No kidding, its not like were stupid and don't realize these things, if I could easily do it, I would get a different truck but my wife won't let me.mookie said:I certainly agree. There's more to safe towing than making the Pathy stop better and more stable to tow with just a 1/4 ton Pathy platform is asking for trouble. I think we've all seen the results of an underrated tow vehcile being "pushed".
There are reasons why you use long wheel based 1/2 ,3/4, 1 ton, etc to tow with. It distributes the weight of the trailer plus cargo on the FRONT diffs of the tow vehicle along with the rear. I'm assuming with a load of 4k, they have trailer brakes. The plans are to probably switch out the stock gearing to tow?
As owner of many domestic vehicles before and the builder of many fast ones, I can say that Nissans are more solidly built and trouble free than any domestic I have ever owned.jadcock said:I like the mods they've made, but I think it's interesting that they turned their bad judgement around into a dig on domestic vehicles. If they were going to tow a vehicle, they should have got the correct vehicle to begin with...not a Nissan. A simple half-ton Ford or Chevy or Dodge would have done just fine there. A co-worker has just the vehicle this guy needs -- an '88 Chevy 1/2 ton with 264,000 miles -- more than double what he has on his "reliable" Pathfinder.
If it were me, I'd buy a used 1/2 ton Chevy with the 5.3L. 295 hp and 330 lbs of torque if I'm not mistaken -- way more than you could reliably build a VG30E to. But you already know that it's not the engine that makes the tow vehicle, but the chassis and brakes. In my opinion, you could buy a great 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck for what you could sell your Pathfinder for, plus the cost of all the mods you've done or plan on doing. You'd have a safe and reliable tow vehicle for little outflow of money.morepower2 said:Its not like I bought this vehicle just to tow, that would be stupid, I know its not a good tow vehicle. I am going to try to make it work and if it doesn't, I am going to sell it and buy a F250 Superduty turbodiesel.
I know I can build a VG30E with 260 hp and 240 lb/ft of torque which is more than a 5.0 Ford or a 4.6 SOHC modular motor which comes in many half ton trucks.
One of the things is that I don't like Chevys, I don't like working on them, there are so many stupid things that makes working on them lame.jadcock said:If it were me, I'd buy a used 1/2 ton Chevy with the 5.3L. 295 hp and 330 lbs of torque if I'm not mistaken -- way more than you could reliably build a VG30E to. But you already know that it's not the engine that makes the tow vehicle, but the chassis and brakes. In my opinion, you could buy a great 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck for what you could sell your Pathfinder for, plus the cost of all the mods you've done or plan on doing. You'd have a safe and reliable tow vehicle for little outflow of money.
You don't have to buy a new vehicle to get a great vehicle. Every single car I've owned has been used -- and domestic by the way. The Nissan is my first Japanese vehicle and I really like it. It already has over 178k miles on it and I plan to replace it with an Xterra or Frontier in a few years. So far, it's been as good to me as all the domestic cars I've owned (four GM vehicles, an '84 Olds, '87 Buick, '97 Saturn, '97 Cadillac...and only one had fewer than 100k miles) and I hope it stays that way.
I don't like SUV's and I don't want to spend any more money on one than I have to! Plus the old pathfinder has better brakes, stronger body on frame construction and much better off road capabilty. The motor I am going to build has 260 hp and more torque than the VQ stock.black_knight said:why don't you just trade your pathfinder for a newer one (01-03) with that 3.5 engine? tons more power, higher tow rating and since you love your pathfinder so much it'll be like having the same car just more refined and newer!!! and if you replace that one with a new one it will do all the things you are accustomed to and you won't have to find another spot to park it in. Here in texas there are quite a few nice 01-02 models fully loaded for under 20k and good mileage!
The VG does not require a special tool to remove the sparkplugs! All you need is a Universal joint, a long extnsion and a regular plug socket. Its not even that hard!jadcock said:Nissan's got their own quirks -- supplying a special spark plug wrench with V6 trucks because you can't get to the plugs with normal tools? That's solving a symptom, not a problem. The people on some of the GM forums regard foreign vehicles the same way you do domestics -- they much prefer American cars because they're simpler to work on. Indeed, I put a water pump on my Cadillac last spring and it took all of about 45 minutes. The pump is driven directly off one the cams on the left side of the engine and doesn't even bolt to the housing -- it's clocked in using a special tool (it's about 20 bucks for the tool). I compare that to the same job on my Nissan truck and just pray that it doesn't fail anytime soon! I guess it all depends on your past experience and preferences.
