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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday morning, I noticed a little pink in the snow after my chick left for work in the X. I looked like it would have been right under the front bumper.

I had her look in the snow when she left work yesterday, nothing. I didn't see anything this morning when I drove it in to work. I noticed that the level is just a hair over min.

Dealer wants it down there tomorrow... Any thoughts? Bad connection somewhere? I haven't crawled around under there yet but I was just wondering if there were any known issues.

She's two 2.5 weeks old with 500 on the odo.

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15,651 Posts could be anything, but you are the first I have heard to have PS problems. When you checked it, did you check it cold or hot?

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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
pretty cold, I guess... 5 mile drive?

I'm not too worried about it. It jams be up a bit, though. Dealer is a good 50 min. drive from here. I almost want to tell them to hold me off until it's time for the first oil change... won't be long at this rate.

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15,651 Posts
Do your first oil change at 1500 miles.

But to be honest, when it comes to something like my steering, I would like to know it's in good working condition. I would hate to be driving around town and lose my power steering.

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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Scheduled first is like 1250, right? I've been trying to vary the RPMs out on the highway but it's a little hard to do with this "by wire" throttle. Think it's a good idea to stretch out the interval a little longer? Seat the rings?

Sorry to get OT but since I have your attn MM...

When are people switching to Synth? I've been running Amsoil Synth in my Audi for about 60K and swear by it.

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15,651 Posts
Well, if you go by the owners manual, the first oil change is not until 3700 miles. That is WAY too long. I have always lived by the 3000 mile rule with normal dino oil, and each of my new vehicles I would get the first change done at the half way mark to get all the metal shavings out from the break in period (which for most vehicles is 2000 miles).

I think you are safe switching to synthetic when ever you want. I would personally wait for the second oil changes since I feel it's important to get that break in gunk out of the engine and there is no point in wasting expensive synth oil.

I run Mobil 1 Synthetic and I change it every 5000 miles. I like this number as it's nice and round and easy to remember when the next change is due.

So, because of this, my suggestion if you want to go synthetic would be.

First oil change at 1500 miles with Dino oil.
Second oil change at 3000 miles with Dino oil.
Third oil change at 5000 miles with synthetic.
Remaining oil changes every 5000 miles with synthetic.

Since you want to run Amsoil, I would extend out that time, not because I think Amsoil is any better than Mobil 1, but because it costs so much.

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1,864 Posts
:clown: Well Nich, just as Muzik says, the first SCHEDULED maintenance is at 3750 miles OR 3 months, BUT THATS THE premimum schedule--

--Schedule 2, calls for service chk, every 7500 miles, or 6 months (hiwy driving)--

--Now, of course,its up to YOU and your vehicle inclinations, however, this SERVICE and MAINTENANCE GUIDE is set up by NISSANS BEST ENGINEERS and you know there reputation--

--I do mine kinda like Muzic, except, my X is not driven around town,is not a daily driver, is used ONLY for off-road trips that usually take 2/4 hrs of freeway driving to get to the START--

--I did my first, at 2700 miles and went to Mobile 1/K&N HP1010 GOLD filter and installed my FUMOTO valve, for ease of oil changes, Oh, same time put the SHROCKWORKS, oil pan skid plate in place--

--You decide, its your SUV--

-- :geek: :geek: --JIMBO

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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'm thinking 3,750 is probably more than enough time to seat the valves and rings but I'm reminded of the VW/Audi break in period (7,500 mi., if I recall) on the 1.8L with the K03 turbo. This break-in stuff can, and has been, debated ad nauseum.

Sounds like there're two schools of thought:

Nissan wants to save money on oil (or) Trust the "engineers."

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15,651 Posts
I have never been able to find out for sure if Nissan uses any form of break in additive with their factory oil. If they do not, changing it early will not hurt at all. If they do, it might take longer to break in. I have always used the 2000 rule (changing oil for the first time at the half way point) with normal dino oil when i rebuilt engines and never had a problem.

I changed mine for the first time just a bit over 1500 and I was shocked at how black the oil was and how much metal there was. I was on the 3000 mile change schedule with dino oil on mine for the first 15K miles. But that was only because I hadn't made the decision to change to synthetic until that time. If I did it over again I would have switched sooner.

