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A New Fun Tier: Will’s Solid-Axle 2002 Nissan Frontier

Four Wheeler logoFour Wheeler 6/28/2018 Ali Mansour

When it comes to midsized pickups on the trail, Toyota seems to rule the market. However, that doesn’t mean there are not some formidable contenders. The challenge for many usually isn’t the want to build other midsized pickups, but rather the lack of aftermarket support that is holding them back. However, Will Saric’s ’02 Nissan Frontier is a prime example of just how far you can take a mini-truck by searching out the right parts.

Having owned the truck for 10 years, Will, an FAA A&P mechanic has steadily transformed the Nissan from a high school daily driver to the trail machine it is today. Starting off with a base-model extended cab SE version of the truck, he understood that for the truck to handle his projected tire and adventure goals, the original independent front suspension would need to go. Having the know-how but needing a little help with the execution, Will worked with RPN Offroad in Goode, Virginia, to convert over from IFS to a solid front axle.

We caught up with Will on some trails in North Carolina. Watching the Frontier work off-road was just as impressive as the level of build quality that runs throughout the truck. While most of the modifications have been done to help the off-road performance of the truck, Will states a cage is one of the next things on the to-do list to increase safety. Though it may be unconventional, we enjoy seeing high-quality builds such as this one mixing up the off-road landscape.

the engine of a red motorcycle: 002 2002 Nissan Frontier Rugged Rocks Solid Axle Conversion

002 2002 Nissan Frontier Rugged Rocks Solid Axle Conversion
© Ali Mansour

At a Glance


Vehicle: ’02 Nissan Frontier

Owner: Will Saric

Stomping grounds: Greensboro, North Carolina

Build time: 10 years


Engine: 3.3L Nissan V-6

Transmission: Jatco RE4R01A

Transfer case: TX-10A

Low range ratio: 2.02:1

Crawl ratio: 31.39:1

Front axle/differential: Diamond Axles housing, Yukon Gear & Axle hubs, solid spindles, Reid Racing knuckles, ARP studs, H233B third member, 5.57:1 gears/ARB Air Locker

Rear axle/differential: Nissan with H233B third member, 5.57:1 gears/ARB Air Locker


Front: Rugged Rocks Off Road SAS kit, Barnes 4WD three-link, Currie Johnny Joint rod ends, 2.5-in 14-in-travel Sway-A-Way coilovers

Rear: Custom Alcan Spring 6-in-lift springs, King 2.0 remote-reservoir shocks

Steering: PSC Motorsports pump and fluid reservoir, Redneck Ram steering gear and cylinder


Tires: 37x12.50R17 Cooper STT Pro

Wheels: 17x9.5 Raceline Monster beadlock


Armor: RLC Welding & Fabrication front bumper, ShrockWorks sliders, RPN Offroad rear bumper

Cool stuff: Wilwood front D52 front calipers, R1 Concepts front rotors, JE Reel Driveline front driveshaft, Flex-a-Lite fans, Optima YellowTop Battery, Cobra 29 LX radio, ARB onboard air and recovery gear, 48-in Hi-Lift Jack, Factor 55 ProLink

2002 Nissan Frontier Rugged Rocks Solid Axle Conversion Lead© Ali Mansour 2002 Nissan Frontier Rugged Rocks Solid Axle Conversion Lead

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