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Discussion Starter #1
So, I just bought a 92 Pathfinder because my S.O. had one, and I wanted a beefier one. I've had it for about 3 months. It's got 214k (supposedly well-maintained) miles on it, big muddin' tires, some suspension work (previous owner worked at Les Schwab's) and it ran clean when I bought it. No knocks, no squeals, nothing untoward.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. Packed up the kid and the dog and drove about 30 miles to go bass fishing. Temp. looked fine on the freeway, but as soon as we hit the back roads, it started to overheat. Steam pouring out everywhere, dog whining, kid saying "MOM, that REEKS!", the whole nine yards. No engine smoke, no oil burning, just a straight overheat.

The fix: Added water, limped it home, checked the radiator for leaks (there were none), refilled with proper antifreeze/water ratio. Went on merry way. Truck acted fine.

Fast forward a week. Truck starts overheating again. This time I happen to be way the heck out in the industrial part of town, going Father's Day shopping. Stopped, let it cool down, put water in it. Luckily, no kids or dog with me to whine. Started it up, got some god-awful gray smoke and my oil light coming on. Added oil. Smoke subsided. 10 blocks from home at this point, and don't want to leave truck at a gas station reminiscent of Bangalore.

No knocking, no noises... truck makes it home -- barely -- and tries to stall in the driveway. I give it some gas, nudge it in, and there it's been ever since.

I'm thinking it's a head issue... but I'm sure there have got to be OTHER issues to make it do all it's doing. Has anyone encountered this? What can I do diagnostic-wise? Can anybody walk me through fixing it, or recommend resources? I have tools, access to cheap parts (S.O. is a body mechanic and gets a corporate discount, even though he knows nothing about engines) and basic knowledge of "what stuff is", even though I'm not always too keen on "how stuff works".

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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SRD, Did you pay for a full mechanical and safety check when you bought the vehicle? They are mandatory in some jurisdictions but not so in others.

If the answer is no, I would get pay the circa $100 and get the mechanical and safety check done.
 

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West,

Unfortunately for those of us in the US.... those types of things are not mandatory. In fact, even the mechanics, half the time, try to screw you and overcharge for diagnostics. Not to mention the used car salesmen, who barely allow the car off the lot for an hour to go have *anyone* check it out... In my case, my body-mechanic S.O., who, it turns out, knows nothing about engines...

Kinda makes me want to move to BC.

--Sarah
 

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Check the fan clutch operation by spinning it by hand with the engine off. If the fan clutch is working properly it should spin fairly freely when cold, but very little when hot. If the fan clutch is shot it may be free-wheeling when it's supposed to be locked and spinning.

Spray the crap out of your radiator from the front of the truck to get as much dust and dirt out as you can. Also try spraying from the inside through the fan and fan shroud.

Flush the coolant, add cleaner, let it clean, then refill with a proper antifreeze mix. Sometimes radiators get semi-clogged with crap and simply need cleaning.

Check the top of the forum for the "How To Check ECU Error Codes" thread. That's a good place to start.
 

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Sarah, Some dentists and dental surgeons are more fraudulent than 'mechanics' (and they make more money too).

Bad excuse for not getting a safety & mechanical: penny wise, pound foolish. Here in Greater Vancouver, I used one of the Nissan dealerships. Worthwhile and informative.

Are you aware of the exhaust manifold and bolt issue? Are you aware that carbon monoxide is odourless?

Otherwise, is it overheating because the coolant level is dropping? If not, check the water pump. It is the obvious potential culprit.

I switched a water pump on a Datsun car once. Not sure I would want to do it on my '93 pathfinder. You may wish to have the timing belt switched at the same time. Save your pennies.
 

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SRD,

did you pull the dipstick to see if there was water in the oil? if so, head gasket or head problem. if not, as 88 said, check the fan clutch and the system for clogs. with 214k on it, it could be multiple things. check the rad cap, t-stat, hoses, etc. everything with the cooling including the heater core.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, as of today, I'm finally back on the road. It ended up being several things (Mr. Swanson was right on about the multiple issues at 214k), starting with my water pump, my thermostat, and some hoses. The overheating caused my heads to warp and burnt a valve. $1,300 later, I have a rebuilt top end, new timing belt and tensioners, my cooling system works, and I'm looking into getting some performance mods done next. I figure, I'm into it about $3,200 total between the purchase and the repair, so I might as well get my money's worth. What should I do first?
 

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" What should I do first?"

~$100 safety and mechanical check by a reliable, competent third party.
 

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* Good!

* Old Man Emu shocks. (I own Pro Comp ES 3000 shocks but am shopping the Australian shocks after many, informed recommendations.)

* Quality 6-ply 4-season M&S tires with low rolling resistence, read _quiet_, safer in heavy rains, and fuel efficient. I use Michelin LTX tires but there might others out there. Avoid AT tires unless you plan to rock crawl, mud bog, and similar.

* If you truly like to "get lost", then consider a Trojan Deep Cycle Marine battery. The thicker walls withstand the shake of off-road travel, and allow you to play the CD/MP3 player forever, or keep the lights on for long periods if required.

* I like wooden bead-seat covers for the front seats..... They are inexpensive and comfortable, particularly in hot weather. Plus the red necks will think that you are a Pakistani (usually Sikh) taxi driver, you know, "one of those", and leave you alone. hehe
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I couldn't find any OME suspensions for a '92.... everything I saw was for the newer Pathfinders/Xterras... unless you know somewhere to get one for my year? I'm trying to find some more facts/opinions/experiences on the AC 3" suspension lift, because it seems like the best bang for the buck out of what's available. I don't want something HUGE like a Trailmaster, especially because there's already a small body lift on it to accomodate the tires (32's).
 

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your could also try this... WD21 3" Kit

any UCA lift is done by cranking the t-bars, the aftermarket UCAs allow for alignment to be easier after cranking the t-bars. DO NOT crank them all the way up to the bump stops, 1 it give a harsh ride and 2 you will go through tons of half shaft joints, leave about a 1/2" from the bump stop. I would also suggest a idler arm bracket, idler arms are know to bent relatively easy.

do you have coils or leaves in the back?
 
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