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Do We drive pathfinders because we are poor or want to?


LittleFR
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Well, my old 1984 D720 kingcab 4x4 sold me on Nissan reliability and wheeling ability, but I wanted more power than the Z24i and was tired of hauling everyone's crap around, so I looked for SUVs. It came down to 4runners and the WD21's; the 4 runners were almost 50% higher in price (why?) and I didn't like the way they drove... very little road feel.

So, fast forward through 10 years of NPORA and I am on my second 1995 WD21, we have had a 1999.0 R50 for over 6 years, and I'm about to part out a 1991 (that I bought my friend when he needed wheels, who then bought a 2001 R50, who's BIL bought a 2002 R50...). Great vehicles!

My WD21 has been parked for years, but gets started and moved every month or two. Hopefully this spring with be the time I get it back on the road. The good news? Only 107K on the clock...

 

B

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This is a great question! I've had many, many project vehicles-muscle cars, sports cars, and 4x4 trucks, but after a friend told me to come get his non-running 95 Pathfinder SE out his driveway, I was hooked. Bit of tinkering and a new ignition module we were on the road! It was love at first drive. After my son rolled it, I knew I needed another one. And now another one. And I keep my eyes open for another one. Strange obsession I think, but kinda fun.

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My parents picked my '95 because my dad had a few of them when I was a kid--and walked away from a couple bad accidents in them. I guess they figured I'd have to try pretty hard to hurt myself in one. By the time we gave up on the frame in that rig, I liked the WD enough to get another one.

 

The more I drive newer cars, the more I like mine. It doesn't make me reliant on a dealership. Changing the oil doesn't require a scan tool. The fluids aren't some proprietary blend of eleven herbs and spices. The computer does its job without dealer visits and relearn procedures. There's no traction control to override my foot, no computer running an electric motor on the steering rack, and no push-and-pray between me and the transfer case. And if it craps out, I can probably fix it with basic tools and a little swearing.

Also, there's this forum, and people on it who know how to keep these things alive!

 

So, yeah, if I had the money to buy a new car, I think I'd spend it building this one up.

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I cannot stand having a giant screen in the dash like newer cars do. Most of them for me you cannot dim enough at night and it becomes a hazard. I even put the stock radio back in my wd21 and use a bluetooth fm transmitter for calls and music. Now nothing blinds me and I can do what everyone else does in their new cars.

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I don't have a Pathfinder any longer but I drove it when I had it because I like Nissan's (older ones, they can keep all that complicated crap !), and as Adam said they are reliable and they are fairly easy to work on, and go basically any where you want them too. Plus they look good.

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My first vehicle was a Black 4Door '91 WD21, I got it when I was 14 from my older brother who inherited it from my aunt. Unfortunately my older brother is a moron and didn't maintain anything on the vehicle, so when I finally was 16 and able to drive it was out of my ability to fix, well considering I was 16 and more into woodwork than automotive. Somewhere along the line my parents convinced me to sell "that old rustpile" so I eventually did.
Now I have a 2001 Pathfinder SE3.5. It feels like I finally had the vehicle I should've had years ago. I only paid 2500 for it as well.

 

...But I am also poor.

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I had a 93 SE pathy years ago before kids and the wife and I took it all over the mountains of Montana. I loved that SUV but we were remodeling and needed a truck to haul materials.

 

Now we live in the Olympic Mountains and I can't bring myself to drive my Nissan Titan down the trails to explore. Remembering how much fun we had in the old pathfinder, I wanted another, and ended up with a 92 SE. I have been a fan of Japanese vehicles for a long time. I have had a couple of Toyota's, a Yamaha motorcycle, and lots of artic cat snowmobiles and four wheelers (Suzuki motors in them) two pathfinders and a Titan. Also lots of domestic stuff and I much prefer the Japanese.

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I drive a pathfinder because I learned to drive in an R50 and love how similar vehicles ride. I always liked the feel of the pathfinder, so when I was looking for a hard body truck and came across a great deal on a pathfinder I scooped it up. Now I have the best of both worlds, a suv that looks and feels like a truck should :happy:

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  • 1 year later...

