I've got a '07 SE with V6 and the AirLift kit. I pull a dual axle, 21 ft hybrid camper, (Rockwood Roo 21SS
), 3,480 lbs dry weight and 4,800 loaded, with an Equal-I-zer weight-distributing/anti-sway hitch on the Pathfinder's stock receiver. I recently pulled this camper with my Pathfinder cross-country to Salt Lake City and back (stopping lots of places along the way). I also had three people in the truck plus about 1,000 lbs of people and gear inside and on the roof. I'll share that experience with you.
- Even with the AirLift suspension helpers at max air pressure and the WDS hitch adjusted properly, the Pathfinder still sags at the rear. I have one more notch on the leveling bars, but I suspect the problem is with the receiver and the Pathfinder's notoriously soft rear suspension. This did not seem to affect drivability, and I never bottomed-out, but it sometimes annoyed oncoming traffic at night (they thought I had my high-beams on), and probably caused some excess wear on the rear brakes, tires and suspension. I compensated by rotating my tires every 3,000 miles.
- The Pathfinder handled well while towing, except as noted above, and did not exhibit any excess sway or bouncing.
- I have General AT² Grabber tires in the standard OEM size, (265/70R16), rated for 2,469 lbs capacity at 44 PSI. Considering the weight of the engine/transmission and placement of people and cargo, plus the tongue weight, I was unbalanced to the rear by a couple hundred pounds but still well within tire capacity. I think these tires -- which have thicker sidewalls and are stiffer because of the higher pressure -- helped with the sway and bouncing.
- Power was OK. Take into account this is a V6, so occasionally I'd have to poke along at 45 MPH (or less) in third gear at around 2,500 RPM, or let the engine scream over 4,000 RPM in second gear to stay above 55 MPH. I tried to avoid running the engine above 3,500 RPM for any more than a few minutes.
- Fuel economy was OK. Even in the flat states between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, the highways are not really flat due to overpasses and such. My average fuel economy for the trip was around 9 MPG, which was about 70% highway towing and 30% local and off-road driving unhooked, by distance driven. I used regular 87 octane gas, except at higher elevations where regular was 85 octane. Aside from the cost, you have to be very conscious of your decreased range. More than once I had to detour far off the highway to refuel after deciding to pass-up an earlier and more convenient service center.
- Even towing over mountains in up to 110°F temperatures did not cause any noticeable increase in reported engine temperature or any engine knocking or pinging, (but the engine fans ran like a bat out of hell!).
- I have single-axle electric brakes on the trailer and a Tekonsha Prodigy digital/proportional brake controller. Tekonsha makes a cable to plug directly into the Pathfinder OEM electrical bus for easy installation. I mounted the controller in the center dash pocket under the heater controls. You will also need to replace the Pathfinder's standard straight-four trailer electrical connection with round 7-way connector. These parts are available from Nissan and are very easy to install yourself.
- I did notice upon my return that the hole in the hitch receiver the ball mount's locking pin was slightly elongated vertically, and the hitch receiver itself seemed to have a little more vertical play than when new. I'm going to have the dealer look at it shortly and determine if it is within safe specifications or if I need a new receiver, and if a new receiver is needed, I'll probably opt for a Draw-Tite Class III Max, if I can find one to fit.
Based on my experience, I have no concerns, other than the rear-end sag, towing my 4,800 lb (loaded) trailer with the Pathfinder for short to medium trips. But for longer trips, I am concerned that the V6 is underpowered, and running it hard for so long will result in premature engine/transmission wear. Also, the Pathfinder is not exactly the most comfortable vehicle for three full-sized people during 6 to 12-hour-long days on the road. The bottom seat cushions are too short, the rear legroom is cramped, the front headrests are too close to the rear passengers' face, and the rear sea-tbacks are too upright.
I'm strongly considering trading-in the trailer for a Class C motorhome and pulling the Pathfinder on future cross-country trips. In fact, I'd do so right now if I had the extra money, as fuel prices and the economy is resulting in fire-sale prices for late model used motorhomes on eBay.