Nissan 3.0Litre diesel. Improving towing ability

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 19:32
ThreadID: 88829 Views:24439 Replies:15 FollowUps:24
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Hello all. We are relatively new members with a 2005 GUIV Manual gearbox 3 litre diesel Nissan Patrol. We have just purchased a 20'Goldstream caravan and completed our first trip to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mts. Overall economy was 20litres per 100klms which I am guessing is probably about standard. The car struggles on inclines and in one instance simply would not ascend a steep hill even in first gear. Turbo lag and insufficient revs seemed to be the problem. A friendly local suggested engagement of low range 4wd and this worked a treat
although I am concerned about differential windup when on a bitumen surface.

I am looking for comments from members with a similar vehicle and van size that may have fitted an after market computer chip. In particular, was there an increase in towing ability and were there any negatives such as overheating of the turbo and also can I expect an increase in fuel consumption. Should I also consider installation of a free flowing exhaust system-say 2 3/4 inch with a turbo timer and/or turbo temp gauge.

My apologies for this long winded question but I needed to make it clear what my concerns are.Any assistance and suggestions would be appreciated.

Pete Drew
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Reply By: snoopyone - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 19:57

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 19:57
1st question What is the ATM or fully loaded weight of your van.

Personally I wouldnt chip a ZD 30

I would post on the Patrol Forum as they deal with these all the time and can offer advice on what you want to know.
AnswerID: 464140

Follow Up By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:49

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:49
Hi snoopyone, thanks for your response. I did get on to one of the Nissan forums and found a bit of info that was helpful and also a lot of comments written by people simply wanting to see their names in print. I have a feeling that someone in our group of readers probably has faced my exact problem and maybe did what I am proposing. Maybe I'll get lucky.


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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:20

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:20
Try this forum If you do a search there you will get heaps of info about your 3lt Patrol and engine mods to make it more reliable if you put a chip in it.
Cheers Dave.

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Reply By: TerraFirma - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:18

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:18
Given the fragile nature of the 3 Litre Nissan diesel engine I would not be considering powering it up with the vehicle 6 years old now and probably nudging 140,000Kms, please keep on top of the service schedule. If you intend on keeping the car irrespective you could chip and exhaust for around $1500-2000 which would increase torque and ecomony while towing but it's a fine line you tread considering the vehicles age. If towing becomes really important you might want to consider a more powerful 4WD when the time comes.
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Follow Up By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:51

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:51
Hi Terrafirma, thanks for your response. I have posted a reply to all those that responded to my questions and I covered your queries about vehicle age etc.


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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:34

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:34

Won't comment on fitting a chip, though a 3" exhaust might be a good investment. See plenty of Nissans around here, and they're bits of rockets, and pull vans along really well, but that's mainly on undulating roads.

Depending on how heavy that van is, I'm amazed the Nissan couldn't pull it up that hill, even in first gear. What was the gradient of the hill, 1:1?

I'd be a bit concerned that your Patrol might need either fuel, or air filters checked. If one or both these are dirty it would have detrimental effect on pulling power. Also check air intake into the air cleaner too. Have seen wasps build nest in the intake, severely reducing power.

Plenty of knowledgeable Patrol owners on here too, Peter. You may have to modify your driving technique, to counteract the "turbo lag, and insufficient revs". Change down earlier, rather than let it lug too much, and really feed the fat to it as you're coming to the incline/s. Apologies for the critique.

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:36

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:36

i have a 2004 navara with the 3.0 lt and tow our jayco outback weighs in at around 1400kgs and the engine has little problems towing it.

have you considered a larger exhaust on your 3.0?

i had fitted a 3 inch Hurricane from front to rear and the difference was amazing. no more turbo lag and fuel econ also got better.

just my 2 cents,cheers.
AnswerID: 464146

Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:50

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:50
Markie, Markie, mate you should know that the 3.0 lt in the Navara was built by God and 3.0 Litre in the Patrol was built by the Devil. LOL
Sorry we will not be at Silverton, but you may be able to join us next year in CQ, have a great time.