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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, I hear you Muzik. Some would argue those shavings are essential for a good break in. Some would also argue that black-ness of the oil is mostly a result of changes brought on by high oil temp as opposed to dirt. I don't really argue any of it beause I'm certainly no expert, I've just seen this stuff debated over the years. This reminds me of the infamous Slosser Break-In Guide as it pertained to Saturn 4cyl engines, with footnotes regarding the 1.8t... here's to going blind:


Ben Slosser's guide to 4-stroke engine break-in:
The Practice.

For the first 100 miles, only take short trips of <15 minutes. Do not rev above about
3500 rpm. Use full throttle in short (2-3 second) bursts at low rpms (say 2500) - 5th
gear on the freeway is ideal for this. Do not do more than one full-throttle burst in the
same 2-minute period. Avoid driving for more than 2-3 minutes at the same rpm - if you
are on the freeway, vary your speed and alternate between 5th and 4th gears.

From 100-500 miles, increase the peak RPM you reach by 200 rpm each time you drive
the car (but don't go higher than redline). Do not rev to your new peak under heavy
throttle; instead, let the engine drift up to the rpm under light load. For instance, pulling
away from a stoplight, leave the engine in first and accelerate lightly until you reach the
desired RPM, then shift. Continue the full-throttle-burst procedure. Do not rev the
engine high under full throttle, and do not do either the peak-revving or the full-throttle
procedure more often than once a minute. Avoid driving for more than 5 minutes at any
one rpm - again, alternating between two adjacent gears and varying your speed will
You will notice that each time you reach a new peak rpm, the engine will be quite loud
at that rpm, but after a few runs up it will quiet down. This is a sign that the break-in is
proceeding well. You will want to have revved the engine to redline a few times by the
time you reach 500 miles. At that point I recommend you change the oil, as most of the
metal wear and contaminants from break-in are released in the first 500 miles. [Editor's
note: I would not recommend doing this with an Audi engine. At least as far as the
1.8T, it is HIGHLY recommended you WAIT until at least 5000 miles before the first oil
change. -pwh]

From 500-3000 miles (the extended break-in) you can operate your engine fairly
normally. Most of the work is done. You should still run the engine at higher RPMs on a
regular basis (assuming you don't in the normal course of driving ;-) ) and you should
avoid prolonged high-speed/high-stress operation, like racing or cruising at 110 mph. I
personally change the oil after 1500 miles [Editor's note: Again, wait until at least 5000
with an Audi engine. -pwh] since it will be dirtier at that point that it would be after
3000 miles of post-break-in operation, but it isn't critical. Be sure to change it at 3000
miles, however. Although there is some difference of opinion on what KIND of oil to use
during break-in, the general consensus is to use normal (non-synthetic) oil of the
recommended weight (5- or 10-30).

From 3000 miles onward, your engine is considered broken in. It will probably continue
to "loosen up" a bit over the next 3000-6000 miles, so look for a small increase in gas
mileage. Other than that, your engine is now be ready for a long and productive life.



[Some of this is what I remember from articles I have read and discussions. I cannot
vouch for the complete accuracy of what follows, but I believe it to be essentially
correct. If you *must* flame me, please do so in private unless you think I've made a
mistake which everyone need to know about to avoid doing something unpleasant to
their car]

The Theory:
The primary goals of engine break-in are: 1) achieving a good seal between the piston
rings and cylinder walls, and 2) allowing the engine to operate correctly throughout its
RPM range. The major enemy during the break-in period is localized heat buildup, mainly
in bearing surfaces (most notably the crankshaft bearings).

Initial state:
When the engine is machined at the factory, many wearing surfaces (places where
parts rub against each other - cylinder walls, bearings, etc) are purposely machined
more roughly than they could be. The reason for this is that it allows the engine to
complete the machining/polishing as it operates, thus allowing for the individual
variations inherent in any manufacturing process. This wearing process, when complete,
produces parts which will fit together with very tight tolerances. However, the process
also involves a great deal of friction, which in turn means a great deal of heat. As metal
parts heat, they expand slightly. If the expansion goes beyond a certain point, the
parts will tend to bind with and/or score each other. This must be avoided.
[To put this in plain english, the parts which rub against each other are left a bit rough,
and as the engine runs the parts will scrape against each other until they wear down a
bit and have a proper fit. While they're still in the process of scraping, they can get
very hot; if they get too hot, they will damage each other in a permanent way.]
Since this sort of heat buildup is very localized, it will not show up on the engine
temperature gauge. Therefore, it is important to operate the engine in such a way that
the heat buildup will not reach a dangerous level. More on this later.

