How reliable are Pathfinders with 4x4 from the late '90s era? Any typical problem spots? Any heavy maintenance required around the 120k-150k mile mark?
Are they decent compared to say an Explorer from about the same time frame?
I owned a 97 Pathfinder, I bought it used at 56,000 miles. When I got rid of it last month. The truck had over 223,000 on it. And still ran well. I had to replace brakes, fuel pump and one starter. That was it other then normal maint on the truck. I did use synthetic in trans, engine and diff. very reliable as far as I am concern
Reliability wise they are superb, just as every other late 90s Nissan (build quality is right up there), and the 3.3L V6 is a reliable unit. Their downside is the lack of room in the engine compartment, it's very tight. Then again, so are the later models with the 3.5L.
Good fun to drive, handles more car like, and gets you around 17-18 MPG depending on how you drive.
my 97 pathfinder was NOT perm 4wd. You could switch with the shifter form inside the vehicle between 2 and 4 wd.
I averaged about 20 mpg on the hwy. I found that you can increase mpg by installing synthetic in the diff and trans
They seem to be decent vehicles. A good friend of my wife drives one, and we borrowed it a few times before we bought the Expedition. A lot more stable than a Jeep Cherokee IMHO.
Only issue seems to be rust. Her hubby had to replace both floor pans in the front.... But this is Canada.
I bought an Infiniti QX4 new in 1997. Basically the same truck but the QX4 has a more sophisticated AWD system. IIRC, the 4WD system on the Pathfinder was your more traditional part time, shift-on-the-fly set up. LSD was an option so you might want to check for that. No AWD was available on the '97 Pathy.
Trouble spots seemed to be exhaust system related; loose heat shields that rattled, cracked exhaust manifolds, etc. Rear suspension was soft and allowed some bottoming out when loaded. Overall its an excellent vehicle, made in Japan, very high build quality.
The 3.3L V6 puts out a wheezy 168hp, its torquey but not powerful. The Pathy weighs over 4000 lbs so your 0-60 is over 11 seconds and you'll be lucky to see over 20 mpg. 15-18 mpg is common. Runs on regular fuel. Upside is the 3.3L is tougher than nails and will last a very very long time with good maintenance.
The comparable Explorer has a roomier, more functional interior. The Pathy is great for two people and their stuff, but cargo space is limited and rear seat room is tight. Not great for large families or frequent passenger use. I'd consider the Pathy to be among the more refined and better made mid sized SUV's of the 90's. My folks just bought an '03 QX4 as a 3rd vehicle and they love it. They look at it as a luxurious large wagon with all weather capability for two people. That's what it does best.
Thanks guys. This would be typically for 2 people plus some larger cargo (with the back seats folded).
This one looks clean, although the left rear panel looks dented on one of the pictures...
I might check it out.
Did you check any Pathfinders out, QP? The one you linked to appears to still be for sale. $3000 seems so cheap compared to what I saw around here when I was in the SUV market! I sold mine with 100k miles for CDN$9500 two years ago.
I had a '98 Pathfinder for a year, and I enjoyed driving it. It was a 5-speed with a mechanical floor-shifted transfer case, just as I preferred. It was a serious 4X4: real 4WD, and it had a beefy undercarriage with everything nicely tucked away. The interior was nice and it drove well for an off-road capable SUV. There don't seem to be any major reliability issues with those. It did have a timing belt, but it's on a 105k mile interval, and that's a conservative interval. Over 12,000 miles of mostly highway driving I averaged 12.8L/100km (18.4 usmpg).