1st gen buyers guide/what to look for? - Nissan Xterra Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-28-2017, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
Mike W.
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1st gen buyers guide/what to look for?

Not yet an owner but I'm looking at it. It would be a vacation vehicle, to Moab and more, where I'd really like 4WD. Now I've been wrenching on cars for a long time, but the last time I was under the hood of a Nissan it had Datsun on the hood.

I've been doing some lurking here and elsewhere, they seem like a lot of vehicle for the money, or are they? Toyotas, (and I really don't like them) seem to command much more money, any justification?

So what do I look for, what always goes wrong? What doesn't? I'm really a 3 pedal kind of guy but fear I might end up with an auto on this, any issues there? Not if, but just how foolish would I be to take it on a 4K mile vacation with a couple of months on it if all seems well? Is the later 180HP engine worth looking for or is it just another number? Anything that will drive me crazy? How much of a nanny vehicle, are they always making decisions for you or do they follow direction, for instance on heat and A/C.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-01-2017, 12:56 AM
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I got a 2001 SE with 206,000km, for 4k CAD. that was a steal. i live in a place with a very heavy Toyota tax, and Island tax. I'm with you on the Toyotas. Its not that they aren't fantastic. its that they're twice the price. Where I live, everyone wants an old 4x4. JDM mistubishis, old sidekicks, samurais and trackers, 4runners, land cruisers and occasionallyr xterras. that's it. From what I've seen, everyone wants an old affordable 4x4 that is reliable. The tradeoff there is, when you buy an old toyota from someone who treated it like it was indestructible, you don't know what you're getting into, and what they've done to it.

I think you might wish the xterra had a timing chain on the v6, or the 4cyl option was a little beefier. those were my qualms before purchasing. But I sucked it up, and accepted that I'm going to have to change a timing belt once, then not worry for 5 or so years. So far, they've been a breeze to work on, and there's lots of resources online. other people here could be more vocal about the vehicles long term tendencies. Having owned one for 3 months, I had a few issues (seat belt.... lifetime warranty on 1st gens tho!), solved them myself, with little error, I have absolutely zero regrets. I could turn around and sell this truck for 2k profit, but I can't. not a chance. I'm in love.

as for long distance trips, My weekends are usually 500km if i'm going overnight, very little highway driving, I think it would do fine on a longer road trip. but it defintely doesnt like to go above 120kmh. The low end torque is actually a really nice touch. once i felt that, I was okay passing on the 4cyl 4runners.

hope that helps. sometimes the forums can seem quiet when ppl start new threads.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-01-2017, 09:14 AM
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-01-2017, 10:22 AM
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Gen 1 is known for having faulty knock sensors which shouldn't be an issue unless you get the super charged. I Drive a 2004 the A/C is ice cold but i have no heat due to my failed heating core. I love my car but it's definitely had some issues (some im still working on). Its a great car you just have to be willing to put some work into it.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-08-2017, 10:43 PM
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I've had a 2002 since new. I now have 200K miles on it.

I had few problems until the last 30,000 miles or so. Had power steering problems, A/C issue, and then the dreaded check engine light came on and that took a while to diagnose. Mainly it's been little stuff--not stuff that will leave you dead in the water.

I'd say the biggest thing is to remember to change that friggin timing belt at 100K or if you buy a used Xterra, get a receipt showing it was done or else plan on doing it right away. I'm guessing that a majority of people blow off the expensive service and then sell their Xterra.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-08-2017, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm not a big fan of timing belts and it's definitely on my radar. So I wouldn't be completely crazy to buy one, in ostensibly good shape, go thru it lightly, like timing belt and maybe water pump and take it on a 4K mile vacation in the desert?
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-19-2017, 11:19 AM
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Yeah I think you're good with that plan.

I've got a 2001 4WD Xin the North as a winter/all season vehicle-
I'd suggest the timing belt checks, but also fuel pump assembly (also easy, may want to buy cheap extra gaskets/seals anyways). There's a small population of first gen X that had some fuel pump wiring issues, i believe. THAT will strand you.

The most frequently used tools I've needed are a sawzall and thin metric flex head wrench sets of various length. Also expect all your frame bolts to be seized.

Last edited by Bite; 03-19-2017 at 11:24 AM.
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