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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • sirus32sirus32 Posts: 55
    Has anyone replaced their headlight lens cover? Mine had a chip from a rock which has now turned into a hole. Water and condensation is beginning to discolor the inside housing.

    The dealer wanted $130 for the lens and $200 for labor.

    I figured I could do it myself, it looks rather easy. Is it? Any suggestions or helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.
  • jambazijambazi Posts: 51
    Just yesterday I noticed a growing spot of oil under my PF, which wasn't there before I got the car. This leak must have been happening since I first got it (2 months, 4600 miles ago), because it's very slow. It appears to be coming from the rear seal (where the driveshaft exits the transmission). Service Manual says that the first step is to check the oil level to make sure it's not too high. After that, it's replacing seals and stuff. Anybody else notice this? Is it normal for them to overfill tranny oil at the factory, or do I have a bad seal?

  • phil47phil47 Posts: 394
    I also noticed a very small amount of oil? was leaking for a while under my 2001 PF LE. It was very early on and is no longer evident (I now have 6 months and 6000 km on this truck). I never figured out what it was...
  • iveydudeiveydude Posts: 4
    My 2001 PF SE is 10 days old and I just found out that my rear main gasket has something wrong with it. I noticed there was a problem when there were fresh oil spots on my carport where my PF was parked. 10 days old and leaking oil. I bought this sucker because of the RELIABILITY rating. They said they have to take down all kinds of stuff to get to it. Any input would be helpful.

    I guess now I know why I got this vehicle for invoice.
  • iveydudeiveydude Posts: 4
    I just read your message. I have the same problem.(mine is 10 days old). So I checked my oil level. It is just above the high mark. Since I have been leaking oil for ten days and the oil level is still high, the level must have been even higher when it was first driven. I will check with the dealer on monday to see what they say.

    Will keep you posted.
  • jambazijambazi Posts: 51
    What was the high mark that you were using to check your tranny oil? I'm curious. I still haven't checked it yet, but I'd like to compare notes if possible.


    P.S. You can e-mail me back directly if you wish.
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    Are some having transmission or engine oil leaks? Or both? For the
    engine this summer could try 10W/30 instead of 5W/30. 10W/30 can
    be used from -18C ( 0 F ) and higher. jambazi: is this in your FAQ's?
    Is anyone with engine oil leaks using syn oil? Steve
  • mpg5mpg5 Posts: 68
    the side step rail on left side rusted through from inside. i have a hole the size of a dime. how do i patch this, or do i just let them go and replace eventually. is there an anti corrosive foam i could fill the pipes with to maybe slow down the rust process?
  • Meca2,

    Is it OK to switch back to 5w-30 after using 10w-30 during summer? Does the service manual says anything about this? Thanks in advance for your time.-AW
  • nismofreaknismofreak Posts: 120
    In your owner's manual, you should see the allowed temperature range for the use of various weight oils. The reason why Nissan recommends 5w-30 is because of the "effiency" it brings to the use of the engine. Most "energy saving" oils are either 5w-30, 0w-30 or 0w-20 oils. You can switch back and forth between 10w-30 and 5w-30 to your hearts content without detriment.

  • nismofreak,

    Thanks for your reply. I have another Q for you, would you use 10w-30 conventional oil during summer on a 01'PF w/only 3,500k? Thanks in advance. -AW
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    Are you thinking synthetic?? I asked a friend at the dealer about when could you start using synthetic oil. He said it could be used at any time,not an issue. Cheers
  • nismofreaknismofreak Posts: 120
    I have always used 5w-30 oil in the Nissan engines that have recommend it. I have never had an issue when using 5w-30 in hot summers (never exceeding 100 deg F). Switching to 10w-30 >may< give you added protection in the hotter weather but I am not certain (given the technology in conventional lubricants). Either way, I am sure you will be fine.
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    I use Penziol 10W30 winter and summer. I don't like the 5W30 oils, they thin too easily (and disappear from the engine too quickly - before the change mileage is reached). The 10W30 works fine for me (and I'm in fridgid Edmonton Alberta ;-).
  • brian60brian60 Posts: 76
    it is my understanding that one could use straight 30 weight oil in mild to hot climates with greater engine protection over multiweight oils. the additives that allow a multiweight oil to change viscosity also cause it to break down faster. changing weights depending on season was in fact common practice before the advent of multiweights. manufacturers recommend multiweights in order to cover all their bases and avoid potential litigation.

    it is generally recommended that one break an engine in on conventional oil before switching over to synthetics, whose only major attraction is increased cold weather performance.
  • nismofreak, meca2, pathstar,
    Thanks for your replies! We get only a few 90+ deg F days here in Denver, CO during the summer months so I was thinking Syn 10w-30 (May-Sep approx.) and then switching back to Syn 5w-30 (Oct-Apr) OR because Nissan's recommendation, 5w-30 (Syn) all year around. I guess I have a decision to make on the next oil change... Another decision I have to make is whether to switch to Syn on the next oil change at approx. 3,750m or wait 10,000m as it was recommended by the dealer's tech. Any input to help me make the right decision is always welcome.-cheers, AW
  • nismofreaknismofreak Posts: 120
    I have always believed that with new "tight" engines like what the Japanese manufactures build, waiting until the engine has entered the mid teens was a good time to switch to synth. It is obvious that others have differing views. The point can be made that the 'vette and a few other sports cars come with synth in the pan when it leaves the production lines (Mobile 1). When you switch is up to you. Either way, I don't think you are doing your engine a disservice if you switch later than sooner. Hell, there are people who have only used dino-lube and seen well over 100,000 miles.

