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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • Yeah it definately has some "snap" if you dont ease that accelerator down. It took me a little while to get used to how sensitive it is.
  • Since initiating the "Low Brake" thread I have read all your posts with interest. My PF was mfg'd in Nov. '01, and may not have the computer controlled throttle feature discussed. My experiences with inadvertantly depressing the gas pedal while braking all occurred while creeping to a stop in the garage, using the brake to control the roll from just idle rpm in drive. Yes, I probably pivoted my foot from gas to brake without moving my heal off the floor. I suspect most people do the same, at least when moving slow. Regardless of the foot process, I think any vehicle which exhibits brake travel below the level of the gas pedal is a danger. Many variety of situations from emergency braking to winter boots to lack of deliberate gas pedal avoidance can result in unintentional acceleration while braking. Nissan's response that, "the pedal positions are within specifications," pointedly avoids addressing the brake pedal TRAVEL below the gas pedal.
  • danpf1danpf1 Sunny CaliforniaPosts: 90
    Check the "accelerator control wire" and the "automatic speed control device" for ASCD wire adjustment, at the throttle drum.

    If ether of these two wires are out of adjustment the throttle valve may not be closing properly, causing a hair trigger effect when steeping on the accelerator pedal.

    Check the accelerator wire first, if too tight, make the adjustment then check and adjust the ASCD wire.

    this could be the problem, a throttle valve that is not closing all the way. Hope this helps.
  • danpf1danpf1 Sunny CaliforniaPosts: 90
  • danpf1danpf1 Sunny CaliforniaPosts: 90
    In my last posting I forgot to mention that you should also check the return spring on the gas pedal and the return springs on the throttle valve drum. If any of these springs are not working right, it could cause the truck to creep a little when you take your foot off the gas pedal.
  • Hi,

    I've got a 1998 Pathinder, Chilkoot Edition with
    41,000 kms (26,000 miles).

    Last summer the transmission started vibrating/knocking.. so I took it to a dealer and they said my input bearing in the tranny is gone. I took it to my dealer for them to check it out, they replaced the bearings, shafts, and gears all under warranty, but the mechanic messed up when putting the works back together.

    I could shift from 3rd to 5th, and from 5th to 4th, but I couldn't get from 3rd to 4th. Taking it to another garage, they said the syncro was put in backwards, so I took it back to my original dealer to fix it.. that whole process took 3 weeks from start to finish.

    My question is - did I get a PF with a bad transmission or has this occured with other PF's?

    The vehicle's been great, but with the tranny going on me less at such low-ish mileage and my dealer's mistakes, I've lost a little confidence in this otherwise great company.. every little sound I hear that I don't recognize I'm starting to wonder if it's a possible issue...

  • I was told that a brand new vehicle needs time to "break-in" before traveling long distances at high speeds. Like waiting until you have approx. 1,000 miles on it, to take a long road trip. Any opinions on this?
  • Hi. Recently the climate control panel on my dashboard only lights up once in a great while. It is the only panel affected. My dealership will charge me over $80 just to look inside the dash. Does anyone know what this might be caused by, something I can take care of myself perhaps?

    I will mention that I had an aftermarket radio/CD player installed a few months ago, but they used a wire harness so they didn't actually cut into any wires in the dash. They used the factory set-up and just "plugged it into" the harness (I had them show me). There is one set of wires connected to a plug that appears to go nowhere. They looked at the factory radio I had in before that and there is no connection for the plug into that either. I thought I'd mention this in case it was related somehow. The wires are the same colors as the illumination wires for the CD player. But again, they seem to have no destination.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    The idea is that when an engine is breaking in (final part to part machining), extra heat is generated. At lower RPMs/speeds this extra heat is easily dealt with by the cooling systems (oil and coolant). At higher RPMs/speeds the extra heat can cause problems such as burned/coked oil deposits and even changes in metal hardness.

    These days of micro-machining tend to mostly elliminate the problem. It's still a good idea to be gentle for the first few thousand miles, but I doubt there would be measurable benefits.

    To my way of thinking, a more important issue is can the driver really operate a "new" vehicle (to him/her) at high speed. Many posts on this discussion list indicate poor understanding of just how these large heavy vehicles handle and stop from very high speeds. For an example, my RX-7 will stop from 60 MPH in 100 ft. without excitement. My 2001 Pathfinder takes at least 130 ft. and the excitement level is too high. Remember, the Pathfinder weights more than two tons (actually about two metric tonnes - 4300 lbs empty).

    I'm not going to just bash SUVs as is now the accepted fashon, as they have their uses, and the rollover controversy smacks of too much "I told you so" for my taste. Why don't they start bashing motorhomes? I know for a fact they will rollover long before an SUV!
  • Am having problems with automatic trans -- rough shifting from 1st to 2d and hunting back and forth in higher gears. Some times will shift out of overdrive on interstate. Trans has been serviced, sensor changed, but problem still exists. Thoughts?
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Sounds kind of normal to me. Transmission hunting occurs when vehicle speed and engine load interact. At certain speeds the engine doesn't have enough power to maintain the same cruising speed, so the transmission has to downshift.

