Jump to content
system_f

2002 Pathfinder...the long road to recovery (build)

Recommended Posts

I copied this over here from Expedition Portal.  At this stage this forum is probably more appropriate for the build since I am bringing the vehicle back to mechanically sound operation.

 

I am looking for some 16x8" wheels that look good and have the proper backspacing for 265x75x16 tires.  Dean (Xplorx4), I really like your rims.  What kind are they? Dimensions?

 

 

About a month ago I started looking at a cheap reliable vehicle capable of being built up as an overland rig but retaining the ability to get me back and forth to work (when needed) and could maintain a decent cruising speed on the highway. I had always wanted a later model Pathfinder with the VQ and a manual transmission, but cannot spend a ton of money. As luck would have it I found a 2002 5spd MT with a blown engine, but otherwise was in good condition for a reasonable price. I contact the owner and planned on going out to pickup the Pathfinder the next weekend. We just got back from the trip to last night and today I began work on the new to me Pathfinder.

The plan:
This vehicle has a lot of miles on it and although the unibody is in amazing condition with no rust I don't know what condition the mechanical are in, except the engine, which is completely blown. Step one is to get the engine, transmission, transfer case and driveshafts out. The transmission and transfer case will be disassembled, inspected, repaired if needed, and reassembled. The driveshafts will get u-joints and and be balanced. 

After the drivetrain is reinstalled and all fluids changed I will move on to the brakes, wheel bearings and suspension. Once funds are available I will be installing a 2" coil lift, wheels and tires, arb style bumper, lockers, sliders and skids. The goal is to keep weight down so that drive-ability is not lost.

Known Issues:
Right now the only two known issues besides the blown motor is that the rear windows will not roll down with the driver's switch or the rear window switches and the exhaust system past the largest muffler is completely shot.

Current Status:
Right now I only have to remove the upper engine wiring harness, bellhousing bolts and motor mounts before the engine can be removed. I will probably go ahead and pull the transmission/transfer case as a unit before removing the engine.
 

IMG_20180804_111647-small.jpg

 

DSCN0115-small.jpg

 

DSCN0116-small.jpg

 

DSCN0117-small.jpg

 

DSCN0118-small.jpg

 

DSCN0119-small.jpg

 

DSCN0120-small.jpgDSCN0121-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180805_170357-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180806_083720-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180806_130327-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180807_184102-small.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like you've got a good start on it! What was the cause of death for the engine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a good project!  That color paired with a VQ and a MT makes for a pretty rare (and cool) combo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Welcome back, man.  Knowing what you know, think you'll go SFD or SAS again?  Nice find on the MT!  My guess for engine failure is the power valve screws coming loose (don't get @RainGoat started).  BTW, if considering the SFD again, search the forums for Land Rover springs...several of us are using them for more lift and cheaper than OMEs (and they ride well).

Edited by hawairish
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice! 3.5 with a manual, lucky guy.

Be sure to change the coolant crossover tube gaskets and the rear main seal on the donor motor. They are probably the biggest pain to sevice with the engine installed. Cake while its out and worth every penny.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just ordered every coolant hose, thermostat (and the rear water valve), all gaskets and rear main seal.  I still have to get a clutch kit, driveshaft u-joints replaced and balanced plus all brakes.  

 

I don't think the last engine died due to power valves as the manual transmission VQ35s don't have power valves.  Friday we are going to tear down the old engine and do an analysis on it.

 

I am not going to SFD or SAS, just 2" lift springs and 5100 shocks on the rear.  Eventually I will do an ARB front bumper (or something that looks similar), and dual lockers with 4.6 gears.    Except for lockers and armor I want this thing as stock as possible.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Derp...always overlooking the MT doesn’t have the power valves...just habit thinking about all the engine failures that have come from this.  Now I’m more curious to know what failed.  Good luck on all the repairs, and keep us posted on the build!

