New R50 owner

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underworld1001
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New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:47 pm

Hey all,

I recently found myself in need of a truck/SUV as I've recently traded in my R51. A buddy of mine had a 1997 R50 that's been sitting around as a second vehicle for quite some time. It almost has 180k miles on it. He ended up selling it to me for $400. It has a new battery, new tires, new shock all around, recently aligned, new OEM EGR, oil change, and air filter replacement done. It's a little rough on the outside (paint peeling, fuel cover is a little bent for some reason), but over all it starts with zero issues. I don't have possession of the vehicle yet, but will get it soon. With that said, I'd like to buy the parts ahead of time so when I get a chance to work on it I can knock out as much of it as I can at one time.

What I'm going to do is the following first in no particular order (except for #1);

1. Timing belt component replacement kit by Aisin
2. Spark plug replacements - need to find stock plugs part numbers
3. Power steering pressure hose leak (I think it's the pressure hose, have to double check)
4. Replace the knock sensor (it's the one underneath the manifold that's a pain to get to. could and might be a different sensor. i'm too dead tired to even google right now.)
5. Replace the PCV since it's easy to do

The rear end sways a bit like it's twerking and was told this is called the 'death wobble'. He never changed the rear control arms out, but considering the price and everything else that's been changed, it's all good. So, regarding the rear control arms I see there is an upper and lower part. I'm guessing it's an upper and lower pair. I can't find the Moog part numbers for the lowers, but it looks like RK660903 is the upper which I'll get after all the mechanical stuff is done. My questions are...

1. Are the rear control arms in pairs? As in two uppers and two lowers or just one upper and one lower?
2. I don't believe the rear end fluid has ever been changed out. At 180k, would it be too late to change it?
3. Does anyone know who makes headers for these things? I see them made for Xterras and Frontiers, but not the Pathfinder. With the Pathy being unibody and the others being body on frame, would there be an issue with fitment? They all use the same engine.
4. Does anyone on the forums have the 'Euro' spec cam installed? If so, how was the before and after?

Sorry for the novel post. Not sure how I did it as I'm running on fumes at the moment. Appreciate any assistance and help to the above questions.


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smj999smj
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby smj999smj » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:43 pm

The factory plug was NGK # 2382, which is their basic, copper plug with a 30,000 mile interval. I would upgrade to a 100,000 mile NGK plug since # 6 is such a pain to replace! I would go with NGK's "latest" plug, the Ruthenium HX, NGK # 95839, which run about $8/plug @ Rockauto. I've been running Ruthenium HX plugs in my 06 Pathfinder for a little while and no complaints. If you want to know more about the different NGK plugs or the different NGK plugs available for you in their catalog, go to ngksparkplugs.com.

If you need ignition wires, I would recommend NGK # 8113 and go with genuine Nissan for a distributor cap and rotor.

The Aisin kit is a good kit; they make a lot of OE parts for Nissan and other Asian makes. I've done a lot of VG timing belts and go with a less expensive (but still quality parts) kit, Gates Timing Belt & Component Kit w/ Water Pump # TCKWP249 for $77 @ Rockauto.com, which also sells most most if not all of the parts you are replacing. Also, when I'm in there, I replace the front crank seal, front cam seals, thermostat and coolant bypass hose (which I use Nissan parts) and the drive belts, which I use Bando brand (from Rockauto). I'll also take a look at the idler pullies for the belts.

The power steering high-pressure hoses tend to leak where the pipes crimp to the hard lines. They run about $50-60 @ Rockauto. Another option that "may" be cheaper is take the old hose to a part stores that can fabricate hydraulic hoses and they can replace the rubber hose section in many cases. For P/S fluid, red power steering fluid or red automatic transmission fluid, such as Dexron III/Mercon....but, do NOT use clear or amber P/S fluid.

