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Nissan Pathfinder Maintenance and Repair



  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Geez, I'm hoping for a lot more than that!
  • sabre66sabre66 Posts: 45
    Well i'll be happy to get 100K with no problems. Anything more than that is gravy. Anyway i put about 20K miles a year on my vehicles so by then i'll probably be ready for something bigger (if not sooner). Then again i may be ready to do some modifictions and turn it into a serious off-road truck (not that it's not capable now, but i'm talking lifts, winches, lightbars, ect.

  • Sabre66 -

    I love our `01 PF, and it handles great off-road from the factory. Even better than our old `98 Durango, which is a serious machine in itself. Replace the rear LSD with a locker, get it a mild lift (which will have to be custom since no one yet makes suspensions for the R50 PFs, that I know of), some better tires, and it could truly be a great machine. But off-road, it will never be a Toyota, a Land Rover, or even a Jeep. Sorry, I have to blaspheme here a bit. Here are some potential problems with the PF off-road:

    1.) IFS. Biggest problem. You need a solid front axle. IFS not only limits your articulation, but is more complicated and weaker than a live axle design. Remember, KISS. IFS may be better for on-road comfort, but is a true compromise. That's also why I'd never own a 4Runner newer than 1985 (if I was going to use it for serious off-roading). Or a Land Cruiser newer than 1997.

    2.) Macpherson front struts. Great for a car, God awful for a truck that will be driven off-road. Count on them breaking after hard trail use.

    3.) Lack of lockers. Yes, you can get LSD (which I insisted we got on our PF), but you really need a set of lockers front and rear. The 1993-1997 Land Cruisers had an option for THREE lockers, by God! Front, center, and rear!

    4.) No skid plates. Whatsoever. What were they thinking?

    5.) Unibody construction. Will NEVER be as strong and trail-proof as a traditional body on frame design. That's also where the Jeep Grand Cherokee fails (well, in addition to its reliability problems).

    So what are some good points?

    1.) Coil suspension at all four corners.

    2.) At least one live axle (unlike some, like the new Ford Explorer abomination!).

    3.) Factory option for LSD (at least), which is better than some makes out there.

    4.) Light weight and perfect size (a beefy Land Cruiser might be too wide for some trails).

    5.) Great safety in case of a rollover (while unibodies are weaker and will be totally trashed in an accident, they do protect their occupants much better than framed-vehicles).

    6.) You can still get it in manual with a traditional transfer case (SE only).

    Well, I think I'm hopelessly opinionated, but I hope this helps a little. Donning asbestos now...

  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    In the event you haven't heard, there are 'mild' suspension lifts available for the 96-01 Pathfinder. I've had a 2" coil spring lift installed on my 97 LE since 99, and the replacement springs are available from

    I do a lot of "serious" off-roading, and I've never broken a strut. Maybe they wore out sooner, but they've never broken.

    While I agree a solid front axle makes for a better off-roader, the IFS performs quite well off-road considering that the vehicle handles like a car on the asphalt, where it spends more than 90% of its miles.

    The Pathfinder doesn't have lockers as a factory option, and the LSD while somewhat helpful on the pavement, is not good enough for extreme off-roading. This is where the ARB air locker comes in.

    You can get a skid plate for the part-time transfer case, although that's all that's available at the moment. Find out how. (I should add that the undercarriage of the Pathfinder is incredibly flat compared to other 4x4 vehicles, making it less susceptible to undercarriage damage/scraping and less needy of skid plates.)

    I have to disagree with your statement about the unibody construction. Mine has been incredibly rattle and squeak-free for over 76,000 miles, many of which have been spent on only 2 or 3 wheels, subjectuing the chassis to extreme torsional forces.

    As for the PF never being a Jeep, I concede your point. My Pathfinder couldn't make it past Walker Hill on the Rubicon trail, and on the way back off the trail, I sustained some rocker panel damage, munched rear bumper, and a scrape on the passenger door trim.

