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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • rthayerrthayer Posts: 10
    You get the Yakima rail riders. Go to their
    site and follow the steps to get
    the right ones. Take off the crossbars from the
    PF rack, they unscrew and slip over as I recall.
    Store them. Put the rail riders on, the yakima
    bars go thru them (48"bars) I have them on a 99.5
    SE Limited. Weight on these type racks is usually
    somewhere around 150 lbs but ALWAYS use a tiedown
    to the frame front and back in addition to straps.
    BTW, you can always remove the rail riders and
    put the stock bars back if you sell. Good luck
  • joe233joe233 Posts: 43
    Does anyone know of something to help better circulate air to the back of the PF? My dog rides behind the rear seats and seems like it doesn't cool down too well back there.
    Any ideas?
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    If your dog seems too hot in the cargo area, you could try getting one of those 12v DC fans (like the ones you see on busses or RVs) and clip it or mount it to the C-pillar... ?????
  • samalarkysamalarky Posts: 4
    I have two things occuring with my 95 Pathfinder XE that concern me. First off, when my AC is on it makes a little squeaking noise, which I am told is probably the fan. However, when I make sharper turns, I hear a rumbling and fluid leaks into the vehicle on the passenger side floorboard. The higher up the AC is, the more dripping there is. It is also acompanied bya grumbling. whooshing noise with an even louder squeak. The internal dripping really concerns me. Anybody else have this in an older Pathfiner. It has just under 82K on it.

    Secondly, there is a curious noise when I depress the brake, but it only happens when the vehicle is in park. When I press down on the brake in park I hear a little, yet distinct click that appears to be coming from where the shifter is (it's an automatic 2WD). The brakes operate fine and sound fine in drive or reverse. I was wondering if anyone else has ever heard this click.
  • My old Pathfinder did the same thing. There is a pan (black plastic) that collects condensate from the AC unit it is located above the foot well of the front passenger seat ( kinda behind glove box) from that pan there is a rubber drain hose which goes through the firewall to the exterior. When the drain gets clogged the condensate drips down onto the carpet. It happened more than once to me, each time I found the rubber hose clogged with black stuff, which I think was some kind of lining to the pan or something in the AC system. Once the drain is cleared your problem should go away. The drain hose can removed easily from inside. And yes the AC did make some strange noises when this happened, I guess from the condensate backing up into the system
    Good Luck!
    Will S
  • alkanxalkanx Posts: 69
    From top of my head (also see my post about shimmy #356), the dealership or Nissan may have torque(d) your steering mechanism to prevent any future complaints about shimmy.

    If you read the service bulletin that deals with steering shimmy, it mentions that by excessive torque on steering rack, it would make the steering hard & would not return to normal -- the problem you are facing. I would suggest that you get acquainted with the bulletin & call Nissan, open a file/case & all the best. (Shawn - Seattle).

    PS: After having to spend 30-Gs, one would not anticipate bad engineering!?
  • If you're interested in buying used Rail Riders and kayak mounts, try looking in the bike rack category of the classifieds found at or you can always look on e-Bay.

    The Railriders come with square nuts that fit into the tracks in your factory rack after you remove the factory cross-bars. The Rail Rider towers then bolt into the square nuts and the towers can be slid along the factory tracks.
  • dburr1dburr1 Posts: 1
    Here are a few observations:

    Steering - One of the weak points of an otherwise great machine. It is overboosted and over stabilized. There is no on-center feel because of the steering geometry. They could have done a better job here. You can't "fix" it.

    Ride - It is a little bit stiff. Not as bad as a 4-Runner but worse than a Grand Cherokee or Explorer (especially the new one). If you load it up it is a little worse because the rear springs have a low rate to make the unloaded ride better. Some people are putting air springs in there. You can affect ride slightly by changing tires, depending on what you have. You can also change shocks but I would not change springs.

