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Violently ride -- Pathfinder vs Frontier

 
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DanJetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2012
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:02 pm    Post subject: Violently ride -- Pathfinder vs Frontier Reply with quote

I see a lot of posts where people justify the Pathfinder's violent ride by saying it's a truck. So every time I drive through town and look at my kids in the rearview mirror being tossed around like rag dolls, I think to myself, "Okay, it's supposed to be like this because it's a truck."

Then something crazy happened. I drove a friend's truck. A 4-door '05 Frontier. The ride is completely different -- much calmer and smoother. In the Frontier, driving over a bridge joint doesn't feel like I'm hitting a brick wall and when I got to my destination I didn't feel exhausted and... well, assaulted.

So here are my questions: Isn't the Pathfinder basically a Frontier with more cabin space? What's different about the Frontier suspension than the Pathfinder suspension? Could it be that the Pathfinder (especially the V8) is just too heavy for that suspension? Thoughts?

I got the loaded V8 LE and I'm seriously thinking about dumping it. Everyday something new inside starts to vibrate and it's driving me insane! The rear DVD player right next my my head, for example, sounds like it's going to fall off the ceiling any second. I dread certain roads and God forbid I might hit a pothole. I had a Jeep and a race-ready VW GTI which rode through town like a Cadillac compared to the Pathfinder.
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Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 1926
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frontier has solid rear axle. Pathy is Independant.

If your ride is 'violent' I'd suggest getting it looked at. Yes it rides like a truck. The Fronty is much lighter in the rear. But the right rear shocks should make a big difference.
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Terry in Winnipeg

'05 Pathfinder SE Premium 4x4 - 250000kms - weekend warrior, Cortex Superchips on 87 Octane Tune, K&N filtercharger, Airlift 1000, Prodigy Brake controller, 7 pin trailer hookup, By-passed water/oil transmission cooler, Prostart Remote Starter, Bilstein 5100 rear shocks, BFG T/A KO 265/75/16
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DanJetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2012
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, gotcha. I'm wondering if the springs and shocks are the same.

I took it to the dealer and a tire place, both said everything looked normal. I got the AirLift 1000, which nicely lifts the rear, but it also makes the rear feel a little more sensitive and bouncy.
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Oly 22



Joined: 10 Apr 2012
Posts: 442
Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The airbags prevent the springs from compressing, with less give, in the spring, the back suspension, of the truck, is more rigid and would seem more bouncy. I notice this most when I go over speed bumps or holes. At least I don't bottom out. Try adjusting the pressure in 5 pound increments until you find a level which better suits your driving needs. You may want to try 2 pounds at a time. I pump mine up, when I tow and on highway trips. I prefer the more rigid ride on the highway and through the curves on mountain roads. Less body roll.

If your ride really is that rough, there must be something going on. Mine rides fine even if it is a truck.
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2011 LE, Ebony, V6 4.0L, Airaid Quickfit CAI, IPF 868 Driving Lights, Rigid Industries SR 10" Specter LED Light Bar, Vision X 4200k Replacement 9007/H11/3057LED Lamps, Nissan Hood Deflector, Belkin USB Port, Firestone Coil-Rite 4166, Brushed Aluminum Billet Oil Filler Cap, Rocky-Road Super Sliders, Rancho 2" Quick Lift Loaded front coil overs, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Rancho 2" Rear Spacers, 4x4Parts Front Camber Bolts, BFG All Terrain T/A KO LT285-65/R18
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ShipFixer



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 334
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DanJetta wrote:
Ah, gotcha. I'm wondering if the springs and shocks are the same.

I took it to the dealer and a tire place, both said everything looked normal. I got the AirLift 1000, which nicely lifts the rear, but it also makes the rear feel a little more sensitive and bouncy.


They're the same in the front. Problem is the stock ones are worthless and the rear bottoms far too easily without the air springs. Mine rode horribly until I put Bilstein shocks and the air bags in. Now it's something like a big sedan and I'm actually impressed with the ride, especially after the shocks were worn in.

Something else to consider - fixing the booming noise with ever single pot hole. Truck was ridiculously loud over every little bump and sounded like it wanted to come apart. I used damplifier from Second Skin liberally in the front wheel wells. Problem solved...

FWIW I keep around seven PSI in the bags with no load to keep the rear from bottoming. More than that and it gets a little too pick up truckish, and imbalanced against the front. Actually zero psi will even keep the rear from hitting the stops...gives it a nice progressive curve.
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skinny2



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 1216
Location: BFE, Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm another with Bilstein shocks and Airlift. I run my airbags around 20psi and I don't find the ride uncomfortable. It is a bit rough at low speeds...but I off-road (mining roads) for work regularly and prefer the tighter feel vs bottoming out. At high speeds and through the slalom course of a road I drive...I find it to be quite acceptable. Tires can also be responsible for a lot of road noise particularly over bumps...the stock Continentals were louder than the Michelins I run now, but there's still a decent amount of noise. I would certainly look at some of those areas and see if something is out of line. Perhaps go drive another Pathfinder on a used lot and see if something stands out as being different.

I'm from the camp that if you really don't need the capabilities of something like a truck-based SUV...then some of the cons (noise, rough ride, etc.) isn't worth it. I bought the PF because it was a little smaller (easier to park at office garage), handles better, and gets better mpg than the full-size utes. Next time around....I'll probably have to get a full-size because there's just nothing left in this class that's capable at all.
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DanJetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2012
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much for all the advice. I'm going to swap the struts and see how it feels. Still experimenting with the airbag pressure.

When I think about it, two things that are probably adding to the harsh ride is the 18" rims (less tire sidewall) and the added weight of the V8. The truck I drove has 16" rims and a V6. I'm going to go for the comfort rating on the next set of tires. Road noise isn't an issue... just the fact that the truck goes airborne when I hit a pebble.

Some other things that probably don't help are how slippery the fleather (jake leather) is and that everything inside the cabin squeaks and rattles with every shake.

I wonder how the comparable model Infinity rides.
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ShipFixer



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 334
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, uh, chasing noises in this thing has become my third or fourth hobby. When it's quiet it's quiet, but there's so much plastic to take apart and put foam behind. I'm happy with it now, but it took a lot of damping mat and insulation to make it quiet.

Mine had a particularly crappy harmonic rattle deep inside the dash at 2800 RPM that literally took me a year to find. I did everything including the epoxy fix for the "power valve" in the intake tract. It turned out to be the really stiff cable coming out of the front of the shifter that goes underneath the air handler under the stereo. The cable runs through a plastic cut out that's just perfect for it to rattle up against in a place you can't reach or see directly Mad

I just re-did my fix for that tonight; stuffing one-inch thick foam around it as tightly as I can to keep it braced. Every now and then it starts to work free and the rattle comes back...

Not the worst design flaw they have though. That's still the cam chain tensioners. Oh, no wait, it's the radiator. Or is it the rear A/C lines? Very Happy
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