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PrecisionX

R51 Reliability compared to the R50? Pros and cons

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 Hi guys . I am currently running an R50  pathfinder with 208,000 miles on it and other than basic maintenance and expected wearable parts it’s been tough . I am in search for a new daily driver work vehicle that can handle a lot of miles and hold up just the same as my current Pathfinder and was wondering if the R51 or Xterra would be a good buy.  ideally I am looking to spend $7500 or less and I put between 20 and 30,000 miles per year on . I have also considered first generation Acura RDX, Subaru outback non-turbo as well as Forrester’s. Looking for the pros and cons as I would rather not drive a RAV4 haha.

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3rd gen 4runner or another R50. I’ve had both and loved both

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Not an option. Institution will not finance that old and I’m not shelling out $8 grand for a 3rd Gen 4Runner with 180k on it like most of like fools want. I live in New England also, rust is a huge problem. My Pathfinder is from Texas. They’re non existent around here.

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Read up on SMOD (strawberry milkshake of death) if you haven't yet. Common issue on R51s and Xterras with the VQ40 (not sure of the exact year range on the Xterras), easy to prevent, kills the trans if you don't. I've read that the traction control on the R51 can't be turned off, which is annoying. Also obviously check for corrosion given where you are, I saw a picture of a rotted out R51 frame on the FB group the other day and it looked just like how the WD21s rust out! I guess they're real Pathfinders after all.

 

The list of options you're looking at kinda begs the question of what you're really looking for. If you're just looking for a daily that won't see much off-road action or towing, I'd expect the Subaru or the Acura to handle better and be better on gas.

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 Forerunners are out simply because they are too expensive private sale.  we aren’t opposed to buying another SUV but essentially we are looking for the best vehicle be at a wagon or a four-wheel-drive SUV .  It would need to be classified in the bullet proof segment. With the exception of the Subarus head gasket issues we are looking for something that does not have any known catastrophic failures that are in evitable

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Honestly, a Forester would be a fun daily driver/trail rig. Decently capable, aftermarket, forum support. It'll potentially get better fuel economy than the trucks and will drive fine in the winter. Independent rear suspension will potentially give you better ride quality, but it'll make some of the minor lift options tricky. 

 

Biggest downside is that Subarus probably hold their value pretty well in the NE so it'll probably be on the pricier side vs like the RDX or something.

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If an RDX fits your price point & size, it’s hard to beat a Honda for reliability. I don’t know RDXs but 1st & 2nd/3rd Gen MDXs last forever. They also perform well & handle remarkably well. I expect the RDX is similar though they have terrible looking & great looking years.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, RainGoat said:

If an RDX fits your price point & size, it’s hard to beat a Honda for reliability. I don’t know RDXs but 1st & 2nd/3rd Gen MDXs last forever. They also perform well & handle remarkably well. I expect the RDX is similar though they have terrible looking & great looking years.

 

 

Didn’t MDXs and Pilots have transmission issues?

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I only know the ‘07-‘09 well & no problems there. They changed tranny to 7spd in ‘10 but I haven’t seen anything on MDXers where I’m pretty active. The 1st Gens stopped on ‘06 & they are everywhere in the road with like 250+ miles on them.

 

 

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With the exception of the Subarus head gasket issues we are looking for something that does not have any known catastrophic failures that are inevitable


Not all subarus had/have head gasket issues. They’re more likely to consume oil. Something like 1qt/1000 miles if really bad. Mu wife has a forester turbo and it burns about 1qt per 2300miles. An outback would probably be your best bet for fuel efficiency. If you can find one with the 3.6 engine it would be a very solid car.




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16 hours ago, Astrorami said:

 


Not all subarus had/have head gasket issues. They’re more likely to consume oil. Something like 1qt/1000 miles if really bad. Mu wife has a forester turbo and it burns about 1qt per 2300miles. An outback would probably be your best bet for fuel efficiency. If you can find one with the 3.6 engine it would be a very solid car.




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It really depends on the year. You never said what year range you are looking at. The early and mid 2000's had much more of a head gasket issue then later ones. They are also very uncomfortable, tons of road and wind noise, and severely underpowered, unless you get a turbo. 

If you are looking at Subaru, look at the more refined newer ones. If this is a commuter, you probably want something quite and comfortable. 

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Posted (edited)

I would replace it with a 1st or 2nd gen xterra. They don't have major rust issues and both can be had for a good price. On the 2nd gen watch out for the SMOD crap if it is an automatic. The 4.0 has more power than the 3.3. But the 3.3 is the same reliable engine the 96-2000 r50 had.

 

All the reliability issues I hear from friends owning subarus make me want to steer clear. I can't stand driving a car that burns oil.

 

I don't like the independent rear on the r51. It is a pain to work on and the ones I've worked on (I'm in the same rust belt as you) everything is always seized and a huge pain in the ass.

Edited by adamzan
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^+1 on the oil burning, my aunt's '13 Subaru ran out of oil while she was driving it. Fortunately she heard the lifters complaining and stopped before the bearings locked up.

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My 04 Sorento has been a very solid and reliable truck. The first gens (03-06) are a lot like my Pathy, body on frame with truck suspension. Also like my Pathy, not the best on fuel. It averages about 15 mpg mixed driving, but is amazingly good off pavement even in stock form. I know mine well because it has been in the family since it was new. Mom bought it and drove it until she passed away in 11, then my sister had it until she gave it to me 3 years ago when she bought a new one. Other than a failed front axle seal when it was 3, a couple of expansion tank failures, and a power steering hose that sprung a leak, all it's problems have been caused by me treating it like my Pathy. Rocks are hard.

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 Hi guys . I am currently running an R50  pathfinder with 208,000 miles on it and other than basic maintenance and expected wearable parts it’s been tough . I am in search for a new daily driver work vehicle that can handle a lot of miles and hold up just the same as my current Pathfinder and was wondering if the R51 or Xterra would be a good buy.  ideally I am looking to spend $7500 or less and I put between 20 and 30,000 miles per year on . I have also considered first generation Acura RDX, Subaru outback non-turbo as well as Forrester’s. Looking for the pros and cons as I would rather not drive a RAV4 haha.


Sorry if I upset some of the R51 guys on the forum, but if you want a tough vehicle that won’t fail you for a solid 200k miles, I personally wouldn’t go for an R51 Pathy. Main reason being the transmission, which is notoriously faulty. Plus, that’s not long after Renault took control of Nissan, so most of your build quality in an R51 tends to be slightly French-@!*%box-y.


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I don't think there are many other major reliability issues besides SMOD. Nissan put out new radiators to fix this in...2010? So 2010-2012 is absolutely safe, and honestly, I wouldn't be too worried about picking up a 2005-2010 if its running/driving ok - just swap out the radiator as soon as you got it. Not all of them broke.

Otherwise the transmission is very reliable, the transfer and engine are good AFAIK as well?

 

We're actually in the market now....they are getting cheap. 

 

 

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