Nissan Pathfinder, What problems if any?

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2003 at 17:14
ThreadID: 3201 Views:26341 Replies:10 FollowUps:26
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After reading an article on Pathfinders in the Overlander mag. I have arrived at these conclusions:

They drive more like a car than a truck.
They are not as good off road as the big boys but pretty good all the same.(Overlander gave it the 1999 4WDOTY award).

Other information I am seeking as well as your views
What about a Nissan Pathfinder:

Do they have major problems when they get older?
What sort of fuel consumption on the highway, can you do better than 12L/100km at 100km/hr?
Where can I get hold of a second hand one
late model, low kms,
Thanks in advance.
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Reply By: KTM 520 - Saturday, Feb 01, 2003 at 19:47

Saturday, Feb 01, 2003 at 19:47
Victor,

I purchased a 2002 model "special edition" PLUS for 38K on road.
This included Auto tranny, roof rack system,bullbar , driving lights, sidesteps, 5 way "Ming" protection pack, rustproofing etc etc etc.

I am more than happy with the purchase..., not the same resale as a Prado, but is was some $8000-00 cheaper at the time of purchase.

The Pathfinder drives "just like a car" it is very decent on road and more than capable in the bush, if you are REALLY keen i would suggest a suspension upgrade (as with any other 4WD in my opinion IMO).

It is NOT a constant 4WD but it can be "dialled" in on the dash for AUTO selection, this detects any slip at the front or rear and then provides a constant drive (spectacular when demonstrated in the dirt).
As i understand it, i believe NOT having constant 4wd can save on tyres, drivelines etc, as for me 95% of my use is on the ROAD
.
With the Pathfinedr you have the selection of either Constant 4WD or 2 WD which is a real bonus In my opinion.
The dial for 4wd came from the Godzilla race cars (Nissan) and has been in production for over 10 years i am told.
There is rumour of a new model out next year.
The 3.3 lire V6 is a littel thirsty in my opinion (Then again what V6 isn't).

Around town and stop start expect 15 to 16 L/100 Kms.
On the black top FULLY loaded with 5 people and a roofrack with the C/control (std now...NOT on previous models) it returned at 105KPH ..11.05 L/100 Kms which i regarded as excellent in anyones language.

Consider Diesel but way up the extra cost, as it WILL SAVE you around $800-00 a year at 80.00 cents a litre and at 20000 kms a year compared to Petrol powered engine, according to my figures.. i simply could not justify the added cost to go the diesel. NOt available in the P/finder except in NZ i am told

Rememberthat 90% of available torque of this motor is available from 1500rpm... this motor (although at 125 KW ) produces 266 NM at 2600 rpm ( Prado produces 132 KW) compared to Prados V6 producing 303 KN at 3600 RPM and there is only 75 KG between the 2 vehicles, makes for a lot of grunt "off the bottom". .

These are very underrated vehicles and the buuild quality is IMO every bit that of other makes/models.

As for late model low KMS good luck they appeared to be in Brisbane high KMS and looked after like a schoolcase... ie S--T.

They ae tried and tested IMO seek the service history, ask questions a plenty... if in doubt ... walk out.... good ones are out there , just gatta find the bludgers.

Regards

Paul N

AnswerID: 12358

Follow Up By: Victor - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:48

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:48
KTM 520, A 2002 model "special edition" PLUS for 38K on road- sounds like a good deal! was this brand new? was it a black one?
Forgive my ignorance wats IMO.
regards victor.
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FollowupID: 7197

Follow Up By: Ktm 520 - Thursday, Feb 06, 2003 at 22:42

Thursday, Feb 06, 2003 at 22:42
Victor,

The car was brand new , clour is silver .

Pretty hard to pass up[ at that price, excellent so far for the "type" of 4WD i do.

Not real good if you are really into it like "Truckster" but i beleive you should only purchase what best suits ypiur needs ,,,, and NOt beyond that.

