Nissan Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I’m currently looking to purchase a 3rd gen Pathfinder. What are the best years for gen 3s and what years should I avoid? Are there any common issues that occur at a particular mileage? I‘ll be towing a 4,000 lbs. center console fishing boat, I would prefer a 4x4 and I’m interested in the V8 engine option, (available in the 2008+ Pathfinders) I know the V6 can tow up to 6,000. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you,
 

·
NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
Joined
·
10,036 Posts
I'm a admin at TheNissanPath.com and own a 2006 LE AWD and a 2008 SE 4x4 V6, personally. The third gen was 2005 thru 2012 as you already know. The VQ40DE is a strong motor and the RE5R05A is a very good transmission and can easily handle a 6,000 lb trailer. The V8 is even stronger, but they can be hard to find as they are not nearly as common as the V6. Another advantage of the V8 is that the front brakes are 1" larger (but you can upgrade the V6 brakes to the V8 by simply replacing the front rotors, calipers w/ mounting brackets and pads for a V8 R51). All trims except the LE have the standard transfer case; the LE comes with an AUTO mode transfer case, which is similar to GM's Smart Trak II system that employs a wet clutch to deliver power to the front axle when needed. LE's will also be loaded with leather seats, faux wood grain trim and Bose audio. The Off-road trim comes with taller tires, different shocks, Hill Assist and Hill Decent Control.
Best years, IMO, are 2011 and 2012, as these finally got the "bugs" worked out of them for the most part. Several problems are well known on the 2005-2010 models. There were two big issues that "could" occur: the upper timing chains eating through the plastic tensioner faces and radiator integral trans coolers that could leak at a seal and cause cross-contamination of the engine coolant and automatic transmission fluid.
The upper timing chain issues were caused by poor stampings that caused sharp edges to remain on the links. As the tooling wore that stamped the links, the quality of the links stamped got worse. The ones with the sharp edges would, over time, cut into the plastic tensioner faces, eventually causing a loud "whine" and cutting all the way through to the hardened metal tensioner plunger. Not all of the VQ40DE engines experienced this problem, but many did and when it occurred varied depending on how the stamping of the link was. So, some experience the problem at 30,000 miles and some didn't have it until 150,000 miles or more. Replacing the upper chains and tensioner faces fixes the problem, but it is a big job. This doesn't occur on the V8, to my knowledge.
One issue that does affect the V8 is cracked exhaust manifolds. They will crack and you'll start to hear a "ticking" noise, that may decrease as the engine warms up. Eventually, it will get louder over time.
The radiator cooler failures affected some V6 and V8 models, 2005-2010, along with a very few 2011 models. The problem occurred only on the factory-installed, Calsonic brand radiators. None of the aftermarket replacement radiators, Nissan Value Line radiators nor current Nissan replacement radiators are known to have any problems with cooler failures. While Nissan never stated the part numbers affected, the common part numbers have been reported as having failures: 21460-EA200, -EA215, -EA265, -EAZ11A, -9CA2E. The Calsonic sticker will be on the top of the top radiator tank. If there is no sticker, it may be an aftermarket replacement, which is fine. If it has any of those part numbers, you can do one of two things: replace the radiator or bypass the radiator's integral cooler and utilize only the factory auxiliary cooler in front of the A/C condenser. Personally, I would recommend replacing with an aftermarket, especially if towing. Rockauto.com sells several brand for around $100. Nissan Value Line radiators cost around $250. Stillen offers an all-aluminum radiator made by CSF for $350 (make sure you either modify the original Nissan cap to fit or cut the spring off of the radiator cap that comes with the CSF radiator).
Some 2005-2010 models did have problems with the fuel sending unit causing CEL to come on, fixed by replacing the sending unit in the tank. Some V6's had belt squeal issues, fixed by an updated tensioner and belt (Gates Serpentine Belt Component Kit "Enhancement Kit" from Rockauto has the updated parts and a limited lifetime warranty). Other minor, but known, problems that can occur include leaking oil filter adapter "O" rings, sticking or stuck evap system vent control valves, bad fan clutches that stay engaged and make a lot of noise (stick with genuine Nissan replacement part) and plastic heater hose connections that can become brittle and break or leak. There may be one or two I've forgot, but those are pretty well known. TheNissanPath.com has a lot of R51 members, if you are interested.
One thing that can and should be improved on with these vehicles is the rear suspension. The coil springs in the back are a bit weak and tend to sag under a heavy load and bottom out over moderate potholes and bumps (even when not loaded). The initial remedy was to install AirLift 1000 airbags, which are inexpensive and easy to install and work very well. Later, Moog came out with stock replacement coil springs that are a little stronger and seem to correct the problem.
If you do settle for the V6, there are two things you can do to bump up the performance a little, not that it needs it. One is an XTP plenum spacer; it does seem to do a good job of improving the mid-range power and it makes replacing the spark plugs on the V6 much easier to do without pulling the intake plenum. The second is a performance tuner. Options will vary with year, but Superchips Flashpaq tuner and Bully Dog GT are popular choices, not too expensive and easy to use. They offer 87 octane performance tune, which is a modest improvement over the factory tune, a 91 performance tune, a tune for towing and a tune for better gas mileage, although I didn't care for that one. They also allow for tweaking the base idle and ignition timing and check for stored trouble codes. The may have one for the V8, but, honestly, I've never checked. Good luck with your search!
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top