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Repair or Replace


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Discussion Starter #1
Some of you guys know my current situation most don't but I have an 05 X SE 4x4 that I bought about 2 1/2 years ago and I've had problems with it since day one. Long story short, I need a new engine. Mechanic says with a used engine he found w/ 85k miles (with 6 month warranty) on it would cost about $5-$6k. I found a rebuild company that will get me a "Long Block" which is gaskets, timing stuff, heads, cams, oil pump and vtec system (whatever that is) for $2,999.99 and that comes w/ a 3 year, Unlimited Mileage warranty. I'm currently waiting to see what their labor cost would be if I went that route. While they have it, they might as well do a complete fluids change. I also just spent about $1,200 on BFG AT's and close to $1,200 on timing chain. The mechanic says they will swap the timing chain into the new motor if necessary. I will have to get a loan to pay for the repairs so might as well fix everything I can on it while it's there.

I owe about $7-$8k on the X right now. If I were to get another loan for $5-$6k, I'm looking total about $15k in the hole. So should I say screw it and try to trade it in and get out from under it and try for a 2012 Xterra? I know that what's owed would be added onto the current vehicle I would be looking at. KBB (Kelly Blue Book) says I Trade-In value in excellent condition is $6k. Private Party Value is about $8k-$9k in excellent condition.

Either way I'm screwed because I have to have a reliable vehicle. I just don't know what I should do. I currently only have cell phone, insurance and car note bills. I could easily afford a brand new car payment but I'm also trying to save money as well for emergencies like this one.

Some say since I'm repairing just about everything that I might as well keep it then others say get out while I can and find a new Xterra. I've found several 2009-2013 Xterra's for about $20-$25K range. My credit isn't the best due to my recent ex-wife and the divorce so I'm not even sure on what my payments would be. I'm currently putting $600 a month into my savings and having the car note ($279) taken out each month.

Any suggestions guys? I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place and I'm just not sure which direction I should go in.
 

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I would search for a used engine somewhere else. I have seen them here and on the Fronty sites for $1200-2000 with less than 40k miles. If the X is your DD I would invest in a beater car for a DD while you search for better options for your X. Sorry to hear about the issues. I know how stressful that be.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I found one on that site that says has only 5k miles on it for $1,500. I will be calling them in the morning. The only reason I would go the rebuilt site is for the 3 year / unlimited mileage warranty.
 

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If you were able to do the work yourself: repair it

If you have to take out a $5-6k loan to pay someone else to fix it, sell it or trade it in and get a newer one. Otherwise you will be upside down, owing $15k towards a vehicle you could only sell for like $10k.
 

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You're the guy who was running 5qts low for a week because the mechanic wouldn't find where the oil was going, correct?

Step 1: Get new mechanic.
 

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OP, good on you for actually thinking about savings and fiscal responsibility.

Normally I'm the guy that writes a math diatribe about why you should sell or keep the X - but it looks like you are already taking that approach. Though I would caution that likely your trade-in value would be much lower with your mechanical issues.

New tires, and a timing chain repair aren't unreasonable and by themselves wouldn't indicate an unreliable Xterra. Timing chain guides are known to be issues on early model X's. I would be more concerned with the need for an entirely new engine. What issues are you experiencing that would require such a drastic repair? How much faith do you have in this mechanic, and would you consider getting a second opinion?

Obviously, the best approach would be to see if you can repair it for a reasonable rate. If you can get out with a reliable X for a couple grand or so then its worth it to keep.

Beyond that I would establish a threshold for how much you can afford to take on. Your payment is already $280, which isn't a terrible amount, but also isn't really that great considering that age of the X.

1. Get a second opinion on the overall shape of the Xterra
2. If an engine repair is needed establish a threshold that you can afford before its cost prohibitive to repair. ($6k to repair is not worth it.)

Then...
3. If you need to sell, see what you can get for the X in its current state.
4. Understand your car needs. Do you really need a 4x4 SUV or just reliable wheels?
5. Check out everything from lease deals to 5 year old Camrys.