I bought a wd21 partly for the price (hard to beat $900, even with a few problems) and partly because of the lack of rust and body damage. But mostly I didn't want a newer car or something that's too common. I was actually looking at an even more rare vehicle (daihatsu rocky anyone?) but it didn't work out and I didn't want to have driven to Arizona for nothing. The 2000 Mitsubishi montero sport I had before was crap, IMHO, so I don't like all Japanese cars, but I have become a fan of Nissan since I got a pathy.

 

My dad is a hardcore Mopar man. He always had mid 80s Ramchargers when I was growing up, and now he has a chrysler 300m and a '76 plymouth trailduster (!!!). He never liked foreign cars until I got my pathfinder, but my wd21 has him convinced. He gets frustrated helping me with the 33 swap, since everything is packed in pretty tight, but I explained that in order to get full blown 4x4 in such a small platform they had to make hard decisions like making us take out the front diff to get the oil pan off. 

 

I got rear ended a while back and it totally destroyed the new "SUV" that hit me, and I only had a couple dents, a smashed tail light, and a bent tail pipe. The insurance company, in their infinite wisdom, decided to repair that POS because it's "worth more" and totaled my truck because they don't think the whole vehicle is worth the price of a paint job. I told them flat out they could have my Pathfinder over my dead body and they cut me a check for $5000 and said I'd have to retitle it as a "salvage vehicle". They also said that there was "nothing special" about the WD21 and they "aren't collectable". I went off on that lady, though I kept my language clean. I told her that I was a member of a group of collectors (you guys) and if it was nothing special then why did it hold up so well to a fancy new car that weighs like half again as much. 

 

Bottom line:  I bought it because I could afford it and it had the 4x4 I needed, living in rural Arkansas, and I kept it because it's awesome. If I somehow became rich I'd still keep it. I plan on driving that truck (or another wd21 if anything serious happens to it) for the rest of my life. Plus I like not having a Ford, Chevy, or Jeep which is all people around here seem to buy. My ex had a grand Cherokee and I hated it. 

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I've had mine for about 4 years, bought it from my daughter who bought it used, the guy she bought it from took pretty good care of it. I love this thing! Drive it everyday day and have had

very few issues with it(dizzy,starter, radiator). Thanks to the good people on here have learned a lot about doing repairs myself.The 4 wheel drive is great especially in winter here, little weight in the back, thing is a tank. Told the wife we'll never get rid of it. Really like my Pathy.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/10/2016 at 11:22 AM, mjotrainbrain said:

Well, mine is my first car. I actually kind of didn't like it at first (what's this thing, Japanese? IFS? Ew!) (I wanted a Jeep or Ford truck really bad) but now that I have it, I love it! It has completely gotten me into Japanese automobiles, and am even interested in JDM cars and stuff now, something I had always frowned upon. In my opinion, many of us got into it on accident, and now we have a sickness; but a good one. :laugh:

Same here dude lol. My pathy is such a pos....BUT it's my pos ? I'm even contemplating swapping my grandfathers 350z engine into her

Edited by Wacky_Pathy
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I bought mine the day I got my license for $1800. Needed a battery, power steering pump, timing belt, plugs and wires etc.. I got made fun of by my buddies on a friendly note. They said stuff like, "Oh you can't tow with that thing!" and "You ain't gonna be able to get home in this snow or pull anyone out!" And there I was, 2 months later pulling my buddies lifted k1500 out of a snow filled ditch. Anyway, this thing gets compliments from the Police a lot and I get looks from people going down the road and so on. So yea, I wanted a Jeep, got a Pathy and now I'm infected. BAD

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  • 1 month later...

