Nissan to Nissan: traded my X for a V8 Pathy

VirginiaDoug

New member
I’ve had my Xterra a few years now and love it. 2006 Off-Road 6MT. All the armor. All the lights. Nice Radflo and OME lift, 33s, everything but a V8 swap has been done to this truck. While it became my dream truck, the fuel economy had gotten terrible and I didn’t take it out enough to justify the insurance. Made my buddy an offer and we’re trading for his 2008 Pathfinder SE V8. I’ll still get to wheel it when I drive out to visit him so it’s a solid trade.

While the fuel economy is comparable to the X right now, it's way more comfortable, with more room for gear, and will go anywhere I would plan to tow a trailer. Eventually, I’ll get it outrunning STIs too (I occasionally miss accelerating hard).

I plan to start in on the Pathy right away and will use this thread to post pictures and progress of that project. I’ll probably start with some 3.36 Armada diffs and go-fast bits. Maybe a lunchbox locker, though the electronic “lsd” works pretty well unless you’re really stuck. Then work on building my camper trailer this fall for next year.

Here’s some pics of the X:
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Thanks for stopping by!
 

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VirginiaDoug

New member
About to place an order for the pathfinder suspension. I need to replace everything in the front end anyway, and at least the rear springs and shocks, so I’m doing all Titan/Armada running gear instead.

All RockAuto off-the-shelf bits. For about $0 extra vs. just doing what already needs done (and less than a cheap spacer lift with new chassis parts) I should have about 3” of lift, 6” of additional front track and 2” additional travel in the front. Another 4” of front travel is coilovers and UCAs away but I’m putting that $$$ towards a tube bumper and a spare motor to build off the car in the meantime. I’ll upgrade next year if I feel something is lacking or I need extra travel.

All new:
Titan/Armada stock front upper and lower control arms with new ball joints and bushings - $250 (good for ~8” travel before hitting the coil buckets - stock Pathy travel is 5.5”)
Camber bolts - $50
Stock tundra replacement strut assemblies - $100 (good for 3-3.5” lift and a sturdier spring rate)
Titan/Armada front CVs - $125 (required to accommodate the 6” of addition track width)
Titan/Armada inner and outer tie rods - $100
Armada rear springs - $125 (good for 2-3” lift in the rear)
Armada Rancho 9000xl adjustable rear shocks - $200
Total ~ $1000 shipped.

Same price or less than pathfinder gear since the axles and springs are odd balls on the V8 and cost more - nevermind not having to install a cheap/$250 spacer lift. Should hold me over for a while.

my muses:
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VirginiaDoug

New member
Planning 265/70R18s (32.6”) on the stock wheels for now. Cooper ATS 4S. They run only 5# more a piece than the stock tires, and almost 20# less than the 285/65R18 BFG KO2s I had my eyes on. Should be way better for fuel economy and performance. May run Titan wheels in the future if I upgrade the front brakes to the Titan 13.7” fronts. It would require changing knuckles and hubs up front which means a different bolt pattern, and I’m cheap so I’d just run a set of take-offs from Craigslist or something.

Already sourced some 3.36 diffs from a QX56 for $500. Gotta swap the rear stub axles and diff cover (ABS recuctors are on the stub axles on the pathfinder) but it’s otherwise a plug-and-play operation. Before anyone suggests regearing lower, 3.36 gears with the Nissan five-speed automatic is like running 4.56 gears on a 4L80 trans in first-third gear. Any lower would be reckless. Should haul ass with header-back exhaust and a tune.
 

MarcusBrody

Member
I'll be following this thread with interest. I'm in the market for a vehicle for BLM road exploration and family camping vehicle and the Pathfinder looks like it might fit the bill. Used versions can be had pretty affordably right now compared to some of the usual suspects, it's bigger than the Xterra (our second row will be full, so gear has to go behind that), and looks like it gets notably better gas mileage than the Armada/Yukon/Expeditions that can be found in the price range.

