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NV 4x4 front suspension - Owner Input needed


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23 replies to this topic

#1 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:23 PM

Hi guys,

 

Please go easy on me, I'm not (yet) a NV owner as of now.  :)

 

I am still researching options for a 4x4 camper-van and the NV+Quigley combo is winning for now. I am considering Transit+Quigley, the Sprinter 4x4, and the V8 NV2500 or 3500, all in high roof versions. I intend to add a 2nd row seat and a removable 3rd row with the intention of having some flexibility in family camper vs extended family road-trips. 

 

These are the facts that swayed me towards the Nissan (winner for each in bold):

 

Recalls (all model years, per NHTSA website) - 22 Transit, 40 Sprinter, 7 Nissan

 

Total Cost for my 4x4 config - $57k Transit, $57k Sprinter, $48k Nissan

 

Construction - Unibody Transit, Unibody Sprinter, Body-on-Frame Nissan

 

Conversion Done by - Quigley Transit, Factory Sprinter, Quigley Nissan

 

4x4 component donors - 1/2 Ton Transit, Unknown but factory Sprinter, 3/4 ton Nissan

 

Max Tire Size without body mods (per owner forums) - 33" Transit, 31.5" Sprinter, 33" Nissan

 

Of course there are more details but these are the main hitters. 

 

I am still continuing to research and today I discovered a rather disturbing fact. I studied the Nissan documentation and body builders guide in detail, and did some rough calcs to figure out weight distribution etc. I am finding that with the Quigley conversion, and just 2 occupants in the front seats, the front axle GAWR (gross axle weight rating) is exceeded! This will obviously get a fair bit worse when camper equipment such as large AGM batteries, kitchen cabinets, beds, etc are added. Since the proportion of weight for all of this junk is not 100% on the rear axle. 

 

General consensus is that GAWRs are not to be exceeded, whereas exceeding GVWR by a small amount for short periods isnt that big of a deal (I am not sure of legalities, I'm only talking from a vehicle durability perspective). 

 

This is the main reason I decided to post here. I would like to hear from owners who have done the Quigely conversion if they have noticed any adverse effects on the front suspension. Such as uneven tire wear, shortened life of front struts, bushings, etc or anything unusual. 

 

Your comments are appreciated! 


Edited by systemic_anomaly, 11 October 2018 - 02:25 PM.

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#2 radin2son

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:05 PM

Few 4x4 owners still post. PM KMG regarding his Quigley conversion; he unfortunately sold his as did Jon Nelson (Advanced). You best bet is to go through the 4x4 posts and PM owners. Good luck.

No one ever mentioned a weight distribution problem. There is a general lack of knowledge regarding NVs, so the info you have from Body Builders Guide may not be that accurate. Contact Advanced and Quigley directly to get their take.

Adding oem seats to a cargo van can be a real, make that impossible challenge if you can find someone to do this. Again, contact KMG or read his posts. He may pick up on yours as well...

Interesting stats on recalls. I didn’t think there were even 7. Most if not all were minor. Check the recalls on this forum. They are pretty much are spelled out. I know Nissan Commercial has a recall link that may help as well.

One issue you haven’t considered is service and warranty work. Only Nissan Commercial dealerships can service an NV. You can find Transits all over the place and every dealership can work on them. Sprinters have their own issues...
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#3 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:18 PM

Thanks radin2son, I had missed the fact that NVs cannot be serviced everywhere, however it's not a problem for me if it's scheduled maintenance vs recurring issues/defects for the other vans.

The Body Builders guides for cargo and passenger vans are published by Nissan Vehicle Engineering and extremely detailed..I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of that information.

I'm notsaying there's a weight distribution problem as such, its just that even lightly loaded, it exceeds manufacturer ratings for the front axle. Quigley adds 250lbs to the front axle with their 4x4 parts and that's the main reason for the weight going over.

I will look up KMG. Thanks again!
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#4 Mark Rogers

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:28 PM

There are a couple of other 4x4 conversion options for the NV, but I don't know how they compare in weight.

 

There's Advanced 4x4 Vans in Utah, which I'm guessing you've heard about.

 

The less well known option is Tim Dahle Nissan Southtowne in Utah, which installs Nissan Titan 4x4 parts into NVs.  The Tim Dahle conversion includes high and low ranges, and uses a dashboard control.  If I had more money to play with, I probably would have taken them up on it.

 

Another reason to consider the NV is the 5 year / 100,000 mile warranty.


