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Discussion Starter #1
Traded a couple of e-mails with an engineer at Nissan Technical Services.

The new V8 Pathfinder uses the M205 gear set in a modified R180 housing. No joke. So... if you can find a V8 Pathy housing, and some Titan front axle gearsets to match your rear axle ratio, the stock Xterra half shafts "should work."

Cool, huh? Cool and... expensive.
 

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Interesting... for somebody like me running 32's (maybe 33's) that would be an adequate upgrade. I'm still hoping they will come out with a diff in that size with a cast iron housing though.

Does the v8 pathfinder have a 3.69 ratio like the manual transmission off road Xterra?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
mike100 said:
Interesting... for somebody like me running 32's (maybe 33's) that would be an adequate upgrade. I'm still hoping they will come out with a diff in that size with a cast iron housing though.

Does the v8 pathfinder have a 3.69 ratio like the manual transmission off road Xterra?

No. It's 2.xx (something). I can't remember exactly, but I could find it.

Muzik brings up a good point. The ring gear would be a little over 8", but I don't think it's the ring gear that has been the weak point in the R180. Haven't a few of them been induced by half shaft failure?
 

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Well, it's not the half shaft it's self, it's the side shaft, the part that is internal to the diff housing and goes from the carrier out to the half shaft.

Now. that's not what happened to mine. I am pretty sure mine had the spider gears blow up. I think this because of how it acted even in 2wd.
 

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A 205mm diff would (could) have a bigger cross shaft than a 180mm one and the bigger gear to go with it. Also, arb and detroit carriers have dual cross shafts just like the bandaid upgrade to the m226 rear diffs that nissan did.

A cast iron pig would minimize deflection of the case at the carrier bearings. I think it all adds up. Once again however, for someone like myself who wants to pretty much run stock tires with maybe a 2" lift, the m205 sized diff sounds good enough- or rather what should be in every Xterra.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I exchanged a couple more e-mails with engineer at Nissan Technical Services who gave me the info about the V8 pathy diff. The tune has changed a little bit. He tells me that after that he learned that the V8 Pathy actually uses "the same housing" as the Titan diff (not a "modified" R180 as previously reported), just slightly shorter CV shafts.

There's a guy over at Clubfrontier (who has frequented this board in the past) who's running a Titan diff in his Calmini 5" drop brackets, but stock track width. He's been pretty secretive about it, but I think he just went and got himself some V8 Pathy half-shafts.

For what it's worth...
 

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That's potentially good news..just need to gear one diff or the other to match. The V8 Pathys around here are 2wd's so I wasn't able to check for myself in person the last time I was loitering in the new car lot.
 

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Here is the only picture of that super secret CV, and its its his avatar:


Now I know the picture is the size of my big toe, but the CV does look new[er]. So it could be a V8 Pathy CV or a custom CV.

Here's an thought though, couldn't you modify a OEM Frontier/X CV to work? There are 3 peices to a CV (minus small parts), the part that connects to the diff, the shaft itself, and the part that attaches to the knuckle. Now assuming there are Titan CVs made out there and plenty of shops that stock those parts...couldn't you have the part that attaches to the diff on a M205 swapped out? Does that make sense?

This is no doubt a pricey upgrade, but if you blow a diff (knocks on wood and praying to every higher being imaginable) and have to pay for a new one....atleast you can upgrade for a bit more.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know if you could frankenstein a CV together or not. Somehow I doubt Superturbo64 (I think that's his name on CF) went to that much trouble.

Unfortunately, this only raises more questions for me. The general consensus seems to be that the Titan diff housing is slightly wider than the R180, which means that V8 Pathy has to be running even shorter CVs than the Fronty/Xterra to keep the same track width. Wouldn't shorter CV shafts equal less "safe" front wheel travel. Maybe not an issue on a street queen Pathy, but nothing I would want on my rig.

And finally, there have only been a couple of Titan diff swaps but they have both been done with drop down bracket kits. Nobody has yet to determine if the Titan diff will fit in there without the lift brackets. I remember that there was a guy over at CF who took some pretty good measurements. He indicated that the Titan diff center sections actually sat a hair more to the center than the R180. He had concerns that the larger housing would contact the oil pan (a problem that would be negated by dropping it down 5-6 inches).

To be honest, I think this is the only way (short of SAS, of course) that the Xterra/Frontier guys will ever be able to run different ring & pinion gearsets. And sadly enough, it's only going to be an option for the M226 guys. I just don't see anybody taking the time to proto the C200 or R180 anytime soon. I know Superior has told me that they would like to, but they're not actively pursuing it either.

Obviously there is substantial cost to this, and I'm not convinced that I want that wider track width in the front.
 
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