The rear suspension links were such a problem that Nissan put out a TSB instructing to replace them in cases of rear "wander" when driving. The bushings split, causing the problem. You can replace just the bushing...even install poly bushings...but they are a pain to remove and install. Also, sometimes the links can get bent slightly (especially the lowers) and some aftermarket brands carry a lifetime guarantee. There are two upper rear suspension links and two lower links, which are longer. There is no difference between the upper left side and right side links, but they may differ from your links (if they are original) in that they have a weight added to them, which was a later update. Likewise, the lower links may have brackets on them that differ from yours, which is fine, but they are different part numbers, left and right sides. Rockauto lists them as "control arms" in their catalog. They have the Moog uppers, but not lowers, and carry a 3 yr. warranty. MAS is a bit pricey, but carry a lifetime warranty. SKP has a 1 yr. warranty, but they are inexpensive. They are a Chinese company that has set up business in the US. I've purchased SKP control arms for my D22 Frontier and despite the low price, they seemed of pretty good quality; what some would classify as "service grade" parts. I used to get Dorman links, which carry a lifetime warranty, but Rockauto started have issues with them in their pricing and they stopped carrying a number of their parts, unfortunately. You can problem locate them at other venders, though, if you want them. An issue that occurs a lot when replacing them is that the bolts can seize to the steel bushing sleeves, which means you may need to use a sawzall to cut the bolts and remove the links. I would recommend you get new bolts from Nissan and apply some never seize to them before installing. If you plan to replace them with the suspension hanging, you'll have a problem with the right side getting the bolt holes to align with the bracket as the rear axle will move back due to spring tension. What I do is use a come along and hook it to the frame crossmember and then wrap the other end around the right side of the axle (being careful around the brake line) and crank it up so that it will keep that tension from moving the axle back when the bolt is removed (it also takes tension off of the bolt). As you install the links and bolts, leave them a little loose. Don't tighten (torque) the link bolts until the weight of the vehicle is on the suspension. Wheel alignment is usually not required after doing this job.

The knock sensor is mounted to the top of the engine block, below the intake manifold. Of course, you can go ahead and pull the intake manifold to replace it, or, you could relocate it. Some people do a knock sensor relocation using the knock sensor and subharness for a 1995-99 Maxima. They find the wires for the sensor in the EGI harness at the top side of the engine, cut them and splice them to the subharness (make sure you get the wiring order correct). They'll mount the knock sensor onto the engine where it's accessible, such as an intake manifold or plenum bolt. There's a lengthy thread on it at ClubFrontier's website. Genuine Nissan knock sensors are expensive, but you can get Hitachi or NTK sensors for $40 at rockauto and they have a pigtail connector that you can use as the subharness.

The "Euro spec" cams and the VG30 cams have a slightly different cam profile. They will increase the horsepower a little, but at the sacrifice of torque. In either case, it'll still be bit of a slug, especially compared to the VQ engines. If you plan to go off-road, you'll likely be better off with the better torque of the 3.3L cams.

As far as headers, in my personal opinion only, I think your money will be better put elsewhere. Most people don't drag race these vehicles and for daily or off-road driving, you are really not going to notice any or very little change to performance with exhaust and lessening the exhaust restriction. It's a heavy vehicle with a somewhat underpowered (albeit, reliable and durable) engine that would need extensive work to get any substantial increase in power out of it.

Good luck with it!

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palmerwmd
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby palmerwmd » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:18 am

Underworld, Glad to have you back!

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:03 am

HEY all, glad to be back! Wasn't expecting an answer to this so quickly so many thanks for providing one.

The header and cam was more of a side item in the 'things that I'd like to do, but probably won't do' category :D Looks like the genuine Euro spec cam is long gone (discontinued) so I'd have to get one custom ground from Schneider cams. I did have headers on a 88 Z, but in all honestly it didn't do much for it and these engines don't sound all that great when opened up. Nothing like the VQ anyway. I was just curious, but thanks for the feed back on it.

Seeing as how this is a second vehicle that will more than likely only see Home Deport duty or use by my father to haul the dogs around in, I'll probably be tearing the engine down from the top to replace the sensor. I'll read up on the the workaround and see if that's a viable option, but I do miss wrenching on things so I may just take the long road. I've ordered some gaskets from Mahle and the Aisin timing belt kit so that's a start. I read somewhere else that it would be a good idea to replace the fuel injector O rings during the tear down so I'll pick some of those up as well. Price wise they look really inexpensive so why not.

All in all, it's not the fanciest vehicle, but it still cranks really strong and runs really strong despite being an old one.

Seems like the R50 forum is not as active as the R51 so I'll post pictures and whatnot here to hopefully breath some life into it.

Again thanks for the informative novel @SMJ :D :D and glad to be back @Palmerwmd!

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smj999smj
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby smj999smj » Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:30 pm

If you are going that far into it, do an ohm's test on the fuel injectors to make sure they are in spec. You'll also want to get that 90-degree coolant hose at the back of the engine that connects to the upper plenum; I usually end up cutting the hose to remove the upper plenum because it's such a pain to get disconnected!

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:19 pm

First time I'm hearing about that coolant hose, but I'll def replace it with an OEM one. Was on NissanPartsDeal earlier looking for those rear control arm bolts. I'll add the hose to my order.

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:28 pm

Had some time to work and check the vehicle. Haven't done much, but it's a work in progress.

