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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 95 Pathfinder that really lacks for power and it seems to be slowly worsening. It started out as kind of a pause or hesitation when accelerating. You would have to push the accelerator into it to get it out of it and up to speed. It would kind of act doggy and would even down shift to get up to speed. It still is doing this. It seems to be getting worse. Now, when cruising down the highway, it acts like it is losing power and you have to accelerate into it continually. It kind of feels like the brakes are being applied when it slows. Kind of wierd though. It doesn't miss or otherwise run poorly. It idles fine. It just acts like there is something holding it back.

Anyone ever have this problem or have any ideas about what it could be? I have a few ideas: I am going to replace the air filter (probably not the problem though), maybe it could be the O2 sensor although, it has no check engine lights (I don't know how they act when they need an O2 sensor), maybe a clogged catalytic converter, maybe the ignition coil is weak, maybe something is wrong with the throttle body.

Also, it is really getting bad mileage--about 10-11 MPG. It used to do better and would get about 18 (I think). It never has been known to get good mileage. I wish it were a stick, but it is an automatic. I am wondering if there is any other sensor that could be causing this problem. It has the 6 cylinder engine. I have a little 4 cyl Nissan 4wd truck that has a lot more power and gets much better mileage. It is also much funner to drive. Thanks.
 

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Smith1000 said:
I have a 95 Pathfinder that really lacks for power and it seems to be slowly worsening. It started out as kind of a pause or hesitation when accelerating. You would have to push the accelerator into it to get it out of it and up to speed. It would kind of act doggy and would even down shift to get up to speed. It still is doing this. It seems to be getting worse. Now, when cruising down the highway, it acts like it is losing power and you have to accelerate into it continually. It kind of feels like the brakes are being applied when it slows. Kind of wierd though. It doesn't miss or otherwise run poorly. It idles fine. It just acts like there is something holding it back.

Anyone ever have this problem or have any ideas about what it could be?
In my opinion, it sounds like your transmission is starting to go on ya. How many miles on the engine? I wouldn't bother with the O2 sensor, air filter or cat converter just yet... as you mentioned it idles fine. Take it to a transmission shop and ask for a free estimate.

To be sure it's not a brake problem, stop on a road that goes a little downhill and put it in neutral and let it roll. If it doesn't roll, and the hand brake is released then it's the brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
95 Pathy Bogging Out

Transmission?! Man, I would have never guessed the transmission. It has about 115,000 on it. The transmission has always seemed to shift fine. So, is this type of problem the way they/Pathfinders typically act when the tranny goes? I have never had an automatic transmission behave like this (if it is it). It seems like they usually slip, shift late and/or go out all together. Thanks for the pointers. I'll check the brake on a hill.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
95 Pathy Losing Power

I am reluctant to say that I think the problem was the air filter. I changed it tonight and found that the old one had an incredible amount of dust/dirt in it. I think it was just starving for air. I could actually dump dirt out of it. We live on a dirt/gravel road, but I don't believe I have ever seen a filter this dirty. We have had some drought conditions the past couple of years and there has been a lot of dust. I last changed the air filter at around 96,000 miles. I checked. It only has 110,000 miles on it. We have had it for years, but I guess we just haven't driven it that much. One of the reasons is because it sucks dust in the cab on the gravel roads. Haven't been able to get that stopped and it really bothers my wife. Also, it is a very bumpy ride.

Checked the oil and transmission fluid and they both look like new. That air filter in the Nissan really kept the dirt out of the engine. The oil in our other cars looks like mud sometimes, even with new filters. Remarkably, it doesn't seem to shorten the engine life or hurt the compression. They just run and run.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You're absolutely right. It probably does need the fuel filter replaced too. I have never done that to it and it is likely due. I might hold off on that for awhile. Gas is so high, we probably won't be using it much this summer. A couple a things about this Pathfinder, it doesn't use a drop of oil and I have never had any mechancial problems with it at all. I have never before had a vehicle where nothing goes wrong. It sure is a kidney jerker though on the rock roads. Thanks for the advice
 

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Smith1000 said:
.... We have had it for years, but I guess we just haven't driven it that much. One of the reasons is because it sucks dust in the cab on the gravel roads. Haven't been able to get that stopped and it really bothers my wife. ....
Oddly for a vehicle designed for rough road use, and a platform that is used in rural areas all over the planet, the first generation Pathfinder was very poorly sealed against dust intrusion.

If you open the doors and examine the "thresholds", you will find there are cracks or depressions where different parts of the body were welded together. Where the door weatherstripping overlaps these joints, there are openings left where I believe dust can and does enter. You can see dust deposits on the weatherstripping where the dust is leaking in. Although I never did it, I think that if you use caulking or something like that to fill these gaps, cover them with plastic wrap so the caulking doesn't get on the doors, and close the doors until the caulking hardens, you may succeed in plugging these gaps. Don't forget the back hatch. I've never seen another vehicle that had these gaps left unfilled.

