Nissan XTerra Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,

A quick intro: I live in the inland empire where there are a lot of desert trails and some surrounding mountains that have a lot of fire roads. I like to camp and many of the sites I've visited (Joshua Tree, Zion, Big Sur) have roads where high clearance vehicles are recommended with 4wd. I wanted one so I can increase my exploration capabilites. Initially, I wanted a 4Runner (don't we all) since my old roommate drove one and he would constantly flip them. I would drive his occasionally and I loved how it rode (coming from someone who daily's a '92 Camry). This past March and April, I began searching but like everyone in this forum comes to find out, it made more financial sense (LOL well somewhat) to find something else. I ended up up finding my 2000 Nissan Xterra 4wd with an automatic, rear LSD, and 180K on the odometer. Overall clean both in and out, with the exception of roof clear coat peeling and the steering wheel was down to the metal frame.











(Here she is today, still a little dirty from last weekend)

When I got it, I didn't know anything about it besides the quick few checks found in the sticky. Plus I felt I got a good deal because the seller provided me with a folder FILLED with maintenance records. They had used it as a company car and kept every single receipt and work order. Too bad I didn't understand the severity of a blinking SES light or blinking Air Bag when I drove it an hour back home 😅. But at least they did the timing belt and head gasket back at 140K and it was a one owner car.

Since I've had it in early May, I've done the following:
  • Changed plugs and wires (fixed my flashing SES because 2 of the wires were chewed by rats)
  • Put 31x10.5 AT tires (Atturo - a cheaper brand, but at least I'll have a comparison once I upgrade to BFGoodriches or any other better tires)
  • Knock Sensor resistor bypass (I needed to smog it and I wasn't sure if they would care about this code)
  • Fixed the ignition timing - the 12mm bolt that holds the dizzy down stripped the aluminum part and the timing was advanced approx 10 deg.
  • Changed the coolant reservoir tank and bled the system for air (it was leaking at the bottom, see picture)
  • Changed the air intake hose and cleaned throttle body (it had a tear! - see picture)
  • Cleaned the MAF and got new air filter
  • Changed the brake pads with ceramic (might go back to metal ones)
  • Removed running boards
  • Replaced the broken center AC vent/ AC grille
  • Replaced the broken clock spring (my horn finally works!)
  • Found cup holder inserts
  • Wrapped the top of my steering wheel with para cord
  • Full synthetic Oil change
  • I bought the HD Tie rod adjusters and have new TRE, not yet installed.
  • I bought Idler arm brass bushings and brace, not yet installed.
Here are some progress pictures from some of the work I've done:





Interestingly, the part number for the clock spring is 25554-9B925 as per courtesy parts and nissan parts deal. The new clock spring I got from another 2000 Xterra had a part number of 25554-9B900, which is technically for 97-99 Nissan Sentra. And it worked. I finally have a working horn for less than $20. Hopefully this bit of information can help others in a similar situation. And FYI, when I used to push on the horn, I would not hear any relay clicking and the blinking airbag light fix would not work. That's how I diagnosed this problem. Also note that for the 2000 X, the airbag reset is different than the key-in-ignition fix: How to: Reset Airbag Light



This is the bottom of the coolant reservoir. There is supposed to be a nub that fits in the fender below it. It broke on this tank and it had been leaking from there. The "new" one I got from the junkyard still leaks but it's a really slow leak, just a couple of drops when I park it.



The GF didn't like how the vent on her side didn't work. Well at least now it's fixed.

