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Duncan

Duncan's HGE70W car, RHD Titan

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Duncan's HGE70W car, RHD Titan

Well, for the observant among you (yes, I mostly mean you Charles…), Neil and I kind of both let on about my new tow car in the good tow cars thread last year.  Since the damn thing is finally on the road I think it’s time to update what it is and what happened…...

So here’s the new girl, a 2015 Titan Pro-4x with Luxury pack. Ain’t she mighty purdy?

titan-11.jpg

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titan-15.jpg

For the non-seppos among us, a Titan is Nissan’s “answer” to F150/Ram/etc etc etc pick up trucks that are sold by the billions in the US. The A60 Titans were made from 2004-2015, this is the last of the first series trucks, they’ve now by the 2nd gen ones which have an XD (“3/4 ton”) and regular Titan (“1/2 ton). It runs a VK56DE, same base engine as the Altima supercar, and makes 240kw and 520 nm. Seems to be a reasonably capable 4wd too with proper low range, electric locking rear diff, plenty of ground clearance etc. The King Cab has a 6”7’ bed which I preferred to the dual cab model.

While it looks pretty much like a Navara the pics don’t do justice to how big the damn thing is, its 5.7m long, 2.03m wide and 1.95 high which is both roomy and a pain to park at Coles. Fuel economy is terrible too, it gets about 14l/100 on the highway which is (incredibly) more even than the Stagea!

I bought it from Mark Arbuckle in Indiana, Pennsylvania (yes, google maps required for that one) in September last year. The salesman wasn’t too clear but I get the impression the original buyer was unhappy and organised some sort of buyback deal so the truck ended up back on their lot only about 18 months old.  I had it checked out by a local inspector who didn’t see any issues, and without looking too far ahead in the story neither the conversion nor my first month’s driving turned up anything out of the ordinary either. I ended up paying $34k US for it ($AUD 45,000)

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So it left Indiana, Pennsylvania in September 2016 and started the long swim to Australia. Funnily enough I was in Gibraltar the same day the truck was doing a stopover in Morocco so I did come within about 20klm of it last year….

It arrived in the docks in Brisbane on Christmas Eve which was a mess timing wise…anyway, in mid Jan it made its way to MJH imports on the Gold Coast, the only RAWS in the country with compliance for the Titan.  Total cost for the conversion was $38,500, non negotiable. Considering the amount of work involved I actually think that’s quite reasonable….but still….ouch….

The truck was finally ready to pick up just after Easter, but due to racing commitments (mostly Kelly doing Targa Tasmania, but also the Kempsey state Hillclimb round) and being in the middle of a house move, we just didn’t have time to go pick it up so we had it trucked back to Sydney.

This is how it looked with the steering wheel on the right (wrong?) side

titan-21.jpg

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titan-26.jpg  

 

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titan-25.jpgtitan-26.jpg

In the end it finally arrived in Sydney Monday 1-May (yep, 226 days after I bought it….). I’ve bought a couple of cars from Japan over the years so I’m used to waiting, but man this was a different world again.

I went to sort the rego the same day. While driving back from the weighbridge to the blue slip inspection station I noticed that sweet sweet smell of burning coolant, and the temp gauge heading towards the roof. I took a chance, nursed it the last klm to the mechanic and parked it up crossing my fingers no real damage done.  Turned out the guys who did the engine conversion left a hose clamp off a nasty heater hose and it wasn’t obvious on their short test drive.  Easy fix, no sign of damage done.

Otherwise first impressions have been good.  I mean, it drives like a truck but we are on a pretty rural property so it suits.  Lots of space, great room in the back for the Kelpie kids and secure storage when we are needing things, and the king cab size tray is swallowing plenty when we need it to.  It’s nice and stable on the freeway, chews petrol and terrible around town or trying to put it in a standard size parking space at the supermarket.  Pretty much everything I expected so far.

Here’s how she looks next to the old tow car (and yes, she stole the plates off the other car too).

titan-31.jpg

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So what’s next? Well the main reason I went with something so big was to make towing the race car around the state a bit easier, so fitting up a proper height towball and converting the trailer wiring to Australian plug is up next (BTW I can’t believe it, the yanks still have combined brake and turn lights on trailers….)

I’ve already fitted a backflip f1 cover which seems to work pretty well.  Actually it must have had a cover in the past sometime (removed before sale) because I can see the old marks on the side of the tub.  And, obviously they must have had to flip the utilitrack rails upside down (as I had to do again for the backflip) because whoever did the job was a butcher and cross threaded about half of the utilitrak mounting bolts when the put it back on with some sort of impact wrench. I guess it’s nice to know some US mechanics are as bad as some Oz ones…..