    The Pathfinder is just not the type of vehicle that is designed to navigate 3-foot high boulders. I've learned the limits of my vehicle (albeit by exceeding them!)

  • Hi -

    Actually, I was replying to sabre, but I just cut and pasted the subject line, which apparently was your monicker.
    Anyway, thanks for the info, that's some news for me on the PF aftermarket gear.

    I have also not broken a strut, though I managed to loosen up a rear shock on Opal Mountain in the Mojave, but I have heard of it happening. But that might have been a fluke, the guy wasn't being spotted and dropped the wheel into a big rut at moderate speed.

    In doing some more reading on Nissan's frame design, it appears that it is not a fully-fledged unibody, it's what they call "Monoframe" or something like that. It seems to have a somewhat traditional frame, body, and floorpan all welded together instead of bolted together, so you get many of the benefits of a unibody design, but also much of the strength of a body-on-frame. Pretty ingenious (if it works)! Does your generation of PF have the Monoframe, or is it a more traditional body-on-frame? Anyway, I wouldn't take a lack of rattles as any indication of strength. That's just a property of unibody designs (no rattles). A body-on-frame may rattle, since it's bolted together, but if you go over a ledge and slam that bullbar into the ground, the frame will hold up better, IMHO. I once saw a picture of a guy in Australia who had managed to tip his Patrol up so that the entire truck was on its nose sticking straight up in the air, and all the weight was on the bullbar. They simply twisted it 90 degrees in the mud, then tipped it back over and kept driving!

    I will say that one reason TJM has not developed a bullbar for the new PF is because when they did the frontal impact tests, it crumpled the Nissan's frame. Not sure how ARB did it for their Sahara bar. Or maybe they just didn't test it, although I find that hard to believe.

  • sabre66sabre66 Posts: 45
    Thanks for the info guys. More than i'm planning on doing right now, but great to know for the future. What do you guys know about the WAAG bars? I like the Sportster bar and the 3 piece guard, but they don't say what they're made of (steel, alloy or aluminum).

    I'm mainly interested in the look and to add some lights. I don't want anything too heavy since my offroading is limited and my gas mileage is more important. I'd also like to know how much they'll effect the airbags if a front end collision occurs.

    Once the truck gets a few more miles and years on it then i'll consider the ARB Bull bar upgrade.

    Thanks in advance for any input,
  • jecklesjeckles Posts: 87
    I just purchased a WAAG brush guard from

    The price is pretty good and the WAAG guard seemed good enough for my purposes. I can't afford to replace the whole bumper system...

    I bought the 1-piece design, which is a little stronger & lighter than the 3-piece; but costs more to ship. It is steel tubing and seems very well constructed. It comes in three colors: black (std), nissan silver, or nissan titanium. I got the nissan silver color and like the lighter color of the bar with my bayshore blue paint.

    The whole thing weighed approx. 70 pounds and was easy to install (30 min). It uses some existing holes in the nose to provide some additional support, to prevent pushing the guard into the hood.

    Not sure it will help if I hit a deer at 50 mph, but it sure helps keep the shrubbery offp the front end, when I'm pushing through brush.

    The WAAG website has some additional information...
  • pat5000pat5000 Posts: 13
    Well, I finally brought the '01 Pathfinder in to get the engine light cleared. It's a long story but they have had it two days now and have replaced two of the FOUR O2 sensors. I can't believe this crap it only has ~ 11K miles on it. My patience is wearing thin with Nissan. This is my first Nissan and I'm beginning to see why they have been in financial trouble. I was considering the 350Z they are coming out with in '03 as a week-end toy,but I think my money will be better spent elsewhere.
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    I have 10k on my PF and still waiting for the dealer to get 2 O2 sensors for mine. The trans is slipping and the real axle now vibrates from about 20 mph to 30 mph while excelerating and the leather seats look like they where made from a hundred year old cow. Will I purchase another Nissan????
  • sivi1sivi1 Posts: 82
    I bougth 1992 maima se new,gotabout 23 mpg average regular gas. bought 95 maxima gle with new aluminum engine which called for premium and got20 mpg average. after several dealer visits dealer told me to try regular. used regular ever since. 40000 miles later car runs great and still 20 mpg. i am keeping maxima but trading 96 4runner for a02 pathfinder. both maxima and pathfinder have 10 to 1 compression and am wondering if i will get same results?
  • smithmdsmithmd Posts: 167
    I read this article on the Car and Driver magazine website. It gives a good explanation.

