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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At this point they are fairly general ... I have owned a few 4x4s in the past, 81 Bronco, with lots of off road upgrades; stock 94 +/- Blazer. Explorer somewhere around 2000 +/- and stock. The years are just a blur right now, but they were good vehicles for what they were, another S10 ... piece of junk. I've also owned a 78 Nova, 81 Malibu and 84 Cutlass (huge mistake). All sixes except the Bronco with the 302 ... anyway I have an opportunity to buy an 02 Xterra (I've also owned 2 mini vans a Venture and Freestar - the freestar has around 450 on it, tho all lights burned out and who really knows for sure THAT is why I am looking at the xterra ... it just has to go ...All but one of these vehicles I got 450 to 500+ out of as I am a high, high highway km driver ...

So, questions. I took the xterra in for a safety ' right exhaust manifold leaking' - gasket, correct? Can I test for a cracked manifold? I've replaced a manifold, ugly job ,,, but it was rotted ... Not one other thing needed for safety ... I am in Ontario Canada and thus we need safety certs and etests ... etest is clear so I am good on that one ... no codes and old test still valid ...

There are however quite a few other things I see needing to be done, see below list - I can have the vehicle on the road with the single thing done BUT I do see other things needing to be done ... this is a second owner vehicle who did no maintenance in 8 months, previous owner did ,,, the prices are likely terrible from USA prices however it's the order I was looking mostly at and if I missed anything if someone could have a look? I know I missed the oil pan gasket when I costed the stuff out ... not one vehicle I've ever owned needed a timing chain or belt ... seems to be a stock thing on this one ... what I like about it is it is more like my 81 Bronco for 4x stuff, tho I did have some mods ... I get 3 foot near ice banks from plows in winter and going over them rather than plowing them would make me happy ... I was think a suspension and body lift for that but DO NOT want to get into over size tires ... any help, insight appreciated. Below list is only what I noticed ... I am not a mechanic tho use to really like working on my carb'd vehicles ... once they went all FI and computerized not so much fun .. even tho I work in comps for a living :D

Numbers only indicate order in which I would do the work, afford the price, that is all ... strikes me as a good deal if what I see is right ...

thanks for any help

tanya

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1 Manifold gasket $ 40.00
1 Oil Pan $200.00
Oil $ 35.00
Oil Filter $ 10.00
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1 Rear Dif fluid $ 15.00
Rear Dif gasket $ 15.00
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1 Inside air filter $ 20.00
Hood air filter $ 5.75
PCV $ 12.00
Fuel Filter $ 8.50
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2 Thermostat $ 42.00
Fan Belt $ 21.00
Alt Belt $ 26.00
Water Pump Belt $ 42.00
=======================================
3 Coolant Lines to trans?
Timing belt / H20 Pump $630.00
incl Tensioner, Spring, Stud

Coolant $ 30.00
1 x HOSE-h20 $ 15.00
1 x HOSE-h20 $ 15.00
1 x HOSE-RAD, upper $ 15.00
1 x HOSE-RAD, lower $ 15.00
=======================================
4 Spark Plugs $ 30.00
Rotor $ 15.00
Distributor cap $ 48.00
=======================================
 

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First thing, take the heat shield off of the manifold and see if it is cracked, bulged, or if you can audibly hear the leak coming from a particular spot. These things crack manifolds, especially if a VC gasket has leaked on it. Has the timing belt ever been replaced, interval is 105k miles, or roughly 170k km, unless it is a 4 cyl, then no worries there. I am personally about to do my TB, WP, all hoses, drive belts, rear brakes, and a couple other little maintenance things most people just don't do, because it really isn't needed, but nice to do. I got all my TB kit, WP, drive belts, hoses, and brakes for under 200 bucks off www.rockauto.com. Love that place!

