would, and the transfer case mounts to the rear. The overall combination is a pretty long setup, but fortunately fits well within the wheelbase of the Frontier. The Chevy transfer case is also a driver’s side drop, the same as the stock Nissan case, so making it mate up to the differentials is as simple as a pair of custom driveshafts. In this case, steel front and Aluminum rear.
The clutch and flywheel are from Monster Clutch, and utilizes a C7 Corvette ZR1 triple disk setup modified to hold over 1000HP. The master cylinder is a Tilton 7/8” unit and the slave is a Tilton 6000 series billet concentric slave cylinder. This combination results in OEM-like pedal effort and engagement.
Twin-Turbo LS Swapped
LOJ Conversions has been specializing in LS swaps into Nissan vehicles since day one. This build wouldn’t be representative to the company’s heritage without an LS powerplant. In this case, it is an aluminum block Gen 4 engine… an L77 out of a Chevy Caprice PPV. The engine was torn down and rebuilt using the stock 6.0L block and crank, but with Lunati Rods and Wiseco Pistons. The compression ratio is around 10:1. The engine is still a wet-sump using a stock “hot-rod” oil pan and a stock oil pump that was hand ported by LOJ. The heads are factory castings, rectangle port LS3 parts, that have been CNC ported by Texas Speed and Performance. The camshaft, spring, and retainer setup are all from Texas Speed as well, specifically ground for a twin-turbo configuration. The heads are bolted down with ARP head bolts clamping onto stock LS9 head gaskets.
The induction system is comprised of a Texas Speed Titan SR-3 intake manifold with their optional water to air intercooler by Shearer Fabrication. The throttle body is a 103mm piece from Nick Williams. Breathing into this massive intake and throttle body are a pair of Borg Warner S252SX-E turbos with their 7070 supercore, a 0.81AR T4 housing, and a 61mm wheels from Full-Race Engineering that are mounted to stock LS3 Camaro exhaust manifolds that have been flipped over and modified with T4 flanges and Tial 44mm Wastegate flanges. The induction piping is custom and very short, less than three feet of total piping in the system. The turbos breathe in through a pair of K&N filters mounted to 4” intake piping that pulls air in from behind the factory fog light mounts in the bumper. The turbos and induction system were all sized specifically for response over maximum power, which is evident by full spool being achieved by 3000RPM and torque numbers that nearly match maximum power output. Boost is electronically controlled via a pair of Tial MVR wastegates with 10lb springs installed. The wastegate exhaust flow is recirculated back into the exhaust system, which comprises of a pair of custom 3” stainless side pipes with Pypes Performance M80 mufflers. Excess boost pressure is bled off when the throttle closes by a Tial BOV. Every bit of plumbing in the engine bay is hard piped, including all of the vacuum plumbing related to the wastegates, BOV, fuel pressure regulator, etc.
This combination was tuned by Swap Shop Garage in eastern KY to make 650HP and 600TQ on 13psi of boost ramping up to 16psi and a 27% ethanol content. Speaking of tuning, this truck runs a Haltech Elite 2500 engine management system which allows for fine control of every aspect of the tune. Some of Haltech’s add-ons were also employed, including their dual channel NTK wideband controller, an additional auxiliary input box to allow more data to be fed into the ECM, a TPMS system to allow display and logging of tire pressures and temperatures, and an iC7 digital dash to display it all in front of the driver. The Haltech also has the ability to tie into the stock Nissan CAN network, facilitating 100% functional factory AC and Cruise Control, making this truck a joy to drive on the street for both short trips and long. Some of the data being collected by the Haltech includes: Intake Air Pressure and Temp, Fuel Pressure and Ethanol Content, Engine Oil Pressure and Temp, Intercooler Coolant Temp, Transmission Fluid Temp, Tire Pressure and Temp, and more.
The fuel system is comprised of the stock Frontier fuel tank with a modified factory sending unit and a single AEM 340LPH fuel pump. The sending unit was modified for zero fuel pressure, as it now only feeds a Radium Engineering triple-pump surge tank. The surge tank has three AEM 340LPH pumps installed, but only two are being used at this time. If a single pump fails, the wiring can simply be swapped to the third pump as a backup. Secondary fuel pump control is established by the Haltech and is based on engine load. The plumbing between the stock tank and the surge tank is 6AN, and the surge tank feeds the engine through 8AN plumbing with a 6AN return. Fuel pressure is regulated by a vacuum-referenced external regulator mounted to the intake manifold. The injectors are 1500cc from Snake Eater Performance.
