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#4652219 - 01/31/18 03:21 PM Nissan Xterra
DriveHard Offline


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: Middle of Iowa
looking into a fun little SUV with real off road capability...and the subject vehicle has really grabbed my interest. Any experience? Reliable? Gen II certainly has much more power and a timing chain instead of a belt. Thoughts?
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2011 Silverado Crew Cab LT 6.2L/6spd
2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk (wife's)
2007 Nissan Xterra (trail toy)
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth (my DD)
Elio...?

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#4652249 - 01/31/18 03:40 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10587
Loc: Buffalo, NY
A buddy of mine had a 2014-15? for a few years. He liked it and had zero issues aside from the full sized truck-like fuel economy. Best I can tell, the 4L and 5spd AT is reliable drivetrain that's been around for a long time.


Edited by JTK (01/31/18 03:41 PM)
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#4652321 - 01/31/18 04:38 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
Kage860 Offline


Registered: 04/17/17
Posts: 88
Loc: NY
I was looking into those, they seem pretty solid. The early gen 2s have timing chain issues and you need to mod the transmission cooling system to prevent getting coolant in your transmission fluid , but other than that people seem to like them.
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#4652332 - 01/31/18 04:50 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10587
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Yep. Probably best to go with no older than a 2010.
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#4652333 - 01/31/18 04:50 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1150
Loc: South Central PA
2010 and up is a safe bet. They fixed the timing chain and radiator cross contamination issues by then. Prepare for less than stellar fuel economy, but it's an on frame 4wd SUV.
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#4652872 - 02/01/18 07:39 AM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
DriveHard Offline


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: Middle of Iowa
Well a 2010 or newer is out of budget. Was hoping to find one for less than $5000. The radiator problem doesn't scare me as long as it has not already damaged the trans, as I was planning on adding an external trans cooler anyways. The timing chain issue does have me a little concerned...does it effect ALL engines, or is it hit and miss depending on service history and maintenance? Does anybody know the root cause of the timing chain issue? Is it as simple as pro-actively replacing guides and tensioners?


Edited by DriveHard (02/01/18 07:53 AM)
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Smile, it increases your face value
2011 Silverado Crew Cab LT 6.2L/6spd
2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk (wife's)
2007 Nissan Xterra (trail toy)
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth (my DD)
Elio...?

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#4653359 - 02/01/18 04:56 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1150
Loc: South Central PA
Originally Posted By: DriveHard
Well a 2010 or newer is out of budget. Was hoping to find one for less than $5000. The radiator problem doesn't scare me as long as it has not already damaged the trans, as I was planning on adding an external trans cooler anyways. The timing chain issue does have me a little concerned...does it effect ALL engines, or is it hit and miss depending on service history and maintenance? Does anybody know the root cause of the timing chain issue? Is it as simple as pro-actively replacing guides and tensioners?


Defect from Borg Warner on the guides themselves. No amount of preventive maintenance will prevent it. I think after 2008 they were solved. I traded off my 07 Frontier with the same engine because of the issue. Wasn't going to be a cheap repair. It seems to be a hit or miss, but more hit on earlier 2nd gen models.
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'17 VW GTI 2.0T - 6MT - 7K
'15 Camry SE - 2.5 - 19K
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#4653703 - 02/02/18 07:41 AM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: Delta]
DriveHard Offline


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: Middle of Iowa
Originally Posted By: Delta
Originally Posted By: DriveHard
Well a 2010 or newer is out of budget. Was hoping to find one for less than $5000. The radiator problem doesn't scare me as long as it has not already damaged the trans, as I was planning on adding an external trans cooler anyways. The timing chain issue does have me a little concerned...does it effect ALL engines, or is it hit and miss depending on service history and maintenance? Does anybody know the root cause of the timing chain issue? Is it as simple as pro-actively replacing guides and tensioners?


Defect from Borg Warner on the guides themselves. No amount of preventive maintenance will prevent it. I think after 2008 they were solved. I traded off my 07 Frontier with the same engine because of the issue. Wasn't going to be a cheap repair. It seems to be a hit or miss, but more hit on earlier 2nd gen models.


