Adventure Truck

Nissan Frontier: The Adventure Vehicle

Nissan Frontier D40 custom expedition overland built for adventure travelWith all due respect to minivans, of course.

They have thier place, and we're even looking at a couple of wagons for shooting around town.

But you might be skeptical and wondering: Are you just taking grocery-getting to a new level?

And is it a totally inappropriate thing to do, hauling mother and child around in a contraption like this? I can hear the admonitions now, sweet and distinguished Savannah accent perhaps, add a gentle smile, "Son, just what are you thinkin'? And with a baby."

It looks worse than it really is.  And perhaps I make it sound worse than it really is - but I understand this truck radiates with a certain . . . stereotype.

Once you get beyond the heavy steel bumpers, roof rack, and over-sized all-terrain tires you'll come upon a 110-pound roof top tent attached to the top of the bed. And then - then! - you should recognize a truck that's just put together in a fashion to take us cool far-off places where we can bring a few comforts from home.  That's all.  Really.

Nissan Frontier with expedition awning and privacy roomShe's a Nissan Frontier, D40 model actually. And actually (again) there's more to it. This baby's got running water - sort of like having indoor plumbing - so we can take showers. "Hey," you might be thinking, "a redeeming quality."

So think about it: self-contained travel to isolated Mexico beaches or populated National Parks.  We have a comfortable place to sleep, shade and protection, a traveling kitchen . . . kind of like an RV without the large footprint, yet with agility for rough roads.


2005 Nissan D40 Frontier (Navara) Basic Specifications

Make: Nissan
Year: 2005
Model: Frontier, SE Crew Cab
Engine: dohc V6, 4.0L, 241 cu. inches
Suspension, Front: Independent coilover
Suspension, Rear: Spring-over-axle leaf springs
Wheelbase: 125.9"
Overall Length: 205.5"
Overall Width: 72.8"
Overall Height: 70.1" (stock)
Curb Weight: 4226 lbs (stock)
GVWR: 5666 lbs (stock)
Standard Payload: 1482 lbs (stock)
Fuel Capacity: 21.1 gallons
Horsepower: 265 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 284 ft-lbs @ 4000 rpm
Steering: Power assisted rack and pinion (engine speed sensitive)
20.4:1 ratio, 3.55 turns to lock
Bed Width: 61.4" (@ C-channel)
Bed Length: 59.5"
Bed Depth: 18"



  • Shrockworks rock sliders
  • Shrockworks front winch bumper with Warn M8000 winch
  • Kennesaw Mountain rear Multi Carrier with gas can and Hi-Lift mounts
  • NISMO skid plates for fuel tank, oil pan, t-case
  • Shrockworks differential guard

Suspension and Drivetrain

  • Front PRG leveling kit
  • Rear add-a-leaf packs
  • Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bags
  • Old Man Emu N85 shocks
  • 285/75r 16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, load range D


  • Deflecta-Shield Challenger 5920 LP truck bed tool box
  • Custom bed cap enclosing the cargo bed, Yakima load bars, control towers mounted on top
  • Custom storage drawers in truck bed
  • Baja Rack Mule Rack
  • Yakima load bars custom mounted to the roof
  • Storm Case


  • Shrockworks front winch bumper with Warn M8000 winch
  • Xtreme Hi-Lift jack (48")
  • Hi-Lift Handle-All
  • Tow straps
  • StrapLock
  • Rear Multi-Carrier incorporates two large clevis mounts
  • Cheerful, enthusiastic friends


  • Uniden 520XL CB radio, mounted inside center console
  • Yaesu FT-7800 dual band (144 MHz and 440 MHz) HAM radio with remote mount face
  • Larsen NMO mount antenna for dual band radio, mounted on fender/hood junction
  • Garmin GPSMap 76CS on a RAM Mount, w/ external Gilsson antenna
  • Rear back-up camera with Kenwood DDX6019 monitor (touch screen DVD/CD player)


  • Eezi-awn roof tent mounted over the bed on custom installed Yakima crossbars and control towers
  • On-board freshwater system; 15 gallon tank, sureflo 2.8 gpm pump, trigger shower sprayer
  • Custom sun shade awning made of ripstop nylon and converts into a privacy room or shower shelter


  • Lightforce 170 Striker lights
  • 20 liter Scepter fuel can
  • 20 liter Scepter water can
  • Adventure Trailers can holders
  • Dual battery system with Optima yellow top auxiliary battery and Wangler NW management
  • Two auxiliary Blue Sea fuse blocks, one interior, one exterior
  • No-Loss valve caps
  • Engel MT 35 Fridge/Freezer
  • Yakima 66" load bars mounted on roof with control towers and landing pads
  • ScanGauge II with BlendMount
  • Yakima SprocketRocket bike trays


Modification pictures:

285/75r 16 BF Goodrich BFG AT all terrain KO tires Nissan Frontier Custom made shade awning and privacy room ripstop nylon
Larsen dual band antenna Auxiliary battery optima dual battery with wrangler NW battery manager isolator
custom bed cap deck for Eezi-Awn roof tent nissan frontier, tool box Custom storage drawers nissan navara D40 Frontier
Eez-Awn roof tent nissan frontier D40  navara Engel fridge refridgerator nissan frontier navara D40
Front PRG suspension lift nissan frontier Yeasu FT-7800 ham radio nissan frontier D40 navara
auxiliary fuse block nissan frontier navara GPS inside nissan frontier Navara D40
lightforce 170 striker lights kennesaw rear multi carrier bumber nissan frontier d40
Nissan navara d40 frontier suspension old man emu, firestone air bags add a leaf scan gauge nissan frontier with blendmount
touch screen dvd cd camera monitor Shrockworks winch bumper nissan frontier
shrockworks nissan frontier rock sliders Yakima sprocketrocket bike tray holders nissan frontier d40
nissan frontier d40 navara utilitrack quick connect water port
Water tank on nissan frontier Yakima roof rack nissan frontier load bars with sunroof crew cab

I like:

  • Body styling
  • Easy capacity for 32" tall tires
  • Strong and trustworthyV6 engine
  • Easy-to-customize rear suspension
  • Robust drivetrain from the front constant velocity joints to the rear axle
  • In-cab storage: dual glove box, compartments under rear seats, center console with 12V power
  • Decent throttle and brake response
  • Good highway economy (given the weight of this pig)
  • Utilitracks
  • Boxed frame
  • The front seats - nice n' comfy for long days
  • Spacious cab

I don't like:

  • Not having solid low-end power. It seems to me that the Frontier D40 (Navara) is designed more for highway performance and towing. Hello . . . her max torque output is up at 4000 RPM. That makes her difficult to manage gracefully in the ol' technical terrain.
  • Short bed: perhaps we should have waited to get a long bed version, which became available with the 2007 model year.
  • Interior plastic is very maleable
  • A recurring P1446 trouble code (vent control valve)
  • Back seat is not nearly as comfortable as the Tacoma
  • The short front suspension travel and low clearance height behind front wheels
  • Electronic 4WD control is a little picky: shifting from 4-High into 2 wheel drive often requires turning the switch about 100 yards prior to hitting pavement to let the transfer case shift while on loose ground
  • That I don't get to drive it more often

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