My one hesitation is the difficulty/expense if I wanted to add a read locker, though it seems like there are kits for it now. I just haven't read much about them.

Given the distances we'll be covering and that I'm not planning to tow much, I'm thinking of looking at the V6 models for improved MPG and less oddball parts. Any thoughts?
 

docwatson

Adventurer
I'll be following this thread with interest. I'm in the market for a vehicle for BLM road exploration and family camping vehicle and the Pathfinder looks like it might fit the bill. Used versions can be had pretty affordably right now compared to some of the usual suspects, it's bigger than the Xterra (our second row will be full, so gear has to go behind that), and looks like it gets notably better gas mileage than the Armada/Yukon/Expeditions that can be found in the price range.

My one hesitation is the difficulty/expense if I wanted to add a read locker, though it seems like there are kits for it now. I just haven't read much about them.

Given the distances we'll be covering and that I'm not planning to tow much, I'm thinking of looking at the V6 models for improved MPG and less oddball parts. Any thoughts?
I recently finished a trip in a 07 V6 Pathfinder from Washington to Kansas with three adults, two dogs, and some extra stuff because I was moving. I have a hitch rack though which really opened up the interior space. Spent about 3 days on BLM/forest roads and the stock ABLS proved sufficient. Thenissanpath.com has some additional info on rear lockers if you are interested in the Pathy.
 

MarcusBrody

Member
I recently finished a trip in a 07 V6 Pathfinder from Washington to Kansas with three adults, two dogs, and some extra stuff because I was moving. I have a hitch rack though which really opened up the interior space. Spent about 3 days on BLM/forest roads and the stock ABLS proved sufficient. Thenissanpath.com has some additional info on rear lockers if you are interested in the Pathy.
Thanks! I don't think I'd need the lockers often, but it would be nice as I moved to an area with a lot of sand. Right now I do my adventuring in a Transit Connect, so almost anything will be an upgrade in off road ability (and a downgrade in space efficiency). After our last trip, my wife has requested something that takes a bit more of the stingy out of washboard.
 

VirginiaDoug

New member
ARB makes a locker for the V8. Same rear as the Armada and QX56. You're going to pay for it though! If you're doing that, titan swap it and run front and rear 3.36 diffs from the armada/QX56 in there! I loved the VQ40 in my Xterra. Plenty of power, even with the heavy E-rated 33s and armor. The 3.69 gears and manual trans helped. Fuel economy was bad. Pathfinders are heavier but probably lighter than my X in the end, so it may get better fuel economy on reasonable tires/no armor (aluminum skid plates???). Around here, I see V6 Pathys for cheap all day long. Probably worth a look/drive, if nothing else. The V8s are unicorns.
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Anyway, I picked up my rear diff. Still waiting on the front. Lost the one I had lined up - they couldn't get the hardware loose and scrapped the truck before I could get out there. BUT the rear was only $120, with 33k on it! I was able to get it registered with only minor inconvenience (after a six week wait for an appointment at the DMV) so it's legal now but still sitting at my buddy's place in PA, waiting for me to grab it. Picking up a motor to build over the winter and swap in the spring - should be a beast. JWT camshafts, a variable intake manifold for a VK45, and full exhaust should be good for close to 450hp/500 lbft and a much broader power/torque curve. The man who builds the manifolds has a pathfinder running 13.0 in the quarter on stock cams! Need to build the trans too at that point.

While fast is cool, expedition is cooler. I'm still on the 32.6" tires and titan swap idea. Once the truck is home, I'll start tearing into the suspension. Expedition trailer build have to wait until next year though - ground-camping in tents until then. Sold some "range toys". Still waiting on my other project cars to sell to get the rest of the cash together. Bought a slew of maintenance items to replace asap when the truck is finally in my possession. Should be a lot of updates here before October. Stay tuned!!!
 
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