Cheers Bruce and Annie
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:58

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:58
hey could be right there :-)

shame you guys will miss the gathering at Silverton.......must make a place to catch up again someday.

speaking of evil 4wds....i will have that 80 series following me out tobroken hill this year ;-)
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:25

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:25
speaking of evil 4wds....i will have that 80 series following me out to broken hill this year ;-)

AHAHAHA, You guna tow him all the way just to make sure he gets there.ROFLMAO.

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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 17:48

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 17:48
Hmmm, What can I say Dave?
Pull ya head in
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:41

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 20:41
G/Day Pete

I know what your going through.

We had a 2008 3 litre crd auto Patrol, and towed a Lotus Trooper van ATM 3000kg.

As you are aware the auto Patrol can only tow 2500kg.

The Tare was 2293 kg so we were limited re our weight.

We were averaging 22-26 litres per 100ks

We also struggled up steep hills ect, and after a major fuel contamination problem we were looking at a possible Fuel Injector Pump repair /replacement.

We traded it on a 2010 4.8 litre Patrol which can tow 3500kg, and it tows the van with out any problems.

Sorry to say this but the 3 litre Patrols are to much truck for little motor.

AnswerID: 464147

Follow Up By: Uncle-Laurie - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:19

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:19
Daza is right, too much truck for too little motor. I'm guessing your 20ft Goldstream van weighs in at somewhere near 3 ton loaded,then you have all your travelling goodies in the Patrol with you as well.
The Patrol weighs in at just under 3 ton so lets say for example , there's 6 ton your trying to lug up some of the mtns in the Snowy region, with a little 4 cyl diesel motor. On top of that the air down there is much thinner and the poor old motor is trying to breath with even further difficulty.
We dont have a turbo on our 4.2 Patrol, but its got more pull up hills than a float at the Gay Mardi Gras.

cheers Unc
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:36

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:36
Not so much too much truck for too little motor but too much truck for that particular disaster of a motor.

My Rangie 2.7 TDV6 is a heavier vehicle with a smaller motor and has absolutely no issues pulling 3.5t and the later versions - 3.0TDV6 and 3.6TDV8 tow even better.

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Reply By: Member - Alan W (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:42

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:42
Hi Pete,

My suggestion is to buy some MAF cleaner from super cheap and clean the MAF. You will be suprised at the difference. Then get a provent catchcan and fit it as this will stop the maf getting so dirty. All this and more info available at the patrol site as indicated above. I have a CRD 3ltr and dont have a problem with my 20 ft Van. However no towing in the snowy mountains.
Get onto that site and do the simple mods suggested for better performance and engine longgevity.


AnswerID: 464150

Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:53

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:53

this stuff is even better than the MAF Sensor cleaner your talking about. had a friend spray her pajero sensor with the stuff from Supercheap and it coated the sensor with a film of some sort. she gave the Maf sensor a hit with the circuit board cleaner and her engine has never run better.
FollowupID: 738050

Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:54

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 21:54
Image Could Not Be Found

you can buy it from Jaycar
FollowupID: 738051

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 22:41

Saturday, Sep 03, 2011 at 22:41
What hill stopped you in the Snowys? Had a friend with your tug towing a much bigger van. He had no problems towing down there.

Sounds like you need a tune up from someone that specialised in 4WDs. Not your local Nissan dealer.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 00:14

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 00:14

People say nasty things about the 3.0Tdi but only because they (some) go BANG! without any notice. And that's a valid reason...

I had a manual 2003 model and fitted a Dtronic in it around the 50,000k mark and sold it at 105,000k

I put the Dtronic in to help with turbo lag and it did. The only thing it can't solve is the little of bit lag left over before the Dtronic does its thing and kicks in. Only really matters on steep hills if you have to stop. Normal slopes, flat areas etc no worries.

When not towing, the Dtronic makes a huge difference in general drive ability. You can power out of corners using 3rd gear instead of matching the revs and changing back to 2nd so much.

All in all I recommend it. You'll notice the difference.

If you happen to have one the engines that may go BANG, I'd say it's gunna happen regardless. I wouldn't be concerned about adding a chip.