IMO= In my opinion ( i was the same when i came acroos it)

Cheers

KTM 520
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Follow Up By: Victor - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 07:42

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 07:42
KTM,
"special edition" PLUS for 38K on road.
This included Auto tranny, roof rack system,bullbar , driving lights, sidesteps, 5 way "Ming" protection pack, rustproofing etc etc etc.
Which dealer (I live in Brissie) Went to the motor show and t he guy says if I can beat 38K will you sign now!
I say Nuh- but I shoulda said How much better? Anyways if you can let us know.............
thanks
PS 105KPH ..11.05 L/100 Kms equates to 25.5 mpg if my calcs are right?
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FollowupID: 7495

Follow Up By: Victor - Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 07:11

Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 07:11
KTM,
"special edition" PLUS for 38K on road.
This included Auto tranny, roof rack system,bullbar , driving lights, sidesteps, 5 way "Ming" protection pack, rustproofing etc etc etc.

Which dealer did you buy your pathie from (I live in Brissie) Went to the motor show and t he guy says if I can beat 38K will you sign now!
I say Nuh- but I shoulda said How much better? Anyways if you can let us know.............
thanks
PS 105KPH ..11.05 L/100 Kms equates to 25.5 mpg if my calcs are right?
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Reply By: Truckster - Saturday, Feb 01, 2003 at 21:37

Saturday, Feb 01, 2003 at 21:37
Overlander also gave the BMW X5 4wd of the yr, and this year they gave a $115,000+ car the prize... talk about lost contact with reality...


But the pathfinder is a good car.. Graham on the Melbourne list has one and has been around a few times, and tows a camper trailer.. no problems that Ive heard of.
AnswerID: 12370

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 00:12

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 00:12
Truckster - Overlander lost contact with its target audience or what - what are they thinking!
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Follow Up By: Tim - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 13:42

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 13:42
the bmw won this on its high merits with the same criteria being used for all enterants, just because most of us cannot afford the bmw it does not give us the right to either bag it or the award giver!!! - the car is worthy of the award
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Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 15:54

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 15:54
Tim, not so much bagging either Overlander or the BMW, just questioning whether thr criteria used to award the 4WDOTY is inline with what the readers expect. The car may very well be worthy of the award under the criteria chosen - good luck to the BMW - I just hope it doesn't encourage people to purchase the vehicle on the back of the award with any misconceptions about its overall capability. I would think to the layman that when hearing that the BMW has won 4WDOTY they will assume it is the best 4wd on the road.
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Follow Up By: Savvas - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 21:15

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 21:15
To my own disbelief, I watched an X5 being driven through saltwater at Boat Harbour in Sydney's south. Did it very well, lots of water sprayed up everywhere.

I reckon the $$$'s just dripped off its resale value there and then.
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:07

Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:07
Tim,
The BMW is as much an offroader as a Rolls Royce.....

4wd of the year??? they got paid well...

in that case why didnt the Porsche Cayanne or what ever it is win? that would bleep on a Rangie!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Savvas,
shows you that you can drive any car out to the beach there now.. ALthough I would have been suprised to see it in the soft stuff around the point to the beach on the stock road tires...

I went back for the first time in yrs 4 weeks ago(I grew up in Kurnell for 33yrs), can you say environmental Vandals?

See the new channel 9 studio being built on the right of the gates in with Vercitec? Thats for the new Mad Max Movie, and for all the ads they do out there....
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Reply By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 00:10

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 00:10
Victor, we have a 1999 plated Pathfinder ST. We have had a custom rack fitted, an ARB Sahara Bar, ARD spring and rear shock upgarde, cargo barrier, driving lights, UFH, CB fast charge and dual battery fitted.

The vehicle is a good solid car, quite capable, however it is not really suited to touring. It is too thirsty - we carry 60ltrs unleaded on custom rack to get us around places other vehicles get to on standard tanks.

As for proplems, we had a resonator box rattle and fall off at 110km's/hr in tassie after going thru Vic high country, luckily it didn't take out any underbody componentry. We also have experienced fuel venting thru the filler tube at altitude when working hard in low range - Nissan do not see a problem here - we do as there is fuel running down the rear wheel well onto the back left suspension.

All in all we are pleased with the car, would we buy one again - probably not. There is not much in the way of after market accessories for these vehicles and you have to work hard to kit the vehicle by custom.

The Pathie performs well - but lacks touring distance and the ability to customise.

By the way - do not pay too much attention to the 1999 Overlander 4WDOTY Award - it was based on the new 'switch' on the dash - this caught everyones attention as the possible 'way of the future' - innovative, but restricting in it's own way.

