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R50's are getting cheap - advice

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Hey Guys,

After owning 2 D40's, 1 N50, and finally a WD21 - I sold them all and traveled the country for a couple of years. Well I'm back and need a car.


Noticing that R50 is getting quite cheap. And I dont really want another WD21....Homing on a QX4, because why NOT get a Pathfinder in a Tuxedo?

Anything I need to know? Looking at high mileage 2001+ VQ35DE's - 150k-180k. Its been long enough now that I don't know as much as I used to.

AFAIK I know I am looking at 

  • VQ35DE - Cam phasers were an issue if I recall? 
  • RE4R01A - Not worried about it
  • Automatic Transfer - QX4s come with the auto shift t-case - any major issues? TX10A maybe? These were really not an issue in the 2005+ Frontier/Pathfinder/Xterra but they were TX15's IIRC. I'm looking at a 2001 fully auto one, not the earlier hybrid half auto half manual ones.
  • R200A - I know all about it 
  • HB233b - weak clutch packs....


  • I do remember something about a 5th cross member that could be bolted on.
  • Do the QX4s come with skid plates?



Thanks Gents!






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Check if it's drinking oil, the VQ tends to make a fair bit disappear on a regular basis.  Not necessarily a problem, but could be if you can find where it's going.  (*Check rear main seal area.*)  As far as the t-case, just make sure it works.  Haven't heard of any issues with it (I loved AUTO mode in the winter).  Yes, you can add an additional crossmember, called a "missing link", which ties the rears of the front control arms together.  Doesn't come with any skidplates other than a plastic one on the front, if it even still has it.  You can solve both of these issues with stuff from sfcreation.com.  Also worth noting, you can get a transfer case skid from a WD21 and put it on regular t-case R50's supposedly; I got one, doesn't fit the QX4 auto-mode t-case, so don't bother!  Main thing is rust.  Especially around the front struts, it's a big issue.

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Owned my 2002 LE since new. For the R50 years, the QX4 was really only cosmetically different than the Pathfinder. The interior of the LE Pathfinders is nearly identical & even has the rear glass release as of 2003. The exterior of the QX4 has alot more plastic cladding and can be more difficult to work with for an off road rig. For example, the reverse lights are on the center rear of the QX4 which can be problematic. Also, the front bumper is a little less workable if you are going to keep it. The one thing I'm not sure of is if you get HID lows with the QX4.  Personally, I'd go for a 2003 or 2004 and decide if you want the tx14 AWD option Transfer Case - I love mine for wet, snow & easy sand but the tx10 is undoubtedly more bulletproof.


R50 Pathfinder Hx by Year (after Facelift):


2001 model year updated spring 2000

SE=Sport, Manual Transmission available

Shared design & V6 engine with Infiniti QX4
New twincam 3.5L V6-Prior single-cam 3.3L V6(170hp/200#ft Torque)
Auto 240hp (265#ft Torque)
Manual 250hp  (240#ft Torque)
LE's adopted QX4 tx14 Transmission/4WD system=On-Demand All-Mode setup (2WD, automatic 4WD & locked center differential in 4WD High & 4WD Low settings)

2001 Dashboard & Console restyled

2002 XE Dropped
SE grill restyled, body-color bumpers & fender flares
LE 17" alloys wheels in place of 16"
Interior trim revisions incl. new steering wheel with audio controls


Dynamic Control option-antiskid/traction-control system
Front side airbags and curtain-style airbags (LE Standard, SE Option)

Navigation option dropped
LATCH child-seat anchors,

Redesigned steering wheel & center dashboard

Electronic tailgate release
LE gained standard heated front seats

2004 No major changes


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Thanks guys,

That's a ton of info. I have yet to see a Pathfinder LE on KSL(Utah) or Craigslist with the TX14 - most seem to have the TX10. Automatic 4WD is a must for me as the GF will be commuting in a snow state. If it was an option, it must be a rare one. I also enjoy the QX4 dash and gauge cluster better. Nicer leather too, and real wood as well if IIRC.

Really interesting R50 didn't come with skid plates, my WD21 had a full set from the factory, and they were USED. Stout and i never saw a reason to replace them.  


I could do a late 2003-2004 Pathfinder, but they are actually not that plentiful, and of course R51's are not THAT much more expensive and have me going hmmm.....maybe i should go R51. Small back seat though if IIRC and of course IRS. But VQ40DE,full frame, 5 speed etc etc.... I've already had a N40 (Xterra), don't really want another one but they do fit the bill as well. 


You can see a lot of "IIRC's" here as its been a few years unfortunately....I've been in into Ford 1 ton diesels....very unreliable BTW, stick with Nissan, LOL!


The hunt continues, thanks for the info!



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