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Discussion Starter #21
The leaks resulted in patches on the concrete. I didnt check if it leaked while idling. In reality it wasn't that bad, just my DW objected to oil on the driveway or on the garage floor.
BTW I purchased at about 24k miles, 15 months old. It always used oil. 800 to 1500 miles to a quart. depending on how fast it was driven. Trips to San Antonio the speed limit is 80 mph around Austin, 85 mph to Seguin. 75 most of the way. And thats not speeding, I plead the fifth!
This was not leaks !
Lol! I’ve visited Texas before. I know the speeds are fact. Our interstate limits are 65-70 in NC. Some are even 60.

Mine leaves about 5-6 drips in the driveway. In the morning it really looks worse because the oil has had time to spread out. I’m keeping an eye on the oil level. So far I’ve driven 200 miles and haven’t noticed a drop in the level; granted that’s not enough mileage to know anything.

My mechanic that I would use to fix my leak told me that on a vehicle as old that kind of a leak is normal. Trying to fix the leaks is counterproductive as it’ll likely worsen existing leaks or cause new ones. He said to just put my $$ towards a new motor when it’s time. I can get a 50k-75k mile motor for about $800-$1000 delivered based on quotes. He said that’s a much better value.
 

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Lol! I’ve visited Texas before. I know the speeds are fact. Our interstate limits are 65-70 in NC. Some are even 60.

Mine leaves about 5-6 drips in the driveway. In the morning it really looks worse because the oil has had time to spread out. I’m keeping an eye on the oil level. So far I’ve driven 200 miles and haven’t noticed a drop in the level; granted that’s not enough mileage to know anything.

My mechanic that I would use to fix my leak told me that on a vehicle as old that kind of a leak is normal. Trying to fix the leaks is counterproductive as it’ll likely worsen existing leaks or cause new ones. He said to just put my $$ towards a new motor when it’s time. I can get a 50k-75k mile motor for about $800-$1000 delivered based on quotes. He said that’s a much better value.
The other comment I have is that a forum member had a leak like this and it turned out to be a cam cover leaking, oil ran down back engine when parked and it looked like a rear main. I know this was mentioned earlier but thought I should bring it up again.
I agree with you. This engine could easily last over 200 K miles, from what I have read the chains and guides are typically the first to give trouble.

I think another point is how long will this generation engine be available with low milage. A friend of a friend purchased a low milage Jag V8, and put in storage complete with ancillaries. (Ready for for when the water pump fails !)

So for what it's worth don't forget my automatic died big time at 168k

This series of Pathfinder are great cars, mine has gone round the 80 mile alpine loop in Colorado twice. First time on worn OEM tires !
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Good point. Worst case I could pay to have the motor rebuilt when and if time comes if a low mileage is unavailable. Then again, I would be putting a youthful engine in an old truck. Might would be better off buying a sound, higher mileage replacement for cheaper. If I get 200k out of the Pathfinder I will be more than satisfied. I’ll probably just keep oil in it and hope it outlasts my expectations!

I sold my 2005 F-150 (165k miles) recently. I had owned it for 3 years, maintained it meticulously, but started to get scared of the high miles. If you know much about the Triton 3v motors you’ll understand why. They’re notorious for needing a top end rebuilt which costs thousands. I also used the money from the sale of the F-150 to buy a 2001 BMW 325i (120k miles) that a friend “bulletproofs”.
 

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Hello everyone,

I recently bought a low mileage 2001 Pathfinder 4x4 (140k). Before I bought it my mechanic took a look at it and said that it looked like it had a rear main seal leak. He told me it would need replaced within a year more than likely and it would be about a $1,000 repair

The Pathfinder was parked in the driveway and I noticed a small pool of oil. Maybe 8-10 drops leaving a 3” diameter pool once settled. I continued to monitor it and it stops after 8-10 drips once the engine is shut off. This seems a little more severe of a leak than when my mechanic looked at it. Right now the oil level is in the dead center of the dip stick

I’m willing to fork out the money to get the repair done because I knew this was a problem when buying the Pathfinder. I do have some questions though I’d like some advice on.

How long can I wait on this repair? I watch my oil level closely by default but more so with this problem.