From there I’ve some side steps to put on, and also a full exhaust + nismo airbox + uprev to install. Partly because I’d like it to go a bit better and mostly because I’m pretty juvenile and like stuff to sound good.  And also a bunch of electrical stuff to make race weekends more convenient, maybe a slide on camper etc etc….stay tuned J

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Capture.thumb.PNG.5a7f9d914e3c58e2639c99f85437540d.PNG

Sorry for the crappy shot, but here's a comparison of Patrol v's Titan,,, she's a big girl. I might add a fantastic big girl.

 

Cheers

Neil.

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Holy shiet, it really does look just like a normal Navara until that last pic compared to a patrol. It's very deceptive! Any reason for going a big petrol V8 over something like the dodge ram 1500 with 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel?

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"American Navara" :P
You're insane Duncan.

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lol midnight pics! yeah it's big. and comfy.

why not a dodgy ram or similar?  Firstly of course they would not be a nissan.

From there, the yanks are a bit wierd and call trucks 1/2, 3/4 or 1 tonne.  Has nothing at all to do with what they carry these days but rather it is historical. Titan, F150, Ram 1500 etc are all half tonne and despite being big are still ute/patrol style to drive, park etc.  Once you get to 3/4 and 1 tonne (ram 2500, F350 etc) they are different again (read way worse) to drive.  Since the 1/2 tonne size is more than enough for my towing at 4.5 tonne and 1tonne in the tray I stuck with that.

Also, in Titans, the first series from 2004 to 2015 is half tonne and 5.6l petrol only.  They released the second series in XD (3/4 tonne) and regular Titan (1/2 tonne) in 2016/2017. The XD has a 6l cummins diesel option or both of them come in 5.6 direct injected (vk56dd like the current patrol).

It's jumping ahead a bit, but (dash reported) fuel economy has been 14l/100 driving over 5,000klm and 24l/100 towing over 1600klm.  The XD diesel titan only makes the same figure at 14l/100 highway so the extra capacity and weight mean no overall economy benefit from that engine.

Finally cost. This was about 90k on road (yes damn expensive), but a diesel XD titan in the same spec would be about 135k or a 2500 ram about 150k. Way out of control for something beyond what I need.

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Bloody hell, we only need to tow a race car not tilt the world off it's axis :)

It's a pity that Jeeps are currently persona non gratia, a friend of of mine has a Grand Cherokee petrol Mopar V8 that truly is one of the ultimate tow bitches, reasonable fuel economy too, 16 he talks about.

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Unrelated to your new truck-I saw your stagea drive past me at the lights today- it was towing a big ass box trailer too... good to see the stagea hasn't been forgotten!

Purely co-incidental I read your post yesterday and saw the pic with the light bar on the stag which is unique... How I miss my stagea.....

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On ‎16‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 5:28 PM, 260DET said:

Bloody hell, we only need to tow a race car not tilt the world off it's axis

It's a pity that Jeeps are currently persona non gratia, a friend of of mine has a Grand Cherokee petrol Mopar V8 that truly is one of the ultimate tow bitches, reasonable fuel economy too, 16 he talks about.

Seriously a Jeep,,, those things are so gay. I would be embarrassed even letting anybody know I paid good money to own one.

Unreliable, ugly, crap service, parts are expensive and un-obtainable, all round piece of shit in everybodies books.

Drive one into my Mechanics workshop and he'll tell you to do a U-turn and get out.

Cheers

Neil.

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On 6/18/2017 at 9:30 PM, adey88 said:

Unrelated to your new truck-I saw your stagea drive past me at the lights today- it was towing a big ass box trailer too... good to see the stagea hasn't been forgotten!

Purely co-incidental I read your post yesterday and saw the pic with the light bar on the stag which is unique... How I miss my stagea.....

Yeah man the Stagea has been awesome (although it's got a lot of mods). And that light bar is a minimum for keeping the wombats at bay at our new place...it may not be a beautiful mount but it's rock solid and I hate lights that move.

I've been towing with it for over 10 years and it's never missed a beat while dragging such a big load which is pretty amazing.  I've really only upgraded to the Titan because we've moved out of Sydney and the stagea suspension is very hard for towing which is just not practical on dirt where we live now, plus we didn't have any 4x4 except the paddock basher hliux the previous owners left (I feel so dirty owning a Toyota).  Sooner or later I'll get around to putting the stagea up for sale, not getting the price I want for a few months, and then giving up and keep it anyway :) 

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On 6/18/2017 at 10:11 PM, Neil said:

Seriously a Jeep,,, those things are so gay. I would be embarrassed even letting anybody know I paid good money to own one.