I bought my original Pathfinder, years ago, because I was poor. It was the best vehicle I could afford, that $4500 used SUV stayed with me through me meeting my wife, getting married, and us buying our first house together.  And I'm sure that's how a lot of people get into these vehicles. They buy them because they are reliable and inexpensive and they stick with them.  But there's also guys with plenty of money who love them as well. I know two other guys who own these cars, one's a dentist making 300k a year but he loves his 2004 Pathfinder, the other is a mechanical engineer who works for Tesla, after helping me work on my QX4, he had to get himself one as well. He ended up selling his BMW X5 and getting a Pathfinder LE.  I personally am expecting to spend a lot of money on my current R50 project because I never had the money to buy a new one when they were available, it'll be way more than I could ever expect to get back. But I'm never planning on selling the thing anyway. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I’m hardly rich, but I feel like I do pretty well. The R50 is my third vehicle at this point. I originally bought it several years ago as my daily driver, then when I could afford newer cars I still kept it because it is paid off and still a great truck so it’s worth more to me to keep it and use it than what I could get out of it selling or trading it in.  Plus it’s nice to have in the winter because both of my other cars (Vette and Charger) are very non winter friendly.

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I bought mine new. In fact, it’s the only new car I’ve ever purchased. In late ‘02 it was the best thing out there if you wanted reliability, a powerful engine, good handling & a usable body (oh, and comfortable). The 3rd Gen T4R was junk by comparison (I probably would have bought the 4th Gen T4R if it had come out a little sooner). It’s size is just right too. Even that 4th Gen T4R is really just a tad too wide for tree laden Forest Service roads.

 

With the disastrous exception of my power valve failure, it only once gave me trouble (when the KN Filter I put in burned out my Mass Flow). Mine has stayed in great shape & done countless trips & chores for me. She’s been through about all the CO passes except Black Bear-as an essentially stock vehicle no less.

 

They’re still on the road in great number but actual off-roaders are rare so I like that it’s different. Also, I’ve learned that in the current day & age, I really like the value set of those people who run them. This forum is a great example (I only wish I’d become more active before my power valve failure & had been able to prevent it). I’ve now got my Mom’s 5th Gen T4R waiting in the wings but I expect to drive my Pathy at least another 10 years.

 

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1 hour ago, RainGoat said:

In late ‘02 it was the best thing out there if you wanted reliability, a powerful engine, good handling & a usable body (oh, and comfortable). The 3rd Gen T4R was junk by comparison

 

Having gone straight from one to the other (the 4runner still hasn’t sold in fact), I think the 4runner is for sure a worse driving experience. Less powerful, worse interior, and equally or more crammed for space. What I will give it, however, are more masculine looks and a larger aftermarket. Also the ones that came with a locking diff are pretty great. As for reliability, the 4runner was solid, and I’m hoping my pathfinder holds up as well.

Edited by PathyDude17
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2 hours ago, RainGoat said:

I bought mine new. In fact, it’s the only new car I’ve ever purchased. In late ‘02 it was the best thing out there if you wanted reliability, a powerful engine, good handling & a usable body (oh, and comfortable). The 3rd Gen T4R was junk by comparison (I probably would have bought the 4th Gen T4R if it had come out a little sooner). It’s size is just right too. Even that 4th Gen T4R is really just a tad too wide for tree laden Forest Service roads.

 

With the disastrous exception of my power valve failure, it only once gave me trouble (when the KN Filter I put in burned out my Mass Flow). Mine has stayed in great shape & done countless trips & chores for me. She’s been through about all the CO passes except Black Bear-as an essentially stock vehicle no less.

 

They’re still on the road in great number but actual off-roaders are rare so I like that it’s different. Also, I’ve learned that in the current day & age, I really like the value set of those people who run them. This forum is a great example (I only wish I’d become more active before my power valve failure & had been able to prevent it). I’ve now got my Mom’s 5th Gen T4R waiting in the wings but I expect to drive my Pathy at least another 10 years.

 

 

The 4th gen really is wide.  I've come to accept that I'll be lucky if nature doesn't force parts of it to become narrower at some point.  I really felt that my R50 fit in the woods very nicely.

 

On the topic of your MAF issue, I feel lucky that I never decided to get a K&N filter.  I keep hearing long term issues relating to what they do to MAF's; not worth it to me!

 

Maybe it's just where I live, but if it's not a JK or TJ it's a pretty rare offroader unfortunately.  Lots of Jeep-bro attitude flowing in the woods of Michigan.