So as I mentioned, I want this car to basically take me anywhere I want it too. I also want it to be reliable enough that I can take it on long road trips. Specifically, the GF and I are planning on driving up to Oregon to explore in late October. This is generally the application I would want from it. Here is my plan and my next mods:

  1. Install the HD Tie rod adjustors and new Tie rod ends, new Idler arm brace and bushings
  2. Fix Steering wheel slop with the grassroots centerlink
  3. New bilstein shocks all around
  4. Timing belt and water pump
    1. what do you think? This job was done approx 40K mi ago, but it has been 7 years since it was changed. The first timing belt change was done at 140K in 2013 (13 years with the factory belt) so I'm thinking we can wait a bit longer but any input is welcome.
  5. Dizzy rebuild
  6. New battery - I want everything up to this line item to be done by my road trip in October.
  7. Dual radiator electric fans - possibly get the Nissan quest alternator
  8. Engine mounts
  9. New front speakers, head unit, and speaker amp
  10. Front Lokka
  11. 2" body lift
  12. 32" or 33" tires
  13. Stickers - any and all
  14. Maybe I'll also fix the ABS - it's fine and then I hear a clunk on the front driver's side wheel and the light turns on. Or I turn on the car and it's on. I need to look at it for sure.
I'll keep this thread updated as new parts and developments come up. Also, I'd like to hear from anyone that has any input on the mods/fixes I listed above. I've learned so much from this forum, so thank you all!

- Vic
 

·
Administrator
2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
Joined
·
9,928 Posts
Looks like a solid plan. Not sure if you can fit a dual E-fan set up with a 2” body lift though as there are clearance issues with the steering box. You can run a single 3000 CFM and it works fine, I have one on mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quick Update - here are some parts I've purchased since my initial post:

  • Grassroots HD Centerlink
  • Bilstein 5100 shocks (2" lift rear, no lift fronts)
  • Longer shackles and new bushings (I changed my mind about the PML)
  • Timing Belt, Water Pump kit
  • New A/C condenser (condenser fins looked really bad)
  • New A/C drier
  • New Radiator Fan Clutch
  • New S/C Radiator
  • New passenger exhaust manifold
  • junkyard 2000 Nissan Quest Alternator (confirmed working at Autozone)
  • Fuel Filter
I bought the centerlink because I wanted to wheel more often but the steering felt really flimsy. I also saw that the engine temp was rising quite a few times when wheeling (I actually had to turn the heat on full-blast, the GF was not happy about that). Instead of going straight for the e-fan conversion, I decided I'll fix the potential issues with the cooling system. If I see that there still isn't any changes and my engine temp still climbs, I will make the swap. I have a good feeling because the fins look pretty bad on the radiator. I might add a transmission cooler too in the future, but for the time being, this is fine.

I ended up purchasing the rest of the stuff because I had been using my X as a daily for the past week and a half. I also went on a 4-hr road trip up to the central coast for my buddy's bday. My actual daily (1992 Camry, I'll get a newer car when this one breaks haha) had the alternator blow and I was waiting to take it to a alternator shop. After driving the X for over a week in hot southern California, I noticed the A/C didn't work very well. Especially in stop/go traffic, the A/C made the car tolerable at best. Looking at the Condenser, the also fins looked really bad. while I'm at it, I'm also changing the AC drier and interlocking the condenser fan with the compressor. I also felt that the shocks were bad after stopping abruptly a few times.

I did the timing belt, water pump, and all 4 struts on my Camry back in April so I'm excited about doing the same to the X. It's going to be like I have a brand new truck! Hopefully it'll be easier this time around and won't take the entire weekend (Friday to Sunday) like it did for my Camry.

I found that there was a lot of exhaust noise on the X after accelerating, hence the new passenger ex manifold. I also changed my mind about the PML and decided why the hell not, I want a quick and easy lift. If I'm going to get an alignment after installing the HD steering and shocks, I might as well get the PML done too.