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#5 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:35 PM

Hi Mark - wow, thanks for letting me know about the Tim Dahle option! I will look into it. I have seen a report published by Nissan from the Auto/Steel Partnership where they said the Titan XD's front half of the frame is borrowed from the NV. so it's possible they're using XD parts (my speculation).

As far as I'm able to tell, Quigley and Advanced use the same front diff and transfer case, so the weight added should be similar. This is not in anyway to disparage either of these fine outfits, just to state that Nissan's published GAWR is easily exceeded with a 4wd conversion.
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#6 radin2son

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 07:22 PM

There is an over the top NV conversion, Kodiak, done by Ouside Van. 4x4 conversion was done by someone else? If still in the hands of the original owner, he can be found on Expedition Portal. Photos are/were on Outside Van.

We briefly looked at Outside Van in 2012 when we bought our NV. Featured Sprinter vans were 1 offs, examples of their work. Unaffordable was the bottom line. Same for the 2011 MB conversion at Sportsmobile, $83k. None 4x4. Had to go with Econoline/Quigley to get that.
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#7 peter_fazio

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:20 AM

   Systemic_Anomaly,

 

  I have a 2013 NV Passenger with the Quigley 4X4 conversion.  I am very surprised to hear that the Quigley conversion puts the NV over the front GAWR.  I was told explicitly by Quigley ( Ernie Sartalis ) that they will not do any conversions that would exceed the manufacturers load ratings.  He even mentioned that on certain models (Chevy I think) that they have to permanently remove the 4th row seat because with the conversion it would exceed the rear GAWR.  Quigley does everything by the book as far as safety and DOT regulations are concerned.  I am curious as to what the front GAWR is for the NVP?  Kinda' surprising since the front end is very robust looking.  If you compare the front suspension on the NV to a Transit, it makes the Transit front end look like it belongs on a car.  I have had my conversion for 2 years now and have not had any issues with it.  I would contact Quigley and ask them your specific question.  They are very helpful and very informed about the details.

                                                                             good luck,

 

                                                                                             Pete Fazio


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#8 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:03 AM

Hi Pete - I really do appreciate you chiming in. I am hoping to hear the same positive experience with other Quigley or in fact any 4x4 conversion owners. Numbers sometimes don't tell the whole story. It is interesting to note that the Titan XD, which shares most of its front end with the NV, is rated a minimum of 500lbs MORE than the NV for front GAWR, and upto 1000lbs more with its optional HD package. I agree that the NV front end looks over-built compared to what it is rated at, especially in relation to the Transit which is rated 300lbs higher! 

 

Here are my numbers that you are free to double-check (attached below). Basically its easy to see that with just 2 x 200lb occupants in the drivers and passengers seat, you are over the front axle GAWR. Is it possible that curb weight includes the driver weight? Potentially, but that still puts it over as soon as you add any 2nd row passengers. Its anybody's guess what happens when you add a winch and steel front bumper. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attached Files



#9 radin2son

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:13 AM

S_A, This is beginning to look like a mental engineering exercise. Pete has 5 years or so of real world use without any concerns. Quigley and Advanced have the most experience concerting NVs. Stick with them.

There have been posts about using the original Titan’s 4x4 components. No go on that. Then the new Titan appeared and same thoughts. If it were that easy, there would be more conversation and conversions out there.

On the Nissan Commercial site, look for the video where Extreme (?) converted a standard cargo van to 4x4 and diesel. This was a joint project with Nissan.
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#10 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:17 AM

Original Titan and NV are completely different. The Titan XD and NV front ends are very alike. I am surprised Nissan still doesnt offer a factory 4wd version, it would sell like hot cakes literally. 

 

BTW, I am a chassis engineer and have worked on actual vehicle programs for all of the US OEMs and some Asian, including specialty work for Nissan. Spreadsheets are where a lot of vehicle programs begin, even ones as simple as the one I posted above. 


Edited by systemic_anomaly, 12 October 2018 - 10:19 AM.

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#11 Mark Rogers

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 11:40 AM

Here are my numbers that you are free to double-check (attached below). Basically its easy to see that with just 2 x 200lb occupants in the drivers and passengers seat, you are over the front axle GAWR. Is it possible that curb weight includes the driver weight? Potentially, but that still puts it over as soon as you add any 2nd row passengers. Its anybody's guess what happens when you add a winch and steel front bumper. 

 

Your spreadsheet looks reasonable.  How confident are you in the %Front values?  I didn't see those specific number in the body builder's guide, so I'm guessing you did some math to arrive at them.  They at least look like they're in the right ballpark.