    Brakes - I disagree that somehow it is more difficult to steer when you apply the brakes. In any case, I hate the idea of rear drums in the year 2002. They need to get with the program. Not that rear discs would do much, as most of the braking is up front. But it would help. The rotors are small-ish and they have been known to warp. Brakes is the biggest engineering weakness, IMO, but they do stop the car. As for squeaks, I guarantee you they are no worse than any other SUV (or car) and squeaks come and go in any car. If you don't believe that visit any other forum where "average" people complain. Everyone talks about this, as if they have never driven a car before. You can mitigate the squeaking with the right compounds behind the pads, the right brake pad material, and uncontaminated rotors. But it may still come and go.

    "Spinning" - The Pathy has as good a traction as any car with its weight distribution and tires. Period. You can't somehow defy the laws of physics just because you have a 4WD car. One thing that you probably could have gotten was a limited-slip diff and you'd be happy. I can take any SUV in 2WD (rear wheels) mode and spin it in rain all day long. My Grand Cherokee was terrible. With the limited slip on the Pathy it spins maybe 10% as much.
  • okay, so the steering isn't just me. mine is usually pretty light. I was in an expedition the other day driving in the city on rough roads, it didn't seem as bad.

    also, I took a nice clear night, went on the highway for about 30 miles, going around 60mph the whole way. it still didn't seem right. maybe its me, maybe its not, but I swear I was bouncing and feeling bumps that did not exist on the road...

    you disagree with my statement on the brakes, which means I have a problem. the moment I apply the breaks, no matter how light or had the steering changes right away.

    I don't have a problem with squeaking per say, except when it starts after only 1,000 miles on a new car...

    I should have gotten a limited slip diff. thats something I have learned for the next time, no big deal, I just have to be a bit more careful with this, (Even though I'm careful and light footed) because of all the torque...
  • nissangirlnissangirl Posts: 186
    Did you purchase this vehicle blind-folded?
  • cubster1cubster1 Posts: 11
    question...what did you drive before?? If the sports car scene or any car for that matter was the previous vehicle, you're going to feel the bumps more pronounced. drive a sentra around the block and then get in your pathy and you won't like the ride. just the life of a truck. your steering could be a "numb" response in the feedback your geting through your truck not being as responsive as your previous "car". Just some suggestions, I'm not saying your truck is a lemon. Hey, you coulda bought a Dodge? LOL!
  • my previous was a 99 pathfinder se!!

    i knew that the ride woudln't be good, duh, but it doesn't seem as bad (mainly on highways) as this one... around town etc its fine for the most part besides the steeering that seems to tighen up after 20 minutes of driving, and stay that way until the next time i drive it.

    also the headboard cloth is like cardboard, and the 'carpet' on the floor, and cargo area is like steel wool.

    its not even properly fited, when i try to use my 'dead pedal' to rest my left foot, there is nothing to place it on because its not firmly against the 'metal' where the pedal is. my foot easly falls off, and no, its not wide or abnormally sized.

    was i blind folded, no. i test drove 2 of 02 se's before, however my dealer had to go out of state to get the model i wanted with the color and sunroof.
  • asinger1asinger1 Posts: 15
    2000 PF SE with roof rack and moon roof. I keep a canoe on the rack and tie it down using three gromits on both side. Today we had a light rain and the PF was very slightly pitched forward as I was parked waiting for the rain to stop before going fishing, and water started dripping in a little to the left of the junction of the A-pillar and above the plastic where it meets the cloth roof liner. Interestingly, when I backed the PF to more level ground, the leak stopped. Could the tension from having the canoe tied down for long periods of time have broken some kind of seal between the roof rack and the roof of the PF to let the water in? From the postion of the leak and the slight forward slant of the PF, I'm just about certain that the leak didn't come from the winow, the door seal, or the winshield... although with leaks, who knows? Thanks,
  • dupersc1dupersc1 Posts: 11
    Railrider 1 towers use the existing screw-plates on the 96-99 rack. You unscrew the 2 cross-bars and 2 flat bars and remove them. They come with 2 type of bolts, short ones (to use with the plates that come with the RailRider 1 for different trucks) and longer ones to use with the Pathfinder rack.