(Picture for Reference, not my actual DD)
75377
 

·
Administrator
2000 Xterra XE 4x4 3.3L AT
Joined
·
9,928 Posts
Still looks like a solid plan. On the lift the great thing on the X is they are fairly modular and everything you do now you can later add parts to go higher and not have to ditch what you already have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Still looks like a solid plan. On the lift the great thing on the X is they are fairly modular and everything you do now you can later add parts to go higher and not have to ditch what you already have.
That's definitely another reason why I wanted to go for it. There is no reason not to do it. Plus i'm sure it will look a bit nicer once it has some height.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I changed my driver’s side motor mount. The bottom bolts were a PITA! I thought this was going to be a 2-hour job, but it ended up taking 4 hours. I got a bottle jack and used it to prop up the bell housing. Thanks Racer for the advice. Here’s pictures of the mount I removed. Time to move onto the passenger exhaust manifold! 🙃

75440


75441
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Today I installed a new passenger exhaust manifold. The manifold was not very cracked. Just a hairline crack (see below). The biggest pain was installing the 3 exhaust studs at the catalytic converter. There was one that I could not install so I didn’t. It doesn’t sound like any exhaust is leaking after I test drove it today. The engine is much quieter! I can really feel the difference the new mount and new manifold make.

75451


I also have a lot of parts ready to install. That will have to wait for next weekend.

75452
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Today I installed the AC IAB, bandit 4x4 bronze bushings, AC HD TRA, new TRE’s and the Grassroots4x4 HD centerlink. The biggest pain was probably drilling the holes. I went to Home Depot to pick up the drill bit for theIdler arm and pitman arm but I barely got through half the idler arm when I saw the drill bit was FUBAR’d. I returned and got a better drill bit and some cutting oil. That did the trick. I also found that lower drill speeds were the way to go. The first drill bit I had the drill on its fastest setting. I read this all off a pirate4x4 thread.

All that’s left is an alignment. After last weekend’s work, I wanted to tackle something easy.

75502


75503


I also found that the lower detachable piece of the fan shroud is missing. Having good access to the radiator, I took a some compressed air and blew outa bunch of dirt and dust off the fins. I’m hoping all that will help fight my overheating problems when it’s really hot out and when I’m wheeling. Or at least until I swap out the radiator.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here’s a bonus update. Last night I finished installing a B&M auto tranny cooler. I would’ve gone with a cheaper one but I like the fact that it bypasses when the fluid is cooler. This means I don’t have to disconnect and reconnect when it gets cold.

75525


Here it is from the front, a little lopsided.

75526


75527

Here is some details on the install. I installed it in front of the condenser and bent the brackets to prop up the cooler. I ran the lines underneath the member I mounted the brackets on. I only have 3 mounting points, but it felt very strong with little play. I added blue loctite to make sure the bolts don’t come out or loosen up at the cooler.

P.S. my gf wanted to make sure you guys knew she helped me replace the steering 😂 I injured my upper back last weekend and the car was already on stands and apart
 

·
Registered
2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
Joined
·
1,658 Posts
She helped you do mechanical? She's a keeper!

I added a Hayden 403 to my '01 3.3L using the plastic things. I ended up deciding to bypass the radiator completely. While I had the grille off, I noticed after installing it that the area behind the right bumper has a large cavity that's doing pretty much nothing and stays clean. I'm considering adding another cooler and moving both of them there, plus a fan. That way, none of the heat load goes on the radiator or AC, and I can install a temp sensor with a 3-position switch for On, Temp-controlled Auto, and Off. I still have other things to fix before 'improving' the vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
She helped you do mechanical? She's a keeper!

I added a Hayden 403 to my '01 3.3L using the plastic things. I ended up deciding to bypass the radiator completely. While I had the grille off, I noticed after installing it that the area behind the right bumper has a large cavity that's doing pretty much nothing and stays clean. I'm considering adding another cooler and moving both of them there, plus a fan. That way, none of the heat load goes on the radiator or AC, and I can install a temp sensor with a 3-position switch for On, Temp-controlled Auto, and Off. I still have other things to fix before 'improving' the vehicle.

Yea she helped me remove a tie rod end, the old centerlink and put everything back together.

That’s a good idea. Are you keeping the stock bumpers for the foreseeable future? I think that space would disappear if you go with one of those aftermarket steel bumpers. Also, if you’re including a fan, would it be possible to mount the cooler facing towards the ground?
 