Would be interesting to hear the figures on the 3.0 Nissans that have gone BANG with a chips V's those without. Mine certainly never did and I towed a 1.5ton van with it in 5th at speeds I probably shouldn't have!! sometimes..
AnswerID: 464154

Follow Up By: P and JM - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:56

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 10:56
Hi Andrew,

Is there any way I can contact you please ?
Looking for some info from your set up on the 2003 3.0 ltr turbo Diesel and the Dtronic Chip.
Can't send you a message, not a member.

Thank You P&J
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:46

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:46

just give me your Email and I'll respond to it..
FollowupID: 738074

Follow Up By: P and JM - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:53

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:53
Don' t realy like putting over internet, as have had trouble before doing that.
It involved Police and more. How else can I do it ??
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (WA) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:56

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:56
I think the only other way is join as a member, then you can send messages to who ever you like...I think...
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 13:11

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 13:11
hey guys.
maybe if a moderator is reading this or if you "alert moderator" one might be able to send contact details off forum for you?

just a thought?

FollowupID: 738078

Reply By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:18

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:18
Hi Pete

1 low cost thing you can do is to fit manual hubs to the Patrol , most people don't like the auto hubs .

If you really do get stuck in an embrassing spot , remember you can drop your tyres down, right down to 12psi. Slow , but costs nothing !

P.S. If anyone else has some auto hubs , I'm actually looking for some auto hubs for my 4800 petrol Gu.

Second thing -
While my 4800 Patrol has no issues towing I have fitted it with 2.88:1 transfer ratios and like 1/2 flat tyres etc, this really improves low range torque and allows you to change up to high once on the move - expensive option though but makes car much more controllable at low speed.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: awill4x4 - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 11:11

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 11:11
I think Robin is on the ball here about fitting manual hubs.
By going into low range it effectively halves the effort for every gear.
Of course this would only be used when absolutely necessary but it's much friendlier on the clutch as well.
Regards Andrew.
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Reply By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:44

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 08:44
Now I know why exploreoz was recommended to us ! Woke up this morning to several responses for which I am most grateful. By way of background the Nissan has 106,000 klms on the odometer and has been properly serviced. The car is in very good condition. We previously towed a Goldstream camper trailer which had heavy off road suspension and enough camping gear etc for a platoon of diggers. The Nissan handled it quite well. The new van is rated at Tare 2546kgs and with gear food clothes etc and water it probably nudges 2,800 kgs.
Yesterday I looked at a second hand 2005 4.8 petrol Nissan with a view to converting it to LPG using the vapour injection system. I am looking at a $15,000 changeover including GST on my Diesel Nissan (I have an ABN and claimed back the initial GST on purchase- now the ATO gets it back!), on road costs and lpg installation. I am guessing that a similar amount would be required to changeover to a 4.2litre Turbo Diesel Nissan ( not many around) or maybe more for a Toyota landcruiser.
It was put to me by a 4x4 mate that I could spend well under $5000 on my car and see how it goes with the van.I believe that installation of an EGT gauge is advisable if not mandatory if towing a van behind a turbo'd engine. This enables closer monitoring of the temp around the turbo unit rather than relying on engine temp.
Finally, if any other forum members have done what I propose and are towing larger type vans, I would really appreciate your comments. Thanks to all who responded. Happy travelling to you all.

AnswerID: 464162

Follow Up By: Member - Richard L (WA) - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 16:12

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 16:12
I have read all the replies to your ? and see no body has mentioned Diesel / Gas installation
I had D/G fitted to my 2002 Navara some 4 years ago and the extra torque and power is truly amazing.
I was actually about to post a thread on my experience with D/G after 4years so apart from the power and torque I am now getting 13k's / litre up from around 10. This seems to have been a gradual increase having gone to 11, 11.5 12 12.5 and now 13 since installation. I really can't explain this gradual increase but I have also been using 2 stroke oil at 200ml to 70 litres of fuel. Has this made the difference I don't know just thought I'd give you the figures.
I do agree that a decent flow through exhaust would be an advantage ( I don't have one but would if I had the money)
Anyway just my thought for the day

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:07

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 12:07
Hi Peter,

I don't intend getting into bagging the 3lt Patrol engine or a Toyota v Nissan debate but my take is this
With a relatively small capacity engine regardless of make the manufacturer relies on turbo boost and the extra fuel delivery that the engine can now use to produce the required power. Now thats ok with a mechanically driven supercharger as it does not rely on exhaust gas flow to increase air into the engine. A turbo however needs the extra exhaust flow to start boosting. The problem is that in this scenario the engine cannot get enough heat into the exhaust gasses at low engine RPM to start the whole process going and just adding more fuel without an increase in air flow will send your exhaust temperatures through the roof. The whole process is therefor self defeating.
A larger capacity engine can usually develope enough torque at low RPM to bridge the gap to when the turbo comes into it own. The smaller engine is fine if the RPM can be kept up but quite often when trying to take off on a steep gradient this is not possible.

