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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • djcdjc9djcdjc9 Posts: 3
    Hey Erhein - You said your Pathfinder is still Vibrating?
  • tomshadletomshadle Posts: 11
    This is my first time posting to this board.
    I have a 97 Pathfinder. On a recent long trip when I reached about 70 mph on I95 the vehicle didn't vibrate, but started rocking back and forth with increasing intensity until the cruise was cancelled and I slowed a little. Then the ride returned to normal until a certain stretch of road set off the rocking again.
    I called the dealership and they think it might be the sway bar and/or bearings that are bad.
    I travel 3 hrs. to the nearest dealership tomorrow to have it checked.
    Anyone else have this problem?
  • smithmdsmithmd Posts: 167
    My shimmy was really bad. The steering wheel and any hand on it would shake back and forth...sometimes more than others. I'd call it an 8. The shimmy was worse than any I'd ever experienced on any of my other vehicles. Once, when I rotated the tires, the shimmy appeared to have gone away. Instead it was actually just the problem tires being moved from the front to the back. I could slightly feel it in the seat and armrest, but it wasn't enough to numb my butt or elbow.

    Regardless of the brand of tire on your truck, you have that brand's highway tire. I'm not a Dunlop fan, so I don't really know if they have a better tire. I know that people looking for a smoother ride (in any SUV) have gone to the Bridgestone Dueler H/L. Another popular tire has been the Michelin LTX M/S. That said, I would bet money (and I'm not a bettin' man) on it NOT being your tire tread.

    Hope this helps.
  • smithmdsmithmd Posts: 167
    e-mail me for details on how to fix your problem
  • smithmdsmithmd Posts: 167
    Due to the number of requests I have received for copies of the Service bulletin related to the shimmy, I scanned the NTB00-061 into a PDF file, last night.

    E-mail me at if you want a copy.
  • brc1brc1 Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 LE and had recent problems with a small leak in the trans case. Upon replacing the case of the trans, there is now a vibration upon acceleration, changing gears, and constant after 70. Veh purchased in Dec/99. They cannot repair the problem, and as I have seen in the other messages, the service manager received the same answer from the Nissan Area Techs (Atlanta)... that there is an inherent vibration. What is interesting is that the problem was not present prior to the tranny work and they have just about exhausted all means. The manager of the dealership is willing to take the veh back and work out details for another Path LE. (Will have to closely review.) I have my letter ready to go to Nissan Corp because all the trans problems (4 repairs before replacing trans case) under the Georgia Lemon Law. There appear to be advantages/disadvantages for either route. Either way, they deduct (currently has 15K) for normal use (for lemon law or dealer). Went to the dealer today and he showed me a manufacturer's "Nissan CD - Problems" that the 97-99 Path have an inherent vibration - floorboard problem.. but not the 2000's. BTW, I also have a small shimmy in the steering wheel around 60-65. Comments and Recommendation(s)?
    Tks.. Bruce
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    Sounds like a drive-line problem. I hope they don't low-ball your PF just so they can sell you a new one. Have an independent technician check the drive-line run-out. Nissan shows .024 in max. run-out. (for the floor board vibration) for what it's worth
  • jsmithbc3jsmithbc3 Posts: 1
    I've got a 01' PF SE that I've had for 4 mos. and have about 15K on it. At speeds above 55 mph, I'm getting a vibration/fluttering noise out of both mirrors. My local dealer said this is normal and they've tried replacing them in other SE's with no success in eliminating the noise. Anyone else experienced this and successfully eliminated the vibration?

    Other than that irritation and the fact there is no rear window release on the dash and you can't scan radio stations from the steering wheel, it's a great SUV and I highly recommend it.
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    My PF had a vibration problem from day one. I figured the dealer could fix it (boy was I wrong). On a scale of 1 to 10 it was about 6.5, more irritating than damaging. After frustrating visits to two separate dealers and a call to 800-Nissan, I was left to resolve the problem on my own...

    First the tires: my PF came with Dunlop HL, so they are not "off road" or all terrain type tires. I like Dunlops, as they seem much more round than many other brands at that price range. Dealer knew right away that it was not a tire problem. I might have them balanced just on principle in case they contribute any extra vibration.

