Lifted Nissan Armada Overland Build – Hidden Off Road Potential

  • Model: Nissan Armada 2nd Gen
  • Wheels: 35"
  • Category: Overland Build
  • Capability Score: 55/70
  • Build Level: Advanced
  • Mods Budget: $$$$
  • Owner: Marko Cvetic
Lifted 2017 Nissan Armada with off-road mods
Nissan Armada Overland project build
Nissan Armada Federal xplora R/T 35×12.5×18 tires
LED lights and yellow fogs
Nissan Armada 2nd generation off-roading +8
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If you’ve considered building an off-road vehicle starting with a second generation Nissan Armada but are puzzled as to why it isn’t as popular a platform as similar Toyota models, you’re not the only one. I too believe it has much more underrated capability for four wheeling than many of its competitors. No lockers? Perhaps, but it comes stock with 33s!

I hope the hero of our feature today – a lifted Nissan Armada overland build fully outfitted for off-roading – will help the off-road community finally notice this elephant in the room and recognize its potential.

Affiliate disclosure: we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy through some of the product links in this post.

2nd generation 2017 Nissan Armada Overland build with off road modifications

2017 NISSAN ARMADA Overland Build – Parts List

Engine specs, modifications

  • Factory 390hp, 394torq
  • K&N air filter

Lift height and suspension modifications

  • Ironman 4×4 lift
  • Dirt Kings UCA

Wheel specs

  • KMC KM529 Holeshot 18×9 +18
  • Federal xplora R/T 35×12.5×18

Exterior mods

  • Rhino rack: pioneer roof rack with backbone, roof rack lights brackets traction board brackets
  • Auxbeam: LED fog lights, ditch lights, roof rack spot lights
  • Tacoma ditch lights brackets
  • Chrome delete (Avery gloss black)

Interior mods

  • All LED light swap

Technical Details

Model: Nissan Armada 2nd Generation (also known as Infiniti QX80 and Nissan Patrol)


Production years: 2017-Present


Approximate prices on the market (Used): $18,000-$25,000


Engine: 5.6L VK56DE V8 Naturally Aspirated


Drivetrain: Four-Wheel-Drive


Construction: Body On Frame


Traction Enhancement Devices: Intelligent four-wheel-drive


Low Range: Yes


Stock wheel size: 275/60R20 – 33″


Offroad Wheel Size: Up to 37″


Build Level: Advanced


Budget: $$$$


Off-road Capability Score: 55/70

How did we get this score?

KMC KM529 Holeshot 18×9 +18 and 35 inch tires

About Nissan Armada

In 2003, Japanese automaker Nissan has started manufacturing full-size SUVs originally based on the Nissan Titan for the North American market under the Armada nameplate. The second generation moved to the Nissan Patrol platform implementing body-on-frame architecture, which is stiffer and more rugged.

The luxury version of the vehicle has been marketed as the Infiniti QX80. Even though we rarely see dedicated off-road builds based on the Nissan Armada in the USA, many Australian overlanding enthusiasts choose it’s twin brother Nissan Patrol Y62 for its high ground clearance, smooth power of the V8 engine, on-road comfort, and high-quality interior.

Interview With The Owner

Marko Cvetic from Serbia who now lives in Clifton, New Jersey, is a fan of Japanese vehicles – he owns the second-generation Nissan Armada, and his wife drives the fifth-generation Toyota 4Runner. Both are sharing a passion for off-road adventures, so Marko is blessed to have the full support of his spouse in creating dream vehicles for themselves. It’s great to have a partner always ready to go and explore the great wilderness and test the limits of their rigs.

“It’s great to have a partner always ready to go and explore the great wilderness and test the limits of their rigs”

Nissan Armada Rhino rack: pioneer roof rack with backbone

Marko has put together a lifted setup using upper control arms designed for the Titan. With a massive roof rack carrying gear and a line of off-road lights, blacked-out chrome parts, and a set of matte-black off-road wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, this 2017 Nissan Armada looks and feels like it can handle anything you throw at it.

How did you become interested in off-roading?

– A few years now, ever since my wife bought her Toyota 4Runner TRD Offroad.

Lifted Nissan Armada 2nd generation - Patrol Y62

Why did you choose this particular model for your project?

– Ever since Nissan went to the newer style Armada just like the Nissan Patrols. I’ve always been a fan of them.

What inspired you to choose this modification style?

– Other Youtubers and Instagramers and to get outside more often to explore this great country.

What challenges did you face while putting it together?

– There isn’t much aftermarket support for the Nissan Armada‘s, so testing other Nissan parts to see if it works and sometimes older Nissans as well. My UCA are from the 1st Gen Nissan Titan.

What do you love about your vehicle?

– It’s a unique build, you don’t see that many if any Nissan Armadas game billed out and whenever other off-road vehicle see my truck they stop to ask questions about it.

Is it your daily or a weekend ride?

