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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • GroveGrove Posts: 9
    First major snowstorm was last week... I have a 02 Le and it was the first time I was in 4wd or Auto. When I stopped and put the Pathy into park waiting a few seconds and turned the car off a bang or thump or it leached forward (a little hard to describe)happened. I was wondering if this is normal ? The other concern is ... the back end was sliding more then I think it should. Is the stock tires that bad in the snow or is that I did not have anything (weight) in the back end of the Pathy.
    I owned two Jeep Wranglers before the Pathy and the Pathy was only a little bit better in the snow. With the Pathy being heavier I think it should have handled much better (like a Jeep Grand Cheeoke). I almost thought that the 4wd was not engaging and tried a quick trip around the block in 2wd (slightly worse handling).
    Any help would be great
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    The lurch is normal. It's the transfer case clutch dissengaging. Mine moves about 1", even with the e-brake on. It had me worried for about 6 months until others started complaining about it too. Dealer had no clue.

    The stock tires are rather poor in snow or on ice (I have the Dunlops on my 2001 LE). We haven't had enough snow since 2000 when I got mine to comment on deep snow, but I've been sliding around lots on ice and light snow. I especially don't like the antilock brake setup.
  • I too have an '02 LE. Same story, I thought it'd be much better in the snow. It seems to slide around a lot. I expected it to cut right through that slushy crap, but it didn't steer as straight as I had hoped.
    pathstar: do you think it's just the tires, and that with a set of tires better suited for winter that the pathfinder would perform much better in the snow?

    btw, the jerking forward thing happens to me too.
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    Hey, I just got a chance to play around a little in the snow too & I'm positive it's the stock tires that suck. 4wd is 4wd, especially when the transfer case is locked 50/50 front/rear. I can't wait to get some real tires...
  • Not sure about in the US but my Canadian 03 Path came with Bridgestone Dueler HT's.(At least I think they were Dueler HT's and not HL's-- One Bridgestone Dueler tire ranks ok and one is at the bottom of the heap--My Path had the cheapo ones)Tire rack reviews were really bad on this model and even the dealer acknowledged they were not much good when I pressed him.(Especially poor in the wet or in snow)As part of the purchase process I negotiated having them swapped for Michelin LTX's+ the retail price diff. between the two tires.Because of the area where I live I also bought 4x4 Arctic Alpins for the winter--I think that's the real answer for winter driving.
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    Lurch: I get the slight lurch a la the transfer case in my '03 on occasion - very slight, but noticeable. Must be normal from all the posts.

    Thule: Assume the deflector you describe is the Thule product? Nice to know that it works! I will keep in mind. I considered the fairing, but based on my set-up with the combi box, the Thule fairing would come down in the middle of my sunroof [I have to put the box far enough forward that I can open the rear hatch without hitting the rear of the box.] I know Thule makes accessories that can attach to the factory racks (which I think it sounds like you did?), but I went ahead and replaced the whole LE rack with the Thule towers, bars, locks, etc. I think I'm going to have to go for the sunroof deflector - anyone have a report on how much it cut down the wind noise on their factory (or aftermarket) racks?

    Snow slippage / tire pressure / etc.: Since lowering my PSI to 30, I have a definite improvement (obviously) in all this crud and ice around here. I have not owned another 4WD vehicle, so I am not the expert on bases for comparison though. But, at 30 PSI, even on the admittedly inferior-rated Duelers, I seem to really be able to rip it around town in AUTO and 4HI. The other day in the snowstorm going to the emergency room, it seemed great other than the one time I really tried to force it to test the VDC (which did kick in). [Again, I may be too used to 2WD cars for comparison.] If smokey75 is close to 30K on his original Duelers at 26 PSI (thanks for the report!), then I may just leave at 30 now for all this wet stuff, etc. I can live with 30K miles on this set (20K would be ridiculous though) and then replace, yes, with Michelins - my favorite brand of tire for most situations, even with the higher cost. Again, not sure WHY Nissan moved placard to 30 PSI, but the most telling change to me is the new '03 low tire pressure sensors which fire at 25 PSI! . . . Nissan owes some explanation there, agreed. Depending on their response, maybe on your next set try 30 PSI? Not sure, but very curious.
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    Well, I've had SUVs since long before they were called SUVs, and I can tell you I'm certain it's the tires. My Dunlops now have 28,000 km on them and they still have lots of tread (more than 1/2 left). When they were much newer (4 months) I slid around on the highway in B.C. in 2" of wet snow. Not very confidence inspiring. I will eventually be getting proper Michelins when these wear out. I have always run them at 30 psi.