Let’s dive into the cooling system next, because there’s a lot to cover there and it's worthy of its own section. The engine is cooled by a stock LSA water pump, 170* thermostat, and a custom built radiator by C&R. The radiator uses one of their 2” thick PWR cores, and mounts to the stock Frontier mounting locations. It is about the same size as the stock Frontier radiator, which is a fairly large unit with a large frontal area. The fan has a single 16” SPAL fan which is a PWM variable speed unit controlled by the Haltech and capable of moving over 8000CFM at full bore. This truck runs cool under all conditions, even with a factory Nissan AC condenser, trans cooler, and PS cooler mounted in front of it. The factory Nissan power steering system is cooled by a Setrab fluid cooler mounted in the front of the truck, and keeping the PS fluid cool is important when turning 345 section width Michelin Tires. The transmission is also kept cool by a front mounted Setrab unit. The engine oil temperature is thermostatically controlled and sent to a bed-mounted Setrab cooler with its own 12” fan and shroud. Fresh air is fed to the cooler through a bed-side mounted intake and all of the plumbing is 12AN. The coolant in the water to air intercooler system is pumped by a Davies-Craig electric water pump through 16AN plumbing and sent to a bed-side mounted C&R radiator with a SPAL fan and shroud which also pulls fresh air in through a bed-side intake vent. There is no ice-tank in the intercooler system, as refilling ice isn’t practical on a true street car, and instead a massive heat exchanger was employed to do the job. A surge tank is mounted to the firewall to create a high point in the cooling system and facilitate bleeding out any air. The engine oil cooler and intercooler fans are controlled by the Haltech based on feedback from their respective fluid temperature sensors.
Brakes are essentially stock Titan/Armada parts that have been upgraded with Powerstop Drilled/Slotted rotors, EBC Yellowstuff Pads, Stainless brake lines, and Motul fluid. Pedal feel was improved by the addition of a custom brake master cylinder brace. The factory Frontier ABS system was removed and a Wilwood proportioning valve was installed in its place. The wheels are custom Forgeline GS1R-6 in 20x12” and they are wrapped in 345/30R20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires at all 4 corners.
All of the aero on the Frontier was designed by LOJ in house using our Creaform 3D scanner and Solidworks. The front splitter and side skirts are 1/8” aluminum and serve to enhance the street presence and sport appearance of the truck. The rear wing is from 9 Lives Racing, and the wing mount was designed and built by LOJ Conversions. The wing mounts directly to the frame at the rear hitch mount locations and the mounts pass through the bed floor. The wing uprights can be removed from the mount with quick release pins facilitating easy removal of the wing.
Bulleted Build List
- Chassis - 2005 Nissan Frontier King Cab
- Nissan Armada Rear Subframe IRS Conversion
- Nissan Armada Front Control Arm Conversion
- LOJ Conversions Rear Subframe Mounting Brackets
- Viking Warrior Coilovers 1000lb Front / 450lb Rear Spring Rates
- SPC Front Upper Control Arms
- SPL Rear Toe Arms
- Stock Armada Anti-Roll Bars
- Howe 2:1 Ratio Steering Quickener
- Turn One PS Pump
- All other bushings stock rubber.
- 6.0L L77 Engine Block and Crank
- Lunati Rods / Wiseco Pistons, 10.0:1 CR
- TSP CNC Posted Stock Heads
- LS9 Head Gaskets / ARP Head Bolts
- TSP Cam/Spring Package w/ Ti Retainers
- Bronze Trunnion Bushing Upgrade
- TSP Titan SR-3 Intake w/ Shearer Water/Air Intercooler
- Nick Williams 103 Throttle Body
- Turbo System
- Borg Warner S252SX-E Turbos w/ 7070 Supercore, 0.81AR, 61mm Wheels
- Tial MVR Wastegates
- Tial BOV
- Davies Craig Intercooler Water Pump
- C&R Radiator as Intercooler Heat Exchanger
- Fuel System
- AEM 340LPH Pump In-Tank
- Radium Engineering Triple Pump Surge Tank
- Haltech Flex Fuel Sensor
- 8AN and 6AN Plumbing
- Engine Management
- Haltech Elite 2500 ECU
- Haltech I/O-12 Expander Box
- Haltech WB-2 Dual NTK Wideband Controller
- Haltech iC7 Dash
- Haltech TPMS-4 Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Haltech CAN Keyboard
- Transmission & Drivetrain
- Camaro ZL1 TR6060 Transmission w/ Viper Mainshaft
- Monster Clutches Triple Disk C7 ZR1 Clutch
- LOJ Conversions TR6060 to Trailblazer Transfer Case Adapter
- Trailblazer SS NP120 Transfer Case
- Armada M200 3.35:1 Front Differential and Axles
- Patrol R248 3.35:1 Rear Differential and Axles w/ Torsen LSD
- Brakes / Wheels / Tires
- Wilwood 16" Front Rotors with 6-Piston Calipers
- Wilwood 14.5" Rear Rotors with 4-Piston Calipers
- Wilwood Electronic Parking Brakes
- SS Lines
- Wilwood Proportioning Valve
- LOJ Custom Master Cylinder Brace
- Forgeline GS1R-6 Wheels - 20x12
- Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires - 345/30R20
- Lots of custom LOJ Aero w/ 9 Lives Racing Wing