    The installation is pretty simple and should take about 1hr or so depends on how good you are at measuring things.

    I have this install on my '99 SE with the Yakima Load Warrior.

    Here's a pic of the rack and the Warrior



  • danogdanog Posts: 318
    That back in early 2000 when we first got our 2001 LE 2wd we were pretty happy with it and started following posts here. I've not been watching for the last, say 6-9 months for various reason but the same old discussions about shimmy, squeaking brakes, warped rotors, harsh rides and a few others are as prominent now as they were when I first started following along. I can't tell sometimes if it is just being over critical or truly bad engineering, mostly a combination.
    I have had every single issue and then some but still feel our Pathy has been a "good" vehicle for the past few years and I can honestly say I'm glad the lease is coming to an end. I'd buy a newly updated Pathfinder only after these "issues" were updated and not a second before.
    The reason I chimed in tonight is only because I'm online looking for information on the new issue that just hit today on the way home, the Service Engine Soon Light. I remember something about either the fuel cap or some sensor. But it goes to show that after you pass your 36K mileage you'd better be prepared in case something major does happen.
    It is a $30,000+ vehicle but that isn't really putting it up on the high end these days. If only Nissan would go through these posts to see what owners are dealing with.
    For those of you that enjoy your Pathy, AND for those who have "issues" I can understand.
    Good luck trying to cool the rear of your Pathy, getting rotors resurfaced(under warranty, even at 35Kmiles), quieting the brakes and solving the shimmy!

  • I recently purchased a 99 pathfinder from a Chevy dealer. Immediately after purchase the "Service Engine Soon" light lit up. I returned it to the dealer immediately. They said it was the vacumn switch, but when it was returned to me the problem was not fixed. A friend of mine had the same problem with his Jeep and said a switch should only be reset by the original dealer since each one has specified diagnostic tools. I'm concerned the engine may have a problem. Please help.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 203
    I have 1999.5 LE 4x4.
    I have the check engine light come on a few times and the dealer would replace the Oxygen sensor. Once it came and went away. It has come on again and now we are a month out of the 36 month warranty. I am not sure what to do so I will just neglect it. I read the emission warrany and noticed that it does NOT cover the O2 sensor!

    We have had the permanent shimmy problem. Alignment and wheel balancing makes it go away to some extent but I never had a permanent fix.
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    Hey, coming up on 23,500 miles & I couldn't be more satisfied w/ the reliability of my 2001 PF. But, I've had a few problems I just wanted to send out & see if anyone else has found solutions:
    1) Had new rotors put on at 15,000 or so for warping. Feels like it's time for new ones again. Anybody put any aftermarket (Brembo, etc.) rotors on & had good luck? Also, if they've replaced your rotors did they also replace the pads?
    2) Anybody had a squeaking noise as the steering wheel is turned? This is definitely inside the vehicle, not outside.
    3) Had excessive tire wear on the outside of my front tires around 15,000 miles so I paid (unfortunately because I waited past the 12,000 mile adjustment warranty) for an alignment & they told me it was toe out & this should take care of it. Well, here I am at 23,000 the front tire wear is just as bad or worse. I've rotated my tires myself per the schedule.

    Like I said, these are minor things to deal w/ compared w/ other vehicles... more nuisances. Let me know if you have any comments. Thanks...
  • smithmdsmithmd Posts: 167
    I've got a PDF file copy of the TSB for the shimmy. If you (or anyone) would like a copy, e-mail me at

    My shimmy was fixed by the Hunter balance machine.
  • My '02 SE has been perfect in every way through the first month of ownership, except for a little squeak coming from the rear when I hit bumps, like pulling out of the driveway, or when I came to a quick stop. On a hunch, I lowered the spare tire and then raised it back up and snugged it up tight. PROBLEM SOLVED! No more squeak. I suspect that either the spare wasn't cranked up tightly enough or wasn't aligned against the bottom of the truck properly.
  • Lance, what type of squeak did you hear. When I pull out of my driveway I hear some kind of noise as well, but then again any time when I first start to move after I start my 02 PF SE i hear it....