What is a fair price for this repair (considering it’s 4x4)? Ive seen some people take theirs to a transmission shop and have the repair done for $600 and I’ve seen some posts where people take theirs to the dealer and pay $2,000.

Has anyone ever had any luck with an oil additive that is supposed to fix the leaks? I’m weary because I believe It to be snake oil, but it certainly would cost less than the RMS.
I had the same problem. I waited until transmission went out at 190k. It’s a 25 dollar part and should be included in a tranny replacement.
 

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I have that exact same problem on my 1997 pathfinder also. Only drips 5 or 6 drops once the engine shuts off and mainly on a downslope. Sitting flat only one or two drips.

However, the drip is never enough to warrant tap ups between oil changes. And I do check frequently. Based off my driving I end up doing oil changed every 4 months about.

But this leak is only after engine shuts off. I am certain this is not a rear main seal leak. Rear main seals tend to leak when engine is running. It may look like it is a RMS because the leak appears to come from the bell housing.

I have yet to find out where this leak comes from. I changed the passenger valve cover and no luck. Will be doing the driver side this spring when I pull the plenum to change fuel injectors, IACV and fuel pressure regulator.


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Discussion Starter #26
I have that exact same problem on my 1997 pathfinder also. Only drips 5 or 6 drops once the engine shuts off and mainly on a downslope. Sitting flat only one or two drips.

However, the drip is never enough to warrant tap ups between oil changes. And I do check frequently. Based off my driving I end up doing oil changed every 4 months about.

But this leak is only after engine shuts off. I am certain this is not a rear main seal leak. Rear main seals tend to leak when engine is running. It may look like it is a RMS because the leak appears to come from the bell housing.

I have yet to find out where this leak comes from. I changed the passenger valve cover and no luck. Will be doing the driver side this spring when I pull the plenum to change fuel injectors, IACV and fuel pressure regulator.


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ARS97Pathfinder,

I’m in the same boat. Driven nearly 500 miles and haven’t noticed a drop and I’m not sure I will notice a drop in the oil level. I honestly think it’s the upper oil pan gasket.

It seems like the leak has slowed since I have started driving it more. Seemed to have started out like 6-8 drips but now it’s only like 3-5.

Off topic for this thread, but when you come to a full stop do you hear a light thump coming from the rear? I was told by the same mechanic that on SUVs it can be common. I think it’s either my drum brakes or rear shock that needs replaced (possibly a combination of both). The sound on shows up right when the vehicle comes to a stop and the rear settles down from the nosediving (mainly during a moderate stop). It will also make the noise sometimes, but not all the time, when letting off the brake which leads me to believe the rear drums are sticking.
 

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I have that exact same problem on my 1997 pathfinder also. Only drips 5 or 6 drops once the engine shuts off and mainly on a downslope. Sitting flat only one or two drips.

However, the drip is never enough to warrant tap ups between oil changes. And I do check frequently. Based off my driving I end up doing oil changed every 4 months about.

But this leak is only after engine shuts off. I am certain this is not a rear main seal leak. Rear main seals tend to leak when engine is running. It may look like it is a RMS because the leak appears to come from the bell housing.

I have yet to find out where this leak comes from. I changed the passenger valve cover and no luck. Will be doing the driver side this spring when I pull the plenum to change fuel injectors, IACV and fuel pressure regulator.


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Have you gotten under the car to see where the drip originates. Is the fluid engine oil or ATF? If it's coming out of the bottom slit of the bell housing, the crankshaft seal or the A/T input shaft seal is worn.
 

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Off topic for this thread, but when you come to a full stop do you hear a light thump coming from the rear? I was told by the same mechanic that on SUVs it can be common. I think it’s either my drum brakes or rear shock that needs replaced (possibly a combination of both). The sound on shows up right when the vehicle comes to a stop and the rear settles down from the nosediving (mainly during a moderate stop). It will also make the noise sometimes, but not all the time, when letting off the brake which leads me to believe the rear drums are sticking.
Inspect the drive shaft front and rear universal joints for looseness.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Have you gotten under the car to see where the drip originates. Is the fluid engine oil or ATF? If it's coming out of the bottom slit of the bell housing, the crankshaft seal or the A/T input shaft seal is worn.
It is definitely engine oil. I’ve both watched it drip and caught the drips on cardboard to inspect. I can confirm it is engine oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Inspect the drive shaft front and rear universal joints for looseness.
I’ll check that tomorrow morning. I cannot get the sound to show up when coming to a stop while in Neutral. Logically I would think brakes would still make the “thump” when the car is halted to a stop in Neutral. They do not. My assumption is u-joints.
 

