Titan Up: Rough Country 6-inch Suspension Upgrade
One of the most common wear points on a four-wheel-drive truck or SUV are the shocks. Coupled with the added stress of going off-road, larger tires and heavy aftermarket components such as bumpers and skid plates, the shocks' oil, seals and valves can breakdown rapidly. When this happens, the vehicle’s handling becomes compromised on-road and off. Signs that your shocks need replacing or rebuilding generally include increased body roll, heavy nose-diving on braking and front end lifting on acceleration, along with an increased bounce/vehicle movement over uneven terrain. (Learn more about this in our Suspension 101 article.)
Years of ‘wheeling and daily driving had left our friend’s 2007 Nissan Titan 4x4 with blown front struts and worn rear shocks. Since the truck was fit with a Rough Country Suspension 6-inch lift, the oil-coated front struts were a dead giveaway that the shocks were no longer working as they should. While we’ve shown you how to rebuild shocks in the past, for this application, the front struts were not rebuildable. Luckily, Rough Country Suspension released a strut set designed specifically for lifted ’04-’15 Nissan Titans.
When the truck was originally lifted a little over five years ago, Rough Country only offered a strut spacer (top strut). This spacer was designed to sit atop the stock or an OE-replacement strut to provide the 6 inches of lift. One of the drawbacks of the strut spacer is the fact that you are left with the strut's factory valving, which wasn’t designed for larger aftermarket tires or aggressive off-road driving. Now, Rough Country builds a replacement strut for the ‘04-‘15 Nissan Titan with a 6-inch lift.
By relocating the strut’s coil perch on the N2.0 struts, Rough Country was able to eliminate the need for the spacer. This strut is also valved specifically for the Titan in order to offer a smooth ride and adjust for the larger tire configuration.
Before you can remove the strut, you’ll need to break the steering knuckle loose at the upper control arm. You’ll also need to unbolt the sway bar and outer tie-rod. We had the benefit of working on a two-post lift, but you could easily do this at your home garage.
The strut is bolted to the Titan via three bolts at the top of the strut tower and one bolt that attaches it to the lower control arm. Once unbolted, you can simply slide out the assembly.
This Titan’s original strut caps and coils were pretty worn and rusted, so the owner opted to purchase a new set. This meant we didn’t have to breakdown the blown struts, but we did have to use a coil compressor to assemble the new setup.
The new struts didn’t require any additional modifications and bolted to the stock mounting locations. In total, expect to spend a couple hours for the install. Depending on if your front end was sagging or not, it’s also a good idea to have your alignment checked post install.
Since the front shocks were getting upgraded, it only made sense to check on the condition of the five-year-old rear shocks. As we suspected, they were shot as well. Replacing them are a set of Rough Country N2.0 series shocks. Rough Country builds the N2.0 series shocks with what it calls "velocity sensitive valving," which utilizes a 10-stage variable valving process. The idea is to allow for a smooth highway ride, while still retaining enough dampening to handle rugged off-road conditions.
The Titan is sporting 35x12.50R18 Nitto Trail Grapplers, which have quite a few years and miles on them as well. The radial mud-terrain tires are mounted on 18x9 ATX AX186 Slot Series Wheels.
For Titan owners with slightly smaller lifts, Rough Country also offers 2-inch and 3-inch N2.0 replacement series struts. As is the case with the 6-inch struts shown here, the 2- and 3-inch versions relocate the lower coil perch, so you won’t need a strut spacer.
We got a chance to drive the truck before and after the shock upgrade. As you can imagine, going from a completely blown shock to a properly valved new set made a tremendous difference. While this Titan is far from stock, the valving works well for the sandy terrain and frequent use the truck sees.
As a bonus, we put together a quick clip of the install. To check out a full line of Rough Country’s suspension upgrades, visit them at roughcountry.com.