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IRONFIST

Saved a Pathfinder from the junkyard

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Hello everybody, I’ve registered a few days ago and have been reading posts ever since. Beginning to feel like I should introduce myself.   I'm an avid car guy, and am into Pontiac muscle cars, which is where 100% of my restoration knowledge comes from.

 

My wife and I recently had a baby, which meant it was time to make some cuts and save money where we could, it was a choice between selling my Range Rover or my fun cars, so I've got rid of my Range Rover and decided to build the perfect winter vehicle instead. I’ve always been a fan of Pathfinders, and have owned a few through the years; my first was a white 98 with a 5speed, I loved that thing but I live at 4000ft altitude which means the already underpowered 3.3L was way too underpowered and the interior left a bit to be desired. I sold that vehicle and bought a 2001 QX4, which fixed the power and interior issues but it felt just a tad bit too civilized, what I really wanted was a Pathfinder on the outside and a QX4 on the inside.  Now I’ve found one, it’s a project but seeing as I’m saving a thousand dollars a month on a range rover payment my wife is letting me spend whatever I need to on it. 

 

About my Pathfinder:

There was a guy locally selling a 2002 Pathfinder LE for parts. After seeing it I took pity on the vehicle, the kid who owned it had really done a number on it.  The plastic plate under the vehicle had been removed for some time, which meant all the gravel and salt thrown onto the roads had been thrown up into the engine bay, the front of the engine is plated with rust, and the clutch fan had been torn to pieces.  The radiator shroud was no where to be seen, and the radiator catch can has been replaced with an empty one quart motor oil bottle, there is some very questionable wiring, and the tail lights are mismatched. But that was all that was wrong with it, the vehicle had surprisingly little rust ( only some spots from rock chips on the roof above the windshield ), which is all I really care about. 

 

The plan is to restore and modify the Pathfinder just like I would any muscle or sports car, but the object isn’t speed it’s making the best winter vehicle possible. It needs to fire up after sitting at -40, needs to be able to pull itself out of ditches, climb hills, stop on short notice, and basically deliver me to the office every morning regardless of the size of any snow storm. It also needs to be able to haul me, regardless of the weather, to any commercial or rural property I may need to get to for work.  Our current ride, a Mercedes Benz GLK gets stuck just leaving my neighbourhood in the winter. 

I’ve gone and ordered a JDM VQ35, and have a complete parts vehicle for anything else I may need ( I’m sure I’ll need plenty ).  I know I have my work cut out for me, and am incredibly glad I found a forum full of people who have experience with this vehicle because it’s all new to me. 

 

 

 

Edited by IRONFIST
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:welcome: Sounds like an epic project, can't wait to see how this comes along!

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15 hours ago, mjotrainbrain said:

:welcome: Sounds like an epic project, can't wait to see how this comes along!

 

Thanks, I have to admit it was weird to pull a valve cover and see camshafts... not used to that.  

I managed to figure out how to upload some pics on Amazon:

The Pathfinder:

https://www.amazon.ca/clouddrive/share/WbBoB1KL670ibicmFqD2ibSci92LHBzqlATRMgLbO7A

The new JDM engine:

https://www.amazon.ca/clouddrive/share/pfhHpPZFQBokef2HBFW4URKb2ur171tbxzpxUxlvpIu

The parts car:

https://www.amazon.ca/clouddrive/share/bAII6bOq3U849V9Ll9TTm8UVPbsxKiu1va0zCrzAEkc

 

 

Edited by IRONFIST
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Welcome! I’m the self appointed Minister of Power Valve Failure Notification so read through the attached link & get it done. Mostly a problem for ‘01-‘04 VQs so it may not apply to you but easy enough to be certain.
POWER VALVES
http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/topic/17104-threadlocker-on-power-valve-screws-pics/?do=embed

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Looks like an epic project indeed.  I think the parts car looks pretty good - maybe better than the one you're working on....  Keep us updated.  By the way if you you enclose the url for your photo within " " I think the photo will show in the thread.

 

Cool name btw.  IronFist.  Are you from KunLum?

Edited by AlabamaDan

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The parts one has an impact on the passenger side, it would need new doors and welding in a new B pillar... I've thought about it, maybe I'll save it.  In fact, I think I probably will because it is in great shape and it's a 5 speed, might be a good little vehicle. 

Ironfist is a name I got back in high school, and I been using it on forums ever since just to keep consistent. I'm now nearly 40 years old, have a wife and a family and don't go around punching anything anymore but the name stuck. 

Thanks for the warm welcome guys, I'm currently doing a search to see if there are any tricks for getting those upper transmission bell-housing bolts. I'm sure there's been a few posts about it. 

 

Power valve failure, well that sounds like it might do some damage. I wonder if that's what happened to the engine in my LE.  Looks like such an easy fix too. Thanks for the headsup RainGoat, I'll do that on the new engine before dropping it in. 

Edited by IRONFIST

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If I may ask, how much was a new engine?

 

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If I may ask, how much was a new engine?
 

Mine was $1,451 but things are usually ridiculously expensive here in the NW.