Cheers Pop
AnswerID: 464175

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 00:01

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 00:01
pop-Im no fan of the ZD30, but I reckon your theory may be a little to simplistic.
If what you suggest was the case then there would be no 3 litre or smaller TD that was successful.
I think its a little more in the case of (as suggested) too much car for an incapable motor. Note that it seems this engine has been quite successful in the Navara.
FollowupID: 738120

Reply By: shanegu6 - Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 17:39

Sunday, Sep 04, 2011 at 17:39
I have a 2008 CRD patrol which weighs 3500kgs plus towing a van which weighs 3000kgs. Number of things done which make towing significantly better and also makes the zd30 a better perforoming engine. I run a DP chip, blocked EGR and heavy duty clutch.

Must have is a boost and EGT gauge. Heavy duty clutch made a big difference as the dual mass flywheel set is terrible for towing big loads.

I have towed this set up around OZ with no problems and averaged about 22l/100. Patrol now has 120000kms on odometer.

AnswerID: 464190

Follow Up By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 08:12

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 08:12
Thanks Shane, of all the responses I have read I seized on yours because you have actually done what I am proposing. I really needed to hear from someone who has fitted a chip, EGT gauge and/or free flowing exhaust. I am not looking for miracles with my ZD30- but an improvement that equates to money spent is important. Are you able to give me a bit more detail of your Patrol's performance as follows?

* On flat undulating roads in good conditions does the car "labour"in 5th gear?
* Does the car hold about 2600 rpm in 5th gear without excessive throttle?
* Are hill ascents noticeably easier ?
* At what odometer reading did you fit the DP Chip?
* Have you fitted a free flow ( 2.75 "- 3.0 ") exhaust ?

If you are able to respond I would be most grateful.

Thanks again to all who responded.

Pete Drew
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Follow Up By: shanegu6 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 13:49

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 13:49
Hi Peter,

First thing to do above all else if fit a boost gauge and EGT gauge. Then block the EGR. A big improvement on how fast the turbo spools up will be noticed as well as the quietness of the engine. Its easy to do, about an hour all up. Get an ECU talk or a scangauge for your patrol as blocking the EGR will throw up the occasional code. It's nothing to worry about when the engine light comes on for this reason. It's just saying that the EGR isn't working. The ECU talk will clear the code.

My DP chip was fitted at 70000kms. I don't have a bigger exhaust.

I do not tow in 5th gear at all as I dont sit on any higher than 95kph. If i drive faster than this with all the weight the EGT are around 430 degrees. If I sit on 95kph the EGT are around 370 (on the gauge, plus 150 to 200 degrees as the probe is installed after the turbo). It cruises easily on 95 in 4th gear with the van on the back, tinny on the roof and heaps of other crap.

If i hit a big hill I am generally back to third gear doing about 60 to 70kph. I just take it easy and watch the EGT. I pretty much drive to keep it under 400 degrees.

Blocking the EGR will see an increase in boost. You need to install the boost gauge first so that a base line can be gained on the boost levels.

Fitting a bigger exhaust will generally see higher boost again. After these mods you might need to install a dawes valve to set the boost at a pre determined amount.

The CRD engine which I have has a smarter ECU which controls the boost better with these mods.

Best advice I can give you is to get on the Patrol forum and read, read, read. See you on there.

FollowupID: 738146

Follow Up By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:18

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 17:18
Thanks Shane for responding so quickly. Have taken everything on board and will make some enquiries re cost etc over next few days. Will post a report once I have made any mods. I keep very accurate records of fuel economy so will be able to report actual improvement accurately. Will be taking the van away to Mitta Mitta in Nth East Vic on Grand Final weekend so that will be the first major test.


