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From wreck to riches


nixternal
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First post, so I shall introduce myself. Back in August of 2018 I was driving a 2005 Pontiac Vibe GT, salsa red color, monsoon system, and 6 speed standard. A person in a same year Subaru Forester decided that since they couldn't see oncoming traffic, they would just go for it & the front of my Vibe disagreed with the front passenger area of their car at 45MPH, therefor totaling everything in that intersection. For a month I was down & out. Lost my favorite car ever (people made fun of it but it was like a darn cockroach, it just wouldn't die), jammed my left hand, kissed an air bag, and was introduced to whiplash. Then came dealing with a large insurance company, who I probably trust just as much as anyone in government. When all that was said & done, I just happened to be strolling down a major Chicago thoroughfare on Google maps & came across a Nissan dealership.

 

Honestly, I wasn't even looking at Nissan as a replacement and was looking at older Subaru's, well because they are freakin' safe & built like a tank, I know, I was at the other end of one! Then I read about head gaskets, timing belts, and how the cup holders hold 2 Vente's from Starbucks. Then I remembered, my buddies dad always had Toyota trucks & they were bomb proof too. That lead me to the world of tacos. Then I remembered when I was in the military way back when, my parents looked at 4Runners & Pathfinders. I found 4Runners, but lord some of those owners are on drugs, then I found an XTerra or two & thought the same. Well, while cruising street view, I found the dealership, checked out their used inventory, and saw a 1 owner 2001 Pathfinder LE with 61k miles. IN 2018!!! Couldn't be true, but at 8pm at night I drove straight to the dealership & sure enough, there it was! Tan leather, really clean except for the typical rust bubble near the wheel wells, only on the passenger side & a little on the passenger rocker panel. Dealer started out on drugs by saying $8500 out the door. I just kept saying the same thing, over & over to him. $6,000. He came back at $7500. $6000!!! Then $7000. $6000!!! After 30 minutes of him bring my number to his "sales manager", he agreed. But...that's not where it stopped. I then brought up a noise I heard, and said unless that gets fixed, I don't want it. Yeah, I think that noise was really just the top of my head rubbing the headliner since I'm 6'2". Hey, new ball joints or whatever, so I won't complain. Oh, and they had to fill it up!

 

Been driving it for 2 weeks & using it like I do any other vehicle I have owned. I'm impressed, really liking it. Gas mileage, yeah not so much, but damn this thing is really clean for its age. Only thing I need to do soon is replace the front struts & get some new tires. So, because of that, first thing I did, that probably everyone who purchased their first 4x4 does...Google "lift kits", "lifted 2001 pathfinder", "2001 pathfinder all terrain tires". Yeah, wasn't totally excited, but then I found this place & now I shall lurk & go over everything for the next week or so, and the excitement level went up a little.

IMG_20180908_160434.jpg

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Welcome aboard!  You’ve come to a great community, hope you find any sort of information you’re looking for here.  Truck looks great, and nice to find one with such low mileage.

 

There is one thing you’ll want to look into on the truck, though, and that’s the power valve screws. Not to scare you this early in ownership, but the issue is that the screws can come loose and be ingested by the engine, causing some serious damage and often requiring an engine replacement (cheaper than repair).  Sadly, Nissan never did a recall on it, and only recently (last year?) offered a settlement to CA residents only...and with some pretty weak coverage terms. I’ve got two friends in this community that have had the issue occur on their trucks (one of them very recently).

 

The good news is that with a little effort and some time, you can pull apart the intake plenum and put some threadlocker on the screws to avoid this.

Edited by hawairish
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20 hours ago, hawairish said:

There is one thing you’ll want to look into on the truck, though, and that’s the power valve screws.

 

Right as you sent this last night, I had just read through that forum. Plan is to check it out this week, so thanks for that heads up.

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  Right as you sent this last night, I had just read through that forum. Plan is to check it out this week, so thanks for that heads up. 

 

Welcome! That’s a beautiful truck. I really like the white (Look up “stioc” on Expedition Portal sometime). I believe I’m the guy hawairish is referring to about the power valve screws. It’s only a couple hours work or 2-3* at a mechanic. Cost me a lovingly maintained mint engine so definitely attend to it ASAP. Once that’s done, it will last FOREVER. I’ve had mine 16 years & plan on another decade. 

