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Anyone done a starter replacement on VQ


colinnwn
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Has anyone done a starter replacement on a 2001-2004 Pathfinder with the VQ engine? I can't find anything about the removal and installation in the FSM. It looks tight, a lot harder than replacing the starter in my old Scout. I've found a few references online for replacing the starter in older Pathfinders, and they supposedly required a lot of work like removing the half shaft, or unbolting the motor and jacking it up. I'm hoping I don't have to do this and I can replace the starter myself this Sunday. But if it is a bear, I don't want to get into it.

 

Thanks.

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Getting to the 2 bolts will be easy even with 4wd. Getting the starter out and the new one in looks like it may be the hard part. At a minimum I'll have to remove the wheel and inner fender splash guard. The A arm may be in the way as well and I might have to remove the axle half shaft. I was really disappointed in the FSM not even calling out what needs to be removed for a starter replacement on vehicle, it is usually better than that. There is no way you can do it without removing anything like you can in a Scout.

 

I've read a bunch of posts on what a pain a starter replacement is on a VG, but I've only found one post about doing it on a VQ. The person that replied said it is pretty straightforward, but he didn't specifically say he had done it. I'll probably start in on it in the next hour. We shall see.

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Well this was a no-go, and reflects poorly on the FSM for not spelling out the R/I procedure for a common service item.

 

Specifically for a 2001 with a VQ engine and manual tranny, the front diff wasn't a problem, it is on the other side from the starter. The bottom mounting bolt is easy to get at, the top mounting bolt would be hard but not impossible. I think I could yoga the starter out by going down and straight back while rotating it, but i'm not certain. What is completely unreasonable to get at is the positive terminal. There is no access or removable splash guard panel behind the wheel. From directly underneath there is no room around the engine mount to get any kind of wrench on there. Moving forward from underneath the A member is in the way. If you had the hand and arms of a 5 year old except 18 inches long, you could get at it from the front of the truck behind the front splash guard, due to the inflexible power steering hose.

 

I think the method must be to remove the entire power steering rack, and possibly the alternator too. Though honestly if a mechanic told me he had to drop the entire front suspension and drivetrain, after trying to figure it out myself, I'd believe him. It is times like these I tell myself I'll never buy another Nissan. But really they've mostly been affordable and reliable. I hope I can get out of the mechanic's shop for less than $500, which is obscene for anything less than a luxury car starter.

Edited by colinnwn
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  • 10 months later...

I just did mine last week. Granted I work in a shop and have access to air tools and lifts. All in all it took me about 30 minutes. I did not need to take out any axles or a arms ect. Granted I don't have a bumper or fender wells in the way. Installation is easy only two bolts hold it in. One goes in from the front and one screws in from the back. I used long extensions and wobble sockets to get it out. Then unplug the connection and unbolt the ground. Then maneuver it out around the motor mount. All in all not too terribly hard just kind of tight to get too

 

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  • 8 months later...

So what is this noise I'm reading about having to drop the power steering rack and remove the alternator? I'm going to have to do this here shortly as i'm getting the tell tale click of the solenoid without the motor spinning once every few days now. I figure i'll do it at the same time as the lift kit install and this way my wife just thinks its one project :)

 

Thanks!

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  • 3 months later...

I just saw this question. The final price was $550. I believe the starter was $300 of that. I can look it up if it matters.

 

The mechanic was cagey and would only say he didn't need to pull the half-shaft. What I said was just based off of my inspection from underneath.

 

My truck has a 2 inch lift and no other underbody changes. I didn't have a garage lift. I wasn't convinced I could wiggle the starter out, and there was absolutely no way I could get my arm in there far enough to remove the positive terminal.

Edited by colinnwn
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Thanks for the follow up. I know I will eventually be in this boat again, but for now the starter has not been acting up(well, once or twice since I posted that back in February). Once it starts acting up again i'll deal with it...

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