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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair

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  • hey! I have an 04' Pathfinder LE Platinum Edition that is extremely loud in the engine. My engine makes a constant rapid cluck cluck cluck noise. Each cluck in 1 second intervals so it is constant. Like others have described on here, it has a diesel engine sound to it, but not as deep and throaty a sound. I baby this vehicle. I service it faithfully and treat it better than my wife! So, this is why I can't figure out why it sounds this way. Took it to 3 Nissan dealers. All say it is normal and nothing is wrong. However, the PF did not make this noise when I bought it. It only has 18k on it too, so it's still somewhat new. I'm running out of dealers to take it to. I feel like I'm getting the shaft here, because noise does not sound right at all, but I don't know what else to do!
  • The following is a description of a problem with a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder with a total of 125,000 miles with Michelin LTX M/S, 31.0x10.5 tires, running at 40 PSI (hard).

    The original front struts lasted for 71,000 miles and had to be replaced because they were leaking. Heavy duty KYB struts were installed and currently have 54,000 miles on them. They have worked great up until now.

    The original rear shocks lasted for 51,000 miles and were replaced with heavy duty Gabriel shocks. In June 2005, we started a trip to Ohio and experienced a "waddle" type of instability. (As opposed to the usual "porpoising" caused by a pair of weak shocks.) The Gabriel's had 61,000 miles on them and I replaced them with a pair of heavy duty Monroe shocks. It significantly reduced the problem , but didn't completely eliminate it. By October, the Monroe's had 11,000 miles on them and the problem of "waddling" was worse than ever. It is triggered by any road unevenness and I have to apply the brakes to keep the car from oscillating (from side to side) out of control. In October I replaced the Monroe rear shocks with a heavy duty pair of KYB's and it again helped but did not eliminate the problem. The rear KYB shocks currently have 11,000 miles on them. The problem is now significant enough to be unsafe.

    A "hands on" check of the front and rear stabilizer bars and their connecting rods cannot detect any looseness. The same check on the rear panhard bar feels tight also. However, this is within the context that my attempted wiggling of the bars are probably a small percentage of the tension that is normally on these bars. All the rubber connectors appear to be whole and undamaged.

    The key question: Is this a strut/shock problem or a stabilizer system problem? (Or is it something else entirely?)

    The "waddle" can be best described as rocking from side to side and not front to rear. It seems to be about equally severe in both the front and back. The whole car "waddles" and not just a front or rear event.

    I've read other posts here that suggest this might be caused by worn rear links or lower control arms. What do you think?
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Definitely worn bushings in the rear suspension lower control arms. This is a known issue on 96-99 Pathfinders. The mounting position of the shocks causes the bushings to wear faster than normal, since every up/down movement of the axle translates to a forward/back force induced by the shocks.

    The reason why the whole truck "waddles" is because the worn bushings allow each side of the axle to move forward or backward independently, effectively letting the rear axle "steer" the vehicle.

    Don't even attempt to troubleshoot anything else until after you've replaced the lower control arms, or it'll just be a waste of time and $$.
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Xplorx, I may be starting to experience the same "waddling" problem on my '01 PF. It has 103K miles. I heard on the Car Doctor radio show this morning that Nissan issued a TSB on this in 1998. Is it likely I have the same problem, or was the rear suspension design changed after the '99 model year? Thanks.
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    The rear suspension design was changed on 99.5+ models to reduce the premature bushing wear. This is the first time I've ever heard of an '01+ with this problem.
    However, with 103K miles on your Pathy, it's possible that some of your suspension parts may need replacing.

    One way to tell if your rear lower link bushings are worn is to park the vehicle on a level surface, chock the front wheels, release the parking brake and put the tranny in N. Then, grasp one of the rear wheels at 9 and 3-oclock and try to rotate it forward and back. As you do this, keep a very close eye on the stiffness/movement of the lower link relative to a fixed part on the frame, such as the gas tank skid plate, etc. Worn bushings will allow the lower link to move back and forth, instead of staying firmly positioned. You can also try to twist the link by hand. If it twists easily, the bushings could be worn.