Good luck - you won't be disappointed with a Pathie, but you will want to trade it within 12-24 months. Cheers

AnswerID: 12377

Follow Up By: Truckster - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 14:58

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 14:58
>> but you will want to trade it within 12-24 months.

Why?

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Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 15:49

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 15:49
IMO - the Pathie is a great introduction vehicle to 4 wheel driving. I have found it most capable offroad, however you just know that over time that it isn't of the same calibre as a Patrol or cruiser. I suppose in saying that you'll want to trade it in 12-24 months is based on my own experience of wanting a vehicle to take the family touring - should have initially qualified this comment. In addition, it is extremely frustrating and challenging trying to improve the Pathie's offroad capability. I think that overtime most owners will want more out of their 4wd as their experience increases, and the Pathie has a limited scope in this regard.
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Follow Up By: Victor - Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003 at 04:29

Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003 at 04:29
Hey Moggs,
Just thinking about your post below, I wonder if ARB have a 40 to 60 litre auxillary fuel tank where you don't have to relocate the spare etc.(looks bodgy and ruins rear vis. and changes the handelling)
I also think the roof rack may be increasing your fuel consumption by about 10-15% when cruising.

"You can get an LRA 115Ltr auxillary tank, however you have to relocate the spare to a swing away carrier, install suspension assist (ie poly-airbags). All up cost about $2,400 to set this up. Then you have to worry about the effect of all this weight on the monocoque chasis and GVM "
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Reply By: Tim - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 10:25

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 10:25
Vic
My parents bought a 99 model new and it now has about 90K on it. It has been nothing short of excellent throughout its entire life.
We were expecting to return to the dealer with a list of problems as you do with a brand new car but nothing at all.
4 years on it still has no probs.
We have fiited a BB, couple of radios and lights to suit there needs.
Just remeber, there is no desiel as someone else said there was and you can't get a mannual, they only make autos.
It is a good hybred as you said, mum drives it to and from work mon to fri and dad takes it up the property on the W/Es.
Tim
AnswerID: 12390

Reply By: KTM 520 - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 14:59

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 14:59
Moggs,

You stated the Pathfinder is not up to touring and that you have to carry extra fuel.

IS this due to the fact of the size of the standard Pathfinder tank as the size of "other vehicles" tanks may be up to 160 litres, hence the need to cart extra fuel with you.

Or is it teh fact the Pathfinder actually consumes that much more petrol?

Interested in your view on that particaular point.

Also the switch on the dash.... how can this be restrictive at all, pretty easy to use in comparison to soem other 4WD set ups.

Regards.
PAul
AnswerID: 12399

Follow Up By: Truckster - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:01

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:01
>>> as the size of "other vehicles" tanks may be up to 160 litres, hence the need to cart extra fuel with you.



i wish 160 ltrs!!!! Std GQ is 95, and Long range tanks go up to 145ltrs!
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FollowupID: 7194

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:06

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 16:06
Paul, fuel situation is a combination of both tank size and overall consumption. The tank holds 80ltrs (small for its class) and the average offroad consumption (say 40% low range, 60% high range) is around 23Ltrs / 100kms.

You can get an LRA 115Ltr auxillary tank, however you have to relocate the spare to a swing away carrier, install suspension assist (ie poly-airbags). All up cost about $2,400 to set this up. Then you have to worry about the effect of all this weight on the monocoque chasis and GVM

The greatest worry for us in taking the Pathfinder touring is the fuel usage - especially when it starts flowing down the side of the vehicle (see previous posts). On a recent trip we used more fuel that a 4.5Ltr full loaded Patrol.

As for the switch - yes it does work well, however it is quite fragile if not used exactly as intended ie. shifting at standstill in neutral. We have experienced situations where the indicator lights in the tacho are not corresponding to the gearing selected. We frequently have the '4WD' light illuminated, that according to the manual means - get to Nissan quick. We just get the feeling that it isn't as robust as a manual stick and that you are not really driving the vehicle with control.
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Reply By: KTM 520 - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 18:21

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 18:21
Moggs,

The cosumption at 23 Litres does sound pretty harsh but i could only wonder what it would be if you were driving a 4.5 petrol engine . surely it would be around 30?.

You are true that it may not be in teh "class" of a Patrol or Cruiser but then again for me it was some 15K cheaper for me, suppose it is horses for courses.