 

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Asking around about the power valve screws. Kind of disappointed with the dealership I picked the pathy up with. Guy said he has been there 10 years & never heard of the issue before & that was that. Called another dealership & the guy has heard of it & said there was a good chance my pathy already had it done, but said they could check it out & to call back today so he can give me a good quote on the work because all he had last night was oil changers :) 

 

EDIT: Just got off the phone with the one dealership. Said something about a special tool, which I'm smart enough to know that just means it's going to cost more. Then said 3 hours, which is $390, and if the gaskets tear another $120, which I'm sure they will because a) that's my luck and b) yeah more money for them. Anyone in the Chicagoland area need a side gig that's done this before? :D 

Edited by nixternal
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47 minutes ago, nixternal said:

EDIT: Just got off the phone with the one dealership. Said something about a special tool, which I'm smart enough to know that just means it's going to cost more. Then said 3 hours, which is $390, and if the gaskets tear another $120, which I'm sure they will because a) that's my luck and b) yeah more money for them. Anyone in the Chicagoland area need a side gig that's done this before? :D 

 

Haha, your service writer is a special tool.  Just some sockets, a screwdriver, some threadlocker, and time.  It may be a good time to just replace all the gaskets anyway; RockAuto sells everything for the intake plenums and throttle body for <$15.  Here's a good write-up on the process: 

Be mindful that if you take it to a dealership/shop for the labor, any work they perform is basically going to be at your advice and/or instruction.  I don't recall Nissan ever issuing a technical service bulletin for Pathfinder/QX4, only a TSB for early-mid 2000's 2.5L Sentra/Altima that suffered similar fates.

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You shouldn’t need a dealership. As hawairish said, you’ll likely have to walk them through it - I did at first & then the actual mechanic totally got it. Sometimes a picture helps - here’s my sad one.

 

ca394d0b3468c36896b763ab0658218b.jpg

 

Here is the Altima TSB (NTB05-058) but it’s worth noting that the Altima part (#14511-8J00B) come with washers on them which are kind of a pain to remove but need to come off. Also uses Three Bond 1375B (Nissan Part#14511-8J01B) but red Loctite is just as good).

 

Here’s the CA class action lawsuit that Nissan “knows nothing about”.:

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/closed-settlements/359084-california-nissan-power-valve-screw-class-action-settlement/

Sorry, I have to leave for anger management therapy now....

 

 

 

 

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I have now 3 R50's in my driveway.....so I know how to do this almost with my eyes closed.... I did it on all 3 of them and I was lucky...All the bolts and plate were there...  You do not need a special tool, but one tool in particular will save you ALOT of time...  It is a ratchet wrench with a head that pivots...  I do not remember now if it was the 10mm or 12mm.  You will need this to remove the 2 bolts that are attached to a bracket that is behind the lower intake... It is so near  the firewall and you have to  either take a very short wrench or use one that can pivot...  I kid you not, on my first try, with the tools I had a the time (before I got the pivot wrench), it took me almost an hour to remove these 2 bolts.... with the special wrench....5 minutes....

 

here's what I am talking about... sorry for not remembering if it is 10 or 12.... (if you can afford it, buy both of them.. ?  

https://www.amazon.com/GearWrench-Flex-Head-Combination-Ratcheting-Wrench/dp/B0002SR058

 

 

Also, take this opportunity to change your pcv valve... it is right there on your left once the intakes are off... you won't regret this...

Edited by fleurys
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Thanks all! My brother is a mechanic, all be it a diesel mechanic, but has prior history working on cars & does it on the side as well. As far as tools, he has them all, so that isn't to worrisome. Gonna pick up the gasket kit from RockAuto as well as some spark plugs & just do them while we are at it. Only question I have after skimming the forum post about fixing it, is am I doing 12 screws or 24 screws? Upper & lower, just upper, just lower? I was a little confused there, which I am sure once it is opened it it will make more sense. So, this will cost me like $50 in gaskets & plugs plus a twelver or 2 :) Thanks again, y'all are awesome & very welcoming unlike the old Linux forums I am used to like 20 years ago or more ;) 

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The lower intake adds 4 bolts to remove..that's it... and from there you will be able to change your pcv valve... this is a  known cause for oil consumption. (it fixed my oil issue on all 3 of mine....) So I say go for both....  (also, make sure to check your crossover hose for crankcase ventilation...make sure it is not clogged with caked oil... You will see it when the lower intake is removed also... 

 

Cheers.

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1 hour ago, nixternal said:

Only question I have after skimming the forum post about fixing it, is am I doing 12 screws or 24 screws? Upper & lower, just upper, just lower? I was a little confused there, which I am sure once it is opened it it will make more sense. So, this will cost me like $50 in gaskets & plugs plus a twelver or 2 :) Thanks again, y'all are awesome & very welcoming unlike the old Linux forums I am used to like 20 years ago or more ;) 

 

12 screws.  Once you take off the upper plenum, you'll see all 6 valves; specifically the power valves.  If you remove the lower plenum, you'll expose the swirl valves.  No reported failures there, but, you know...maybe while you're in there, see if they come off too easily with a screwdriver.  Fleurys' advice to do the PCV is a good one, too.  (I've been meaning to change that thing out for forever.)  

