Nissan Patrol power upgrade

Submitted: Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 00:32
ThreadID: 132693 Views:8274 Replies:9 FollowUps:13
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What are the most cost effective and practical ways to boost power for towing on the current 3.0 crd Patrol?
I’d really like to hear some real experiences with larger exhaust systems and ECU remapping.
Our 2015 Nissan 3.0 crd auto Patrol wagon is great for trips with our camper trailer, but we are looking at upgrading (downgrading actually) to a 2.5 ton caravan. Not an ideal car for that I know, so I’m looking at options to get a bit more power for towing.
The Patrol forum has a wealth of detail from which I have learned a lot about the engine and its history, but I’m not sure how much of it is relevant or necessary for tweaking the current latest crd motor.
I don’t want to compromise engine life or warranty. ECU remapping technology seems to be advancing recently compared to the familiar chip options.
The cost quoted for both an exhaust system and dyno remap looks like around $3k.
Is an ECU remap worthwhile without doing the exhaust? Or vice versa? Are there any real improvements in fuel economy?
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Reply By: TomH - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 10:15

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 10:15
Well I had a Patrol and a 2500kg caravan and got absolutely sick of it changing down at the slightest rise in the road.

Solved the problem by buying a TD Landcruiser and was happy forever after.

I wouldnt be trying to extract too much out of one as they are fairly stressed as they are. The CRD is better than the old grenade but who knows by how much.

If I was you i would hook up a van of 2500kg and go for a drive over an undulating road and see how it performs. I wish I had before I bought it.

The Patrol forum is the best place to ask this and as you have been there probably already have the answers.

AnswerID: 601181

Follow Up By: Gado - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 10:55

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 10:55
I like your solution thanks TomH but the budget is already blown, I know I'm clutching at straws, just trying to make the best of what I have.
Cheers, Gado
FollowupID: 870534

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 11:51

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 11:51
Sorry no info on chipping but did own a Patrol 3L auto towing a 2500kg van and in 2006 we travelled the east coast with no problems.

Do not try to use OD but lock it down to 3rd, we would cruise at around 95kph all day long.

Hitting hill was a bit of a challenge, I recall climbing the Moonbi Range in NSW with it back into 1st and pulling around 2500rpm at about 25kph.

Main thing that worried me was the weight as I was right on or possibly over the 2500kg allowed. Have since upgraded to a D-Max and love it.
FollowupID: 870535

Follow Up By: Gado - Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 13:20

Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 13:20
Thanks Kazza, I know the Moonbi hill well, I wouldn't like to tackle it fully laden with van on a hot summer day.
Does the auto run cooler with OD off, or is it just the greater engine revs improving airflow? I thought the tranny was supposed to lock in limp mode (3rd gear) if it got too hot.
Cheers, gado
FollowupID: 870683

Reply By: Steve B32 - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 11:34

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 11:34
This is the most comprehensive article I have read on this contentious subject, most entertaining are the comments at the end ( if you have plenty of time )
AnswerID: 601186

Follow Up By: Gado - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 18:24

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 18:24
Great article thanks Steve, I've only had a quick scan but it looks worth digesting in full. I do enjoy the variety of views in the comments.
Cheers, gado
FollowupID: 870547

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 18:26

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 18:26
I read about half way down and felt that each side just began repeating their case over and over again.

One important factor seems to get overlooked IMHO.

How many of us use the full output of whatever engine is powering our vehicle of choice? If you are using 100% of the maximum possible power all the time you might just have chosen the wrong vehicle in the first place.

If you are towing a van or other load full time and your vehicle is struggling, i.e. you are pedal to the metal always to get anywhere, I would agree you will drastically reduce the longevity of the engine and maybe the drive train.

If however you normally only use let's say 80% of the factory power setting then the need for more than the original 100% will only be needed for short bursts. In that situation modified fuel management, turbo boost settings and exhaust systems shouldn't cause an undue reduction in engine/drive train life.


FollowupID: 870548

Follow Up By: Gado - Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 08:57

Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 08:57
Good thinking Pop, I guess I don't yet know how much I'll need the full 100% but I like to drive sympathetically to the car and other drivers - it will no doubt mean going slower than the speed of traffic especially in undulating country.
Cheers, gado
FollowupID: 870571

Reply By: mountainman - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 17:35

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 17:35
Only other option is the upgraded turbo .
gturbo is getting into some of the nissan turbos.
but is very well known on the toyota gear.
a simple look on youtube for gturbo will convince you of the upgrade.
Should transform the vehicle once installed and tuned.
cost a bit more but should give you some decent returns on cost outlay than the chip or ECU remap and bigger exhaust route
AnswerID: 601198

Follow Up By: Gado - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 at 10:33

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 at 10:33
Thanks mountainman, that's another option I hadn't looked at, but would it be worth doing without chip/remap and exhaust?
FollowupID: 870719

Reply By: TerraFirma - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 19:16

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 19:16
Unfortunately the truth is a 3 litre engine in a wagon that big meant something had to give. Now the 3 litre engine in this vehicle over the years has a shocking reputation. I don't make the reputation, others do. In reality even after doing exhaust and fitting a Stein-B chip you won't gain mountains. Do not buy a chip that pumps more fuel, the Stein-B adjusts injection timing alone. Both chip and exhaust will give you heaps more torque, great for towing. Tweaking is ok as long as you do the necessary maintenance and more. If you are going to do serious towing I would suggest a different vehicle with the appropriate power to weight ratio and reputation for long term reliability. IMO.
AnswerID: 601202

Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 21:13

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 21:13
Only in that Nissan brand - in other brands, some have smaller but more powerful engines and have no issues towing.
FollowupID: 870561

Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 19:40

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 19:40
Why change the vehicle at all, there must be dozens of Nissan 3ltr s traveling and pulling big vans with no problems. My brother drove around Australia with a 3ltr Nissan and no problems at all. You are towing two and a half tonne trailer, its not a raceing car.
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AnswerID: 601205

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 20:43

Friday, Jun 10, 2016 at 20:43
We towed our Bushtracker all over Tasmania with a 3 litre Patrol. Sure it lacks power compared to the 7.3 litre F250, but it did the job, and wanted to cruise at 120 :O on the flat.