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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 20:14

Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 20:14
Hi Pete,

Shane has offered some excellent advice here, I had done some of it to my old GU (Chip, EGT block) and was vey happy with the improvement. About the only thing I would add is an exhaust, not for the power increase (though it will help) but because it will lower EGT. Having too high an EGT is arguably the biggest cause of the 3L being a "grenade". Anything to lower EGT can only be good :)


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Reply By: Member - blackbird1937 - Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 08:36

Monday, Sep 05, 2011 at 08:36
Hello , When I had my 3I Patrol chipped last year I was advised not to put gas on has it had a tendency to run too hot . Also do not worry about a bigger exhaust . After the chip was fitted I went to the Gulf with a group on a 150 year BURKE & WILLS camping trip . The patrol was 10% more economical and much better to drive . I have since towed our 19 foot poptop Jayco and found the Patrol much better than before the chip .
AnswerID: 464237

Reply By: Damo1970 - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 16:16

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 16:16
We travelled around Australia in 2009 with an '05 3.0L Patrol towing a Jayco Outback Expanda. The Patrol was fully kitted out with front & rear bars, winch, dual batteries, drawer system, 33" tyres, 3" lift etc etc & a full length steel roofrack packed with camping gear & 2 bikes. All up we were about 6 tonne & averaged 15.78L/100km over a total distance of 49858km.

Before we left i fitted a Safari Dtronic & 3" exhaust along with Boost & EGT gauges. We serviced it every 10,000km & didn't have a single problem. It sat comfortably on 100kmh in 5th gear although hills certainly slowed it down. The gauges were an invaluable tool in assessing what was going on.

We towed the van through the Snowies & even to Jenolan Caves without problem. Standing starts on a hill were a problem because of the very high first gear - a few times we dropped it into low range for this.

All in all it was the perfect vehicle for us - towed well, was extremely fuel efficient & when we wanted to ditch the van & go offroad (Cape York, Kimberley etc) we had the best & toughest offroad vehicle to do it in.
AnswerID: 464361

Follow Up By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 18:04

Wednesday, Sep 07, 2011 at 18:04
Hi Damo1970

Thanks also for your comments. You along with Shane have confirmed my intention to have a new exhaust and chip fitted. It will be done next Monday (12/9) and I will post results about a week later. Results of towing will have to wait until after Grand Final weekend which is when we head off to Mitta Mitta in NE Vic. Work will be done by MTQ in Dandenong Vic. I will detail what was done in a further post.

Cheers and thanks again

Pete Drew
FollowupID: 738390

Reply By: Member - Julie & Peter D - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2011 at 23:38

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2011 at 23:38
Hi all, I can now report the results of having fitted a "Rapid"chip, new exhaust ( 2 & 1/2 inch) and pyrometer as well as a new TURBO ! Total cost was $4850 including labor. Work completed by MTQ in Dandenong vic.

Recently towed the van to Mitta Mitta in NE vic. Travelled at 90kph and refueled at Wodonga, a distance of 318 klms. Consumption was 16.78 litres per 100 klms. Exhaust gas temperatures were between 350 and 400 degrees on the highway and climbed to 500-550 degrees through hilly country. At one point the temp was over 650 degrees, but only for a few seconds. I quickly learned that it is better to engage a lower gear and keep rpm's higher rather than try to hold a higher gear.

Our trip home averaged 17.4 litres per 100klms which included some winding and hilly country roads where speed ogten dropped to around 30kph.

For the technically minded, here are the Dyno figures provided by MTQ.

Before work as outlined above carried out.

Torque 325nm @ 76kph
Power 58kw @ 108kph

After firring of new components

Torque 440nm @ 70kph
Power 72kw @ 100kph

This represents a 35% increase in torque and 24% increase in power.

Overall I am happy with the improvements and can only hope that the vehicle stands up to further use. I have certainly learned that it is OK to sit on 90kph even if the trip takes a bit longer.I did not ever engage 5th gear whilst towing the van. At 90kph rpm were around 2700-2800.

Thanks to all who rersponded to my initial enquiry. Happy and safe travelling to all.

Peter D.
AnswerID: 466819

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