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hmmmm.....  okay. But for a new engine it really isn't that bad.  Should be like a new vehicle then, right?

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That’s not a NEW engine, that’s a JDM replacement engine, supposed to be just under 50,000 miles.

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That’s not a NEW engine, that’s a JDM replacement engine, supposed to be just under 50,000 miles.

I’m curious what is the difference between the stock engine and a jdm engine? Wouldn’t our engines technically be jdm since they were built in Japan?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Astrorami said:


I’m curious what is the difference between the stock engine and a jdm engine? Wouldn’t our engines technically be jdm since they were built in Japan?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I think the suggestion is more about getting an engine with less miles. Not sure if it’s a mandate or something, but engines destined for Japanese markets tend to get pulled around 50K-60K. It’s that, opposed to finding 100K+ plus, or unknown mileage, engines stateside. 

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I’m curious what is the difference between the stock engine and a jdm engine? Wouldn’t our engines technically be jdm since they were built in Japan?

 

The following explanation is consistent with what the majority of information on the topic states:

 

"Shaken" (Car Inspection) is a Japanese law that requires cars at year 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 etc. to undergo rigorous mechanical and emission inspections at government authorized garages. (see Motor Vehicle Inspection and Registration Guide-Japan ). It is not uncommon that an owner will pay $1500 or more (general range $800-$2500) to get through the process. As owners faces yet another inspection and increasing costs to return their car to like new standards, they will decide it is less costly to buy a new one and will trade in their older model. Japanese owners trade a car much earlier then we in the U.S. do for this reason. Low mileage used cars are thus abundant in Japan and are shipped all over the world..

 

There are an excess of used cars in the Japanese market which drives the cost down. Cars which have minor body damage won't be repaired because it makes more sense to buy a new car. I can only imagine that the automotive manufacturers and the trade associations work very hard to keep this law in place to encourage more new car sales.

 

Every Japanese car owner must pay for the frequent inspections and repairs every two years. On the average, they decide to buy new car instead of suffering the cost of the next inspection and unnecessary repairing, because it will be cheaper to buy a new car and trade the old one.

 

To summarize the average Japanese car owner will trade for a new car between 60,000km and 120,000 km (40,000 mi. and 72,000mi). Therefore reputable engine importers will acquire engines in this range. None will be able to guarantee 40,000 miles on every engine.

 

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I think they have some tax incentive to trade before 50k miles

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Looks like JDM engines have the coolant crossover tube on the driver side instead of the passenger. Apparently you can just pop on a crossover tube from a left hand drive vq35 with no problems.

 

Looks like you will need to look at the oil cooler and if it’s not setup for use and it has a sensor there instead then you have a vq35 that was bolted to a manual transmission. That would mean you will need a power valve actuator and some other stuff possibly, and ECU?

 

I also saw something about JDM vq35’s missing the speed control throttle cable.

 

Those bellhousing bolts suck. You can get them though by making a very long extension with a universal joint at the end. I like the black impact ujoints from harbor freight because they are stiff. Regular ujoints are quite difficult to use since you are way too far away to control the dangle of the socket. Wrapping regular ujoints with the right amount of electrical tape works to stiffen them up though..

 

I’ve also heard about people reaching those bolts by going thru an access hole in the floor near the gear shifter. It should be there even though you don’t have a floor lever for the transfercase.

 

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I also saw something about JDM vq35’s missing the speed control throttle cable.

That’s probably this issu:
Basically, you had 4 years of the VQ35DE in an R50. 
04: Drive By Wire
03: Drive By Wire
02: Throttle Cable + Black Plastic Valve Covers
01: Throttle Cable + Aluminum Valve Covers. 
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Manual trans vq35 engines don’t have power valves at all.. so I’m not sure what all you’d have to do. Intake with power valves, actuator, electrical, and probably more. Let’s just hope you don’t have this problem.

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Manual trans vq35 engines don’t have power valves at all..

Oops, I guess I missed that it was a MT

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Oh no sorry I wasn’t correcting you at all I was correcting myself! I have no idea if it came from a manual trans or anything I was just reading and that swap was from a manual trans to an auto.


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On 11/8/2018 at 12:10 AM, AlabamaDan said:

If I may ask, how much was a new engine?

 

The engine was $1250 delivered to my door, the vehicle it came out of had 48689miles (78357km) on it. I was a bit concerned, as the seller could have just showed me a random picture of an odometer and sent me another engine but the engine I got was spotless and the compression was great in every cylinder. I also got an alternator, power steering, and air conditioning pump which I don't need but they were attached so now I got some spare parts which is always nice.  

But yeah, I did notice some differences guys, I can take some photos to show you today.  

 

I should clarify I have three VQ engines right now, one is the broken one in the LE which I'm replacing, one is a manual one in the parts vehicle, and one is the JDM one from an auto. 

Edited by IRONFIST
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Well, you have me by one ; ). The spare parts are a nice touch!
4d944b8bf7b56cfccea95892c07a97a0.jpg28dec782d5d78157e35ffed549df3158.jpg

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I bought a used engine for my Sentra years ago with supposedly less than 50k.  Lasted until the car was totaled.  :)

 

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