    Assuming OD is on, the transmission first unlocks the torque converter (while still in OD) to try to maintain speed. While MPH is relatively constant, RPM will increase by roughly 400RPM.

    If the engine still doesn't have enough power to maintain that speed, the transmission will kick out of OD and shift to D with the torque converter unlocked (RPM will increase by another 1000RPM) until it reaches crusing speed again. If the engine has revved enough, it may downshift to OD again and lock up the converter, only to find out there's not enough power, and the process repeats.

    And yes, this can occur on interstates, in fact, ESPECIALLY on interstates, where vehicle speeds are higher, wind resistance is higher (which increases the load on the engine), and even slight changes in road inclination/grade can affect the transmission shift points.

    If you find the transmission hunting too often, you can disengage OD, which has the benefit of keeping the torque converter locked, which reduces friction and keeps the AT fluid temp lower. Re-engage OD when the engine load is reduced, either by slowing down or by coasting downhill. Strong headwinds, rain, or snow can also increase resistance and make your engine work harder.

    You might consider having your engine tuned up to restore lost power, check your tire pressure, and reduce drag by removing anything that you may have installed on the roof.
  • My 96 Pathfinder w/56k is making a noise which alternates between a buzz and chime/ringing sound while at idle, once you move, it goes away. One of the rear door speakers is making a rattle noise, especially when the base is up, are they easy to change, and lastly the CD player seems to have a will of it's own...does anyone have any insight into these problems ?
    Are there TSB's out for these issues ?
  • I just bought a 2003 PF and they told me there is no break in period for these engines. You can drive it now like it had 20k miles on it. Is that true?
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    I can tell you this: what your dealer told you is entirely inconsistent with the 2003 Nissan Pathfinder owner's manual which does call for a 1,000 mile break-in period. I do not have it with me but you will find the page if you read carefully. It advises against constant speeds, quick full-throttle starts, etc. - but I don't believe it advises against going above any particular top speed. [However, from my experience, other factors not mentioned in the owner's manual (like new tires, etc.) should rule in favor of NOT driving at high speeds initially (e.g., I think new radial tires call for 55 MPH or less for the first couple hundred miles).] Although I agree with the prior post about these things making only a marginal difference in today's engines, I played it safe as I had nothing to really lose by driving that way for 1,000 miles (a portion of which was on a road trip varying between 50 and 70 MPH). In this regard, although the manual states that you don't need to change your initial oil until the initial applicable mileage mark (e.g., 3750 miles I think), I also just had my oil and filter changed at 1700 miles to play it safe. Although I am 95% sure it was a waste of money to do so in today's newer engines (where the break-in really doesn't cause too many micro-bits of metal in your oil), I decided to waste the $20 just for the irrational peace of mind, so to speak.
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    Tire Pressure. Yes, I had to mention it. But, I hope this adds a new twist to prior discussions that have maybe overkilled the subject. Anyone responding should take the time to read through the very old posts both here and on the main board first. The twist: I am interested in learning about what has happened to you 01' owners who opted for tire pressures closer to 26 PSI versus those closer to 40 PSI. What mileage did you get out of the set of tires? Any performance / handling mishaps as a result of a certain PSI? Etc., etc. It seemed some we're sticking closer to 26 PSI per the placard and others closer to 35 PSI per their own preference and the tires' high PSI rating.

    My hope is that this will guide newer owners to a PSI that works for them. I am not as interested in a debate whether it is better to go LOWER a la the '01 26 PSI tire placard versus HIGHER a la the tire rating / Explorer debacle where low pressures MAY have caused the problem for that vehicle (read prior posts if interested in that). In that regard, here are some observations that hopefully can be agreed upon. Most of our vehicles came shipped with 40 PSI (for shipping reasons) that our dealers neglected to lower. Mine did as well: 39.5 PSI in each. I didn't notice this until 900 miles before lowering. Check yours if you haven't. I have the Bridgestone Duelers on an '03 like many of us do. Max tire pressure for max load on the tire sidewall states 44 PSI. Of course, every car manufacturer has a recommended PSI for their vehicle on that tire. On the '01s, the tire placard (in the glove box) apparently stated 26 PSI. It seems that the '02s, and definitely my '03, now state 30 PSI using basically the same vehicle and tires as the '01s [pretty sure - not definite though]. If you have replaced your stock tires, then the proper PSI may change slightly from the placard's posted PSI depending on the tire speed rating, etc. (again, another debate not worth repeating in its entirety . . . ). One interesting observation is that with the new VDC system on the '03s, there are now low tire pressure sensors which activate at . . . 25 PSI.

