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Which to buy? #1 (2005, 157k, $4k) or #2 (2007, 182k, $4.5k)

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Hello! Very excited to be a new owner. Have a question on which one you’d buy:

Two xterra’s. Both S, both silver, both pretty clean.

1. 2005 with 157k miles, $4k
• Pros: aftermarket radiator (no SMOD), K&N filter, touchscreen audio unit/backup cam, possibly upgraded speakers, rubber floor mats, alloys with decent enough 1-2 year old all-season tires,
• Cons: weak tailgate and roof box lifts, needs front catalytic converters (quoted $1900, f california), looser steering (thinking tie rod), very small drivers seat rip

2. 2007 with 182k miles, $4.5k
• Pros: No seat rip, brand new chunky all-terrain Goodyear tires, tighter steering
• Cons: oem radiator (would need to replace), stock audio system, no running boards, steel wheels (not a huge deal)

I can maybe have a friend fake smog #1 for $350 to avoid/delay the $1900 hit for the cats, but not positive.

What would you buy?! Many thanks.
 

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‘07

A new rad is cheaper than $350 and it needs one anyway.

And if you have any intentions of being off road you’d end up ditching the steps. They are damage multipliers. Get sliders.
 
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Whichever is in the best overall condition and has the best service records. For all intents on paper there the same vehicle - assuming there the same trim level.
 

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The early VQ4.0's had issues with the timing chains/ adjusters.

I would look for something a bit newer with less miles and not have to worry about replacing your radiator (smod) , timing chain and catalytic converters. Yes, the initial cost will be more, but in the end it may save you thousands.

Like the old saying "You can pay a little now or alot later"
 

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I cast number 2, because number one has a K&N filter and those are poison for our (expensive) MAFs.
Does #1 still have the stock filter assembly?
yes it will need a radiator but those are much much cheaper than MAFs.
The Cats of course are also a future dollar hit.

I dont really sweat the concern so much about the timing chain/guides.
Either there is a audible whine and then replace and if not, then not.
 

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1. Since you are in California, as said the seller is required by law to get it to pass smog and that includes them replacing the cats, you are taking a huge risk buying it without smog.
2. It has been well documented here that when the cats fail on these they can suck the cat dust into the engine and destroy the cylinders so you could be facing that already. The longer you run with bad cats the more likely you will destroy these engines.
3. Since you are in California and #1 has off-road tires, if it has been used in the California desert there is a good chance that K&N filter has let dust into the intake and engine. K&N are crap in dusty environments.

For $150 a new radiator will fix the SMOD concerns and there is no proof that #1 with the new radiator or #2 didn't have SMOD so as long as the transmission fluid is clean and drives fine they are both a risk until you buy them and replace the radiator. All used Xterra's of that vintage could have SMOD so it is what it is.

They all are going to need new lift struts so that is $50-$75 at most.

I would avoid #1 at all costs in California. Go with #2 or keep looking.
 

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Well, I'd just take the cars into a GOOD mechanic and have them make an assessment. In either case routine maintenance is the key to keeping the cars running in tip top shape. I was keeping both my '00' and '06' on a routine maintenance program suggested by Nissan...then it came time for the '06' to have an engine timing chain replaced I did it with OEM parts. Including the tensioners, chain, water pump, thermostat, etc. That was two years and 30k miles ago. Runs like a champ. Nissan didn't make that chart on a whim, its to keep those cars running. I drive by used car shops every day and out of the hundreds of cars there I will only find one nissan and a couple toyotas. All the rest are american junk cars. Xterras are classic cars no matter the age. Unique and rugged. I'm looking for a third.
 
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