    I know for me, I will switch shortly because I will be towing in hot weather. (and I will be taking other precautions beyond just synth oil)

  • nismofreak,
    Thanks for your input. Your opinion makes a lot sense. I think I better wait at least 10,000 miles like it was suggested by the dealer.-AW
  • brian60brian60 Posts: 76
    i believe the cars that come with factory synth oil (vette, porsche, etc.) have blueprinted engines and therefore can "get away" with synthetics. normal production engines still require a break in period with conventional oil before they can be switched to synthetic.
  • nismofreaknismofreak Posts: 120
    Thanks for the clarification. I figured it was so.
    Do you know if Porsches, Vettes, etc still require a break-in period even though their engines are "blue printed"?
  • jambazijambazi Posts: 51
    The dealer mechanic replaced my rear oil seal in less than half an hour, which solved the problem. We couldn't figure out why the thing was leaking to begin with, as the seal looked fine. He said it's the first PF he's seen with such a leak, although the Xterras have been having problems with it.

    As a side note, he topped off my transfer case (I have 4WD) fluid with Dexron III/Mercon ATF fluid, which the service manual says is okay to use. But it was definitely a different color than the fluid already in there, which is most likely Nissan Matic D (the service manual says that automatic transmission fluid is put in the transfer case at the factory, so I'm assuming they used their own product).

    Does anyone know if this mixing of transmission fluids is harmful? The dealer of course claims it's not, but I was considering replacing my transfer case oil with a whole new batch just to be sure.

  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Just a comment.. after reading a few leaks here and there, I thought I'd post our new PF, within a day, the engine warning light came on. Yes, we all know, it's the gas cap.. but it was tight, so I brought back to the dealer for a check. There was a hose on the Evap Control System that did not have a hose-clamp on it, and it came off. Code P0445 - Eval leak. Fixed in 5 min. I suppose my point, new cars are new cars.. leaks, are part of this.. should not happen, but they do. And once fixed, you will have a reliable car for years and years.. I hope I do.

  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    All transmission fluids must be compatible (up). The only differences are the additives, which are for shift characteristics. In theory a Dexron III is a Dexron III, regardless of brand. Adding Chrysler AT4, or something else my have slightly different characteristics. but you would have to add a lot of fluid (say about 6 quarts) to really change shifting.

    If you experience shifting problems, change the fluid. Otherwise don't worry about it...
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    My new 2001 LE has a vibration which is more RPM dependent than speed dependent. I don't think it is tires for this reason. Maybe a driveshaft or harmonic balancer?

    I could get lucky: it might be just wheel balancing, but I wanted to see if any other new owners have similar vibration. Here is detail:

    On smooth road, with slight incline, in 4th gear of Auto (overdrive engaged). Vibration Starts around 1200 RPM, peaks at about 1400 RPM, and smooths out around 2000 RPM. Speeds vary from about 35 to 50 mph.

    Yesterday on the interstate I could feel it, just barely, at 70 mph. Don't know if it was the same vibration or not.

    Made appointment with Dealer for Tuesday.
  • Hi, everyone. I have an oil leak. The tech said the real main seal might be defective. I have a 2001 pathfinder le 4x4 awd. I am very sad but reading the post I understand that this is not uncommon. Can any one tell me why they call it the rear main seal when the leak is in the front where the "bell housing like" structure is. The service tech said the manufacturer lube it to much but it could be defective seal. Hopefully the tech can fix it. Can anyone tell me anything about this leak problem.
  • nismofreaknismofreak Posts: 120
    Does the car vibrate at idle at all? And is it getting progressively worst? I am wondering if it is a broken mount (engine/tranny/diff).
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    Motor Mounts sounds like a good idea.

    It doesn't seem to vibrate at idle, but it does vibrate during acceleration. It does seem to be getting worse...

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I plan to crawl under the truck this weekend and look for any bent parts. I'll let you know if I find anything, but I don't know if I'll be able to check the liquid filled motor mounts visually.
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    Took PF to dealer today.

    Their answer was essentially "they all do that"
    Service Mgr said report it to Nissan.
    Mechanic felt the vibration (so I'm not crazy), but said it is a result of the larger bore and stroke of the new 3.5. I don't beleive him and still think there is a problem. I will demanded to test drive a new one later this week and compare. They were unable to comply today because the sales staff was not there yet.

    Does anyone else have an engine vibration around 35 to 45 mph (~1500 rpm) that shakes whole vehicle? I can feel the vibration in the seat, steering wheel, and pedals. Feels like it is coming from rear of vehicle.
  • pat01pat01 Posts: 23
    I've been having an intermittent problem with my auto headlights (three times over 2 months). I park in an underground garage (so the lights are always "on" when leaving home), and when out in broad daylight (bright sunlight), they remain on (never turning off until the engine is off).

    Has anyone else experienced that their headlights do not turn off in the daylight?
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Since auto headlights are standard on all 2001 PFs, I can only think of 2 reasons (other than malfunction) for them staying on...not having the setting on 'auto' or something blocking the sensor (this would make it always 'nighttime'). Check the sensor on your dash (right side, there are 2, I forget what the other one is for) to make sure nothing is blocking it.

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