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
COMING SOON:
Intake mod, timing belt, hoses, belts
Wish list:
PML, EFan conversion, shocks, 32" tires, and eventually UCA'S
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's 232 km ... in the week I've had it, learned volumes ... I've had four 4x4s I think, only one other real one, like this, the 81 Bronco ... I have zero idea on the timing belt so treating everything as 'not done' ... the air filter under the hood is extremely unusual (to me) rubber or something? Clean ... but weird ... every 400km +/- it is going through a litre of oil ... PCV and oil done this weekend, changed to synthetic. Promptly black. I keep reading 'sludge' ... sludge has no definition, for me ... gritty, blackened goo is what came out of the PCV, lots of build up. Cleaned hose with a screw driver and piece of cloth ... those 2 things improved gas mileage by say 30% ? It is still not 'perfect' but what a difference ... oil pan rusted, from outside in ... possibly gasket? This engine doesn't have to be lifted to change the pan ... but a leaky pan isn't causing what I am seeing, I've done pans on 2 pans other vehicles ... while I 'get' the head gasket may be gone, I'd like to look at all the cheap stuff first. For ref, all the work I've ever done on vehicles were carb'd 80s stuff ... once FI came along it wasn't so interesting to me, and so I did nothing ... but I did do a lot of my own work on a 78 Chev Nova, 81 Malibu, 80s Cutlass (HUGE mistake). I am also kind of ADD and it is really hard for me to do 'one thing' unless I see the big picture ... I get lost on small details if all the opportunities of information aren't present. Though I can process technical data really well, irregardless of subject. Thank you for you help. If it means anything, I am a kinesthetic learned, and I learn by 'doing' ... I re did the safety cuz I didn't see anything wrong with the original 2 gaskets and sure enough both panned out. Safetied, for nothing ... not that there are not issues with the engine ... I JUST got the Haynes manual 2 days ago for this, will look up heat shield suggestion ... I think I hear that? Tho it isn't what I would call 'heat riser' - something I knew from my 80s vehicles ?

The other thing I do not understand is WHY this needs timing belt changes ... I've had, or had access to 10 vehicles in 25 years - every last one, but one, got 400 to 700 km on them. Not ONE needed this ... what's up with this? One blown h20 pump in ONE vehicle ... I just don't get why this is so common on this particular vehicle?

tanya
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm also getting random codes, then they clear - on their own. I cleared, first time ... random misfire, knock sensor ... clear, then misfire on cyl 2 ... I quit clearing after the first time. But they clear on their own? My van sure doesn't do that ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I also put Dura Lube (couldn't find the heavy-duty stuff around me in Canada) down it to clean out ALL the carbon, massive ... sorry for all the add-on posts. I hope some one answers. I want to figure this out ... I can see what I am seeing, and feeling, but not understanding - I just don't understand the process I need to follow, to systemically go thru stuff since I see things very relationally - and not like a mechanic would, which is linearly ... sigh
 

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If you have a leak underneath, it is probably the rear main seal...these things are very picky about how much oil they need...never put more than 4 qts in the 6cyl, they will blow out the rear main seal every time, and then you will have a seep forever after until fixed...the codes clear on their own if the problem goes away, they will be stored but won't throw the light. Your misfire can be a bunch of things. I always tell people to start with cleaning every electrical connection you can find with contact cleaner and add a small amount of dielectric grease to every plug in you can find, spark plug wire, the dizzy cap, and I mean everywhere you can access. This will ensure a proper connection and will stop you from chasing electrical gremlins as much. You can even go as far as doing every fuse and relay as well, just be light on the grease in these areas, it's more to keep water and corrosion out than anything. The heat shield is the silver piece of metal over the exhaust manifold, but the manifolds crack a lot if any oil gets on them or just over time. If it is a V6, they have a timing belt, they require changing, or else they break and can usually ruin the heads and other engine parts, so it is a routine maintenance...just for reference, it is a foreign car thing, most American cars don't have to be changed, since they are timing chain and those go forever...I would start with the cleaning of electrical contacts and circuits and greasing them up...you will be amazed at what can be fixed that way...other than that, everything you've listed is good to do, but I would have the timing belt done to be safe...I wouldn't risk a $2000+ repair

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
COMING SOON:
Intake mod, timing belt, hoses, belts
Wish list:
PML, EFan conversion, shocks, 32" tires, and eventually UCA'S
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi

Thanks. I can't understand the language, the short form ... sorry ... 'rear main seal' = what? ... I can look up quarts versus liters tho filter holds about 1/2 litre extra on change? HOW can codes clear on their own? NONE of my other vehicles ever, ever did that! Or I wouldn't own a code reader? Which elec connections? Bought a cap, rotor .... plugs, other things ... not done, still trying to figure out the order, in my head, that I should be doing this? Lost on that one .... I look up one thing, find 4 other potenials... wires looked perfect ... I need a process to follow to do this ... which electric contacts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is this why everyone assumes head gasket? They don't look at the potential of all other things? And just bang off a new head gasket and it blow again pretty quick? Just asking ...
 

