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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
just curious if anyone knows or can direct me to a site that would know the differences in the D21 Hardbody pickup through 86-93. what was changed or improved over the years.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Actually, over the D21 Hardbody's life in the US from 86.6-97, and even as the Hardbody continues in production in other parts of the world such as Mexico, there really wasn't any "ground-breaking" changes in the truck on the whole. The "long bed" version disappeared after the first few years. The throttle bodied VG30i upgraded to the multi-port injected VG30E V6. The throttle body injected Z24i engine was later replaced by the multi-port injected KA24E engine, which got a very much needed, metal-backed timing guide in 95. The V6 disappeared altogether in 96-97. Rear ABS showed up around 95, as well. There were a few cosmetic changes over the years, such as eliminating the three plastic "fake air intakes" at the front of the hood in the later years, differant stripe and graphic options, paint colors, wheel options, bumpers, door panels, and replacing the box-ish dashboard with a rounder-style dash in the later years. R-12 AC systems were replaced with R-134a systems around 94 and a driver's air bag was included in later models. Cable driven speedos were later replaced by vehicle speed sensors.

All in all, considering it had just over a 20 year run in the US and is still being made in other countries, the Hardbody has remained pretty consistant. I guess it falls under the philosophy of: "Why change a good thing?" It's a shame it never got the 4.0L VQ V6 in its engine bay from the factory!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks!!! how am i able to distinguish my truck's trim level as opposed to other trim levells? i would guess mine is pretty much a base model. i have the 3.0 V6, 5spd, 4wd, ac, sliding rear window, standard cab, a neat little three pouch black bag behind my bench seat, i have power steering, and manual locking hubs. i'm not sure what was standard equipment and what was optional, so i figured this would be a good start!
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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It sounds like an "XE" model. I believe all SE's had backet seats and "E" models didn't come with the V6 option...although it was a long time ago and my memory's not what it used to be! Your Nissan dealer parts dept. should be able to tell you the trim level by looking up the VIN#.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok, cool. were there only three grades, XE, SE, and E?
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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I don't recall the LE trim level ever being used on the Hardbodies. E-models were generally bare bones standard cabs with 4 cyl. and just about manual everything and no AC or radio from the factory. There was also a XE-VTP trim level (Value truck package) that offered some of the more popular options of the SE model on an XE truck. For example, in 97, an XE-VTP would have chrome bumpers/mirrors, bucket seats and vanity glass, PW, PDL and some other options but did not have the SE's factory sunroof or 100watt premium stereo system. SE also had a slightly differant graphic on the side than the XE-VTP. SE is the top of the line trim level on the Hardbody.
 

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thank you both for helping me out with this cause I was going to post the exact same thread to figure out my truck. Mine was highly modified before I bought it though and now I have to go back and fix all the problems they made...lol
 

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So why did they get rid of the V6 after 1995? I have a 1995 XE king cab, air, automatic, 2wd with a V6 and it suits my needs just fine even with a full payload. How does it compare to the 4 cylinder engine? Initially, I wanted to buy the 4 cylinder version for better fuel economy.

Rice
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i'm not sure, but i'd really like to start collecting brochures for the HB
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Well, I heard 2 differant stories about why they discontinued the V6 from 96-97. Which, if either, is true, I don't know, so take it for what it's worth.

The first story was that they couldn't meet the emission requirements with the VG30 in those years, as they would have had to develope pre-cats for it.

The second story was that they had an overabundance of KA24E engines that they wanted to unload before the KA24DE equipped Frontier debuted in 98, which interestingly also didn't have the V6. I had also heard somebody bring up the idea that maybe they were running short of VG30E's because of the V6 engine campaign involving the "tapping" 94-95 V6 engines. All I know is the timing would have been right to make that idea true and Nissan did replace a lot of VG30E's in the campaign. So, who knows?

Neither engine was a real "powerhouse." There was roughly a 20HP differance between the two. Even the later 170HP VG33E only added another 10HP over the 3.0L. I have a 2WD KA24E Se-KC-AT and you really have to think out your passes when getting behind somebody slow. I would imagine that the same engine w/ 4X4 could be a real challenge at times! It's a tough engine and I get about 21-25MPG. The plastic timing chain guide was the only big mechanical issue it had, which was later redesigned. Not having to worry about a timing belt is also a plus. The KA can benefit a great deal with some exhuast mods, a healthier camshaft, bumping the ignition timing a few degrees and a remapped ECM to "wake it up." IMP, the early HB Z24i engines were a much better engine, at least in terms of torque. The VG engines were also pretty good, reliable engines. Broken exhaust studs and leaking manifold gaskets were a big issue. Nissan later countermeasured the studs with harder ones less prone to breakage. I've talked to a lot of people with V6-4X4's that complain about the gas mileage, citing 16-18MPG. Driving style has a lot to do with that, as well.

It's kinda a shame they did away with the Hbody in the US. I still think it's the best body style they had as far as looks, although the latest version of the Frontier I'm starting to like. The Hardbody continues on in other countries; they even have a 4-door version!
 

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I know this is an old post but can anyone tell me if there is a difference in suspension in the 94 4x4 and a 97 4x4 I'm looking at lifts and only thing I can find is rough country up to a 94 hardbody
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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The 4-cyl. '94 4x4 should be the same as the '97 4x4. If the '94 is a V6, there "may" be differences, likely in the spring and torsion bar rates. You could always compare part numbers between the two at NissanPartsDeal.com or Rockauto.com to be sure.
 

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Ok I was thinking they might have went to a different upper or lower control arms. Thanks for the feedback
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Ok I was thinking they might have went to a different upper or lower control arms. Thanks for the feedback
4-cyl, 4x4 Hardbodies used the same control arms from 1986 through 1997.
 

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Ok so evidently I talked to an office guy at rough country that didn't really know just reading the website. So if it's a 2 in lift with new upper control arms up to a 94, it will fit a 97? Sorry I have been trying to do research and come up with nothing so I don't want to buy the kit and have it all tore down and it not work.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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If the parts are to fit D21 Hardbodies w/ 4-cyl. engine and 4x4, they should fit all such Hardbodies, 86-97.
 
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