My 2001 Pathfinder (R50 ) mild/budget build

RG5384

Observer
Thanks for the trip report Stoic! Your "preamble" resonates with me all too much. I've got a camping trip planned for next weekend and it can't get here soon enough. I've come to realize if I don't get out into the woods every couple of months I start getting angry. Working in a big city professionally has made me really appreciate getting out and living for a weekend with a 4wd and a tent!.
 

Tommicron

New member
Your tires

Hey Stioc I've read and re-read your post from start to finish a couple times now. Great stuff. I do have a question about your 235/85/r16's you had for a while. I can't tell whether you said you needed spacers for that or not. I have a 4" SFD (front suspension unaltered to preserve cv angles) and I REALLY want bigger tires but I'm REALLY hesitant to use spacers. What are your thoughts?
 
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stioc

Expedition Leader
Yes I needed the spacers for anything bigger than 245/75/16 because of the lower spring perch on the struts. If you follow the torque specs carefully the wheel spacers are fine (get the good quality ones).

My thoughts? I didn't like the look of the 235s nor did I see any appreciable/noticeable mpg gain. I won't do it again. I much prefer the 265s, they just look right on the truck. With a 4" SFD I would go with 285s (or similar) for the right look BUT I won't do it because personally even with 235s or 265s the truck strains going uphill. Then again it could just be me because I'm always lugging a lot of weight on my trips. In fact, I've been toying with the idea of putting some milder tread 245/75/16s on one of the two sets of wheels I have now and using those majority of the time unless the terrain requires the mighty KM2s. I just love the looks of these too much to go milder though even though most of the time they're overkill. Similar to the roof rack, I could do without that 80lbs anchor on the roof but call me vain it just looks the part :D
 

Tommicron

New member
Tires

Thanks for the advice! I have a dilemma in that I pull a trailer a lot. It's a small 1970's camper that weighs probably 2500lbs, max 3000. The truck pulls it fine (struggles in 5th sometimes when the wind is bad) but I'm worried about how much power I'm going to lose going from my stock 29 inchers to something in the 32/33ish range. I almost considered buying a diesel truck for this very reason, but then I'd have to start all over again, and I really like my Pathy. I don't want to change the diff either, it's already LSD and I want to keep as much stock as possible (other than tires and lift of course). If yours struggles without a trailer I'm worried about what mine will do. How badly does it struggle for you with the bigger tires? Is it at highway speed?
 

stioc

Expedition Leader
At highway speeds it's fine but it will often downshift/hunt for gears when tackling grades or heavy winds. The only time it's really an issue is that when I have a long 9%+ grade to climb the water temps also start to climb. I take it out of OD and slow down to keep the RPMs in the highest torque range (about 3100 RPM).

To throw some math your way, going from the stock size to 245/75/16 is a 4.9% diameter increase. Typically the recommended variance is approx 3-4% of the original size.
Going from the stock size to 265/75/16 the variance is 8.9%
Going to 235/85/16 the variance is 9.2%
Going to 285/75/16 the variance is 13%

Having said that I know a lot of people are running 32s, a few 33s and a couple of guys even 35/37s on stock gearing and proclaim they don't notice any difference. I absolutely do. Another thing with the 235s is that the tires will be E-load and they're pretty heavy. With 265s you can likely find C load tires which will be lighter and that should help. Hey you asked for my thoughts so I provided them but ultimately it's your choice of course, good luck :)
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
The people who run 35s and claim no difference must be flat landers. Even with the 245s and a full load I notice a difference. It seems like going up to altitude really kills the power too. When I was in NM and northern AZ where the 40 sits at 4,000ft up to 7,000 for long stretches, it definitely was out of breath. So anything much larger/heavier than my 245s I'm sure has an even more noticeable effect.

The VQs are a fairly powerful motor on their own, but saddled with about 4600 lbs of Pathy from mods, plus a load, it doesn't exactly leap when you hit the throttle. That's why the VQ would be the base motor in the context of full size 1/2 tons.
 
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Matto

Observer
Tommicron,

I run 245/75R16 KM2's on my Pathfinder. It's an AU-delivered one, so has the 3.3L engine - we didn't get the bigger 3.5L version here. Hence, your performance might differ from mine slightly. However I also do a lot of towing with a trailer around the same weight as yours. I run a 2" suspension lift (not a SFD), but if anything, you should have more clearance that I've got. I'm also using the standard OEM wheels - if you do have a problem and want to avoid wheels spacers, you might be able to go an aftermarket wheel with more backspacing.

As stoic mentions above, I absolutely feel a big difference with the bigger tyres. Highway driving with the camper on the back is not the most effortless, let's say. The car will do 100kph, but it's working reasonably hard to do that. It much prefers to sit down on 90kph and you need to kick the OD out for any decent hill or incline. In third it pulls well, but revs higher than I'd like for highway traveling. Top speed with the camper on is just on 110kph, which means I need a LOOOOOONG stretch of overtaking lane to edge my way past any other traffic. That said, getting up to speed is reasonably straight-forward, it's just that it's not got much more puff past that magic 100kph mark.

Offroad, it's a similar story. I've just come back from a trip away with the camper. On one climb, I was down in first gear with my foot buried through the floor, and it was just chugging up the hill. We got there, and I was still in high-range, but it didn't have much more to give. Part of that is the dead weight of the trailer on the back, but I believe the taller tyres weren't helping.

However, I love the tyres and will be keeping them. The pros far outweigh the cons for me. They give good clearance, they're tough, and they'll climb anything. They're seriously that good. Aired down, they're even better. Around town they're easy to drive and you retain good acceleration for city driving. Braking is still good (could always be better, but has never caught me out). I'd have no hesitations putting them back on, but on the same hand I doubt I'd be game to put anything larger on.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
Matt :)

Photo from Sunday, with everything packed up ready to start the 6hr drive home:

PathyAndCamper.jpg
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
Really nice Pathy Matto! I agree with the above, I would say it also depends on the tire too. Believe it or not my Toyos were actually ~5lbs lighter than the garbage Hankook *** the previous owner had, and now my Coopers are even lighter than the Toyos despite still being 1.5" taller than stock. So results will vary, but performance is definitely affected by larger tires no matter what, because even if they weigh the same or less than stock, the added size essentially makes your gearing taller.

Which reminds me, Stioc, do your aftermarket rims weigh any less than factory? Have you grabbed a closeup of them?
 

stioc

Expedition Leader
No my wheels are heavier, I don't recall exactly by how much but overall 100lbs heavier for the combination of tires and wheels. I do have some pics of the wheels, I believe some on page 90.
 

Allof75

Pathfinder
No my wheels are heavier, I don't recall exactly by how much but overall 100lbs heavier for the combination of tires and wheels. I do have some pics of the wheels, I believe some on page 90.
Ah shucks, yeah I've been trying to find a set that's lighter and still is strong enough.
 

Rebelord

Semper Fi
Question for you folks that venture out west. For my trip to Moab next year. Swap to 16s or stay with stocker 17s?

Sent from fat fingers on S6
 

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stioc

Expedition Leader
What type of tires and which trails in Moab are you planning to run? For what it's worth, given the same diameter of a tire, the 16s will allow you to air-down more. Would it make me want to go buy a new set of tires if the current ones are good? likely not.
 

Rebelord

Semper Fi
Not sure which trails. Probably the green and blue for goneMoab next year.
Plus the whole 5500miles round trip there and back. So I'm thinking a AT tire. But would want to move to a higher load range. The advantage I have is that I can take the tri spoke 16 off my 99 to use on my 04.

Sent from fat fingers on S6
 
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