    As for the proper pressure, go to a level paved surface with your vehicle loaded as you would normally have it. Use a piece of chalk and mark each tire with a line all the way across the tread. Drive 100 yards or so and check the chalk marks. They should wear evenly. If the centre wears more than the edges, you have too high pressure, and if the edges wear more too low (make sure you move in a straight line - turning will wear the chalk at the edges faster). This is the preferred method for determining tire pressures on "normal" tires (as opposed to "ballon" tires such as the older "True Trak" style which actually get larger as you inflate them to higher pressures).
  • Anyone have any experience with Nissan's aluminum brush guard? I park my 02 LE on the street in Manhattan and I need some front end protection from inconsiderate New Yorkers. Is Nissan's lighter / better / worse than say the one Waag sells? Also, the Nissan service tech is telling my that it costs approx $250 to install (3 hours of labor) on top of the $399 cost of the part. Is that how long it should take, 3 hours?
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    There is an accessories board, but I'll respond here since I have a thought to offer after surfing around on these today. I think world_traveler on that other board suggested the look of a bull bar or safari bar as having a nice appearance. I checked it out and agree. Not as much protection, but it is understated and cheap. If Nissan is too costly and you are looking for only bumper protection (NY parrallel parking, etc.), Westin makes both of these. I think the Westin Safari Bar in black would not be bad. I checked out a lot of prices (several sites don't include the parts/bracket kit) and that seemed to be the darn lowest again at $135 for everything. Aso, check out: for a lot of different styles. IMO, I thought the the full brush guard was a little expensive as well and wasn't sure if I needed it (I don't go through brush) for the camping, hiking, and skiing I do with mine. Hope this helps. Maybe someone on that board has bought one - worth checking.

    P.S. will try chalk when weather improves. thx!
  • Rowjimee: On the subject of inconsiderate New Yorkers smashing up your PF, have you considered renting a garage?. I am pretty sure you can afford it. After all you are driving around on the streets of Manhattan in your 02 PF LE.

    Take a closer look at the lic. plates on the cars and trucks parked next to yours and you will find that most of them are from out of states.

    Mjohnr99 is right, Westin Safari Bar in Black with Two New Driving or Fog Lights will do justice for your new PF.

    Greetings and happy Holidays to all

  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    good news, bad news. need help.

    - on the gas gauge that I've seen some discuss, when I was waiting for it to hit exactly the "E line" to fill up, I of course noticed having about 3 or so gallons left in the tank. Big reserve I thought. Well . . . just noticed in the manual that the line I thought was the Empty line is NOT the empty line (i.e., that last bottom line is not it!). Actually, the Empty position is the letter E itself. Just noticed in the manual that Empty is marked at the 6 o'clock position, which is the E letter. Duh. So, Full is closer to 12 o'clock and Empty is closer to 6 o'clock - hope this helps any others who goofed it in predicting when they were getting too low on gas. So, I wonder, per the manual, how much of a reserve tank is left once I truly hit the letter E empty mark?

    - on the bad news: first problem on new '03 LE. I keep headlights always in auto, and when parked in garage yesterday they did NOT turn off!! I did not wait the 45 sec. to verify - but 3 hours later when I got a call that my lights were on I said "impossible." If in fact, I had left in the ON position accidentally, I knew the 5 minute turn-off protection would have kicked in (which has worked when tested). BUTTT, I go down and YES they are on, the headlight switch yes is in AUTO, and the battery is almost DEAD (lights work, but not enough juice to start!!!!!!!). Couldn't believe this. Since then, I have tried to repeat the malfunction to no avail. Everything works perfectly of course. Not sure whether to wait for increase in presence of problem or go to dealer now - what a pain having to wait the 45 secs to verify each time; at the same time, don't want to go through the time/energy yet taking in to dealer when problem can't be repeated and is probably due to a bad switch that is working 99% of the time but may fail only intermittently. Any suggestions? Any one heard of anyone else on these boards having this same problem? Thanks.
  • Did you happen to have a door slightly ajar? I'm not 100% positive the lights work this way, but it seems that when I shut the car down with the lights in auto, they stay on for as long as I have a door open (i.e. like when i'm unloading lots of stuff from the hatch). They definately seem to remain on for longer than 45 seconds.
  • Hi all,
    I've never owned a new vehicle and I've been driving a 3000GT for the last 5 years. I have owned a truck before but many years ago. SO I'm not sure if this is just me getting acclimated or it's a problem.
    For a brand new vehicle(350 miles now) the truck seems a little rough. I'll do my best to explain.
    When coasting or slowly accelerating at about 20mph and 1000rpm's I feel a lot of vibration and it doesn't seem to be smooth. I also feel like the truck is straining when going from a stop or minimal speed to around 55mph. But once I'm there it's fine.
    I also notice a lot of smoke when starting the vehicle in the morning.
    Where I live the temp has been below freezing for the most part.
    Which brings me to my next point. It takes forever for this thing to warm up. I just dealing with somethings I need to get used to or do I have problems with a new vehicle?
    I bought this vehicle based on reviews and what I've been reading here about it's reliability. I'm hoping I made the right choice. Thanx!
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    Even with a door ajar (your door is a jar ;-) the interiour lights will turn off in 5 min. - at least on the 2001 LE they do. I'm surprised the interiour lights would drain the battery in 5 hrs. I'll bet he's talking about the headlamps. The headlamp auto position only affects them, not the interiour lamps. I've noticed several bugs in the electronics on mine. If you change the state on one of these settings, sometimes it doesn't have an effect until you cycle the ignition key. If I remember the last item I noticed this with I'll post it - can't recall exactly what it was just now.
  • teeroteero Posts: 2
    I got a code P0171. Tried few things but I noticed when I reset it, it is ok until I fill up with gas. The check engine lights comes back on. Any suggestions.
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    First: Yes, I was talking about the headlamps. Yes, if you leave the door slightly ajar the auto headlights will stay on longer than 45 seconds. And yes, if you leave the interior lights (or headlights) ON, they swill shut off after 5 minutes anyway (backup protection). Finally, yes the battery was mostly drained after 3 hours of headlights being on and would not start. [Headlights, interior lights, radio, etc. worked, but not enough juice to actually start. I let it sit for 4 hours, turned all accessories off, and then it had enough charge "restored" to start.]