    If you've never replaced the shocks or struts, I would first have that work done before doing the rear links.
  • shark715shark715 Posts: 380
    Thanks for the tip, Explorx. It's very possible I have a different, but related problem. My truck doesn't seem to "waddle" as noticeably as some others have reported with the older model years, but the handling in my truck is not nearly as stable as it used to be. How does one check struts and shocks these days? Thirty years ago we would bounce each corner of the car, and if it bounced more than once, it was indication that the shock absorber needed to be replaced. My truck is not more bouncy than it used to be, the handling is just not as stable. BTW, I do have an Airlift kit, but I've had it for 5 years. I normally keep it at 6-8 pounds of pressure (the manual says to always keep at least 5 lbs.) except when I'm towing my boat or carrying a heavier than normal load. Thanks again for your help.
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Shocks and struts- same method as 30 years ago. Also check for oil leaking around the strut and shock body.
  • sndpsndp Posts: 1
    Hi, I had bought a 2002 pathfinder LE a few months back and I notice there is vibration in seat at around 60(in 2WD mode). Is this normal? If not, what can be the cause? Goes away at higher/lower speeds.
    I had steering vibration before this and got balancing done with a shop with hunter gsp machine and that part seems very much improved.
  • kris2kris2 Posts: 22
    I left my Pathfinder overnight at the dealer but they were not able to replicate the transmission slip/engine flare. The mechanic at the dealer (Woodfield Nissan) went through the TSB and said my car has the parts mentioned in the TSB. I come back home and start to work the next day and the engine flare is still there and it has been cold in Chicago the past few days and I get the problem everytime I start my pathy after resting it a few hours. The dealer did not charge me for checking it out but I had to pay for the rental car which was otherwise cover in my extended warranty.
  • 1992 Pathfinder. It started to run rough about 10 miles from home, then proceded to run more rough and noticed smell of exaust (like a flooded engine) and high levels of smoke/exasut from the tailpipe. Now it won't start- it tries but won't catch. Before it stopped running I had to keep up the RPM's to prevent it from stalling. I replaced the fuel filter with no change.

    Any suggestions
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    You might have to take a test drive with the tech so they can't deny the flare.
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Excess fuel is preventing the engine from starting. It's flooded. This is due to bad sensor input to the ECU or by poor ignition. The simplest thing to do is to check your spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, and maybe replace the plug wires.

    The ignition coil may be failing/weak as well, but that' harder to diagnose.

    If the ECU is getting incorrect readings from one of the sensors (such as MAF, crank angle, O2, etc.) then you'd probably get a check-engine light.
  • jbm160jbm160 Posts: 16
    My wife somehow broke both her upper and lower control arms on the right rear suspension of her 99.5 Pathfinder (2WD). She had it towed to the local dealer, and they want about $210 for the parts which sounds appropriate given normal dealer markup. They are also saying though that the ABS sensor was damaged and needs to be replaced for an additional $270 in parts. The kicker, though, is that they are quoting 8 hours of labor at $90/hr. I've checked with some independent repair shops and they are saying this should only take 2-3 hrs of labor. Is the dealer trying to rip us off, or is there possibly something else about the situation that would make our car take more than twice as long to repair? I don't think there's any rust or corrosion.

    Unfortunately, I'm out of town and can't even look at the car. But from what my wife saw, the control arms are completely fractured. She first noticed her car "swerving" and then a few miles later she heard a huge crash and a grinding noise (I'm guessing the control arm hitting the ground?). She doesn't remember hitting anything, although the dealer states that there are impact marks on the control arms. Any ideas?
  • jfbclujfbclu Posts: 7
    I have a 2001 Pathfinder with 96K miles that started leaking power steering fluid a couple of months ago. I did add some commercial stop leak a couple of times and it slows the leak for a few days and then starts leaking a little more. Any ideas on how to get this problem fixed? If I need to take it to a mechanic (not dealership) for repairs, do you have an estimate as to what it might entail/cost?
  • zluverzluver Posts: 4
    I have a rattling noise coming from the rear undercarriage of my 2004 Pathfinder SE. Service manager has confirmed the "noise" exists but hasn't been able to isolate it. The noise almost disappears when there's weight in the back end (or when the gas tank is full) but reappears once the weight is taken away. Noise is most pronounced when driving on rough road conditions. There's no TSB on this--I've checked. Thoughts anyone?
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    On my 2001 the exhaust used to hit the trailer hitch and that caused a rattling noise. If you have a trailer hitch check out whether you can hit it by just grabbing the exhaust pipe and moving it around from the tailpipe. I solved it by adding a much stiffer support rubber.
  • tsouwhattsouwhat Posts: 1
    I have a '99 PF SE 4X4 with 150K mi. I just had a major tuneup and everything seemed fine. However when I turned on the AC the other day, it didn't seem to get cold. It blows air but it seems like it is just blowing the air from outside. I have never had my AC serviced. Has anyone had this problem before, do I need to have a lot of work done, do I just need a recharge, do I just need a service, and will it cost me a lot?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,253
    not answerable. Could be minor, could cost a bundle. First thing is to see if the refrigerant is depleted, then do a leak test, then recharge, then see if the AC compressor is functioning (it won't work if there is no refrigerant in the system). If it's charged up and compressor is working and you still don't get cold air, then you have evaporator or expansion valve issues and this gets expensive labor-wise becuase you practically have to excavate to get these things out for replacement.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • finn07finn07 Posts: 1
    I own a 98 Pathy and the check engine light came on. After about a week or so I noticed that the car felt like it was misfiring on one of the cylinders. I brought the car to a friend who is a mechanic and he ran a comp test on it and said that cylinder 5 was misfiring. Then he said my coolant was extremely low and smelled antifreeze under the hood. He then put a funnel in where the anti freeze goes and it started to bubble out of the funnel, and then he told me he thinks my head gasket is bad. Then on the ride home it started to get real hot, but the drive was only a 5 minute ride so i took my chance. I have a powertrain warranty on it as well. I brought it to Nissan and theyve had it since Friday and still havent told me what is wrong with it. I want to get educated on what you guys think it could be so this guy doesnt screw me, cause it sounds like he is going to. What do u think?
  • 1998 Nissan Pathfinder. Drives like charm, no problems until now.