Stress and Variation:
Although the engine parts are metal and, as a rule, quite rigid, they are still subject to
slight deformation when stress is applied. The largest stress in a piston engine is that
produced by reciprocating parts. The forces involved increase as the square of the RPM.
Any deformation will necessarily involve a change in some tolerances inside the engine.
Thus, in order for the engine to operate properly over a range of RPMs, it is important
that it be exercised over this range during the break-in process so that the wearing
parts will experience the range of tolerances they will be subjected to during normal
(post-break-in) operation. Further, for the wearing surfaces of reciprocating parts (most
notably the piston ring/ cylinder wall interface) operation at a single RPM for an
extended period of time will cause the machining process to progress significantly
further within the confines of the part's range of travel without progressing at the point
just outside that range, thus building up a small ridge of metal just above the point of
maximum excursion.
[In order for your engine to run well from 1000 to redline, you need to operate it at all
those rpms while it is breaking in. If you don't, the parts won't be used to working at
the rpms you neglected, and they won't work as well at those speeds]

Piston Ring Sealing:
The seal between the piston ring and the cylinder wall is crucial to getting good
economy and performance from the engine. A bad seal will allow more blow-by, reducing
the amount of power the engine can produce with each power stroke and thus reducing
both its horsepower and fuel economy, as well as allowing combustion gasses to get
into the crankcase and contaminate the oil AND allowing oil to get into the combustion
chamber and be burned, producing the characteristic blue-smoke-from-the-tailpipe
syndrome (note that oil can also get into the combustion chamber via the valve stem
guides, but that's not something we can do much about during break-in).
The key to getting a good piston ring seal is high combustion chamber pressures.
Embarrasingly, I don't know why (can someone fill me in?). High combustion chamber
pressure is produced under hard acceleration; also, the lower the RPM the longer that
pressure is maintained during each power stroke. SO - to get a good piston ring seal,
hard acceleration at low RPMs will give the best results. Since hard acceleration also
produces more heat and more stress (leading to friction and still MORE heat), it should
only be used in brief bursts, followed by a couple of minutes of "normal" low-stress
operation to allow the heated parts to cool down.

Localized Heat Buildup:
As previously mentioned, wearing parts will produce inordinate amounts of heat as they
polish each other. This produces local points of intense heat inside the engine, with
temperatures far higher than the engine as a whole (which shows up on the
temperature gauge) or even of the surrounding parts. The most susceptable points in an
engine for this kind of heat buildup are the crankshaft bearings, which must withstand
enormous stress and pressure. If the bearings are allowed to get too hot, they will
expand to the point of scoring each other or (*gulp*) binding, producing a spun bearing.
During the initial stages of engine break-in, there is no satisfactory way of keeping
these bearings cool during even mild engine operation except to turn the engine off
after every 10-15 minutes of operation and allow the bearings to cool down.
The theory I have outlined about should now be sufficient to explain the "practice"
section of the break-in instructions. For the first 100 miles, keep the rpms low and the
trips short to minimize the stresses and heat buildup in the bearings, and use short
full-throttle bursts to seal the piston rings. From 100-500 miles, gradually increase the
RPMs to allow the wearing surfaces to correctly mate, and continue using full-throttle
bursts to ensure ring sealing. Use cooling periods (the 1-minute rule) to minimize the
heat buildup produced by the high RPM operation and the full throttle bursts. At 500
miles, change the oil to flush out all the metal particles produced by the wearing
process. [Except in an Audi. :) -pwh]
I hope everyone finds this information useful. If you have comments which are of
general interest, please post them - if you just want to flame me for making a mistake,
please email me so that we don't make everyone endure a huge firestorm. I should also
note that I practice what I preach - at 5000 miles my CBR is more powerful than anyone
else's I have ridden and its oil is clean after 2000 miles of operation, while my Saturn
SL2 (though at only 1000 miles) is getting 29 mpg overall and revs quite happily to

Best regards,

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105 Posts
Re: PS fluid in the driveway... (brand new X)

nichthupen said:
Yesterday morning, I noticed a little pink in the snow after my chick left for work in the X. I looked like it would have been right under the front bumper.
There is both a power steering cooler and and a transmission cooler in front of the radiator. A leak or loose connection with either of them could be the source of the leak. I would suggest either troubleshooting yourself or getting into the dealer soon. I would not hold off until the first oil change.

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