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In the market, looking for info

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After much reading and test driving, my next car is highly likely to be a 2012 Pathfinder LE, when I can find something with low miles. I'm coming out of an Outback that I put 200,000 rough miles on, and mo one makes anything like that car anymore, so I'm creeping up in size.


The Xterra caught my very serious consideration early on, until I found out that the R51 is like a long wheelbase Xterra, with more comfort stuff that an aging fart like myself can enjoy.


My questions are technical, hoping you all may know:


-The "LE", do they all come with 18" wheels? Can I put smaller wheels on there without changing the brakes? 18" hoops are expensive.


-What differs between the Xterra drivetrain and the R51? Does the R51 have anythig watered down?


-Both the Xterra and R51 are on the F-A chassis, is there much part compatibility?


-Any common consumables, recalls, or "weak links" in the R51? (like the head gaskets in my Subaru).




Thanks all for your time, I appreciate any advice!

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As far as weak links, there is an issue where the seam or seal or whatever between the transmission cooler and the radiator lets go and creates a Strawberry Milkshake of Death. Pretty easy to prevent by bypassing the factory cooler and adding an aftermarket one. IIRC some of the early 4.0 engines had timing chain guide issues. I've also heard of issues with the traction control limiting what you can do off-road, but I guess you get that in any newer vehicle.


There aren't an awful lot of R51 guys on here, hopefully one of them can chime in with more/better info.

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Tranny cooler issues were on the 05-06 models. A lot have been fixed. Timing chains have been hit and miss. There is a warranty extension on them. If the engine sounds like it's supercharged, the tensioners are toast. Expensive, but once done, there done(unlike your subies headgaskets, which will fail again). Xterras have a solid axle in the rear, pathfinders have independent rear suspension. Pathfinders have 3 row seating, Xterras only have two. Pathfinders have a optional V8 engine! If you want more specifics, just ask!

Edited by 5523Pathfinder
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Yeah the trans cooler haunted the xterra to the very end. I'm not looking at anything older than 2010, hoping to get a decade out of it like I did the Subaru. PS; The Subaru head gaskets are now a permanent fix (as of 2010, when mine were done).


I noticed the IRS on the R51, thought it was odd that they would do such a big shift on the same platform. Like most people in the first world, most of my driving will be paved, so mabe it's for the best. We do a lot of road trips to rough places, so articulation will come up at some point... but, not a deal breaker.


The longer wheelbase is what has the R51 at the top of my list at the moment, though the 500 extra pounds from the xterra is a bit of a bummer. I like being able to car camp, and the Xterra is just a bit too short to lay down in, without cramping the passenger seat.


I understand there were options for different gear ratios? Is the hill decent control button the primary indicator that you've got the options package with steeper gears?


Using Rock-Auto as a part number cross reference, seems to show that the brakes are the same between the Xterra and Pathfinder, which should mean that the wheels will be interchangable? I'd love to get a set of 16's if I can.


Thanks again, guys!

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These are the gears as I understand them.


R51 RWD - 3.13

R51 4x4 - 3.36

R51 V8 - 2.94


So as long as its 4x4 it sould have the highest gear ratio.


I would be very surprised is the brakes weren't identical between all trim levels.


Also, don't let IRS foul into thinking its not offroad capable. Outside the US, the R51 is a pretty popular trail rig. Granted it won't do the Rubicon in stock form, but it will get some surprising places.


This is a 7 part video of a guy taking a lifted R51 up Wheeler Lake

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've pulled the trigger and now have a 2012 LE in my driveway. I haven't got long on the tires, so I'm considering myself in the market for 16" rims now.


I'd like to go down a size in tire width, too. Has anyone tried a 235/85/16? Should only add 2 mph at highway speed, with a negligable increase in MPG.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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