 

27 minutes ago, PathyDude17 said:

Having gone straight from one to the other (the 4runner still hasn’t sold in fact), I think the 4runner is for sure a worse driving experience. Less powerful, worse interior, and equally or more crammed for space. What I will give it, however, are more masculine looks and a larger aftermarket. Also the ones that came with a locking diff are pretty great. As for reliability, the 4runner was solid, and I’m hoping my pathfinder holds up as well.

 

I felt the same way test driving a 3rd gen.  I was very unimpressed by the quality of the interior, on a Limited model no less, and the engine was as weak as you could imagine, but maybe I'm spoiled by the VQ my QX4 had; I know I've heard the VG is slow.  (I did test drive a VG powered Xterra too, but I won't comment on the VG from that experience because the thing had a lot of issues I think.)  I also felt absolutely shoe-horned in there.  While my 4th gen is seriously lacking in the materials quality of the interior, it is plenty roomy for all 6'4" of me and has plenty of power.

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I done some work for a lady painting 3 rooms in her house. I quoted her a price of 500$. I noticed she had a 98 Pathy sitting in her yard prior to me being there 6 months earlier and it was still in the same location while I was doing the work. I'd ask her about it and she said it was for her grandson, but he couldn't get his grades up so she was thinking about selling it. At the time I was driving a 94 S10 that for the lack of a better term was a pos. Long story short I ask her if she would trade me my s10 and the 500$ for her Pathy. The rest is history. I was hooked from that day on. Since that day I've bought 2 more R50s. A 96 Pathy and 97 Quey. I sold the 98 I got from the women for $2100 making a hell of a profit. Both the 96 and 97 $500 for each. I could've bought other vehicles but the ride,quality and dependability are hard to beat. I'm not done yet as I'm sure more R50s are headed my way in the future the good Lord willing. Poor and because I want to.ed042dedbac4bc135281d4a0e103c61e.jpg0dc4b605405c7143c8372fcb36ffe364.jpg86290e9a98cc02b293ce09063cca895d.jpg

 

Mr Cox 96R50-97JR50

 

 

 

 

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Having gone straight from one to the other (the 4runner still hasn’t sold in fact), I think the 4runner is for sure a worse driving experience. Less powerful, worse interior, and equally or more crammed for space. What I will give it, however, are more masculine looks and a larger aftermarket. Also the ones that came with a locking diff are pretty great. As for reliability, the 4runner was solid, and I’m hoping my pathfinder holds up as well.

Junk was simplistic, the 3rd Gen T4R is historically a solid vehicle. And no question regarding aftermarket support but that’s in large part due to Toyota’s long term commitment to off-road vehicles & the resultant popularity. Heck, even with my R50, I almost bought a FJ-40 as a play truck & an FJ-60/62as a project truck in 2003-4 (didn’t have the mere thousands that would have been then - touting Toyota FJs then made you the odd man out, that’s how much things have changed).

It’s just in late ‘02, the VQ was much stronger, the Pathfinder’s handling was far superior (likely due to it’s unibody) & the interior of the 3rd Gen T4R was unbelievably dated for the time. Obviously Toyota knew it too as the 4th Gen came out right after I bought in Sept ‘02. Had I been able to buy later, I would undoubtedly have purchased a 4th Gen T4R (though with some reservation regarding its width).

In ‘02, I found the Pathfinder a little bland in styling. It was the engine, handling & AWD option, in the face of a much nicer interior, that sealed the deal for me. Back then Toyota was only marginally more reliable than Nissan with Honda head & shoulders above all else (Nissan has recently fallen off the reliability cliff - thanks Renault). All that said, I put the WAAG front runner & lights on it to “toughen” its appearance up a bit.
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Not poor, but certainly not rich. Drive it because its mine, not a handme down from getting a newer car and  my wife getting IT, and me getting the old one.?

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  • 1 month later...

Personally I love the lack of plastic.Eventhough they aren't fast,they'll go virtually anywhere you wanna go.Basically it's a tank.I actually just bought mine 2 months ago..paid a whopping 700 dollars for it.Only has 165k miles and everything works as it should.Being in the south most of it's life there is none of the rust I've read so much about.Definitely love at first sight.

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