Looking at purchasing a d21/d22/d40


New member
So after finally selling my jdm wrx sti I am looking for something that can fit more camping gear and explore some of the roads/trails around me along with being able to haul some plywood, and materials.

I would like to find a rust free vg30 extended cab 4x4 d21 but around here that isnt very likely and given the age of the vehicle might not be the best choice as much as I love them.

Reading about d22s seems the more common problems are knock sensors, weak steering, cracked exhaust manifolds and hubs. See a few about rod failures but I believe these are on the diesel engines?

D40s I read pages about transmission and rear end failures and of course the smod so I am learning towards a d22 at this point. But thought I should ask the people driving lots of kms with loaded d40s before i write it off.

The truck will also be doing DD duties as my only other car is an r32 GTR. Only about 6-10k kms a year though as I have a company vehicle for to and from work. I will only be looking at manuals as well so the SMOD wont be of concern if I get a D40. Budget is around 10k but anything under budget means more cash for fun parts!



You are talking diesel D22s. That never existed in the states. So where are you?

The North American D40 isn't the same as many of the other market versions of the D40. Your reference material may be incorrect. Hard to say for sure.


New member
I am in Alberta, Canada. So ya as i suspected the rod failures wont be a problem as we only got gas engines here i believe.


I have a 03 D22. Mine is 2wd unfortunately but I do really like it. Getting a 02 or 03 and up gets you to the new style exhaust manifolds. The knock sensor does fail but personally for me changing it out was not that big of a deal. Just have to take off the intake manifold. I found and fixed a tiny tiny tiny coolant leak i couldn't find for 3 years at the same time so win win. I will say they are kinda under powered stock. The cams in them are so tiny you have to floor it to get it to move and you get bad MPG because of this. Installing a set of Z31 cams or euro vg33 cams or having your cams reground is the best mod you can do. After the install it didn't make it a rocket ship but it became much more drivable. And on a plus side I went from around 15mpg to around 17 mpg. If your going to put bigger wheels on I would suggest a steering arm brace. The auto transmissions are strong smooth and reliable. I don't have any experience with the manual. I'm a thin 6'1" and i'll admit I can find it a bit cramped on longer drives. I have the crew cab and wish the seat went back farther. The back seat is ok for gear but my 6 y/o in her car seat is tight with my wife who is 5'9" in the passenger seat. Over all its been a good truck the past 8 years.


I have a 2008 D40, 125K miles now, drive it every day for work, 300 mile trips to ski in the winter and all around the West for fun.
Auto transmission, I run the fluid through its' own cooler, no problems. Just replaced the original plugs, I'd have to think hard about what it has needed besides fluids. The engine is stock v6, haven't messed with it, haven't had any issues, Nissan did a god job to start, lots of power, average gas mileage, poor turning radius.
With 33" tires, I find the transmission dwelling in lower gears longer than I'd like, I'm looking to get the computer to recognize the larger tires- may be a few hundred to correct. The 4wd & open diff. has been excellent in snow, great on trails, haven't been in the mud much. Someday I may get a locker (the Pro-x comes with an e-locker), but I haven't really needed one yet.
I kept the stock suspension for 60-70k miles, replaced the front with Monroes, not much change. At 100k miles, put on an OME set front and leafs in the rear and it was a mighty improvement.
My feeling was that I would have to add a lot to a Tacoma to get it to pass, pull or drive a full bed like the stock Frontier. 10 years later, I'm still happy and the wife wants to take it camping any weekend we can, so the truck stays packed for summer.
The D40 is totally worth a look, even if the internet is afraid of them. While they may not have the aftermarket support, constant cosmetic upgrades or oversold promise of adventure that some trucks come with, capable, reliable and satisfying may actually be all you need.


New member
Thanks for the info! I am on the lookout for either gen frontier at the moment. Will be sure to post a pic when i find a 4x4 manual one to my liking.