Nissan patrol 4WD for towing caravan in outback areas

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 12:03
ThreadID: 79891 Views:3469 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Would appreciate any views on the 3l v 4.2l Diesel .
Thanks, Duncan
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 12:12

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 12:12
Would depend on laden weight of your van Duncan. We towed our caravan with a 3 litre including touring Tasmania, but being auto, we were severely limited with allowable towing weight and our van is heavy. It did the job well. Others will tell you the 4.2 tows better. Due to the reputation of the 3 litre motor, i would not like to put it under undue stress with prolonged heavy towing. We had EGT and Boost gauges to ensure the longevity of our motor. We would not attempt towing our van through sand with the Patrol, but have now done so easily with the F250.


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AnswerID: 423236

Reply By: Member - peter h (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:02

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:02
Have 4.2 td with after market intercooler on my tow car. This will tow our 23ft van all day with out a problem. I only sit on 90km in 4th gear, At this motor doing it easy. It may not have the pick up of the 3l motor but its not working hard to get the van moving
AnswerID: 423241

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:42

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 13:42
Are these the only two vehicles on your shopping list?

I have 2 x 4.2's and have them for reliability and predictability. They are slower than many other options and run hotter than many other options but while the other options are in the mechanics workshop I will tottle past them at any rate.

You will be hard pressed to beat a 4.2 for reliability but that does not mean it is the "best" vehicle for a certain job. The best vehicle for the job would depend on the job at hand and your intended time for keeping the vehicle. According to your post heading though I would definately add a vote for the 4.2 under these conditions, due to remoteness of region heading into and the need for reliability.

AnswerID: 423245

Follow Up By: ptnuske - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 15:24

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 15:24
I will extend on the "running hotter".

I had a 2006 4.2 GU IV towing a 3t Kedron and I could not keep the temperature from going through the roof. I had a 3" system and EGT gauge fitted and found it hard to keep the EGT's in check. The high EGT's would be closely followed by the water temp climbing.

This was everywhere we travelled, Birdsville, Cunninghams Gap, Toowoomba Range, Cooma etc. Got too stressfull thinking I was doing damage to the car.

I think I made a mistake running 33" tyres as well. Now I have the V8 76 Series cruiser and the car pulls the van like a trojan and EGT's stay in check and water temps follow suit. Very happy. :-)

Just my experiences guys.
FollowupID: 693656

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 15:39

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 15:39
The possible reason is with the larger tyres and if you were towing in top gear you would have the engine "lugging" which would cause the exact symptoms you describe.

My cruiser does that if I drop it into OD. The EGT goes up from about 325 to over 400 and the engine temp rises as well Drop back to 4th and no more probs.

Keep them in the sweet spot which in a Cruiser TD is at about 2400rpm.
FollowupID: 693657

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 20:18

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 20:18
It is not uncommon to see my towing EGT's running at 400c and peaking to 550c on climbs like that of the Toowoomba range where care is required to prevent coolant temp overheating. But for me these temps have not seen any detrimental effects to longevity as one rig now has nearly 400 000km on the dial of which a solid 250 000km has been towing and loaded to the eyeballs. The other rig has 230+ thousand of which 100 000 has been under my control and again worked very hard for its money.

Nowhere on this continent would I be worried about taking the higher kilometer 4.2 due to breakdown factors. I still regularly bolt the van on the back of this 400 000km old unit and head off into the sunset without prior prep, it is still that reliable.

Cheers, Trevor.
FollowupID: 693700

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 20:50

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 20:50
Depends on whether you are talking pre turbo temps or after turbo temps.

Mine is after turbo and I would be extremely hesitant to take it much over 500. That would put cylinder temps at about 700 and Z30's melt pistons at not much over that..

Its yours you can of course drive it how you like.
FollowupID: 693705

Follow Up By: ptnuske - Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 07:12

Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 07:12
Hey Guys,

Agree with everything you have said. Believe me, I went through all of this when I had my 4.2. What I did manage to find out is that the 4.2 block has been around since Jesus was a boy and the water jacket is not suited to the turbo charged modern variants.

Tried everything to try to get the engine temps down. In the end it was just too stressfull knowing I "may" be doing damage. Having said that, I have always heard these engines to be bullet proof. Now I just jump in and drive, check the EGT's every now and then. But no stress.

Besides this issue, the car was excellent. If I didn't have to tow I would still have it. Perfect tourer. You don't see too many Patrol 4.2's towing on the road. All cruisers!!
FollowupID: 693722

Follow Up By: Marny - Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 16:19

Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 16:19
a mob called "cost effective maintenance" advertise a fix for overheating patrols that they claim is simple but they do not say what it is you have to ring them. Cheers
FollowupID: 693776

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 16:56

Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 16:56

My EGT's are post turbo too but the 4.2 copes OK with these. The 4.2 dinosaur is a bit like the 6.5 Chev's, very "old school" mechanical indirect injection which causes both to run hotter than modern electronic direct injection donks but on the flipside they both cope with higher temps a lot better than the newer engines by design.


I too was worried sick in the early days about cooking my 4.2 in some unforgiving part of the country but after so many attempts to do so the old girl keeps on rattling along no matter what I do to it. I have at times really flogged the guts out of mine with serious loads and serious temps but still it won't give up the ghost. This is partly why I asked the original poster if the 4.2 and 3.0 GU's were the only two vehicles on his/her shopping list, as it is my belief there may be less "worrying" options out there?????? but of the two Nissan's the 4.2 would be my pick.


I also have heard of mobs "claiming" to fix the o/heating 4.2 and some have even opened up my wallet in the attempt to "cure" the age old problem. The way I see it now is it is only a "problem" if and when it stops my vehicle dead in it's tracks but it never has and now with so many k's on the clock I can't really whinge too much even if it does eventually die on me.

Hope this thread is helpful to someone, somewhere.
Regards to all,
FollowupID: 693779

Reply By: Spade Newsom - Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 19:47

Wednesday, Jul 07, 2010 at 19:47
If travelling fairly light or maybe only a few infrequent adventures then the 3L should be OK however on an extended trip there is no such thing as light.

Travel slow though and also you probably won't be able to use overdrive too often.

The 3L in my view is a better driving "car".

AnswerID: 423360

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010 at 00:17

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010 at 00:17
And the 4.2 is a better driving 4wd....

Especially in the high country. Just walks up and down hills all day, where as the 3ltr needs to be held much higher in the rev range.

All the coppers and CFA boys want their 4.2's back.

I tow a 1.6 tonne off road camper with mine & a 1.8 tonne boat. Never had any complaints. Doesn't matter whether it's outback or in the hills.

They aren't a car, so I don't expect car performance, or I'd have kept the Gen III Berlina.

FollowupID: 695021

Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010 at 08:53

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010 at 08:53
Its a tricky one Duncan as neither can match the torque and smooth power curve of the petrol 4800 GU , with little cost difference.

A friend of ours towed a 3+ tonne drill rig for work for 195,000km with his 2002 3lt auto before he had problems , but both diesels also have smaller brakes than the petrol and I think this is also an important factor in towing.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 424583

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