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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I've been looking at the gen 2 xterras and I think I'm finally ready to buy. I've owned coupes my whole life so this will be my first 4x4. I've always wrenched on my own cars and I'm fairly mechanically inclined, but I've never really worked on 4x4s. My price range is ~10 grand so I'll probably be looking for a 05-06 with around 100k miles.

I know these questions have probably been asked before, but I'll ask them again, so sorry in advance.

How apparent is SMOD? Is this something that will show up in a 5min test drive? I know I can look under the radiator cap, but I'm not sure if the owners would want me to wrench off their tranny dipstick.

I guess I need to ask about the timing chain tensioners, is this something that should be done before 100k miles?

Is there anything else that I need to specifically look at other than general wear and tear?

Thanks! Any input would be appreciated. Let me know if you find any good xterras for sale! :headbang:

-Will
 

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yeah other than making sure everything works, listen for a whine in the motor especially when cold for the timing chain issue. Ask if they've every had it fixed under warranty. It's pretty noticeable especially if you rev the engine up a bit and sounds like a supercharger.

As for the SMOD, definitely look at the tranny dipstick whether you need tools or not. The fluid should be fairly red, and doesn't smell burnt. If the coolant has started mixing, you'll smell some sweetness to the fluid or it will start to look cloudy. If it all looks good, make sure the transmission shifts very well, no delays and there is no "rumbling" as you drive along. drive 30 or so but hold it in 2nd and 3rd and listen. As far as I've heard though, the tranny's don't last long once the fluid starts to mix.

If you find one with the manual and its got close to 100k check the clutch operation really closely or hopefully by one that's already had it replaced. When you take off, let off the clutch pretty quickly and you should feel the power "grab" right away. The clutch pedal should have resistance all the way through pushing it to the floor. If it feels weird at all, walk away or talk em down on the price.

Everything else is small stuff. Well maintained is usually the key when buying from private party.
 

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Check the coolant before you drive it, lots of pictures here in the SMOD thread on what to look for. It's easier to see in the coolant, in my opinion, than on the transmission dipstick.

If an owner won't let me check all the fluids on a vehicle that is for sale, I walk away from the deal. Fluid checks are a basic way to check for proper maintenance. You can have him pull the dipstick and show you, if that makes you both more comfortable. I also crawl underneath and check all the CV and driveshaft boots, look at the amount of corrosion, and check for any obvious signs of damage from hard wheeling.

Biggest thing with a 4x4 over what you've done before is you have 2 more boxes to change oil in- a second differential, and the transfer case. Luckily, they're both very easy to change on the X, and I would do it unless you can trust the previous owner telling you they just did it.
 

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If I were in the market I think I might consider splurging on a 09+ (even though I have had no issues with my 08). I believe based on this forum that the 09+ has not had issues with any of the SMOD, ECM relay, or the timing chains. Not to say any of those are that big of issues if you fix them ahead of time, SMOD obviosly being the biggest. Of course, they 09 and newer might have issues also, they just haven't been on the road long enough to know I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Awesome guys, thanks for the all the input! I'm going to check a couple out tomorrow, hopefully I'll be apart of the club haha. :iconbiggrin:

I'm pretty sure the 09+ are out of my price range, but I'll search a little bit. Also, I'm located in San Luis Obispo, CA but I'm willing to travel a couple states.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Checked one out today. Went on a test drive and it showed zero symptoms; shifted smooth, no shaking, kept the car in 2nd and 3rd gear around 30-40mph and it had zero shakes / noises. Looked in the radiator and sure enough it had white foamy stuff on the top and underneath the cap. Stuck a rag into the radiator and it had some red streaks on it. Walked away.

I thought I would easily be able to tell SMOD symptoms when driving, maybe this one just started? How quickly will SMOD crater a tranny?
 

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Checked one out today .... Stuck a rag into the radiator and it had some red streaks on it. Walked away.
Wow. It is likely (or at least possible) that the owner didn't even know. Did you clue them in so that, hopefully, they don't screw over the person that buys the vehicle?

Question - how much mileage was on it? If less than 80k there could be a free tranny in it for you. :)
 

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Something to be aware of when you are looking... When I was looking around for my OR I quickly found out that almost every Xterra version was listed incorrectly. They all either said SE or OR in the ad when many many many of them were not. If you know you want a certain model don't bypass one just because of which version was listed. That part was so frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow. It is likely (or at least possible) that the owner didn't even know. Did you clue them in so that, hopefully, they don't screw over the person that buys the vehicle?

Question - how much mileage was on it? If less than 80k there could be a free tranny in it for you. :)
Yep, I explained to her what SMOD is and what can happen. She was either 100% clueless to what I was saying, or already knew and was acting dumb. Either way she didn't show too much concern about it.

Car had 107k so unfortunately no new tranny :(. Is it 80k or 100k miles?
 

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Hey, I don't really have much to add to the conversation as most everybody on these forums knows more than me as I just went and purchased mine. My dilemma was also the price range. After spending some time on this forum I almost scared myself out of buying one due to the SMOD. Keep looking though, you won't regret it. I found my '06 S with 69,4** miles for 12.6K. Not too bad in my opinion. Dealers should have the free carfax on their website so obviously check that and look for red flags. I was planning on taking mine to a dealer or local shop prior to buying but due to time constraints (drove from Tulsa, OK to Dallas, TX and got there at around 4PM) I was only able to take it to Meineke. Still, taking it there, they were able to put it on a lift and look at things I couldn't. I'd say your biggest concern with buying one is the SMOD with these vehicles. I'm sure you've done your research but gas mileage isn't great although that's to be expected. Push down on the front and rear end. More bouncy than usual? May need some shocks/struts. Also, I called a dealer, gave them my VIN, and asked if there were any recalls on my vehicle (carfax should tell you). I would definitely try looking for something with under 80k miles if possible. Here's the Nissan warranty extension sheet if that helps any to understand the coverage. http://www.nissanassist.com/web/Radiator/faqs.php?menu=22
 

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If you buy older than 2009 your going to end up changing the timing chain and the rad (unless you just do the bypass, which based on Jeff_RedX research might not be the best idea depending on usage). Those are both fairly inexpensive if you do them yourself, and the rad is fairly easy, haven't done the timing chain on my 08 yet. So I guess you decide based on purchase price - pay me now or pay me later.

rigs come up for sale her pretty frequently under 10K. You will likely get a better deal from someone that took care of it from this board, if your willing to wait.

The best way to find a Off-Road version on line is to get a picture of the center console and see if it has the locker switch. Most adds post the pic anyway. And per the earlier comment, the majority of posters have no idea what model, X, S, SE OR, they just post whatever.
 

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I thought I would easily be able to tell SMOD symptoms when driving, maybe this one just started? How quickly will SMOD crater a tranny?[/QUOTE]

Wow that's kind of crazy as it must have just started or something. From what I've heard, the tranny grenade pretty quick, like less than 1k miles, but if the person only takes short strips or something maybe its prolonging the inevitable.

yeah best to just walk away. It make you wonder if someone told her that while it was being serviced, and she just buttoned it up and threw a for sale sign on it. Wouldn't be the first time that's happened I guess.

Like others have said, just keep looking. You said you are in California, here is one for sale right by me in Reno with a manual transmission and looks like its in good shape. I'd even check it out for ya if you want.

http://www.privatepartycars.com/sea...S_Sport_Utility_4D_For_Sale_By_Owner&id=82150
 

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Looks like you're kind of near the LA area but when I was looking for a used X, I saw tons of good deals in the LA area.

Look a little bit further than SLO and hopefully you'll find better choices and deals.

Good luck!
 
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