Becasue of the controversial motor, we would not risk doing anything not stock standard. It has now done 200,000 kilometres.

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AnswerID: 601209

Reply By: Bigfish - Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 12:42

Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 12:42
Mate....get on the nissan patrol forum and speak to people in the know. These people own the vehicle and most will truthfully tell you the pros and cons of chips, exhausts and other mods. I know many Pajero owners that have chipped their vehicles are very happy with the improvement in fuel economy and power. This doesnt mean that your vehicle will be the same.
AnswerID: 601221

Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 21:19

Saturday, Jun 11, 2016 at 21:19
I purchased a new 3lt CRD Auto Patrol in 2014. I do a lot of camping and tow a GIC Black Alpha camper trailer. It pulls the camper at legal speeds with no issues.
Yes it is a small motor for the size and weight of the Patrol but driven sensibly, is not over-stressed and reliable as any other similar motor. You will notice the weight & performance of any similar size & powered motor vehicle with a 2.5 ton trailer in tow.

The much early 3lt direct injection motors were problems. This was a design issue. The much later 2008 - on motors do not suffer from the same design issues. This is not to say that you should look after them, as with any modern diesel that has exhaust gas recirculation. This is the killer of modern diesel engines. It may be good for the environment, but not for modern engines.

I have fitted a Provent "catch can" to stop diesel fumes recirculating, causing diesel soot sticking to intercoolers, turbos, manifolds, & pistons. This causes pistons to overheat, and in extreme cases, melt. IMO this should be fitted asap. You can also block the EGR system, but this can cause other issues ( fault codes ) and will certainly void your warranty. A "catch can" will not void your warranty if you use one that has built-in pressure relief valves. A Provent meets these requirements.

If you want to gain some performance I suggest the following, although it would be prudent to do it after the warranty expires as Nissan is not the nicest people to deal with if an unlikely major engine problem happens.
2.5 or 3" exhaust
Larger intercooler
Reputable make Power Chip or CPU re-map. ( injector duration mod, not rail pressure increase)
and if you have deep pockets .... a Nomad valve body for the auto. No more chasing gears on hills.

The Patrol is a good reliable vehicle and arguably one the best "hard core" off road available today. Any vehicle towing a 2.5 ton trailer will suffer to some degree.

AnswerID: 601237

Follow Up By: Gado - Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 07:14

Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 07:14
Thank you for these thoughts Captain, I also have a camper (1 ton) and it's fine towing that. I do believe I look after the car and drive sensibly. A catch can sounds like good sense for longevity if not power.
Cheers, gado
FollowupID: 870657

Follow Up By: Capt. Wrongway - Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:12

Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:12
Hi Gado,
I'm sure you do drive sensibly and look after it well. Sorry if it came across that way.
My Patrol is the first new modern diesel I've ever owned. Prior to this one it's been two 4lt petrol Prados, both were good off-road & great tow vehicles. Good economy even while towing and heaps of power.

When I chose my current 3lt Patrol I only had the intention of towing a camper trailer, nothing bigger, and it does that well, although not very economically.

IMO, petrol 4wd's are a better option for towing anything larger on REGULAR BASIS. I would have purchased the newer Y62 petrol V8 Nissan if this had been my requirement. Massive power and incredible economy even when towing.
If you do the sums comparing modern diesels to petrol motors, taking all associated costs into account ( purchase price, fuel costs, fuel component repair risks, economy, service costs & intervals etc .... ) the petrol vehicles now tend to come out on top. Then when you measure up comparisons in power & economy, if think petrol wins again. Older mechanical diesels tend to be more reliable but are a dying breed.

Not trying to put you off your Patrol, as they are a good rig and I am very happy with mine. Just my thoughts on towing big items regularly.
FollowupID: 870679

Follow Up By: Gado - Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 13:13

Monday, Jun 13, 2016 at 13:13
Don't worry, you haven't put me off my Patrol, I have just been looking to see if there are safe and effective ways to make it better for towing.
Yes I too bought my 3lt Patrol for towing the offroad camper to all those good places - but the plan didn't foresee our (her) need for the new van so soon.
Agree on petrol being a serious option but I understand the Y62 (and Prado) petrols now need 95 RON which I believe is a bit scarce in the back blocks where we like to go. To add a long range tank would only increase the cost and weight.
Thanks for your thoughts

FollowupID: 870682

Reply By: Nutta - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 at 22:04

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 at 22:04
You could always drop your tyre height a bit, that will make the patrol a bit torquier.
AnswerID: 601327

Follow Up By: Gado - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2016 at 22:11

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2016 at 22:11
Now that's one from left field - but wouldn't it be easier to drop down a gear and not lose my ground clearance?
FollowupID: 870822

Follow Up By: Nutta - Thursday, Jun 16, 2016 at 08:07

Thursday, Jun 16, 2016 at 08:07
I think dropping tyre size and dropping a gear are 2 different things but I'm sure someone here would know, dropping tyre size is a bit like changing diff gears.

Yes, if you're into 4bying its no good.
FollowupID: 870836

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