    Second Mechanical: I asked dealers to check drive line. They looked at my purchase date, just laughed and said "no new PF would have a drive line problem." They refused to check drive shaft runnout or anything else. I do not have a dial indicator, but on a hunch rotated my drive shaft 180 degrees. Reduced vibration to about 3.0 and changed the speed at which it happens.

    Conclusion: I like my PF a great deal, but bought a new one to avoid chasing gremlins like this. Warranty and service have been disappointing, so a used one with more problems would probably be less stressful for me. At least I'd save some money and know I was on my own for repairs...

    Pathforward: Continue discussing with others on this message board. I'll also check runnout, and if it is way off spec raise hell. If everything is in spec, I'll switch to synthetics and see what happens. Several mechanics have recommended synthetics for my vibration.

    We'll see what happens (sorry for the long post).
  • sorinnsorinn Posts: 5
    My PF SE 2001 is 11months 15,500 Km.
    I got the driver mirror vibration over 100Km/h right from the beginning. Dealer replaced it but problem still remains. It is really odd, because the right mirror is just fine. Originally I thought that
    it is the glass that flutters, but after replacing the whole mirror, I realized that the whole thing is vibrating on hyway speeds. In the meantime I have installed the bug deflector, and now the dealer blames it for the mirror fluttering. I just dropped it because it does not bother me that much, and there is no high noise associated with this.
    What is really concerns me, it's the noise of the engine that I it start to pick up lately. I am changing oil @ 4000Km. Should I go with synthetic? What brand would be recommended?

    Thanks to anyone for responding.
  • erhein2erhein2 Posts: 11
    I've been away for a week after having the tires on my 2001 PF SE balanced. My wife drove it in the meantime at speeds up to 80mph and I've driven it in the offending speed range of 60-65mph. There is still a slight amount of shimmy at about 62mph. I would call it more like feedback through the steering wheel, maybe 1.5 on a scale of 10. I'm 95% satisfied. For now I'm just going to leave it and make sure it doesn't get worse. I have the Bridgestone Dueler tires.
  • ballfire8888ballfire8888 Posts: 131
    Dealer did 1st oil change at 2000 km since it was a freebie. I just did 2nd change myself at 7000 km and switched to Mobil 1 tri-synthetic oil with Fram filter. Everything good at this time. Also have K&N air filter since 1000 km.

    My driver side mirror also vibrates at highway speed. Doesn't sound like dealers can fix this?

    You can scan radio stations with your steering wheel control. Just hold down either the up or down arrow until you hear a beep...presto, next scanned station!
  • shimdgshimdg Posts: 3
    I'm another who has been allowed to experience the shimmy /vibration adventure. I eliminated the shimmy with the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. I'm left with the vibration at 18-23 mph and 35-50. I'm not ready for the drive shaft rotation yet. However, I'm interested in in your comment that you might try synthetics on the advice of several mechanics. I assume you are referring to oil. Can you tell me what components (transfer case, differential,etc) are being recommended for synthetics? I'm also interested in knowing why these mechanics feel using synthetics helps reduce vibration. Any information is appreciated.
  • ubrsfubrsf Posts: 51
    I believe this light is the check engine light. Do any of you guys know, what it could be? I made sure the gas cap was locked tight, the light has been on for two days now, and it won't go away. Could this have anything to do with the emissions? I had major service done at 68,000 miles. I currently have 90k miles and the truck runs really nice, no noises. Any ideas? your thoughts are appreciated!
  • sonardudesonardude Posts: 12
    I did not have the vibration/shimmy problem until I took my 2001 PF LE on a trip to the mountains. After it hit the first big rise, it came in between 50 and 60 mph. It is now noticeable anywhere between those speeds, no matter what the terrain. Also, there is a distinctive vibration/rumble from the back end when I let off the accelerator at highway speeds. It is almost a low level grinding.