·
Registered
2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
Joined
·
1,658 Posts
I intend to modify the bumpers as little as possible. The front is in good shape, the rear is rusted through.

I'll see if I can figure a way to determine the natural airflow in that cavity and then mount them so a failed fan won't be an issue when it's moving. Other than that consideration, the cooler can be mounted in any orientation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In preparation of a little road trip to escape the heat, I changed out my radiator with a super charged one and I changed out my fan clutch. Oddly enough, i measured both radiators and the one I removed was at 1.5” while the one I put in was at 1.25”. I know stock radiators are at 1” so at least it’s better than that. I also washed out the condenser, although it’s about time to swap it with the new one I got.

Before my little project I went to local pick your parts place and found the removable lower shroud and some hub caps but the Nissan logo is grey not black. I also found a decent steering wheel that doesn’t have the material peeling. That’ll go on another day.

My X aka money pit has had the temperature gauge rise at stop lights and at idle. This happened when I drove to get an alignment yesterday. Today it’s 114deg outside in the inland empire. I had the AC on full blast and left it idling for 5min after driving around for half an hour and the needle never went past half way.

75538


We’re heading out to higher elevation where the high is merely 90deg and the low is mid 50s! It’ll be cool 😎
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
75641


there’s probably 3”-4” inches of travel. Is this normal? This is the passenger side. I’m not too worried since I’m doing the pml next weekend (along with all 4 ball joint and cv axles)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’ve been looking forward to this since the day I bought my X. When I first drove it, i didn’t turn up the radio. On the way home, I turned up the radio to hear blown speakers. A lesson hard learned.

I’m installing this weekend. I’m just replacing the head unit, front door speakers/tweeters with 2 ways, and adding dynamat to the doors. Undecided if I’ll reconnect 6x9’s but I will upgrade them in the future along with adding an amp. I just want to see how it sounds as is first.

76691
76692
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's been a while since I've done an update.

The radio and the new speakers are pretty amazing. However, now I know why the cabin is so loud. When I took of the door panel, I saw no sound insulation other than a flimsy transparent plastic (think thicker plastic wrap) attached to the door. The door panels at the junkyard for the other X's (2001-04) look like they have at least a cardboard/mdf board behind them.

Either way, this was worth the upgrade.

Back in the beginning of the month, I went out to a camping trip in Funnel Lake in the Eastern Sierras. Since we were driving up through the 100+ degree desert on HWY 395, I wanted to make sure my AC was working properly. I installed the condenser and dryer that I bought in 2020 and did a transmission flush. I'll post pictures of the trip on another post.

Unfortunately, while the AC was cool, it wasn't very cool. If the fan setting was on 3 or 4, it would work good enough, but never on the lower settings. Today, I swapped the thermo switch and used Nextzett Klima Cleaner to clean the evaporator. If you're not sure how to clean the evaporator (key words I could not find searching), take out the blower motor, the cabin air filters, and spray the whole can into the box. Make sure to cover the hole for the cabin air filters or else you'll get foam all over. Wait 20 minutes, reinstall the blower, and put the blower on high with AC off for 2 minutes. I've never felt the AC this cold on fan setting 1.

Best $15 spent. Maybe I should've started with this before swapping the condenser? 🤦‍♂️
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is the X at Funnel Lake. I believe it was close to 10k of altitude. It was the most technical trail I've ever gone. It handled it well with just a PML and 31's. I'm glad I got ATs with a 3ply side wall because there were an insane amount of rocks. There were a few times I had the GF get out and spot for me.

Funny story, when we initially got to the lake, I turned off the car and we walked around to decide where we wanted to set up camp. Once we decided, I went back in to reposition, but car wouldn't start. No crank, no lights, nothing. We were the only ones there and this was Thursday morning. I opened up the hood and the positive terminal wasn't connected. The battery holder I had for about a year broke because it was a little too small for the width of the battery. It must've disconnected during the little rock garden we crossed before getting here.

Same thing happened on the way back out, but I'm glad it wasn't anything serious.
77347

77348
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top