Looking to buy a Pathfinder - need info/help

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Silver
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Looking to buy a Pathfinder - need info/help

Postby Silver » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:15 pm

We're in the market for a new SUV, and the Pathfinder, on the surface, seems like it might fit the bill. We've had a Jeep Liberty since 2004, and it has been perfect in just about every way. We bought it because we needed an SUV that was more rugged then the average car-based SUV. We tow a small camper from time to time (though my Ram does that most of the time), and we spend time in the mountains camping and fishing. So we need to know our SUV will take us off the beaten path with confidence. We also need something that we can rely on in snow and bad weather. The Jeep always did everything we needed, but it is just too small now. We need something a little bigger, and with a 3rd row. From reviews I have read, the Pathfinder seems like it might do the job for us without having to go to a full size truck-based SUV, which I don't want due to gas mileage and size).

So, I have a couple of questions for you all.
-What are some of the common problems? I heard somewhere that the Nissan V6 has bad issues with the the belt tensioner, and that it is very expensive to repair. Is this true?

-I've also heard about a lot of fuel system issues with this V6. True?

-What other issues do you guys see commonly around here, and what should I look for if I go to buy one?

-Is there any year or model that is significantly better then others?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.


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08Datsun
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Postby 08Datsun » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:55 pm

We moved from a Jeep, a 1990 Grand Wagoneer. It was about the same size and capability as the Pathfinder, though. We use the PF similarly to the way you describe. We tow a 2800lb. tent trailer all over the southwest with no problem. We take it off-road quite a bit. It survived a Death Valley trip(see avatar), Sedona, and a Prescott trip last year without issue. We've now had it 2 years and have 32k on it. We had one small warranty issue that required a re-flash of the computer, and that has been it. It's only been to the dealer that one time. My wife drives it daily due to the three rows.

It seems that the newer the PF, the better. I'd peruse this forum and you'll see the main issues. There are timing chain tensioner issues, radiator, belt tensioner, and fuel sender problems. As far as I can tell, they've all been worked out on the new models.

I'd still buy the same vehicle if I had it to do over.

skinny2
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: BFE, Ohio

Postby skinny2 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:18 pm

Same story for me and I landed on the Pathfinder. There are very few choices that are real SUV's in this size today. PF, 4Runner, and Explorer are about it. I likely would have bought the 4Runner had the seats not been just horrible. I don't NEED a 3rd row though and the 4Runners 3rd row is useless IMHO. I believe the new 2010 4Runner is better, although it's approaching full-size SUV territory.

You didn't clarify if you were shopping new or used so I guess that changes things a bit. I'm just not a big fan of the Explorer and it is also approaching full-size as well. So I jumped on the Pathfinder. So far so good.

As for reliability...I think most vehicles these days are pretty darn reliable. They all seem to have their quirks and I'm sure you've heard of plenty of horror stories about the Liberty but that didn't change your experience. That's why I give reliability very little concern. I'd rather drive the vehicle I like the best and maybe have a few problems vs driving something assumed to be trouble-free. If you can find the perfect vehicle with the best reliability, even better. It's a real bummer when you go with the assumed reliable option and then when it has problems you'll be more annoyed than ever! It seems like most of the bugs have been worked out on the '08+ pathfinders.

Npath
Posts: 356
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 10:20 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Looking to buy a Pathfinder - need info/help

Postby Npath » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:04 pm

Silver wrote:So, I have a couple of questions for you all.
-What are some of the common problems? I heard somewhere that the Nissan V6 has bad issues with the the belt tensioner, and that it is very expensive to repair. Is this true?

-I've also heard about a lot of fuel system issues with this V6. True?

-What other issues do you guys see commonly around here, and what should I look for if I go to buy one?

-Is there any year or model that is significantly better then others?
Chain and tensioner usually go before 50,000km. So if not sure, ask the owner for bills. If you're buying new, I don't know if they've corrected the issue. Yeah, it's expensive... $1500 @ the dealer. Lots of things involved so I seriously suggest dealer for replacement/repair.

I haven't had an issue with fuel system, seems accurate to me.