    There is around 7300 miles on my PF. This problem is definitely not tires. I purchased a 93 Jeep Gr Cherokee when it first came out and it had a vibration problem. After months of troubleshooting, they replaced the tires and said that it was fixed. It wasn't, and the steering dampener finally catastrophically failed 8 months later ( that's when they said that a tech bulletin had been issued about 4 months prior to the failure ). The reason I don't have another Jeep is because of the way Chrysler handled that problem and their reputation for poor quality. Anyway, there isn't a consumer out there who should put up with any type of drive train problem on a $30,000+ vehicle. I haven't been to the dealer yet, but I hope I'm not going to relive the Jeep.
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    Several mechanics have recommended trying high quality synthetics for the drivetrain of my PF. This includes both differentials, transmission, and transfer case. I am a car nut and do most of my own repairs. When I get in a jam, I often bounce ideas off of my father-in-law.

    My father-in-law is a master mechanic for GM and says the AWD systems are prone to vibration because of their complex nature. He said GM has a very low success rate with diagnosing drivetrain vibration because of the complexity...

    The heart and soul of the AWD system is the transmission and transfer case. There are lots of pumps and clutches. After checking for mechanical problems, they try changing the fluids. {they will rarely replace or tear-down fully functioning components} In extreme cases, they try using heavier fluids...

    As part of my hobby, I became a distributor for Redline and Amsoil synthetic oils to get supplies at wholesale. I plan to begin the change-over this weekend and observe the results.
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    I switched the vehicle over to synthetics this past weekend. This is second oil change for motor. Total Miles is 4375. Used Amsoil for everything...

    Here are my observations:

    Crankcase: Still observed metal chips & fines in the oil. No magnet in pan and I forgot to purchase one. Will install a magnetic plug nest oil change. Replaced with 5.5 Qt of 5w30 Amsoil & Amsoil Super Duty Filter

    Differentials: Front and Rear both have magnetic drain plugs. Earlier posts were correct, the plugs are very tight! Both magnets with covered with metal chip & fines. Replaced with 2Q (front) & 3Q (rear) Amsoil Series 2000 75W90 Gear Oil for LSD's

    Transfer Case: Fluid looked good. Drained completely and replaced with 3Q of Amsoil ATF.

    Auto Trans: Fluid looked good. Drained pan and replaced with 4.5 Q of Amsoil ATF. Total Trans capacity is 9Q, so I decided not to flush system. I will probably drain again at 15,000 to get another 1/2.

    All in all things went well, but several small metal flakes got embedded in my hands. "They" say an post break-in fluid change is unnecessary, now I'm not so sure... I at least recommend changing the Diffy fluids early. For normal passenger use, Amsoil 2000 is practically a lifetime fill. Plus it improves gas mileage!

    Vibrations aren't much different. Engine/drivetrain is a bit quieter. I still need to check runnout of the driveshaft...


    Transfer Case:
  • bjh512bjh512 Posts: 1
    My 1990 PF has developed excessive heat thru the center console. usuall after hiway travel or up hills. has AT and the 4X4 shifter gets almost to hot to touch. runs fine. checking it out underneath reveals cat converter quite hot and transmission the same. fluids all ok. 130K miles.
    anyone else have this problem? suggestions? BTW - dealer not helpful - outside temps 85-90.
  • rayg3rayg3 Posts: 7
    I have a 1999 pathy with 33000 miles on it. I bought it in June of this year. I had a Ford Sporttrac for several months but traded for the pathy. I like the nissan much better. But, I notice a clunk noise which seems to be coming from the rear when I brake. It only does it sometimes and seems to do it after I release the brake pedal after a full stop. Could it be a sticky brake caliper not releasing the rear brake shoe quick enough? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • sonardudesonardude Posts: 12
    My wife took the Pathfinder in for service and had them check out the vibration. They balanced one tire, which didn't do anything.

    This vibration should be classified as more of a shudder. It happens at low speeds (< 60mph, but mainly between 50 & 60) and is most pronounced when barely accelerating or when completely letting up on the accelerator. If I am just maintaining speed, I don't have the shudder. It only occurs when I change the torque on the drive train. It is definitely not tires.

    Would someone explain drive-line run-out and how it could affect this problem? Thanks.
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