    OK, on to the relief (or disbelief) with my '03 LE: pulling into my work garage this morning reminded me of something that was "unique" about my morning yesterday when I had the problem: I exited the vehicle from the passenger door because my driver's door was up next to a garage post. AND, as it turns out, if you are in AUTO headlight mode and you do NOT exit the driver's door and slide over and out the passenger side instead, the headlights will stay on past 45 seconds and remain on permanently despite the fact that the ignition is off and you are outside the locked vehicle, key in hand. I was able to repeat this numerous times and it made no difference whether parking brake on or off, passenger door locked or unlocked, etc. - the key factor was whether the driver's door was opened and closed. Anyone want to check their's out to confirm that it does the same? I guess you need to be careful then if you ever exit the way I did! Makes sense given onboost's post that AUTO headlamps with stay on longer than 45 seconds if you leave the driver's door ajar . . . BUTTTTTTT what I can't figure out is why didn't the back-up headlamp off feature kick-in to turn the headlamps off after the 5 minute mark???? My guess is that the way Nissan wired this is that that 5 minute feature ONLY works when the headlights are in the true ON mode, and the feature isn't wired for the AUTO mode. Can someone do me a favor and verify that the 5 minute back-up off feature does not kick in when they go through this sequence? If you guys concur that your's does the same, you saved me a trip to the dealer and I'll just chalk this one up to a design "flaw" that really shouldn't be that much of a problem IF you don't park next to cement posts often! ;>

    Thanks in advance. Hope this helps others avoid dead batteries!
  • Pathstar, I was indeed actually talking about the auto head lights, not the interior lights.
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    My bad. I didn't realize the new Pathfinders leave the headlamps on after you turn off the engine. My 2001 does not do that. The headlamps go off when the ignition is turned off, even if they are on auto.
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    I just remembered: I park and wait for a friend to go into a store to get something. I shut off the engine but leave the key in ACCY position. The vent fans keep running. I turn the key off and then back to ACCY. The fans do not run. Too weird!
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    - hard to evaluate that stuff as very subjective, have to be there, kind of thing. I think your experience (e.g., the straining sound)is no different to a prior post exchange between world_traveler and myself when we first got our '03s two months ago (read back). He compared the higher sound of the Pathfinder engine to the deeper sound of his older Runner, etc. Just takes getting used to. I came from a '91 CRX Si, so this sounds fine to me when accelerating and doesn't feel rough at 20 MPH - hard to define rough though. As far as warming up, today when leaving work in a 60 degree garage, the vehicle temp was at the normal 5 tick mark in 3 minutes (by the time I exited garage) and I had warm air coming out auto climate system vents at same time. Yes, when it's cold there is a lot of "smoke" (no different than your breath vapor on a cold day) but it looks normal to me when I compare to any other vehicle. The only strange thing I have is that slight burning or plastic smell that occasionally comes from vents - but folks here say that is normal from their experience as engine breaks in. So, I am still batting a 1000 here and, minus the AUTO headlight scare (which I guess doesn't count), everything has been as expected by what I read in Consumer Reports on this thing's reliability. I'm guessing you're just noticing being in a new vehicle like we were - read back to the October? posts I think or do a search.
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