Done
1. Replaced the sway bar bushings (Moog)
2. Replaced end links (Scitoo - your typical random named China brand).
3. Replaced the EGR due to code (friend ordered it from Rockauto a while back and the box contained a brand new OEM one)
4. Replaced PCV value

Need to do (or planning to do)
1. Will keep factory trailing arms and replace the bushings with urethane ones
2. Have an Aisin timing belt kit here that I'll do when I get more cash to replace coolant hoses with OEM and pick up some 50/50
3. Install a trailer hitch
4. Replace door weatherstripping (so much wind noise!) (hard to find in the US, but apparently the UAE has a decent supply of weatherstripping)
5. Waiting on rear hatch bumpers to come in so I can replace those (it's closed, but door rattles and triggers open door light on dash constantly)
6. Gonna purchase an OEM gas cap (currently has a Stant one on there that feels like it doesn't fit correctly)
7. Replace the fuel filter and hose (it may have been changed 2x since since 1997)

I'll use the cheap end links until they wear out. The vehicle will only be used occasionally... as in maybe 1x-2x a month. Basically my Home Depot vehicle, errand runner, and occasional vehicle tower :D Might have been cheaper to get good ones to start out with, but eh, whats done is done.

I wanted to ask since I'm writing a novel anyway, how would I get a door open if the child safety has been turned on and the exterior handle doesn't work? Out of all 5 doors, only 1 is closed. My friend thinks it's seized which I doubt. Car has never been in an accident minus my friend backing up in to a carport post lightly. Is is possible to remove the door panel when closed? Never run into a scenario like this. It's the door behind the front passenger. Right rear passenger? If the handle is broken I'd like to change it and if the child safety is on, then I'd like to remove it.

Also if the vehicle is locked, then the factory alarm will occasionally go off. I'm not sure how it works, but I think the rear hatch not closing properly is the culprit hence why I'm buying the hatch door bumpers. I'll troubleshoot, but if anyone has any ideas it would be appreciated.

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Re: New R50 owner

Postby smj999smj » Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:39 pm

It's very difficult (maybe impossible) to remove the door panel without damage to it. You would want to get the rear seat bottom out of the way, of course. Before getting into that, you might be able to use a door unlock tool to try and get the door latch assembly to unlatch. As far as the alarm system, get the rear hatch situation corrected, first, and see what happens. As far as the EGR, hopefully the new valve will fix the problem. It takes a while before the code to trigger for the EGR system. Many times, it is caused by the intake vacuum port getting blocked with varnish or carbon, requiring it to be cleaned out.

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:26 pm

Ok, more project related stuff.

The door is still not working. To be fair, I've only looked at it and haven't done much. As in, I've literally only looked at the door and decided I'll fight that battle another day. I am worried about damaging the door panel though. There's a few at the junk yard here so I can get another one, but I'd like to keep things as original as possible.

So I'm planning on starting rebuilding and replacing things in the rear suspension of the vehicle tomorrow. I'd like to do it all at once, but one item I'm coming up short on is the coil spring insulator. I did find the OEM part number of it 55034-0W005, but even with a discount the dealer is still quoting me $86.xx with tax included for both. Ouch. I looked up some aftermarket ones, but have literally found 1 and reviews have said that it fit small. Maybe I'm measuring the spring wrong, but it looks to have an interior diameter or around 5.25in and a outer diameter of 6. I see these coil spring insulators made for Hummers and Escalades and the interior diameter of the coil spring seat is around 3 inches and the outer diameter around 4.5 inches. Just confused.

Here are the springs if it makes looking up specs easier -- https://drivcat.com/Lite/PartDetailWind ... ER&t=&vin=

Someone said that these seats fit from Energy Suspension, but when I look them up, they're designed for a Volkswagen Golf. The funny thing is that there are individuals using them to stiffen up their Lexus GX vehicles -- https://smile.amazon.com/Energy-Suspens ... 5CDW9HT4PN

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:04 pm

Found OEM for slightly less than $30 with free shipping on eBay. Courtesy Nissan in Dallas. I'm pretty sure I'm just going to go with these - https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Nissan ... 2540162836

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Re: New R50 owner

Postby palmerwmd » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:07 am

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underworld1001
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Re: New R50 owner

Postby underworld1001 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:20 pm

Definitely will do.

The thing is that I'm finding out that A LOT of R50 parts are either discontinued or in short supply so have to resort to sites like eBay or the junk yard. I did take a look at the vendors that didn't pay their bills in the marketplace and will be actively avoiding from purchasing them though. Cheap asses. I did see Rock Auto on there and have ordered from there a number of times. Occasionally I'll get parts from Amazon since I'll either get them in 1 day or same day if I'm lucky. Generally Amazon is more expensive since their seller fees are $$$ for auto parts.

Edit: Turned off my adblock and noticed an ad for SuperBrightLeds.com. Always heard good things about them so I just placed and order for some bulbs (hatch, reverse, gauges). Hopefully the site gets the credit for the sale or a referral fee of some sort.


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