Also common on these models is that the tops of the doors don't close flush against the body. You can check with a strong light, or see if you can move a piece of paper around the gap with the door closed. These openings also let a lot of noise in.

There are also vents in the doors, but I think they're to relive internal air pressure so the doors close properly. I don't think they leak dust, but there will be dust plastered on them if they do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, it leaks dust around the bottom, towards the front of the front doors and around the rear hatch. The rear hatch is starting to rattle too. Pretty much have to keep the windows rolled up on the dusty roads, so the ac has to be on. I have never had much luck stopping dust leaks in any vehicle I have had. If they leak, they leak. The Pathfinder really fogs up with dust on the inside. My neighbor has a Honda Civic that does the same or worse. Yet, I have a 78 Ford pickup and a 89 Nissan pickup. They don't seem to leak at all.
 

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If the rear hatch is rattling, all your weatherstripping probably is shot. Usually, though, rattles from the back end are the spare tire carrier (if you have one).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Pathfinder

Yeah, the spare tire has rattled since the day I got it, but I wedged a towel down at the bottom and that pretty much stopped it. Also, when the rear hatch rattles, the dome light goes on and off, so we have to keep the dome light off at all times. I would like to by-pass the rear hatch dome light switch somehow, but I have never looked into it too much.

For years, I drove an IH Scout and, over time, it really began to rattle. The rear window eventually fell off and I had to weld it where the hinges broke loose. It really sucked dust. It became unbearable when the rear body mounts rusted loose and began to squeak and rattle loudly. The Pathfinder reminds me a lot of the Scout in many ways. It seems like the Scout actually was a little smoother going down the road, but it had leaf springs. The Pathfinder has definitely had fewer mecahnical problems--nothing ever has really gone wrong with it. There are some little things, but nothing major. They get about the same gas mileage.
 

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to solve the rear hatch problem, open the hatch, then loosen the bolts on the hatch catch (on the floor not the hatch itself) and slide it in slightly, you might have to adjust it back and forth a couple times to get it right....i had this problem, those catches move over time and dont let the hatch shut completely...thats why the light goes on and off, if you adjust that catch in a bit the hatch will shut tighter.....as for the power loss problem, have you changed the plug wires lately?? my pathy does the exact same thing after i wash the motor, its the plug wires loosing spark before it can get to the plugs...BTW, if you havent changed the air and fuel filter in that long, you need to go ahead and change EVERY filter, and do a full tune up, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, O2 sensors, EVERYTHING!!! all of those parts can cause loss of power and mileage, and they are parts that need changed fairly often anyways, so replacing them when they are still good is just preventative maintenance....
 

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We had our '91 for 11 years, and rough gravel road use was typical, whereas it was seldom used for city driving. Over that time, the only rattle/squeak issue was solved by replacing the bearings on the spare tire carrier. It was just as tight on bumps when we sold it, as when we bought it. Lining it with sound insulation probably helped, but it really did stay tight.

However, we kept it from rusting. Things like rusty hinges will end up resulting in rattles etc.

You may need just to adjust the rear hatch latch, but OkcOffRoader beat me to that suggestion. (I never had to adjust anything on the hatch, just replace the struts.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll try adjusting the hatch latch. I attempted to adjust it a couple of years ago, but didn't get it fixed. I don't think I was moving it forward though. That may do the trick.

The 95 doesn't have any rust on it which is great. I have an 89 Nissan 4wd truck that has rust everywhere, including large holes. They must have got the primer figured out. I replaced the plugs, cap, rotor, wires, etc. when we got the Pathfinder in 2002. It had 95,000 on it. I checked the odometer and it only has 110,000 on it now. Thought it had more on it than that. It probably could use a new fuel filter as I haven't replaced it yet.

The 95 Pathy is n automatic and engaging it in 4wd has always been rather difficult. Can't do it while moving. On the other hand, the 89 truck goes in and out on the fly, real smooth. The Scout had a chain driven transfer case which seemed to work okay. Just had to pull a knob out on the dash, but you had to lock in the hubs for pulling, etc.

I didn't realize the spare tire carrier had bearings on it. I'll have to take a look at it. The rear hatch won't stay up in cold temperatures, but it is fine when it's warmer out.
 

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The engagement of the 4wd should have nothing to do with the transmission. It's possible the front hubs have never been repacked, and are not engaging properly. We could go into 4wd at up to 20mph on our '91. Any faster, and it made all sorts of horrible noises. A firm hand when engaging it helped.

The spare tire carrier has bearings probably more properly called bushings. They do wear out, and after you get them replaced, the carrier can still rattle because the latch end is now too high.

