I wouldn't complain if my R51 got better gas mileage.brickbox wrote:... And for gas mileage, the R51s are also chided for being horrendous. ...
You have a lot of solid points here. As for under braking, I came from a R50 QX4 to the R51. So 4 wheel discs were a significant improvement. But I do agree with you that the vehicle is generally under braked. I debated switching to the V8 brakes but decided against because then I wouldnâ€™t be able to run my winter tires which are on 16â€ rims.ShipFixer wrote:Oh I don't know. I think timing was against it on one hand, as a "gas crisis" hit a few years after release. I picked mine up for only $2K more than a similar year XTerra in 2009, as everyone abandoned body on frame vehicles. But on the other hand, the cost cutting decisions by Nissan just hold it back.
A stock R51 thunders over each and every little bump in the road, and wallows on its soft rear coils. Why? Nissan didn't put $20 of damping material in front fenders on their more premium SUV. There is damping under the body that doesn't exist on Frontiers, which is wierd because it doesn't really need it so much there if you've seen how thick that metal is. They inexcusably used the same spring rates as the Frontier/XTerra in a nearly 800 lb heavier truck. Every time I see a stock R51 drive by, 95% of the time it's sitting low on its rear wheels and annoys me.
When I first picked up my truck ('05 with 28K miles on it), it bottomed out the rear springs so badly at speed that it could upset the front end on the highway. Airlift bags weren't just for cargo, they were a necessity to keep it tracking correctly.
They used the same brakes as the much lighter vehicles too; under-specced brakes is kind of a Nissan tradition I guess, but wow. It's not just that the brakes are underwhelming, if I use them pretty hard with long duration and don't keep my lugnuts evenly torqued I can eat rotors in thousands of miles, not tens of thousands.
When I replaced the steering rack bushings, the OEM design just makes my head hurt. I'm pleased with the PRG upgrade but it's clear Nissan went far too conservative in bushing design to preserve the rack against driver damage vs. steering feel.
I did go test drive a bunch of things last month when I heard my timing chain tensioner noise come back. If you put a handful of my mods together (Bilsteins, Moog springs, steering damper, and damping in at least the front fenders), my R51 is a fantastic driver. With the intake spacer and big radiator it's hard to beat up the hill, too. Aside from the Mazda CX-9 (which is a little short on cargo space for bikes and surfing for me), I didn't drive a single thing that felt better than how my R51 is now. The new Ford Explorer is a shock upgrade away but it's so new even Bilstein doesn't have anything ready for it yet. I didn't like it $47K more than I like my truck, for sure. And that turbo four sounds completely awful when it's warming up.
(If you get a chance though, test drive an Explorer ST...that thing with improved shocks would be crazy awesome.)
I could easily afford a new vehicle, but I love my Pathfinder and don't have any indication of near term failure so I keep fixing it. But I am annoyed that I had to fix design flaws and do relatively inexpensive mods that I think it should have come with from the factory to get it where it is. Imagine if the Pathfinder with its independent rear suspension had slightly improved steering, bigger brakes, and just a touch stiffer springs back in 2005?
I think the fuel economy side would have killed sales as they did for all vehicles back then (mostly because the average consumer fails to whip out a calculator and realize that even at $4/gallon, they're not saving huge money by prioritizing fuel efficiency), but it would have sold a lot better than it did. For sure I think there's a chance we'd still be seeing it for sale next to the 370Z instead of the R52.
I definitely think so. Only reason to do the KYB shocks is either a.) cost or b.) unavailability of a spring compressor. I would do the Bilstein shocks in my OEM springs before doing the KYB (which are OEM) quick struts...the springs should be the same. The Bilsteins are much closer to ideal damping in most situations on the road.brickbox wrote: As for struts and shocks, I think I might need to do the front struts sometime in the next year. I was looking at the KYB strut plus quick strut assembly - is the Bilstein with Moog springs a much better upgrade instead? I was going to spring for Bilyâ€™s in the back irrespective, although Iâ€™m going to skip the airlift because I donâ€™t tow anything significant.
I use Second Skin damplifier inside the fenders (the sheet metal). I blanket my fenders and sheet metal with damping but it doesn't take that much to kill 80% of the noise. You are looking for the center of resonance here and don't need a bunch of accelerometers to do it The roughly-middle of the panel is the right place to start; put a square there, then knock with your knuckles around to feel where there is lots of resonance. Put more there, etc.Also, where did you put the noise dampers in the wheel wells?
Absolutely. It's especially noticeable going downhill at highway speed with a load. No more wandering!Final thing, the PRG bushings provide that much more of a significant upgrade in feel?