The truth about 1st Gen pathys?

MalnarUSA

New member
First off I just want to introduce myself and I am excited to be part of Expo Portal and thank you. So here it is, though I am new to the expo world I am no stranger to offroad, I have dipped into crawling a little bit as well as prerunning, I am looking to build a budget friendly realiable and durable expo rig, I have read articles and reviews about pathys and they seem prett stout minus the rust issues though I would like to get the opinion of someone who has experienced this truck and just isn't being persuaded by marketing propaganda, I have already owned an S-10 Blazer and a Cherokee and due to the Cherokees legendary "realiability" as I use that word lightly, needs less to say it was replaced, that bein said, I would like to steer away from domestic and try something different, so any opinions, comments or concerns or even pictures about the 1st Gen pathys will be greatly appreciated!! Thank you for your time and consideration!! ( sorry if I rambled and some stuff didn't make sense, Its 4am and I have a case of insomnia as of now lol thank you for being patient!)
 

fangars

Adventurer
When I was doing research on them I had read that they have the same problem as modern Nissans are having, radiator tranny cooler cracking and sucking in coolant and killing the transmission. Easily fixed with a bypass and adding an aftermarket cooler.
Not a problem if you get manual, and with the lack of power I would definitely search for a manual.
I wound up buying a 1989 Montero V6 with manual, has kind of a weak engine but I love it. Also on my short list were the Isuzu Rodeo and Isuzu Trooper. Each have their own issues.
 

Strizzo

Explorer
they're tough, cheap, and fairly reliable. biggest worry would be the timing belt on the v6 models. there are front and rear ARB lockers available for them, a couple of different suspension upgrades, and they're fairly simple to work on. down here they go for around 1500-2500 pretty regularly.
 
Hi- we had a 1994 or 5 Pathfinder with the 3.0 liter v6 from the first gen, but not the very early first gens (?). I know there were some minor body changes over that period, bu believe that they remained the same mechanically throughout. We loved it so much, despite it's flaws (which I'll ge to), that we bought an R50 (2001 SE) Pathfinder, which we're currently over 155k miles on right now.

Ours lived in Colorado throughout it's life, and so had no rust issues, though I understand that Pathys from the Rust Belt suffer from body and frame rot under the backseats. The V-6 has an exhaust manifold problem- the studs on which the manifolds mount snap off, producing a ticking noise as exhaust escapes where the stud broke. We had this fixed once (2 of 6 studs snapped off), and had it crop up again just before we sold the car. It makes the car sound terrible, but is not a "gotta fix right now!" sort of problem. tick tick tick tick tick tick tick.

My other complaint, and I'll agree t's fairly minor, was that electric components on the pathfinder started failing after 100k miles. Devilish to chase down, but not life ending. First, electric locks, then window buttons, then "door closed" sensors. Just annoying.

I've gotta say, we loaded the Pathfider up, with a Yakima system, Rocket Box, gear platform next to the Rocket Box, our son, who was a toddler at the time, my wife, all of our camping gear, recovery gear, climbing gear, and our lab, and did 10 days in southeast Utahand western CO, half off pavement, and had a great time, -never doubted the Pathfinder once. If I can get picture posting here figured out I'll post some pics. BTW, We ran 31's with stock suspension, and only very rarely exerienced rubbing



I've got a couple of other photos on another computer, I'll see if I can't dig them up.
 
Last edited:

BIGdaddy

Expedition Leader
First off I just want to introduce myself and I am excited to be part of Expo Portal and thank you. So here it is, though I am new to the expo world I am no stranger to offroad, I have dipped into crawling a little bit as well as prerunning, I am looking to build a budget friendly realiable and durable expo rig, I have read articles and reviews about pathys and they seem prett stout minus the rust issues though I would like to get the opinion of someone who has experienced this truck and just isn't being persuaded by marketing propaganda, I have already owned an S-10 Blazer and a Cherokee and due to the Cherokees legendary "realiability" as I use that word lightly, needs less to say it was replaced, that bein said, I would like to steer away from domestic and try something different, so any opinions, comments or concerns or even pictures about the 1st Gen pathys will be greatly appreciated!! Thank you for your time and consideration!! ( sorry if I rambled and some stuff didn't make sense, Its 4am and I have a case of insomnia as of now lol thank you for being patient!)

Welcome!

What specifically did you find un-reliable about the Cherokee? I'm about a year and a half into ownership, and other than it being a bit of a clown car for my family of 5, I find that its been utterly bulletproof so far. (other than normal wear and tear - radiator a year ago, tires, etc)
 

turbophil

New member
Having owned a Pathy and currently my brother is building one, I would say they are reliable. Aftermarket is strong for them, lockers, lift etc. The independant front suspension isnt that great for serious offroad but it isnt really that bad. On road is comfortable.