    I will try that even though it sounds as though its coming from the front end...
  • I could definitely tell that the squeak was coming from the rear of the vehicle, almost like a squeaky bushing. It was a low-pitched squeak associated with almost any medium bump, but I couldn't make it squeak when I bounced the rear of the PF by hand. Glad I tried that instead of taking to dealer for diagnosis and treatment.
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    If you choose to ignore the light, you could be sorry.

    Read this message about my experience after ignoring the check engine light:


    If that link doesn't work, go to the main Pathfinder comment area and in the "MSG#" field, enter 5568 (even though the message # really is 5351 - go figure!)

  • shimdgshimdg Posts: 3
    In point 2 you mentioned a squeak definitely from the inside when you turn the wheel. I had a similar experience on my 2001 SE when turning the wheel at very low speed such as pulling in or out from a parking spot. It was definitely from the inside from the lower left corner of the windshield. I thought it was an improperly mounted windshield. Took it in and the tech said it was coming from the outside! This apparently is a known problem since he immediately diagnosed it as bearing strut/ bracket problem on the left side. Seems some were installed improperly and resulted in wear causing the squeak....creak whatever. The part numbers of the components replaced were .....................
    54320-2W100 (insulator), 54329-0W000 (spacer-front), 54322-0W010 (bracket-front),
    54325-5V000 (bearing-st). The noise went away! Your squeak may not have the same cause, but I'd have the dealer check it out. I hope I helped.
  • johnskevjohnskev Posts: 98
    I also had a squeaking issue. Mine occured in the rear, but I couldn't tell which side. It sounded like some slight movement from the hatch, the seal maybe. I couldn't fix it let alone find it, so I brought it in. The service rep said that a service bulletin existed for the problem: a poor seal around or near the struts/shox, a small rock was lodged in there somewhere. They removed the rock, put some filler or a better seal on, and solved the problem.
  • texamau1texamau1 Posts: 42
    Does any one know how to get the for light to turn on without the head light on? I noticed that some car was able to have the fog light on with the parking light on only. I like to have the fog light on when it dusk/sunrise, when you do not really need the headlights.
  • Can't do it on the PF. What you saw was probably an aftermarket fog lamp install. Can probably burn the fog lamps with the high beams on too.
  • johnskevjohnskev Posts: 98
    I know that people have mentioned it in this forum before. It required some rewiring or playing with the fuses. I know the search in these forums is hard to do. Maybe someone else knows the post number where the procedure is explained.
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    The trick mentioned about wiring the fog lights doesn't let them activate with the parking lights. It lets them activate AT ANY TIME - even if the truck is turned off. Some people who have made this mod have accidentally left the lights on after parking their truck and killed the battery, because the mod makes no "headlight is on" warning beep.

    FYI, in California, I think there's a law that states that the headlights must be turned on one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise, and it's illegal to drive on the road with the parking lights on if the headlights are not also on... I've been pulled over and warned about this in the past.

    Headlights aren't just to help you see when it's getting dark- they're for other drivers to see YOU as well.

    Just a thought...
  • kzc2kzc2 Posts: 14
    I re-wired my fog light to come on with parking light only. I send instruction to 3 people but never received any reply from them. Only thing I can say is that it works fine on my 99.5 LE. Auto head lamp works just fine and high beam doesn't burn fog lamp bulbs. Only time you will be draining battery is physically or manually turn your lights on when engine is not on. Otherwise, if you forget to turn off your light, pathy will automatically turn off your lights when you shut off ignition and open the driver side door.

    Basically concept of re-wiring is same as any other car. The way you wire is look for positive 12 volt wire from fog lamp which is connected to right side head lamp, you need to disconnect that and re-wire to hot wire when your engine is engaged (such as parking light). All this need to be done in Relay box, which located under the hood.

    Let me know if you want the instruction,

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