    If the link doesn't work, just go to and click on the feature titled "Regular or Premium?"

  • danogdanog Posts: 318
    Our trans is a little worse too. I can't find the time to take it in to have it fixed. Have you any information on what your trans trouble is? We are at 25K and would like to have it repaired before the warranty runs out at 36K.

  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    Just FYI- Your transmission is covered under the 60K powertrain warranty.
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    There is a 60k drive train warrenty. But I think the only way to save these transmissions is install a shift kit to ferm up the shifts. I have done this on a old Ford PU with a C-6 transmission I owned years ago. It is nice from a drivers point of view but the smooth shifts glaze the clutches because when the trans shifts one set of clutches start to engage before another release is the reason the engine slows slightly before it completes the shift. I talked to the dealer and they have no way of changing the shift pressure or the clutch sift sequence. Might have to go to an independent trans shop to fix these slipping trans. You could use synthic oil or synthic blend oil and it might last a bit long I started using syn
    blended oil and it does shift alittle better. I wish us all the best.
  • I have owned a 2001 LE for about 6 months now and I have never been happy with the fit and finish of the leather seats, especially in the front. There are just too many creases. I use a good leather conditioner, but I still feel the seats won't hold up for the long term. I have talked to the dealer and they will not replace the leather unless it starts to crack (while under warrantee of course). Has anyone else noticed a deterioration in the leather over time? I have read Meca2's comments "the leather seats look like they where made from a hundred year old cow". I could not agree more.
  • danogdanog Posts: 318
    Good that the trans is covered for 60K!

  • I have a 01 SE and the gauges (temp, speedometer,tachometer,fuel)and the odometer have intermittently shut down while driving. The compass readout also stays in one direction during this period. They come back after a while. Since it is intermittent, the Nissan Service techs probably will never find it. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • sivi1sivi1 Posts: 82
    just bought 02 path and hooked up trailer and lights on trailer worked perfect. hooked up again for 1000 mile trip to fla and lost trailer tailights completly. checked every fuse none out. finally crawled under back bumper and found fuse on wiring harness 3 amp and it was blown. fuse is not in owners manual and also is different physical size (not mini). bought spares to carry along just in case. this is a nissan hitch!
  • pat01pat01 Posts: 23
    Mike354! See reply at Nissan Pathfinder Main Comment Area - IX (SUV Board), post #4069
  • Problem: Temp Sensor reads too high (esp. summer)

    Hypothesis: Convective and radiated heat fool the sensor and cause high readings. Location of temp sensor(s) is too high and does not get good fresh air flow.

    First Solution: Relocate sensor using available slack in wires and elongated bracket. This was later adopted by Nissan too. RESULTS: Improved performance but still read too high in "city" driving.

    Second Solution: Split wire loom to free up more slack in sensor wires and relocate sensors to right hand bumper opening near fog light. RESULTS: Acceptable readings in most driving conditions (including stop and go). Reading still reads a couple degrees above actual temp.

    Discussion: Wires for sensor exit harness just behind hood latch. Popped the harnes out of slot and peeled tape off harness from latch to RH headlight. The plastic loom is now exposed and the sensor wires can be pulled out up to the RH headlight. Installed protective loom on extra sensor wires and reinstalled main harness to frame. Ran sensor wires to right of radiator w/ wire ties and clamped bracked from first solution to bottom lip of bumper. Sensors now get lots of air flow and are not exposed to nearly as much engine heat.

