Well, I decided to make a big change and sell the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Turns out that the Unlimited part is really not so accurate.
Sure, Jeeps are loads of fun and are beasts off road, but there are a few downsides.
For starters, if you have to drive more than 2 hours, you will hate life. Jeeps love to wander and that means constant steering corrections. Lift that Jeep and put some big wide tires on there and you only magnify this problem.
Second, is the fact that they are cargo limited. This applies to both human cargo and gear. I have three kids who are only going to get bigger (why must they grow), so this is only going to get worse.
So, a change must be made, so…….
Enter the Nissan Titan
Why A Nissan Truck
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to picking an vehicle for overlanding. I thought long and hard about my decision before selecting a Nissan Titan as my overland vehicle. Here is why I chose a Nissan Titan for my next overlanding project.
I knew that I wanted a full size truck. If it was just me, a mid size vehicle would be just fine but with three kids and all of the necessary gear that I will need, a full size truck fits the bill.
There is of course a downside to going with a full size truck and that is, of course, the size. It may be a little tight down some trails and I will be much more likely to get a little pinstriping. This is why I chose white. It should conceal the inevitable scratches a lot better than brighter colors.
Although some of the earlier trucks had some issues with front and rear differentials, Nissan righted the ship fairly quickly. Newer trucks are known to be very reliable and are backed by the longest warranty of any full truck. You get a 5 year 100, 000 mile warranty with a Nissan Titan.
The truck has been around since 2004 and received a refresh with the 2016 model year. The truck I selected is a 2018 which means that the manufacturer has had the time to work out the bugs.
The Nissan comes standard with a 5.6L V8 engine making 390 horsepower and 394 pound feet of torque. It is an old school V8 engine which has a lot of kick to it. It should also prove to be reliable and I expect it to go 200,000 miles without too many problems.
You can pick up a well equipped Nissan for well under the price of other models. I picked my slightly used truck up for just over 28,000 in November of 2020.
For that price I got a crew cab truck with four wheel drive, a V8 engine and just 14,000 miles. To get into any one of the other four full size truck makers (Ford ,Chevy, Toyota or Dodge), with similar specs, I would have had to spend at least 5000 dollars more.
Nissan Titan Overland Build Plans
Plans are very liquid at the moment, but I have a general idea of where to go with this build. Here are my Stage 1 plans that will cover storage, suspension and tires.
For starters, I will need a rack for over the truck bed. This will be used for gear and to carry a second spare tire. No roof top tent for me. They are just not that kid or pet friendly and with instant up tents like the one I use, they just do not save you any real time. I’ll take a larger tent on the ground for now thank you.
As far as racks go, I am leaning towards low profile. I want to minimize drag so that it does not completely kill my gas mileage.
I am looking at something like this.
The only problem is that most of these racks go over the bed lip and would interfere with a tonneau cover.
Which brings me to my next item, a tonneau cover. Nothing fancy here, I just need something to keep gear dry. Some things like clothes and electronics just can not be left to the weather. I plan on having some electronics back there like an electric water pump and a backup battery system, so I need something that will keep it dry with fast access. Since it will be under a low profile rack, a hard tonneau is out.
I will just need a c bracket to raise the support bars for the rack. Shouldn’t be too hard to fab up.
You can go a lot of different ways with suspension on an Overland Nissan titan. What you have to keep in mind is that you are building a vehicle for overlanding, not for offroading.
Sure, I want it to be capable but most of the miles will burned on the highway, not the dirt. It needs to be comfortable, handle well and be safe. A small leveling kit should do the job.
That should give me the room to run a solid 33 inch mud terrain, a slight increase over the stock size. Such a minor size increase will not stress components and will no leave me needing to regear.
You have to consider road noise here as well as off road performance. Luckily, you can come close to having both.
I had them on my Jeep and they performaed well in the mud and had fairly good road manners. The 275/70/18 gives me just over 33 inches of height so it should be perfect.