Out of interest what Kms have you done?.

If you have a custom rack load her up with fuel 4 x 20L jerrys and off yopu go... or shell out the 'extra" on the Patrol or Cruiser.

Regards.

Paul
AnswerID: 12405

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 18:58

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 18:58
Paul, the 4.5Ltr Patrol had two Hiclones fitted, snorkel, and is meticulously maintained mechanically. It was returning around 21Ltrs/100km's over the same terrain with a hell of a lot more gear on board. Don't know about the Hiclone unit - but maybe it works for the 4.5Ltr Patrol.

Agreed - its good vaue at around 15k cheaper than a Patrol and serves its purpose nicely - to a point - which is where we are at now.

We have done 49k km's over 3 years - some very hard off road - and it still hasn't developed a squeak.

As for carrying the fuel - we have a custom steel rack from unshade Products in Adelaid ad carry sets of 10Ltr metal jerries. This is not ideal, but is a good compromise while I work on the Mrs for that Patrol.
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Reply By: KTM 520 - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 20:08

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 20:08
Moggs,

heard about these Hyclones but ....never in a good light.

Their theory has been tested (saw it on TV) and it did not at least in that forum return ANY better consumption

If the Patrol weighs in at some 300 kgs (or more) more over the Pathy, it may be that right boot of yours that is giving the old 3.3 L V6 a hard time?.

Other than that one can only assume that your vehicle is just as well meticulousy meintained as that of the mighty patrol.

If it weighs heavier and carries more luggage etc it defies commonsense that it returns better fuel economy than that of the PAtrol.

Food for thought.

AnswerID: 12409

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 20:21

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 20:21
Heard the same type of thing about the Hiclone, personally I wouldn't get one - but some people swear by them.

Don't know about the fuel usage re: Patrol or Pathfinder - it does make common sense that the Patrol would use more - however as they are two totally diferent engines maybe the 4.5 Ltr is a bit better engineered. The Pathie 3.3 V6 is pretty old now.

I actuallt drive the Pathie very conservatively, so I am at a loss re: fuel usage figures - maybe I can put it down to having it serviced at Hornsby Nissan
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 21:16

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 21:16
Mate has a 4.5 petrol GU, and his fuel figures are LOTS worse than them quoted above!

then if you throw it into low 4, watch the guage move!
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Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 22:23

Sunday, Feb 02, 2003 at 22:23
Can't explain it - seems that somethings not right. I didn't do the math on the Patrol's consumption, however the person concerned knows his stuff - I don't think he would be talking up his truck with misleading numbers. I will ask him about the consumption and get ack with his 'secret' if there is one.
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:13

Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:13
Moggs... I'll ask on the patrol list about the 4.5, but I would work yours out.


If the pathy was as bad as a 4.5 Patrol I would burn it! Specially for a 3.3!
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:13

Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:13
Moggs... I'll ask on the patrol list about the 4.5, but I would work yours out.


If the pathy was as bad as a 4.5 Patrol I would burn it! Specially for a 3.3!
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FollowupID: 7232

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 11:29

Monday, Feb 03, 2003 at 11:29
Truckster, spoke to my mate with the 4.5Ltr Patrol - he acknowledges that his consumption figures are low in comparison to others. He has a non genuine nissan auxillary fitted that apparantly transfers a small amount of fuel to the main tank each time the car is started. He did not take this into account when calculating his consumption after refilling the main tank - he does not believe that this would distort the numbers that much.

Maybe if you start the engine many times in a trip enough fuel will be transported from the sub to the main to make a diference - don't really know - didn't even know that this small transfer takes place on start up from aux. to main.
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FollowupID: 7233

Reply By: Member - Rohan - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 17:20

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 17:20
Victor, I just bought a 2002 Pathfinder, for the same reason as Mogs - it was the best vehicle that suited my current needs. However, I also agree with him that an upgrade before too long is on the cards, for the same reasons - lack of kit, either Nissan built or aftermarket. I can't even get a snorkel!!

I've just used the thing to tow a camper-trailer around the NSW high country and south coast. Fuel "economy" ranged from 16l/100kms on the freeway to 27l/100kms on the steep windy mountain tracks. I was a bit dissapointed with that and it certainly knocked the stuffing out of the range from the little 80l tank. The steeper hills also quickly knocked the stuffing out of the V6 and I'd rate its towing performance in that situation as poor.