Mike, you mention that you think the older Pathfinders (mid 90s) have better off-road capability than the new ones. Setting tire choice aside, I'd like to discuss that with you. I always thought the front suspension design of the Hardbody/Pathfinder in the 80s and 90s always left something to be desired, especially in terms of suspension travel. It seems that there's less travel than most other trucks, and the torsion bars are much stiffer as a result to keep from bottoming the suspension out. Do you have any comments about that?
Doesn't the truck come with a tool set that includes a crows foot and other weird looking extensions (like a traditional distributor wrench)? I've seen these on eBay and on friend's trucks. They said it came with it so you could change the #6 spark plug I think it was...morepower2 said:The VG does not require a special tool to remove the sparkplugs! All you need is a Universal joint, a long extnsion and a regular plug socket. Its not even that hard!
I really don't understand this comment -- but as you say, everyone has opinions... We've done a lot of engine work on a Ford Mustang (performance upgrades) and it was pretty simple... I've swapped engines in a Buick Regal before and it was cake. Took a 403 from a '79 Olds and dropped it in my '87 Regal. Both were Olds small blocks and was as close to a bolt-in engine swap as you get. As for Mopars, I don't know...if it's not a V-8, I stay away from it. Most of their 4s and V-6s are Mitsubishi's anyway. And nowadays, if they're not Mitsus, they're MB's, so who knows what you've got there. To me, Chrysler has always been a mixed bag, but my family has been through 4 Jeeps since 1988 and loved them all. We took our '96 GrandC through two Jeep Jamborees and had a wonderful time. We chewed up the transmission skid plate and twisted a front control arm, but we had a hell of a time doing it! Those Jeeps are such billy goats.I think Fords are pretty easy to work on but GM's and Mopars are hopeless. Most people with opinions don't have the experiance and their opinions are baised on predjustice instead of facts.
A lot of people who are uninitiated with a particular package are really afraid to work on it, and spread rumors that they're hard to work on, just like you said. Most modern vehicles are as easy to work on as their historic counterparts, once you get down to the basics. You don't even have to set points anymore...heck...most cars don't even have distributors anymore! With the advent of dual platinum-tipped plugs from the factory, spark plug changes are almost eliminated. A dual platinum-tipped spark plug is usually good for hundreds of thousands of miles...usually the life of the car. They really don't need to be changed unless damage has occured. Plugs and wires are still original on my Northstar, at 124k miles, and it still runs 6.7 0-60 times, just like new. The quality of the OEM parts has come a long way since just a decade ago, on both sides of the pond.I didnt realize that the Northstar water pump was that easy, I have never worked on a Northstar engine myself, although the VG really isnt that hard either, I just change it as cheap PM when I change the timing belt.
I think it's true that torsion bars do sag over time. I think mine probably have. But I compare my Nissan's ride off-road (which I consider choppy and harsh) to the gov't trucks at work (Chevy and Dodge 1/2 tons) and they ride comparatively like Cadillacs. Where my truck gets jarred by even the small ruts, the larger trucks soak them up with aplomb. I attributed this to the short travel and relatively stiff spring rate to keep the truck in the air. I ran without front shocks for a few days, just to see what the difference would have been. There really wasn't that much of a difference. The torsion bars are so stiff, there's really not a lot of uncontrolled movement anyway. Put the Ranchos back on and I could tell they were back on...but not by much. The difference certainly isn't as dramatic as I figured it would be.I think that the Pathfinders torsion bars sag and people neglect to turn them back up. Pathfinders have pretty good wheel travel. My Neigboors S10 thats all lifted certainly doesnt have much travel either and its always breaking the suspension. The Nissan bends its idler arm support and thats about it.
Doing suspension tuning at work, we do some pretty crazy stuff in Nissans and they hold up pretty good. The newer pathfinder has struts up front with less travel , less articulation and poor mod potential and has more rear overhang. In testing it would get stuck and the older car would have to pull it out.
Not my Pathfinder and I have had it since new. The rear plugs are not totay easy but a lot easier than the plugs on a Camro or Astro van for that matter!jadcock said:Doesn't the truck come with a tool set that includes a crows foot and other weird looking extensions (like a traditional distributor wrench)? I've seen these on eBay and on friend's trucks. They said it came with it so you could change the #6 spark plug I think it was...
It sounds as iff your ride height is correct, my suspension set up is rancho 9000 RSX shocks, Nissan motorsports torsion bars (20% stiffer) rasied just about 3/4 more than stock, nissan motorsports rear springs which raise 1" more than stock, and energy bushings. My ride seems plush and it abosrobs pretty big bumps. Off road it takes a series of 3 or so big bumps to upset the suspension. My friends are suprised on how smooth my truck is off road.jadcock said:Mike,
Looking at my front suspension ('95 Hardbody), the wishbones are pretty much centered between the bumpstops. There's about an inch of travel between both the top and bottom. The ride height is close to what it seems it should be. I can tell when I hit the bumpstops -- there's a pretty noticeable thud...