    Basically, drove in morning, stopped in afternoon, 2 hours later, started car, put in reverse, drove 3 feet, engine sputtered as I pressed gas pedal, engined died. Went to restart, unable to do. Full tank of gas, one hundred tries 3 hours later, finally starts and let it run for a good long while (to recharge battery from all those start tries). As soon as I press gas, engine dies. Dead again, won't start.

    My neighbor (the mechanic took a look) said that when it was reruning, all sounded very good (i.e. timing belt, etc.),he tested fuses, all good, spark plugs, all good, fuel pump seems to be working (can hear it as I turn key). However, as soon as I press gas, throttle cable moves, engine dies.

    Also, checked air filter, clean, new and dry.

    Is it a sensor, fuel filter or fuel line problem?

    Please advise?

    Aloha, AnthonyPG
  • Sounds like same problem I have now finding this fuel temperture sensor seems to be no info on it. I have done some research could be linked to ecu also the fuel pressure regulator or fuel pressure gauge. There is no fixing the fuel pump only replacing it which I think is aboit $110 I have been trying to price & figure out this sensor thing I have read it act as an input to the ECU to correct fuel delivery. Let me know how it works will keep posting. It's bad enough one of the spark plugs was behind the cam shaft oh what fun that was changing. Good luck
  • ridesnowridesnow Posts: 6
    I have a 2001 Pathfinder with 94K miles on it and it has started leaking powersteering fluid about a month ago too. Have you had any ignition coil problems?
  • ridesnowridesnow Posts: 6
    I have a 2001 pathfinder with 94K miles on it...and for months now i have been having "misfiring" problems. Took it to the dealer and they said my ignition coils had to be replaced and wasnt covered under any warrantee. Ive heard other people with the same ignition coil problem and really think Nissan is trying to ignor this problem which should probably be a recall!
  • ridesnowridesnow Posts: 6
    Definately sounds like your control arm bushings are gone and need to be replaced - that was happening to an older pathfinder i owned.
  • xeonashxeonash Posts: 1
    I recently had to replace my water pump, (it cracked in half), regardless of this, it still ran fine. I replaced the water pump. Afterwards, I tried to start it and it wouldn't turn over. I have no idea why it won't start, I have tried everything I can think of, e.g. Made sure I have a spark, gas, etc. I checked my fuses, and I left off my negative battery cable overnight to reset the computer. I have tried to jump it, and still nothing. I also checked all the electrical connection in the area where I was working and everything looks fine. In changing the waterpump, all I needed to do was remove the belts, pulleys, and covers for the DOHC. I didn't mess with anything electrical, the distributer, or anything like that, so I am at a loss. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I hate not having trasportation, makes me feel like a bum.

    Thanks :-)
  • manachomanacho Posts: 2
    Does Anyone know the configuration? Which sensor is bank 2, sensor 2?
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    There are a total of 4 sensors. Two in the front upstream of the cat & two in the rear downstream of the cat. Bank 2 means it is on the left side of the vehicle (driver's side). Sensor 2 means it is the rear. So, this one is on the left side after the cat. I had this one go out about a year ago & it is easy to get to. Now the right side rear sensor is throwing a trouble code. Interestingly, the rear sensors aren't even used. They are merely a backup in case one of the front sensors goes bad. On vehicles that only have the front sensors if one goes bad the ECM goes to a full rich mix burning a ton of fuel & you'll see your MPG go down the tubes. So having a bad rear sensor on your PF doesn't make a difference until the front sensor on that side goes bad.
  • mark888mark888 Posts: 1
    Meca2, Pls provide detail of your brake bleeding procedure.
    and your rear brake (handbrake) adjustment ? :)
    My 01 pf le has the same problem. the brake does not have enough bite. I thought its normal for an SUV. until I read your and others forums.! thank you . mark
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I believe the rear sensors are used to prolong the life of the cat. converters (2). They are "three stage" cats. which means it takes care of CO, hydrocarbons, and NOx, and these types of cat. require monitoring to ensure they are not overheated. The ECM uses the readings to control the air/fuel so the cats. work best in "three stage" mode.

    I -think- they are being taken out by too much sulphur in the fuel. I switched to premium fuel with up to 10% ethenol in it - it burns much cleaner. So far (4 years) I haven't lost another O2 sensor (two went early in the life of the vehicle).
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    On an 01 Pathfinder, you first bleed the proportioning valve (close to the rear diff.). Then you bleed starting with the furthest wheel from the master cylinder (right rear), left rear next, then right front, then left front. You want to ensure you end up changing out all the old fluid (every two years). This can be easier if you change the brake fluid colour each time. Check out a car parts store - at least one manufacturer makes their fluid in two colours - same fluid just a different dye.
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