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Head gaskets can go on these motors...it happens...and by electric contacts I mean every single one you can disconnect and get to. The one on the distributor, the mass air flow, the 20 or so in the engine bay, etc...OBD2 systems are supposed to clear the code if thw problem goes away...at least from how I understand them, unless otherwise programmed to just stay on. Check under your rotor 9n the distributor also to see if there is red dust, a tell-tale sign of the bearing going bad...the rear main seal is the seal on the crankshaft at the back of the motor, you have to remove the transmission to get to it so most just live with it...I would start with anything causing drivability issues, leaks, then basic maintenance

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
COMING SOON:
Intake mod, timing belt, hoses, belts
Wish list:
PML, EFan conversion, shocks, 32" tires, and eventually UCA'S
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have 0 drivability issues ... if I coast to a stop, no smoke ... break hard, smoke ... I don't get that either .... thank you for your suggestions
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No coolant in oil. No oil in coolant. Period. No smoke, not issues on lift off ... not my free star which rated over 200 km an hr top speeds but I know what I bought so would never abuse it that way ,.. valve cover won't be in until wed ... friends told me to be 'gentle' and I won't wreck it ... that said, if I have to go deeper it really won't matter for one $25 gasket, will it? When I did the heads on my Scrambler I used a gasket 'goo' ... I shouldn't on this, right? I used three engines and 2 frames to do that bike but it was a bike, carb'd and not like this so I am asking
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I still don't understand how I can have a problem, then the problem 'disappears' and clears itself, if you have time to explain ... just so I get it ... I guess it isn't a big deal, I just don't get it? How can a car have an issue, then not, then have different issues? Doesn't work that way in my computer world? Thanks tho, you've given me a lot of new insight to read up on :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When we changed the oil, the PCV, the oil was black. I usually drive on 8 to 12 km oil - I am a high high highway driver. Always do the filer (did not on my carb'd vehicles, sometimes would skip one filter) ... anyway ... fresh synthetic oil change .... BLACK oil ... maybe that is part of this puzzle? Never ever have I driven on black oil, it's burned, and it was fresh. One hour later, black ... Just totally black, not one of my vehicles ever ever had oil like that ... doesn't smell either
 

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How much did you pay for this?
I mean, honestly it sounds like you got a truck that has been abused, neglected and pretty much ridden in to the ground. Maybe less hassle to find a donor motor??
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
$1000 ... you are correct, I saw the abuse ... not abuse, per se, just complete neglect on basic maintenance ... misused different ways ... I get what I bought. At 230 km, not rode into the ground, just poorly maintained, not rode like a real 4x4 ... Help me figure it out and not give me crap for buying it. I saw way way too much good to let it go ... I just need to be brought up to speed on Fi and the usual carbed vehicles I did buy, always the best known engines out there, for the genre ... just give me the pieces to go on ... thanks

tanya
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Anyone who buys a 4 wheel, like this 4 wheel, and treats it like a car .,.. well nothing is going to fix that ... and it doesn't take much to cause problems, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Btw, I am clear on doing a motor flip, versus the gasket ... not willing to go there yet ... I think I just need other peoples minds to see what I need to see, re, all the little stuff first, to make an informed decision ... I don't really need any tech data at this point ... I just need to see what experience 'sees' ... so I can make an informed choice, thank you
 

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Not trying to give you a hard time. Just wondering for that price, a donor motor might be less hassle and less cash in the end.
Otherwise, I would go with some of the advice the other folks have given.
1: Go through your engine bay and check/clean all your electrical harnesses. (If you have poor connections, this might explain error codes coming and going.)
2: DO the timing belt rebuild kit. On these engines, it is a non-metal belt. It will dry out, crack, and go flying in directions you don't want it to. (Timing belt, tensioner, water pump, accessory belts). If that goes out on you, your engine is most likely toast.
3: Do the basics, plugs, wires, rotor, hoses, etc.

I think you will see a lot better what's going on once you have a solid baseline.
Having said that... if the engine is burning the oil as quickly as you are saying but you aren't seeing oil/coolant mixes .. that's beyond me. Maybe there is just a build up of sludge and the engine needs a flush. I don't think I would put the money in to synthetic oil with that much mileage though. I have to believe that the gaskets won't hold it.
 
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