Unreliable, ugly, crap service, parts are expensive and un-obtainable, all round piece of shit in everybodies books.

Drive one into my Mechanics workshop and he'll tell you to do a U-turn and get out.

Cheers

Neil.

No need for mechanics with my 2015 diesel Cherokee, well just to get serviced. Tows great, nice to drive, no problems.

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Well a couple of updates.

After seeing a bunch of threads about an issue with the electrical system shutting down (particularly early models) due a a dead PDM relay I decided to get a spare.  So I picked the part number from the titan forums and hit ebay to buy a spare, and found one listing here: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Genuine-Nissan-C11-Tiida-ECM-Relay-PN-284B7CW29E-RRP-330-/322558495962? an 

Price was $199 so I got in contact to let them know there was some error in the either the part number or the price as the same part is $2.45USD in the states.

They responded that they had checked and there was no error. List price from Nissan Australia is $278.20 and that $199 was the best they can do.

Yes, literally 16,100% mark up on a relay. No mistake.  Nissan Australia must paint them in unicorn shit when they unload the container.

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Also, I got to do the first tow of the race car last weekend, and it was a beauty. 1600klm round trip from home near goulburn up to grafton for the 5th round of the NSW hillclimb champs.

Happily the US and Oz hitch receivers are the same 50mm square so I fitted up a local hitch. On the downside the US trailer connector is different, and requires different wiring too . Anyway, tapped into the factory loom for earth, trailer brakes, brake lights, parker lights and tapped into the indicators on each side for the left and right indicators. Everything went OK there although I do have to mount the plug properly (it's just cable tied for now). Also have a redarc brake controller attached to the factory wiring (yes, it has factory installed wiring for a brake controller....) at the dash 

From there we did the tow up, had an awesome weekend racing in the rain (came 10th outright in the Leaf in a field of 63 cars), then towed back again.  The Titan did great all the way, dealt with all the hills, temps including transmission were good, brakes were fine and there was plenty of space on board. Compared to the Stagea it doesn't have as much power but the auto was happy to change when needed and I just ran it on the cruise control.

Only downside is that about 200klm from home I got the ABS, Slip and TCS off error lights.  There are a billion threads on the titan forum about exhausts cracking and melting rear wiring so I'm assuming that's the issue.  It's a bit of a pain since next tow is in 2 weeks to Tamworth which is another 1200klm; I doubt I'm going to get time to sort it prior so it will probably get worse

It will also be interesting to see how the dealer is able (or not) to help since the truck is still well within warranty...but well out of the Indiana PA servicing area.  I do have a full exhaust from cajun pipes ready to put on which should solve the root cause but need to sort out the melted loom

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OK, as per Neil's demand.....let me be clear that I owe the good old boys at the Titan factory an apology for suggesting the exhaust might be broken. No sign of any issue or melted wiring.  Consult 3 says the issue was caused by the rear diff lock solenoid failing (9 times). But that may yet be no issue at all so fingers crossed, it did engage OK when I tried in on the weekend.

Onto the next item, getting a decent anti-wombat vision light bar in place.  I picked up a narva light bar and went to fabricate some mounts when....

....I found out the front bumper is actually steel. yes steel. no plastic.  like a 1979 200b. And not only that, but the good folks at Nissan were kind enough to put 2x 8mm holes within the adjustment on the narva bar's mounting, so this big arse light bar is firmly in place with no drilling, cutting, screwing, rivnuting etc etc. Awesome. Do still need to wire it in though so it's not too much use yet

titan-LED-bar.jpg

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Nice work, looks almost factory

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Hmm light bar
Some "light" reading

 

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OMG I see what you did there. And even more ironic the light reading was quite heavy!

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tenor.gif

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Well we did another big tow, about 1400klm, this weekend, dragged the Leaf from Goulburn to Tamworth and back via the inland road (Bathurst - Mudgee - Gunnedah).  It was a nice drive, stuff all traffic and lots to see. And no issues with the T which was great.

We even went beyond the actual black stump on the drive....

titan-black-stump.jpg

(well actually it's a replica, because ironically the original burned down around 1910 sometime...)

After that we stole the guitar and headed home

titan-guitar.jpg

Haven't really got much else done on it lately due to selling the old place, moving, racing....all first world troubles.  I have changed all the interior and exterior lights to LEDs to save fuel but that's about it so far.

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