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By Billy Westbrook

Scrub-Builds: Blake Morrell's Xterra

Why you built it:

I built this truck up because we kept demanding more from it. Originally I got it with the intentions of using it to make accessing and staying in the outdoors easier. I used it mostly to sleep at the mountain for snowboarding or at trailheads for early morning sunrise hikes. As my fiancée came into my life with the shared love for the outdoors we started using the Xterra more often and for longer trips. Eventually we used it to the point where what we were doing was demanding more of the truck. After exhausting the stock suspension I decided what we needed was to beef it up. Long story short, that’s how it’s ended up where it’s at today. 


What it means to you:

For some people a vehicle means liberation, a sense of freedom. For others it’s just a means to get from point a to point b. For us it’s a combination of these things. This truck gets us from A to B quickly and comfortably, while painting a huge smile on our faces along the way. 


A memorable place your vehicles taken you:

One very memorable place this truck has taken us that’s worth writing about is Slate Peak. At the end of the highest drivable road in Washington State, you’ll find yourself at an old retired military base surrounded by the gorgeous peaks of the North Cascades and the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest. This is a retired military base lookout sitting at the elevation of 7,488ft. We drove to the base of the road the night before, woke up at 4:30AM packed up camp and headed up to the top to catch the sunrise. The drive to the top (and back down as well) is absolutely jaw dropping, even in the dark with a dimly lit early morning sky. The air was crisp and wind was blowing heavily as we hiked the short distance to the top where the old lookout tower stood tall. We sat up there with our pup and enjoyed the 360 degree views of pure beauty as the sun exploded over the mountain tops, painting them in gold. The clouds turned to mist as they burned off and everything was sparkling, glowing gold. It was like Mother Nature was doing a dance for us. This was the most stunning sunrise I’ve experienced in my life, and the Xterra took us there. 


Products/Parts Used

Tires: Brand, Model, Size

  • Milestar Patagonia 33x12.50R17

 Wheels: Brand, Model, Size

  • KMC KM535 Grenade OR 17”

Powertrain and Under the Hood Performance

  • Keeping it simple and reliable under the hood of this thing. For now.


  • M205 Front Diff from Nissan Titan w/ Yukon 4.56 ring and pinion. Titan cv axles and inner/outer tie rods (Freshly rebuilt)
  • M228 Rear Axle (Dana 44 equivalent) w/ Nitro 4.56 ring and pinion, ARB RD149 Air Locker and ring gear spacer from Nisstec 
  • Offroad Gorrilla / Ruffstuff Specialties Diff cover

Suspension, Brakes

  • 2.5in Radflo coil-overs with 600lb Eibach Springs 
  • Alcan Custom Leaf pack +550-650lbs arched for 4” lift (w/ axle degree shims)
  • Totalchaos Fabrication Titan UCA w/ uniball
  • Nisstec Adjustable Shackles
  • U-bolt flip kit
  • Stock Titan LCA’s
  • Bilstein 6253 rear shocks
  • Extended Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines (f&r)
  • Powerstop Front Brake Kit (Drilled/Slotted)

Armor, Bumpers, Sliders

  • Freel Good Performance Sliders w/ Kickout The body is 3/16 2x3 and the round tube is .120 wall DOM.
  • Front Bumper w/ hidden winch mount (1-4” Plate and 3/16”) was made with a friend of mine in his garage along with the Front skid plate (3/16”) as well.
  • Rear Bumper w/ Swing Out, rear quarter guards and drop down table, hitch receiver, two recovery points and hidden rear winch mount. Holds a 5gal Wavian jerry and a swinging toolbox on the ladder, used as a home for the Safejack USA bottle jack. 

Exterior Mods

  • ViAir 20020 dual 444c system (Black) underneath the truck, both air compressors installed in rear cargo area underneath drawers. 


  • Diode Dynamics XP80 LED bulbs in tail lights
  • Spec-D Tuning Headlights w/ Morimoto 2stroke 2.0 LED H1 bulbs
  • Harbor Freight ditch light pods

Recovery Gear

  • Smittybilt XRC GEN3 9.5K Comp Series Winch with Synthetic Cable

Gear Storage, Organization, Roof Rack, Bed Rack

  • UpTop Overland Bravo Nissan Xterra Roof Rack
  • Rear Drawers made built from 3/8” birch covered in outdoor marine carpet with side compartments
  • Rear Seats removed and built platform for fridge and dog with storage underneath
  • Raingler Nets Nissan Xterra Full Ceiling Attic Net with all the bells and whistles.
  • LUSB302 Full Caddy
  • Lusb220 Oscar’s Mobile Hideout

Electronics, Communication, In-Cabin Accessory Mounts

  • ICS Universal dash mount with RAM Mount 6” arms and quad lock mount
  • Uniden CB Radio mounted to center console on passenger side
  • ViAir Psi Gauge flush mounted in center console next to stickshift
  • Garmin GPSMAP 66i
Why you chose Scrubblade to be part of your lifestyle you are obviously so passionate about?

When building this truck I kept a few motto’s in the forefront of my mind. One of them was “buy once cry once”. What this means to me is I would rather fuss about the price of a quality item one time rather than buy a cheaper, lower quality item and fuss about replacing it over and over. My thought process is if you're replacing parts, replace them with equal or preferably, better quality. Especially when doing everything yourself if you're saving labor costs, why not. We get tons of rain in the PNW and that typically means lots of mud, which means a dirty windshield. My wipers were always having streaking issues after a couple months. I was running Bosch wipers after having tried many other brands for years and always thought, "well, wipers are wipers, I guess I can’t fix the problem.”. Then I came across Scrubblade, and they completely exceeded my expectations. These things actually scrub stuff off your windshield as they wipe and they don't leave streaks. Since using these wipers I tossed the squeegee I carried with me in the garbage, because these Scrubblade Wipers keep my field of view absolutely crystal clear 100% of the time. 


Blake Morrell