I see rain channel cracks on the roof. touch up paint will do the job.
console latch usually breaks.
cowel turns white. Use a dremel to get rid of it or if possible ask the dealer to swap it, free.
Steering wheel control for the stereo channels/tracks don't work sometimes.
I've heard 2 people complain about coolant lines to the rear heater core rotting. body removal is neccessary to replace the lines.
2005 models have tranny coolant leaks inside the radiator. I haven't heard of the other years having this issue except "1" 2006 model on this forum.

06-08 models seem to be the good years. 09 models, Consumer Report says they are bad... don't know why. 2010 models... don't know but do have optional V8 5.6L engines.

ocdjg
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:35 am
Location: IE/OC

Postby ocdjg » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:33 am

I just got my 06 Pathy SE about a month ago and I'm pretty happy with it. Its my daily driver and so far its handled pretty well. Like the few above posts have said, every car has its quirks. So if the Pathy suits your needs go for it. I got mine because I wanted a 7 seater and I didn't want a van. Granted the 3rd row is only good for small children, but at least I have the option :)

Silver
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:05 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Postby Silver » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:46 pm

We are looking at new, but honestly will probably buy something 1 or 2 years old just because it will save us so much more. Haven't seen any '06 or '07's really that still had low enough mileage for what I am looking for.

I appreciate all the feedback.

Oh, one other question. Do you have to run premium in the V6? I thought I read that somewhere. And what type or real world MPG's are you guys getting.

Thanks.

skinny2
Sponsored Member
Posts: 1531
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: BFE, Ohio

Postby skinny2 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:37 pm

I bought my '08 from a private party. Most ALL of the '08-'09 S models out there are rental returns. Many of the SE's are as well. I'm not a big fan of buying a rental return, but that's your call. Just be aware that most of the used ones are. I wanted an '08+ for the mild updates.

Premium is recommended but not required. I've not noticed a difference in economy between the two, but if you're running hard there is a performance difference. I haven't gotten a good feel for mileage yet but averaged 22mpg on the drive home which was 160 highway miles. I've been averaging 17-19mpg on my commute but have been in 4x4 a lot and idling to warm it up before leaving. I'm hoping to average around 20mpg once the weather clears up. I tend to average somewhere around the highway mileage on previous vehicles with this commute, so I'm satisfied particularly since it should only go up :lol:

Plngeek
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:42 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Postby Plngeek » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:51 am

I've had my PF for 15 months now and love it! We ended up with it in much the same way as your reasoning. Back in 2007, we got my wife a Rav4 which gave me the choice of either keeping the 2004 Tacoma Dcab or the 2005 Mazda6 for myself and trading the other in. We had a '97 Tacoma at the time, and I didn't see the need for 2 trucks, so I kept the 6.

4 months later, we ended up with a pop-up trailer. The Tacoma wasn't big enough to hold the kids on a trip, so we were towing it with the Rav which was fine as long as we stayed in the valley. After having to borrow my in-laws' 4Runner to go to the coast, we decided it was time to get something that towed better. We had it narrowed down to the Tacoma, 4Runner, Frontier and Pathfinder, but it was finally the price/value that won me over to the PF. I was looking at a 2006 Tacoma Dcab for $19.5k with around 40k miles on it. Nice truck, reasonably equipped, but just average. Then for $19k I found my 2005 SE Offroad loaded with leather, an AVIC Z-1, headrest screens and around 49k miles. I snapped that one up in a heartbeat.

15 months and 20k miles later, I love the PF. I had the belt squeal when I bought it, took it back to Carmax where they replaced the tensioner and belt. They used aftermarket parts, and the belt completely shredded within 150 miles. They tried again using dealer parts (and probably a new tech) and it's been good for the rest of the 20k miles. Since then, our little popup grew into a 21ft Skyline (dry weight 4100lbs) and the PF handles it with no issues. The rear end is a little soggy, but I have some new Rancho 9000s and the Airlift kit going on it this weekend, so that will hopefully bring that back into check.

All in all, I love the PF and don't regret the purchase for a second. It is my first Nissan (always had Toyota or Honda when buying Japanese), but it definitely won't be my last. I'm already starting to look at the Titans for when I replace this. We're talking about upgrading to a trailer somewhere in the 25-29ft range next time, and I want the wheelbase of a truck to help keep that the way it should be.

Good luck with your purchase.


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