Its not glamorous, but don't switch to a $600 car payment instead of savings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I took it to my local Nissan Stealership for a 2nd Opinion and they confirmed that the engine does need to be replaced. They also said that Bank 1 & 2 cat's are completely fried and that's why the engine crapped out. They would charge $2,181.23 w/ tax for 18hrs of labor and that's including changing the cats out but does not include any parts what so ever. The Nissan technician wouldn't even tell me how much Nissan would sell the cats to me for. He said for the price of 1 Nissan Cat, I could get all 4 replaced somewhere else. So now the price of being fixed has gone up. I'm currently waiting on what the mechanic says they would charge for labor. If it's close to what Nissan is charging, I would rather go to Nissan for the repairs since they specialize in Nissan.

Also called the Rebuild Engine Company (ATK) and they said the price is $3,015.99 + $400.00 Core charge which is refunded after the old engine arrives at their factory = $3,4015.99

Magnaflow Universal Cat's x4 w/ Lifetime warranty = $513.32

$3415.99 + $513.32 + $2,181.23 = $6,110.54
 

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Buy Evan Fisher cats from www.autopartswarehouse.com you can get both for about $500.00

The Nissan one's start at about $500.00 most are $709.00 each!

Look around for a used engine, don't go to Nissan, because they specialize in Nissan, that Nissan tech working on your truck might have been a Suzuki Tech 2 days ago.

You can find a good deal on a used engine, you just have to jump on the good deal when it pops up.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I could do both w/ Evan Fisher for $500 or replace all 4 for $513 w/ lifetime warranty. The only reason I want to do the rebuilt motor is because of the warranty. With the used engines, I would only get a 12 month/12k miles warranty. That's true about the Nissan Tech's. I'm honestly just stuck and can't decide which route to go. Either way I go, I'm screwed.
 

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This is a really chitty situation for you ... sucks a lot.

If you can, it may be worth figuring out what's really wrong (the gory details) with the current motor ... if the block and internal rotating assembly (crank, rods, pistons) are all still good, and you just spun a bearing, that's a different animal than if the block has been fubar'd. I don't know the internals of these motors extremely well, but there are several on this board who do (master techs & folks who have been into the guts of the VQ40, both) ... Brutal hasn't chimed in here; but if he's willing to comment, his opinion is one I would trust. It'll be tough, though, for anyone to form a detailed opinion without seeing it in person or going to the trouble of tearing it down ... which will cost if you're not doing it yourself.

I agree that it's probably not the smartest thing to do, to take out additional debt to get it back on the road ... but if you can do it at a reasonable rate, and get it paid down quickly; you may decide that it's worth doing for the satisfaction of driving the X vs. a $6k junker.

Also, I will mention one nit about your first post: I'd be wary of the rebuilder who offered to sell you a Nissan motor with VTEC ... that's the Honda variable valve timing technology. The Nissan system is CVTCS - Xterra spec link, open up the 'Mechanical' tab ... description (Z-car) link.

... and I'll also second the comment about the tech/mechanic doing the work. Whether it's a Nissan guy or an independent, a Mom & Pop or a big-name place, be sure you're 100% confident (through reviews, word of mouth, personal tour ... or just 'gut feel') that the work will be done right, before you commit. Don't be afraid to (politely & respectfully) insist upon periodic updates to how it's all going, or be afraid to pull it out if you get to the point where you feel the need ... but you'll want a place to take it, if that's the case.

ETA: My bottom line opinion is this - if you can get out from under it, without having to repair it; and get yourself the most reliable, economical thing you can without adding additional loans ... then spend a couple of years building up a decent savings to put down on a late model/low mile used version of whatever your desire is at the time, to minimize those payments, that's probably the best call.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My mechanic didn't even mention the cats being burned out. The Nissan Dealership said that the reason the engine fried was because of the cats failing. I'm not sure if they meant to say VTEC or what but I will def be asking that if I decide to order.

I agree w/ ya T-REXterra, it seems to be a waste
 

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VTEC is the acronym for Variable Timing & Electronic Control, while Honda Developed it, it has been altered to work on almost all Lines of cars using the 4 and 6 cylinder engines.

VTEC in Honda actually stands for Variable Timing and Electronic lift Control
But if he said VTEC I am sure he meant Nissan's version of Vtech which is actually NEOVVL
 

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Hat-tip to JP ... I stand corrected.
 

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Cheers ... :eek:ccasion5:, thanks.

GPD - Keep us posted with where this goes, here's hoping the resolution is as painless as possible for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys for all of your opinions and advice. Going to have to do some serious thinking on this.
Posted via Mobile Device
 
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