Good struts should push the hatch up even in winter, down to say, 0F or so. Aftermarket replacements are pretty cheap, and replacing them is a relatively easy, and satisfying job.
 

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Power loss

Smith1000 said:
It started out as kind of a pause or hesitation when accelerating. You would have to push the accelerator into it to get it out of it and up to speed. It would kind of act doggy and would even down shift to get up to speed.
So, did you figure out what is causing this yet? In case not...

I would not worry about replacing all those service items besides the fuel filter. The rest of them are likely not the culprit. You need 2 things to make power, fuel and spark. The fact it seems to be worse at higher engine speeds is interesting. I would start by pulling wires individually off the spark plugs while idling in the driveway. Pulling each one should change the pitch of the engine. If pulling one has no effect, you have found a dead cylinder. A dead cylinder would indicate either a dead/clogged fuel injector, dead injector driver, bad sparkplug/wire/distycap, or possibly damaged valvetrain.

If you don't notice any effect from the above, I would attach a fuel pressure gauge to the truck after the fuel filter, but before the injectors and drive around for it to start hesitating. Then you can see if the fuel pressure is dropping. That would indicate a dying fuel pump or maybe debris in the bottom of the tank causing itermittent clogging. It could also be a dying ignition coil that can not provide enough spark at faster engine speeds, or by a dying alternator that can't keep up with the power demands of the ignition and fuelpump. The next time it is hesitating, turn on the headlights and if its the alternator, the hesitation should get much worse.

After that, I am out of ideas. The factory service manual is a great resource when trying to troubleshoot things like this if you want to DIY. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
95 Bogging Out and Poor Mileage

I had to replace the ac belt on the Pathfinder yesterday. I had not driven it for quite some time. My wife had driven it recently and said it was still bogging out some. She refused to drive it unless the belt was replaced for the ac. It can't be driven on the dusty roads with the windows down because it "clouds up" inside with dust.

After replacing the belt and driving it some, I checked the transmission fluid and decided it looked overfilled. The fluid is so clean, it is hard to tell exactly where the level is. I pumped out about 3 quarts and made it too low. I slowly added back enough to where I think I have it at about the full mark, maybe just slightly over. We drove it around some last night and remarkably, it seems to be running much better without any bogging. Possibly, I just had too much transmission fluid in it. I haven't driven it down the highway above 60 mph yet, but it seemed to maintain the speed fairly well just below 60. I'll drive it some more today. Has anyone ever experienced this behavior with an overfilled transmission? I might go out and check the level now to see what it reads cold. It can be checked hot or cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Apparently, the 4wd cannot be checked when cool. Only the 2wd can be checked cool, engine running, right after starting-per the manual. I drove it around and checked it again. I removed a bit more then had to add some back. The amount represented between the high and low line is a very narrow margin. I have the level just up to slightly below the full line. It seems to be running fairly well now. I think the culprit was the transmission being overfilled. With the warmer temps and highway driving, the problem had been more noticable, probably to the heat and expansion of the fluid, not sure.
 

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proable break problem

I normaly wouldn't reply to a post this old, but no one eles seems to have said it... I sounds like a locked up break caliper or a stuck/seized parking break. As you said your pathy feels like your accelerating with the brakes on and it very well could be just that. Theres a simple way to check for this problem. Take the jack out and jack up each tire tell its just off the ground and spin them by hand. If you find one that will not spin you've found your problem. Make sure to jack the car up on the frame and put a block of wood under the back tire that you arent jacking up at the time. If you find a front tire that doesn't turn dont go out and buy a caliper just yet. Crack the bleeder valve and try to push the caliper piston back. I use a big screw drive for this. If the caliper piston goes back then replace the break line attached to the caliper ,if not replace the caliper. Now if its a back tire that doesnt turn your probley need to take it to a professional. Front breaks are pretty easy to do but most rear breaks are drum breaks and take certian tools that the normal person usualy just doesn't have. If both rear tires don't turn then its probley the the parking break cable seized in the park possession. This is likey especialy if you drive on snowy roads. Hope it helps.
 

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I don't think you really needed to reply...he said the problem was fixed, eh?
 

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losing power

Smith1000 said:
You're absolutely right. It probably does need the fuel filter replaced too. I have never done that to it and it is likely due. I might hold off on that for awhile. Gas is so high, we probably won't be using it much this summer. A couple a things about this Pathfinder, it doesn't use a drop of oil and I have never had any mechancial problems with it at all. I have never before had a vehicle where nothing goes wrong. It sure is a kidney jerker though on the rock roads. Thanks for the advice

:) my 95 pathy was acting up, high revs sounded like i was 2nd gear, poor mileage. I though right away tranny when it was something as simple as a seized fan clutch, what a relief.
 
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