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My 01 Pathfinder has 280,000 miles on it and I know sooner than later it will need to be replaced. I was wondering if anyone who has had both the 01-04 model AND the 05- 12 versions could compare what they liked or disliked about those models and how is the reliability of one vs the other.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
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I was a Nissan Master tech, so I'm very familiar with the VQ35DE engine, plus I have two, R51 Pathfinders with the VQ40DE engines. Each has had their problems, but I think the VQ40DE is more reliable, especially after 2010 model year. The only real issue with the VQ40DE is during the 05-10 model years and didn't occur on all of them. The multi-link timing chains were made by Borg-Warner in the US. As they were stamping the chain link plates for the upper timing chains, the tooling would wear and create sharp edges, which would later cut through the plastic faces on the upper chain tensioners, creating a "whining" noise. Worst case scenario is that it would go unaddressed and eventually jump timing, bend valves, etc. Once you replaced the upper timing chains and tensioner faces, it's no longer an issue. 2011+ didn't have the problem.
One thing you should be aware of it's not a direct swap and you'll want to do your homework if you want to do it. I would think, for starters, you'll need the ECM and harness for the VQ40DE. If you have an automatic transmission, that's another issue because the TCM in the RE5R05A automatic transmission, which is what would be bolted to a VQ40DE, is attached to the valve body inside the transmission, not a stand alone module like in the R50. Plus, the R51 and Gen 2 Frontier have CAN communication, so all of the control units have to communicate with each other. On your truck, the key chip memory is in the ECM whereas on the 2005+ it's in the BCM. The VQ35DE calls for 34-36 PSI fuel pressure and has a return fuel line whereas the VQ40DE fuel pressure is 50 PSI, regulated in the fuel pump module, and only has one fuel line (no return fuel line). I'm not saying it's "un-doable," but I'm not sure it's worth all of the work and hassle, especially on a vehicle that has almost 300,000 miles on it.
 
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