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Use a big prybar if you don't see anything obvious. If there are only a few busted pin bearings, then getting any movement out of them can take a good bit of force. I can't recall if your MY has a split shaft, but if it does then also check the carrier bearing. If you still don't find anything, jack the rear wheels and put it in neutral so you can spin it by hand, listen for clicking and feel for any spots where the shaft rotation isn't smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Use a big prybar if you don't see anything obvious. If there are only a few busted pin bearings, then getting any movement out of them can take a good bit of force. I can't recall if your MY has a split shaft, but if it does then also check the carrier bearing. If you still don't find anything, jack the rear wheels and put it in neutral so you can spin it by hand, listen for clicking and feel for any spots where the shaft rotation isn't smooth.
If memory serves me well, there’s a U-Joint at the tail end of the transmission and one in front of the differential so it’s a 1 piece driveshaft. All I’ve done is inspected it on my back and pushing it with my hands and I inspected the pin bearings. Everything seemed sound, but my inspection wasn’t thorough.
 

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They're easy to find when they're completely shot, but not when they're "going" and just making a little noise. It might be a fool's errand to chase it very hard, if it's a U-joint then it's bound to get worse and make itself obvious.
 

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Have you gotten under the car to see where the drip originates. Is the fluid engine oil or ATF? If it's coming out of the bottom slit of the bell housing, the crankshaft seal or the A/T input shaft seal is worn.
Yeah definitely engine oil, ive been under a few times to check it out. Definitely not transmission fluid from transmission. How tough of a job would it be to change either one of those seals?
 

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Discussion Starter #36
They're easy to find when they're completely shot, but not when they're "going" and just making a little noise. It might be a fool's errand to chase it very hard, if it's a U-joint then it's bound to get worse and make itself obvious.
Understood. It’s more of an annoyance than anything. I was told by my mechanic it’s somewhat normal on some SUVs. I’ll plan on taking it to a friend’s lift this weekend and seeing if we can find the source.

Any chance it’s a rear trailing arm(s) bushing(s) that has gone bad? I know these Pathfinders are known for needing them. I inspected most of those and they look solid, but I am a novice by all means. I could be looking right over something.
 

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Just realized that wasn’t for me!:ROFLMAO:
haha, anyone can chime in on that. We seem to have some similar issues here.

Ive also had an occasional thump from the rear. But its if I pull off hard upslope or very occasional if braked hard.

But I have all new suspension linkages in back including panhard bar. And new suspension components in front. The only thing in rear not changed was springs and shocks, but I had put new kybs in a few years back so left that alone when I redid suspension last year. And didn't change front springs yet also. Those springs are the project in the coming months.

I had a clunky noise that occurred when braking and the rear settles down at the stop. That finally went away when changing rear sway bar bushings. But the thump still get here and there.

And you'll know when trailing arms going bad or bad. You should get a sway on the highways when hitting a dip on the road. But try twisting them by hand and inspect the bushings for large cracks and such.

Ive also checked the u-joints and couldn't get any movement out of them. But there was some play were the yoke from the driveshaft goes into the transmission. Did you get that?

However, they dont sell that separate, would have to change the whole driveshaft. So im thinking of pulling the driveshaft and grease the splines inside the yoke. Ive heard of some results from that.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
haha, anyone can chime in on that. We seem to have some similar issues here.

Ive also had an occasional thump from the rear. But its if I pull off hard upslope or very occasional if braked hard.

But I have all new suspension linkages in back including panhard bar. And new suspension components in front. The only thing in rear not changed was springs and shocks, but I had put new kybs in a few years back so left that alone when I redid suspension last year. And didn't change front springs yet also. Those springs are the project in the coming months.

I had a clunky noise that occurred when braking and the rear settles down at the stop. That finally went away when changing rear sway bar bushings. But the thump still get here and there.

