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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I don't post much but I've been here a little while. I currently have a 2014 P4X, the wifes, and a 2011 X, daughters. I'm looking at mostly first gens but some 2nd.

Personally I've been a Toyota Tacoma guy but I'm going to switch it up this time. I will be driving about 20 miles one way to work and back starting next month or so. I'm a car guy so I know what to look for body and suspension wise, rust tire wear lifts etc. I'm not that well informed on the motors. Are they timing chain or belt? Interference or non? What are the big no no's? Preferred years to look for?

I've found one that says needs a radiator, one says a fuel sensor in the transmission, seems odd, I'm not at all.opposed to a beater that needs work or sensors or whatever. Just don't want to change motors.

Plan would be mild lift, steel bumpers, goodyear duratracs in the 285 range, interior protection at some point.

Leaning pretty hard this way right now. Do the body lifts cause any cooling issues?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thank you
Dustin.
 

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Canadian 05 Xterra base with small upgrades.
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1st gens are timing belts. They are slugs even with superchargers.

They are very old school, based on the old frontiers and pathfinders from the early 90s. So its torsion bar lift, then body lift after that as choices.

I don't like body lifts because the fan no longer points at the rad correctly, depending on the kit.

I've worked on Nissans since 2005 and I've never really liked them. The 2005-2015 models have issues, but they are much nicer to drive due to front coil springs and the powerful 4.0

1st gens are the best for solid axle swaps though!
 

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I drove a 2001 XE for 8 Years, and put 100,000 Miles on it before it was wrecked. I loved that truck. It wasn't getting anywhere fast, but it was a solid and reliable vehicle.
1st Gens are under powered, and it will be noticeable coming from a 2nd Gen, but even though it was under powered it was still a lot of fun to drive. I don't know if I could go back to a VG33 after driving my 2nd Gen X and Fronty with the VQ40.

The VG33 is a timing belt engine, and it is an interference engine. If I was looking for a 1st Gen I would want to make sure the timing belt had been replaced, or that that job was figured into the price. The VG33 is also a difficult engine to change spark plugs on, the plugs are towards the middle of the engine. The driver's side plugs specifically are intertwined in the upper intake and the #6 plug is buried back by the firewall, hidden, and a real bear to get to. It's a plus if the plugs have already been replaced.

A very common issue on the 1st Gens is the knock sensor, and it is under the intake manifold so it's a big job to get to it - it usually wont set the CEL but will store a code in the computer if you check for codes. I had a knock sensor code stored on mine for years and never bothered with it since it did not affect how it ran or drove. If you were looking at a supercharged model, I would definitely fix the knock sensor if it had a stored code, but on the N/A engine I wouldn't bother.

Another common item on those is you might hear a loud pop if the suspension moves while you're turned lock to lock and typically it's just because one of the nylon stopper bolt caps on the lower control arm is worn off so it's metal on metal when at full lock - a bit of grease on the contact points will quiet it down for a while. That noise will worry you if you hear it and don't know what it is, it sounds pretty bad when it happens. I still have a set of the nylon caps that I never got around to putting on my '01 before it was wrecked.

I can't think of anything else to watch for, they're pretty good trucks.
 

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The earlier years of the 2nd gen were prone to smod. Easy enough to fix - you have a couple options with either bypass the cooler or change the rad. Problem is people have smod, do a quick flush and try to sell the rig. I would be really leary on anything pre 2011 that has either rad problems, transmission problems, or a brand new rad. Search around here - plenty of threads on what to look for. SMOD Hit List - Year, Mileage, User and Outcome

Next big issues is cats - exploding dust can get into the engine under certain failure types and turn it into an oil burner - which again is very difficult to discern when buying used.

Other than that the 2nd gens are extremely solid. Like all vehicles maintenance is everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great info guys thank you. I was not aware that the early X’s were torsion bar. I’m not a huge fan of that but basically is because I like the easiness of putting in a Bilstien 5100 for a little lift, but I’m assuming you can crank the bars for a little lift as well. Also assuming it would be a drop bracket lift for anything more than an inch or so.

For the cat issue, would cutting them out hurt anything? I’m not one for loud exhaust but being in Texas I can get away without it I think. That would be an expensive replacement I’m guessing but I don’t want it to run like crap if it needs them.

I didn’t realize until looking more at the ad I posted that that truck is a 2 wheeldrive. I will go check out the smod threads while I’m flying today and hopefully go take a look at a couple different trucks this week. I’ll let you guys know.
Thank you
 

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Personally, I hear "20 miles each way" and the last thing I think of is "Xterra commuter", especially a first gen. That sounds terrible lol. Not only for 13mpg, but also lack of power, old cabin, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lol yea I hear that. I’ve never been super impressed with the mpg on my other two X’s but the longevity and off road ability and the affordability of the older ones too. I can pay cash and have something to play with. Might look at frontiers also.
 

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If it were me I’d be looking for something different. You already have two second gen X’s. Go with a comfortable cruiser. Personally, I’d be looking for a Panther platform Ford (Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Mariner). Those things will be what cockroaches drive around after we go extinct.
 

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I agree with the last two, while you might have fun with/ enjoy a "cheap" 1st or 2nd gen X, thats the last thin i would want fr a commuter car. Im looking at 2dr coupes for that purpose. 5 spd 4cyl if i can
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yea I’ve looked at some little civics and the like as well. Also very cheap and could be fun to play with too. I like all kinds of stuff so we’ll see where it goes. Don’t really need another X but we’ll see what pops up.
 

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I used my X for work for several years - not commuting, 1000 miles a week to get to customer manufacturing sites around the southeast. Loved it. Would buy another for that purpose in a instant. You sit up high, its stable on the road, still can park in almost any spot, and it holds a lot of stuff. Mileage suffers - I kept mine stock and stock tires and got around 17-18 on the highway, but maintenance costs are low and the longevity is unbeatable.

Personally, I’d be looking for a Panther platform Ford (Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Mariner).
Very comfy, but mileage isn't that much better than an X - maybe 24 or so.
 

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I used my X for work for several years - not commuting, 1000 miles a week to get to customer manufacturing sites around the southeast. Loved it. Would buy another for that purpose in a instant. You sit up high, its stable on the road, still can park in almost any spot, and it holds a lot of stuff. Mileage suffers - I kept mine stock and stock tires and got around 17-18 on the highway, but maintenance costs are low and the longevity is unbeatable.


Very comfy, but mileage isn't that much better than an X - maybe 24 or so.
I mean that’s a 33% increase. I wouldn’t call that not much better than.
 
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