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good progress so far, looking forward to the rest! Also curious to find out what caused the demise of the engine, how many miles were on it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.....power valve screws coming loose (don't get [mention=40800]RainGoat[/mention] started). 

Ain’t that the truth. I evangelize every late model R50 I come across these days.....kind of annoys my wife. Honestly thinking about printing up little cards to just hand out. FU Nissan! (See what he means)
  • Haha 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We were going to pickup two VQ35DE R50s, the second one was CHEAP, auto, 4x4, decent exterior and ran, but rough.  Unfortunately my trailer wasn't big enough.  I tried to rent a 30 foot trailer, but it was not available :( and I only had a 24 footer.  I am glad we couldn't fit a second R50.  Although two R50s would have been within the weight limit when we got home we realized that the trailer had a frame crack where the gooseneck attaches to the frame.  I notified the rental company.   What sucks even worse is I had a neighbor that wanted parts off the second R50 that would have paid for itself AND it had the 4.6 gears I wanted :(

 

I realize the companies sticker that I rented the trailer from is in the pictures.  They seemed very receptive to the damage on the trailer (that was not caused by us due to rust in the crack) and were going to take the trailer out of service until repaired.  I am renting another trailer from them Friday for a move and am glad they provide the service they do.  Towing the trailer with the crack was my fault.  I should have done a proper inspection before leaving and gotten another trailer.

 

IMG_20180805_101601-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180805_101604-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180805_101608-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180805_101611-small.jpg

 

The blown engine had 194k on it...shouldn't have died.  The owner was told by a mechanic that it had an internal oil leak and that it ran out of oil, which makes no sense.  The oil has to go somewhere.  I suspect that the timing chain skipped or the oil leaked out.  It ran enough to get it on and off the the trailer, but it was rough, had #5 misfire and random misfire codes.

 

Tonight I got the engine out and the engine bay pressure washed.  One thing that confuses me is that the engine bay is black?!?!  The vehicle has not been repainted and I see no damage up front that would indicate a crash.  The firewall, sides and upper radiator support are all black...the rest of the truck is factory blue.

Edited by system_f
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Neighbors love me! I expect a privacy fence will be coming up when the host next door sells.

 

Old engine ready for analysis:

IMG_20180808_181034-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180808_181045-small.jpgIMG_20180808_190500-small.jpg

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting about the engine bay being black.  I didn't even think that was unusual until I got my silver 4Runner, as my QX4 was black, it was hard to tell what was body paint and what was just black!  I'm also interested to hear what caused it's death, this project really interests me.  I'd love to do exactly this, find a clean Pathy in need of a lot of lovin for cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Super interesting... I am about to start the same kind of resto on my new acquisition...  great pictures. tks !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The blue is pretty!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yesterday we inspected the transfer case and it looked amazing, the chain is very tight.  It was so good I didn't even both dissembling the transmission for inspection.  I will put a front seal in the transmission and be done with it.  

 

Then we moved on to diagnose the old engine.  We found out why cylinder #5 had a misfire code, see below.  Root cause is either low on oil or something we haven't though of.  I will have to get the heads off before I know for sure. 

 

Next week begins the parts waiting game.  The clutch kit arrived, but I need the Nissan parts before the drivetrain can start going back in.

 

DSCN0133-small.jpg

 

DSCN0134-small.jpg

 

DSCN0135-small.jpg

 

DSCN0136-small.jpg

 

IMG_20180810_185759-small-small.jpg

Edited by system_f
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Looks like that cam bearing got good and hot before the camshaft gave up. Oil starvation sounds likely to me given the VQ's reputation as an oil burner. My dad didn't know his '03 burned oil until it got noisy shortly after he bought it. Maybe the same happened to the PO of yours, except they didn't catch it in time.

Good to see that the rest of it's in better shape!


