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Hi everyone, I've been reading the forums for a week now. Thanks to everyone that contributes their knowledge and experiences. I've learned a ton already and hope to be able to contribute myself.
For fun and possibly a third vehicle I purchased a 2002 xterra SE 4x4 off of craigslist for $400. The body and interior is in pretty good shape BUT the top half of the motor is in rubbermade tubs :)
Apparently the previous owner was repairing a bad head gasket and either got in over his head or just lost interest. I was going to repair that motor but found he had cross threaded several studs in the heads for the exhaust
manifolds so I decided to pull the motor which I have done already. I was going to buy a used motor from a 2003 xterra from the local wrecker yard but they had just sold it already for $1100. So I decided I didn't want to buy a used motor sight unseen off the internet. I thought there must be some other motor that will work at the wreckers but they only have the one xterra. So I searched for all vehicles that are from 2000-2004 that use the VG33E engine, it turns out there are several different vehicles that used that motor and one of them is the Mercury Villager mini van. Guess what the local wrecker has? a 2002 villager and they claim the engine runs very well and think it may of been replaced. They want $300 for the motor! and it has a 101 day warranty. So they want $1100 for a xterra motor but only $300 for a VG33E mini van motor so I told them I'll take it. I should be getting it next week. I also went down there and physically looked at the mini van and yup right on the sticker under the hood it says VG33E :)
I realise I will have to transfer everything over but it will also show me all the correct locations for all the fasteners that are in the rubbermaid tubs. I've ordered a ton of new parts from gaskets, water pump, timing belt and tensioner, front and rear main seals, oil pan and gaskets, radiator and other things I can't recall right now. I'll be posting in the forums my progress, if it works out I should be into the xterra for under $1500, time will tell.
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