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PCV, check, I'll add that to the order as well. Thus far, oil level has been fine, however I've only had it for just over 2 weeks now & put on a few hundred miles.

 

I tested out 4H & 4L this past weekend after finding a really steep & wet hill. 2 wheel didn't make it, the auto 4wd didn't make it, 4H & 4L made it with ease, and no noises or anything. Though it looks like they had the transfer case replaced about 12k miles ago.

 

--Rich

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OK, here are the parts I am putting together to get this job done:

 

FEL-PRO MS96455 - Intake Plenum Gasket Kit

 

STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS V332 - PCV Valve

 

NGK 6240 (PLFR5A11) - Spark Plugs (x6)

 

Praying I am not missing a screw or butterfly. Oh, if anyone knows the torque specs off hand, that would be awesome, otherwise still have some more Googlin' to do. Thanks a ton!!!

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Those look like what you need.

 

Go here and download each PDF file: http://www.nicoclub.com/FSM/Pathfinder/2001.5_Pathfinder/.  These files comprise the genuine Nissan Factory Service Manual (FSM) for your truck (er, your truck is actually considered 2001.5, as there are both 2001 and 2001.5 models).  You'll find all instructions, torque diagrams, and specifications in it.  NICO Club has been a gracious host of these invaluable references for many years, but Nissan really screwed us earlier in the year by issuing a cease-and-desist order.  It looks like they've worked things out again, so get them while they're hot!  (And no, I don't mean stolen...)

 

The fwd.pdf file breaks down the chapter acronyms.  In the EM chapter (Engine Mechanical), see page EM-10 for all your torque specs...except for the power valves.  Generally, assemblies not intended for maintenance or repair won't have parts explosions, and the intake plenum is probably one of those items (it's also possible it may be covered in another chapter, just depends).  Because the power valves use Phillips head screws, I don't recall seeing a torque range.  I'd just be thorough with the permanent threadlocker, get them as snug as reasonable (mindful not to strip the screw heads), and let it cure (24hrs is recommended for LocTite Red 271).

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Praying I am not missing a screw or butterfly.

For what it’s worth, it looked like my truck swallowed 5 screws without problem. It was only that the 5th screw was likely the 2nd one on a butterfly valve & then let the valve free. This caused a noise but didn’t otherwise appear to effect performance. In all probability, my old engine is fine - the cylinders still had cross hatching & everything was pristine - they just couldn’t find the screws or any damage & had completely disassembled everything & wouldn’t put it back together without finding something wrong to fix other than the butterfly valves & screws. I wish we had just fixed the valves, reassembled & seen if the tapping noise disappeared. It was the rabbit hole they descended thinking it was lifters that led to the predicament I was in. Admittedly, it would have been hard not going after the screws but, in the end, we never found any of them & I had to replace the engine anyway.

 

If you just need to replace the screws, use the Altima part I referenced above but you’ll need to remove the little washers.

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14 hours ago, nixternal said:

OK, here are the parts I am putting together to get this job done:

 

FEL-PRO MS96455 - Intake Plenum Gasket Kit

 

STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS V332 - PCV Valve

 

NGK 6240 (PLFR5A11) - Spark Plugs (x6)

 

Praying I am not missing a screw or butterfly. Oh, if anyone knows the torque specs off hand, that would be awesome, otherwise still have some more Googlin' to do. Thanks a ton!!!

 

That's exactly the treatment I give to any new R50 I buy right off the bat...  this will prevent any worries in the long run..  I might add one more thing... since you have a 2001, the IACV has a small rubber gasket that with time will crack and let coolant pass and possibly short the idle air control valve assembly. Once the IACV is fried, there's a super good chance  it will fry your ecm.. I think it give a PO505 code or something... so since you will have everything in your hands, I would replace the IACV gasket.. It costs like 2-3$ and will save you probably 100 times this amount... I personally did it on my 2001.  

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=5642058&amp;cc=1432945&amp;jsn=379

 

Edited by fleurys
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Thanks fleurys, added to the cart :) I will give it a day or 2 to make sure everyone is done letting me know, "well while you're there..." :) 

 

hawairish thanks for the manual. Downloaded & stuck on my file server \o/.

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(er, your truck is actually considered 2001.5, as there are both 2001 and 2001.5 models). 

Yep, a 2001, 2001.5, 2002 & 2003-4. It was maddening trying to figure out exactly what parts we needed in my overhaul as several changed with each iteration. I have some lifters for a 2001.5 that it appears changed for my 2002 though it was near impossible to be certain.
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  • 1 month later...

Welcome, once you've done the power valve screws,  and the first time you really load it up you'll see that the suspension is junk and will want to upgrade your springs. Old Man Emu makes and out the door set, and several people here have gotten even better results using land rover springs.  Either way, the difference over stock is night and day.

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