    Without starting a war, that makes me think that the move to 30 PSI on the placard is closer to a "happy medium." If 25 PSI is considered "low pressure" for a warning on these '03 Duelers, 26 PSI may have been on the lower side and in the wake of Firestone, etc. may have caused Nissan to go to 30 PSI. Not sure. The one person who reported in and had kept his at 26 PSI stated he got only 20,000 miles total (but these were Toyos - another complicating factor). In any event, the focus now is on what others have experienced and documented.

    So, my personal experience: for the first 900 at 40 PSI, ride was very stiff but definitely acceptable. Felt speed bumps, etc. as you would predict at that PSI. Since lowering to placard's 30 PSI, smoother ride, but I am used to I think a more rigid feel - maybe from past experience of keeping slightly higher pressures in tires to improve wear. Since this is an SUV, I am not as concerned about improving tire wear to the extent I compromise handling and grip [to prevent, e.g., loss of control and the associated roll-overs]. At the same time, I want to take heed of the tire heating/blow-out issues from too low PSIs, as well as past experience that usually have a little more PSI in heavier engine-end front tires than rear tires (in unloaded vehicle). Rolling up all this into my little mix, this leaves me coming out on increasing the PSI to 33 in the front tires and 32 in the rear tires. 30 PSI feels a little soft for me right now and I think I can get a little more mileage out of the tires at 33/32 without losing much handling/grip. With the tire rated for 44 PSI, that won't be a problem; and as I load weight, the difference may become negligible. I am reluctant to do anything under 30 PSI given the placard and 25 PSI low pressure sensors, but curious what current owners have experienced over a couple years of ownership. Has anyone had their Duelers at or near 33/32 for the last couple years and what sort of mileage / handling have you encountered? Thanks in advance!
  • We have had our 03 LE for about 3 weeks. There is a whistle in the front cross member of the roof rack. The noise is not always there and appears to happen in certain wind conditions between about 35 - 55 MPH. The dealer is suggesting changing the rack out for the SE model, but I'm not real comfortable with this. Anyone else having this problem?
  • I went from an SE rack to an LE rack on my 02 SE. I don't have any wind noise issues on it. Do you have a sunroof deflector?

    Maybe that is the problem?
  • mjohnr99mjohnr99 Posts: 193
    I have an '03 LE and can confirm that the wind noise is normal. At a certain speed, you will always seem to hit some "sweet spot" where you get that higher pitch. At least the LE's cross members are aerodynamic. Believe me, it is far less noise than you would experience with some aftermarket racks. I am a Thule fan and after a couple weeks replaced my factory racks for the Thule set-up so that I can use my Thule Combi box and accessories from my last vehicle. Talk about wind noise! But, it's the sacrifice I wanted to make because the new rack is so solid and useful. I also like the squarish appearance - makes things boxier, truckier. So, I don't think you HAVE to replace with the SE style unless you really want it for personal preference reasons. Another decent rack is the Yakima round tube rack/bars combo (I think they are plastic) . . . but they may be no more quiet than the existing LE's. Best bet is a fairing (SE I think has an integrated one) if you like the looks of those. As for me, I will eventually add a sunroof deflector once Nissan comes out with its new '03 product to eliminate the plastic problems they had with the previous ones. Otherwise, I will just live with it I guess . . .
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    I have kept my 2001 PF LE tires (Bridgestone Duelers) at 26psi since day one. I check it montly & adjust & I have also rotated my tires every 7500 miles. I am at about 29,000 miles right now & the tread is at about 5 or 6/32 so I will probably replace them soon. While this seems like short tire life it also seems consistent with other piece of crap tires I've used on other vehicles. If you use a decent tire like Michelin's you will see a longer tire life. At the first tire rotation I noticed excessive tire wear on the outer edges of the front tires & brought it in to the dealer for an alignment. They said it had too much toe in & adjusted this. It seems to be better but I still have outer edge wear. I think this is due more to my driving habits though (fast corners, etc.) Anyway, I would like to know what's up with Nissan as far as changing the recommended pressure despite the fact it's the same vehicle from year to year. Maybe a call to corporate could clear this up.
  • kzc2kzc2 Posts: 14
    Because of wind noise, many people removed their roof rack completly. Noise is always there, like mjohnr99 said, there are always some "sweet spot".

    mjohnr99: I also put Thule bike rack on my 2000 LE. Because of excessive wind noise, I installed wind deflector/blocker on the thule and noise has been very minized. I'd feel like there is no wind noise. One thing I'm sure is there is no high pitch "hiss" sound. To put a wind deflector, you need to put it just behind sunroof opening and you need to cut bike stand about an 1-1/2" to open the rear hatch. Otherwise if you have rear wind deflector, rear hatch will touch the bike stand about 2/3rd open.
  • 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

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