There's a pretty severe area of roadway which really tests a car's suspension, and it's optionally on my way home from work. It's a longer way home, but I can drive it any day of the week. The road sinks about 3 or 4 inches in a length of about 5 feet and then there's a big "ridge" in the road that really pitches the vehicle upwards.
Kinda like this (vertical heights greatly exagerated). Ignore the periods -- I had to use them to keep the spacing right:
__/......\..........._______.......<-- direction of travel
In my Cadillac -- and in the full size trucks at work -- the vehicle attitude stays pretty level as it lets the wheels sink down into the depression and then absorbs much of the vertical movement of the suspension over the rise, and then ultimately returns to flat road. In my Nissan by comparison, as the wheels follow the depression, it seems the body starts to fall already before you hit the rise. So the body is falling as the wheels hit the rise, which sends it straight upward...and as the body is catapulted upward, the wheels fall back over the backside of the rise and the body comes "crashing" down. It seems that in the case of my Nissan, the body is tied very closely to the suspension's movement, and I figured it's because the spring rate is very high to keep the wishbones between the bumpstops. It seems there's much less wheel travel on my truck than other vehicles, and I figured it was because of the design of the suspension. I have a '95 Car and Driver magazine where they tested a '95 SE truck new and they mentioned the suspension seemed to pogo off big bumps -- sending your head into the ceiling. I think "pogoing" is a great description of what the truck seems to do.
When I got the truck, the original shocks were still on it -- or at least they were Nissan shocks. My first set of shocks that I put on it were Monroes. The ride was pretty bouncy after that. Again, pogo is a good description. I figured the shocks weren't strong enough to control the stiff springs. So I "sprung" for a set of Rancho RS5000 shocks for the front and the problem continues, although not as badly. Between the Monroes and Ranchos, I rode around for a day without front shocks at all, and I didn't see much of a difference. Sure, it would bounce a little more after a big bump, and the ride was a touch more unsettled, but it wasn't at all what I would have expected. It was actually very smooth -- the texture of the road was gone and it was a very quiet ride. It wasn't safe in an emergency situation so I knew I'd have to proceed to put shocks back on, but I was pleasantly surprised at how it rode. I did the same trick on an '88 Jeep that we lifted (coil springs there) and the bouncing was much more pronounced and obvious.
Do you have any suggestions? If I wanted to really "fix" it so I like it, my first instinct would be to add a 3" lift with new upper wishbones to gain some more travel -- and install a softer front bar. I think the root of my "problem" is a strong torsion bar. They appear stock, but who knows. The Ranchos seem to be able to control it only a bit better than the Monroes did. The spring rate seems to overpower even the Rancho shocks. It's frustrating, but certainly not unlivable.
I think even the 5000s are a tad too weak. The 9000s were out of my price range -- I was considering the Rancho 5000 or the KYB. I read many review saying the KYBs were stiff, and that's what I think I want. But I myself have had great experience with Rancho before, and I've never heard a bad thing about them, so I tried the 5000 series. These are described by the packaging as a sort of variable damping shock -- meaning it's soft in the middle and hard at the extremes. That over simplifies their description obviously, but I think even they might be too weak to control the spring rate.morepower2 said:Maybe the 5000's don't have enough damping? I swear my bumpy road ride feels plush. Even with my stiffer torsion bars and springs, my ride feels better than stock!
I put the foam front bump stops in and it seems to be pretty good. I was trying to find a bump that could bottom out the car but could not on the street, I was jumping off curbs going 30 mnph and still could not feel bottoming out. The car would just go bloop and soak up the hit. The urethane bump stops didnt fit (I think AC sent the wrong parts) but the Nissan Motorsports springs raised the back up about 3" so I got plenty of travel.jadcock said:I think even the 5000s are a tad too weak. The 9000s were out of my price range -- I was considering the Rancho 5000 or the KYB. I read many review saying the KYBs were stiff, and that's what I think I want. But I myself have had great experience with Rancho before, and I've never heard a bad thing about them, so I tried the 5000 series. These are described by the packaging as a sort of variable damping shock -- meaning it's soft in the middle and hard at the extremes. That over simplifies their description obviously, but I think even they might be too weak to control the spring rate.
My dad had 9000s before on his F-550 truck...are the RSX shocks also adjustable? What setting are you running yours at? I too would like to get some different bump stops on the front -- the lower ones are just huge. Are these the ones you plan to replace with softer foam? I've already removed my front stabilizer bar for more articulation and...you guessed it...couldn't really tell it was gone. If I make an extreme hard turn, I can tell the body is rolling more, but it's really not that much difference.
I think my truck is a freak.