 

I noticed that you only included six people in your figures.  If you load up all twelve seats using the hypothetical 150 pound people that Nissan describes in their body building guide, you'll be over the front GAWR even without a 4x4 conversion.  This tells me that Nissan's engineers must have a different perspective on how to do the math.  If you still have any contacts at Nissan, you should see what information you can get from them about it.


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#12 radin2son

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:06 PM

S_A, More info upfront should have been included; eg, being a chassis engineer. I still think it is a mental exercise, interesting but contrary to what is already on the road.

The problem with being on this site for as long as I have, you remember similar posts courtesy of Expedition Portal. In that case it was a Jeep owner. Similar claims. KMG tangled with him.

So what is your point and how do you get from your Landcruiser into a 4x4 campervan?

#13 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:21 PM

Hi Mark, 

 

The %Front proportion comes from an estimate of seat locations along the wheelbase. This info is available in the body builders guide, but their data could have been presented a little bit better. I have a high degree of confidence in the math, but I'm still human  :) . 

 

 

I noticed that you only included six people in your figures.  If you load up all twelve seats using the hypothetical 150 pound people that Nissan describes in their body building guide, you'll be over the front GAWR even without a 4x4 conversion.  This tells me that Nissan's engineers must have a different perspective on how to do the math.  If you still have any contacts at Nissan, you should see what information you can get from them about it.

 

Actually with the 150lbx12 passengers in factory stock condition, the front GAWR is well below their rated number. The reason is that the 3rd row adds very little to the front weight, and the 4th row actually REDUCES the load on the front axle since it is behind the rear axle by quite a bit. 

Attached Files


Edited by systemic_anomaly, 12 October 2018 - 02:46 PM.

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#14 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:22 PM

Not sure why the attachment isnt showing up. 



#15 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:26 PM

S_A, More info upfront should have been included; eg, being a chassis engineer. I still think it is a mental exercise, interesting but contrary to what is already on the road.

The problem with being on this site for as long as I have, you remember similar posts courtesy of Expedition Portal. In that case it was a Jeep owner. Similar claims. KMG tangled with him.

So what is your point and how do you get from your Landcruiser into a 4x4 campervan?

 

 

I'm not sure what your point is, radin2son. I have a legitimate question based on my analysis and experience, and would like to hear from owners (more than 1, preferably) if the real world results correlate to my simplistic and very preliminary analysis (don't need to be an engineer to do this simple math). It sounds like you have a problem with me posting here, if that's the case I'd be happy to leave and find my info elsewhere.  


Edited by systemic_anomaly, 12 October 2018 - 02:27 PM.


#16 radin2son

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 04:38 PM

It remains a mental exercise.

It is up to other 4x4 NV owners to decide whether or not to weigh in. This will determine whether or not this thread continues.

#17 systemic_anomaly

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 04:54 PM

Great, thanks a lot radin2son. Let's wait for responses from actual 4x4 owners (if they decide to share their experience). Please consider yourself optional to future discussion since you aren't one and consider it worthless anyway.

#18 Mark Rogers

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 04:57 PM

Actually with the 150lbx12 passengers in factory stock condition, the front GAWR is well below their rated number. The reason is that the 3rd row adds very little to the front weight, and the 4th row actually REDUCES the load on the front axle since it is behind the rear axle by quite a bit. 

 

Thanks for correcting me on that.  I must have mistyped a number or something, because I got the same answer as you on the second try (using your %Front values).

 

Do you have anything really heavy you can mount in the back of the van?  You could get one of those trailer hitch luggage racks and add a couple cubic feet of lead to it.  :thumbsup:

 

Sorry, I don't have a better technical solution.  Do you think Quigley does something to the front suspension to beef it up?

 

You could try reaching out to either Quigley or Nissan Consumer Affairs to see if they can help you out.

 

I'd love to see how this turns out, so please keep me posted.


Edited by Mark Rogers, 12 October 2018 - 04:58 PM.


#19 Mark Rogers

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 05:00 PM

It remains a mental exercise.

 

Sounds great!  I love a good mental exercise now and then, especially if it has the potential to turn into something practical.


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#20 mahu

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 12:48 AM

very interesting discussion and I enjoy spreadsheets like these!
i think you have a good point and before spending $10k I'd also want to know if weight limits would easily be exceeded or not, independent of the fact that there are already 4x4 conversions on the road without apparently experiencing problems, because that's not the point...just because it works out for others doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile inquiry!
i d be very interested to hear what quigley has to say about it.
is there any way that their conversion adds structural upgrades that increases the front gawr?
if not and your calculations are correct (which they appear to be) this would indeed be quite negligent on the part of quigleys and nissan to offer that conversion under warranty if limits are that easily exceeded!
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