Been doing some reading on this...and your observation seems to be spot on. Timing chain kits are in the $300 range, and it doesn't seem much harder than a timing belt, which the Gen 1's would have anyways. I've done a hand full of timing belts in my day...so just something new to learn about.
_________________________
Smile, it increases your face value
2011 Silverado Crew Cab LT 6.2L/6spd
2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk (wife's)
2007 Nissan Xterra (trail toy)
2013 Fiat 500 Abarth (my DD)
Elio...?

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#4653883 - 02/02/18 11:49 AM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10587
Loc: Buffalo, NY
If this was not necessarily going to be your daily driver, I wouldn't be afraid to get a "problem" one and work on it as you can.
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2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)

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#4653889 - 02/02/18 11:57 AM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
HemiHawk Offline


Registered: 03/09/16
Posts: 842
Loc: PA,US
Another fun and cheap option is a 90s or early 2000s Jeep. I think the last year of the Jeep 4.0 was 2004. The great thing about them is solid reliability and cheap parts.

Like others have mentioned, the biggest issue with the early 4.0s in the Nissans was the chain guides. No idea what it takes to fix that at home. But if you could, there are some great deals on Xterra's.
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#4653960 - 02/02/18 01:39 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: HemiHawk]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 7703
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: HemiHawk
Another fun and cheap option is a 90s or early 2000s Jeep. I think the last year of the Jeep 4.0 was 2004. The great thing about them is solid reliability and cheap parts.

Like others have mentioned, the biggest issue with the early 4.0s in the Nissans was the chain guides. No idea what it takes to fix that at home. But if you could, there are some great deals on Xterra's.


x2. The Jeep is the better option. I've worked on a few Xterras and they never impressed me.


Edited by GMBoy (02/02/18 01:39 PM)

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#4654893 - 02/03/18 01:22 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
TJs had the 4.0 through 06.

No real Xterra experience, but I'm not a big fan of the suspension set up. Torsion bars up front, leaf springs in the back. Good setup for a 3/4 ton truck, but for a small SUV for off roading it's not optimal. Not much flex. My Liberty has more flex and a better ride on/offroad.

I'd get a Liberty or Grand Cherokee. Even a 4runner would be better.
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#4654956 - 02/03/18 02:27 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: HoosierJeeper]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1150
Loc: South Central PA
Originally Posted By: HoosierJeeper
TJs had the 4.0 through 06.

No real Xterra experience, but I'm not a big fan of the suspension set up. Torsion bars up front, leaf springs in the back. Good setup for a 3/4 ton truck, but for a small SUV for off roading it's not optimal. Not much flex. My Liberty has more flex and a better ride on/offroad.

I'd get a Liberty or Grand Cherokee. Even a 4runner would be better.


Torsion bars was on the fist gen, not the second if I recall my Frontiers set-up (basically the same underneath).
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'17 VW GTI 2.0T - 6MT - 7K
'15 Camry SE - 2.5 - 19K
'99 S10 - 2.2 5MT - 153K

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#4655238 - 02/03/18 07:56 PM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
I just parked next to like an 09 or 2010 and it had torsion bars I think (didn't see a coil over)
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15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
07 LR3 SE V8: Maxlife 5W30
05 Jeep KJ Limited: PHM 5W30
96 Jeep XJ Country: STP HM 5W30 (winter)

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#4656726 - 02/05/18 09:31 AM Re: Nissan Xterra [Re: DriveHard]
wag123 Online   content


Registered: 06/14/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Texas
Look for a 1999-2004 Xterra 4WD with the 3.3L non-supercharged V/6 engine. The engine does have a timing belt that needs to be replaced every 60k miles, but it is a non-interference iron block engine and is very reliable/durable. One thing to watch-out for is broken exhaust manifold bolts. If it doesn't have an exhaust manifold leak when the engine is started cold, they have likely been replaced already. The rest of the vehicle is pretty tough and has very good off-road capabilities.

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