And you'll know when trailing arms going bad or bad. You should get a sway on the highways when hitting a dip on the road. But try twisting them by hand and inspect the bushings for large cracks and such.

Ive also checked the u-joints and couldn't get any movement out of them. But there was some play were the yoke from the driveshaft goes into the transmission. Did you get that?

However, they dont sell that separate, would have to change the whole driveshaft. So im thinking of pulling the driveshaft and grease the splines inside the yoke. Ive heard of some results from that.
My rear passenger side shock is bad and it’s nearly time for new brakes. I know that the shock is bad because the bottom half is wet. I just haven’t made the time to fix it because I daily a different vehicle. However, given that it doesn’t make the clunk/thump when braking in Neutral I am ruling out suspension and thinking the noise is driveline related. Interesting about the sway bar bushings though. I’ll have to look into that.

I wouldn’t describe the noise I am hearing as a clunk though. It doesn’t sound metallic. More like a jolt from someone slightly bumping into you.

There’s no excessive swaying on the highway, nor does the rear hop out of line when hitting bumps at highways speeds. I believe my trailing arms are good, but I’ll check them just to rule them out.

I have not checked the yoke for play. However, on my friends GMC Yukon AWD he did isolate a vibration when accelerating to his driveshaft yoke. He had to replace the whole driveshaft which wasn’t cheap! I’ll definitely check my yoke though since if it is the yoke, putting u-joints in would be a waste
 

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Discussion Starter #39
haha, anyone can chime in on that. We seem to have some similar issues here.

Ive also had an occasional thump from the rear. But its if I pull off hard upslope or very occasional if braked hard.

But I have all new suspension linkages in back including panhard bar. And new suspension components in front. The only thing in rear not changed was springs and shocks, but I had put new kybs in a few years back so left that alone when I redid suspension last year. And didn't change front springs yet also. Those springs are the project in the coming months.

I had a clunky noise that occurred when braking and the rear settles down at the stop. That finally went away when changing rear sway bar bushings. But the thump still get here and there.

And you'll know when trailing arms going bad or bad. You should get a sway on the highways when hitting a dip on the road. But try twisting them by hand and inspect the bushings for large cracks and such.

Ive also checked the u-joints and couldn't get any movement out of them. But there was some play were the yoke from the driveshaft goes into the transmission. Did you get that?

However, they dont sell that separate, would have to change the whole driveshaft. So im thinking of pulling the driveshaft and grease the splines inside the yoke. Ive heard of some results from that.
Just had the car up on a buddy's lift. I inspected the trailing arms and u-joints. I totally forgot to check the yoke, but I reckon I can do that with the vehicle on the ground.

The u-joints were solid. Not even the slightest bit of play.

The trailing arms all had a bit of play when rotated. When I grabbed them and rotated them the "bolt hole" had about 10-15 degrees of play in both directions. The bushings looked sub-par, but not completely shot. They looked dried out and had some small cracks in them. I think they need replacing, but I am not confident that will fix the thump because of the fact that I cannot reproduce the "thump" while the car is in Neutral. I would think no matter the status of the driveline, if the thump originated from the trailing arms the thump would be present. Maybe I am overthinking it :unsure:. I have noticed as recent as today that at highways speeds (most noticeable at 75mph+) the rear end is a bit erratic (could be all 250 horses the VQ is putting out though):LOL:. Rear trailing arms sounds like a good starting point at the very least.

Other than the yoke I can't think of anywhere else the sound could originate other than the rear differential. Its definitely from the rear though.
 

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The trailing arms all had a bit of play when rotated. When I grabbed them and rotated them the "bolt hole" had about 10-15 degrees of play in both directions. The bushings looked sub-par, but not completely shot. They looked dried out and had some small cracks in them. I think they need replacing, but I am not confident that will fix the thump because of the fact that I cannot reproduce the "thump" while the car is in Neutral.
With any forward or backward traction load, the whole axle will be forced forward or backward against the inertia of the body. This will load up the trailing arms correspondingly, forward or backward, since they're trying to stabilize the position of the axle. With no traction load and the wheels rolling free (neutral), there's no stabilizing to do, the body, axle and wheels all have more-or-less equal inertia. So the fact that it doesn't clunk in neutral doesn't necessarily exculpate the arm bushings.
 
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