    Hope this helps anyone interested....
  • xplorx4xplorx4 Posts: 621
    How did you "clamp" the bracket in the bumper opening?

    Also, be aware that the sensor's closer proximity to the ground will produce false readings in the summer, when the pavement radiates heat upward. (Ideally, the temp sensor should be located on the tip of your radio antenna, but I guess that would be impractical.)
  • I cheated somewhat, because I used a bolt from my custom radiator protection screen. If you look in the opening, you'll see a black piece of metal (which is the bottom of the bumper). I drilled a small hole in the bottom of the bumper, where I secured part of my expanded steel mesh radiator screen.

    "Also, be aware that the sensor's closer proximity to the ground will produce false readings in the summer, when the pavement radiates heat upward."

    YES and NO... my cars have less ground clearance and their sensors are much closer to the ground. The PF location is shielded from direct radiant heat of the road and only sees air temp (and radiant heat from plastic cowling. Hence, I've found the interference is neglibable between 24-in vs. 36-in elevation. The engine heat at the old location made a huge difference.

    Let me know if you have any questions
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    Most Nissans don't have problems. With no problems how can there be solutions.
  • jeckles and xplorx4,

    the temp sensor in my PF has an "ICE" warning light that comes on at certain times during the winter. i assumed that this was a warning about icy roads (since it didn't always come on at the same temperature), and that the sensor was therefore measuring road temperature and possibly air pressure. did i just get some quirky readings and imagine the rest?

    i agree that an ambient air temp sensor is more marketable, but i would find a road temp sensor more useful for the reason mentioned above.

    the best location for an ambient temp sensor on our truck would be somewhere around the rear glass hatch handle. sources of heat like the engine, exhaust system, and road should be avoided for obvious reasons, but so too should air streams lest you get a low reading due to convective currents. obviously, you'll still get some turbulence around the rear hatch, but it will be a lot less than that found in the front, sides, top, etc. well, food for thought.
  • pathstarpathstar Posts: 201
    My 2001 LE temp sensor reads "ICE" from +4 C and below. There are no other causes - whether the roads are bare or otherwise.
  • meca2meca2 Posts: 284
    The ice indicator comes on early to worn of ice on bridges,shadow areas on roads ect. It is working ok.
  • duperduper Posts: 127
    I posted this on another forum, but want to share it here.


    My rear hatch squeaks like crazy especially over bumps. I took them out silicon sprayed/WD-40 them but it all comes back a week or so later. I went to the dealer trying to get the new rubber "dovetails" hoping they will help. I talked to the tech and 2 minutes later, he came back with a, guess what, printout TSB for it. I didn't know Nissan has a TSB for rear hatch squeak. Basically, the TSB called for removal of the lower rubber "dovetail" and throw them away. What the heck?
    Overtime, the lower rubber will become harden and when the hard plastic part rubs against it, it makes noise. It seems like a bad design from the start.

    Here's some info on the TSB.

    Classification: BT00-004
    Reference: NTB00-020
    Date: February 23, 2000

    1996-2000 Pathfinder squeak/rattle noise at rear hatch
    Applied Vehicle: 1996-00 Pathfinder (R50)

    The TSB Procedures:
    1. Open rear hatch
    2. Remove screw from the dovetail lower rubber. Discard the dovetail lower rubber.
    3. Clean the body where the dovetail was previously installed then re-install the screw.
    Note: Do not remove the dovetail striker (on the rear hatch).
    4. Repeat steps one and two for the other side.

  • Has anyone had to replace their fog lamp lens. I stopped by my dealer to buy a new one for my 01' SE and they wanted $117.00 for it. SOUNDS STEEP! Any experiences?
  • Been there, done that - no difference whatsoever. Still squeaks EXACTLY the same as it did before. Next time I have the vehicle in for service (my free oil change) I will ask them to look at it to determine what else could be causing it.
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