– Daily

LED fog lights, ditch lights, roof rack spot lights – Tacoma ditch lights brackets

Do you take it off road? If so, where and how often?

– I do, through the tristate for now.

Lifted infiniti QX80 off-roading
LED lights and yellow fogs

What are your future plans for this vehicle?

– Front bumpers. Armor and rear tire carrier (until someone creates a rear bumper for the Armada).

Anything else you would like to share about your vehicle or about the off-roading in general?

– Off roading community has been great so far. I’m in a lot of groups and people seem to always want to help whenever I have questions. Hopefully I get to every you on the trails with my Armada and my wife’s 4Runner.

Nissan Armada Federal xplora R/T 35×12.5×18 tires
Nissan Armada 2nd generation off-roading

Watch the progress and find out more about this Nissan Armada project by visiting the Instagram profile of the owner: @m_cved!

See Also
Coolest lifted AWD Off road Station Wagons for Overland Adventures & Daily Grind

How we test?

Offroadium Verdict & Score Explained

We have created our own rating and classification system to differentiate and evaluate the off-road capabilities of vehicles showcased on Offroadium. Based on it, we can conclude the following:

Off-Road Capability Score: 55/70

With a lifted suspension and 35” all-terrain tires worth 30 points in our rating system, plus body-on-frame construction (5 points), a part-time 4WD system with low range (10 points), and steel body armor (5 points), this lifted Armada scores 55 out of a possible 70 points for off-road capability. The intelligent 4WD system (5 Points) provides some added traction, but lack of locking differentials limits extreme terrain capabilities. Still, the essential hardware produces genuine competence for most overland adventures.

Complexity Level: Advanced

Significant upgrades to major systems including the suspension, wheels, and exterior protection demonstrate this is far beyond an entry-level endeavor. Quality lift components and proper integration of accessories show attention to detail. With custom tuning likely required to optimize drivability, we classify this Armada build as Advanced level.

Budget: $$$$

The premium suspension, wheel/tire package, and array of accessories represent major investment. With custom upgrades this build goes beyond bolt-on parts. The owner took a staged approach to spread costs. For the extensive upgrades transforming this Armada into a highly capable overlander, he’s earned every penny of return behind the wheel.

Author’s Opinion

As a mechanic who worked on many Nissans over the years, I believe the Armada makes for a very nice and comfortable overland vehicle platform. Through my experience, here are some common technical problems I’ve run into with these vehicles (refer to the service manual for repairs):

  • VK56VD engine issues with contaminated cats sending debris back into cylinders causing failure. Also some cooling system and timing chain problems.
  • Various brake problems – ABS lights coming on, brake grind, failures often covered under warranty.

While it lacks front & rear locking diffs which limits hardcore rock crawling ability, the Armada has some real advantages off-road:

Lifted Nissan Armada compared to a Ford Bronco Sasquatch off road edition
Lifted Nissan Armada compared to a Ford Bronco Sasquatch off road edition

Yes, there are no factory lockers which limit its off-road capabilities, but it has the advantage of very large wheels! The Armada comes standard with 33-inch tires! To install 33-inch tires on a Land Cruiser or FJ Cruiser, you would need to add a suspension lift. But this Nissan can easily fit 35-inch tires with a modest lift.

And with the lift and larger wheels, the ground clearance becomes excellent! By the way, its closest competitor, the Land Cruiser 200, doesn’t come stock with front and rear lockers either. However, with some mechanical skills and financing, it may be possible to swap in axles from the Nissan Patrol, which does have locking differentials for hardcore off-roading.

For those not planning on extremely challenging trails, simply airing down the 35-inch tires can maximize traction through increased contact patch to the point where lockers may not even be necessary.

Nissan Armada Overland project build

The Nissan Armada has a very comfortable and spacious interior that makes it well-suited for overlanding. With three rows of plush seating for up to eight passengers, there is ample room to stretch out on long trips. The smooth, quiet ride quality and climate control provide comfort on or off-road. There is decent cargo space even with all three rows upright, and the seats fold flat to create even more storage capacity. The Armada couples rugged off-road capability and family-friendly space and amenities that overlanders will appreciate for both daily use and adventures.

Pros

  • Roomy & Comfortable Interior
  • Plenty of power from the stock V8 Engine
  • Relatively easy to install 35 inch tires
  • Huge ground clearance

Cons

  • No locking differentials
  • Low aftermarket support
  • Pretty heavy on gas

Affiliate disclosure: we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy through some of the product links in this post.

Related Parts & Mods

Inspired by this Nissan Armada build and looking to prepare your own SUV for off-road adventures? Our team has put together a list of products and accessories available online that may help you to achieve similar results:

Wheels


Roof Rack


Roof Top Tent


Awning


Lights


*We recommend consulting with a qualified professional or the seller to verify fitment before ordering any parts or accessories. We cannot guarantee fitment or be responsible for any issues arising from use of products on our website.


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