I have 2 Hi-clones fitted. After 5,500 Kms of use I can report they provide a small increase in throttle response but I can't get any improvement in fuel economy no matter how easy I am on the throttle.

I agree with Moggs though, apart from those 2 gripes, its been a great vehicle on and off (moderate 4wd terrain) the bitumen.

Regards
Rohan
AnswerID: 12906

Follow Up By: Ktm 520 - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 20:29

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 at 20:29
Rohan,

That fuel economy sounds abit steep at 27 litres /100 kms.

How heavy is that camper trailer?.

Unless you get a Patrol or Cruiser i suppose you are gonna be stuck betweeen a rock and a hard place .

The Patfinder is a good compromise i feel and given the list of Std features good value for money.

Did you get one of the Limited Edition PLUS models?... theye were even better value (Nudge, lights, roof rack).
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FollowupID: 7548

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan - Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003 at 14:25

Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003 at 14:25
Ktm 520, the Pathfinder is a Ti PLUS, Special Edition - all the gear plus leather (which, by the way, I found very easy to clean all the dust and mud from, unlike cloth).

The trailer weighs in about 1,200 kgs fully laden, add about 120 Kgs in the back of the Pathfinder.

Even without the trailer the Pathie is a bit sad up long inclines (underpowered at cruising revs). I'm investigating some enhancements that won't void the 6 year warranty.

I agree its a good compromise (I have to - can't tell the Mrs we should have made a different choice). Actually, its a really nice drive. But as about 20% to 30% of its life will be towing that trailer, I think it will see new owners sooner than we had originally anticipated.

Rohan

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FollowupID: 7597

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan - Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 16:20

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 16:20
Subsequent to my comments above about the Hiclones, I contacted Hiclone and was advised to disconnect the battery for 30 mins or so to "reboot" the engine management system. Having removed one of the Hiclone units and "rebooted the EMS, I have achieved a fuel economy improvement of 10%. I have refitted the second unit and rebooted the EMS again and will report any findings - in case anyone is interested.

Rohan
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FollowupID: 8268

Reply By: KTM 520 - Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 17:29

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 17:29
Interested in the otcome of the Hiclone when you are finished th etesting
AnswerID: 13921

Follow Up By: Victor - Thursday, Feb 27, 2003 at 21:34

Thursday, Feb 27, 2003 at 21:34
rohan, me too
PS was there any difference in power delivery-such as lag or flat spot etc.
Victor
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FollowupID: 8395

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Mar 04, 2003 at 14:56

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2003 at 14:56
OK. Here it is (remember, this is from a brand new motor - no coke build-up, no worn bits):

1 Hiclone = consistent 10% improvement in fuel economy.

1 Hiclone = no noticeable change in throttle response (from std).

2 Hiclones = better throttle response. For example, the acceleration from 70 Kms was noticeably better and was instantaneous compared to the sluggish response without the Hiclones.

2 Hiclones = nil, zero, zip, zilch, nadda improvement in fuel economy, regardless of what "tricks" I tried.

The bummer is that while the second Hiclone provided the better throttle response, it negated the improvement in fuel economy of the first Hiclone. I guess its true - you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Oh, I've also experimented with premium unleaded and found the above findings held true when using premium. The only difference is that responsiveness was ever so marginally better than on std unleaded. I could measure a change in economy.

However, given I'll be spending about $3,500 on fuel in a year, I stick to the single Hiclone and save $350 a year (cost about $160).
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FollowupID: 8682

Reply By: Voxson - Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 23:04

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 at 23:04
Hi Victor..Just in case you are interested.....
I know of a fella here in adelaide who is waiting for his mercedes 4x4 to arrive next month who has a nissan pathfinder 1999 model at the moment. He bought it new as a town only car. He is a distributor of electric motors and thinks offroad is going up a gravel driveway..
He has it cleaned by palm springs detailers each week without fail. ( He delivers small electric motors and parts to us every second day and i cant ever remember seeing it dirty ).
Anyway,,, 80,000 on the clock, burgundy in colour.. TI model top of the range... $30 ish thousand...
If you want his number email me... voxson@bigpond.net.au
AnswerID: 13951

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