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New guy looking for for some insight


Brad77
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Hey guys. I’m looking to get a Pathfinder for for some desert and mountain trails. I’ve found a 98 I like but in researching I have found that the 3.5 is a much better engine than the 3.3. Do any of you guys have experience with both and think it’s worth searching for a 2001 or newer or is the 3.3 good enough? Any other hints or tips you have I will greatly appreciate!

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I think the often-used phrase for the VG33 is "thirst of a V8, power of an I4".  But, the 3.3L I've driven/ridden have been peppy enough (at least in Frontiers/Xterras of the same era), and the engines are deemed bulletproof.  I've only personally owned the VQ35 and I've had no complaints.  It seems like a far more complicated engine, it seems to drink motor oil (I find myself topping off regularly before planned trips), but has been reasonably responsive IMO.

 

2000-02 3.5L, it should be fully inspected, and in most cases, the intake plenum removed and the butterfly valve screws re-installed with threadlocker due to numerous known failures when they've loosened and been ingested by the engine.  If buying in that model year, you may want to confirm if that work was done, or determine if the engine was replaced at some point.  @RainGoat is our resident victim/ambassador on the topic.  03-04 engines were drive-by-wire, where priors were cable driven.  The DBW system further complicates things, and makes the throttle bodies non-repairable and much more expensive.

 

Beyond engines, they trucks are identical minus cosmetic changes.

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Some people really like the VQ. My dad's '03 had plenty of get-up-and-go, but the oil consumption was worrying, and I never liked the drive-by-wire. The VGs aren't as powerful, but they're less problematic, provided you keep up on the timing belt and other maintenance.

 

1 hour ago, hawairish said:

I think the often-used phrase for the VG33 is "thirst of a V8, power of an I4".

 

My dad's Tundra with the 4.7l V8 gets the same mileage as my WD21 with the VG30E. It's kind of embarrassing.

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