My dad's '03 had the dark-colored engine bay, too. I figured it was primer and Nissan had saved a few bucks per unit by not spraying the engine bay body color.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

THEY FIT!  It has been a long time since i have tried oversized tires on an R50 and I forgot what works and what dosen't.  Specs are: stock wheels 4 3/4" backspace 16x7 wheels 265/75/16 (31.7") KO2s!  The mudflap will have to be removed or trimmed up front and the front bumper MAY have to be cut, but maybe not.  Front bumper won't be there for more than a year or two anyways.  I won't be using these wheels, I am going to go with 16x8s with 4" of backspace.

 

About the VQ oil burning, I had read this is due to bad cats (caused by bad gas or excessive fueling/lack of maintenance) sheding ceramic and it being sucked into the engine due to reversion at low rpm then tearing up the rings and cylinder walls.

 

IMG_20180812_134759-small.jpgIMG_20180812_140931-small.jpg

 

Parts I have already:

Discs

Pads

front driveshaft U-joints

shoes

rear brake hardware kit

clutch kit

second battery system from my taco

ham radio and antenna

 

Parts on order:

Every single water hose under the hood except two which are discontinued

rear seal

poly bushings for everything but the sway bars including the panhard and rack and pinion

2" lift springs

kyb struts

bilstien 5100s

strut bearings

camber bolts for struts

 

 

Parts I need:

wheels and tires

rear muffler assembly

stereo system (something android auto)

possibly a new welder with a spool gun so I can do aluminum skids and because it's time for a new welder

probably more I cannot think of

Sliders - will probably buy these

 

Edited by system_f
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome on the clearance, fits just barely, but that's all it takes!  Excited to hear what all happens with this project.  Which hoses are discontinued?  Any way to do anything to replace them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will probably replace the discontinued hoses with generic hose.  They are the incoming and outgoing coolant hoses from the throttle body and easy to get to with the engine installed.

 

Once I get rims with less backspacing there will be at least 1/2" more clearance between the strut and tire.  Those stock wheels are a worst case scenario. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to see how the 2" spring lift goes along with the Bilstein shocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, system_f said:

About the VQ oil burning, I had read this is due to bad cats (caused by bad gas or excessive fueling/lack of maintenance) sheding ceramic and it being sucked into the engine due to reversion at low rpm then tearing up the rings and cylinder walls.

 

I've read about the Sentras doing that. I've also read that some of the VQs suffered from excessive bore taper for some reason. I'd be interested to see what the bores in the junk engine look like.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like I need some help.  I cannot figure out what wheels to go with.  I know this is a very subjective topic, but any input would be great. I will start off by saying I hate flashy wheels.  I want functional clean looking wheels.  If the offset was ZERO I would go with these wheels as they are my favorite:

 

nissan-pathfinder-rims-62370-b.jpg

 

but, they don't come in the offset I want and wheel spacers are out.

 

These are another option, but they may be too flashy and they are NOT cheap...though I want something that looks decent. 

 

method_mr301_the_standard_sm_pdpfull.jpg

 

Maybe I need a darker color.  I don't want black but the grey is very tempting:

 

method_mr309_grid_mgbl_pdpfull.jpg

 

Ideas, comments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree, don't do black with that body color, the grey is certainly tempting.  The silver might be a little too bright, but the style of the wheel is very nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Id argue that black wheels with that body color look great. Enjoi408, his rig was totalled, had the same color with black wheels. Looked pretty good. 

 

That being said both wheel options are nice choices. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooh, I forgot about enjoi's rig.  That thing did look really good.  Maybe black would work after all, haha.  Maybe if I actually looked up pics instead of just imagining it I'd give better input... System_f, have you tried photoshopping pics of the wheels onto a pic of your Pathy?  Or even just a quick and dirty job with MS Paint.  It would give you a much better idea of which wheels will look good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Welcome to NPORA Forums

 

Please REGISTER to gain full access to the forum.

Make sure you read the Forum Guidelines and don't forget to post a new intro in the New People Start Here! section, to say hi too everyone.

 

-NPORA

×