They are underpowered but that can be fixed with some good maintenance and a 3.3l motor from a 1st Gen Xterra. They are a smaller truck but have lots of ground clearance as well, more than my 2nd Gen Xterra which is way bigger.
 

Life_in_4Lo

Explorer
1st gen Pathy is very similar to the 1st gen Xterra. I think the Xterra was a rebirth of the 1st gen Pathy.

It would be easier to find a clean Xterra and they are pretty inexpensive.
 

dro805

Observer
Having owned a Pathy and currently my brother is building one, I would say they are reliable. Aftermarket is strong for them, lockers, lift etc. The independant front suspension isnt that great for serious offroad but it isnt really that bad. On road is comfortable.

They are underpowered but that can be fixed with some good maintenance and a 3.3l motor from a 1st Gen Xterra. They are a smaller truck but have lots of ground clearance as well, more than my 2nd Gen Xterra which is way bigger.


hey turbophil do you have any pictures of your brothers pathy he is building?
 

JOnesbilt24

New member
1995 Nissan Pathfinder

I owned one which I bought in New Jersey, and ended up driving to Ca. I personally Loved it but did encounter the following problems.
Manifold Studs corroded and broke off which resulted in a hard to fix exhaust leak.
Turn Signal/ light switch failed
Transmission failed at 150,000
Window switches

Pros
Comfortable vehicle
i liked the quality build and rugged appearance
Came With a roof rack for surf boards
Decent fuel economy 18mpg, 350 Miles to a tank if driven lightly.
31" tires good for off roading

Cons
Very Poor steering lock, tight parking lots would require backing up and sectioning off the hard right or left turn
Under Powered
I found the fasteners were not always metric which i found odd for a JDM vehicle, Exhaust system ect.
Low amount of space in the trunk.
31 " tires were a handful with a tired motor.
Failed Smog at 167,000 needs a new cat.

On the whole I had very fond memories of this rig and in the end I handed the keys and title to mys step son when I went to live in Japan. A tree subsequently fell on it and it hasn't run since Id like to get it back from him and SAS the front and some lockers ect.
 

Mr.510

New member
First generation Pathys are great vehicles and very capable wheelers. Mine has seen a LOT of trail time and I'd be more than happy to share what I know about them. All you need is longer shocks and sway bar disconnects for this much flex:



The four link rear suspension with coils works very well off road and is also the reason they ride so much better than nearly any other SUV of their time. I'm running 33-10.5-15 BFG KOs with no lift and no metal trimmed though the rear arches are rolled.

The most common problem with them is automatic transmission failure. This generally occurs because the fluid is never changed and the cooler in the radiator plugs up. Bypassing the stock cooler and running an aftermarket one is highly recommended for ALL vehicles with automatics and especially 4x4s! Another thing that I think contributes to transmission failures is overheating the engine. It does not occur to most people that with a stock in-the-radiator transmission heat exchanger when you overheat the engine you may overheat the transmission and you certainly damage the transmission fluid.

If you get a Pathy I highly recommend getting an SE model that came stock with 31-10.5-15 tires. Most of these trucks have 4.6 gears, rear LSD, and rear disc brakes stock. Mine is an '88 that came so-equipped. It is mechanically stock except for the heavy duty automatic trans. sourced from an '01 Xterra.

The definitive source for information on Pathfinders is the forum at NPORA, the Nissan Pathfinder Off Road Association: http://www.nissanpathfinders.net My user name is the same there as here, feel free to look me up.

There are videos from some of my Pathy adventures here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Mister510?feature=mhum
 

dsmith

New member
I bought a 1987 1/2 Pathfinder as my first 4X4 when I was 17! I was so young and dumb because I regret selling it to buy a Jetta for better Gas Mileage! I had so many good memories in it and It was so much fun! Its what got me into 4wheeling and why I bought my Jeep that I've had for six years now! Here are some pictures. I miss it! I used to take it anywhere and I honestly never got it stuck.







I now have this!

 

Vipon

New member
I have an 88 as well. I love it. Mine has 238000 on it, I have had to replace some smog related equipment, but other than that she still running fine.

it is way underpowered on the highway though, thank god I have the 5 speed
 

dro805

Observer
i have a 87 with the 3 speed and it does pretty good on the highway i cant keep it under 75 but i love my pathy im looking for a 4 door but i can do with my 2 dor for now
 
Top